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Leica 50mm Elmar-M f/2.8 35mm Primes

4.33 star rating
                      4.33 / 5 (6 Reviews)
MSRP : $0

  • Camera Format35 mm SLR
    Lens TypeFixed Focal Length Lens
    Focal Length50mm
    Lens Max Aperturef/2.8
    Min Aperturef/16
    Focus TypeManual Focus
    Macro LensWithout Macro Lens
    Closest Focusing Distance27.6 in
    Picture Angle45 degrees
    Attachment / Filter Size39 mm
    Groups / Elements4 Elements in 3 Groups
    Diameter2 in
    Length0.8 in
    Weight6 oz
    Product ID20724638

Product Description

This handy universal lens has a world-wide reputation for the highest optical performance. With outstanding imaging quality even at the closest focusing range. It is available in black anodized finish and in silver chrome finish. With a built-in sliding lens hood.

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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by cron90 a Expert

Date Reviewed: April 3, 2011

Strengths:    Tiny when collapsed.
Excellent build quality.
No distortion, and good sharpness (you'd need a good scan to see it, though)
Affordable for a Leica lens.

Weaknesses:    Collapsing design can be a bother, and is likely to be collapsed when you really need it.
Lens must be positioned correctly to extend (will rotate freely when collapsed).
Stiff focus mechanism when lens is locked in place to shoot.

Bottom Line:   
The Elmar-m 50 lens produced respectable results: no geometric distortion, excellent bokeh, and good sharpness. The 2.8 speed was fine with me (after all, plenty of people pay $1000 and more for a 2.8 zoom that they consider "fast," right?) The problem is, I just didn't like USING it. The idea of a collapsing lens sounds better than the reality, which is probably why the lens is the least expensive of modern Leicas, and discontinued.

The lens has to be in the correct position to extend--if it's not, you won't have the aperture ring in the right position. But the thing I really didn't like was the focusing. On my copy (perhaps other samples are better), the focus ring was smooth until the lens was extended, and then some design aspect of the internal mechanism clamped down a bit and cause stiff focusing as the lens was extended for use. No amount of lube or working the lens in by hand could get the focus smoother.

On balance, a good lens for those on a budget, or those that need a collapsing lens. Just not for me.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $430.00

Purchased At:   auction

Similar Products Used:   Collapsing Summicron 50 f2
DR Summicron 50 f2

Type of photography:   Fine Art

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Michael J Hoffman a Expert

Date Reviewed: October 24, 2005

Strengths:    outstanding optical performance
top quality build
precision mechanical operation

Weaknesses:    prohibitively expensive

Bottom Line:   
This is the best general purpose camera lens I've ever used. The lens is sharp and very contrasty. The build and finish is absolutely top quality. Mechanical operation has to be used to be appreciated. Images from this lens are better than from any other lens I've ever used. This lens is a top-quality product for which you pay top-dollar. It is no bargain, but for me it is worth every penny. The Leica M system provides a different way of working which, for my needs, is invaluable. All components of the M system contribute to the unique approach it provides to photographic composition.

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Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $845.00

Purchased At:   B&H

Similar Products Used:   Canon EF 50/1.8 Mk I

Type of photography:   People

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:1
Submitted by RRoss a Expert

Date Reviewed: June 17, 2005

Strengths:    Build, materials, size, image quality of the very highest standard.

Weaknesses:    Wildly, madly expensive new (but not too expensive secondhand).

Bottom Line:   
The Leica Elmar is beyond any doubt a superb lens.
It is constructed to the very highest standards of excellence (mine is a silver chrome type). It is remarkably heavy for such a small lens, but that is no disadvantage.

It handles like a dream.

But best of all is the truly wonderful optical performance. It is not simply that it is sharp, it is absolutely pin sharp. But it produces an image with wonderful depth and form, a 3 dimensionality that is very rare. Its colour reporduction is also first class.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Purchased At:   eBay

Similar Products Used:   Prime standrad lenses from, for example, Canon, Contax (SLR and G types), Voigtlander, Russian lens, Nikon (1.2 and 1.8), Leica Summicron (M and R types).

Type of photography:   Other

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Mike Johnston a Expert

Date Reviewed: April 2, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Give me a break. A 50mm f/2.8 for $700 is high value? It's close to the worse value in the entire photographic Universe. You can get better, faster 50s for much less money from almost any manufacturer. In you have to have a Tessar-type like this one, you can buy new ones from Contax or Nikon (45mm f/2.8 Tessar and Nikkor-P 45mm f/2.8 respectively) for less than $300. Or, if you insist on having Leica lens, then you can buy a 50-year-old Elmar that is better made--again for less money. I compared this lens directly with the old version. Holding both in your hands, it's painfully obvious that the old one is both better made and better finished than the new one. The old one locks in place more positively and is actually more rigid!

The Elmar-M is indeed extremely sharp. However, it's an exaggerated sharpness that has none of the fabled "roundness" that Leica lenses used to be famous for. And like all Tessar-types it has excessive curvature of field wide open. I prefer the image quality of the old one.

Toss-up whether to give this two or three stars. I chose three because it IS very sharp, and will serve you well if you like it. But it's really a lens that is a non-starter for almost any prospective user.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Type of photography:   Fine Art

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by chris tremlett a Casual from stavanger norway

Date Reviewed: November 12, 2002

Strengths:    size, tonal qualities of images and, relatively (for leica) cheap

Weaknesses:    (i) setting up in a hurry is a hastle (extending & locking lens)
(ii)performance at f2.8 isn't so wonderful

Bottom Line:   
Much the same sentiments as Jorge. I actually prefer results from my elmar to those from my summicron f2/50mm (yes I have both - it's a long story why. Mostly it's about tone, limited flare and contrast control. The elmar delivers while the summicron has yet to convince me of its superiority over the elmar (apart from lpmm guff)or even my nikon 50mm/f1,8 auto.
Maybe I just have an anomalously questionable summicron, but to all those out there considering the choice of 50mm elmar vs 50 mm summicron (and there seems to be an overwhelming response in net threads in favour of the summicron) I would urge you to at least try both before you buy and study the results. In my experience they ARE different and it's down to personal taste as to which you ultimately prefer.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Similar Products Used:   summicron 50f2, nikon 50f1.8, OM zuiko 50 1,8

Type of photography:   Other

Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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