Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Lens

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Lens

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

February 2018

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Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Lens

To follow my Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens blog post I thought I would do the same for the Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 lens. It is probably not the first 50mm lens people lust after or go out to buy but for me it ticks a few boxes on my wish list. Is it small and compact with a 39mm filter thread? Yes. Does it balance nicely on my Leica M3 film camera? Yes. It is sharp wide open and produces pleasing images? Yes. That was all I needed to purchase the little Summarit-M 50mm. (It is not to be confused with the old Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 lens as this is a different lens completely. I also have the 50mm f1.5 version and it gives the classic Leica glow look (and is also a very nice lens)).

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Leica Summarit-M vs. Leica Summicron vs. Leica Summilux ASPH

I own and use quite a few different Leica 50mm lens, each giving their own characteristics to an image and each having it’s place. I compare here the three most similar lenses in terms of approximate age and ‘normal’ use. (I excluded the older Leica Summarit 50mm, Leica Summicron 50mm DR version, Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 lenses and the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 lens which is different to all these 50mm lenses). So of the three 50mm lenses mentioned in the title The Leica Summarit-M is the smallest (and slowest at f2.5), the Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 is inbetween and the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH is the largest and fastest.

So of these lenses which do I use the most? Of all the 50mm lenses I own I think the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH is used for perhaps 75-85% of the images, especially for digital. For film if there is enough light I now use the Leica Summarit-M also. The Leica Summicron v5 gets very little use. I like the size of the Summicron and the built in hood but it flares easily. The Summilux ASPH is one stop faster and doesn’t flare as much so is the lens I carry when I need to rely on 50mm lens for clean sharp images. The Summarit-M is the newest addition of my 50mm lenses and I bought it for two reasons; one to use on Leica M film cameras as I like the small size and two, if I need to travel very lightweight and there is lots of available light. A perfect example of this was when I did my cycling trip in Fuertventura. I wanted to travel light and I was stopping lenses down so the Summarit-M was the perfect travel lens (to cover 50mm).  I think from my experience and my copies of the lenses the Summilux ASPH and Summarit-M both give very modern looking images in how they render a scene.  The Summicron is slightly softer but not as soft or as much glow as the older Leica 50mm lenses.

Visual size comparison of the three mentioned 50mm lenses

  • Left: Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5
  • Centre: Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5
  • Right: Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH

(*Sorry for the dust on the lenses!)

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Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Lens – On the Digital Leica M240

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5
Poland Blog Cover
Model and her Horse
Leica Photographer
Leica Shoot Out
Hungarian Model
Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Portrait
Leica M4-P Portrait
Window Light

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Lens – On Leica Film Cameras

Leica M3 Fashion
Kodak Vision3 500T (same as Cinestill 800T)
Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Film
Analogue Fashion
Kodak Eastman Double-X 5222
Kodak Double-X 5222
Leica M3 + Summarit-M 50mm
Kodak Plus-X Portrait
Kodak Plus-X Portrait
Scratched film
Leica M3 Film Camera
Classic Portrait
Kodak Double-X Portrait
Kodak Eastman Double-X

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Lens – Film Landscape

Leica Landscape Photography

Recommend!

I really like the little Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 lens and it is definitely a keeper.  If you don’t need the speed of a Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH lens the Summarit-M 50 is a great choice if you like the modern look (verses the classic look achieved with a lot of the older Leica lenses).

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Leica Wedding Photography: John & Reema

Leica Wedding Photography: John & Reema

A few Leica wedding photographs from John and Reema’s wedding last April (2017).  John is my brother so I was multi-tasking on the day! (Guest and photographer!) 🙂

Wedding photography done mostly with a Leica M240 digital cameras and also the digital Leica M8 camera.

Link to photos below:

2017 Leica Wedding Photography: John & Reema Wedding Venue: Hengrave Hall, Bury Saint Edmunds IP28 6LZ Matthew Osborne Photography / MrLeica.com April 2017 John & Reema Last April (2017) I was invited to photograph John and Reema’s Hindu wedding at Hengrave Hall in Bury Saint Edmunds. John is my ‘little’ (youngest) brother so it […]

via 2017 Leica Wedding Photography: John & Reema — Leica Wedding Photographer (MrLeica.com)

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 Lens

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 Lens

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

February 2018

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I realised I haven’t yet write a review on the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens I bought back in 2016.  It is a fantastic lens, super sharp wide open at f2.8 (as you would expect from Leica) and very compact for a Leica lens with a 39mm filter thread.

Rather than probably just repeat what others have written before me I thought it is probably easier to show you what the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm lens can do, both on a digital Leica camera and on film, black and white film and some colour film (click any image for details of what film was used).  Thanks to Ruby who features in a lot of these photos.  Many of the photos were shot during one of my 1-2-1 model photography workshops on location in London.

