Leica 5cm f/1.5 Summarit Black & White Film Review

Wide Aperture Lenses

F-stop of 1.5 is considered to be a large aperture. A large aperture means that the lens produces a shallow depth of field. Shallow focus is an often used technique that’s usually reserved for the background or foreground, not the subject itself. But the Leica 5cm f/1.5 Summarit has a blur that quite literally softens the subject. While most photographers may prefer crisp and clear images,  the effect was a dreamy glow that gave them ethereal nature. Shadows and the minute imperfections on a person’s face can be easily subdued with warm and softer tones.

leica 5cm f/1.5 summarit + leica m3 + Black and white film

Three Reasons

There are three reasons you might want a Leica 5cm f/1.5 Summarit – faster shutter speeds, a tighter depth of field, and an affordable price. At the widest aperture, images are not sharp, but really hit the optimum at f/4, where sharpness across the frame comes into fine detail. The aperture of f/2 works extremely well for portraits.

leica 5cm f/1.5 summarit + leica m3 + Black and white film

Why It Is Not Popular

Image quality is very good considering the price, and with the aperture at f/1.5, even though the image does suffer from some softness. This is obviously a cheaper lens offering, but the reason why it is not popular is that it has a “bad” bokeh. Good bokeh is smooth and pleasing, whereas bad bokeh produces a jagged and discordant effect. Well, unfortunately, each lens has its very own physical characteristics. Leica 50mm Summilux and Noctilux lens have superb bokeh, this old Summarit doesn’t. Especially wide open, its bokeh is highly intrusive and distracting. Of course,one of the solutions is to avoid trees and lights in the background.

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.

leica 5cm f/1.5 summarit + leica m3 + Black and white film
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