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Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 - Review and user report
 
Anarkali Akarsha by Thorsten von Overgaard
   
 
   

The Leica 28mm lenses

By: Thorsten Overgaard. June 29, 2015. Latest update, November 18, 2016.

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Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 28mm Summilux-Q ASPH f/1.7 (on the Leica Q)
Leica 28mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 28mm Elmarit-M ASPH f/2.8
Leica 28mm Summaron-M f/5.6
Leitz 28mm Hector f/6.3
Leica 28-90mm Vario-Elmarit ASPH f/2.0-2.4
Leica 28-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8

 

An review and user report in progesss ...

 

The Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 was announced on May 21, 2015 and started shipping in second half of 2015. My lens was produced in December 2014.

The 28mm lens for Leica M has been available since the Leitz 28mm Hektor f/6.3 came out in 1935 (model HOOPY) and has been regularly updated in 1946, and in 1955 with the 28mm Summaron f/5.6 (model SNOOX). The first "fast* 28mm was the Leica 28mm Elmarit Version I in 1965 which was updated in 1972 (version II), 1979 (Version III), 1992 (Version IV), 2006 (Version V) and 2016 (Version VI).

The first Leica 28mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 saw available daylight in 2000 and was updated in 2016.

The very first real "fast" Leica 28mm lens is the Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 that came out in 2015. It was hard to get for a while, but aroudn summer 2016 it is often in stock from Amazon or BH Photo.

In October 2016 Leica added the Leica 28mm Summaron-M f/5.6 to the lineup again (Model 11 695).

 

An upgrade of the Leica 28mm lens range

As of January 2016, the Leica 28mm Simmicron-M ASPH f/2.0 (11 672) and Leica 28mm Elmarit-M ASPH f/2.8 (11 677) have been released in new editions. Both have gotten the same slick lens shade as the Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 has (a rounder, stronger lens shade in metal that replaces the plastic lens hood they ued to have).

This marks an upgrade of the 28mm lenses so they all have similar design with Focus Tab and metal lens shade.

I shall get back to them in a later update as I interviewed Peter Karbe about the 28mm lenses some months ago. Sign up for my free newsletter (in the bottom of this page) to stay in the know about that.

 

Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, August 2015. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 6 with 2010 Process.
Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, August 2015. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 6 with 2010 Process. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 is a high contrast wide angle lens with the same high performance as the Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 FLE (Floating Element), and in some respects it actually outperforms it.

It's a floating element lens. Distortion on the Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 is extremely low, 1.1% outwards bending ("pulvinate") which is so little is has no practical importance.

 

 

Puch motor bike from the 1970's. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 3 with 2010 Process, colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.
Puch motor bike from the 1970's. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 3 with 2010 Process, colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.

 

The 28mm in Leica history

The 28mm lenses from Leica Camera AG traditionally has been of very high quality. I have speculated before if 28mm are very easy to make and if that could be the reason why Leica just make them very good, not matter the price.

The Leica 28mm Elmarit-M ASPH f/2.8 ($1,980) is an really outstanding lens, and the almost twice as expensive Leica 28mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 [$3,780) is just a one stop better and offer the extra DOF (depth of field).

 

Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 3 with 2010 Process, colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.
Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 3 with 2010 Process, colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.

 

The new and even more expensive Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 ($5,959) it's too early to say much about. It's introduced but we're still waiting for them to be delivered (as of June 2015). Though Jono Slack did an article with samples based on the limited edition of the 28/1.4 that came out in May 2014.

The point I am making is that 28mm seems to be a lens format Leica has completely down how to make. Any of them are very good. Without having gone into much detail on the 28mm Summilux-Q ASPH f/1.7 on the Leica Q, I expect it to follow the family tradition of 28mm Leica lenses.

 

Leica M9 with Leica 28mm Elmarit-M ASPH f/2.8. © 2010-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica M9 with Leica 28mm Elmarit-M ASPH f/2.8. © 2010-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The 28mm on the Leica Digilux 2 was also very good, even it was a 28-90mm zoom f/2.0. Leica zoom lenses (except for the ones Minolta made for them in the 1980's) are known for being just as good at any focal length as the fixed focal length lenses.

