Leica Summicron 50f2 DR

Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR Lens

I have always had the old Leica Summicron 50f2 DR (“Dual Range”) lens on my ‘to try’ list despite owning a modern Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens.

New lens :) #Vintage #Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR with goggles for close focus. Looks beautiful on the #leicam3 :) #leicacamera www.MrLeica.com

When considering new glass my first reference point is Flickr. I ask myself ‘do the images with this lens have something special about them, regardless of the subject matter or talent of the photographer?’ My modern Leica Summicron 50f2 v5 lens is my least used 50mm as I tend to favour the Leica Noctilux 50f1 or Leica Summilux ASPH 50f1.4. The vintage Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 creates beautiful images but flares easily so not for all occasions. I sold the Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 and Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 but I don’t think I fully appreciated the strengths of the Sonnar until after it was sold. With the 50f1 Noctilux normally living on digital Leica M9 body I wanted another 50mm lens to live on the Leica M3 film camera. I shortlisted either another Zeiss Sonnar 50f1.5 or a vintage Leica Summicron 50f2 DR. I did a quick reality check for the usefulness of the two 50mm lenses.

Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50f1.5 vs Leica Summicron 50f2 DR

Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50f1.5

  • Fully functional on all my Leica M camera bodies
  • Modern lens coating so less prone to flare
  • Zeiss ‘3D’ pop look wide open
  • Sharp wide open
  • 50f1.5 is almost 1 stop brighter than 50f2 DR so more useful in low light
    BUT
  • Close focus only 1m (the reason I sold my first ZM Sonnar lens)
  • Some copies of the lens are said to have focus shift issues

Leica Summicron 50f2 DR

  • Can close focus at 0.5m (0.478) when using goggles attachment
  • Sharp images wide open
  • Images have a signature ‘DR’ look that I dont see with the modern v5 Summicron lens
    BUT
  • Lens only functions at a range of 1-4m on my Leica M9 and M8 (no close up or infinity focus ability)(*note lens is fully functional on my Leica M3 and M2)(and non-TTL M6)
  • Have to attach-detach goggles every time you want to go from close focus (0.478-0.88m) to 1m to infinity

I was keeping my mind open then on a recent trip to Munich Germany I visited the Leica Munich store to say hello and to see if they had a Leica Summicron 50f2 DR lens in stock to try. Sadly they didn’t have in but instead kindly recommended a shop that may have one. I found the shop and my luck was in! They had two 50mm DR lenses. One copy of the lens was cheaper so I tried that one first. It was not calibrated with my Leica M9 so I tried the second copy and asked the store if I could take it out the shop to try in the street. I left the Noctilux lens with them as a small deposit and they smiled and agreed. What struck me most was the sharpness wide open at f2 and the beautiful way it rendered out of focus areas. It took maybe five test photos and that was all I needed to see. Sold to the man that has enough lenses already but felt a need for one more!

#cameraporn #leicam3 #leicacamera #rangefinder #vintagecamera #leica #summicron 50f2 DR + Goggles - www.MrLeica.com

I will sell my near mint modern Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens with box if anyone is looking buy one? I know many Leica shooters swear by them but I dont use it enough to keep.

Eager to try the Leica Summicron 50mm DR to its full potential I fitted it to my Leica M3 and shot half a roll of black and white Kodak T-Max 100 film which was already loaded in the camera. It was sunny and I felt I was missing out by not shooting colour during the golden hour. I had no 35mm colour film with me in Germany,  only 120 Portra for the Mamiya 645 Super. Luckily I discovered a small camera shop when out exploring and when I asked for colour film they opened a box of the old Kodak Portra 400 VC that they must have had in stock for years. I’ve only ever used the new Kodak Portra so was interested to try the older 400 VC Portra. The model had cancelled for the afternoon shoot so I took the opportunity to set myself a challenge.  Shoot a 36 exposure roll of film in one afternoon of anything and everything using the strengths of the Summicron 50 DR lens. To me this meant mostly shooting wide open at f2 with plenty of close ups and considering the out of focus areas for colour and bokeh. Results to follow!

