Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 29 of 29

Thread: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like

    Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Initial impressions of IQ and focusing

    It's small(er than my other cameras, save for the X100), and the image quality can be pretty damn stunning. But be prepared for a lot of frustration along the way. Especially if you've grown up with AF.

    Manual focusing isn't a PITA but it can lead to missed focus. Practice is everything. Practice anywhere, everywhere. Know the minimum focusing distance, learn to focus fast.

    High ISO is not as bad as people make it out to be. ISO2500 converted to B&W still has that magic.

    You have more chance hitting the lottery twice in a week than nailing focus at f1.1 on a moving subject at whatever speed.[/LIST]

    On lenses

    Leica lenses are excellent but crazy expensive. A Nikon 70-200 VR II (USD2.4k, B&H) is cheap compared to a current-gen 50 Summicron (USD2.3k). The new 50 Summicron APO ASPH is USD7.2k.

    With wide angle lenses (24mm and shorter) especially 3rd party ones), watch out for color casts, focus shifts and other weird **** you never get in the world of Nikon/Canon, Hasselblad, etc

    With tele lenses (75mm and longer), focusing is a b***h when shooting wide open.

    Which means, you'll probably end up with a 28, 35 and 50. Summicrons (f2) give you a better hit rate compared to Summilux (f1.4) lenses when shooting wide open (obviously). And Summicrons are heckuva lot cheaper than Summiluxes.

    There's is no such thing as a 'bad' Leica lens, regardless of age, and assuming it's in decent condition. The difference over the decades shows up in the character of the lenses, i.e. the way the image is rendered - contrast, micro-contrast, flare (which isn't ALWAYS a bad thing)

    Shooting wide open *IS* the point with Leica. Otherwise, any lens looks the same at f5.6 and up. Not convinced? Search flickr for "Leica 90mm Summicron", "Leica 75mm Summilux" to see what I mean.

    Oh, and unless you've mastered (2) above, shooting the Summilux wide open is not easy. Try it in so-so light, and get ready to lose it. Gets worse if you're shooting 50m or longer lenses without a magnifier.[/LIST]

    On buying used lenses

    Buy LOCALLY. Granted, you can get lenses cheaper from overseas, but given how damn sensitive focusing is on the M9/M9P, you'll want to be able to test the copy of the lens before you pony up the cash. Either way, it's cheaper buying a used 'older' lens (which beats most other lenses out there anyway) than the latest APO/ASPH designs.

    That said, go check out prices of the 'new' and pre-ASPH lenses - it's usually not a huge difference, and the newer aspherical lenses do hold their value a hair better
    My images on 500px : http://500px.com/ghoonk
    H4D-40 | Xpan | Leica M9P | Leica M Monochrom | X100 | Hasselblad 500CM | 501CM | 503CXi

  2. #2
    Member StephenPatterson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Hubei, China
    Posts
    209
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    I not exactly sure about your statement concerning color casts, focus shift and other weird (stuff) with wide angle lenses. I shoot with both the 18 and 21 Super Elmar M, and find that the in camera software corrections, combined with the micro lenses on the edges of the sensor, do an excellent job of handling ultra wide angle lenses. Perhaps if you could share an example we could see what problems you are encountering.

    As for focus, well as Tom Smith from the Leica Akademie likes to say, "the path to becoming a Leica Ninja is to master the art of manual focus". All I can say is that it will get easier, and your hit rate will go up substantially, in the first year. Manually focusing Leica lenses is frustrating at first, and takes considerable practice to become proficient, but once mastered is at least as fast, if not faster, than any autofocus system. It is also infinitely more accurate, as you always know exactly where your desired point of focus is.

    Enjoy and congratulations!!!
    Last edited by StephenPatterson; 6th August 2012 at 06:33.

  3. #3
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by StephenPatterson View Post
    I not exactly sure about your statement concerning color casts, focus shift and other weird (stuff) with wide angle lenses. I shoot with both the 18 and 21 Super Elmar M, and find that the in camera software corrections, combined with the micro lenses on the edges of the sensor, do an excellent job of handling ultra wide angle lenses. Perhaps if you could share an example we could see what problems you are encountering.

    As for focus, well as Tom Smith from the Leica Akademie likes to say, "the path to becoming a Leica Ninja is to master the art of manual focus". All I can say is that it will get easier, and your hit rate will go up substantially, in the first year. Manually focusing Leica lenses is frustrating at first, and takes considerable practice to become proficient, but once mastered is at least as fast, if not faster, than any autofocus system. It is also infinitely more accurate, as you always know exactly where your desired point of focus.

    Enjoy and congratulations!!!
    Yes, I agree completely with Stephen and all accounts! Although there are some wides and ultra wides (leica and otherwise) that have presented issues with corner color casts, for a large majority of these lenses, the in-camera corrections do an excellent job of essentially eliminating them. Even non-Leica lens "wides" do well, as long as an appropriate code is selected for them. One example (among many) is the superb Zeiss ZM 21mm f2.8.

