LEICA 21mm f/3.4 LEITZ SUPER-ANGULON REVIEW

LEICA 21mm f/3.4 LEITZ SUPER-ANGULON

The Leica Super-Angulon 21mm design was brought to Leitz from Schneider. It focuses very close (0.4m) which is amazing for a Leica M lens, and the square-shaped bokeh blurs as well. It is a sharp lens, with its beautiful rectilinear perfection. Using a Super-Angulon will instantly turn any photographer into Jeanloup Sieff.

Not for Landscapes

Usualy, the further a lens’ focal length departs from the 50mm, the less useful and more challenging it becomes. The Super-Angulon is not a real substitute for perspective pontrol lens for architecture and landscapes. It is really effective at getting really close and level to a subject. Not only can you isolate a close subject, much more background context can be captured than a ‘normal’ lens.

LEICA 21mm f/3.4 LEITZ SUPER-ANGULON

Digital Leica

Super Angolan is usable on digital Leica M cameras.
The issue is the color shift on the edges and corners, the lens is fine for b&w. The tones on b&w film can be beautiful. It flares fairly easily. The other issue is overexposes. It works fine in live view(leica m240/leica m10/leica m11), it overexposes in non-live view(leica m8/leica m9).
It’s a lens produced in the 1960s that really needs film to show its best. Lens do not have to be perfect to be wonderful.

F4.0 vs F3.4

The f3.4 Super Angulon is optically better than the f4.0 version.

LEICA 21mm f/3.4 LEITZ SUPER-ANGULON

Voigtlander 21mm

The Voigtlander 21mm lens would be a much more reasonably priced approach. But, Voigtlander users will be tempted by the Super-Angulon in the future again and again. Because of its classic design, the Super-Angulon seems to have more of a nostalgic attraction. There are many who love it.

Good lens, good camera, and a roll of film: this is my ideal life.

LEICA 21mm f/3.4 LEITZ SUPER-ANGULON
Filter: 48mm UV, VII.
Hood: 12501
Front cover: 14102
Rear cover: 14042
Stock: less than 6000.
Focus lever: metal crescent focus lever.
Minimum focusing distance: 0.4m
LEICA 21mm f/3.4 LEITZ SUPER-ANGULON
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Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux II Pre-asph

leica summilux 35 1.4 pre-asph

Glow

The lens is a bit soft, suffers from chromatic aberrations and vignettes at f/1.4 maximum aperture. It produces soft glow with shallow depth of field and has a swirly type of bokeh when shot wide open. Hence its nickname, the “Leica glow”. This type of soft and glow bokeh—people either love it or hate it.

LEICA 35MM SUMMILUX F1.4 PRE-ASPH

Although there are many sharp lenses in my collection, I also like the beauty of photography, not just the perceived technical perfection. The special dreamy glow cannot be recreated with software, it can only be achieved in-camera. ​It is excellent for street portraits with its glowing effect and becomes very sharp when stepping down the aperture like every other Leica lenses.

LEICA 35MM SUMMILUX F1.4 PRE-ASPH

In fact, in the three “Leica Glow” lenses I have used, “Leica Glow” is not so easy to appear, especially in film photography and low light environments.

Bokeh

It is neither the smooth and buttery total background obliteration of Leica Summilux 35mm f/1.4 ASPH nor is it the progressive blur bokeh of Summicron 35mm f/2 v4(7-elements)—though it is closer to the latter.

LEICA 35MM SUMMILUX F1.4 PRE-ASPH

Its important to be clearthis is no where near a perfect lens. Even though the “Leica glow” lets you shoot at f/1.4 – it shouldn’t be used at this aperture all the time. If you want a sharp f1.4 lens then you wouldn’t want to go near this old lens, insteadits either the Summilux 11874 or the Summilux 11663 you should be going for. If you want a legacy lens with Bokeh and sharpness you would be much better off with the Leica summicron 35mm f2 v4. The “king of Bokeh” will give you bokeh and sharpness, but what it won’t do is give you the “Leica glow”.

LEICA 35MM SUMMILUX F1.4 PRE-ASPH

Not every photo looks good under f/1.4. Stopping down the “Leica glow” yields excellent results. I noticed that at every aperture between f/2.8-f/8 the “Leica glow” almost up there with “king of Bokeh” in regards to resolution, colors and vignetting.

