Despite the name of this blog, my favorite camera lens is Leica’s legendary 50mm 2.0 Summicron. I think both the 50 and the 35 Crons are the bomb. The reason I own and shoot the 50’Lux is because of the additional capability of the f1.4 and the beautiful ‘special’ effects of shootings the lens wide-open or even at f1.7.
I highlight the word ‘special’ because the ability to shoot a lens at 1.4 and take for granted great sharpness and color and contrast AND beautiful lush bokeh is to give your photography almost a special effect capability.
But as you can see from the image above, the 50 ‘Cron, despite the gripes sometimes heard about a busy bokeh, is no slouch in producing almost the same special effect of a razor sharp subject and a wonderfully bokeh-licious background. And don’t even ask about color and contrast at f2. My reading of LFI magazine down through the years tells me that Leica considers their Summicron lenses to be without compromise; perfect in every way. I agree.
My 50 ‘Cron is one of the Canadian jobs. Probably 18 or so years old. I picked it up at BelAir camera for the laughable price of $475. Grab one if you can find it.
Oh, yes, this is a reblog of sorts. Done today in recognition of the NBA All Star Game…. which I won’t be watching and wouldn’t watch if you paid me. But still… 😉
Whenever I remove the $4000 Leica 50mm 1.4 Summilux ASPH lens from my Leica M-E and mount the Leica 50mm 2.0 Summicron, 20 years or so old, made in Canada, that set me back just $475, I’m always blown away.
There often seems to be a color explosion on my M-E’s monitor. The lens is so incredibly capable. So sharp. So perfect. So much color and contrast. If you think you have to spend thousands to shoot the very best Leica glass, you’d be wrong.
The 50 Summicron lacks NOTHING in terms of the sharpness, color, and contrast that you find on the 50 ‘Lux. In some ways, it seems to exceed the ‘Lux.
With the Summiluxes you get a capability provided by the extra stop of light available and the fact that the performance of the lens at that 1.4 aperture is stellar. But that capability and the expense of making that lens does not mean that it’s a better lens than the Summicron. Leica says their 50’Crons are ‘without compromise’, implying what many know, that in order to create a lens that will perform at 1.4 like the Summiluxes perform, there will be some compromises.
This website is named for the 50’lux, but my heart belongs to my 50’cron. Here in iffy iffy light, all shot at f/2 from a moving car. Huh?
Not our upstairs, mind you. We don’t have an upstairs. We have Leica GEAR! 😉 Our friends are very proud of all the work they’ve done. Their home is about a half mile from the Pacific Ocean, which you can see from their back porch and even better from their roof. So that light is the real deal. These were taken in a rush as we were given a quick tour on the 4th of July. I’d like to have a couple of hours down there shooting the great detail work with all that light and the great Leica and Zeiss glass I’m lucky enough to own. Instead of an upstairs. 😉
Great New York Times feature on HCB. With audio.
In 1971, Sheila Turner-Seed interviewed Henri Cartier-Bresson in his Paris studio for a film-strip series on photographers that she produced, with Cornell Capa, for Scholastic. After her death in 1979 at the age of 42, that interview, along with others she had conducted, sat like a time capsule in the archives of the International Center of Photography in New York.
Why the 50-millimeter lens?A.
It corresponds to a certain vision and at the same time has enough depth of focus, a thing you don’t have in longer lenses. I worked with a 90. It cuts much of the foreground if you take a landscape, but if people are running at you, there is no depth of focus. The 35 is splendid when needed, but…
Read the rest HERE.