40mm M lens options
Wish for a looser 50mm, or maybe a 35mm lens which isn't so wide?… Why not try a 40mm? Although it sounds like a weak compromise, there has always been a certain fondness for this intermediate focal length.
Leica 40mm ƒ2.0 Summicron-C
#11542 is regarded as one of Leica's better lenses. Sharp, low flare, compact, beautiful bokeh. Despite being originally designed as a kit lens for the Leica CL, the 40mm is easily the equal of its '70s era Summicron-M stable-mates, such as the 35mm ƒ2.0 or 50mm ƒ2.0.
The 40mm 'cron comes with a Series 5.5 rubber hood (#12518). Don't lose this, as it's used to hold filters in place!
Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm ƒ2
Comes in two "flavours", the earlier CL or the newer CLE.
Some people claim the CLE Rokkors tend to be slightly more magenta than the Summicron. YMMV. Another thing about the Minolta versions — type I is practically identical to the Leica 40mm, while the "super multi-coated II CLE version" is claimed (by some) to have slightly better sharpness and flare control. OTOH, others claim the 40mm Summicron-C was multi-coated too, even if it doesn't have the Minolta's green tinge. Ho-hum, right?
Voigtländer 40mm ƒ1.4 Nokton
For speed hounds, a modern compact lens. See the following links:
- <L-camera-forum.com: #184310>
(N.B. some people hate the Bokeh of this lens!)
Only the Leica CL or Minolta CLE has a dedicated 40mm frameline set. All other M cameras bring up the 50mm rectangle.
Many people hate this and have their lens modified to bring up the 35mm framelines instead (as it gives a better approximation at distances greater than 6m). The good news is that this modification is easy to DIY — just file 1mm off the flange on the 40mm lens-mount.
Think carefully before doing this though! If you subsequently sell the lens, its new owner may not appreciate that it cannot bring up the 40mm frameline in their CL/CLE any more!
Difference between Leica & Minolta 40mm's
See the extensive commentary by Joel Matherson at:
In a nutshell:
- Filters — (Minolta) 40.5mm thread; (Leica) Series 5.5 held in place by the screw-in rubber hood. Although a E39 filter may fit, the thread-pitch is subtly different and it won't screw in all the way.
- Manufacture — (Minolta) Japan; (Leica) Germany;
- Lens coating — the CLE Minolta is claimed to have a subtle magenta cast. OTOH the earlier CL Minolta and Leica Summicron are optically identical.
- Voigt Nokton 40mm vs. Summicron 40mm by Anupam Basu — May 2008
- Photo.net - sample Voigt Classic Nokton 40mm photos — May 2006
- Mike Johnston article "Why 40mm?" (link 1) (link 2) — May 2005
- Leica-Camera-User discussion about 40mm lenses — Mar 2005
- Nokton 1.4/40 review + sample images (Japanese) — Dec 2004
- Photo.net - general discussion about the 40mm lens — Feb 2003