    Retaining value over time (such as Leica lenses) is of course well known, but that shouldn't stop one from using or obtaining the many fine Zeiss, VC, Hexar etc. lenses, whether due to ecosts/economics, performance or simply the enjoyment of a different look. There are many great lenses from many sources.

    As for focusing fast lenses such as the Lux's...it does take time and practice, especially if one isn't coming from the background of using manual focus SLR's or possibly having some slight issues with changing or aging eyesight. Although it takes me longer these days (as my eyes have aged and changed over time), but nailing images using f1.4 lenses or even the Noct (in the past) in low light is generally almost 2nd nature at this point. Like anything else, the more one does it regulary, the more often accurate focus is achieved. I would agree that establishing accurate focus wide open on a moving subject is not easy and generally the hit rate can be low, but if that was the primary objective of a photographer and the images they took, there are better photographic tools for such a job.

    Everyone's experieces with a Leica M is going to be different, maybe more so than say a current autofocus DSLR, but many find it both rewarding and a very high performance tool in a relatively compact sized system.

    Yes, enjoy and congradulations!

    Dave (D&A)
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  4. #4
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Godfrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Near San Jose, California
    Posts
    7,926
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    I get more frustrated and annoyed by auto focus than I ever have with manual focus:

    - With manual focus, I know where I put the focus point and if I missed it, it was my fault.
    - With auto focus, I'm constantly cajoling the camera into focusing where I want it to.

    I just want the camera to do what I say. I don't like to have to beg it to do what I want.
    Godfrey - GDGPhoto Flickr Stream
    Likes 6 Member(s) liked this post

  5. #5
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I just want the camera to do what I say. I don't like to have to beg it to do what I want.
    You mean like when we ask our son or daughter to take out the garbage? In other words, just do it . OK, I am just as guilty of this as I had to be begged and asked a dozen times before I did...it's called selected hearing...LOL!

    In all fairness, there are times I want nor desire anything more than to use manual focus and not have to fight or constantly change focusing points in order to select the focus point and MF provides that pleasure. Other times when appropriate, like when I have to shoot fast moving performers in a concert like setting, AF provides a very distinct advanatage and I would most often depend on it to nail some difficult to achieve shots. Each has it's place, depending on intended use. Obviously, the expectations to "get the shot" often involves others (such as clients), so relience on things like Af almost becomes a necessity, fortunately or unfortunately, depending how one looks at it.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 6th August 2012 at 07:59.
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  6. #6
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Godfrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Near San Jose, California
    Posts
    7,926
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    ...
    In all fairness, there are times I want nor desire nothing more than to use manual focus and not have to fight or constantly change focusing points in order to selct the focus point and MF provides that pleasure. Othertimes when appropriate, like when I have to shoot fast moving performers in a concert like setting, AF provides a very distinct advanatage and I would most often depend on it to nail some difficult to achieve shots. Each has it's place, depending on intended use. Obviously, the expectations to "get the shot" often involves others (such as clients), so relience on things like Af almost becomes a necessity, fortunately or unfortunately, depending how one looks at it. ...
    One should always exploit all tools to best advantage, but never assume that all features of a tool are necessarily useful in a particular situation.

    I've shot plenty of motion without AF. In certain circumstances, I can imagine that AF might be helpful. But for the work I've done, I've often had to turn it off and focus manually to get the results I wanted.

    As long you as you 'get the shot' you are after, it's a no brainer to me. I just find that I get far less consistent results when I rely on AF than when I simply focus and make my exposure.
    Last edited by Godfrey; 7th August 2012 at 05:51.
    Godfrey - GDGPhoto Flickr Stream
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  7. #7
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    One should always exploit all tools to best advantage, but never assume that all features of a tool are necessarily useful in a particular situation.

    I've shot plenty of motion without AF. In certain circumstances, I can imagine that AF might be helpful. But for the work I've done, I've often had to turn it off and focus manually to get the results I wanted.

    As you as you 'get the shot' you are after, it's a no brainer to me. I just find that I get far less consistent results when I rely on AF than when I simply focus and make my exposure.
    I completely agree...with all the automation offered these days, some feel compelled to use most or all if a camera offers it...rather than exploit to ones advanatge just those features that truly make a difference to their sytle or type of shooting.

    With regards to being able to capture movement even with MF...of course! Look at the 1950's and 1960's sports photographers and some of the fantastic images they captured by anticipating the decisive moment on a given "play" and using techniques of pre-focusing and setting the exposure in advance. The issue though these days is clients have expectations and shots often captured during both concert and sporting events for example by others using the latest bodies and Af systems, often will have an distinct advanatge of not missing "key shots" as well as getting a large # of usable shots for the clients use. When this is the case, it often is necessry to level the playing field (so to speak) and when what is being captured is moving and changing so fast, it's reasonable to rely on AF and not expect MF to be as efficient in achieving the objectives, especially when compared to what others are capturing.