 

Dr. Hans Blix by Thorsten Overgaard
My portrait of Former weapons inspector Dr. Hans Blix was made at 28-90mm f/2.0 at 28mm f/2.8 with the Leica Digilux 2
. © 2007-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

         
 

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Young lady attending a wedding in Aarhus, Denmark. Leica Q with Leica 28mm Summilux-Q ASPH f/1.7. (800 ISO, 1/6400, f/1.7 with B+W 3-stop ND filter. Converted to monochrom in Lightroom from the DNG file.).  © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
Young lady attending a wedding in Aarhus, Denmark. Leica Q with Leica 28mm Summilux-Q ASPH f/1.7. (800 ISO, 1/6400, f/1.7 with B+W 3-stop ND filter. Converted to monochrom in Lightroom from the DNG file.).
© 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

One of the ideas of a f/1.4 super wide lens is to be able to use selective focus and get a nice blurred background ("bokeh"). You have to have a full-frane sensor and a wide open aperture to get the narrow DOF (depth of field). With a camera that has a smaller sensor, the DOF will be deeper and more (or all) will be in focus no matter how you do it. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4at f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
One of the ideas of a f/1.4 super wide lens is to be able to use selective focus and get a nice blurred background ("bokeh"). You have to have a full-frane sensor and a wide open aperture to get the narrow DOF (depth of field). With a camera that has a smaller sensor, the DOF will be deeper and more (or all) will be in focus no matter how you do it. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4at f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica 28mm ventilated lens shades

I love ventilated lens shades, so I've made them for most of the Leica lenses. Have a look here which models goes with which 28mm Leica lens.

#new #ventilated #lens #hood #shade for the #28mm #Summilux by #leica #photographer #thorstenovergaard #cameraporn # vintage #fashion

A photo posted by Thorsten von Overgaard (@thorstenovergaard) on


 

Leica 28mm lens comparison (current models)


Leica 28mm lens comparison

  Leica 28mm
Summilux-M
ASPH f/1.4
Leica 28mm
Summicron-M
ASPH f/2.0
Leica 28mm
Elmarit-M
ASPH f/2.8
Leica 28mm
Summaron-M
f/5.6
Leica Q 28mm
Summilux-Q
ASPH f/1.7
Year Model 11 668
2015 -

Model 11 604
2000 - 2016
Model
11 672
2016 -

Model 11 606
2006 - 2016
Model 11 677
2016 -

2016 -

Model 11 695

2015 -
Focus Manuel Manuel Manuel Manuel AF and Manuel
Aperture f/1.4 - f/16 f/2.0 - f/16 f/2.8 - f/22 f/5.6 - f/22 f/1.4 - f/16
Mount M Bayonet M Bayonet M Bayonet M Bayonet Fixed on Leica Q
Closest distance 70 cm 70 cm 70 cm 100 cm 30 cm
Macro mode No No No No 15 - 30 cm
Weight 440g 270g 180g 165g 670g
including camera
Lens shade Included
(Metal screw)


(Snap-on plastic on model 11 604
or Leica ventilated
lens hood 12 466 fits the 11 604 model.
)

Metal screw hood on
model 11 672


(Snap-on plastic on model 11 606)

Metal screw hood on
model 11 677

Included
(Painted black brass square hood)
Included
(Metal screw)
Filter size 49mm 46mm 39mm 34mm 49mm
Lens cap Plastic Plastic Plastic   Metal
Price $5,959

Amazon
BH Photo

$3,995

Amazon
BH Photo

$2,195

Amazon
BH Photo
$2,495

Amazon
BH Photo
$4,250
including camera
Amazon
BH Photo

 


Shopping B1 vitalims in a supermarket in Los Angeles, August 2015. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 6 with 2010 Process.

