CI Photocommunity

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

Travel system




Some of you may have read may thread in the MP forum about a starter setup. I was just about set on one of two options (1. MP + 35/2 Summicron + 50/2 Summicron, or 2. MP + 50/1.4 Summilux) but something a dealer said about the new Voightlander lenses has piqued my curiosity and I would like to start with a full compliment of lenses for my MP (and can't really afford all new).

If I wanted a pocketable, carry anywhere travel system, what do you all think of the following ...

MP 0.72 black, new 35/2.5 Voightlander 'Pancake lens', new 50/2 Summicron, s/h (may even stretch to new) 90/4 macro Elmar. I could also add the 1.25 viewfinder magnifier, cost dependent.

I'd be tempted by the MP 0.58 + Tri-Elmar + 1.25 vf, but think I'd be frustrated by the f4 restriction over the whole range ...}


I need to correct the first message ...

" If I wanted a pocketable, carry anywhere travel system, what do you all think of the following ...

MP 0.72 black, new 35/2.5 Voightlander 'Pancake lens', new 50/2.8 Elmar, s/h (may even stretch to new) 90/4 macro Elmar. I could also add the 1.25 viewfinder magnifier, cost dependent. "

I've got so many options on my mind that I lose track !! I know that I could probably get all the aboce s/h, but I want new. Sad, but I just want my first Leica to be 'mine'.



Why are you considering the CV f2.5 Pancake rather than the 35mm f1.7 Ultron? I have one of these, it is a fine lens and has nearly a full stop over the Pancake and half a stop over the f2 lenses. It is only available in screw version so needs a screw to M convertor but, even including this, it is about the same price as as the Pancake lens. Likewise is there some reason why you would consider a new f2.8 Elmar against a good recent S/H Summicron?

I am asking questions rather than answering them but it seems to me that you are going to end up with 3 relatively slow lenses, for a travel kit I think either the 35mm or 50mm lens should be a fast-aperture version.



Well-Known Member
My own feeling would be to go for a 28mm rather than a 35mm. I think the 35mm is just too close to the 50 to give a real difference. A 35 goes very nicely with a 90. My own modern rangefinder is a Contax G2 (my Leica's are all classic) and I find the 28/45/90 combination just perfect for travelling. I often leave the 45 at home as the 28 and 90 cover most situations. I had a 35 but ended up using it so rarely that I sold it on. Wilson


Well-Known Member
I use Voigtlander lenses with my Leica M6 and couldn't be happier (of course I'd like Leica lenses but they're a little out of my reach right now). I have a 15mm f/4.5, 28mm f/1.9, 35mm f/2.5, 50mm f/1.5 and 75mm f1.5. It's extensive but I mostly use the 28 and 50 for now (I'm still waiting on an adaptor for my 15mm lens. The 75mm lens stays in my barracks room as I don't have much use for it here.



As a very small system, your plan (0.72, 35, 50, 90) makes sense. My experience with Voigtlander lenses is that they are excellent. I don't think you will need the magnifier, particularly because the 90mm is only f:4.

I personally like to use the 90mm focal length. This alone would make me avoid the Tri-Elmar (28-35-50) as only lens (f:4 might be another issue, of course, but I could live with that).

For me, 50 and 35mm are quite different. I like your idea of camera + those 3 lensesfor the size. Personally, I always end up carrying more gear than I need, and size is not really an issue (once you are carrying a little bag, it does not matter if the lenses are big or small), so I would choose the 35 1.7 over the pancake. But if you want to carry the lenses in your pockets, your selection makes more sense.

Good luck!


On another note, I understand your wish of buying new (I have never done it yet, but one day I will).


New Member

Which lens you choose is a matter of personal taste. All the lenses have a different character, different uses and create different pictures. What you can do is look at the pictures you made in the past and see what lenses you used or what lenses you missed.

Keep your kit simple, if you don't have lenses yet try the latest non-asph f2.0/35mm Summicron, which isn't too expensive and buy the latest f2.0/50mm Summicron. Both lenses are stellar performers and if you want newer asph glass or faster lenses later you can keep them or sell them without big losses.

