When you compose a post that recalls the purchase of a Leica M9 it's difficult to use the word "conservative" in any part of it, after all the body alone is a substantial investment. But, and its a big but.....I have been "conservative" with my lens purchases as I sought to understand how I would operate with the M9. As I've mentioned elsewhere on this site I acquired my M9 with the 35mm Summicron f/2 ASPH as a package. Used, albeit for just a few weeks by a lovely chap that just couldn't settle on the manual elements of this system. So with that said, what other lenses have I purchased and where have I been "conservative". This is how my lens line up currently looks -
15mm Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar f/4.5 - I wanted wide, really wide.....so I went with this. Optically its very sharp, there is no distortion what so ever. Corner fix is a pain though, so we'll see how it goes for now.
35mm Summicron f/2 ASPH - At this time and based on my experiences with the Fuji X100 I believed this would be my most used combination of camera and lens, one need only look through the images on this website to see this hasn't been the case. The 35 Cron is a superb lens and I'm pushing myself again to use this focal length more, as I shoot more street I know this will get the use it deserves. That said I have the 35mm Summilux f/1.4 ASPH on order and will sell this on when it eventually comes in to stock...... The more you see the bokeh render from the Lux the harder it is to resist.
50mm Summarit f/2.5 - Here is an example of my "conservatism" (Not all in this house would agree...) I have a 50mm prime on my Nikon and I used it sometimes, so I didn't want to jump in and spend big bucks on Leica glass at this focal length. However with the M9 I've found that 50mm is just very comfortable and 60% of my use has been at this length, just not with this lens......as I will explain shortly. The 50mm Summarit f/2.5 is a real bargain of a lens, forget what the Leica snobs will tell you. The lens is sharp, the build quality is superb and its real value for money. The fate of this lens was sealed last night though when I received a call from Leica to say they had a 50mm Summilux f/1.4 (Pictured) if I wanted it, done deal......I've listed the 50mm Summarit f/2.5 for sale today -here.
50mm Jupiter 3 f/1.5 - This lens, a lens that I owned before I bought my M9 is the main reason the 50mm Summarit couldn't get a look in. Sharp and full of character this lens has literally forced its way on to this list, it will always be a favorite and is superb wide open at f/1.5. A word of warning about the 50mm Jupiter 3 f/1.5, there are stories of focusing issues and a lack of sharpness, it is true there can be significant variations in the quality of this lens. I have just been very lucky with this one.
50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.1 - For me the jury is still out on this lens, I'm not saying it isn't a very good lens for the money because it most certainly is. I just don't know if it's good enough to satisfy me....the 50mm Noctilux f/0.95 is a very expensive next step, however the recent emergence of the SLR Magic 50 LM T0.95 Hyperprime means there are potential alternatives.
75mm Voigtlander Heliar f/1.8 - This was "conservatism" at work again, with this lens I've been rewarded for it. I shoot this lens a lot and it's really surpassed my expectations, I'm not comparing it to any other 75mm lens, just saying for me it is more than good enough. 75mm is not something I expected to shoot often, hence this purchase, as it's transpired its been my second most used lens.
90mm Voigtlander Apo Lnathar f/3.5 - I'll be honest and say I bought this because it was cheap, mint condition and people speak quite highly of it, in truth I have not used it to date. So we'll see what happens to this lens, for now at least, its safe.
135mm Leitz Hektor f/4.5 - I was fairly sure there would come a time when I needed this focal length and sure enough there have been occasions, this lens didn't disappoint!! For it's age and given what these can be picked up for on ebay I would recommend them without hesitation. There are images on this website taken with this lens on the M9 and M6.
With what I've learnt so far shooting the M9 it was pretty obvious to me that I both needed and wanted to strengthen my 50mm lens line up and I can't wait for the 50 Lux to arrive. From experience your taste in lenses and even the way you use a camera can change over time, I don't expect this re-shuffle or the next one to be the final word in my lens line up, it will, like my photography continue to evolve.