I'm Martin, a amateur photographer from England that likes to shoot street photography, landscapes, seascapes and odd image of dogs on digital as well as film. I use a Leica M-P (Typ-240) with a Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens and a 1959 Leica M3 single stoke with Summicron 50mm duel range lens. My blog was formerly known as 'The 35mm Shootist'
It was a very still, cold morning when I viewed this scene over Barton’s Point Coastal Park near where we live.
Still dark when I started my walk with my dog, I picked up the camera with the thought of you never know. Not many people around at all but by the time I’d walked round to the location of the cafe, the sun was just starting to light the area enough and seeing the reflection over the lake, so I decided it might be worth a shot. One problem, the water was like glass, no movement and was looking perfect, too perfect in fact, that I wanted some moment on the water, just a ripple or two. It was then I noticed on the far right of the Cafe was a group of Ducks resting on the bank. Shame I thought, the ducks not in the water, if only they’d swim into the lake. Sitting beside waiting patiently was my dog Charlie, then a yap from him to throw his tennis ball. Quick thinking and not wanting being cruel to the birds, using his dog ball thrower and aimed the tennis ball in the direction of the resting ducks. I was no where near …my aim is rubbish, but it did have the desired effect as Charlie ran over to retrieve his ball the ducks jumped into the water and started swimming towards the centre of the lake …yay!
I shot the image at 1600 ISO and I have to admit I like the grain effect from the digital image (Sorry peeps, the word ‘noise’ doesn’t sound right to me, so grain it is!) along with the digital yellow filter gave a very pleasing result.
Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, at Barton’s Point Coastal Park, Isle of Sheppey, England. October 2021
I thought I had missed this picture when looked at the screen after taking it.
The sunlight was just breaking through the mist over the fields highlighting the dew across the grass and some people we know with their dogs walked into the frame, perfect I thought. Reviewing the image over a cup of tea at the local cafe, all I could see was just a two tone black rectangle and I felt sure I’d got the exposure wrong after which of course the scene had long since gone. Thankfully on the computer back home with a light adjustment in Gimp, I was able to bring the image out and found there was a lot more detail than I first thought. Reminded me of the occasions you get a film negative which on first sight seemed very dark and overexposed until you scan the frame.
Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, at Barton’s Point Coastal Park, Isle of Sheppey, England. October 2021
Came across this little scene of the grandchild in the push chair outside the grandparents caravan in Barton’s Point Coastal Park.
My wife was with me at the time and answered little one with a hello, without thinking I took this image. I didn’t compose the picture or really take in the scene properly. A few days later review my images I noticed the dog in the background. I don’t ever remember seeing a dog there at the time. Without the dog to the left of this picture looking over as well I don’t think the image would have worked somehow.
Taken with the cameras digital yellow filter and a B&W 2 X Neutral density filter does give the image a vignette look which I quite like. Only post processing has been a bit of dodge and burn on the grandfather in the doorway.
Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, at Isle of Sheppey, England. September 2021
A couple of years ago I dismissed digital photography as not being ‘real’ photography. My perception of digital was all wrong, believing that the digital photography was just computer manipulation and could never replace film was a very naive perspective on my part.
Now having used the M-P for a few weeks, I’m beginning understand where I was so wrong. Few years ago I owned a crop sensor Nikon D7000 and just didn’t get on with the camera or understand the controls let alone how use the it creatively. My images back then were to say the least, were terrible, so I sold the camera and returned to film photography. While I know manipulation in the digital can be done, I learned the format doesn’t have to be or need to use such techniques to get a pleasing image. To be perfectly honest this dim witted fool would have a clue or any idea of how to manipulate a digital image anyway.
It’s helped by the fact the Leica controls are, how should I say, to me are normal. Using the digital Leica like it’s film counterpart has helped a great deal and limiting my post processing to what I would otherwise use for negative post production. By sticking to just cropping, brightness and contrast editing plus some dodge and burn has not only won me over but made this very enjoyable experience. To only worry about composition, not be concerned what the camera is doing, which is probably where I went wrong the first time round with the Nikon.
I found these two young ladies in Canterbury and asked if they won’t mind a letting me take a street portrait of them. The jewellery and tattoos lent themselves to a black and white image.
Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, taken in Canterbury, England. September 2021
Last Friday I spent a day street shooting, while the wife was shopping in Canterbury, England. Standing on the junction of Burgate and Butchery Lane near the Cathedral, this elderly gentleman walked up, stopped, looked up Butchery Lane, I focused. Then he turned to look back down Burgate, just as I pressed the shutter. I was for a moment concerned he might be lost or a little confused but then a woman called to him.
Luckily for me I had focused the Summilux spot on with aperture wide open and later viewing the image on the computer, to my amazement the picture is pin sharp. Indeed I’ve had to do very little to the picture other than a bit of dodge and burn on the buildings behind plus add my copyright at the bottom.
This for me, this has got to be my best image of this year so far.
Click to enlarge
Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, using a B+W Neutral Density 2 Stop filter.
Thoroughly enjoyed being out shooting with the Leica M-P and the Summilux today. I had not been to Folkestone, England in some twenty five years and it has somewhat changed. Last time I been there it was a very run down seaside town, with little or no investment or jobs after the demise of the ferry service to France was closed down in 2000 and the Channel tunnel which had opened six years before. Today it’s a very different place to town I knew.
Although very harsh light all day, I made this work in my favour and managed to get some great street shots and this was after I’d realised I had left my Weston lightmeter at home, so leaving me with no choice but to use the Leica’s own built in meter. Think I’m starting to get the hang of the of the M-P now.
I even got some abuse from a young woman who told me I was breaking the law taking pictures of people in the street. I do love these individuals who like quoting laws that don’t exist in the UK!
Walking along this shore path made out of old railway sleepers located on Folkestone seafront I was looking at the light was shining off them. Just waiting for the right moment, this girl walked pasted me and managed to catch her in the 1.4 depth of field.
Along the old harbour railway station this coffee vendor was parked between a gap under the old railway station canopy with sun lighting up his auto rickshaw. Little tricky getting the metering right but I got there in the end.
Since last being in Folkestone, there’s a lot of art work around the town now. This one is by Norwegian artist A K Dolven called ‘Out of tune’
Quote from the Creative Folkestone website
“It features a 16th-century tenor bell from Scraptoft Church in Leicestershire, which had been removed for not being in tune with the others. It is suspended from a steel cable strung between two 20m high steel beams, placed 30m apart”
…must make a terrible noise on a stormy night!
There was two men on this bench but this larger gentleman appeared in the frame, sat down virtually pushing the other guy off the seat. Then started reading the other man’s newspaper.
The above image is a crop from a landscape picture, annoyingly other people kept walking into the frame …hard life being a street photographer! This been a film negative I don’t think I would have got away with such a crop without losing detail.
The 50mm Summilux and digital imaging shines through again. If you can get your hands on an example if only for a day, I highly recommend you give it a try. It’s sharpness even wide open is unbelievable. The harbour shot below was taken wide open as was the other images in this post.
Folkestone harbour …don’t ask!
If your ever visiting the seaside town of Folkestone, I can highly recommend ‘Marleys’ café for a great cuppa at only £2.00!
Also back down the same street there’s Nik & Trick Photo Services store. Well worth a visit, cameras, film and darkroom supplies. Link below.
All images taken with my Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, using a B+W Neutral Density 2 Stop filter.
Final image at ‘Marleys’ taken with my Samsung A12 phone.
I was lucky with this shot. I’d taken a few images of people sitting outside this public house in Faversham, England on market day and as the sun had made an appearance I couldn’t clearly see what I had captured. Later, having got home I found this one which I thought was ideal with the gentlemen’s mouth wide open to the right and the woman covering her eyes from the sunlight.
I shot the images with the Summilux wide open, ISO 200 using my Leica M-P (Typ 240) and using a B+W Neutral Density 2 x Stop filter.
This was the first shot taken using the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH on the Leica M-P of my dog Charlie on the beach. Shot wide open at an very bright afternoon yesterday, the ISO was set to 200 with a B+W 43mm Neutral Density 2 Stop filter attached, and the camera set to black and white plus digital yellow filter. I waited for Charlie to come back up the beach until he moved into the depth of field and this is the resulting image. Shot JPG I have done nothing to the picture other than uploading it here for you all to see.
Click to enlarge images
Today the my wife Helen and I spent a day at Broadstairs in Kent and wherever possible I shot this lens wide open. Having had lunch in this little fish and chip shop I roughly set the distance, leaving the f stop on 1.4 and the camera on Aperture priority (which I think is the first time I’d used AP on this camera) and the resulting picture I think is amazing considering the lens is wide open.