This 35-50mm set should get you started. Later you can add a 21mm, 24mm or 28mm wide angle and a 90mm or 135mm tele.

I can strongly recommend the f4.0/28-35-50mm Tri-Elmar. It has become my most-used universal lens for the Leica M6 when travelling. I normally carry the f2.8/21mm Asph Elmarit, the Tri-Elmar, the f1.4/35mm Asph Summilux (for available light use) and the (latest) f2.8/90mm Elmarit if I expect a fair proportion of landscape shots.

Leica lenses are quite compact, and with one lens-coupler you can carry the body and two lenses in a remarkable small bag together with a flash, film and a small tabletop tripod.


New Member

Boy can I relate to your situation! I purchased my first Leica 4 months ago after 25+ years of using the Olympus OM system. My case was very much like yours. I wanted a highly dependable compact system for events and travel. I chose an M7 as it fit the style of photography I've developed with the OM-2. The level of automation is about the same, enough so you can take a quick grab shot, but not so much that you're not in control. I chose the 35mm 2.0 Summicron, the 50mm 2.8 Elmar and the 90mm 4.0 macro Elmar for a couple reasons. First, I saw a test that compared photos taken with Nikon prime lenses to photos taken with Leica prime lenses. In every case I could pick out the Leica photo and for me that is the only way to compare. All of the technical reviews that I mostly do not understand can't compare to looking at photos. Second, all three lenses use the same size filter. No big deal, but convenient just the same. Third all three lenses will fit into each other's case and will fit in the Leica everready case. (Obviously the 90mm needs to be collapsed) Fourth, they were the least expensive way to acquire a basic set of Leica lenses new.

I've been very happy with the set up. I have not missed the 95 pieces of OM equipment that I carried around and I have not missed the really long or wide lenses. I did review literally thousands of slides to see which lenses I really used and 95% of them fit in the 35-90 range. I also happened upon an old 135mm Leica Hektor from the 50s that I bought for less than Leica lense caps sell for on e-bay. It's pretty beat up,but the glass is clean. It gives me a little more range, but I've only used it on a couple shots.

The first role of film that I shot to test the camera and lenses I took to a one hour lab. When I came back to pick up the film the technition was studying my negatives. He wanted to know what kind of camera I was using because he'd never seen such sharp negatives. I figured I'd made the right choice!

Good Luck!




Thanks for your detailed advice - exactly what I am looking for. Can you just tell me what factors made you choose the M7 over the MP?

My previous cameras have been mf OMs, Pentax and a Canon T90 (the best - now regret getting rid of it). I've also have a Minolta Dynax 5 with a great Sigma 20-40/2.8 but find there's something missing in my photography. I decided to buy into either Leica or Hasselblad (501CM or 503CW or maybe XPan II) and chose Leica for two reasons - (1) I've always wanted a Leica, and (2) size.

And so my search for a Leica system has begun. Every time I decide something, I get great advice that changes my mind. I'm getting bombarded with resolution, micro- and macro-contrast, MTF charts and mythical terms like bokeh ... All of which I want the best of.

And then there's cost .. Sadly I'm not made of money, and must prioritise my purchase of lenses. The body is easy really - either MP (for desirability, pure mech operation, discretion) or M7 (ability to use AE, ttl flash). I must decide if I can live without AE on the MP - if I can, then it's the MP, if not, I'll get the M7. Nut lenses pose a far greater problem ... size, cost, speed, qualities all come into play here and there are almost too many issues to balance.

My inclination is for one of two directions...

An M7 with the latest 50/1.4 Summilux or
an M7 with 35/2 Summicron, 50/2.8 Elmar and 90/4 Elmar.

Unfortunatley the 'missing' 3rd issue now comes into play - if I get the M7 + 50/1.4, can I persuade my wife to let me spend yet more on "just a camera" ....

I'm dazzled by the lights claiming the new 50/1.4 Summilux is the world's best 50mm lens. I know this is all relative, which is why Tom's post helps me.

