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Thread: Assembling a Leica kit

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    Assembling a Leica kit

    Hello, I would love some help from the Leica veterans on this forum in assembling a Leica kit that will probably not be changed for years to come (if ever).

    I began my Leica journey a couple years a go with an M3 and Summicron DR. I later acquired the old Canadian Summicron 90 (aka big bertha). It's a fine kit and has served me very well. I have taken some fantastic shots with it but the time has come to upgrade and acquire some serious (and expensive glass).

    I'm in the precess of selling that kit and have already bought a silver MP (.72) and a 35 Summicron asph. This is great set up for shooting cityscapes and general wide angle shots but I find myself going back to my old 50 and 90 summicrons when wanting to shoot people.

    I often take my 50 when I venture out in low light to capture people and faces more specifically. So I've been considering a Summilux for it's replacement.

    Off the bat, I wanted to get the 50 Summilux asph. because I thought that once I got the 35 asph Summicron I should just get all aspherical glass. But after examining the difference, I think I'm better off getting the pre-asph Summilux since it has a softer (leica glow) look to it, and that is what I want when shooting people, and the extra stop for low light (as opposed to the Summicron).

    I already picked up a 90 Summicron e55 for portrait photography, but am now on the fence as to which Summilux to get.

    Effectively my reasoning is this:

    35 Summicron Asph. for day time wide angle shots around the city/country, with biting sharpness edge to edge. Since there is a lot that goes into the shot, sharpness throughout seems important.

    50 pre-asph Summilux for evening photo of people, and other 50mm use stopped down.

    90 pre-asph Summicron e55 for portraits in varied light.

    Since I aim to use the 50 and 90 for mostly people as my subjects, does it make sense to keep them both pre-asph so that they render similarly...?

    Am I completely of the mark or is this reasoning correct?

    Any contribution is welcomed. Thanks!

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Sounds like you have a very good plan and no reason to move ahead. The good news if you don't like the configuration, you can usually sell off the lens with little to no loss and try something else.

    You may also want to look at the Voigtlander 50/1.5 and Zeiss 50/1.5 lenses as options.

    Good luck with your decisions!

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by seakayaker View Post
    Sounds like you have a very good plan and no reason to move ahead. The good news if you don't like the configuration, you can usually sell off the lens with little to no loss and try something else.

    You may also want to look at the Voigtlander 50/1.5 and Zeiss 50/1.5 lenses as options.

    Good luck with your decisions!
    Thanks for the response, I've read great things about the Zeiss 50/1.5 but I think I'm sticking to an all Leica kit (not sure if for the right reasons )

    Doing more and more research on the asph vs pre asph, and the aspherical just seems like an incredible lens, but I'm not so sure I need 'incredible' as much as something I like.

    The comparison shots between summicron, asph 'lux and pre asph 'lux ( 50mm RF lenses Shot Wide Open using M9 ) are very revealing. The asph lux is just incredible and looks better to me at 1.4 than then summicron at f2. The pre asph summilux looks a bit soft, but then again, at the end of the day, I wont be doing comparison shots and trying to read writing on a bottle. I'll be looking at a print of a face in low light and wondering whether I like the soft edges or the biting sharpness.

    PS browsed through your flickr, you shoot some beautiful stuff

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    If you want a 50mm that you'll be satisfied for years to come, it would be hard to choose anything other than the Summilux ASPH.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    What Segedi said. The 50 ASPH can do everything the pre-ASPH can do wide open, and betters the pre-ASPH mid-frame and in the corners. Get the ASPH. I'd be shocked if you didn't get on well with it.
    --Mike

    My Flickr

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Thanks for the responses. Seems the consensus is the the asph version.

    My change in preference for te pre-asph version was due to some amazing portrait photos I saw on Flickr in which the subject had this incredible glow/highlights, it was just a really beautiful effect. I've yet to see similar shots from a the asph version. Can it produce the same highlights at wide open or is there a more 'even distribution' across the frame?

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Could you send a couple of links to the photos that you are referring to?

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    In the past I owned a Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH (late 1990s/early 2000s genera). It was a stunningly sharp lens from wide open to whatever.