#filmchallenge 1x roll of Kodak Portra 400 VC (36 exposures), 1x Leica M3 rangefinder film camera, 1x Leica Summicron 50f2 DR, 5 hours of walking the streets taking photos of anything that caught my eye and finished off with 1x KFC meal :) #kodakfilm #lei

Leica Summicron 50f2 DR vs Mamiya 645 / Mamiya RZ usage

My most used non Leica camera is currently the Mamiya 645 Super.  What I enjoy most about the Mamiya 645 and even more so the Mamiya RZ 67 (and Rolleiflex SL66E) which use bellows, is the ability to focus close to my subject.  To me that is one of the biggest weaknesses of the Leica M system, the 0.7m rangefinder closest focus distance. Now my Leica M3 will focus to 0.5m at f2 I am excited to try the Summicron 50 DR for my portrait work. Again, results to follow!

I feel the Leica Summicron 50f2 DR is the perfect lens for my Leica M3. The combination look beautiful together and function is on a par with form. If the combination looked pretty but wasnt capable of taking good images it would be worthless to me. I buy vintage cameras to use not to polish.

I hope to try the Leica Summicron 50f2 DR on both my Leica M9 and also Leica M3 this weekend so sample images coming soon.

Here is a test shot SOOC from outside the camera store.  Leica M9 JPEG

Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR - SOOC

Ken Rockwell is a big fan of this lens. More tech detail here – http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/50mm-f2-dr.htm

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Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 – Collapsible

1959 Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 – Collapsible

Matthew Osborne Photography – “Mr Leica”

elmar 50v2

Continuing my quest for the smallest lightest most compact Leica M camera setup I decided to buy myself a smaller 50mm for when I need to pack light, a 15 blade 1959 chrome Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 lens with bayonet mount and E39 filter thread.   The newer version 4 Leica Elmar-M 50mm f2.8 lens is lighter, sharper and with only 6 blades but I wanted a lens with quirks and more character and also with a smaller price tag!  The older version 3 Elmar lens I bought can be picked up for about half the price of a used Leica Elmar-M 50mm.  The original 1920s Leica Elmar 50mm lens was f3.5 and even smaller.  I want to be able to use my 50mm Elmar lens when there is less than ideal light so I opted for the 1950s f2.8 version.  Version 2 of this lens is said to be the most popular Leica lens ever made until it was superseded by the first Leica Summicron 50mm f2 lens in 1953.

So why did I pick this particular lens?  The Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 lens is a collapsible design so the lens becomes more compact when not in use.  I could have bought a 50mm f2 collapsible lens instead such as a Leica Summar 5cm f2, Summitar 5cm f2 or an early Summicron 5cm f2 all of which share the same basic design where the lens is collapsible into the camera body.  In an ideal world I would chose f2 over f2.8 but the early 50mm f2 lenses are said to have very soft lens coatings so finding one in good condition is not as easy.  The slower Elmar lenses are also less in demand so old versions can be picked up on eBay at a good price and in nice condition.  Shot wide open the 50mm Elmar lens will have the old Leica lens soft glow look similar to my Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 but stopped down to f5.6-f8 it should be almost as sharp as my Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4.  I have seen sample images with the exact lens I bought and it is sharp at f5.6.  With clever use of light I will try to get it looking sharp wide open too.  (See the results from my new Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.4 lens shot wide open.  They look sharp to me and that is supposed to be a soft lens wide open).

When will I use the Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 lens?  I think lens is too soft shot wide open for wedding photography but I will use it for at least three types of photography.  Personal work which is normally model photography and portraiture.  To be more specific I will use this lens when I want to pack light such as for a day trip to London or a location shoot in Poland.  I will use it for engagement photography if the Elmar has a signature look that I really like.  Engagement sessions let me get creative so I use more unusual equipment than I might at a wedding.  Lastly, travel photography.  When I was in Mallorca last year there was so much light I was doing landscape and street photography at f8-f11.  The little Leica Elmar is the ideal lens for this occasion as stopped down I could use any of my 50mm lenses and get similar results (I think!).

What camera will I use the Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 lens with?  I will test the lens on my Leica M9 digital camera so I understand what it can and cannot do in different light conditions.  After that I will use it with my 1950s Leica M3 film camera for a full 1950s camera-lens combo!  I think if I load the Leica M3 with 35mm Kodak Tri-X 400 film and develop it in Rodinal as normal I can get sharp looking images at f2.8.  That is the plan anyway!  I don’t plan to use this lens with colour film shot wide open as I think it will be too soft.

Sample images coming soon!