    It all depends what the circusmstances are and what is expected, which often determins the choices one has to make. What we perfer to use and what we are sometimes almost forced to use, can often be quite different.

    Dave (D&A)
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by StephenPatterson View Post
    I not exactly sure about your statement concerning color casts, focus shift and other weird (stuff) with wide angle lenses. I shoot with both the 18 and 21 Super Elmar M, and find that the in camera software corrections, combined with the micro lenses on the edges of the sensor, do an excellent job of handling ultra wide angle lenses. Perhaps if you could share an example we could see what problems you are encountering.

    As for focus, well as Tom Smith from the Leica Akademie likes to say, "the path to becoming a Leica Ninja is to master the art of manual focus". All I can say is that it will get easier, and your hit rate will go up substantially, in the first year. Manually focusing Leica lenses is frustrating at first, and takes considerable practice to become proficient, but once mastered is at least as fast, if not faster, than any autofocus system. It is also infinitely more accurate, as you always know exactly where your desired point of focus is.

    Enjoy and congratulations!!!
    Ah, yes. I forgot to mention that the color casts are prevalent when using 3rd party lenses (like CV). CornerFix seems to be an option but it's one more in a workflow.

    On the topic of microlenses, I'm wondering if this point alone might be the reason why Leica may not be able to use a CMOS sensor in the M10 unless they can somehow overcome physics - new lens design (therefore not backward compatible), a CMOS sensor that has the ability to overcome ray angle problems in hardware as opposed to software... it's hard to say..
    My images on 500px : http://500px.com/ghoonk
    H4D-40 | Xpan | Leica M9P | Leica M Monochrom | X100 | Hasselblad 500CM | 501CM | 503CXi

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Yes, I agree completely with Stephen and all accounts! Although there are some wides and ultra wides (leica and otherwise) that have presented issues with corner color casts, for a large majority of these lenses, the in-camera corrections do an excellent job of essentially eliminating them. Even non-Leica lens "wides" do well, as long as an appropriate code is selected for them. One example (among many) is the superb Zeiss ZM 21mm f2.8.

    Retaining value over time (such as Leica lenses) is of course well known, but that shouldn't stop one from using or obtaining the many fine Zeiss, VC, Hexar etc. lenses, whether due to ecosts/economics, performance or simply the enjoyment of a different look. There are many great lenses from many sources.

    As for focusing fast lenses such as the Lux's...it does take time and practice, especially if one isn't coming from the background of using manual focus SLR's or possibly having some slight issues with changing or aging eyesight. Although it takes me longer these days (as my eyes have aged and changed over time), but nailing images using f1.4 lenses or even the Noct (in the past) in low light is generally almost 2nd nature at this point. Like anything else, the more one does it regulary, the more often accurate focus is achieved. I would agree that establishing accurate focus wide open on a moving subject is not easy and generally the hit rate can be low, but if that was the primary objective of a photographer and the images they took, there are better photographic tools for such a job.

    Everyone's experieces with a Leica M is going to be different, maybe more so than say a current autofocus DSLR, but many find it both rewarding and a very high performance tool in a relatively compact sized system.

    Yes, enjoy and congradulations!

    Dave (D&A)
    Thanks, Dave! I've read many of your posts with great interest and learned a lot from them. For the time being, I'm thinking of a 21/2.8 Super Elmar (I was told that the Super Angulon isn't compatible with the M9P, something about hitting the shutter curtain), but I really do hope to get my 135 sorted out. Bought a 135 Elmarit with goggles from Stephens Premier Camera, a Leica dealer in Manchester UK) and was assured that it was in great shape and focused well with the M9. it arrived and not only was focusing at infinity throwing me out of focus images, there were two air bubbles in the glass in the 2nd element from the front.

    Anyway, grief aside, I really do hope to master the 35 and 50 crons before investing in more glass. I'd ideally like to try the CV 35/1.2, the CV 50/1.1 but only if I'm able to test them exhaustively in store before plonking down more cash.
    My images on 500px : http://500px.com/ghoonk
    H4D-40 | Xpan | Leica M9P | Leica M Monochrom | X100 | Hasselblad 500CM | 501CM | 503CXi

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I get more frustrated and annoyed by auto focus than I ever have with manual focus:

    - With manual focus, I know where I put the focus point and if I missed it, it was my fault.
    - With auto focus, I'm constantly cajoling the camera into focusing where I want it to.

