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Thread: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

  1. #51
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Also, just because it is old, doesn't mean it is better than the new either!!

    I, too, dream sometimes that a rigid something or the other takes better photographs than the new asph.

    Then I wake up.

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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by rayyan View Post
    Also, just because it is old, doesn't mean it is better than the new either!!

    I, too, dream sometimes that a rigid something or the other takes better photographs than the new asph.

    Then I wake up.
    Hi Ray - I have better things to dream about!
    But 'better photographs' is quite a hard thing to define I'd say, and different can often be stimulating.

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

  3. #53
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Ray - I have better things to dream about!
    But 'better photographs' is quite a hard thing to define I'd say, and different can often be stimulating.

    all the best
    Jono, I dream of many things. And about many things too. Camels feature prominently in some.

    Better photographs, better lenses, better cameras, better light and so on and and so forth..whatever floats your boat, or makes my camels go farther...

    Take care.

    p.s I agree with Marc in that the modern lenses I own have a consistency that is to my liking. To call a len's shortcoming a ' something ethereal ' and swoon over it is not my cup of tea. It might be for others. More power to them.

    With my current stable of software, I generally can coax the type of rendering I like from my photographs. To me, and me alone those photographs are ' better ' than the others that I have taken. To others they might be rubbish and worthless..but that is the nature of things..

    I posted this photograph in color and now in b&W. Which is the ' better ' one for me? Only I can make that call.
    Since it is not taken to satisfy a client but only myself..and take space on my wall.

    Last edited by rayyan; 28th August 2013 at 13:24.
    koffee & kamera
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by mmbma View Post
    It is a fad that every Leica fans go through.
    Not just Leica fans. Did you hear about this: The Lomography Petzval Portrait Lens by Lomography — Kickstarter ?

    That design is dated and quite flawed.

    Look at some of Jim Collum's captures with lenses like that.
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  5. #55
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by rayyan View Post
    p.s I agree with Marc in that the modern lenses I own have a consistency that is to my liking. To call a len's shortcoming a ' something ethereal ' and swoon over it is not my cup of tea. It might be for others. More power to them.

    With my current stable of software, I generally can coax the type of rendering I like from my photographs. To me, and me alone those photographs are ' better ' than the others that I have taken. To others they might be rubbish and worthless..but that is the nature of things..
    Hi Ray
    I think you are proving my point that Better Photograph is hard to define, even personally. This shot is technically excellent, but nothing like as interesting as some of the grainy and raunchy shots you've posted elsewhere.

    Like Marc and you, I like and take advantage of the consistency of the modern lenses, but it's hard to deny Ashwin's skill at using the inconsistency of older lenses to make lovely images.
    All the best

    Just this guy you know

  6. #56
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Ray
    I think you are proving my point that Better Photograph is hard to define, even personally. This shot is technically excellent, but nothing like as interesting as some of the grainy and raunchy shots you've posted elsewhere.

    Like Marc and you, I like and take advantage of the consistency of the modern lenses, but it's hard to deny Ashwin's skill at using the inconsistency of older lenses to make lovely images.
    All the best
    Please...

    Ashwin takes advantage of the eclectic setting in whatever place he visits or resides....artists, raconteurs, street denizens, gorgeous family, beautiful people...so any cokeglass lens will look good...and his skill at PP is wonderful.

    Most of the rest of us need all the help we can get...

    And really, all the buy and sell involved in finding just the right vintage lens will afford you some stellar new glass....

    JMHO.....

    And Ashwin....love all you post ...keep it up as I live vicariously through all of the great posts here.

    Bob

  7. #57
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by docmoore View Post
    Please...

    Ashwin takes advantage of the eclectic setting in whatever place he visits or resides....artists, raconteurs, street denizens, gorgeous family, beautiful people...so any cokeglass lens will look good...and his skill at PP is wonderful.

    Most of the rest of us need all the help we can get...

    And really, all the buy and sell involved in finding just the right vintage lens will afford you some stellar new glass....

    JMHO.....

    And Ashwin....love all you post ...keep it up as I live vicariously through all of the great posts here.

    Bob
    To be honest Bob I don't think a lens ever saved or made a photograph, any more than a camera. But the rigid 'cron sure will look pretty on my silver M, and I don't suppose the snaps will be any worse than usual

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  8. #58
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    But the rigid 'cron sure will look pretty on my silver M, and I don't suppose the snaps will be any worse than usual
    No more so than a plebeian Cron non-Asph...not a bad one in the line in my
    view....since Mandler at least.

    Key to a great photo is content, execution placed a far second.....

    So no Super califagilisticexpialidosious Apo Asph Cron in your near future?

    Bob

  9. #59
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Bob Wrote--->>>"So no Super califagilisticexpialidosious Apo Asph Cron in your near future?"<<<

    I would venture "not" Bob...haven't you heard? It's flairs badly and completely wipes out any semblance of a useable image if any point light source enters the frame...LOL!

