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johnbuckley

Using the 35mm Summicron V. IV In Marrakech

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I read a good deal about how averse people are in Marrakech's Old City/Medina to having their picture taken. So when my wife and I spent a week in Marrakech last week, I took along my M10, but swapped out the 35mm Summilux Asph for the old Summicron. It is smaller and therefore more discreet. I knew it would work well with the tile and other architectural and decorative work, given that it is, well, the King of Bokeh. Nonetheless, I was once again blown away by what an incredible lens it is at f/5.6 or 8.  

Yes, some of the images might be a little soft, at least compared to the tack-sharp Summilux. But this was a situation where the lens was right for the circumstances. I'd say I lost, at most, 10 shots due to the softness at the edges.

Last point: All of the inanimate objects were shot with the M10 held to my eye. But virtually all of the street shots of people were shot from the hip -- either cupped in the palm of my hand and held at stomach level, or when shooting vertically, rested with the top of the camera/shutter trigger at my chest. If you like these images, and I hope you do, blame user error for things displeasing, but remember that a fair bit of the composition was accidental, given I wasn't using the viewfinder.

 

In Marrakech with the M10 and King of Bokeh 

 

 

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Thanks! Just beautiful! Love that lens myself.

I just got curious to see some of the pictures you actually «disregard» due to this lensˋ rather soft corners wide open? It is soft... but that bad 😉

Edited by Stein K S

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it's more of a religious/cultural "thing" - there are averse people everywhere in the world :)

Great job - do like a lot of your shots, and can well relate to the street one's. Been to Ceuta and Zanzibar and indeed they do pay attention to your camera as to where you have it pointed to...

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Thank you both so much. The rap on this lens isn't the softness wide open, since you want it soft in the out-of-focus areas. I have just always assumed it was soft when stopped down. But while "softer" than the Summilux, it's pretty sharp, and pleasurable. I love my Summilux, it's my go-to lens. But after shooting this pretty much exclusively for a week, I can see taking it everywhere.

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32 minutes ago, johnbuckley said:

Thank you both so much. The rap on this lens isn't the softness wide open, since you want it soft in the out-of-focus areas. I have just always assumed it was soft when stopped down. But while "softer" than the Summilux, it's pretty sharp, and pleasurable. I love my Summilux, it's my go-to lens. But after shooting this pretty much exclusively for a week, I can see taking it everywhere.

I find it very pleasurable, using your own words, but I often prefer a shallow dof anyway

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13 minutes ago, ianman said:

There are some nice shoots there, well done!

So what happened in shoot 3? Were you found out?

Yes! The cops/guards spotted me.

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No, I am referring to the pre-Asph version made between, I believe, 1979 and 1997. I have the 35mm Summilux ASPH (FLE), and the so-called King of Bokeh, which was Version IV of the Summicron. I have never used a more recent 35mm Summicron.

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Great colors!

Do you never use the lens at 2.0 for people because you prefer to give more context or because of the challenges of dynamic scenes for focusing.

I am asking because you highlight the bokeh of the lens but you show it only in stills.

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RHO - Good question! When walking through the Medina or out in villages, I I shot at f/5.6 - 8 at the hyperlocal distance, usually at ISO 400-800 to make sure the shutter speed was fast enough. I really used this lens both because it's small and discreet, and because I knew some of the architecture and tile would be able to take advantage of the bokeh. But for the people, knowing that there's hostility to street photographers, I stopped down.

If you're interested, I wrote an essay on the ethics of the street photography in a place where people are made uncomfortable by it on my photo site's sister, Tulip Frenzy.  You''ll see some of the same pictures, but also a discussion of technique and my moral quandary -- or lack thereof -- walking through the Medina taking pictures of people who sort of resent Western street photographers. 

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On 11/1/2019 at 4:05 PM, rho said:

Great colors!

Do you never use the lens at 2.0 for people because you prefer to give more context or because of the challenges of dynamic scenes for focusing.

I am asking because you highlight the bokeh of the lens but you show it only in stills.

If you read TOP who coined the “King” phrase, you’ll find that it refers to medium apertures. 

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Isn’t that interesting. Wide open, it’s like the poor man’s Noctilux (I bought mine on eBay for $800.)

Forgive my ignorance, but who is TOP?

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On 11/1/2019 at 4:44 PM, johnbuckley said:

RHO - Good question! When walking through the Medina or out in villages, I I shot at f/5.6 - 8 at the hyperlocal distance, usually at ISO 400-800 to make sure the shutter speed was fast enough. I really used this lens both because it's small and discreet, and because I knew some of the architecture and tile would be able to take advantage of the bokeh. But for the people, knowing that there's hostility to street photographers, I stopped down.

If you're interested, I wrote an essay on the ethics of the street photography in a place where people are made uncomfortable by it on my photo site's sister, Tulip Frenzy.  You''ll see some of the same pictures, but also a discussion of technique and my moral quandary -- or lack thereof -- walking through the Medina taking pictures of people who sort of resent Western street photographers. 

Thanks for the explanation and article. I read it, I recommend it. One thing to consider is that the humanists that you admire are all around 70 years old and did their defining, active work in a time that has passed in a specific aspect: A subject's perception of photography today must be seen in the context of the pervasiveness of cameras and mass tourism. The first I feel like sometimes helps us to vanish, but not in a main stream touristic destination. Long story short, I think you won't find the same photogapher-subject relationship anymore unless you go crazy remote. But the good news is, we can go new routes...

Anyway, what I wanted to actually say about the aperture is something that I am often facing, too. Assuming, that you would prefer the 2.0-look of some of the scenes shot from the hip: Do you prefer five pictures at hyperfocal or one nailed and four trashed at 2.0? I feel like with 35mm there is a chance if your subject is 2m to 5m away that you hit the focus by guestimating the distance. Closer is quite hard, for further I don't think it matters...

 

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