    I just want the camera to do what I say. I don't like to have to beg it to do what I want.
    I know what you mean. I've been trying out a few tips recently

    - shoot with both eyes open. it's supposed to be easier to 'see' when the patches line up, but I sometimes find myself backfocusing

    - keeping my finger on the shutter release (I have a soft release, grip AND a thumbs-up), then move the focusing ring till I hit focus and then without stopping, just squeeze off the frame.

    I'm off for a travel shoot in Sri Lanka tonight, and will be sharing some images when I'm back on Sunday

    Fingers crossed, I'll learn to tame this little beast over there. I have my X100 for low-light work, an Xpan for pano, and my H4D for key shots.
    My images on 500px : http://500px.com/ghoonk
    H4D-40 | Xpan | Leica M9P | Leica M Monochrom | X100 | Hasselblad 500CM | 501CM | 503CXi

  11. #11
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    Thanks, Dave! I've read many of your posts with great interest and learned a lot from them. For the time being, I'm thinking of a 21/2.8 Super Elmar (I was told that the Super Angulon isn't compatible with the M9P, something about hitting the shutter curtain), but I really do hope to get my 135 sorted out. Bought a 135 Elmarit with goggles from Stephens Premier Camera, a Leica dealer in Manchester UK) and was assured that it was in great shape and focused well with the M9. it arrived and not only was focusing at infinity throwing me out of focus images, there were two air bubbles in the glass in the 2nd element from the front.

    Anyway, grief aside, I really do hope to master the 35 and 50 crons before investing in more glass. I'd ideally like to try the CV 35/1.2, the CV 50/1.1 but only if I'm able to test them exhaustively in store before plonking down more cash.
    Thanks for the kind words ghoonk...truly appreciated! Regarding the 21mm, nomenclature wise, the new 21mm Super Elmar is a f3.4 lens, not a f2.8. Then there is the previous Leica 21mm Elamrit-M Asph which is a f2.8 lens, so not sure which of these two lenses you were thinking of getting but both are terrific performers. The newer Super elmar has the edge in side/corner sharpness (edge to edge sharpness), especially when shot wide open. Lastly there is the Zeiss 21mm f2.8, a remakable performing lens for far less than 1/2 the price of the Super elmar and performance wide, comes extremely close to it. By coding the Zeiss as a Leica 21mm Elmarit-M pre asph, most (including myslef) have found it eliminated "red edge".

    Regarding the Super Angulon, it does fit and work on the M8 & M9, but due to it's phsical design, prevents the camera from metering with it mounted. It's not too difficult to get around this and some have used it effectively. The main issue using this lens on a digital M body is the very noticable color cast and red edge and no lens coding has been effective in eliminating most of it. I'm not sure how corner fix does with this lens in particular. If you're shooting black and white for this len's particular look, then it's fine. It signature is quite unique and I've seen it used quite effectively in some cases.

    Although the 135mm focal length is not as popular as the 90mm, I (and many others have found) the 135mm f4 Tele Elmar-M to be a spectacular performing lens and the very last version (E46) with built in hood, is my favorite, ergonomically speaking and looks very much like the current 135mm f3.4 APO. In fact I carefull tested a number of samples of the latest APO version and when all focusing distances were considered, two samples of the previous 135mm f4 Tele Elmar-M (E46) equaled or bested slightly the APo version save for f4, where it was a vertual dead heat. All lenses and cameras were properly calibrated. I'm sure measurement of color aberation and near absense of it in the APO version might measure superior, but I have yet to see a visual difference and some have even suggested the f4 non APo lens as being near APO or maybe even APO but never advertised as such. In any case, a late 135mm f4 Tele Elmar-M at a fraction of the APO lens cost would be my 1st choice.

    I currently use the VC 35mm f1.2 II and like it's predisessor, is a wonderful performing lens if you can get past it's moderately large size compared to a typical 35mm M lens. I did find though the newer version although a bit sharper wide open than the old version I had, introduced a noticable amount of field curvature at closer subject range. Guess it was a tradeoff. As for 50mm lens, so many great ones to choose from and almost as many 35mm focal length lenses as alternatives to the VC 35mm f1.2 II. I personally found the VC 50mm f1.1 lens not completely to my liking. It's a competant lens especially considering it's speed, but often found the images lacking any kind of signature and bokeh wide open not always the most attractive. I would see if you could test out that lens against some other 50mm's to determine if its a lens you can live with.

    Good luck and have fun!

    Dave (D&A)
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Thanks, Dave!