    However, I recently acquired a Summilux 35mm f/1.4 v2. It is flarey and soft wide open, moving to bitingly razor sharp stopped down. The effect is wonderful ... it's like having several different lenses in one, adjustable by twisting the aperture ring. I've used it with my M4-2 on film, with the M9 and now with the M-P typ 240.

    While not technically the equal of the 35/2 ASPH, I much prefer the 'Lux v2 for its rendering qualities.


    Leica M9 + Summilux 35 v2
    ISO 160 @ f/1.4 @ 1/2000 sec




    Leica M9 + Summilux 35 v2
    ISO 200 @ f/1.7 @ 1/30 sec

    G

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by segedi View Post
    If you want a 50mm that you'll be satisfied for years to come, it would be hard to choose anything other than the Summilux ASPH.
    I totally agree! The 50 Summilux ASPH is amazing. Awesome bokeh, sharp at 1.4 with a beautiful character. Also the silver version is built like a tank..

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Godfrey, that first is just stunning and exactly the kind of look I want to obtain, thank you for sharing and correcting my ignorance on the ability of the Summilux.

    In terms of examples of the pre-asph e46 version, these shots really appealed to me (subject matter aside ) :

    [IMG]<iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/markkujath/15826296644/in/[email protected]/player/" width="75" height="75" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>[/IMG]

    [IMG]<iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/markkujath/16231886947/in/[email protected]/player/" width="75" height="75" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>[/IMG]

    (not sure if I embedded those correctly)

    Can you replicate that look on a summilux asph?

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    I should mention again that I only intend to shoot film and typically tri-x, occasionally ilford 3200, though I want to start experimenting with slower films to open the lens up more in the daylight, though the MP's fastest shutter speed is 1/1000

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Well, that's what ND filter are intended for

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by doctorfab View Post
    Well, that's what ND filter are intended for
    right, haven't started experimenting with filters quiet yet

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by ruskiantonov View Post
    Godfrey, that first is just stunning and exactly the kind of look I want to obtain, thank you for sharing and correcting my ignorance on the ability of the Summilux.

    In terms of examples of the pre-asph e46 version, these shots really appealed to me (subject matter aside ) :

    [IMG]<iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/markkujath/15826296644/in/[email protected]/player/" width="75" height="75" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>[/IMG]

    [IMG]<iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/markkujath/16231886947/in/[email protected]/player/" width="75" height="75" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>[/IMG]

    (not sure if I embedded those correctly)

    Can you replicate that look on a summilux asph?
    I guess the question would be was a Leica M even used for the shots you linked to? While Mark Kujath does use a M, would he use it for the sort of work you linked to? He does do street work, and that looks to be 35mm probably with his Leica Ms.

    Life in Czech und Tschechien in Schwarzweiss Streetphotography @ markkujath | photography.

    Most of the behind the scenes videos of Mark shooting Fashion/Portrait indicates that he uses a 35mm DSLR or a Mamiya Medium Format RZ-Pro.

    Making Of Shooting-Projekt mit SeitWerk in Uffing @ markkujath | photography.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLdfvBwWdCc

    Also, many of his images look to be shot with a longer lens, not a 50mm. Probably a 85mm, 105 or 135.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRO0dTsqvsc

    Actually the look and feel of the images you linked to are more about light source, quality, direction and processing than it is about the way the lens renders.

    I also question whether Tri-X would produce that look and tonal spread ... unless it was loaded into a 6X7 Medium Format camera like the RZ/RB.

    Horses for courses.

    - Marc

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I guess the question would be was a Leica M even used for the shots you linked to? While Mark Kujath does use a M, would he use it for the sort of work you linked to? He does do street work, and that looks to be 35mm probably with his Leica Ms.

    Life in Czech und Tschechien in Schwarzweiss Streetphotography @ markkujath | photography.

    Most of the behind the scenes videos of Mark shooting Fashion/Portrait indicates that he uses a 35mm DSLR or a Mamiya Medium Format RZ-Pro.

