Without a doubt, one of the benefits of getting into the Leica M system is for their astonishingly high quality optics. Especially over the last 25 years, Leica M lenses have achieved a high level reputation for outstanding optical quality.
Brand new, current Leica M lenses are expensive. But not all new M mount lenses are. Two easily available series of M mount lenses are from Voigtlander and Zeiss, both made by Cosina.
The pricing difference is enormous when comparing the same focal length and nearly identical widest aperture. For this article, Downtown Camera in Toronto gave me access to the classic “normal” focal length for a full frame or film Leica M body, the 50mm (the focal length of choice for legendary photojournalist, Henri Cartier-Bresson) with the high speed aperture of f1.4 or f1.5 (for our purposes).
Featured in this article are Leica’s 50mm f1.4 Summilux, the Zeiss ZM 50mm f1.5 C Sonnar and the Voigtlander 50mm f1.5 Nokton.