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 – On the digital Leica M240 camera

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8
London Model Photography Workshop
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 + Leica M240
Leica B&W
Leica M 240 Portrait
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 Portrait
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 Portrait
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 – On a Leica film cameras (Leica M2, M4-P)

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm Fashion
Kodak Double-X 5222 film
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 ASPH
London Photography Workshop
Kodak Double-X 5222
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 ASPH Film

Kodak Eastman Double-X 5222

Kodak Double-X 5222 @800

The Beauty of Film

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 – Landscapes on Film

River Danube with Ice
Leica Film Landscape
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm Landscape
Leica Landscape Photography

28mm Leica M Mount Lenses

My first Leica M mount 28mm lens for my Leica cameras was a Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2 lens.  I bought it to use for weddings early in my Leica photography.  I will write a short review on the Ultron 28f2 when I get chance.  Next I bought the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens, featured here, as I wanted a smaller 28mm lens for travel when size is everything.  Finally only a few weeks ago I invested in a Leica Summicron-M 28mm f2 ASPH lens as I want to try to use it for weddings in 2018.  It is larger and heavier than the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens, being an f2 lens so I will keep the smaller Elmarit for when there is plenty of light or if I am stopping the lens down for say landscape photography.  I wanted get the Leica Summicron-M 28mm f2 to use for available light wedding photography.  Yes the Voigtlander Ultron 28mm lens is also f2 but I think I got my heart set on the Summicron-M 28mm ASPH (and it will hold it’s value in the long term so I see it as an investment).

Here is a quick visual size comparison of the three 28mm lenses

  • Left: Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8
  • Centre: Leica Summicron-M ASPH 28mm f2
  • Right: Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2

(*Sorry for the coloured lighting and dust on the lenses!)

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Recommend!

I highly recommend the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8  lens if you photography in places where you don’t need a faster aperture.  No complaints from me and definitely a keeper!

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Leica Wedding Photography: Martin & Emma

Leica Wedding Photography: Martin & Emma

First wedding photos shared for 2017 – Martin and Emma getting married at Mottram Hall in Cheshire back in April 2017. (I’m catching up very slowly!  More 2017 weddings to follow).

Photos taken mostly with a Leica M240 digital cameras and Zeiss ZM Biogon 21mm f2.8 lens. (Great lens!)

Link to photos below:

2017 Leica Wedding Photography: Martin & Emma Wedding Venue: Mottram Hall Wedding, Cheshire Matthew Osborne Photography / MrLeica.com April 2017 Martin & Emma Martin’s Dad, Paul kindly contacted me back in 2015 to say that he followed my photography work online and would I be available to photograph his son’s wedding in 2017. I think […]

via 2017 Leica Wedding Photography: Martin & Emma — Leica Wedding Photographer (MrLeica.com)

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Lens Filters for Leica M Cameras

Lens Filters for Leica M Cameras

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

January 2018

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For model photography and my usual Leica portrait work I don’t normally use camera lens filters that often, and especially not for digital photography (more with film cameras).  I own yellow filters, blue, various ND filters (neutral density), IR-cut, polarising filters, warming filters, cooling filters and lots of UV filters (and Skylight filters) in various sizes.  Each filter has a purpose.

Lens Filters Explained

Quick summary of what I use each lens filter for (plus a few extra filters I have for other cameras) –

  • Yellow filter: Black and white film photography (portraits & landscapes) – to lighten yellows/ darken blues
  • Orange filter: B&W film photography (landscapes) – to lighten oranges/ darken blue skies (higher contrast), and helps penetrate mist and fog
  • Red filter: B&W film photography (landscapes) – to lighten reds more and makes blues skies turn black (very strong contrast), also helps penetrate mist and fog
  • Green filter: B&W film photography (landscapes) – to lighten green foliage
  • Blue filter (“cooling filter”) (shades of blue like 80C & 82B): Colour film photography – to colour correct tungsten balanced film when used in daylight. Film like Cinestill 800T, Kodak Vision3 200T/ 500T
  • Warming filter (shades of amber like 81A & 81C): Colour film photography – to colour correct daylight balanced film when used in indoors with tungsten light. Film like Cinestill 50D/ Kodak Vision3 50D, Kodak Portra 160/400/800, Fuji Pro 400H and most colour film available today
  • Polarising filter (or more specifically circular polarising filter): (landscapes) – to darken blue skies and make the clouds “pop”.  Can also be used to adjust reflections on water / surfaces (to more or less reflection)
  • Neutral density filters (ND filters): For fast lenses (lenses with wide maximum aperture like f1-f1.2-f1.4)(all cameras) – I use ND filters when shooting in bright conditions with flash and also on the older Leica M film cameras (such as a Leica M3) that only have a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 (vs. 1/4000 for the Leica M240). In practice I only really use ND filters on the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 lens in the UK as the weather is rarely “too bright” for most lenses.
  • IR-cut filter (Infrared cut off filter): (digital Leica M8 colour photography) – Without the IR-cut filter the colours from the M8 are not natural looking. (*See details in link below – Leica M8 & IR-cut filter post)
  • UV filters: I went through a period of getting clear UV filters for most of my Leica M lenses to protect the front element from damage.  I find I attach the UV filters for my Leica wedding photography mostly after an expensive lens was damaged at a wedding (Nikkor 35mm f1.4 G lens – pre Leica days).  Apart from wedding photos and some travel photography I don’t use UV filters too much now.

