Leica 50mm woes

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
I don't think I've ever had this problem. I never I usually pick an f/stop suitable for the lighting and/or requirements of the circumstances, and then I generally stick with it.

How are all of you doing your photography where this is a problem?
Uh are you forgetting that it's not a universal problem? :) Not many lenses exhibit this problem at all. The Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 is a notorious case where this is well exhibited.
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
Uh are you forgetting that it's not a universal problem? :) Not many lenses exhibit this problem at all. The Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 is a notorious case where this is well exhibited.
I honestly don't get it. It seems that if I was using the Sonnar, I wouldn't ever experience this problem because I very seldom play around with the f/stop on the fly, is that right?
 

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
I honestly don't get it. It seems that if I was using the Sonnar, I wouldn't ever experience this problem because I very seldom play around with the f/stop on the fly, is that right?
That's right -- if you for example used a Sony A7 camera and you had the Sonnar on it. Given good light you'd first adjust/keep the aperture and then focus and shoot. Blammo. Perfect. You're right, I wouldn't play with the aperture much either.

But this next scenario already would prove frustrating. Again assume a Sony + Sonnar. Now it's dark and you're doing some tripod shooting. You need to open the lens wide open to focus because the focusing aids stop working. Now you've focused and now you close down to f/8 or whatever you want to use. Blasted, the shift ruins the shot.

And finally, the Leica/rangefinder woe. You focus the lens not via TTL at all. Same situation as in the first Sony one but there's only one frame of reference for focus -- whatever the factory calibration is. Changing the apertures won't change a thing in the rangefinder window as the camera doesn't know the first thing about the picture the lens is sending, not until you press the shutter to take a picture.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I don't think I've ever had this problem. I never I usually pick an f/stop suitable for the lighting and/or requirements of the circumstances, and then I generally stick with it.

How are all of you doing your photography where this is a problem?
It's not a problem once you get to know a lens. In the pixel-peeping digital age, it is easy to see, With film cameras: the film has depth and this tends to mask the issue. Spherical aberration means the focal length of the lens changes across the lens. Over-corrected means the focal length at the center of the lens is longer than that of the edge. The shape of the out-of-focus spheres gives an idea of the gradient of the change as you stop down. Lens designers use spherical aberration to spread the DOF of the lens over a wider range. Definition of "acceptable sharpness" changed with digital sensors.

I wrote an article about the C-Sonnar:
 

christilou

Legend
Jul 13, 2010
164
Sunny Frimley
Well, I took my M10 out with me for a dog walk on Sunday. As we passed a field we came across a mother deer and two babies so I fired up the M10, 50mm Summilux, used an aperture of f8 as they were a bit of a distance away. It was bright and sunny and I use Aperture priority, auto iso. Focussed with the rf then clicked the shutter ...... nothing happened and this is one huge bug bear of mine. It had frozen. When I opened up the frame in LR it was completely white and so it had clearly opened but then not shut :( M10 is getting to be just one to faff with at home I think. In fact leaning more to selling the 240 and getting into Fuji again.
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
Well, I took my M10 out with me for a dog walk on Sunday. As we passed a field we came across a mother deer and two babies so I fired up the M10, 50mm Summilux, used an aperture of f8 as they were a bit of a distance away. It was bright and sunny and I use Aperture priority, auto iso. Focussed with the rf then clicked the shutter ...... nothing happened and this is one huge bug bear of mine. It had frozen. When I opened up the frame in LR it was completely white and so it had clearly opened but then not shut :( M10 is getting to be just one to faff with at home I think. In fact leaning more to selling the 240 and getting into Fuji again.
I don't suppose your M10 is still under warranty? I've never had my M10 (or any Leica) lock up like that.
 

rayvonn

All-Pro
Jan 19, 2015
124
Well, I took my M10 out with me for a dog walk on Sunday. As we passed a field we came across a mother deer and two babies so I fired up the M10, 50mm Summilux, used an aperture of f8 as they were a bit of a distance away. It was bright and sunny and I use Aperture priority, auto iso. Focussed with the rf then clicked the shutter ...... nothing happened and this is one huge bug bear of mine. It had frozen. When I opened up the frame in LR it was completely white and so it had clearly opened but then not shut :( M10 is getting to be just one to faff with at home I think. In fact leaning more to selling the 240 and getting into Fuji again.
Sorry to hear that. I have read about these kind of issues with the M10 which were fixed after the camera had been returned but it's a pain isn't it. You should expect the product to bloody well work.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
Leica originally used an aerospace company to write their firmware. At some point during the M9 production, they changed who writes their embedded firmware- I read that it was moved in-house.

The quality of the firmware for the M9 suffered, and the firmware for the M Monochrom has plenty of bugs in it. On the M9- discrete shutter mode worked up until 1.176, then Leica BROKE IT. I suspect the same is true of the M240 and M10. It's to bad that the performance of the camera suffers due to the firmware.
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
I
Leica originally used an aerospace company to write their firmware. At some point during the M9 production, they changed who writes their embedded firmware- I read that it was moved in-house.

The quality of the firmware for the M9 suffered, and the firmware for the M Monochrom has plenty of bugs in it. On the M9- discrete shutter mode worked up until 1.176, then Leica BROKE IT. I suspect the same is true of the M240 and M10. It's to bad that the performance of the camera suffers due to the firmware.
I haven't updated the firmware to the latest one, I wonder if this is why nothing's gone wrong with it yet.
 