    You're right - it's the Super Elmar 21/3.4. Serves me right for reading up on a 28/2.8 ASPH while typing that earlier reply. Looks like that's going to be an interesting lens to shoot with. It's pretty close to the 28/4 HCD I shoot often on my H4D-40 with, so it's not a focal length I'm unfamiliar with, though clearly, i'll need an external viewfinder with this lens. I also could not help but notice your advocacy of the 21/2.8 ZM from Zeiss - i do like the Zeiss signature, and think they are pretty much up there with Leica on some of their glass. My hesitation to go with the 21/2.8 ZM so far has been over some online feedback about focus shift problems. if this concern is largely unfounded, it's certainly a lens I would like to consider. Also, what lens profile would you recommend in the M9 when shooting with the 21/2.8 ZM?

    I'm still obsessing over the 135 focal length, and it looks like the 135/4 might be a better choice over the f2.8. Just so we're talking about the same thing, is this the version you are referring to: LEICA M 135mm f/4 TELE-ELMAR-M E46 Late Lens MINT- | eBay ? For $1800, this seems like a pretty decent deal, assuming I don't end up with a copy that will require calibration (I'm still pretty sore over the 135/2.8 Elmarit I was sold by a Leica dealer that turned out to be a horrid copy)

    The 35/1.2 II looks like something I would end up with, so a visit to my favorite CV dealer in Singapore on my next trip home will hopefully yield a great lens in my bag.

    I'm usually not a huge fan of the 50mm focal length, finding it too long for street and too short for portraits, but the summicron has me at an interesting level of appreciation. The weight of the 50/1.1 shouldn't bother me as much, given that I shoot often with my Hasselblad 120/f Macro lens, but if I'm going to end up shooting it at f1.4, I might as well save up for the lux ASPH version as a 'safe' investment (I wonder if the prices of used 50 lux ASPH lenses will drop once the APO version is released, or if they will go up in value again)

    Many thanks again, Dave!
    My images on 500px : http://500px.com/ghoonk
    H4D-40 | Xpan | Leica M9P | Leica M Monochrom | X100 | Hasselblad 500CM | 501CM | 503CXi

  13. #13
    Member StephenPatterson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Hubei, China
    Posts
    209
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Kenneth, I've used the Zeiss 21/2.8 and now shoot with the Leica 21/3.4 Super Elmar M. Both are wonderful lenses and you cannot go wrong with either choice. The Zeiss is slightly larger, tack sharp, and plays very well with the M9 when coded (I can't remember which code I used...sorry). I never experienced any focus shift with the Zeiss 21/2.8 on my M8 or M9, but honestly this lens has so much depth of field that it would be hard to detect anyway. The Leica 21SEM is smaller, has slightly less distortion, renders colors more accurately (IMHO) is coded and is a Leica. I use both the Leica 21 external viewfinder and the Leica Universal Viewfinder (aka the Frankenfinder). If you think you will have more than one ultra wide lens it's a smart move to consider the Frankenfinder, which is so ugly it's beautiful and a wonderful accessory to use.

    As for 50s I think the Leica 50 Summilux ASPH is as good as it gets, and even though I have just acquired a new Noctilux the 50 Lux ASPH is not going anywhere. It has amazing micro contrast and is my "go to" lens for portraits. When I had my M8 I did use the Zeiss 50/1.5, but that lens did have pronounced focus shift issues.

    The 35 Summilux ASPH has all of the best characteristics of the 50 Summilux ASPH in a wider focal length. It's hard to find though, and expensive, so the Zeiss and CV options are very attractive.

    My longest lens is a 90 Elmarit-M, and that's where I draw the line. I have no desire for a 135 on the M9. Not my cup of tea...

    Good luck...

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by StephenPatterson View Post
    Kenneth, I've used the Zeiss 21/2.8 and now shoot with the Leica 21/3.4 Super Elmar M. Both are wonderful lenses and you cannot go wrong with either choice. The Zeiss is slightly larger, tack sharp, and plays very well with the M9 when coded (I can't remember which code I used...sorry). I never experienced any focus shift with the Zeiss 21/2.8 on my M8 or M9, but honestly this lens has so much depth of field that it would be hard to detect anyway. The Leica 21SEM is smaller, has slightly less distortion, renders colors more accurately (IMHO) is coded and is a Leica. I use both the Leica 21 external viewfinder and the Leica Universal Viewfinder (aka the Frankenfinder). If you think you will have more than one ultra wide lens it's a smart move to consider the Frankenfinder, which is so ugly it's beautiful and a wonderful accessory to use.

    As for 50s I think the Leica 50 Summilux ASPH is as good as it gets, and even though I have just acquired a new Noctilux the 50 Lux ASPH is not going anywhere. It has amazing micro contrast and is my "go to" lens for portraits. When I had my M8 I did use the Zeiss 50/1.5, but that lens did have pronounced focus shift issues.

    The 35 Summilux ASPH has all of the best characteristics of the 50 Summilux ASPH in a wider focal length. It's hard to find though, and expensive, so the Zeiss and CV options are very attractive.