    Making Of Shooting-Projekt mit SeitWerk in Uffing @ markkujath | photography.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLdfvBwWdCc

    Also, many of his images look to be shot with a longer lens, not a 50mm. Probably a 85mm, 105 or 135.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRO0dTsqvsc

    Actually the look and feel of the images you linked to are more about light source, quality, direction and processing than it is about the way the lens renders.

    I also question whether Tri-X would produce that look and tonal spread ... unless it was loaded into a 6X7 Medium Format camera like the RZ/RB.

    Horses for courses.

    - Marc
    Nice one Marc, thanks for correcting my ignorance. I found the photo in a Summilux Pre-asph pool on flickr so, its likely that that image was shot with a 50. However, I combed his site and seems likely that it was part of a bigger production, not just 'roll out of bed and snap a picture' type of photo.

    Just so darn beautiful to me that I want to try and replicate that style of photography, unfortunately, it sounds like it might not be possible on the medium I'm using (or, more likely that I'm not good enough).

    For me the summilux dilemma continues, at least until I stumbled on a great deal for either. Let me know if you hear anything

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Based on the photography works that you seem to be enamored with, I believe a 75 summilux should be a better fit than the 50 for you. You like portraiture, and especially more dreamy ones with shallow DOF, I believe nothing beats the 75 lux. Moreover, 35 and 75 makes the best combo.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    75 lux also give you the glow effect wide open.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by yudafu2 View Post
    Based on the photography works that you seem to be enamored with, I believe a 75 summilux should be a better fit than the 50 for you. You like portraiture, and especially more dreamy ones with shallow DOF, I believe nothing beats the 75 lux. Moreover, 35 and 75 makes the best combo.
    I agree.

    - Marc

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Thanks for the reply Marc and Yudafu!

    I will consider the 75 but I think it might be too expensive. Having already bought a 90/2 pre asph, buying a 75 right now would currently seem (to me at least) to be an expensive redundancy.

    I've always shot a 50mm and it's usually my go to, so I'll be looking to pick one up. However, given this thread I am back to leaning towards the asph version.

    -Alex

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Personally I prefer the newer lenses because they don't show focus shift and I do not mind sharp images.
    I really like the 35 Summicron asph and think its a classic lens.
    I don't think it renders clinical.
    The 35/1.4asph is my low light lens.
    In regards of 50mm I really like the 50 Summicron and also the 50APO (which is however an expensive luxury)
    Some of the older 35 and 50mm lenses (including the 50/1.4pre asph) do suffer from focus shift, and that I don't like.
    I also prefer the 90 Elmarit over the f2.0 90mm lenses - I find I can't focus 90/2.0 reliable plus the lenses are on the heavy side. So I went back to the 90/2.8 which is a solid performer. I also do like the 75/2.0, but its also a little tricky in regards of focus.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    I just read you plan to use film. I think film is not so critical in regards of focus accuracy so the older lenses might very well work very good.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    I agree about using older lenses on film. They can cosy less than the current ASPH and some do render very nicely.

    PM sent to OP.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    A lens set consisting of 35, 50 and 90 will do about anything you want or need; these focal lengths are very good choices.

    Also - do not overlook older, non-ASPH lenses. They are less costly than newer lenses and are excellent performers. For the 35mm and 50mm focal lengths, the last non-ASPH versions are the ones to seek out, particularly the 35/2.0 and the 50/1.4 lenses.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    So I am coming back to the fold, or at least trying to.
    A typ 240 will be arriving tomorrow and a 50 asph to start.
    I have not ordered the EVF as yet. What are the opinions on its utility?
    thanks
    -bob
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    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    So I am coming back to the fold, or at least trying to.
    A typ 240 will be arriving tomorrow and a 50 asph to start.
    I have not ordered the EVF as yet. What are the opinions on its utility?
    When I first received my M-P typ 240, I used it much as I had the M9: optical RF only, etc. Then I started to use the Live View and Info screens ... Makes it easier to see what your doing before you bring the camera to your eye when making exposure compensation settings, when roughing in focus quickly, when doing alternative angles that are hard to get your eye behind the viewfinder.