Harriett & Ashley

Harriett & Ashley – Stylised engagement session in Coventry using a 1950s Leica M2 film camera, a Fuji GS645 film camera and my digital Leica M9. Photo show the film wedding photography style I plan to offer for 2015. I use a range of 35mm film, medium format film and large format film cameras in addition to Leica digital.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/14774898268

LeicaWeddingPhotographer

Vintage Engagement: Harriett & Ashley

http://www.MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk / www.MrLeica.com

Coventry Wedding Photographer – Location Shoot

Engagement Session, Coventry

As a Coventry wedding photographer that offers analogue film wedding photography and digital images, I like nothing bettter than engagement sessions. Here is another stylised engagement shoot in Coventry with models Harriett and Ashley. They are not a couple but work well together and it is then my job to then make it all look realistic.  All photos are 100% posed and directed by me yet they hopefully come across as natural.

For the e-session I used three cameras, two analogue film cameras, 1950s Leica M2 + 1980s Fuji GS645, and my digital Leica M9.  Colour photos are film and black and white ones are digital.  I love the look of film and I think the softer images and colours really suit wedding photography and engagements sessions.  The film photos below are in…

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Full Frame Cameras – 35mm vs 50mm

Full Frame Cameras – 35mm vs 50mm

Matthew Osborne Photography

If anyone asks me “Are you a 35mm man or a 50mm man?” I always reply 50mm.  50mm is my go to focal length for any full frame camera.  My favourite camera is my Leica M3 as it has 50mm frame lines filling the 0.91x magnified viewfinder.  My favourite combo for full frame film is a Leica M3 + Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 + Kodak Tri-X.  My favourite Nikon lens is the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s.  Even for medium format film photography I used the equivalent of 50mm on a full frame (35mm) camera.  80mm for medium format cameras roughly equates to 50mm for my Leica or Nikon cameras.  For the Mamiya 645 Super I use a Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9 C and for the Rolleiflex SL66E a Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 HFT.

Why do I like the 50mm focal length?  It provides the same field of view as the human eye and the most ‘natural’ or life size view as if I was looking at the same view without a camera.  I use many different lenses but 50mm just seems to suit me best.  If a want a small Leica camera setup I use the Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens on the M3 or the M9.  Great little lens.

Am I missing something when chosing 50mm?  For me personally, yes.  I tend to shoot as close to 0.7M-1.0M as I can for most of my portraiture, whether on location or in the studio.  This means I can have amazing scenery around me and the model yet I blur it all completely by shooting my lenses wide open and then cropping in portrait orientation to remove any background that was in view.  It makes me wonder sometimes if it is worth visiting other countries when a portrait photo could have been taken in my back garden.

50mm for wedding photography?  If I use one camera body for a wedding my normal focal length is 50mm.  I have used the Leica Noctilux 50f1 for weddings and have had to back into the corner to get a wide enough field of view.  That or I just take a 50mm crop of the scene.  I do take wider lenses too so to get a complete set of wedding photos but 50mm is often the norm.

35mm for wedding photography? A few days ago I was looking back at some wedding photos from over 12 months ago where I used the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.2 ASPH lens for the majority of a wedding (on my M9).  I had also done an earlier wedding with a 28mm Voigtlander Ultron f2 lens and liked those images too.  For both sets of images I got to see not only the wedding couple in the images but the wedding guests or venue around them.  I also liked the perspective the wider lenses gave.

To recap my standard camera setup, for digital photography I have a Leica 1.4x magnifier on my Leica M9 camera viewfinder.  Permanently.  If a lens is wider I just guess the composition, review and refine if needed.  The 1.4x magnifier gives me a 50mm view like the Leica M3.

35mm for model photography?  On location. Today I decided to remove the M9 1.4x magnifier and attach my Voigtlander 35f1.2 ASPH lens rather than a 50mm lens.  As usual I focused the lens near to as close as it could focus (0.7M) most of the time but now I found myself shooting more in a horizontal format, rather than mainly a portrait orientation (as I mostly do with the Mamiya 645 Super and WTL).  This meant I was starting to make use of my surroundings and composing my images to include both the model and space around her.  I liked it!

35mm for model photography? In the studio.  After today’s location shoot we continued the photography back at the studio (in the warm).  I tried to push myself and stick to the  35mm focal length throughout despite it not being ideal in the studio.  On the whole I did however I did swap to longer lenses a few times.  For me 35mm is too wide for portraiture in a smallish studio.