Using filters on a Leica camera (compared to on a SLR/DSLR)

Leica vs. DSLR – Using filters – Disadvantage

One thing to note for fellow Leica photographers is if you’ve not used a circular polarising filter (CPL) on your Leica camera before you might find it is a bit of a fiddle (I did!).  This was especially the case for me when I was frequently moving locations and shooting in multiple directions (north, south, east, west and all angles in between).  When photographing with a SLR/ DSLR camera you look through the lens to compose an image. This means that with a CPL filter on the end of the lens you can just look through the camera to see the effect of the filter. Easy. (For example if you point the lens at the sky and then rotate the CPL filter you can see the sky get lighter or darker blue and you can stop at the desired look).  With a Leica camera we don’t view or focus an image through the lens like a DSLR.  Therefore to see the impact of a polarizing filter you have to take the CPL filter off the lens and hold it up to the scene/ sky  to look through it and see what angle of rotation gives the desired look. You then need to reattach the CPL filter to the lens and remember the preferred orientation (for example to give a more vivid blue sky might be number 5 on the CPL filter ring at the 12 O’clock position ). To complicate things further, if you are then switching between landscape and portrait orientation when holding the camera you need to turn the polarizing filter each time you turn the camera. If you are then using a clip on lens hood (as I was) that covers the filter you need to take off the hood to see/ move the CPL every time you take an image in a different direction or orientation. Maybe I just like to make life difficult for myself!

For normal/ traditional landscape photography however where you setup a tripod with the camera pointed in one direction and wait for a few hours for the best light to hit a scene, this will not be an issue as you only need to go through the filter “setup” process once.

*Note – Please note this is only an issue with a Leica film camera or an earlier digital Leica camera such as the Leica M8 and Leica M9.  The digital Leica M240 (and Leica M10) both have LiveView so you can review the impact of the filter if you compose with the LiveView option rather as with the viewfinder.

Leica vs. DSLR – Using filters – Filter Advantage

DSLR users don’t always have it easier than Leica photographers though. When it comes to neutral density filters like a 10 stop Lee Big Stopper,  with a DSLR camera you need to focus on the subject first then attach the ND filter otherwise you can’t see anything through the lens. With a Leica camera you view the scene via the viewfinder/ window on the top left of the camera body rather than through the lens so you can leave a ND filter attached throughout a shoot and make various new compositions with ease.

*Note – The only downside to not looking through the lens with a Leica camera is you can leave the lens cap on all day and not notice until you get back to your computer/ dark room that all the images are black.  (This is more of an issue with a Leica film camera as most digital Leica cameras have the rear LCD and default to a preview image after each photo is taken.  With film Leica cameras there is no chimping at the LCD so you need to be more focused and make sure the lens cap is off!).

Filter Rings (Step Up Rings)

A set of good quality filters (such as some of those mentioned above) is expensive so it doesn’t help when lenses come in different shapes and sizes.  Leica M mount lenses come in a variety of filter thread sizes and mine vary from the smallest thread size being 39mm (classic Leica filter thread size) through to 60mm for the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens.  Some Leica photographers choose to invest in a set of lenses with a common filter thread size so any filter fits any lens.  An example from the lenses I own is the following lenses all have a 39mm filter thread; Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8, Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5, Leica Summicron 50mm f2, Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4  and Leica Elmar 135mm f4. For this reason a bought a few 39mm filters to retain the small lens size/ diameter/ compactness of the 39mm lens-camera setup.

For my main set of filters I use the 52mm size as I already owned some 52mm filters that I had used on my smaller Nikkor lens (pre-Leica days).  I then bought various low cost Chinese step rings on eBay to step up the filter diameter size from 39mm, 43mm, 46mm and 49mm to 52mm filter size.  This is a much cheaper option than buying a set of filters for every thread size and I can use one set of filters on nearly all my Leica M mount lenses.  The only exception is the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens where I had to get a few larger 60mm filters for it but I find I use these on some of my non-Leica camera setups (or with a 52mm-60mm step ring on smaller Leica M mount lenses).  I guess the best tip is buy a set of filters to fit your largest lens and then get step-up rings so they can be mounted on your smaller lenses.

Summary

I’m sure most readers knew 99% of that information already but if you are currently using a DSLR camera and are tempted to make the jump to a Leica rangefinder camera it may be of some use.  Equally if you are just starting out with your photography and have perhaps one camera and one kit lens some of this information might save you some money in the long run.  Lastly if you have never used a film camera but are looking to try film in 2018 I think the coloured filtered used with black and white film photography give some of the most interesting results.

Related Links

 

Thanks

Matt