LEICA 35MM SUMMILUX F1.4 PRE-ASPH

Balance

When Summilux 35mm ASPH lenses are optically better than this old lens, why would anyone want to use it? Its current popularity is no doubt due to its low cost, not its ‘soft glow’.

LEICA 35MM SUMMILUX F1.4 PRE-ASPH

What I wanted, and got from the lens was the swirly bokeh and the dreamy glow the lens produces when wide open. The softness and vignetting are mitigated a lot with smaller apertures. Consider its small size and light weight, it’s well balanced on a Leica M.

LEICA 35MM SUMMILUX F1.4 PRE-ASPH
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Leica 50mm f/1.4 summilux pre-asph e46 Titanium reviews

Nice Leica Lens

I often get approached by friends who are interested in “getting a nice Leica lens.” We talked about the budget. Some of them may be in the position of getting his first Leica lens, others may hold Leica Summicron looking for an upgrade . 

Leica 50mm F/1.4 Summilux-M Titanium E46 + LEICA M6

Wide Aperture

Low light performance and bokeh aren’t the benefits to a Summicron f/2 lens, and a Summilux can give you great low light performance by providing a wider f/1.4 aperture. The wider aperture not only gathers a lot of light, it also produces good bokeh . A Leica Summilux lens is usually the way to go if you want to shoot with a wide aperture.For many people, a wide aperture lens is going to open up a lot of creative opportunities that a narrow aperture one won’t. 

Old Lens Life

Leica old lenses often have an added bonus, they maintain their value very well compared to new lenses. If you buy a Leica Summilux 50mm f/1.4 E46 and find you don’t use it much, you can often resell it and get most of your money 

Leica 50mm F/1.4 Summilux-M Titanium E46 + LEICA M6

Street Photography

Leica Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 ASPH is a big, expensive lens and people definitely take notice when you walk around with it. It’s a fantastic lens, but also costs three times more than a Summilux e43. I didn’t use it much on my street photography because it’s bulky and heavy.

Leica 50mm F/1.4 Summilux-M Titanium E46 + LEICA M6

Version

This E46 version sort of transitions between earlier E43 and the current ASPH:

The E43 is optically the same(designed by Mandler), but it only focuses to 1 meter vs 0.7 meter for the E46 version. The E46 and ASPH have the same built in hoods(designed by Peter Karbe).

Weigh

Basically Leica kept black chromed lenses in aluminum body, lighter weight, silver chromed in brass body, heavier.  The brass body lenses are more solid than aluminum body lenses. It weighs 275g/9.7oz in black, and 380g/13.4oz in silver and titanium.

Leica 50mm F/1.4 Summilux-M Titanium E46 + LEICA M6
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Leica CM a Compact Leica M Camera

LEICA CM

Compact Leica M

The Leica CM viewfinder is more to the left than the Minilux, and has a manual focus selector with a focus by wire manual mode, making CM a Basic Rangefinder. CM is a compact M camera.

Operating a Leica CM is similar to operating any other point and shoot camera but there are a few additional precautions that can be taken to ensure quality photographs. 

Center Focus

LEICA CM

It can only focus on a spot in the center of the image. If someone moves, you’re back to square one.

Minimum Hand Held Shutter Speed

In general, the guideline is that the minimum handheld shutter speed is the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens. For a 40mm Leica Summarit lens, it’s 1/40th of a second. It can be a bit too slow to take sharp photos of all but still human subjects. If you’re trying to take close up portraits, for example, someone will almost certainly move and look fuzzy.

LEICA CM

Not Too Close

Although the CM viewfinder shows the focus setting, the lens and the viewfinder are completely separate. When you get too close, you probably aren’t going to get the picture you intended to get.

Manual focus

In Manual mode, Leica CM is similar to Leica M system. Experianced shooters can focus anywhere else in the frame, they ​learn by how much to move the focus dial to compensate blindly.

Attention

The focus dial moves very easily out of position when one tries to change the diaphragm value or take it out of the bag. When focusing is performed manually, the corresponding distance is also displayed on the camera back LC-Display.

