Leica 50mm f1.4 'lux choice - help!

Duane Pandorf

Top Veteran
Location
Western NC
I'm collecting my M240 tomorrow :) but today I went to a trade show and spent a good hour or two at the Leica stall. The thing is I'm not sure whether I'm a natural 50 or 35mm person. However for street I might be better with the 35 - the DoF of the Summicron f2 looks rather useful whereas the 50 DoF scale is more compressed, which is to be expected. For zone, DoF is king, isn't it.

Maybe a summicron 35 f/2 now and a Zeiss sonnar 50 when my credit card allows.

I thought the 50mm focal length would be perfect for my main lens when began with my first Leica almost threes ago as that was the focal length I'd been using on my previous camera. I photographed for at least 6 months with the 50. Then I thought I'd like to try the 35 focal length. It took a while to adjust but find it is now my go to focal length. What I think helped me is I only had one lens at the time. I didn't have an option to switch lenses regularly. It forced me to learn that lens. I would suggest the same until you get comfortable making photographs with a rangefinder. By having to move my feet vice swapping lens has helped me immensely. Before I raise the camera to my eye I already have a pretty good idea on how I have the photographed framed the way I want it. All I have to do is click the shutter.

This was one snap a couple days ago:

image.jpeg
 

Ricoh

Regular
My instinct tells me that it's easier to step forwards towards your subject, stepping backwards takes your eye off the ball, as it were. So a slightly wider lens looks a better option. The 35 f2 ASPH gets brilliant reviews, not come across anything particularly negative; ok it does have some minor things like fall off, and slight distortion, but nothing in the real world to get bothered about.
At the moment I've got too much M4/3 kit and I find it distracting, ie whether to use set up A, B or C. With the Leica I'm going to be a one lens shooter until I know the camera and its settings backwards, sideways, and everyway possible. I want to get to the point where the camera system sort of disappears, metaphorically speaking, allowing me to capture what my brain has in mind.
 

Ricoh

Regular
I thought the 50mm focal length would be perfect for my main lens when began with my first Leica almost threes ago as that was the focal length I'd been using on my previous camera. I photographed for at least 6 months with the 50. Then I thought I'd like to try the 35 focal length. It took a while to adjust but find it is now my go to focal length. What I think helped me is I only had one lens at the time. I didn't have an option to switch lenses regularly. It forced me to learn that lens. I would suggest the same until you get comfortable making photographs with a rangefinder. By having to move my feet vice swapping lens has helped me immensely. Before I raise the camera to my eye I already have a pretty good idea on how I have the photographed framed the way I want it. All I have to do is click the shutter.

This was one snap a couple days ago:

View attachment 3657
Was this using Zone?
 

Ricoh

Regular
Actually, I normally run my kit wide open. Whether it was when I had my 50 on or now when I photograph with my 35 Lux or 75 Cron.
I'm just not good enough, or fast enough yet.
I was reading an article on Luminus Lanscape recently, comparing RF with AF. The author stated AF is superior to the human eye, I'm beginning to 'see' his point. However, I musn't give up, it's early days.
 

VINCETAN

Top Veteran
I'm just not good enough, or fast enough yet.
I was reading an article on Luminus Lanscape recently, comparing RF with AF. The author stated AF is superior to the human eye, I'm beginning to 'see' his point. However, I musn't give up, it's early days.

Like everything, practice makes perfect. You just need to keep using it. Just use one body with one lens for a few days and you will get the hang of it.
 

Duane Pandorf

Top Veteran
Location
Western NC
I'm just not good enough, or fast enough yet.
I was reading an article on Luminus Lanscape recently, comparing RF with AF. The author stated AF is superior to the human eye, I'm beginning to 'see' his point. However, I musn't give up, it's early days.

I've become spoiled with my 35 Lux as it has a focusing tab whereas my 50 Lux pre-ASPH. and 75 Cron do not. I find the focusing tab increases my speed in focusing compared to my non tabbed lenses. The tab on my 35 Lux allows me to know a quick approximation on what distance the lens is focused at before I bring the camera up to my eye. The tab positioned at around the 8 o'clock position is at "infinity", at the 6 o'clock position my distance scale reads around 6-8'. I also keep my camera at infinity, aperture wide open and shutter on A when its in the bag. I also keep the camera on in sleep mode so that when I'm carrying it on my shoulder, in the my hand or pulling it out of my bag, a light touch on the shutter button it wakes and is ready to shoot by the time I've brought the view finder to my eye. I now only have to move the focus ring in one direction, the aperture changes two clicks per stop. This way I have a set routine I can duplicate every time I'm out to photograph.

I do spend a lot of time to this day practicing my focusing technique. I will will out at an object predict its distance and then without looking bring the camera up to my eye and by feel with the focus tab set the focus. Its usually a slight adjustment to nail focus from there.

You may also want to check out Joeri Kloet's book "Work your Leica" (http://joerivanderkloet.com/category/work-your-leica-m/). He goes through several different exercises to help you practice many different focusing scenarios to help with your rangefinder focusing.
 

Ricoh

Regular
Duane, thank you for the really helpful post you made above. I've downloaded the e-book and have started the exercises. I get the 'set to infinity' it really helps since you know to turn in one direction only. I'm encouraged and will practise as often as possible.
Thank you once again.
 
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I'm pretty sure that in the new Star Wars that we see Luke using an M3 with a Summarit-M 50/1.5 and Yoda says "Luke, Use the Rangefinder, it's a precision instrument designed to help you get exact focus"...
 

uhoh7

Regular
IMO the Luxes are made to be shot wide open.

