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  1. I am 76, have bad presbyopia – focus fixed beyond the horizon, and no accommodation. I have for years used synthetic varifocal/progressive lenses for absolutely everything, including M cameras. Absolutely no problem. Old style metal eyepiece frames (M4-P and older cameras) can ruin synthetic lenses really fast, but the eyepiece can be replaced with a rubber-rimmed M6 one, which completely removes the problem. Using the specs soon becomes intuitive. You put your eyepiece where you can see the rangefinder patch clearly, and accept the rest (which is not really bad – remember that even without specs, you can see sharply only with the small area of the fovea. No matter: we see with our brains, not with our eyes.) Please not that ALL spectacles with positive lenses for longsightedness, plain or multifocal, give rise to pincushion distortion. Similarly, negative lenses create barrel distortion. This is a plain optical fact of life and you get used to it pretty fast. The old man from the Monocular Age
  2. My own German edition from 1939 contains four pictures only in colour. Anyone interested in early colour photography should try to find Wolff's later book Meine Erfahrungen … im Farbe. I don't know the year of the first edition, mine is a Swedish translation from 1945. The old man from the Kodachrome Age
  3. The ultimate in lens definition, as demonstrated by many current Leica M lenses, is when even the MTF values for 40 lpm are up at around 80% even wide open. This is for the inner 10mm or so of image heigth. After that, we must expect some softening, but this is of little account if the 40 lpm graphs don't drop much below 50%. In this select company we find lenses such as the 18mm and 21mm Super-Elmar and the 24mm Elmar. The 50mm Apo-Summicron too is one of these. So in that respect, the new lens is not the astounding performer that it has been made out to be. The Apo-Summicron is however the only lens that, when stopped down to 4 or 5.6, shows MTF curves that not only keep above 80% at center, but curves that have gone essentially flat from axis to corner. None of the other lenses quoted above can do that – but their angles of view are of course vastly larger and therefore more difficult to correct. I find in practice that on center, I normally cannot see any difference between any of these superlenses and a really high quality other lens. In other words, the advantage is there (for what it is worth – sharpness is not all there is to a picture) but we cannot make use of it except under very unusual circumstances. We are no longer at the bleeding edge, but beyond it. It remains to be seen if the higher sensor performance of the MM and the M will change that. But the limiting factor is usually not the sensor, but the situation, the conditions, and of course we ourselves. For, unlike a tripod, we are human. I'm glad I'm not a tripod. The old man from the Age of the Box Camera
  4. The M8 followed earlier M cameras by having their finder framelines sized to fit (very approximately) the field of view at 1 meter (1.5 meter for the 135mm frame). Then, maybe at the urging of Sean Reid and others, the M8-2 got them set for 2 meters, which was a very sensible decision: Now the frames were no longer wildly inaccurate at more common taking distances. All well and good. And then Leica unaccountably reverted back to one meter with the M9. That was a bad move. Were there some alte Herren who insisted on tradition and damn the irrationality? Now I want to know what standard the M follows. All the hullaballoo has been about the live view, but I will insist on using the optical finder for everything at least from 50mm and down. (I presume that the M-E remains 'an M9 by any other name'.) The old man from the Age of Eyeball Photography
  5. This is a very aversionary forum. Lots of people here do violently dislike not only hand meters. Many hate or fear accessory wide angle finders. Not a few seem to hate even the built-in finder. An eveready case, in the eyes of the cognoscenti, brands you as not-U. And there is an entire section of people who actually claim that 'the M concept' is about minimalism (so out goes the clutter of interchangeable lenses). And, tell that to the designers of the new Satanic Abomination, the M … The old man from the Age of the Box Camera
  6. Tomasis, the classical definition of a standard lens is one with a focal length that just about equals the diagonal of the film/sensor format. This is why 75mm was standard for a 6x6cm (55x55mm) camera, and a 6x9 roll film folder took a 10.5cm lens. And 13.5cm was standard for 9x12cm cut film. But the diagonal of the 24x36mm frame is 43.2mm. So you see that 50mm (actually, c. 52mm) and 35mm are both the nearest approximations to a standard lens for this format. I see them as a long and a short standard lens, respectively. And I find them so different from each other that I not only own both, I do actually carry both in my bag sometimes! The old man from the Kodachrome Age
  7. I never used the R system, so I'm not interested in a specific R solution – except of course for humanitarian reasons … "the greatest happiness to the greatest number". I am very interested in an Olympus OM solution however, because I have a drawer full of very advanced OM macro gear (one of the strong points of that system). And yes, I have a Novoflex adapter for the lenses, and they are simply waiting for a camera body with live view. There is one weakness with the M solution – you either have to focus wide open and then stop down manually, counting clicks, which is very slow, or you have to focus stopped down which is difficult because of the extended field of view. This reminds me forcefully of my photographic youth in the mid-1950's, when there was still no automatic aperturing, but my memories of that hassle are not fond ones. It will all hang on the actual implementation of the solution, which we know very little of yet. There is of course a way out for me. OM lenses have a stop-down button for d.o.f. preview. I could use an adapter modified to not stop the lens down automatically when I mount it. This would effectively change the lenses into aperture preselection lenses, which would be a step forward – to the early 1960's … I take it that the live view function includes an automatic gain control for the finder video signal, so that it will at least not go black when we stop down. We shall see. But until I have seen the M, tried out the M, sniffed the M and p…ed on the M, there will be no order. It is said both that the Devil and God are in the details, which makes them a pretty crowded place. The old man from the Age of the Kine-Exakta