    OK, seriously, sometimes a lens with a known recognizable signature often can inspire, well at least in the eyes of the user. The way it draws an image isn't quite the point. Take a writing instrument (a expensive pen). Some who write stories I suppose might be inspired to be creative or get their creative juices flowing in using an expensive well known writing instrument as opposed to a 19 cent Bic pen. Whether it actually does is open to debate. Of course content takes a front seat, whether it be writing, capturing an image, a painting or possibly anything where one has to choose their instrument or components of it, in order to create. It's an endless argument that I believe has no definitive answer. We each look for something different and assign a value in terms of how important it is to our creativity.

    I've seen as many notable and emotional moving images from modern optics where I dare say the optics used added little of a recognizable signature to the image(s) which were top notch to begin with. I could clearly see that the modern optic contributed little of a signature to the image or alternatively if something was recognizable in terms of an optical signature, that it may have derived from having been manipulated in post processing.

    Personally I like both types of lenses (old/classic and new/modern) depending on my objective. Where edge to edge sharpness is required, I'll go modern. Alternatively where I want some element of a lens's signature to possibly add characteristic to the image, I might go opt for a vintage or known lens with a signature. Both have their place in my opinion but generally they are not my over-riding concern in creating an image, the content is.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 28th August 2013 at 22:08.
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  10. #60
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    I drove a Porsche Cayman at the dealer launch event a few years ago...nimble, taut, and fast...it was briefly tempting; the contrast stitching on the leather seats, and of course the new car smell. But the visceral experience of my old air cooled flat six with it's throaty racer exhaust note, that drips oil on my garage floor and puffs a bit of smoke when I start it, not to mention the challenge it presents when taking a corner at high speed (no, don't you dare lift, the engine is behind the rear axle, remember?)...is just too damned inviting. No doubt, the new cars are technological marvels, just like the ASPHs and the APOs are. Go ahead, shave 0.5 sec from the lap time...tease me with that gorgeous FLE rendering...but I am no longer tempted.
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    The Cayman is a fantastic car, but sadly my license wouldn't last a week if I owned one. I'd imagine a vintage 911 would obliterate my license just as quickly.

    As for glass, modern and vintage both have their place and it is fun to use both. That said, a bad picture won't be any better with the right lens, but a good picture may be slightly diminished with the wrong lens.
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by docmoore View Post
    No more so than a plebeian Cron non-Asph...not a bad one in the line in my
    view....since Mandler at least.

    Key to a great photo is content, execution placed a far second.....

    So no Super califagilisticexpialidosious Apo Asph Cron in your near future?

    Bob
    Hi Bob. Couldn't agree more about content. As for the APO Asph ....... I still really want one, but currently don't have anything expensive enough to sell to get one!

    Just this guy you know
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Hi Roger,
    regarding your original post. I have used a Summicron35mm for many years on my M6. I dont know which version it was-a very small lens and one that can not be coded. I allways liked it on the M6, but once I had a 35/1.4asph available and comparing the images form the 2 I never saw a reason to use the small Summicron instead of the 35/1.4asph.
    Also some years ago I compared some older and some newer 50mm lenses (Old Summicron, new Summicron, 1.0 Nocti and 1.4asph) and besides the Noctilux, which is a special/different lens I have to say I didnt find the images from the older lenses more appealing.
    I am one of those guys who really likes the newer Leica lenses, and someone who is not finding them "clinical" or anything like that.
    I have not tried all kinds of classic Leica lenses - so I can only talk about the few ones I have tried.
    I could see how some flare or the famous glow or a squarely bokeh can produce an interesting effect. I can also see that one ownes maybe one or even a few lenses of this kind. But for general shooting I prefer lenses, where I know I can use them reliable at all kinds of f-stops, I prefer sharp images and powerful colors combined with a "nice" bokeh, I prefer to not have to deal with focus shift and things like that - and I generally find it in the newer lenses. I find many modern Leica lenses do NOT lack any character.
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Well Tom has, much more eloquently than I, clarified my opinion.
    However, the 50 ' cron arrived this morning, it sure does look dandy on my chrome M




    All the best

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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    A very pretty Rigid, Jono! Perhaps the epitome of Leica mechanical build-quality.
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Thanks all who shared information about their choices in lenses . Always fun to understand different perspectives . My experience has been that there is a noticeable difference between leica lenses ...legacy to modern . Generally I like a matched set ...like with cinema lenses and I think this is what many of the posters have gravitated toward . Mostly modern,mandler designs or legacy lenses .

    We went thru a lot of this with the M8 but I think the MONO in particular made many rethink the "aesthetic" they were looking for .

    The biggest issue now seems to be finding a "rigid" without glass flaws ....coatings are very soft and scratch easily and haze seems to develop between the elements on a frequent basis .