Duane, I always enjoy your posts. This is nonsense. Sorry. Both lenses are far sharper at 5.6 than they are wide open and have an utterly different character. I'm not sure how the ASPH is at f/11 but I suspect it's great. I see huge variation at that aperture. 28 cron is fantastic. It's a critical aperture when a shooter wants DOF. Wide open is way over done. Shooting a lens always wide open is ignoring huge aspects which designers went to much trouble to ensure, (although with some specialty lenses this may not be the case). These are do-it-all normals meant to be highly versatile and achieve a variety of effects. Shooting them always wide open ignores this, though of course, it's your lens and you use it how you wish. :)

Maybe some people play their pianos only at the top octave. I like to hear all 88.
 

Ricoh

Regular
The topic of the thread has really moved on somewhat having purchased a 35 'cron, but hey ho!

I'm finding the push (or is it pull?) from infinity to a closer distance much easier in landscape using the tab, but awkward in portrait, really so. To the point where I'll focus from infinity in landscape, then rotate the camera, and that's really slow.
Any guidance on technique please.
 

rflove

Veteran
The ASPH 6 bit coded 50mm Lux is a a great lens. While it's true that you can compensate with the in camera lens profile, I found that it's a big hassle to have to change settings when changing lenses. For that reason alone, I hesitate to buy non-6 bit coded lenses. Of course, you might be able to add the 6 bit code as it's basically nothing but some dots of black and white paint strategically placed.

I found that my copy of the M240 does not "like" to read the DYI 6 bit codes I've added to various lenses so for me that does not work too well. Of course, your camera might work fine with the DIY coding and you'll be golden... I will agree with those who sing the praises of the Zeiss 50mm Planar and the Sonnar. Actually all the Zeiss ZM lenses that I've tried are brilliant! if it wasn't for the 6 bit coding issue, I would probably use them still.

It's also true that stopping down to f5.6 will make almost all lenses quite sharp. However, the point of having a f1.4 lens is to shoot it wide open ;). IMHO, there is no substitute for fast, sharp lenses if you want that beautiful bokeh effect.
 

Mijo

Veteran
Location
San Francisco
Duane, I always enjoy your posts. This is nonsense. Sorry. Both lenses are far sharper at 5.6 than they are wide open and have an utterly different character. I'm not sure how the ASPH is at f/11 but I suspect it's great. I see huge variation at that aperture. 28 cron is fantastic. It's a critical aperture when a shooter wants DOF. Wide open is way over done. Shooting a lens always wide open is ignoring huge aspects which designers went to much trouble to ensure, (although with some specialty lenses this may not be the case). These are do-it-all normals meant to be highly versatile and achieve a variety of effects. Shooting them always wide open ignores this, though of course, it's your lens and you use it how you wish. :)

Maybe some people play their pianos only at the top octave. I like to hear all 88.

While I agree with most of this post (i.e. wide open shots are over done, lens are sharper stopped down, etc.), Duane is correct in his statement that lux lenses are made to be shot wide open. These lenses produce much sharper images wide open than lenses from other manufacturers at the same f1.4.

I get a lot of grief / ribbing from other photogs that know my gear list and see my images for not shooting wide open more. My preference is to only shoot wide open when light or a busy back drop dictates so it would appear to others that I'm not using my gear to its full potential.
 

Duane Pandorf

Top Veteran
Location
Western NC
The topic of the thread has really moved on somewhat having purchased a 35 'cron, but hey ho!

I'm finding the push (or is it pull?) from infinity to a closer distance much easier in landscape using the tab, but awkward in portrait, really so. To the point where I'll focus from infinity in landscape, then rotate the camera, and that's really slow.
Any guidance on technique please.

I would bet if you stick with this lens for a few months and really spend time practicing you'll have a whole new appreciation for the rangefinder especially if someone were to hand you a different camera to photograph. That is if you truly get the hang of it and begin to enjoy the experience.
 

Duane Pandorf

Top Veteran
Location
Western NC
Duane, I always enjoy your posts. This is nonsense. Sorry. Both lenses are far sharper at 5.6 than they are wide open and have an utterly different character. I'm not sure how the ASPH is at f/11 but I suspect it's great. I see huge variation at that aperture. 28 cron is fantastic. It's a critical aperture when a shooter wants DOF. Wide open is way over done. Shooting a lens always wide open is ignoring huge aspects which designers went to much trouble to ensure, (although with some specialty lenses this may not be the case). These are do-it-all normals meant to be highly versatile and achieve a variety of effects. Shooting them always wide open ignores this, though of course, it's your lens and you use it how you wish. :)

Maybe some people play their pianos only at the top octave. I like to hear all 88.

Oh I completely understand how different lens designs draw in their own unique way depending on what aperture is used along with the quality of the light.

But I get bored when everything is in critical sharp focus especially when the photograph lacks a central subject that is to attract my attention.

So I chuckle to myself when a forum thread stretches beyond a couple pages where the argument is explaining this or that about a lens's sharpness at the edges. That is not where my viewer's eye should be looking. If it is then I've failed as a photographer to pull my audience to the subject I want them to see.

Today's lenses are incredible and each individual photographer must figure out his "style" that is his signature and of course it's up to each of us to figure that out. Whether it's the focal length we use to the each camera/lens brand character we choose.

That's what makes this so much fun. I think it's why most of us are here on a Leica forum as we really enjoy how Leica camera/lens designs create wonderful images that are different IMO from other companies.
 

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