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LEICA HEKTOR 28mm F/6.3 Review

Hektor is a Dog

LEICA 28mm HEKTOR F/6.3

The maximum aperture of a lens is important that it’s included in the name of the Leica lens itself. But this lens is an exception. The maximum aperture of the Hektor lenses is 6.3 to 2.5. Hektor is an optical structure with 6 elements in 3 groups. The name is taken from the name of a dog raised by optical designer Berek, and Hektor is also the name of a hero in Greek mythology.

Small aperture

We are conditioned to constantly be chasing huge apertures. With a massive aperture like f/0.95 or f/1.0 Leica Noctilux we automatically assume quality. However, in most situations it is simply not relevant. Small apertures will still produce beautiful images. Apertures at around f/5.6 and f/8 are often the apertures that will maximise the sharpness of a lens. 

Street Photography

LEICA 28mm HEKTOR F/6.3

This small lens packs a big punch for taking photos in the streets. Its maximum aperture is f/6.3. That’s too small as opposed to the f/1.4-f/2 options. Nonetheless, it will give you both your foreground and background are as sharp as possible from front to back.

When choosing lenses for street photography, we usually want achieve the maximum depth of field by choosing a small aperture. F/5.6 – f/8 are loved by street photographers because of the large depth of fields, and there needs to be enough light too.

Landscape Photography

Landscape photographers gravitate toward small aperture settings, such as f/8, f/11, and even f/16. 

Digital M

The big problem that arises is that the dust spots you have on your digital Ms sensor become painfully visible. Dust spots are clearly visible due to a small aperture. Dust spots are annoying because you have to clone them out later in the post-processing. For this reason alone, you may want to avoid LEICA HEKTOR 28mm F/6.3. With film, it’s not a problem.

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Kodak Tri-x 400TX Black & White Film

kodak tri-x 400TX + leica 21 f3.4 super angulon

I had a friend ask me if I had changed the style of my photography. My opinions may have changed, but not the style of the photo. This is not new style! This is an illusion of new style!

Because my new photo is from 5 years ago. It’s not that the style has changed, it’s that the times have changed.

Photography is not just about the technicalities of composition, it’s about seeing and noticing what’s around you and communicate it through your photos.I still have a bag of undeveloped film, they are time capsules.

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Leica Elmar 35mm f/3.5 With Black & White Film Review

leica elmar 35mm f/3.5 with black & white films

Cookies in the pocket Leica Elmar35 f/3.5

When I am no longer able to change my vision, I am challenged to change my lens. Max Berek creates 35mm and 50mm    ‘cookies’. Tiny and beautiful. Sometimes I don’t want to bring a camera bag, so I put another Elmar in my pocket with my cookies.

“It’s a Elmar.”

“It’s a cookie.”

“It’s a cookie Elmar.”

“You may think I’m small, but I have a universe inside my mind.”

leica elmar 35mm f/3.5 with black & white films

Beautiful and Strong

This 80 year old lens is like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong. Elmar35 is made of brass. After more than half a century, you can also use it on digital cameras using an adapter. Elmar35 is a lens that will never break.

Street Photography

This    Elmar 35mm is an ideal fit for street photography with a film camera. Many prefer it permanently mounted on the camera, ready for instant use, instead of the collapsible 50mm Elmar.

Sharpness

Although the corners can be a bit soft when shot wide open, the center of the image is sharp. Shrinking the aperture can increase sharpness and also increase the depth of field.

Bokeh

You read it right, it did have bokeh when wide open. The bokeh as seen here is very pleasing, being natural and rounded. A bit like the bokeh of summicron 35mm f2 v1, and a bit like the bokeh of summicron 35mm f2 v4, or a mixture of them. It is not a ‘Dream Lens’, but you can take a nap.

leica elmar 35mm f/3.5 with black & white films

Filter

Leica yellow filters for A36 is a good filter to use to increase contrast and tonal separation for black and white photography. Because a yellow filter absorbs blue, it provides significantly greater contrast between blue and yellow or white subjects.

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Leica Elmar 50mm f/3.5 With Black & Bhite Films Review

Leica 5cm 3.5 Elmar with black & white film

The Birth of Standard lens

The Ur-Leica of 1914 is the prototype for the first line of cameras that used film in the 24 x 36mm format. It is known that Barnack built at least three UR Leicas and experimented with lenses, the retractable Mikro-Summar 42mm f/4.5.

The technical definition of a standard lens is one whose focal length roughly matches the diagonal or the film. For a standard 24 x 36mm format camera this gives a focal length of around 43mm. In reality, the actual focal length designed by Ernst Arbeit seems to be closer to 43mm.