Conclusion?  Am I a changed man?  Well not really, I still prefer 50mm overall but I can now appreciate that for multiple subjects, such as a wedding I might go for a 35mm lens  first and for model photography with a single person I will keep using 50mm if in the studio but consider wider when on location.  That or just try to back up from my subjects more to capture a wider scene with a 50mm lens.

Sample Images (some of which break the above general comments)

50mm on location

Leica M2 + 35mm Kodak Tri-X

50mm in the studio

Leica M9 + Noctilux Portrait

35mm on location

Leica M9 + Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 ASPH

35mm in the studio

Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5

35mm wedding

UK Leica Wedding Photography

50mm wedding

Leica M9 Noctilux Wedding

Editorial Fashion – Kodak Portra + Leica M3 (2)

Editorial Fashion – Kodak Portra + Leica M3 …(Gina – Session 2)

Editorial Fashion – Kodak Portra Film + Leica M3

Model – Gina Underhill

Photographer – Matthew Osborne Photography (“Mr Leica”)

November 2014

Editorial fashion photography spread using a 1950s Leica M3 camera, 35mm colour film and minimal post processing. Below are photos from a recent shoot with Coventry model Gina who joined me in London as part of a portrait photography workshop. I was demonstrating how easy it can be to get a nice photo with minimal equipment and just daylight. One camera, one lens. We had an amazing day with a great location, a beautiful model and even some brief winter sunshine!

Here are photos taken when Gina arrived to London ahead of the orange dress shoot (first  post).  Hair still pinned up from transit but I said leave it like that as a bit different.  I chose the hat.  Gina was less keen!  I was also using my Rolleiflex SL66E 6×6 medium format film camera loaded with 120 Fuji Pro 400H so will share those soon.

More info –

Camera – 1950s Leica M3 Rangefinder film camera
Lens – Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 @ f1.4
Film – 35mm Kodak Portra 160 colour film
Development – C41 processed lab developed and scan
Lighting – Daylight only
Location – Street close to Victoria Station, London
Stylist / Hair / Make-Up – Gina / Matt

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Editorial Fashion – Kodak Portra + Leica M3

Editorial Fashion – Kodak Portra Film + Leica M3

Model – Gina Underhill

Photographer – Matthew Osborne Photography (“Mr Leica”)

November 2014

Editorial fashion photography spread using a 1950s Leica M3 camera, 35mm colour film and minimal post processing.  Below are photos from a recent shoot with Coventry model Gina who joined me in London as part of a portrait photography workshop.   I was demonstrating how easy it can be to get a nice photo with minimal equipment and just daylight.  One camera, one lens.  We had an amazing day with a great location, a beautiful model and even some brief winter sunshine!

More info –

  • Camera  – 1950s Leica M3 Rangefinder film camera
  • Lens – Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 @ f1.4
  • Film – 35mm Kodak Portra 160 colour film
  • Development – C41 processed lab developed and scan
  • Lighting – Daylight only
  • Location – Victoria, London
  • Stylist / Hair / Make-Up – Gina / Matt

 

Leica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + Portra  Leica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + PortraLeica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + PortraLeica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + PortraLeica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + PortraLeica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + PortraLeica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + PortraLeica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + Portra Leica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + Portra  Leica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + Portra    Leica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + PortraLeica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + PortraLeica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + Portra  Leica M3 + Lux 50 ASPH + Portra

Hope you like them!  I plan to do similar spreads going forward showcasing different films, cameras, lenses and models.

http://www.MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

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Teresa & Wojciech

Teresa & Wojciech couple shoot in Poland with the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 lens on the Leica M9

LeicaWeddingPhotographer

Teresa & Wojciech – Romantic Evening with the Leica Noctilux

Matt Osborne Photography (Coventry UK)

Leica M9 location shoot in Sopot, Poland.  On my last evening in Poland I organised a couple photoshoot shot in a similar style to an engagement photo session but perhaps with a more romantic look to it.  Engagement shoots can be very  relaxed such as a countryside walk or something more stylised if the couple are happy in front of the camera.  There really is no limit and I tailor each engagement session to the couples requirements and taste.

Teresa and Wojciech arrived later than planned so the entire shoot was shot using my Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 (v2) at f1 and a high ISO between ISO 640 and ISO 1000 approximately.  Teresa is an agency represented catwalk model so was used to being in front of the camera however for boyfriend Wojciech it was…

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