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joshjagdfeld

50mm Summilux on the Leica T

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Hey Friends!

 

I currently own the 23mm Summicron-T and the 55-135 Vario-Elmar-T for my Leica T, but I'm considering rounding out the kit with a really strong portraiture lens that is nice and fast. Does anyone have experience with the 50mm Summilux + T setup? I'm curious to see some example shots as well as hear feedback about the kit.

 

Here's looking at you, jono! I'm betting you have tried this combo.

 

Thanks to everyone in advance!

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Piet,

 

I'm currently using the Zeiss C Sonnar 1.5/50 ZM. Great FOV (75 mm. eq) for portraits, beautiful colors, sharp across the frame when stopped down and the "bokeh" of 1,5 is renowned.

Advantage on the T; there is no focus shift, as on the M!

 

It is no Lux, but it holds it's own!

Edited by AndrewAM

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I am only using a Voigtländer 50/1.5 but I find it rather difficult to achieve perfect sharpness (where I want it) during portrait use; i.e. eye lashes.

 

Sometimes I am asking myself whether I might just use the 55-135 on the long end, at slightly longer distance and get a similar (but sharp) picture with minimal compromise due the f4.5 vs. f1.5

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Well, for more static subjects or when there is time, I have no problem to pinpoint focus. And if necessary, just use the magnification dial. 3X magn. This is mostly sufficient in my view. For more dynamic scenes the M lenses always work best on the M.

 

But we are all waiting for a fast portrait lens for T, aren't we?

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Piet,

 

I'm currently using the Zeiss C Sonnar 1.5/50 ZM. Great FOV (75 mm. eq) for portraits, beautiful colors, sharp across the frame when stopped down and the "bokeh" of 1,5 is renowned.

Advantage on the T; there is no focus shift, as on the M!

 

It is no Lux, but it holds it's own!

 

Why is there no focus shift? Does the crop sensor somehow fix the whole "can be an inch off" plague I've heard about with it?

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Why is there no focus shift? Does the crop sensor somehow fix the whole "can be an inch off" plague I've heard about with it?

 

The Leica T is focus through the lens - whatever focus shift there is, you will compensate during focusing with your eyes.

 

On a regular rangefinder, you don't look through the lens. You will focus until the rangefinder confirms sharpness. This usually applies to a certain aperture and if you change the aperture, the focus will shift without you being able to compensate.

 

The Zeiss Sonnar is known to have a focus shift between f1.5 and the rest. Zeiss used to calibrate this for f2.8; i.e. it will focus perfectly at apertures equal to and smaller than f2.8. If you wanted perfect focus for f1.5, you had to send the lens to Zeiss for recalibration. It would then focus perfectly for f1.5, but not the smaller apertures (some of that effect will be compensated by depth of field, but I understand the problem is visible between f1.5 and f2.8)

 

Not sure what Zeiss does today, but I have read that they now calibrate for f1.5 during production instead of f2.8 as it used to be a couple of years ago.

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The Leica T is focus through the lens - whatever focus shift there is, you will compensate during focusing with your eyes.

 

On a regular rangefinder, you don't look through the lens. You will focus until the rangefinder confirms sharpness. This usually applies to a certain aperture and if you change the aperture, the focus will shift without you being able to compensate.

 

The Zeiss Sonnar is known to have a focus shift between f1.5 and the rest. Zeiss used to calibrate this for f2.8; i.e. it will focus perfectly at apertures equal to and smaller than f2.8. If you wanted perfect focus for f1.5, you had to send the lens to Zeiss for recalibration. It would then focus perfectly for f1.5, but not the smaller apertures (some of that effect will be compensated by depth of field, but I understand the problem is visible between f1.5 and f2.8)

 

Not sure what Zeiss does today, but I have read that they now calibrate for f1.5 during production instead of f2.8 as it used to be a couple of years ago.

 

Oh, yes! Of course.

 

Thanks for all of the great feedback!

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Well, for more static subjects or when there is time, I have no problem to pinpoint focus. And if necessary, just use the magnification dial. 3X magn. This is mostly sufficient in my view. For more dynamic scenes the M lenses always work best on the M.

 

But we are all waiting for a fast portrait lens for T, aren't we?

 

I'd say that moving from the E-M1 to the T taught me was that lightning fast AF isn't really all that necessary or more specifically that pre-focusing and intelligently using DOF is faster than any AF.

 

I realized that most of the time there was no focus difference between whatever point I selected and some other point. Therefore used properly the T even without focus assist turned on was was fairly easy to use.

 

For example with the 23mm f/5.6 focused around 2.2m easily has everything from about 2m to about 4m in focus and 2.5m gives you everything all the way up to infinity. It is an APS-C sensor after all.

56mm at f/5.6 is a bit tighter and it takes some mental work to get used to Leica's logarithmic scale but with practice MF prefocused is faster than AF. Zoomed in that far, I tend to either be doing portraits which are all at about the same distance or I'm doing landscapes and they are focused to infinity. So MF wins again.

 

But yeah I totally want a 56 or 60mm Summilux-T. I think a Summilux vs a Summicron because unlike street with the 23mm where you are often doing street photography and want a lot in focus to bring in a lot of context, with portraits artistically you often times want to have a very narrow DOF. Also portraits tend to be at a location and don't pay as much of a penalty for a bigger lens. Unlike street where you want a small light lens because you will be carrying it around all day.

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I have the heavier silver chrome (brass underneath the coating) 50 Summilux ASPH and I like it with the T. It's reasonably compact as well.