I can now appreciate why they say this lens is so good, it’s like using autofocus lens …you can’t miss!
While visiting Headcorn village yesterday, on the drive in my wife pointed out this young lady painting the front of this old grade two listed building. I believe it was an old Inn but now houses a couple of small businesses, one of which I think is a ladies hair salon. I managed to get an informal portrait of her on what was a very hot day for us all in the south of England. To be honest I’m surprised the paint wasn’t drying out before she could apply it with the brush!
Both images taken with Leica M-P (Typ-240) Summicron 50mm f/2.
Recently I made a decision regarding my Leica lenses which I have mulling over for quite sometime. For the last few years I have been mainly using a 50mm lens for my photography and I like the idea of using just one lens but couldn’t make my mind which focal length I wanted stick too. There’s always that thought in the back of my mind that you’ll need different focal lengths for every occasion.
Two years ago I purchased the Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH partly out of wanting to make it easier to do street photography by using a wider lens and the fact that everyone else seems to use a wide angle lens for street images these days. The other thought was it to be used for any landscape images and could even eventually be my go to lens. On conclusion I think this was silly idea on my part and shooting zone focusing at f/11 or f/16 with a fast ISO all the time just to guarantee getting a street shot is not my style of working. While I’ll done it, I didn’t really enjoy shooting street images this way and as for the odd landscape or seascape I might take, interestingly I found most of the this type of images I’d previously taken where with the 50mm lens.
Another point was finding my dislike for the finger or focusing tab. I found every time I used the 35mm after using the 50mm Summicron (which on version V has no focus tab) I would find the finger tab annoying and did not use it. I think, you either like using a focusing tab or you don’t and I now find it just getting in the way all the time. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great lens but the focal length is just not necessary for me now some how.
The 90mm f/2.8 Tele-Elmarit, at the end last year before Brexit came into force I bought this lens from the Leica Vienna store online. It’s a lovely little Canadian made lens from the early 1980’s and wasn’t expensive at all. While thinking it was a good idea to have such a focal length available to use I in fact only used this lens twice since purchasing it. Once for testing and the other occasion for my image ‘Shoes’ you can see below.
…So I have decided I am a 50mm focal length photographer.
Having rambled on, how I have come to the conclusion, I do only really need one lens, a 50mm lens for my photography and going through my images I found nearly 80% of them were shot using a 50mm lens, so why use anything else. I’m glad I had use of the 90mm but I so rarely shoot portraits or have the need to take pictures at this distance that I found they can also be done with a 50mm lens. I got 35mm Summicron for street photography but it’s not a necessity for shooting the subject nor do I need to have it in my bag for a landscape I might take. Yes it wasn’t cheap but I knew that either way if I sold the 50 or 35 I would get my money back.
Not wanting the 35 or 90mm to be collecting dust on the shelf, I’ve decided to sell them both. While looking up current prices of used Leica lenses on the internet I see a review on a 50mm Summilux lens, a version I wasn’t not aware of, the Leica Black-Chrome Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. Knowing all about the older Summilux’s and yes there’s always that envy factor of the f/1.4 …I know. For sometime I have had half an eye on maybe purchasing an example but the not the new version Summilux ASPH, model: 11 891 with it’s built in hood and focusing tab.
On a side note regarding the Summicron 50mm f/2 version V hood design. I have found the built in hood on the Summicron can get damaged very easily and I read some other photographers having had the same issues with Summilux and it’s built lens hood. Two years ago while in Le Mont-Saint-Michel in France, a woman lost her footing going up some stone steps and fell against me and in turn knocking the lens into a stone wall. While the damage to the lens didn’t seem that great at the time, a small nick on the other edge of the metal lens hood, later I found the hood would not retract properly back into the Summicron lens body …expensive repair!
So onto the new acquisition, this lens is a modern version of the 1959 Summilux 50mm f/1.4 but with 2014 aspherical optics, made with solid brass, it has no focus tab, comes with a detachable brass hood and should last my lifetime. The extra stop will be a great bonus and the Summilux gives very smooth creamy bokeh which is as far as I know is unrivalled by any other lens.
I didn’t see the point of owning two Summicron 50mm lenses, so I’m keeping the Summicron 50mm Duel Range lens to use on my M3. By selling three of my Leica lenses, this will cover three quarters of the cost for a used, excellent condition Summilux from Red Dot Cameras, London which hopefully I’m expecting to arrive tomorrow morning.