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
First outing with the Lux :) I haven't studied the pics yet but overall it's a pleasure to handle and all that. It's heavy though -- I definitely think that the lightweight CV 50 Heliar will remain with me when the light's good.

But just to confirm, is this level of field curvature to be expected?

The hood of the yellow jacket marks the center point of the frame and this shows the upper left quadrant plus extra. Of course the guy is pretty far so even if it's f/1.4 we're talking, the hyperfocal distance plus the field curvature makes for this interesting observation.

2019-09-17-16-26-MP005382.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


By the way, f/1.4 and not much vignetting at all. What the hell :)
 

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
By the way, to keep the discussion back in track, my MP240 presented a new symptom today. I just begun my photo walk and and there was maybe 16 photos on the card and what my dear camera said to me: FULL.

I just restarted it and it worked properly the rest of the time.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
It's very frustrating to use a device that you did not even write the firmware yourself. That is my biggest problem with using digital cameras. Just wait until there is an open-source Rangefinder camera available...
With mechanical cameras, you can get the teardown manual, clean, lube, and adjust yourself.
 

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
Guess what :)

After some exclusive shooting during the past 6 days, maybe around 800 shots with the Summilux ASPH ...

I think I want my Nokton back! 😵

I've seen some pretty good stuff come out from the Summilux but for the life of me I can't seem to ride it to give me character. It's very clinical. Unless I can focus far, I actually plain dislike shooting it wide open because it explodes to full creamy bokeh, what's the point. Might as well be shooting a Canon or something. Whereas with the Nokton the immediate impression I got was favorable with pretty much all conditions, all apertures. The Nokton will fall short if I shoot wide open at a distance but even then, doesn't fall that short.

I returned the Nokton as soon as I closed the deal on the Summilux as I was able to get my money back in full. Now I'm entertaining I should get it back and give the two a decent workout during the upcoming months. Maybe I'll learn to ride the Summilux to my taste. After all, there's a huge benefit to being able to shoot a sharp landscape photo at f/1.4 and print it large.

When it comes to closed-down shots, I prefer the CV Heliar's color. It also renders a hint less contrasty shots which gives me a most pleasant starting point at the raw developer.

And to think I was such a sucker for perfectly rendering lenses not long ago. I think the Fuji X system that I experiment(ed) with broke my brain (in a good way) and now I fully see what's the character stuff really about.
 

rayvonn

All-Pro
Jan 19, 2015
124
Guess what :)

After some exclusive shooting during the past 6 days, maybe around 800 shots with the Summilux ASPH ...

I think I want my Nokton back! 😵

I've seen some pretty good stuff come out from the Summilux but for the life of me I can't seem to ride it to give me character. It's very clinical. Unless I can focus far, I actually plain dislike shooting it wide open because it explodes to full creamy bokeh, what's the point. Might as well be shooting a Canon or something. Whereas with the Nokton the immediate impression I got was favorable with pretty much all conditions, all apertures. The Nokton will fall short if I shoot wide open at a distance but even then, doesn't fall that short.

I returned the Nokton as soon as I closed the deal on the Summilux as I was able to get my money back in full. Now I'm entertaining I should get it back and give the two a decent workout during the upcoming months. Maybe I'll learn to ride the Summilux to my taste. After all, there's a huge benefit to being able to shoot a sharp landscape photo at f/1.4 and print it large.

When it comes to closed-down shots, I prefer the CV Heliar's color. It also renders a hint less contrasty shots which gives me a most pleasant starting point at the raw developer.

And to think I was such a sucker for perfectly rendering lenses not long ago. I think the Fuji X system that I experiment(ed) with broke my brain (in a good way) and now I fully see what's the character stuff really about.
I can only suggest the Summicron & Summilux 50mm lenses from the 60s/70s/80s. Elmarits too. To me, that'll be the real deal. Cheaper lenses, faults n'all, made for film and made to be used on your rangefinder with rendering not possible for the new lenses to emulate, ie like film straight out of a digital camera. I honestly can't see myself ever buying a 'new' Leica lens, these days there seems to be little or no difference between them and other new offerings, other than the badge. Otherwise, stick with the Voigts, I have never used one that is less than stellar. The problem for Leica is that their lenses work wondefully forever whenever they were made, so you don't really need to buy the new latest and greatest lenses to enjoy the system. If anything the older classic lenses will most likley give you that mythical "Leica Look", whatever the hell that is.
 
Last edited:

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
Yeah I'm no stranger to the Mandler designs. :)

The whole character thing has killed a couple of lusts for me. For example, 35 FLE certainly lost its appeal when there are good alternatives like the Summilux pre-ASPH or Voigtländers old 35 Nokton f/1.4.

Likewise, 21 SEM lost a lot of appeal while the 21 Summilux gained even more. Thankfully the new Voigtländer sits securely in the middle.

With 50 Summilux it fooled me to see so many characterful shots taken with the ASPH so I thought it's a lens that can offer the best of both worlds. Maybe it can, but I may just have to learn to tickle the trait out of it.
 

Latest posts

Latest threads

Top Bottom