 

I endorse Bencoyote's comments about MF - I find M lenses work very well with the T. The range I use is 15mm (effective 23mm) through to 90mm (effective 137mm), However, the question I often ask myself is, given that I have a similar range with my M cameras - 21mm to 90mm - why would I use the T rather than an M? Simple answer, when I want something small and more automated in which case I tend to use the 18-56mm zoom.

 

I appreciate that is not the complete answer, it's just that while the T & 50mm Summilux is a nice form factor (as is the 35 and 28), I rarely want to go out with just an effective 75mm prime. I would tend to want to add my 21 Summillux (to get 32mm effective) and suddenly you're talking a whole new ball game, where the M is probably a better choice.

 

So what I tend to do is to either take the T with the zoom (for example, on my bike or if I'm going for an extended walk) or I take an M camera (say Monochrom) with 21-35-75 or 28-50-90 and the T as a cropped, colour backup. If I was doing a walkabout with the T and a single lens, it would be the 28 Summicron (effective 43mm).

 

I hope that helps. The T and 50 Summilux would really only be useful if I was taking headshot at a social gathering (very good for that) or for landscape (when I would probably prefer my Monochrom).

 

I think I spend far to much time worrying about what I'll take when I walk out the door. A few years ago, I met a photographer from NY on a boat going down the Niger River (now, al-Qaeda territory). I was there with my FE2, mid-range zoom and 180/2 telephoto, and he had rushed out the door to get his taxi to the airport with an F3 and a 17mm prime (by mistake). It wasn't the best choice for what we were doing, but it imposed some discipline on him. The best camera is the one you have with you.

 

Cheers

John

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What was said about MF and depth of field is all well and fine, but we are discussing a fast portrait lens in this thread.

 

Consequently, having depth of field from 2,2m to infinity is not exactly what we are after. Instead, I think the question is: how accurate and quickly can you manual focus a 50mm f1.5 lens at close range (1-2m) with minimal depth of field ranging from 2cm to 8cm (if I calculated correctly) on a Leica T with or without the Visoflex.

 

Personally, I find that quite challenging - especially if you move even close to capture the face only or parts of a face in a certain setup.

 

(for walk around, I set a 35/2.5 to f8, set the focus to the appropriate value using the distance scale and don't bother focusing at all - agreed)

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Why is there no focus shift? Does the crop sensor somehow fix the whole "can be an inch off" plague I've heard about with it?

Not the crop sensor - the use of an EVF/LV that reads the focus directly off the sensor.

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What was said about MF and depth of field is all well and fine, but we are discussing a fast portrait lens in this thread.

 

Consequently, having depth of field from 2,2m to infinity is not exactly what we are after. Instead, I think the question is: how accurate and quickly can you manual focus a 50mm f1.5 lens at close range (1-2m) with minimal depth of field ranging from 2cm to 8cm (if I calculated correctly) on a Leica T with or without the Visoflex.

 

Personally, I find that quite challenging - especially if you move even close to capture the face only or parts of a face in a certain setup.

 

(for walk around, I set a 35/2.5 to f8, set the focus to the appropriate value using the distance scale and don't bother focusing at all - agreed)

 

I find focusing with a fast lens handhold, without the Visoflex, not very practible in the field.

I agree that it is a challenge to correctly focus every time with the 50 mm., set to 1.5, in the beginning. However after a while you get used to it and the yield of good focussed shots is getting higher. And then the results are quite rewarding!

 

One thing could improve though. When focussing manually; cycling through the magnification on the left dial should be a loop, not linear. Then when holding the camera in portrait-mode (vertical), you can move the dial with a more steady hand.

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What was said about MF and depth of field is all well and fine, but we are discussing a fast portrait lens in this thread.

 

Consequently, having depth of field from 2,2m to infinity is not exactly what we are after. Instead, I think the question is: how accurate and quickly can you manual focus a 50mm f1.5 lens at close range (1-2m) with minimal depth of field ranging from 2cm to 8cm (if I calculated correctly) on a Leica T with or without the Visoflex.

 

Personally, I find that quite challenging - especially if you move even close to capture the face only or parts of a face in a certain setup.

 

(for walk around, I set a 35/2.5 to f8, set the focus to the appropriate value using the distance scale and don't bother focusing at all - agreed)

 

In principle, I agree with you and I agree that focusing a telephoto lens like a portrait lens is a bit harder than something like a 35 at f8. For a portrait lens on a full frame camera we want 85-90 f4 and wider. For the APS-C sensor this ends up being 55-60mm f2.8 or faster at the very least and the minimal depth of field is part of what we are striving for. The big difference that makes MF doable in portrait work is unlike street where your subjects are all over the place with regards to distance, quite a lot of portrait work is conducted in a fairly static way and the range of distances that your subject will be in is almost constant.

So do you really find yourself focusing every single shot? Or is it just a very slight fine tuning between shots if anything?

 

I'm sincerely curious. It might just be me and how I shoot portraits (which I don't do a lot of) but I find once I've locked onto a focus and a focal depth for a series of shots, practically nothing changes except for things like the model's expression. Then, I recompose which might change the distance and require a new second or two of focusing.

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Piet,

 

I'm currently using the Zeiss C Sonnar 1.5/50 ZM. Great FOV (75 mm. eq) for portraits, beautiful colors, sharp across the frame when stopped down and the "bokeh" of 1,5 is renowned.

Advantage on the T; there is no focus shift, as on the M!

 

It is no Lux, but it holds it's own!

Beautiful image!

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But we are all waiting for a fast portrait lens for T, aren't we?

Indeed!

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