Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/11/29

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Subject: [Leica] Re: 75mm f1.4 (and other special lenses)
From: Jeff Moore <>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 12:31:48 -0500

The 75/1.4 is an odd bird.  It's about as clunky to carry as the
Noctilux (and nearly as clunky to use -- focusing ring a bit stiff,
but at least the throw isn't as hand-over-hand long as that of the
Noctilux).  The 75mm focal length has always been a bit uncomfortable
for me (too long for when I'm in a 50mmish sort of mood: the 50 always
seems to me like the "short tele" I want to use instead of a 35mm
"normal" when photographing people who aren't yet used to me, whereas
the 75 seems too stand-offish even for that; but the
75 seems to come up short when I have that rare "reach out and tele"
impulse).  Because the 50mm and 75mm frames come up simultaneously and 
they're the least dramatically different pair, I find it requires
conscious thought to keep track of which I'm using -- and conscious
thought is just what I don't want to have distracting me.  The 75 is
fast, but as the longest lens of its speed, some of that low-light
advantage is given up by its magnification of hand shake.

All that having been said -- if I were to pick one M lens from which
the best pictures just look *good*, for whatever special weird reason
- -- it'd be the 75/1.4.  I don't know why, but pictures made with this
lens have a greater chance of being a purely sensual pleasure.

BTW, as for runners-up, other lenses which do something special, may
I suggest:

 - the pre-ASPH 35mm Summicron, with its smooth, coherent, deep,
   painterly way of going out of focus;  and

 - the one-and-only 24mm.  I haven't yet used this one nearly as much
   as the others mentioned, but I'm seeing something special in its
   immediacy.  A different flavor from the other lenses, but a
   compelling one.

- -----
Jeff Moore