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.