    My longest lens is a 90 Elmarit-M, and that's where I draw the line. I have no desire for a 135 on the M9. Not my cup of tea...

    Good luck...
    Hi Stephen

    First off, thanks for the heads up on the SLR Magic 50/0.95. Glad I stayed away from that one. Seems there's more work to be done, but there's nothing like the original!

    The 21/3.8, 50 lux ASPH and 35 FLE would pretty much be everything I want - okay, and a good 135. or maybe a 75 lux. But that will take awhile unless I get lucky in the lottery

    Will have to check out the 21/3.8 when I'm back in Singapore. not many on sale in the used market and certainly hard to find new!
    My images on 500px : http://500px.com/ghoonk
    H4D-40 | Xpan | Leica M9P | Leica M Monochrom | X100 | Hasselblad 500CM | 501CM | 503CXi

  15. #15
    Member StephenPatterson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Hubei, China
    Posts
    209
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    Will have to check out the 21/3.8 when I'm back in Singapore. not many on sale in the used market and certainly hard to find new!
    The 21/3.4 Super Elmar M is getting easier to find, and you can buy them at list price in Hong Kong from several dealers (I believe it's around $3000 USD). The Zeiss is about half that price, but as this is a lens to own for a lifetime the money is not so different when you amortize over 20 or 30 years. At least that's what I told my wife!!!

  16. #16
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    Thanks, Dave!

    You're right - it's the Super Elmar 21/3.4. Serves me right for reading up on a 28/2.8 ASPH while typing that earlier reply. Looks like that's going to be an interesting lens to shoot with. It's pretty close to the 28/4 HCD I shoot often on my H4D-40 with, so it's not a focal length I'm unfamiliar with, though clearly, i'll need an external viewfinder with this lens. I also could not help but notice your advocacy of the 21/2.8 ZM from Zeiss - i do like the Zeiss signature, and think they are pretty much up there with Leica on some of their glass. My hesitation to go with the 21/2.8 ZM so far has been over some online feedback about focus shift problems. if this concern is largely unfounded, it's certainly a lens I would like to consider. Also, what lens profile would you recommend in the M9 when shooting with the 21/2.8 ZM?

    I'm still obsessing over the 135 focal length, and it looks like the 135/4 might be a better choice over the f2.8. Just so we're talking about the same thing, is this the version you are referring to: LEICA M 135mm f/4 TELE-ELMAR-M E46 Late Lens MINT- | eBay ? For $1800, this seems like a pretty decent deal, assuming I don't end up with a copy that will require calibration (I'm still pretty sore over the 135/2.8 Elmarit I was sold by a Leica dealer that turned out to be a horrid copy)

    The 35/1.2 II looks like something I would end up with, so a visit to my favorite CV dealer in Singapore on my next trip home will hopefully yield a great lens in my bag.

    I'm usually not a huge fan of the 50mm focal length, finding it too long for street and too short for portraits, but the summicron has me at an interesting level of appreciation. The weight of the 50/1.1 shouldn't bother me as much, given that I shoot often with my Hasselblad 120/f Macro lens, but if I'm going to end up shooting it at f1.4, I might as well save up for the lux ASPH version as a 'safe' investment (I wonder if the prices of used 50 lux ASPH lenses will drop once the APO version is released, or if they will go up in value again)

    Many thanks again, Dave!
    Hi ghoonk,

    Yes, the link you provided to the 135mm f4 was the version I was refering to....but you should have no trouble finding one for much less!

    Stephen assessment and comparison of the 21mm f3.4 to the Zeiss 21mm f2.8 is spot on and what I too experienced when testing both. It's not that the Zeiss 21mm has focus shift but Zeiss a while back mentioned that they adjust their ZM lenses for film meaning there is a slight chance for different samples of the same lens to slightly front or back focus.

    As for coding the Zeiss 21mm, the absolute best coding for that lens is the Leica 21mm pre asph (in the M9 menu). I forgot for the moment what the precise numerical code is, but its listed in the camera's menu.

    As Stephen mentioned the 50mm f1.4 Lux asph is a amazing performing lens but some find it a bit too clinical and opt for the more "rounded" and gengler 50mm f1.4 Lux pre asph.

    The new 35mm f1.4 Lux asph (FLE), also has both fans and detractors. It's a near perfect performing lens but some find it too perfect and are not big fans of its occasional nervous bokeh. It's predisessor has a look and some prefer it but samples suffer from its well known focus shift.

    Thats where the VC 35mm f1.2 II lens comes in. It's a bit of the best of both lenses, but unfortunately is quite sizeable compared to the two Leica's.

    Dave (D&A)
    Likes 3 Member(s) liked this post

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    236
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    The introductory post is all pretty basic stuff that has been said before. (No bad intended in saying that.) You need to really stick with the manual focus. It takes time, but, with experience, you can significantly improve your hit rate even when shooting wide open on F1.4 lenses. Having gotten used to manual focus on Leica Ms has made me quite uncomfortable using auto-focus cameras (because it requires that I give up control!) ...