Max Berek calculated the Elmax 50mm f/3.5 lens for the Ur-Leica, with “Elmax” being an abbreviation of “Ernst Leitz and MAX (Berek)”. In the production Leica I, the 42mm lens was replaced by the optically superior Elmax 50mm f/3.5.

Since then, 50mm has become the standard lens, although some companies do sell lenses which are closer to 43mm focal length.(Pentax 43mm f/1.9, Contax 45mm f/2)

Safe and Comfortable

I love the tiny collapsible 50mm Elmar f:3.5. I’m too shy to use a big lens for street photography. When there is so much light, I set the aperture at f5.6 – f8, Elmar 50mm makes me feel safe and comfortable. All I need is an ISO 400 film and I am ready for some serious streetwork.

Tessar-type

This was one of the best Tessar-type lenses of the day, made of 4 elements in 4 groups, with some loss in the outer zones when used wide open. I find it is sharper than the Summar and Summitar by stopping down, even just a stop or two. But not only does Elmar f:3.5 take much sharper pictures. Contrast it is much better, too.  

All uncoated lenses have lower contrast and flares which were best for me on BW.

f22 Red Scale.

I’ve got several 3.5 Elmars smallest aperture is f/18. Only one is the last series with f:22, and the red scale.

On Digital Ms

The lens can be used on digital Ms with an L39-M adapter. But Collapsible Lenses Cause Sensor Dust. I use 3.5 Elmars all the time and have noticed more dust using them. I find the Leica M9 sensor seems to like collecting dust a little more than my DLSRs which have built-in automatic sensor cleaning . 

It would be possible that collapsing or uncollapsing the lens pumps air along with dust into the mount. I provided you do not collapse it when it is mounted on the digital M camera.

I’m not willing to clean my sensor more often knowing that I get non-collapsible lenses on Digital Ms. There’s another way, instead of worrying about digital sensor collecting dust, shift your energy to shooting film.

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Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron Rigid Is The Second Choice

Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron Rigid

Sound

I like the sound of turning the aperture ring. It was a small, clean sound, like the snapping of a flower’s stem. It’s a pity that this sound can’t be heard in later Leica lenses.

Beautiful

No other 50mm lens in the world is as beautiful as Leica Rigid. The sad truth is that certain types of things can’t go backwards. 

On CMOS and CCD

Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron Rigid is a lens that performs really well on both film and digital. It has a gentler rendition, lower contrast on CMOS and CCD sensors.

Condition

Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron Rigid is not so easy to find in good optical condition. It’s pretty rare for a lens of that age to have no damage. 

Price

I have got myself a 50mm f/2 Rigid For a very good price. However, its price has doubled in the past 5 years. You are going to find Summicron-M 50mm V4 if you are on the budget.  Rigid is the second choice.

Rigid VS V4

The Rigid is supposed to be sharper than the collapsible ones. I pretty much exclusively use the Summicron-M 50mm V4 now as my 50mm, which has better coatings and may even be sharper. 

Rigid DR

The Rigid DR is great, but a little bit heavy. Rigid was best for me on BW, V4 is amazing on color. Personally, I don’t recommend DR, If you get the DR and later get a digital Leica you will need a different lens. 

Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron Rigid
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Leica M6 is Stuck, Leica M6 is Popular

LEICA M6

Leica M6 is Stuck

One, remember to look through the viewfinder and not through the film counter window. Because the Leica M6 film counter is stuck. There are plastic parts under the film counter, which can break and the counter cannot reset to “0”.

Two, never take a closer look at the top plate. Many Leica m6 top plate finishes appear to be bubbling up under the paint.

Three, if you are lucky enough to find a new special edition, remember it is limited and don’t use it, it should stay in the Moisture Proof box.

Leica M6 is Popular

You like Leica cameras not only because of their appearance, but because they are easy to use, buy, and repair. The Leica m6 is such a camera.

M6 is the first M with in-camera metering. Metering is one of the most important aspects of film photography, especially for the newbies who switch from digital to film.

Not every photographer likes to run through the Sunny 16 rule to shoot a film. It’s not accurate.

Maybe, have an In-camera metering, that is the reason why Leica M6 is so popular.

LEICA M6
LEICA M6
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