    Then I fitted the EVF. I don't use it much with a 35mm or 50mm lens. But shooting with lenses outside the 35-50mm range, I move back and forth between the optical VF/RF and EVF fluidly now. Of course, when I fit a Micro-Nikkor or 180mm lens, I use it to focus and shoot.

    To me, having both Live View and EVF options brings the M into the modern world and gives me a much more versatile camera to work with.

    (BTW, buy an Olympus VF-2 for $150-225 rather than the Leica EVF2. It's exactly the same hardware for less than half the price. All you miss is the LEICA logo.)

    G

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    So I am coming back to the fold, or at least trying to.
    A typ 240 will be arriving tomorrow and a 50 asph to start.
    I have not ordered the EVF as yet. What are the opinions on its utility?
    thanks
    -bob
    Congrats, Bob!

    If the eye sight is good then you do not need an EVF.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Congrats, Bob!

    If the eye sight is good then you do not need an EVF.
    That remains to be seen.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    Then I fitted the EVF. I don't use it much with a 35mm or 50mm lens. But shooting with lenses outside the 35-50mm range, I move back and forth between the optical VF/RF and EVF fluidly now. Of course, when I fit a Micro-Nikkor or 180mm lens, I use it to focus and shoot.

    To me, having both Live View and EVF options brings the M into the modern world and gives me a much more versatile camera to work with.

    (BTW, buy an Olympus VF-2 for $150-225 rather than the Leica EVF2. It's exactly the same hardware for less than half the price. All you miss is the LEICA logo.)

    G
    ^ This mirrors my experience as well. I can fit a pentax 135/2.5, nikon g 85mm, sigma 150mm macro, Petzvar 150mm, and a whole host of other lenses if I wish. And it comes in really handy with the odd time I want to have perfect framing on a wide angle M lens. And I bought a used Oly version.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Bob
    Congrats
    My eyesight is lousy so the EVF is a necessity. I do also find it useful with lenses wider than 28 for framimg accuracy. As mentioned the focus peaking and magnification feature is terrific. Plus as mentioned the exposure data in the bottom of the EVF lets me keep the eye on it for all exposures. I would like to use the RF more, but often can't. It sure is nice to have 2 options in one camera though, excluding rear LCD view, but then you have to take your eye off the "ball" with that.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Well, my last experience with Leica was the M8 and a bunch of lenses that needed tweaking. I think I kept DAG in business for two-three months just with the cameras and lenses I sent him after Leica service failed.
    So we will see if it is my eyes or the camera. I am sure that my eye is not the best, but I also know that the M8 with pre-digital lenses was a recipe for disappointment.
    So wee will see... I really like rangefinder focusing if it works and I suppose that if I need the evf I might use it especially with wider lenses.
    I have tried the evf on the Sony a7r but broke out in a rash and my eyes felt that I had been poked with toothpicks. A pink sky was just too surreal for my taste.
    -bob
    Last edited by Bob; 22nd May 2015 at 05:08.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    That remains to be seen.
    Hope it works out for you. FWIW, I can focus a Jupiter-3 5cm f/1.5 on the MM quite well. It is not a matter of predigital lenses.

    Also, the Summarit 35/2.5 shows no "pink skies" on my A7r.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    I was talking on another forum about the M-P and MM246. Seems that Leica recommends a minimum of 95MB/second storage cards for these cameras. I didn't know that .. So I've got two Sandisk Extreme Pro cards on order now. They're not that expensive, but be sure to put them on the list if you're going to buy in.

    Geez... 64G of high speed storage for less than $70. Wonders truly.

    G

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    B&H has them on special for $55 as of yesterday.

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by algrove View Post
    B&H has them on special for $55 as of yesterday.
    I see they have the 64G on special. I wanted 2x 32G, but at that price I might get a couple of 64G too. That's an incredible deal..

    G

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    Re: Assembling a Leica kit

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I see they have the 64G on special. I wanted 2x 32G, but at that price I might get a couple of 64G too. That's an incredible deal..

    G
    I stand corrected as now I see they have a 2 pack of the 64 for $80.00

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