Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2005/02/20

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Subject: [Leica] FLUG
From: lambroving at (William G. Lamb, III)
Date: Sun Feb 20 12:31:36 2005

Hello Ted,

Sorry for the delayed response. I don't type very fast, and I had to 
respond to the favorable mails I received privately from three well-known 
LUGgers who support my suggestion.

Personally, I have no problem with your discussions of the use of R-lenses 
on a Canon, if that's what you need to get the job done. I understand the 
need for this for professional purposes in today's market. I can also 
understand the need for the smooth, detailed and rather flat images 
produced by the high-end Canon for sport and ad copy. Doesn't mean I have 
to like or enjoy them however, compared to Provia or E100 scans from M's or 
from fine-grained negative. It's a matter of taste and everyone is entitled 
to an opinion.

>Hi William,
>Due to your suggestion I thought I'd change my ways and not discuss Leica 
>lenses to digital camera any longer, which I actually thought was an 
>interesting Leica topic for owners/users of Leica lenses. However.

I never owned, nor would I own a Nocti. I think of a Leica as a compact 
camera. I'm not a pro. My pictures are records I take for myself and 
sometimes the pleasure of others. Most of my pictures are taken when I 
travel. I am otherwise working or commuting 60+ hours each week when there 
is any kind of attractive light. Also, the last thing on my mind is pictures.

A Nocti was always too big and heavy for me to carry. If I won't carry it, 
I won't use it. You and others here have taken some great stuff with this 
lens and sometimes I enjoy the "dreamy" effect; with other less 
well-executed examples, I merely get sea-sick. :-)

As for the 50/f1.4 ASPH, a few observations: It is relatively compact, 
mechanically very smooth, and with the hood extended, it hardly intrudes 
into the 50mm frame. Wide open (or otherwise) it renders a unique richness 
of textures and detail, and loads of shadow detail. Objects in the OOF 
areas tend to retain their shape and things which are just OOF tend to look 
fairly sharp. You will not begin to get the separation that you get with 
the Nocti. The 50 ASPH also appears to "create light" wide open. Never seen 
this one before, but another lens at the same exposure with the same film 
on another M renders the scene darker. Go figure!

Given that YOU could make a good picture with a box Brownie, it's harder to 
answer your question. For me it's easier. I own a 1972 50/14 Lux which 
takes very good pictures of low to medium contrast. It flares little in 
high contrast lighting. I used it mainly for circus and theatre work in B&W 
where it performed well. You might have seen some of my circus prints on 
the walls at E. Leitz, Rockleigh back in the seventies with the old Lux.

At least in color, and I shoot mostly fine-grained negative since about 
1990, the 50 ASPH renders very rich, accurate colors. Even with a bit of 
camera shake, it seems amazingly sharp without being "brittle".

Does it make MY pictures better? Without a doubt. It has a Leica look, but 
not a "classic' Leica look.

Since I take pictures in fits and spurts, I need a camera which is 
familiar, even if I haven't held it for months, and everything just needs 
to feel "right". If it does, I start getting very good images with the 
second or third frame. I don't need to burn a lot of film with an M.

I don't find anything about the 50 ASPH excessively contrasty or harsh. 
Other tastes are bound to vary widely. The fact remains that objects 
photographed with this lens on a really good pro film have a definite 
tactile quality.

>Therefore returning purely to Leica topic, what do you think of the visual 
>difference between the Noctilux to the new 50 Summilux aspheric? And do 
>you feel this change and lens will improve the image and content of the 
>photographer's who use it?

Can't see the point in having a Leica body and not using a Leica lens 
myself. The only one I don't mind in the hands of a skilled practitioner is 
the 15mm VC. I know I would make a mess with it as I'm a bit challenged 
with my 21/3.4 SA, which CAN be an outstanding landscape lens when stopped 

>It has always amazed me some people using non-Leica glass on their Leica 
>camera, heaven forbid. :-(  have never been able to capture equal quality 
>of content and excitement in the photograph displayed, when not using a 
>Leica lens. Do you have an opinion on this situation?
>>>but the 1,800? who DON"T post on the LUG because they prefer
>>NOT to be abused my many of the "regulars" with keyboard diarrhea <<

With respect, there ARE beginners with Leicas here who do not enjoy the 
tone of the advice received from some, and refrain from asking. If others 
wish a critique and ASK for it, I guess they have to take whatever comes. 
Being my own worst critic and having enjoyed the views of Ernst Haas in the 
seventies, I'm not particularly interested in having a critique personally.

>However, if it were not for the regulars who "Do give constant HOW TO 
>information and hard nose critiques, these reader only folks" wouldn't 
>learn much about "how to take and improve their pictures!"

See above...

>If you find the present conversations not to your liking may I suggest you 
>go 6 years back into LUG archives and read every post to date and I'm sure 
>your appetite for things Leica Only will be fully sequansified!  But first 
>your opinion on the Leica lens situation 50mm Noctilux to 50mm new lens?
>thank you


Replies: Reply from tedgrant at (Ted Grant) ([Leica] FLUG)