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quite true there. I'm getting quite used to manual focusing and like my Xpan, zone focusing is a breeze. Set f8 to infinity, and compose and shoot. Quite easy for street photography since I just wait for things to happen and be there when it does.

    Discovered a new challenge yesterday. Post processing cam be quite interesting. It seems to respond differently from my Nikon and H4D files and the X100 as well. I'm heading down to the fish, fruit and spice market later to see what I can come up with. The 21 is starting to look really appealing as I find myself shooting more and more with my Hasselblad 28 HCD on the H4D. Interesting!
    My images on 500px : http://500px.com/ghoonk
    H4D-40 | Xpan | Leica M9P | Leica M Monochrom | X100 | Hasselblad 500CM | 501CM | 503CXi

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    2,054
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    That's one of the best threads I've read i a long time. Thanks all!

  20. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Well, the M9 with the 35 cron IV and 50 cron (E39) has turned up some nice images.

















    My images on 500px : http://500px.com/ghoonk
    H4D-40 | Xpan | Leica M9P | Leica M Monochrom | X100 | Hasselblad 500CM | 501CM | 503CXi

  21. #21
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Yes, the link you provided to the 135mm f4 was the version I was refering to....but you should have no trouble finding one for much less!
    Dave, I've got 1.25x and 1.4x magnifiers on the way. Trying to decide between a 90 summicron and a 135 elmar. The 135s I've seen on eBay come in two flavors - the one with the scalloped focusing ring and external hood, and the 'newer' E46 one with the integrated hood. The only thing that's holding me back on the 135 is the fear of focus shift / front/back focusing. I'm also hearing/reading that the two versions share the same optical design and IQ, with the only difference being body design. Is this correct?

    The alternative, of course, is a nice 90 cron, which I personally prefer over a 75/1.8 (CV) - how hard is it to find a good copy? I'm seeing prices around USD1.6k for a fairly clean example, and frankly, I'd rather pay for a good copy than save a hundred or two and end up with something which won't focus right on the M9.

    What do you think? Just go for it?
    My images on 500px : http://500px.com/ghoonk
    H4D-40 | Xpan | Leica M9P | Leica M Monochrom | X100 | Hasselblad 500CM | 501CM | 503CXi

  22. #22
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Hi ghoonk,

    It's always best to keep in mind that when purchasing any lens, especially a used one, there is always the chance it might mis-focus on a particular body ...so there is no way to predict of know prior to mounting and testing it out. Yes, some lenses are more prone to front/back focus, especially those of an older era, so I would generally first decide what particular lens you're most interested in due to its optical characteristics and then purchase what appears to be a nice sample of that lens and go from there. It might or might need adjusting. It's also helpful to communicate with the seller and for them to provide feedback in terms of their experience with the lens.

    Generally a 90mm focal length on the M9 is often more versitile than a 135mm but that is of course subjective and it depends on what you plan to shoot. The very last version of the 135mm f4 just prior to the 135mm f3.4 APO is reported to have better coatings on it's glass surfaces and this has tended to give imp[orved performance, especially in flairy situations. Thats the version I most often recommend.

    As for the 90mm Cron, at approx. $1,600 I believe you are refering to the 90mm Cron Pre Asph. Although many of the pre APO versions are excellent optically, for handling/size/ergonomics etc., I prefer the very last version just prior to the current 90mm Cron AA lens. It's often though of as an ideal portrait lens with it's softer more gental drawing of an image, espcialy at the wider apertures, although once stopped down, it's particulary sharp. In comparision, the 90mm Cron AA is bitingly sharp wide opena and for many portrait subjects, some find it too sharp. Again its all subjective.

    I'm a bit short on time at the moment, otherwise I'd elaborate more on this subject, but I'm sure others will chime in.

    Dave (D&A)
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  23. #23
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    3,623
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    Dave, I've got 1.25x and 1.4x magnifiers on the way. Trying to decide between a 90 summicron and a 135 elmar. The 135s I've seen on eBay come in two flavors - the one with the scalloped focusing ring and external hood, and the 'newer' E46 one with the integrated hood. The only thing that's holding me back on the 135 is the fear of focus shift / front/back focusing. I'm also hearing/reading that the two versions share the same optical design and IQ, with the only difference being body design. Is this correct?

    The alternative, of course, is a nice 90 cron, which I personally prefer over a 75/1.8 (CV) - how hard is it to find a good copy? I'm seeing prices around USD1.6k for a fairly clean example, and frankly, I'd rather pay for a good copy than save a hundred or two and end up with something which won't focus right on the M9.