    The legend aspect seems to be growing as ...now the 8 element summicron has rare earth elements and could never be produced today due to costs . LOL
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Well I don't have a MM but I use my GXR w/ M module and love how my older leica glass works in b&w on it. I have just in the past couple of months finally gotten a hold of a Alpa to M adp. which will let me use my old 50mm Macro-Switar 1.9 on the GXR. I really did not pay that much attention to that lens before but now that I am using it I am very impressed and I have a friend that has a MM and I will have to talk him in to letting me try the lens on his MM. I have used it on a M-9 and a M.

    wbill

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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Very interesting discussion, to say the least. I would think that what was said about the "75mm 'Cron and the 28mm 'Cron both have a very similar drawing signature" would also apply to the 75mm Lux and 50mm Lux Pre-asph, which supposedly had the same design. Had both at one time and thought the images were quite similar. The 75 Lux was just brilliant in my opinion (and others). But alas, I sold the 75 to pay for part of the MM that I now have, along with other lenses as well. I was about to sell the 50 Lux Pre-asph for the same reason, but my wife gratefully stopped me. Now I can compare it to the 50mm Lux Asph that I also have and try to determine what the differences might be on the MM. I would guess that good things will soon be said about the 50 Lux Pre-asph on the MM as soon as more people starting using it. Given the small supply of MM's being sold, it will take a while before their owners--or new owners--get a chance to try them. Meanwhile, I also picked up a 50 rigid back when there were many in great condition for well under $1000. I just had to see how it was put together. Now I get rewarded by having it to try on the MM to see what everyone's talking about. So far, I cannot see how anyone would like using the MM without also using and enjoying Photo Shop post-processing and even printing. The initial files that the MM give you would normally have to all be thrown away without serious post-process, which turn them into beautiful b&w images.

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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    You dont even need a Modern M body either, I use my small collection on a M8 and they look great , I just find like others have stated that the rendering of the older lenses is more of a *classic* look as opposed to a modern super clear look.

    My stuff is super old though, 73 elmarit 135 , 64 r cron 50 (first lens i got!) 58 elmar 90 and a 52 summaron 35 . Ive also used a jupiter 8 from about 1970 and it wasnt too bad either , I normally shoot colour, but for the older lenses I also try B+W as it really suits the *look*

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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    I have friends who was so into Leica old lens like rigid, summarit on film. He sold all his old lens to prepare for arrival of 50AA to match with his MM, "technically" speaking, it should be the Leica's best combo.
    I have a drawer full of vintage lens too and I recently got my 50AA. I like AA, but I'm glad I didn't sold any of my old glasses
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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Well I really enjoy my V1 35 summicron and my very early V2 Summilux, but the lens I pulled out of my file's to use on digital that has put a big smile on my face is my Kern Macro-switar 50mm 1.9 lens. I have not used this lens in ages what a nice lens that one is. When I looked at the lens design it's very close to the new apo-summicron which was a surprise to me, now I know the glass is not any where close to the apo. but it's still a nice lens. But then Leitz bought out Kern to get a military contract with the Swiss.
    wbill

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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    It's just fun. Some looks cannot be replicated by modern lenses. but I find that it only applys to certain conditions. Most pictures are still best with modern lenses as the "leica glow" comes from lens imperfections and distortions. Those imperfections sometimes become asthetically pleasing in black and white. Less so in color as it's more pronounced. (but certainly in some cases it works well)



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    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Enthusiasts from Hong Kong is driving these lenses way too expensive for me... I remember the switar selling for around 450 5 years ago. Now it's 4000....

    I use cheap non leica classic lenses like the Nikor range finder, canon rangefinder glasses.

    Quote Originally Posted by agfa100 View Post
    Well I really enjoy my V1 35 summicron and my very early V2 Summilux, but the lens I pulled out of my file's to use on digital that has put a big smile on my face is my Kern Macro-switar 50mm 1.9 lens. I have not used this lens in ages what a nice lens that one is. When I looked at the lens design it's very close to the new apo-summicron which was a surprise to me, now I know the glass is not any where close to the apo. but it's still a nice lens. But then Leitz bought out Kern to get a military contract with the Swiss.
    wbill

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    Sonnars old and new

    I've long been a fan of the vintage "Sonnar Look" and count myself as fortunate to have a 1963 Russian Jupiter 3 expertly rebuilt and tuned by Brian Sweeney. Well, I just picked up the current model Carl Zeiss ZM C Sonnar 50mm f/1.5 and took some very boring shots at my desk with both lenses.

    The Sonnar look is unmistakable in both lenses, with lower contrast and crazier bokeh the most obvious differences. Both are optimized for close focus wide-open. All images are straight out-of-camera JPEGs.


    First the C Sonnar, focus is on the rim of the lamp reflector (bowl?)


    C Sonnar - 1 by Lawman1967, on Flickr

    And now the Jupiter 3


    Jupiter 3 - 1 by Lawman1967, on Flickr



    And the C Sonnar again, focus is on tubes of the CFL bulb.


    C Sonnar - 2 by Lawman1967, on Flickr

    And the Jupiter 3


    Jupiter 3 - 2 by Lawman1967, on Flickr



    And again the C Sonnar, focus on the lettering of the pen holder. There is an alcove in the background (appears just above the coffee cup handle).


    C Sonnar - 3 by Lawman1967, on Flickr

    And again the Jupiter 3


    Jupiter 3 - 3 by Lawman1967, on Flickr
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain

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