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View Poll Results: Leica 28mm or FA 31mm
Leica 28mm 416.00%
FA 31mm 2184.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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11-07-2014, 11:15 AM   #1
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Leica 28mm vs FA 31mm

Hello,
A budy tell me about a Leitz Elmarit-R 28mm f2.8 at a price of 200€, I've heard a lot about Lecia lens but have never experience one.
How this lens compare to the legendary FA 31mm ? Is the price accurate ?
Thanks for your opinion !


Last edited by redcat; 11-07-2014 at 12:34 PM.
11-07-2014, 12:58 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by redcat Quote
Hello,
A budy tell me about a Leitz Elmarit-R 28mm f2.8 at a price of 200€, I've heard a lot about Lecia lens but have never experience one.
How this lens compare to the legendary FA 31mm ? Is the price accurate ?
Thanks for your opinion !
Don`t even mention!
11-07-2014, 01:14 PM - 7 Likes   #3
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Well it so happens that I have a Leitz 28mm f2.8 Elmarit R (3 cam version) lens sitting right here next to me. I also have a FA 31 Ltd sitting on my K5, and just for luck, I have a Contax Zeiss 28mm f2.8 Distagon T* over there sitting in my camera backpack. So, on to your questions.....
  • How this lens compare to the legendary FA 31mm? - The 31 Ltd is an AF lens, while the Leica is manual focusing. That is a difference (especially for me since my eyesight is getting worse - even with coke bottle glasses). Build quality, the Leica is overbuilt, wonderful quality and handling. Image quality of both is excellent, along with coloring, rendering, sharpness, etc. Leica's optical engineers go for the Leica look. Now, the 31 Ltd, as I understand the pixie dust, was not designed to be the absolute sharpest, the absolutely best (which is very subjective) bokeh, etc., but was designed to produce very pleasing images. It's the total combination of all of the optical qualities of a lens. By all accounts - Pentax succeeded on that account.
  • Is the price accurate? - You have not really provided enough information to answer this. Leica over the years has produced two major lines of lenses - the M and the R. Only the R can be converted to the K mount. The M mount cannot be converted to the K mount. Also, the R mount has been discontinued. Within each mount there are several versions of the lens from the older to the newer. The newer tend to command the higher prices (in terms of the R mount and the 28mm Elmarit design). The prices range from about $400 to ~$3000 (for the lens). Some versions of the R line are thought to be or considered to be better that others. Also, if you are looking at a Leica lens, you need to factor in a mount swap. There is not lens adapter available due to the closeness of the registration distance. Leitax.com (in Spain) charges about $100 for the mount hardware to swap it to a K mount. They will also do it for about $50 - if you want.
So, after having said all of that - my opinion. I have these three lenses, and my eyesight is not getting any better - for manual focusing. The drop dead simple answer is that I am going to keep the 31 Ltd. It is the perfect solution for me. It has the outstanding image quality and AF, its glued to my K5. The other two. This is a decision that I have come to over the last year or so. I am going to keep just one MF 28 and its going to be the Contax Zeiss. Why, its color rendering appeals to me a tad more than the Leica. Its almost a flip of the coin. I just have too many 28's that I am not using (I also have the K28/3.5 Shift). I am stumped as to what lens to take out shooting. So, I am reducing my choices and I need to make life simpler (plus - my A*300/f4 needs to be exchanged with the 60-250 since its AF (better with my eyesight) and I need to fund the swap - as instructed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer - my wife).

Going back to the Leitz lens - Leitz indicates one of the older models. 200€ appears to be a good price. What you need to do is to get the full description of the lens and see what recent sales of the same lens (with the same condition) go for on evil bay...So, that is my take on the topic.

11-07-2014, 05:43 PM   #4
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wow, thanks a lot for the detail comparison ! I appriciate your time and effort writting this ! I didn't see the lens either, just basic info, It's Elmarit-R so I guess it's R mount (am I right ?)
I'll asking for more info, hoping for a good leitz lens. It's like a legend in the camera world

11-08-2014, 05:22 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I would also suggest getting the serial number. The Leica folks track details of their lenses to an obsession. There is tons of information on line about the various lines of the lenses, along with the specific models within those lines, down to who built the lenses on what day and what they had for lunch (just kidding on that). There is an obsessive amount of detail available however. The R line is not as well revered as the M line (at least to me). Also, there are a lot of models to the R line. The price does seem rather good. You can convert the lens yourself, and the process is very reversible, as you are not damaging anything.