    What do you think? Just go for it?
    I would recommend the 90 Elmarit - for me the perfect 90mm. Nice small site, very nice drawing, f2.8 is fast enough IMO.

  24. #24
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    I would recommend the 90 Elmarit - for me the perfect 90mm. Nice small site, very nice drawing, f2.8 is fast enough IMO.
    Very much agree! The Elmarit-M 90mm f2.8 (last version with buit in hood) is a gem and a great all purpose/performing short telephoto. Very close to the acuity and sharpness of the 90mm Cron AA. The 90mm Cron pre asph (E55), which is the last version of the 90mm Cron prior to the AA, is somewhat superior for most portraits and has a lovely signature...so there are many great choices in the 90mm range.

    Dave (D&A)

  25. #25
    Member StephenPatterson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Hubei, China
    Posts
    209
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    I am another huge fan of the 90 Elmarit-M. It's only slightly larger and heavier than my 50 Summilux ASPH and produces stunningly brilliant images (especially portraits). Wide open at f/2.8 it's pretty fast, and I like to shoot portraits here as they tend to have a certain glow.

    I have found through a series of test shots using two 90 Elmarit-M lenses on both of my M9s that micro contrast and sharpness improve at f/4. I'm not sure what the MTF charts say (and in any case I would probably read them incorrectly) but my tests lead me to believe this lens does it's best work from f/4 to f/5.6.

  26. #26
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by StephenPatterson View Post
    I am another huge fan of the 90 Elmarit-M. It's only slightly larger and heavier than my 50 Summilux ASPH and produces stunningly brilliant images (especially portraits). Wide open at f/2.8 it's pretty fast, and I like to shoot portraits here as they tend to have a certain glow.

    I have found through a series of test shots using two 90 Elmarit-M lenses on both of my M9s that micro contrast and sharpness improve at f/4. I'm not sure what the MTF charts say (and in any case I would probably read them incorrectly) but my tests lead me to believe this lens does it's best work from f/4 to f/5.6.
    Stephen, thats been my observation too...that at f4 and smaller, the Elmarit M has a bit more definition and acuity than when its shot at f2.8. Its very close to the performance of the 90mm cron asph at f4 and smaller and at f2.8is slightly behind that lens. This makes f2.8 with the ELmarit M nice for portraits with subjects that benefit from slight softness. The glow at f2.8 though is minimal in my opinion as compared to some other Leica lenses (shot wide open).

    The reason I peg the 90mm Cron pre asph (E55) as more of a portrait lens, is it's roundness and the way it draws when shot wide open and even when used at f4. It excess at this use and is a generally good lens when stopped down but in terms of sharpness, the Elmarit M is definitely superior.

    Now if each would only costs $100, I'd have one of each

    Dave (D&A)
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  27. #27
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Wow. it looks like the 90 gets more votes than the 135! I generally prefer getting faster lenses, and in this case, a stopped down cron goes to f2.8, while a stopped down elmarit ends up at f4, and i like the option of softer bokeh

    So off I go now to that auction site to see what I can get an Elmarit vs cron for

    Thanks, everyone!
    My images on 500px : http://500px.com/ghoonk
    H4D-40 | Xpan | Leica M9P | Leica M Monochrom | X100 | Hasselblad 500CM | 501CM | 503CXi

  28. #28
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    oh yay

    Just picked up a 90 cron on eBay from a guy I often buy gear from. It should arrive next Monday!
    My images on 500px : http://500px.com/ghoonk
    H4D-40 | Xpan | Leica M9P | Leica M Monochrom | X100 | Hasselblad 500CM | 501CM | 503CXi
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  29. #29
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Initial impressions of a new M9P shooter

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoonk View Post
    A couple from my recent trip to Sri Lanka, shot with an M9P with a 35 cron IV and a 50 cron (E39)

    At the Wallawwa boutique hotel, a very quaint, quiet and delightful little getaway in the heart of Colombo





    Over in Galle, the Sun House, a truly rustic and romantic hotel just 5 minutes from the beach. Converted from a colonial house, this hotel has just 6 rooms. Stayed at the Cinnamon suite, a spacious and insanely comfortable suite



    Over in Galle Fort, a European tourist watches as a track & field event is taking place in the London Olympics



    At the spice market, minutes away from the Sun House, farmers sell their crop







    A Hindu temple in Galle undergoing reconstruction and expansion

    Sorry for the killed images - was organizing my G+ library and killed the links.

    1.4x magnifier on route, and I'm hoping it plays well with the 90. Perfect for portraits, and I'll probably be able to leave the H4D at home when I travel once I get my hands on a 21 Super-Elmar
    My images on 500px : http://500px.com/ghoonk
    H4D-40 | Xpan | Leica M9P | Leica M Monochrom | X100 | Hasselblad 500CM | 501CM | 503CXi
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •