Photography Review Index

Nikkor 5cm f/1.1 | Nikon 50mm F1.1 LTM Lens

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Nikkor 50mm f1.1 lens was the world’s second fastest production lens since the release of Zunow 50mm f1.1. Zunow began the development for ultra fast lenses in 1953 and Nikon joined the competition a few years later in 1956.

The Nikkor 50mm F1.1 is a rare and collectible lens. It is an impressive lens that offers ultra shallow depth of field at f1.1 in reasonable size and weight.

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Production Versions

  1. Internal Nikon Mount (1500 units)
  2. External Nikon Mount (1800 units)
  3. Leica Screw Mount / LTM (200 units)

The Lens also can be modified to Leica M Mount through a professional technician, which allows it to be used on Leica M Rangefinders without the need of adapters.

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Build Quality

The Nikkor 50mm F1.1 is a solidly constructed lens with different barrel design but same optics throughout its version variants. Normally, the barrel design is consisting of a black paint lens body with a chrome barrel ring on top. The lens reviewed here has been modified to Leica M mount, which displays an extra section of mount finished in matte black.

The size and weight of the lens is similar to the Voigtlander 50mm F1.1 or the Leica 50mm F1.2 Noctilux, which is not too heavy and well balanced on Leica Rangefinders. The lens is relatively compact considering it is an ultra fast lens with a maximum aperture of F1.1.

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Common Issues

A) Separated Lens Element

B) Damaged Diaphragm Blades

Both issues can be fixed by a skilled technician.

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Image Quality

The Nikkor 50mm F1.1 produces decent sharpness when shot wide open and offers a very shallow depth of field. At its maximum aperture of F1.1, It is sharp in the center but soft around the corners. However, the sharpness increases gradually when stepping down until it reaches peak sharpness at F8. The rendering of the lens is very similar to its little brother the Nikkor-SC 50mm F1.4  with classical Nikon rendering and signature vintage soft glow when shot wide open.

Nikon applied their lastest optical technology at the time by applying guass elements to three convex lenses. This results more glass to weaken each lens element in order to reduce the curvature of field and correct spherical aberration As a result of its symmetric optical design, the lens achieves low distortion, minimal lateral chromatic aberration and high resolving power.

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Nikkor 50mm F1.1 vs Canon 50mm F0.95

The Canon 50mm f0.95 is about twice the size of Nikkor 50mm f1.1 and the Nikkor 50mm f1.1 is about half of the weight of the Canon 50mm f0.95 lens.

The Canon 50mm f0.95 was produced in greater numbers hence is much less expensive. The Nikon lens design is 9 elements in 7 groups and the Canon design is 7 elements in 5 groups. Therefore, the Canon used a newer optical design in their lenses that requires less elements allowing extra light to be transmitted.

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Conclusion

The Nikkor 50mm F1.1 lens was designed more than 50 years ago and still remains a legend in the rangefinder world. As the second ultra fast lens ever produced in history and it continues to live up to modern imaging standards.

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Specifications

 

Production Year: 1956

 

Construction: 9 Elements / 7 Groups

 

Lens Design: Optics designed by Murakami Saburo. Gauss type elements with three rare-earth lanthanum convex lenses

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.1 - F16

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 1m

 

Filter Size: 62mm

 

Weight: 400g

 

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Nikkor-S.C. 5cm f/1.4 | Nikon 50mm F1.4 LTM Lens Review

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See comparison with the Legendary Lens

Nikkor 5cm f/1.1 | Nikon 50mm F1.1 LTM

If you are looking for a vintage lens with classic character and don’t mind the sharpness then look no further. The Nikkor-SC 5cm f1.4 or commonly known as the Nikon 50mm F1.4 LTM lens is the perfect choice. It is compact, solid, unique and affordable at the same time.

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Build Quality

The First Impression of the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens is that it feels incredibly solid and dense. The lens is small and compact but it is well constructed as the entire body is made of chrome brass. It is extremely high quality lens and feels balanced when mounting on Leica M rangefinders. Overall, It offers a compact and solid package.

 

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Image Quality

The Nikkor 50mm f1.4 provides great image quality with full of character. When shot wide open, the image sharpness isn’t clinically sharp like some Leica lenses but it produces a soft glow common only to certain vintage lenses. However, it also lacks contrast and clarify like on most modern lenses.

At its minimum aperture of f1.4, the point of focus is relatively sharp and the out of focus area provides the soft vintage glow. The sharpness increases dramatically when stepping down the aperture with its peak image performance between f5.6 - f8. The lens does suffer the common issues with older lenses such as chromatic aberration and vignetting. The image quality isn’t perfect but it is unique with classic characteristics, which makes it perfect for monochrome renderings.

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Specifications


Lens Mount: Leica Thread Mount | LTM


Production Years: 1950s


Construction: 7 Elements / 3 Groups


Diaphragm: 10 Blades


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.4 - F16


Closet Focusing Distance: 1m


Filter Size: 43mm


Weight: 275g


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Practical Use

The Nikkor 50mm f1.4 LTM is a small, compact, lightweight and solidly built lens. It feels very balanced on Leica rangefinders and easy to carry around to everywhere. This lens is in Leica thread mount (LTM), therefore will require a LTM-to-M adapter to work properly on Leica M bodies.

The aperture ring provides a soft click when selecting the aperture unlike distinctive aperture clicks on most Leica lenses. The focusing ring does have a lock mechanism for infinity but once unlocked by pressing down the little lock button, the focusing ring feels very smooth with a long focus throw when turning.

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Overall, the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 LTM Lens is intuitive to use and simple to operate once familiar with practicality of the lens. It is a vintage fast lens from the 1950s with classical rendering and yet it works perfectly on modern Leica Rangefinders.

 

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Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 M Mount Lens

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Comparison with Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 is always compared to the Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux Lens. This was the first ever ultra-fast lens that I have owned. It is a bargain compared to similar Leica offerings and often referred to as “Poorman’s Noctilux.”

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Image Quality

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 produces sharper images in comparison to the Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux with similar heavy vignetting when shot wide open. However, it is not as clinical sharp as the latest Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH lens. The Sharpness improves dramatically when stepping down to f2.8 or greater and it sharpens up across the range until diffraction sets in.

The Lens optical design employs high refractive index glass to help control spherical aberrations and various distortions for a high degree of sharpness and clarity. Additionally, the 10-blade diaphragm helps to produce a smooth bokeh quality when shot wide open.

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Build Quality

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 is a well constructed lens and solidly built. It is a heavy lens for rangefinder cameras but it’s relatively compact dimensions for an ultra-fast prime lens. It does have certain viewfinder blockage due to its dimensions.

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Specifications

 

Lens Mount: Leica M

 

Production Year: 2010 - Present

 

Construction: 7 Elements / 6 Groups

 

Diaphragm: 10 Blades

 

Design Features:  High Refractive Index Glass

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.1 - F16

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 1m

 

Filter Size: 58mm

 

Weight: 428g

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Practical Use

Users often consider this lens due to its low-light capabilities and its bokeh renderings. Wide open at the maximum aperture of F1.1 is suited to working in difficult lighting conditions and also affords extensive control over depth of field with selective focus techniques.

Functionally, the aperture ring is not as smooth as similar Leica lenses as it has distinctively clicks when turning the aperture. However, the focus ring feels almost as smooth as Leica lenses during practical use.

 

Conclusion

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 is exceptionally fast at its maximum aperture, which helps control shallow depth of field during practical shooting and also benefits working in difficult lighting conditions. It is a bargain when compared to similar Leica alternatives and performs about 80% as well in most situations.

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Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar M ASPH Lens

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Leica 21mm has been the widest focal length that offered for M bodies until the 18mm came out, which is the first time in over 50 years that Leica has expanded its focal length range for their M Cameras. I have had the pleasure owning both the 18mm and Leica 21mm Super-Elmar ASPH lenses so that I can conclude both lenses feel similar yet very different in practical use.

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Image Quality

The Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar ASPH is a compact lens despite its very large angle of view. It offers stellar imaging quality, vignetting and distortion are invisible with the lens in practical use.

The Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar utilizes one double sided aspherical element to reduce spherical aberrations and distortion for improved sharpness and clarity throughout the aperture range.

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Build Quality

The Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar is a well built lens and feels solid in the hands. It is compact and easy to use in practice, as the aspherical element contributes to the compact form factor and the manual focusing design allows 0.7m minimum focusing distance close to the subject.

This lens is also equipped with a rectangular lens hood that contributes substantially to the compact dimensions.

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Specifications  

Lens Code: 11 649

 

Production Year: 2009 - Present

 

Construction: 8 Elements / 7 Groups

 

Diaphragm: 9 Blades

 

Design Features:  One Aspherical Element with Two Aspheric Surfaces

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F3.8 - F16

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 0.7m

 

Filter Size: Optional 77mm Filter Holder

 

Weight: 310g

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Practical Use

The Leica 18mm F3.8 Super-Elmar is a relatively small and compact wide angle lens. Although it isn't the fastest lens, its wide field of view means that it can be handheld at shutter speeds as low as 1/20 second with still subjects. Even shot wide open the lens offers an even depth of field from 0.7m to infinity, which makes it ideal for candid street photography and landscape photography.

On Leica film cameras, the 18mm can be used with outstanding results and the extremely short focal length offers fascinating new creativities in image composition.

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Conclusion

The Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar ASPH excels at candid street photography, landscape and architectural photography that can be used unrestrictedly wide open as image renderings are excellent. The lens is very sharp also light to carry for everyday use, which making it the perfect wide angle lens.

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Leica WATE 16-18-21mm F4 Tri-Elmar-M ASPHERICAL Lens

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The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M also known as WATE (Wide Angel Tri Elmar) is an unique lens with special capabilities. The WATE is one of the best wide angle lens and it is Leica’s best attempt at zoom lenses which includes both the 16-18-21mm “WATE” and 28-35-50mm “MATE” lens. Those lenses are not essentially a zoom but offers capacity for three focal lengths selection within a single lens.

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M has Two Aspherical Elements incorporated within the lens design which helps to reduce barrel distortion especially at the widest focal length of 16mm. The WATE lens is a stellar optical performer and can be used at close proximity with its subject due to its minimum focusing distance. The Lens performs exceedingly well in areas such as Architecture and Landscape.

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Image Quality

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M has amazing optical performance delivering stellar sharpness even wide open and sharpness increases arriving its peak at around f8. The lens offers superb colour rendition and excellent contrast.

There is noticeable distortion especially at its widest focal length of 16mm. However, the lens design with two aspherical elements has reduced this barrel distortion significantly to acceptable standards. The distortion reduces dramatically at selection of other two focal lengths of 18mm and 21mm. The lens exhibits minimal chromatic aberration and vignetting even at wide open. Overall, the WATE is a stellar wide angle lens at all focal lengths.

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Build Quality

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M is well designed and constructed.  The lens feels extremely well-built and solid in the hands. It is easy to use and has very smooth focusing and focal length adjustments. There is essentially no finder blockage from either the hood or the 67mm filter adapter when the Universal finder is used.

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Specifications

Lens Code: 11 642

 

Production Year: 2006 - Present

 

Construction: 10 Elements / 7 Groups

 

Design Features:  Two Aspherical Elements, Floating Elements System and Internal Focusing Design

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F4 - F22

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 50cm

 

Filter Size: Optional 67mm Filter Holder

 

Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 54mm x 62mm

 

Weight: 335g

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Practical Use

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M is a compact and lightweight lens. The lens is one of the sharpest Leica wide angle lens and stellar performer at all three focal lengths. During practical use, the lens feel very balanced when mounting on Leica M cameras. It can be used with the Leica universal finder which offers all tri-focal viewfinder coverage and there is essentially no viewfinder blockage. Alternatively, Leica electronic viewfinder or Liveview function can be utilised on newer Leica M digital cameras.

 

Conclusion

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M lens is configured for ultra-wide photography with an M-mount rangefinder camera. The lens is compact, sharp, contrasty, rangefinder-coupled and unique.

It is the perfect travel companion packing all three focal lengths into a single lens and with its unique application shines in Landscape, Architecture and B&W Photography.

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Leica 21mm F1.4 Summilux-M ASPH Lens

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The Leica 21mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH is the first of its kind lens offers ultra fast aperture of f1.4 at wide focal length of 21mm. The lens is a versatile performer and at its full aperture offers extremely shallow depth of field. It also incorporates a series of anomalous partial dispersion glass elements, and one aspherical element to help to control color fringing and various aberrations for improved clarity and sharpness. A floating elements system is used for maintained image quality throughout the focusing range to ensure maximum performance.

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Comparison

I have had the pleasure of owning both the Leica 21mm F3.4 Super-elmar ASPH and Leica 21mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH.

Although the Leica 21mm F1.4 Summilux is a much larger and heavier lens, it offers much more depth-of-field when shooting subjects at closer distance. It is a Lengendary Leica wide angle lens and unique due to its large aperture and capability to shoot in low light.

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Image Quality

The Leica 21mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH lens offers very sharp images with distinct Leica colours. The contrast and colour rendition is excellent towards saturated side. The lens exhibits minimum distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting due to its lens design. 

When shooting closer subjects at its widest aperture, the Leica 21mm F1.4 Summilux offers great separation of the subject from its background and produces pleasant and smooth bokeh.

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Build Quality

The Leica 21mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH is a large and heavy lens due to been a ultra-fast wide angle requires to carry a large portion of glass. The lens specifications is stated below and when mounting the lens on Leica M Camera bodies, it can feel front-heavy due to its size and weight.

However, the lens is extremely well-built to Leica highest build quality and feels solid during practical use on hands. The aperture ring clicks in place firmly and the focus ring is very smooth when turning. Overall, it is one of the highest quality wide angle lens you can get from Leica.

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Specifications 

Lens Code: 11 647

 

Production Year: 2008 - Present

 

Construction: 10 Elements / 8 Groups

 

Design Features:  1 Aspherical Element, 5 Low Dispersion Elements and 1 Floating Elements System

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.4 - F16

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 0.7m

 

Filter Size: Series VIII Filter in Lens Hood

 

Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 70mm x 66mm

 

Weight: 580g

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Viewfinder Options

  • Leica 21mm Plastic Finders
  • Leica 21mm Metal Finders
  • Voigtlander 21mm Finder
  • Zeiss ZI 21mm Finder
  • Contax 21mm Finder

 

Conclusion

The Leica 21mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH is a wide-angle prime features a bright and fast maximum aperture to benefit working in low-light conditions and for greater control over depth of field. The lens design and construction overall contribute to maximum performance and offers unique Leica rendering.

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Leica MP Collection Guide

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Leica MP stands for “Mechanical Perfection” which marks the pinnacle of Leica film cameras. Leica MP is a personal favourite film camera and I have had the pleasure of owning all sorts of variants Leica MP cameras including Leica MP Black Paint, Leica MP Matte Chrome a la carte, Leica MP-6, Leica MP3 LHSA, Leica MP Anthracite and other Limited Editions.

Read below for the Most well-known and Rare collectible Leica MP Editions:

 

Leica MP

Ongoing Production

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The Leica MP with its perfection craftsmanship incorporating cosmetic features of the M3 including the advance and rewind levers combined with the modern conveniences of the M6 such as TTL metering, shutter speed dial, film loading and motor interface. This combination created the most mechanical perfected film camera ever by Leica hence named the “Leica MP.”

 

 

Leica MP-3 LHSA

Limited to 1000 Pieces (Worldwide)

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Leica MP-3 was produced for LHSA (Leica Historical Society of America) back in 2005. The Leica MP-3 retains that Classic M3 look incorporating the convience of a Leics MP body, this combination is what is making it highly desirable. Leica produced 1000 sets of the MP-3 including 500 in chrome and 500 in black paint. All of the sets came in a very nice presentation box, with the camera, Leicavit winder (classic style) and a special edition 50mm Summilux APSH Lens.

The Leica MP3s are a close reproduction of the original Leica MP from the 1950s and 1960s. Only the front battery cover and the back adjusting dial for film speed indicate that the MP3 body is based upon the M6. The MP3 has the raised viewfinder window frame, extended eye bolts (for attaching the strap), and an external frame counter.

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Leica MP-6

Limited to 250 Pieces (Japan)

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The Leica MP6 was the Prototype Leica MP made exclusive for the Japan Market and only 250 units made out of the factory, making it extremely rare and collectible.

The MP-6 was basically the same as a regular MP, but it comes with the classic vulcanite leather found on the older Leica cameras, a Leica Camera AG Germany engraving on the top plate and on some of the later models an M6 iso selector. These simple cosmetic differences may not sounds like much, but they really make a difference and are instantly noticeable. They set the camera apart from the regular MP.

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Leica MP Hammertone LHSA

Limited to 1000 Pieces (Worldwide)

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The Leica MP Grey Hammertone LHSA is the 35th Anniversary model for the establishment of the Leica Historical Society of America.

The Camera incorporating a distinctly rare and unique grey hammertone finish, appers to be struck by a hammer. The Leica MP Hammertone Kit includes a Summicron-M 2/35 ASPH lens with the retro look of the 1950s and a Leicavit-M Rapidwinder.

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Leica MP Anthracite

Limited to 600 Pieces (Worldwide)

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The Highly Exclusive Special Edition Model was designed especially for the Japanese market and only limited to 600 pieces. Its lacquering is entirely hand-applied with Anthracite, and is resistant to abrasion. Anthracite came from Greek word, literally means "a type of coal", from Anthrax. It is a hard, compact variety of mineral coal that has a high lustre. It has the highest carbon count and contains the fewest impurities of all coals, despite its lower calorific content.

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Leica MP Edition Hermès

Limited to 500 Pieces (Worldwide)

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The elegant LEICA MP Hermès Camera, known as the “Edition Hermès” is a special edition of 500 silver-chrome Leica MP cameras covered with exquisite Barenia calfskin supplied by the famed Parisian high-fashion house Hermès.

 

 

Leica MP Olive

Limited to 100 Pieces (Japan)

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Leica MP Olive Set which was released to commemorating the opening of the Leica Kyoto store.

Leica MP olive set combines a Leica MP analog film camera with a 35mm f1.4 Summilux-M in silver finish and a cognac color strap. The body and the top and blase plate are made with a olive-colored finish. All operating parts are finished in silver chrome. The set is limited to 100 sets worldwide.

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Leica MP Blue Satin

Limited to 10 Pieces (Germany)

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Leica Camera AG specifically the Leica Store Berlin will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a very special Limited edition Leica MP Camera, which limited to only 10 units worldwide.

 "The camera housing with all controls as well as the complete version of the Summilux-M 1.4 50mm ASPH. Are neither lacquered nor chromium-plated, but are treated with blue lacquer. Blue Stain (german: "Blaubeize") is an intermediate step in production and stretches as the carrier surface for a later painting. Instead of the varnish we sealed the blue stain two times. This gives the combination a unique look which, on the one hand, subtly underscores the tool character, but on the other hand it also gives a subtle elegance. Each of the 10 cameras has a slightly different "pickling" and is absolutely individual."

Finishing off the camera is a housing cover made of soft grey cowhide and the black frame counter has red engravings. Each one also comes in a special edition box with neck strap.

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Leica MP Titanium 

(Looking for One)  

Limited to 150 Pieces (Japan)

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I have been searching to buy this MP for years. Please let me know if you or know anyone possibly have one. In my mind, this is the Pinnacle of all Leica film cameras and the Ultimate Piece that’s missing from my collection.

The Leica MP Titanium (0.72) camera was introduced in April 2007 to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the opening of Leica Store Ginza in Tokyo, Japan. It was produced exclusively for the Japanese market and limited to only 150 pieces, which was never made available for sale anywhere other than the Ginza store in Japan.

All exterior metal parts and fittings are made of titanium, similar to the Leica M7 Titanium and the Leica M9 Titan. The camera weighs approximately 90 grams less than a regular MP. Even the special body cap is made from titanium, as is the ISO selector disc on the back of the camera. Titanium is a strong and lightweight metal which is also corrosion resistant, so this camera is very well protected. Unfortunately titanium is a very difficult metal to work with, as it has a very high melting point temperature making it an expensive metal to use in mass production. The Leica MP Titanium is one of the rarest and most beautiful modern M cameras that Leica has ever produced.

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Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux-M Lens Review

Compared with Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH Lens

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The Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux lens is a “Legend” among the Leica world and is renowned for its “Magical” qualities. It is not as clinical sharp as the latest Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux Asph lens but it’s unique rendering is what separate this lens from all other Leica lenses and remains special in today.

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Image Quality

The Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux lens has the most unique rendering out of all the Noctilux. It produces “magical” glow with its smooth bokeh and unique out of focus background. The lens is not too clinically sharp like the newer aspherical version but its sufficient sharpness combined with smooth rendering making it the preferable lens for Portraits.

It’s colour rendition is towards natural and classical side with just enough amount of contrast and saturation. The lens does produce purple fringing and vignetting when wide open. Although It is not perfect lens but certainly one of the lenses with the most character.

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Build Quality

The Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux lens is produced to very high Leica standards. It is a very solidly built lens but not as solid as latest Noctilux aspherical version. However, it weights less than the newer version and feels more compact size in the hands when mounted onto Leica M Cameras.

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Specifications (Lens Reviewed)

Lens Code: 11 822

 

Production Year: 1993 - 2008

 

Construction: 7 Elements / 6 Groups

 

Diaphragm:  10 Blades

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1 - F16

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 1m

 

Filter Size: 60mm

 

Weight: 630g

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Practical Use

The Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux lens shines at night with its ultra low light capturing ability when wide open aperture at F1. In comparison, the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH is even more capable at low-light situations with its ability to capturing 11% more light at F0.95 than F1.

The lens is “magical” at shooting stationary subjects especially people portraits or objects. However, it does have a Long Focus throw which can undermine its street capturing abilities especially of moving subjects.

 

Conclusion

The Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux-M is the only F1 lens for 35mm photography manufactured by Leica. It’s almost “magical” rendering and amazing low-light capability is due to its extraordinary optical performance.

The Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux-M produces smooth out-of-focus area with outstanding colour rendition. This ultra-fast lens is capable of absorbing all surrounding light and output the most amazing bokeh you will ever see. All those things together is what making this legendary lens so unique and special.

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Noctilux Versions

Leica 50mm F1.2 Noctilux 

The world's first production aspherical camera lens, with two hand-ground aspherical surfaces.

 

Lens Code  11 820

Production Year  1966 - 1975

Filter Size   Series VIII Filters

Weight   515g

 

Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux-M

There are 3 cosmetic versions of this lens. They all have the same optics with minimum focusing distance of one metre.

 

First version

Lens Code  11 821

Production Year   1976 - 1983

Filter Size   58mm

Weight   580g

 

Second version

Lens Code  11 821

Production Year   1983 - 1993

Filter Size   60mm

Weight   580g

 

Third version (Lens Reviewed)

Lens Code  11 822

Production Year   1993 - 2008

Filter Size   60mm

Weight   630g

 

Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH M Lens 

Lens Code  11 602

Production Year   2008 - Present

Filter Size   60mm

Weight   700g

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Hasselblad 110mm F2.0 Planar T* Lens Review

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I would like to share my recent experiences with a legendary Hasselblad 110mm F2.0 Planar lens. I am a big fan of super shallow depth of field and bokehlicious images, I believe with the correct use of aperture that one can enhance the subject of the photo. The Hasselblad medium format film camera has been my companion for quite some time now, it is the "perfect" MF camera for me and part of this is due to the superb qualities of those Carl Zeiss lenses. After owning and shooting with a variety of these lenses, there is always a lens in back of my mind. 

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The Hasselblad 110mm F2.0 Planar lens is indeed a "dream" lens, just like the noctilux of Leica which outputs incredible bokeh and unique characteristics. I have been searching lens on the internet for quite awhile since there are not too many of them available at once. There are basically two versions of the lens: the F and FE models of the lens. The F lens can only be used on focal plane Hasselblad bodies with builtin camera shutter and the FE version has some electronic parts specially designed for FE series Hasselblad bodies such as the 203FE, which demands a higher price tag for its more modern electronics. My lovely 2000 FC/M camera that I did my street photography work with has broken down due to focal plane failure so I upgraded to a more recent model, the 201F with a cloth focal plane shutter rather than fragile titanium ones in the 2000FC/M. It is the perfect match with the Hasselblad 110mm F2 lens and this combination works like a charm. 

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The first thing you notice when you are holding the lens is quite heavy, coming at 750 grams, which is significantly heavier than my Hasselblad 100mm F3.5 C lens. The F version of this lens were produced between 1991&1998 and the construction consists of 7 elements/5 groups with the aperture ranges from an insane F2 to F16 in 1/2 stop increments. Keep in mind that F2 in the Medium Format world is approximately similar to F1 in the 35mm format, which produces incredibly shallow paperthin DOF. In practical use, the lens at the start was very challenging to use, especially for living subjects on the streets that I like to photograph but once you get used to it then everything becomes easier. Just as a side note, I would recommend for Hasselblad users to change their focusing screen to either Matte or Matte D with increased brightness/clarity when working with this lens, which helps significantly in practical use. The filter size for this particular lens is in bayonet mount (Bay 70) and I would recommend the 77mm UV size adapter since this is a much affordable option. 

The performance of the Hasselblad 110mm F2.0 Planar lens is truly remarkable, it deserves to wear the crown of superfast lenses in the Medium Format world. The rendering is typical Zeiss with tendency to the warm side with vivid colours and the out of focus areas are pleasing to the eye with smooth bokeh. The images coming out of this lens are very sharp, probably not as sharp as the Hasselblad 100mm F3.5 lens since that one is the sharpest but the 110mm lens possesses very unique and special characteristics. If you like superfast lenses and looking for an unique lens in the medium format world then the Hasselblad 110mm lens cannot be missed.

 

My Flickr Set: 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jerrybay/sets/72157632109503805/ 

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Canon 50mm F0.95 “Dream lens” Review

Japancamerahunter 

Japancamerahunter 

I have done a review on the more accessible and affordable Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM lens. The Canon 50mm F0.95 also known as the “Dream Lens” was designed to replace the Canon 50mm F1.2 to become the fastest lens and offers superior optics.

The Canon 50mm F0.95 lens was made back in 1960s and 1970s for the Canon 7/7s Rangefinder and it held the crown for the fastest production lens in the world at the time.

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Rendering

The “Dream Lens” is famous for its out-of-focus rendering that offers smooth bokeh and extremely shallow depth of field, which combines to produce the “Dreamy” effects.

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Image Quality

The Lens offers great sharpness that is not clinical. It produces “magical” soft glow with smooth out-of-focus areas and extremely shallow depth of field at its maximum aperture of f0.95.

The lens has classic rendering with natural colours and great contrasts. It is excellent for portraits with its glowing effect and becomes very sharp when stepping down the aperture like every other Leica lenses.

This lens has minimum flare and chromatic aberration but it does have some vignetting. 

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Build Quality

The lens is very solidly built with full metal construction. The weight of the lens is towards the heavy side with similar weight to the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux. However, the lens feels more compact in the hands due to the build construction consists of shorter length and larger diameter.

The focus ring feels very smooth when turning and the aperture ring clicks in place very nicely. It is a well-made lens overall.

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Lens Specifications

 

Construction: 7 Elements / 5 Groups

 

Diaphragm: 10 Blades

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F0.95 - F16

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 1m

 

Filter Size: 72mm

 

Weight: 605g

 

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Production Versions

 

  •  Standard Canon 50mm F0.95 Lens: Approximately 20000 units were produced. However, significantly less number of units remained today.

 

  • Cinematic Canon 50mm F0.95 “TV” Lens: Around 7000 units of “TV” version were made hence making this the even rarer lens. This version offers a different coating to create slightly cinematic renderings.

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Lens Conversion

The Lens was originally designed for the Canon Rangefinders. However, if you find a clean copy of the lens without any optical issues then it is worthwhile to convert into M mount.

It is recommended this conversion process to be done through an experienced and highly skilled technician. This way the converted lens is likely to offer perfect rangefinder coupling and enjoyable experience on Leica M cameras.

For Conversion and Customisation, Please read my article on Camera Customisation.

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Conclusion

The Canon 50mm F0.95 “Dream Lens” offers great userability and extremely shallow depth of field. If you are looking for a lens that has unique rendering with “dreamy and glowing” bokeh effects and don’t mind the size or weight then this will be the perfect lens for you.

 

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95 Street Shot @F2 

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95

Street Shot @F2 

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95   Street Shot @F2

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95  

Street Shot @F2

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95   Street Shot @F2

Leica Monochrome + Canon 50mm F0.95  

Street Shot @F2

Camera Gear Customisation - The Dream Lens

Japancamerahunter ©

Japancamerahunter ©

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Canon 50mm F0.95

 "The Dream Lens"

 

Recently I have acquired this mint condition Canon 50mm F0.95 lens and decided to customise it to match my Leica Monochrome. The Monochrome is a special paint camera with Matte Black colour coating and my personal preference has always been stealthy and low-key. Since decided to paint the Canon 50mm F0.95 "Dream Lens" in Matte Black to match with the Monochrome camera body then I reached towards the help from Bellamy Hunt known as the "Japancamerahunter", who is an expert in camera gear customisation and see the result that we have produced.

Japancamerahunter ©

Japancamerahunter ©

Japancamerahunter ©     The Mijonju Show Demostrates The "Stealth Mode" Canon 50mm F0.95 Dream Lens in The Video Below:

Japancamerahunter ©

 

 

The Mijonju Show Demostrates The "Stealth Mode" Canon 50mm F0.95 Dream Lens in The Video Below:

 

In the Past, I have obtained several of my unique collections from the Japancamerahunter and strongly recommends everyone to check out his customisation service in the link below:

 

Camera Gear Customisation - Japan Camera Hunter

 

My Collection - HASSELBLAD & ROLLEIFLEX

 

Below is my collection of the "Holy Trinity" Royal Gold and Blue Cameras that realised the Collector's Ultimate Dream.

 

Hasselblad 503CX CF "Golden Blue"

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This is Hasselblad's 1941-1991 50th Anniversary model and the camera is particularly distinctive with Dark Blue vinyl leather covering on the 24K Gold-Plated body. This is a highly collective camera and only 700 units ever made worldwide.

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Rollei 35 Royal Urushi Gold

Photo courtesy and Copyright 2000 of Duncan Meeder, Foto Henny Hoogeveen, Holland.

Photo courtesy and Copyright 2000 of Duncan Meeder, Foto Henny Hoogeveen, Holland.

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This is the most exclusive Rollei 35 ever made. The Top and bottom plate is finished with Japanese hand painted blue shimmering Japanese "Urushi" lacquer, with the rest of the metal part coated with 24 Carat Gold. Each camera came with a Wooden casket, Real leather case, Gold-tipped strap and a 20REB Rollei Flash. Only 1,000 units built in Braunschweig of Germany in part runs of just 200 units a year.

 

 

 

 

 

Rolleiflex 2.8GX Royal Urushi Gold

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This is the most exclusive Special Edition with Gold plated surfaces covered with Brown African Lizard and Hand-finished Japanese Urushi high gloss lacquer in Royal Blue. It is the most exotic Rolleiflex produced and is limited to just 150 pieces in the world.

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My Collection - LEICA

Below are a selection of my Leica camera collections and this post will be updated once I acquire further unique camera gears. 

 

Leica MP Anthracite

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The highly exclusive special-edition model was designed especially for the Japanese market and only limited to 600 pieces. Its lacquering is entirely hand-applied with Anthracite, and is resistant to abrasion. Anthracite came from Greek word, literally means "a type of coal", from Anthrax. It is a hard, compact variety of mineral coal that has a high lustre. It has the highest carbon count and contains the fewest impurities of all coals, despite its lower calorific content. 

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Leica MP-6

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The Leica MP-6 was the prototype Leica MP made exclusive for Japan and only 250 pieces made out to the entire market. It distinguishes from a regular MP with classic vulcanite leather, Leica Logo engraving on the top plate and ISO selection dial at back of the camera. 

Leica MP-6 with matching Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux in Black Paint.

Leica MP-6 with matching Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux in Black Paint.

 

Leica 0 Series

Leica 0 Series with 35 Anastigmat 1:3,5 F=50mm

Leica 0 Series with 35 Anastigmat 1:3,5 F=50mm

Originally produced in only small quantities in 1923/24, this series can be regarded as the basis of modern 35mm photography and the precursor of the first commercially marketed photographic camera, the Leica I, launched in 1925 by the Optical Works of Ernst Leitz, Wetzlar. 

My Gear

-Leica-
Leica M Typ240 (Chrome)  
Leica M Monochrom Typ246 (Matte Black)  
Leica M9 Sliver (Custom Carbon) 
Leica M9-P (Black Paint)
Leica Monochrom (Chrome)
Leica MP à la carte (Matte Black)
Leica MP Anthracite (Limited Edition)
Leica M-A (Chrome)
Leica MP-6 (Japan Edition)
Leica M6 Black
Leica M3 Olive Bundeseigentum
Leica M3 Black Paint
Leica M2
Leica 0 Series

Lenses:
Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux (Brass Chrome)
Schneider Xenon 50mm F0.95
Canon 50mm F0.95 "Dream Lens"
Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM
MS Optical 50mm F1.1 Sonnetar M
Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH (Black & Chrome)
Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux Type 2 (Black)
Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux Black Paint
Zeiss 50mm F1.5 Sonnar ZM
Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 VM
Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.5 Aspherical VM
Leica 50 F2.0 Summicron

Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux V2

Leica 35mm F2.5 Summarit
Leica 35mm F2.4 ASPH Summarit (Chrome)
Voigtlander 35mm F2.5 Colour-Skopar Pancake VM

Leica 21mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH
Leica 21mm F3.4 Super-Elmar ASPH
Zeiss 25mm F2.8 Biogon T* ZM
Leica WATE 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar
Zeiss 15mm F2.8 Distagon T* ZM

-Hasselblad-
Hasselblad 2000FC/M
Hasselblad 201F
Hasselblad 503CX CF "Golden Blue" 50th Anniversary Edition
Hasselblad SWC
Hasselblad X-PAN

Lenses:
Carl Zeiss 150mm F4.0 Sonnar CF T* lens
Carl Zeiss 100mm F3.5 Planar C T* lens
Carl Zeiss 38mm F4.5 Biogon C T* lens
Carl Zeiss 110mm F2 Planar F T* lens


-Rolleiflex-
Rolleiflex 3.5E with Schneider Xenotar 75mm F3.5
Rolleiflex 2.8 GX Royal Urushi Gold Edition
Rollei 35 Royal Urushi Gold Collection

-Sony-
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Camera
Sony A7 Camera

Lenses:
Sony 16mm F2.8 Pancake
Sony 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 lens
Leica Lenses Adapter

-Ricoh-
Ricoh GR1v
Ricoh 28mm F2.8 lens
Ricoh GR Digital

-Polaroid-
Polaroid 110B
Polaroid SX-70 Customised

-Canon-
Canon 60D
Canon 5D Mark II

Lenses:
35L
50L
85L
70-200 F2.8 II
100L Macro
17-55mm F2.8
24-70L
24-105L
17-40L

Hasselblad SWC


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Introduction:

The Hasselblad SWC started in production back in the 1950s and ceased manufacturing until recent years. The Hasselblad SWC is abbreviated from Super Wide Camera at present and the original names when the camera was first introduced were “Supreme Wide Angle” (1954-55) and “Super Wide” (1956-57). Below are the highlights of the Hasselblad SWC’s manufacturing history:

The Photokina in Cologne 1954 was used to introduce the Hasselblad Super-Wide with a fixed 38mm f4.5 Zeiss Biogon lens mounted in a Compur-shutter. Super-Wide SWC/M was introduced in 1979, allowing the use of the Polaroid film magazine. The Hasselblad SWC & SWC/M was introduced in1979 then follow by the 903SWC in the year 1988, as the new 903SWC had a minor body change and came with the new viewfinder with built-in spirit level. Finally the last version was the abbreviated 905SWC model released in 2001 with the compromised optics consists of 8 elements only.


Specifications Overview:

·           Fixed Zeiss Biogon 38mm f/4.5 lens

·           Body Colors available: Black or Chrome trimmed

·          Interchangeable 120mm film backs: A12 or A24 backs

·          Adoptable to Modern Digital Backs

·         Polaroid film backs available and optional

·         Filter size: Series 63 drop-in (Series VIII)

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Lens:

·         The lens on the Hasselblad SWC is the legendary Zeiss 38mm f4.5 Biogon (equivalent to 21mm on the 35mm format) and it is probably the best wide angle made by Zeiss.

·         The Zeiss 38mm f4.5 Biogon is famous for its optical excellence, which is almost distortion-free and offers image perfection.

·         There are only two variations for this lens in terms of the coating, as one version with the T* coating and the other without.

·         The original Zeiss Biogon lens offers the 10 element design compared to the updated 905SWC with an abbreviated 8 element design.

 

Models:

There are seven versions of the Hasselblad SWC made throughout the years:

  1. 1959-1968: SWC silver lens barrel, all bodies chrome
  2. 1968-1973: SWC black lens barrel, but not T*, all chrome bodies
  3. 1973-1980: SWC black lens barrel T* coating, bodies can be either chrome or black
  4. 1980-1982: SWC/M-Polaroid back usable
  5. 1982-1985: SWC/M with CF lens and bubble level on body
  6. 1986-1988: SWC/M with CF lens and no bubble level on body
  7. 1989 to 2001: the 903SWC

There are also three types of Viewfinders made:

  • Type 1 1959-1969: standard "megaphone" finder
  • Type 2 1969-1985: standard finder with rubber at eyepiece
  • Type 3 1986-present: finder with built in bubble level

The latest version of the Hasselblad SWC is the model 905SWC, which was produced in the year 2001 and the optics have downgraded to 8 elements compared to 10 elements on previous models.

 

Practical Use:

The camera is relatively small and light, therefore it allows me to shoot up to 1/15 seconds without worrying about vibration. When shooting “street photography” with this camera, you will have to pre-focus to the distance that you anticipate the subject will be and shoot steady with both hands at waist-level. This strategy can be done in “blind” shooting since the depth of field is enormous.

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Advantages:

·         The lens offers almost distortion-free images.

·         The SWC is lightweight and small, so easily handheld-able.

·         The handling

·         The interchangeable film backs provide convenience when shooting on-the-go and allows quick swapping between b&w and colour films.

·         The build quality for this camera is rock-solid amazing.

·         It is easy to hyperfocus with this camera since the depth of field is great.

Disadvantages:

·         The lens is fixed as there is no option for interchangeable lenses.

·         The viewfinder is quite small and the older ones offer poor visibility due to its age.

·         There is no rangefinder system incorporated thus it is difficult for precise focusing.

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Mamiya vs Hasselblad Comparison:

When compare the Hasselblad SWC to the Mamiya 7 with 43mm lens that makes the SWC seems to be primitive, which is reasonable for a camera designed 50 years ago. 

The focusing system of both systems is different, whereas the Hasselblad SWC is scale-focus compared to the precise rangefinder on the Mamiya. In terms of optical design, it is suspicious that the Mamiya copied the same lens design as the Hasselblad SWC. However, the latest Hasselblad SWC model (905SWC) only consists of 8 elements in the optics, whereas the Mamiya still makes the original 10 elements version for its 43mm lens.

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MS Optical 50mm f1.1 Sonnetar for Leica M

Courtesy of Breguet Camera, whom I bought the lens from.

Courtesy of Breguet Camera, whom I bought the lens from.

 

The MS Optical 50mm f1.1 Sonnetar Lens is based on the classic Sonnar design by Zeiss, which was originally produced back in the 1920’s and it was famous for its beautiful rendering with high contrast.

All MS optical lenses are handcrafted by Mr. Miyazaki (宫崎), who is a modern-day genius optical engineer and lens designer. I had previous encounters with him to modify my Schneider Xenon 50mm F0.95 to M mount and he has the ability to modify almost any lens that you desire to the Leica M mount. Mr. Miyazaki created the MS-Optical 35mm f3.5 and 28mm f4 “Perar” Pancake lenses before and they are the size of a lens cap, which is absolutely amazing.

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Lens specifications:

{C}·         Sonnar type construction

{C}·         5 lenses in 4 groups with multi-coated surfaces

{C}·         True focal length of 51.7mm

{C}·         Lenses made of glass with ultra-high refractive index

{C}·         Apertures: f/1.1 to f/16

{C}·         Diaphragm is “made in Germany” (14 rounded blades from the pictures)

{C}·         Lens weight 190g (220g with hood and caps)

{C}·         Filter size M55

{C}·         Coma Manual adjuster on rear element

 

Optics:

·          Multi-coating of 2 layers on the Tantalum Glass.

·         Non-Click Stop German-made Iris, resulting smooth aperture turns.

·         Circular Centre 14 blade Iris, causing soft and dreamy effects.

·         Large Front element taking 55mm filter. For 55mm filter, note that it is mounted in reverse direction on the outside of lens front, then hood is screwed on the back of the filter.

 

Weight/Build:

·         Solid built with metal lens body and feels substantial in the hands of the photographer.

·         The lens is light in weight, as it weighs 190 grams alone and 220grams with the hood attached.

·         Significantly smaller in comparison to other fast lenses such as the Leica Noctilux or the Canon “Dream Lens”.

  

Performance

·         This lens has minimal or no distortion.

·         “Dreamy” or soft rendering when shooting wide-open at f1.1

·         It offers the Classic rendering combined with soft glows wide open which is perfect for portraiture work.

·         When stopped down, the aperture past f1.4 then the sharpness increases significantly with minimal vigenetting.

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Coma Adjustment

 The Coma adjustment offers with settings for 1m, 2m, 4m and infinity, in order to compensate for the aberration issues associated with the Sonnar based design. This adjustment allows the User to select the most frequent distance used to reduce spherical aberration.

The Coma adjustment basically moves the rear lens element and alters the lens focal length to minimize coma produced and to fine-tune optical focus for improved performance.

 Advantages:

·         Fast lens at aperture of F1.1 and yet still remain compact at the same time.

·         As with all MS-Optical lenses, it is designed and assembled by only one person hence comes in limited numbers.

·         Minimum focusing distance of 0.8m, which is relatively close for a rangefinder lens.

 

          Disadvantages:

·         Focus and aperture rings can easily move together and this can interfere with the shooting process.

·         The soft and glowy rendering is not favorited by every photographer.

 

Editions:

{C}·         Original Edition in Silver or Black (300 Pieces with 200 Pieces in Black and 100 Pieces in Silver)

{C}·         Black Paint Gold Letter Limited Edition (200 Pieces approx.)

{C}·         Special Edition with the UV filter labelled “Made in Japan for HK” (100 Pieces approx.)

{C}·         Screw Mount LTM Edition (Limited 50 Pieces)


Box Package includes:

  • MS-Optical Sonnetar 50mm F/1.1 Chrome Screw Mount LTM Limited Edition (50 Pieces)
  • Original Metal Front & Rear cap
  • Original Metal Hood
  • Original Box Packing & Hand-scripted Certificate with matching serial number with the lens.

 

 

MS Optical 50mm f1.1 Sonnetar vs Voigtlander 50mm f1.1 Nokton

·         Both lenses are similarly priced when the Sonnetar was first released at just over USD$1,000. However, the MS Optical 50mm f1.1 lens has increased to around USD$1,500 at present. Please note that the prices vary relative to the edition of the lens.

·         The MS Optical 50mm f1.1 lens is very small and light in comparison to the Voigtlander lens. It only weighs about half of the weight of the Voigtlander 50mm f1.1 lens (434 grams).

·         The rendering of both lenses are different, whereas the MS optical 50mm f1.1 Sonnetar offers more in terms of character in a relatively compact body.

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This lens is for someone who wants a unique lens that stands out from other 50mm lenses and prefers the soft & glowy rendering generated when shooting wide open.  The rendering of this lens makes it perfect for portraiture work and allows the photographer to create something that is both beautiful and unique.

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Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux-M Lens

The Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux-M lens is probably the most interesting and intriguing telephoto lens made by Leica. Photographers who have used it previously claim it to possess “Dreamy and Magical” qualities. It is a special lens and all these intriguing opinions triggered curiosity and simply could not resist the temptation to try this lens. The quest to hunt for this lens at a reasonable price was not an easy task but managed to find a latter Canadian version of this lens from an overseas Leica dealer in good conditions. There are three versions of the Leica 75 F1.4 Summilux-M lens manufactured from the year 1980 until 2005 and then discontinued. This lens was either made in Germany or made in Canada but there is no variance in terms of quality. All three versions share the same optics as they are different only in terms of operating mechanics.

"A Blue Moment" Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®

"A Blue Moment" Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®


Perfect Lens Combo:

The “Holy Trinity” Combination for most Leica Photographers would be:

1.       Wide Angle Lens (21mm/28mm or even the 15mm made by Zeiss reviewed here)

2.       Standard Lens (35mm/50mm)

3.       Telephoto Lens (75mm vs 90mm)


Build Quality

·         The build quality is phenomenal and it is nothing short of the best Leica Standard, whether manufactured in Germany or Canada, the quality is second to none.

·         That big chuck of front glass element sucks in all the available light and the built-in hood comes in handy when encounter strong sunlight, which helps to reduce flare problems and this lens can be prone to flare issues.

Practical Use

·         Focusing can be challenging due to the issues caused by the Focus Shift, which is common for the Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux lens.

·         Recommendation: It is best to test out the focus prior to buying so that you will assess the degree of focus shift issue and keep in mind if the lens is either front-focused or back-focused so that you can adjust the focus manually for compensation.

Steve Huff Photo

Steve Huff Photo

 

Advantages:

·         Superior Fast lens – The lens allows the Photographer to shoot wide-open at F1.4 hence the ability to generate creamy bokeh and shoot under low-light conditions.

·         Unique Rendering - It is claimed to be a Dream lens with magical Qualities, just like the Noctilux F1 lens.

·         Perfection for Portraits – Desired rendering for shooting portraits, its unique rendering combined with less-than clinically sharpness are what makes the portraits stand out.

 

Disadvantages:

·         Size and Weight – The Leica 75 F1.4 Summilux lens is big and heavy when compared to most other Leica M lenses, but you would expect this if you love fast lenses with large chuck of glass element that absorbs all the available light of the surroundings.

·         Long Focus Throw – The focus throw is long and this can cause the focusing process to be slow but it is not a bad thing when you consider such a thin DOF for this lens.

·         Focus Shift – This lens is prone to focus shift, so precise focus can be difficult with this lens. However, If you are lucky then you might find a rare one without this issue.

Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®

Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®



Battle of the Leica 75mm versus 90mm

1.       Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux vs Leica 75mm F2 Summicron APO

Leica 75mm Summicron is comparatively:

{C}·         Small & Compact –The Leica 75mm Summicron coming at dimensions of 67mm/58mm vs 80mm/69mm and the weight of 430g vs 560g when compared to the smallest version of the 75mm Summilux.

{C}·         Clinically Sharp – This lens has similar rendering to the 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH lens but it is quite different to the “dreamy” rendering of the 75mm Summilux, which is sharp but not as clinical as the 75mm Summicron.

{C}·         Slower Speed – The 75mm Summicron is about a stop slower than the 75mm Summilux, coming at F-stop of 2 compared to the F-stop of 1.4 of the Summilux. This may be a problem under low-light situations.

Steve Huff Photo

Steve Huff Photo


2.       Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux vs Leica 90mm F2 Summicron APO

Leica 90mm Summicron is comparatively:

·         Weight – Both lenses weight about the same, in particular the heavier Chrome version of the Leica 90mm Summicron. The Size of both lenses is also similar as the front element of the lenses is large with the ability to absorb light increases.

·         Chrome Finish – The Leica 90mm Summicron comes in an attractive chrome version, whilst the 75mm Summilux only comes in black. However, there is a limited edition of the 75mm Summilux available that came as the “Black Paint” version.

·         Slower Speed – The 90mm Summicron is about a stop slower than the 75mm Summilux, coming at F-stop of 2 compared to the F-stop of 1.4. This may be a problem under low-light situations.

·         Focal Length – 75mm provides a perspective of the person from shoulder to head and the 90mm provides a narrower scope, which is more suitable for head portraits. 

        Steve Huff Photo

        Steve Huff Photo



Fun Fact:

Summilux-M 75/1.4 (in production for 27 years, from 1980 until 2007. This was the favourite design of Mandler himself, based  on the design of the second version Summilux-M 50mm. 


Walter Mandler (May 10, 1922 – April 21, 2005) was a famous lens designer ofErnst Leitz Canada (Leica Camera) in Midland, Ontario. Mandler was born into a German farmer's family. In 1947 he joined Ernst Leitz at Wetzlar as a lens designer, working with Max Berek

Dr. Walter Mandler's chief contribution to the optical engineering was his pioneering works in application of computer aided design in optical engineering. Midland optical department was specialized in the research of retrofocus designs and apochromatic corrections. Mandler employed sophisticated combinations of special glasses in his APO and high-speed designs, and many of these glasses were original Leitz formulas manufactured by Schott or Corning. Mandler was a master in optimizing Double-Gauss designs by means of the computer and a particular method developed by him and explained in his doctoral dissertation.

Walter Mandler is credited with the design of more than 45 high performance Leica lenses for the Leica rangefinder cameras and Leica SLR cameras, including many landmark designs, Please see the entire list of Leica lenses designed by Dr.Walter on Wikipedia. 


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Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®

 

Specifications:

  •  Leica Order No. - 11 814 - 11 815 - 11 810 LLC - 165
  •  Production era - 1980-2007 < 14,752 lenses
  •  Variants - Black, titanium, ELC, ELW, 1913-1983 anniversary  edition; after 1982 built-in hood version 11 815
  •  Lens mount - Leica M-bayonet
  •  Number of lenses /groups - 7 /5
  •  F stop range - f/1.4-f/16
  •  Closest focusing distance - 0.75 m /2.46 ft
  •  Smallest object field - 192 mm x 288 mm /1:8
  •  Diaphragm setting /type - with clickstops from serial No. 2048701 onwards including half values / 10-blade
  •  Angle of view diagonal, horizontal, vertical - 32°, 27°, 18°
  •  Filter type - E60
  •  Accessories - Hood for 1st version: 12539
  •  Dimensions (length x diameter) - 80 x 69 mm /3.15 x 2.72 in
  •  Weight - 560 g /19.75

 

Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux-M Serial Numbers Overview:

  • Serial Number started from 3063301 to 3988718 (Last Known SN)
  • The Lens Production Years started from 1980 until 2005. 
  • The Total Assigned Serial Numbers is 14,752.
  • The Built-In Hood has a Model No. 11 814. 
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Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®


Zeiss 15mm F2.8 Distagon T* ZM lens

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Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved © 

The Zeiss 15mm F2.8 Distagon T* ZM is a one-of-a-kind lens, it is truly a monster when mounted on a Leica M body that offers Exquisite image rendering. In Short, this is not a lens for everyone but it offers insanely sharp, highly contrasty and richly saturated images. So if you are looking for an exotic ultra-wide angle lens that generates a unique rendering then look no further.

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Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved © 

This lens is not your typical “Made in Japan” Zeiss lens, it is handcrafted in Germany and Zeiss went all out with this design. The Zeiss 15mm F2.8 ZM used all sorts of exotic types of glass and incorporated aspheric lens elements, which is uncommon for Zeiss designs.All those factors contribute to making this lens the most expensive lens in the ZM lineup and it is what separates it from all others.


Build Quality and Ergonomics

Image obtained from Flickr

Image obtained from Flickr

The build quality of the Zeiss 15mm Distagon ZM lens is exceptional. It matches the German made Leica standards and the ergonomics of this lens is excellent. The lens is relatively large when compared to other M mount lenses but it still feels great in the hands of the photographer. The lens comes in at 13 oz or around 370 grams, which is not light for a typical Leica M lens but it is well balanced on either the Leica M9 or the new Leica M240.

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Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved © 

 

Practical use

The Zeiss 15mm F2.8 Distagon ZM lens is not rangefinder coupled when using on the Leica M9 but this is overcame by the liveview function on the new Leica M240. Although this lens is not rangefinder coupled, it has the minimum focusing distance advantage down to 0.3m,which is around a person’s forearm length thus allows the photographer to shoot with close objects.

In terms of Image rendering, there is strong vignetting visible at all apertures and if you a fan of Vignetting effects then this would be the ideal lens for you. Otherwise, this is easily reduced by applying the Central Density Filter (CDF) provided by Zeiss, which is specifically manufactured and designed for this lens.The CDF is a unique density filter that only densifies the central part of the glass which minimises the vignetting overall. (Just a kind reminder, Do not lose the CDF filter, as it does not come cheap to buy it separately at approximately $600 US Dollars. The colour casts can also be noticeable around the corners when taking photos with certain backgrounds, which produces magenta on the left along with cyan on the right but this can be easily fixed by using the CornerFix Software. 

When shooting with the Zeiss 15mm Distagon ZM lens, It is recommended to purchase a Zeiss 15mm Viewfinder or a cheaper alternative Voigtlander 15mm viewfinder for functional use on the Leica M9 and other rangefinder bodies. As for the lens profile, I tend to mount the lens and leave it to automatic detection mode but you are free to experimenting or try different lens profile which suits you. 

 

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Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved © 

 

Zeiss 15mm F2.8 Distagon ZM vs 

Leica Wide Angle Tri-Elmar (WATE) 16-18-21mm F4 Lens

· The Zeiss 15mm Distagon ZM lens has a one.stop advantage over the Leica WATE, with a faster aperture of f2.8 compares to f4. 

· The Zeiss 15mm ZM is sharper in the centre and the WATE is sharper around the corners. 

· The Zeiss 15mm ZM is more contrasty than the WATE and has richer colours, which offers a different rendering in comparison to Leica lenses.

· The WATE lens is more expensive but more flexible than the Zeiss 15 ZM as it consists three different focal lengths at 16mm, 18mm and 21mm. At the Focal Length of 21mm, the distortion is minimised to none on the WATE. 

· The WATE is rangefinder coupled that is an advantage over the uncoupled Zeiss lens. However, the Zeiss 15mm ZM offers a much closer focusing distance down to 1 feet (0.3m), which is very handy when using on the new Leica M240. 

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Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved © 

Zeiss Distagon T* 15mm f/2.8 Specifications

Lens Type: Prime Lens

Focal Length: 15mm

Mount Type: Leica M

Format: Full Frame / FX

Compatible Format(s): 35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor APS-C

Compatible with Teleconverters: No

Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1:18

Vibration Reduction / Image Stabilization: No

Aperture Information

Aperture Ring: Yes

Maximum Aperture: f/2.8

Minimum Aperture: f/22

Maximum Angle of View (Full Frame format): 110°

Minimum Angle of View (Full Frame format): N/A

Optical Information

Lens Elements: 11

Lens Groups: 9

Aspherical Elements: 1

Super Integrated / Super Spectra Coating: No

Focus Information

Focus: Manual Focus

Built-in Focus Motor: No

Silent Wave / Ultrasonic Motor: No

Internal Focusing: No

Rear Focusing: No

Minimum Focus Distance: 0.30m

Distance Information: Yes

Filter Information

Filter Size: 72mm

Accepts Filter Type: Screw-on

Physical Characteristics

Weather / Dust Sealing: Yes

Mount Material: Metal

Tripod Collar: No

Dimensions: 78 x 92mm

Weight: 550g

Other Information

Available in Colors: Black

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Leica M Typ240 Camera Review

 

Leica M 240 & 50 Summilux ASPH (Black)

Leica M 240 & 50 Summilux ASPH (Black)

I remember the anticipation was building up for the Leica announcement at September of last year, no one was certain what improvements can be done on the already excellent Leica M9. The tension was there until I saw the video  of John Dooley from the Leica Academe demonstrates the new Leica M. Immediately I was attracted by the camera, it offers so much more than the M9 as a camera but it was until I read online debates all around forums regarding to CMOS vs CCD brought doubts in mind too. Until now, when I finally received the new Leica M typ 240 camera that all my doubts have vanished.

There still are not too many Leica M typ240 cameras out around the world as of June, 2013 and this is due to supply issues from Leica (See public statement from Leica). Other than waiting on the long list of Leica dealers, the only alternative would be paying for a big premium to cut the queue. Nevertheless, it is well worth the wait and there is no-going back to the Leica M9 after using the new M substantially.

9179775328_38db5f4b96_b.jpg

"Survival of Strongest" - Leica M + 50 F1.4 Summilux ASPH

 

Improvements Compared to the Leica M9

The new Leica M typ240 improved all the short-comings of that Leica M9 users have asked for: higher resolution screen, quicker camera processor, faster buffer, quieter shutter sound, better ISO performance and overall much improved functionality.

 

Leica M240 & 50 Lux ASPH Chrome Set

Leica M240 & 50 Lux ASPH Chrome Set

 Build Quality

The build quality of the Leica M is simply amazing. It is build even better than the Leica M9 but maintained similar weight. The camera feels impeccably solid and the body is carved out of a single piece of brass. As a proud Leica MP owner myself,  the Leica MP is undoubtably the best build film M camera until the present. The engineering standard matches the pinnacle of Leica film era, if the Leica MP stands for "Mechanical Perfection" then the new Leica M can be labelled "Digital Perfection." The build quality is equally as solid as the Leica MP.

Image Quality (CMOS vs CCD)

 "Queen Victoria Building"  - Leica M + 21mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH

 "Queen Victoria Building"  - Leica M + 21mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH

Prior to obtaining the Leica M that I have seen enough online images from the camera to conclude the rendering is different with the new sensor. However, the sensor inside the Leica M is no ordinary CMOS sensor, it is specifically made for Leica by an Italian manufacturer named "CMOSIS." After shooting the Leica M,  the rendering is smooth, sharp with rich colours whereas the Leica M9 files are crisp with vibrant colours.

The Leica M offers about two stop better than the M9  in terms of ISO performance, I would state the files are usable even at ISO 6400 with noise reduction in post-processing.  The CMOS sensor is not better or worse than the CCD sensor, each has its own characteristics and produces an unique image rendering.

Functionality

Leica M240 & 21 Summilux ASPH

Leica M240 & 21 Summilux ASPH

The Leica M typ240 improves greatly in overall functionality compared to the Leica M9, it feels like a complete camera. There is no question that the Leica M9 outputs amazing images but the Leica M makes the M9 feels like incomplete in the functionality department. The Leica M is the perfect digital camera, it feels like a "real" camera with the new LCD, new design and fast processor. The LCD screen has improved significantly on the Leica M, the screen size and resolution increased from 2.5" and 230,000 pixels on the M9 to 3" and 920,000 pixels on the Leica M. The new Menu on the Leica M appears to be modernly designed yet maintained the navigation simplicity of the Leica M9, all the features are in one clean and simple menu list.  The in-camera processor has been updated to a much faster processing electronics and this combined with the new LCD provides users with immediate feedbacks. The shutter sound on the Leica M is different to the Leica M9, it is much quieter yet solid without the re-cocking sound on the M9. The new shutter produces more pleasant sound to the ears and increases discreetness when shooting at quite locations.  The transition of the electronic frame lines from the Leica M9 titanium onto the new Leica M is a great addition, the electronic frame lines will adjust its brightness according to the light source thus offers better visibility through the viewfinder.

The battery life of the Leica M improved significantly over the Leica M9, the voltages increased from 3.7v on the M9 to almost double with 7.4v for batteries on the M.  The real-life battery usage increases from around 400 to about 1,000+ shots. This prolonged battery life offers extended period of camera use and fewer batteries to carry.

The Leica M9 is prone to issues such as camera freezes regularly and SD card compatibility issues. I have not observed or yet encounter any of these issues after using the Leica M extensively and this reduces the burden on the user during shooting process.  

 

 "Opera Sunset" -  Leica M + 50mm F1.4 Lux ASPH

 "Opera Sunset" -  Leica M + 50mm F1.4 Lux ASPH

Camera Use/Settings Tips

  • Format your SD with external software "SDformatter" rather than in-camera format, as this will cut down start-up time from 4/5 down to about 2 seconds to avoid missing the "moment."

  • Set your metering to centre-weighted and exposure to classic just like the good old Leica M9, this will avoid camera lag when out shooting.

  • Use the live-view function combined with rangefinder mechanism will significantly increase your hit rate when the streets, it is the perfect tool for street photography. The new features do not remove good-old fashion rangefinder shooting but only add to the versatility.

  • For image settings, I tend to use original image settings rather than new film filters offered as I found them to look "different". It is recommend to set Sharpness and Saturation to Standard whilst contrast to High to offer the closest look to M9 files, post-processing is definitely also important but luckily the new M comes with the powerful Lightroom 5.