  8. +1. Last autumn I spent a week with friends away from home. In my bag was a 90mm Elmarit-M, a 50mm Summilux ASPH and the current ('FLE') 35mm Summilux ASPH. I did not use the 90mm once! I made half my exposures with the 50, half with the 35. In all cases I knew why I did choose the lens I used. The 50 mainly out of doors, the 35 indoors, and often wide open (late September is when it starts to get dark in Sweden). I did not find either lens superfluous. They are quite different optics and deserve to be used for what they are. And I don't own a 28mm lens. There are two reasons why: I would never forgo my 35, and a real wide angle lens is the practical next step. I have settled on 21mm as my mainstay. To me, a 28mm lens is something of a betwixt-and-between: It is not a real wide angle lens, but it does force you to work like you were using one. A standard lens – a long one like the 50, a short one like the 35 – needs a different composition than a wide angle lens, and the 28 falls between them. Also, I wear glasses and cannot see the 28mm finder frame. When I used 28mm lenses I had to use an accessory finder, so why not use something really wide? Below is a picture from that autumn trip – the 35 as a 'conversation lens'. ISO 500, 1/30, wide open. The old man from the Kodachrome Age
  9. The old Summarit has generally low contrast wide open. Extremely fine detail is generally absent, fine detail is slightly soft. Stopping down improves definition radically, and the lens is quite good at 5.6 though not as crisp as a moden 50mm lens. Stopping down also reduces flare. If the lens is in good shape, you can have lots of fun with the old clunker. The old man from the Kodachrome Age
  10. Andy, these are wise words. The limiting factor is usually the photographer, not the gear. I know. When I grew up a simple meniscus lens in a box camera was the norm, and a three-element Zeiss Novar (uncoated, of course) on a 6x9cm folder was a fine lens. Guess how much glow I've seen? But Edward Steichen used to say that there are more good pictures in a box camera than people suspected. The old man from the Kodachrome Age
  11. The only lens that really does need in-camera corrections for vignetting and colour shifts is the 35mm. Both the 5cm and the 90mm can be used with lens recognition set to 'auto', unless you want the correct focal length recorded in the exif data. The old man from the Kodachrome Age
  12. All old lenses show more optical aberrations than the modern ones; and usually also more flare, internal reflections etc., especially if they are really old and uncoated (before 1946/47). So they all have their different quirks, and many people find these quirks charming. And who am I to question that? There's no disputing taste. But it all comes down to individual, subjective taste. Old 5cm/50mm lenses are usuallt easiest to find. Favourites from the 1950's are the v.2 ('Rigid') Summicron, and the 3.5 and 2.8 Elmar lenses, but a Summarit or a v.1 Summilux (# below 1844001) will be interesting acquaintances. Do not use the Dual Range or Near Focus Summicron with a digital camera! If you don't want to actually drown in flare, do use the proper lens hoods. Even older lenses for the M39mm thread mount can also be used with the proper adapter (Cosina-Voigtländer have them). If rangefinder coupled, they may even focus correctly. 50mm lenses do not usually require special in-camera correction with the M9. Have fun. "Experience is what we have left when we have lost everything else." The old man from the Kodachrome Age
  13. … or unless you are using a digital camera. Or, in the old days, unless you were using slide film. Exposing for the shadows was all right with negative film, black-and-white or colour, which had a considerable tolerance for more-than-minimum exposure ('exposure latitude'). This was because the exposed film was just a half-finished product. You then printed it under the enlarger, and the lost highlight detail was usually there somewhere on the long 'shoulder' of the characteristic curve. So you could retain full shadow density and still recover highlight detail, either by using a different grade of paper, or by some adroit 'burning-in'. (Adjusting the development to suit the exposure was fine if you used cut film, or glass plate negs, because they could be developed individually, and if the emulsion was orthochromatic, you could even look while you did it. But roll film, with several exposures of different subjects in different lighting on the same strip of celluloid, ended that.) And with Kodachrome, you had to expose the highlights right, or they burned out irreparably, and you wuz screwed. And it is just the same with digital. With digital, forget film. Especially, forget negative film. The old man from the Kodachrome Age
  14. Here we dive into subjectivity. This lens, like all early Elmar designs, is characterised by low micro-contrast in the central area going to effectively nil outside it, where coarse detail too takes a nose dive. This lends a certain kind of smoothness (= lack of fine definition) to the image that some people like. They are welcome to it, of course. Problems arise only when enthusiasts try to establish as a general truth that "I like this" equals "this is best for everybody". Me, I have seen enough fuzz and 'Leica glow' in my younger days to last me a lifetime. But I am happy that my lifetime has come to be extended into an age where modern optics are available. The old man from the Age of the 3.5cm Elmar
  15. True. If you want to meter the light that falls on the subject, then you must meter the light that falls on the subject, and not some other light. In the old days, we didn't meter every single exposure. We got the measure of the light, and then applied experience and judgment to the individual exposure. It is proponents of the in-camera reflected-light meter that often try to make some kind of gadget 'think for us'. A bloke with an incident meter is nearly by definition a thinking bloke. I do not lack experience. And I have experimented with spot meters and found them deeply impractical. Why should I do all sorts of mental and arithmetical gymnastics when I can obtain a direct value at once? Also, palms do not only vary in reflectivity between people. Mine do it between seasons, too! See above about palms. And a corrected reflective reading is not the same thing as 'de facto' incident reading. You seem to prefer, as a matter of principle, fuss, delay and uncertainty to certainty and convenience. Adam's techniques were a relic of the age when large negatives were printed contact on ungraded paper, so that you had to adjust the contrast of the negative to the paper. He took that mindset into an era when small negatives were enlarged on a range of graded bromide papers. His understanding of the physics was deficient. This is not the place for a dissertaion on the Zone Religion, but rest assured that it can be demolished until nothing is left of it. Not even the notion of a 'zone' would stand. Adams got his images not because of, but in spite of this mumbo-jumbo. But I repeat, this forum is not the place. The old man from the Adamsian Age
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