(Thanks to all the other replies - keep them coming!)



Thanks for your advice too. Can you tell me just how much you rate the Tri-Elmar? Notwithstanding what I wrote above, a 2 lens setup of an MP/M7 with the Tri-Elmar and a 90/4 Elmar gives me coverage from 20 to 90mm - perhaps a little slow, but the XPan II lenses are also f4 ... I know that most Xpans are used for landscapes and not so much for reportage, so the analogy is a little thin.

I guess my main area these days is travel/work reportage, with some nice family photos.

Again, like with the new 50/1.4, the new tri-elmar makes me appear like the proverbial rabbit caught in the headlights ...



I was keen to hear of the source you referred to that compared Nikon and Leica lens. If this source is easily available could you post it on the discussion forum.




New Member

It was on a web site and I sure wish that I could find it back. I read through hundreds of web sites for information when I was looking for the new camera a few months ago and didn't save them. I just spent about 40 minutes looking for it again and, as usual, got about 100,000 hits on google, but not the one I was looking for.




Thanks for looking up the information! Both sites werevery interesting. Have you by chance seen sites that compare say Canon oe Minolta or other lens to Leica? If so would you pass on the information.

I have an M6 an plan to purcahse an SLR soon and find this type of information useful.




Active Member

Sorry for the late addition to the thread; I hope this opinion still is of any use to you...

About six weeks ago I returned from a trip to Italy with 2 M bodies and five lenses: 15, 21, 35, 50 and 75. One of the cameras was always loaded with color film and the other with B&W, your case will be different. When processed the 30-odd rolls, I observed that 90% of the pictures and almost 99% of the keepers were shot with the 35 and 50. Ditto my last three trips abroad. The ultra-wides and the 75 end up being security blankets.

I would go with just two lenses, 28 and 50 or 35 and 75, leaning heavily towards the first pair.

My own affordable favorites are:

Ultra-wide: Voigtländer Color-Skopar 21/4. Sharp, well corrected, super compact, excellent finder, price roughly equal to the Leica 21 finder alone.

28mm: There's only one option at less than one grand: Voigtländer Ultron Aspherical 28/1.9.

35mm: 4th version Summicron 35/2 (last pre-ASPH). Small, sharp, great bokeh, not too expensive (about $400 used). In case it's too dear, the Color-Skopar 35/2.5 classic is an almost as good substitute with fairly lower build and a stop less of aperture (it matters a lot for interiors).

50mm: No contest, the Summicron 50 in any version, preferably the newer ones. Second place, the Voigtländer Nokton 50/1.5 --heavier than the 'cron and with somewhat harsher bokeh but just as sharp and with one more stop. It also has a nice build with brass barrel that matches the black paint of the MP perfectly. Lettering scheme too.

75/90mm: Voigtländer Color-Heliar 75/2.5. Very sharp from f/4 down and with extraordinary bokeh. Very good build too. 2nd place, Canadian Elmarit 75/2.8. Generally go for around $600.

Good luck with your quest,



For thirty years I have been travelling the world and on each trip refine the equipment I think necessary. My present opinion is that there is no universal travel system, because of the changing nature of travel. In Europe I cannot remember ever using a lens longer than 75mm, while here in Australia the landscape is such that a 135mm lens almost becomes standard.


Just to finish the thread ... my choice is ...

M7 (0.72) - AE and 28mm frame in vf

35/2 - main lens, will live on the camera most of the time

[ + the following 2 lenses to keep me going whilst I decide where to spend my Leica money ]

50/1.5 CV Nokton
90/3.5 CV Lanthar

I will also buy the 15/4.5 CV as I have a project for it.

Total cost is about 3600 UKP. When I decide on my second main lens, be it 50 or 90, I will probably opt for either the 50/2 or the 90/2.8. If I hardly ever use the 90, I may just keep the Lanthar and go for the Tri-Elmar for travel convenience.

Thanks to you all for your advice.


Hi Dave

I would be interested in your opinion of the 75mm Lanthar when you get a chance to use it, or anyone else's opinion of course.