Leica M: Building a lens family for the new M10
One of the overwhelming advantages of the Leica M system is the vast range of lenses of all ages and price entry points. Even in the Leica range there is a perplexing variety of offerings, with previous generations having their own characteristics and faithful followers. Add in M-mount lenses from other manufacturers, including Voigtländer and Zeiss — not to mention the various small-production Japanese specialists, and the choice is almost limitless.
Even if you don’t own a Leica camera, most of these manual M-mount lenses can be used on modern mirrorless cameras such as the Sony A7 line and crop-sensor models from Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic. Newcomers can be forgiven for being confused and not knowing where to start.
Leica enthusiast Ashwin Rao has put together advice on building a lens family to go with the new M10. Writing on Steve Huff’s site, Ashwin provides a good overview of which lenses — and, perhaps more to the point — which focal lengths to choose. Pairings are important when considering prime lenses, perhaps 35/50, 35/75 or 28/50. Within each focal length he gives his recommendations. I agree with all his points and the article provides a good primer for anyone new to the M system.
Above: Three views using three different prime lenses — 50mm, 35mm and 28mm. The wider angles are ideal for cityscapes and architectural themes while 50mm and longer is challenging unless you can get far enough away. There is always a debate on which is the best "standard" lens to carry (Photos Mike Evans)