Last edited by interested_observer; 11-08-2014 at 06:59 AM. Reason: slight editing...
11-13-2014, 02:59 AM   #6
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wow, the vote show 100% choose FA 31mm ! I did not expect that it's wayyyyy better than Leica lens !!!!!
11-13-2014, 03:24 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by redcat Quote
wow, the vote show 100% choose FA 31mm ! I did not expect that it's wayyyyy better than Leica lens !!!!!
I would take all polls with a grain of salt - especially being on a Pentax oriented website, full of Pentax shooters and lovers - I would hardly expect to get any meaningful results from a poll like this one Hell... I bet most (if not ALL) of the voters haven't even handled the Leica lens at all :P

It is not to say that the 31mm Ltd is not a fantastic lens - but I would be hesitant to decide which lens to buy based on a poll like this.
11-13-2014, 03:28 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by redcat Quote
wow, the vote show 100% choose FA 31mm ! I did not expect that it's wayyyyy better than Leica lens !!!!!
I wonder how the poll at the Leica forums would come out...

11-13-2014, 03:42 AM   #9
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I think a lot comes down to whether or not you like/need auto focus, control of the aperture from the body rather than the aperture, and a stop faster aperture. The FA 31 is a very good lens in all respects and fits my needs better, because I don't do manual focusing very well. Not even with focus peaking enabled. So, 98 percent of the time I use auto focus and I stay away from lenses, even spectacular ones that are manual focus only.
11-13-2014, 04:09 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by redcat Quote
wow, the vote show 100% choose FA 31mm ! I did not expect that it's wayyyyy better than Leica lens !!!!!
I have only come across one or two other Leica 28/f2.8 lenses here on the forum. I would venture to say that for the vast majority, if not all of the viewers of this thread probably have not used a Leica lens. There is just little basis to make a judgement. Are they any better? I don't know - with respect to this particular question specifically on the 28/2.8. It's different - it's character (color, rendering, etc.) is different. Does that in and of itself make it better - not necessarily. It depends on what you are looking for.

Leica made other 28/2.8 that according to the Leica folks are better than the R 3 cam version I have. Would these be any better when compared to the 31 Ltd? I don't have any idea, however I suspect probably not. They would all have their own strengths an weaknesses, in the eyes of the folks forming their opinions. They would all be manual lenses and as others have observed, that can be a big deal. However, to draw a conclusion based on a 100% for the Limited lens from your poll results, would be wrong. As was previously said - a Leica forum would probably have exactly the opposite view....

11-13-2014, 06:38 AM   #11
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thank you all for your comments, both technical and psychological I guess I'll try to control my LBA a bit more, each time I see a Zeiss or Leica appears on Evil-bay my heart stops a beat !
I'll try the FA 31mm for sure and maybe one day I'll touch one of those legendary Zeiss/Leica lens to compare with our hero lens
11-13-2014, 10:50 AM - 2 Likes   #12
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A few thoughts on the Elmarit-R 28

I don't have the FA31, but I do have the Elmarit-R 28mm with a fleabay k-mount conversion. In the same focal range I've also got a CPCC A28/2.8 clone and a K28/3.5. Shooting with a K5 with split-prism screen. When I hit the focus with the Leica, the results are astounding. The colors have a great pop to them and nice overall effect. I like the ~42mm equivalent POV. When I miss, well, I miss. That is certainly a tradeoff with the Leica - the manual focusing make the ratio of hits to misses lower than it would likely be with the FA31. Obviously the faster aperture of the FA would make for better indoor photography.

Can't comment too much on the K28 yet - only picked it up recently. My A28 clone has a bit of a sticky aperture, so again I won't comment too deeply.

A few Elmarit sample pics -
Dry fitting

Untitled

Honda S65

Untitled
11-13-2014, 02:56 PM   #13
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And the 200€ price is fair for the lens.
11-13-2014, 09:41 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pablom Quote
I wonder how the poll at the Leica forums would come out...
Leicaphiles tend to sort of pretend that the "R" lenses exist.


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11-13-2014, 10:15 PM   #15
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