 

 

Landscape photography with 28mm and polarizer filter

The 28mm traditionally is a good lens for landscape photography.

A polarizer filter is used to remove the bluish haze you see in the air and which usually blur out distant subjects like mountains and buildings. A polarizer filter is also used to reduce or remove reflections in windows and any reflective surface like screens, cars, bottles, etc.

When you rotate the filter, the reduction of light rays change and the reflections are reduced gradually.


Leica Universal Top (Linear) Polarizer Glass Filter. This one is made so you can swing up the filter to see through a traditional viewfinder how the effect till be. You will need the 49mm adapter as well.

The Polarizer Glass Filter for M lenses is a good fit if you want to use the filter for other lenses as well. The filter comes with a 46mm and 39mm ring, and then you have to remember to buy the 49mm adapter ring (Leica No 14218) as well to be able to use it with the 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4.

If you only want to use a polarizer filter on the 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4, you just need to look for any brand 49mm filter which of course will cost less than the kit above (from $50 to $100). B+W makes a high transmission Polarizer that is interesting sa well.

 

 

Young skater at Godsbanen in Aarhus, Denmark. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4at f/1.4. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.Young skater at Godsbanen in Aarhus, Denmark. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 at f/1.4. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

The 28mm Summaron-M f/5.6 classic lens - again

Leica spent some time in 2015 and 2016 completing the lineup of 28mm lenses. The Leica Q lens, the f/1.4, and then the f/2.0 and the f/2.8 both came out in updated design.

The final part of the puzzle is the revival of this 1955-lens in October 2016, the Leica 28mm Summaron-M f/5.6. The idea is that a f/5.6 wide angle lens has so much sharpness at f/5.6 that you basically just have to frame and press the shutter.

Moreover, it's a superior piece of design, so even if you don't hit the streets, it's a fine lens to own.

The original Leica 28mm Summaron-M f/5.6 was reviewed in Leica Fotografie Interntational 2/1957 by David Seymour "Chim" (1911-1956).

"New glasses have replaced the older ones and this has brought a small change in the radii of the surfaces, but all in all, the performance of the lens may be described as vintage." - Erwin Puts

The Leica 28mm Summaron-M f/5.6 (released October 2016).
The Leica 28mm Summaron-M f/5.6 (released October 2016).
Price is $2,495.00.

The lens shade for the Leica 28mm Summaron-M f/5.6 is made of black painted brass.
The lens shade for the Leica 28mm Summaron-M f/5.6 is made of black painted brass. The original one from 1955 is model SOOBK 12500 which sells at $500-$700 on eBay (and the original 1955-lens you would also need; that one is usually around $1,000 without shade).

 

Reviews of the Leica 28mm Summaron:

Reidreviews: "Leica 28mm Summaron-M review" (as of October 2016)
LEICAGRAPHY by Erwin Puts: "Leica 28 mm lenses for rangefinder cameras, part 1" on the 28mm Summaron and 28mm Summilux, etc. (as of November 2016)
Reidreviews: "Full studio comparison test of the Leica 28/5.6 M Summaron, Cosina Voigtlander 28/3.5 Color Skopar, Leica 28/2.8 Elmarit ASPH (pre-2016) and Canon 28/2.8 LTM" (as of November 18, 2016).

 

Original Leica 28mm Summaron-M f/5.6

The original "real vintage" 28mm Summaron-M is still available on eBay and in Leica second-hand stores. The price is usually around $1,000, and the lens shade is often $600 - $800. Here's how it looks:

 

 

28mm framelines

The Leica 28mm lenses can be used on most Leica M cameras and the whole 28mm area will be visible in the viewfinder, and there will be framelines showing the edges of the frame.

Most of the Leica M cameras have 28mm framelines built-in into the viewfinder. That is Leica M 240, Leica M 246, Leica M Monochrom, Leica M9, Leica MM, Leica M-E and the Leica models that doesn't have the 0.85 viewfinder: Leica M7, Leica M6 TTL, Leica M6, Leica M4-P (from serial 2.411.001). The Leica M3 doesn't have this but can be fitted with one by Leica Camera AG. Yes, you read right: You can send in your 1950's Leica M3 and get it updated with a new viewfinder.

For the Leica M8 and Leica M8.2 which have a cropped sensor, the 28mm acts like a 35mm lens.For those you should use the Leica UV/IR filter E49 (13 412).

External viewfinders can be used, either optical or the EVF-2 electronic viewfinder that fits the Leica M 240, Including Leica M-P 240 and Leica M 60) and Leica M 246.

 

 

1800's interior in Den Gamle By. Leica Q. 800 ISO, f/1.7, 1/1000 second. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
1800's interior in Den Gamle By. Leica Q. 800 ISO, f/1.7, 1/1000 second. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Comparing the
Leica 28mm Summilux-Q ASPH f/1.7 on the Leica Q and the
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 on the Leica M 240

I've compared the 28mm lens on the Leica Q a little with the Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 on the Leica M 240. I will be doing more as part of my 28mm article that will expand over August to October (using the Leica M 240 and the Leica M 246).

 

1. Comparing white balance settings:

I've had a few problems with the white balance in Kelvin because the two cameras aparantly doesn't use the same Kelvin scale, or doesn't respond to it the same way.

You should think that if you establish the white balance in Kelvin, you can just punch it in the numbers and both images will be the same colors. Not so. Here is the two camera files with the same Kelvin number. (This makes use of external Color Meter a little tricky, which was one of the things I was testing that day as well).

Q

The full frame of the Leica 28mm Summilux-Q ASPH f/1.7 on the Leica Q

 

M

The full frame of the 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 on the Leica M 240

 
Both images set to Kelvin 4100 - Now, that was a surprise!

 

2. Comparing size of frame:

I can say that the Leica Q has a wider 28mm frame than the Leica m 240. There is no doubt about that. If the 28mm M lens is a 28mm, the 28mm Q lens might be more like a 24mm or 26mm.

Q

The full frame of the Leica 28mm Summilux-Q ASPH f/1.7 on the Leica Q

 

M

The full frame of the 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 on the Leica M 240

 
The staight out of the camera Auto White balance files (Leica Q is 5950 K, Leica M is 5350)

 

3. Comparing the images:

These are my edited files as I would normally edit them. It is easy to see that the Leica Q has very even distribution of the light and no dark corners. In this case it might look as a good quality.

I am sure we will doubt what we like the best when we start looking at prople, skin, eyes and other things than a simple room. If you want to start thinking about it, look at the window and the defition of the frame, shadows and curtain.

The Leica Q comes with a built-in correction of the file (which corrects for dark corners and adjust the iamge to be straighter), the Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 doesn't have a profile in Adobe Lightroom yet.

Q

The full frame of the
Leica 28mm Summilux-Q ASPH f/1.7 on the Leica Q

 

M

The full frame of the
28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 on the Leica M 240

 
 

 

4. Comparing the depth of field:

I can say that the Leica Q has a wider 28mm frame than the Leica m 240. There is no doubt about that. If the 28mm M lens is a 28mm, the 28mm Q lens might be more like a 24mm or 26mm.

Q

Crop of the scene from the
Leica 28mm Summilux-Q ASPH f/1.7 on the Leica Q

 

M

Crop of the scene from the
28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 on the Leica M 240

 
The staight out of the camera auto white balance files

This is how far I will go so far with comparing the two. The Leica Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 is a wonderful lens. A masterpiece I would say, and will get back to why it is so when I have worked with it for a longer time.

This photo is of a simple room with fairly soft light. It doesn't include people or real use of DOF (depth of field) which would be one of the reasons to get a Summilux lens.

 

Conclusion

What I would conclude so far is that the Leica Q is a very straight-forward and easy way to get the 28mm quality with straight lines, ease of use, even and bright from corner to corner, and without much trouble in regards to fringing.

I've started posting a few pictures already in my Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 article.

 

1800's interior. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. 800 ISO, f/1.4, 1/500 second. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
1800's interior. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. 800 ISO, f/1.4, 1/500 second. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. 800 ISO, f/1.4, 1/250 second. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Below is the same photo made with Leica Q: Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. 800 ISO, f/1.4, 1/250 second. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard. Below is the same photo made with Leica Q:

 

Leica Q with Leica 28mm Summilux-Q ASPH f/1.7 test photos by Thorsten Overgaard
Leica Q. 800 ISO, f/1.7, 1/250 second. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

       
 

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Hollywood, August 2015. Leica M 246 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. 6400 ISO.
Hollywood, August 2015. Leica M 246 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. 6400 ISO.

 

 

Purple fringing

Purple fringing is - as far as I know - an existing problem with modern sharp lenses that hasn't been APO-corrected. Purple fringing is a problem in that sharpness of the lens and the detail of the sensor add more purple fringing than was the case with film and (less sharp) lenses.

It exist where there is high contrast from (over-)exposed areas of white on an edge. In Adobe Lightroom Color Fringe Correction Controls were introduced in Lightroom 4.1, so in Lightroom 6 you can correct for purple fringing, and in the examples below I have edited the same image without de-fringing in Lightroom 3, and then with fringing in Lightroom 6 (see the window details to the left). Notice that also the purple flowers on the table have been "de-purple-ized".

Here is an Abode article about fringing and the tools to remove it.


Lightroom 3 without defringe (Process 2010): Tourists from Taipei, Taiwan visits The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark where actors are in character as original 1864 citizens of the city. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. 1600 ISO at f/1.4, 1/180 second. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.
Lightroom 3 without defringe (Process 2010): Tourists from Taipei, Taiwan visits The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark where actors are in character as original 1864 citizens of the city. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
. 1600 ISO at f/1.4, 1/180 second. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.

 

Lightroom 6 with defringe (Process 2010): Tourists from Taipei, Taiwan visits The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark where actors are in character as original 1984 citizens of the city. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. 1600 ISO at f/1.4, 1/180 second. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.
Lightroom 6 with defringe (Process 2010): Tourists from Taipei, Taiwan visits The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark where actors are in character as original 1984 citizens of the city. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. 1600 ISO at f/1.4, 1/180 second. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.

 

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My mothers Rose Garden in Denmark. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
My mothers Rose Garden in Denmark. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The first Leica 28mm lens

The Leitz 28mm Hector f/6.3 that came out in 1935 in black and chrome for the Leica IIIa was the first ever Leica 28mm lens that came out. Since then Leica have made quire a few 28mm lenses. Below is a comparison of the current Leica 28mm lenses.

Photo by Tom Gill: A Leica IIIc 1938 with the 28mm Hektor f/6.3, the first Leica 28mm lens.
Photo by Tom Gill: A Leica IIIc 1938 with the 28mm Hektor f/6.3, the first Leica 28mm lens.

 



A Life With Leica from Northpass Media.

 

 

The Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 has a fairly good size. It doesn't feel large.
The Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 has a fairly good size. It doesn't feel large.

 

Here is Birgit Krippner's Leica M240 with 28mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 and the ventilated Leica lens shade 12 466 (see below). The leather is Griptac Medium Grey.
Here is Birgit Krippner's Leica M240 with 28mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 and the ventilated Leica lens shade 12 466 (see below). The leather is Griptac Medium Grey.

 

The sexy shade for the previus 28mm Elmarit and the current 28mm Summicron ASPH

  Leica lens hood 12 466
  Leica lens hood 12 466 for the current Leica 28mm Summicron, the previous 28mm Elmarit and the previus (1994-2010) 35mm Summilux-M ASPH
   

Don't ask why, but in 2011 Leica designed this mother of all lens shades for the older Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 at the same times as they introduced the new 35mm FLE (FLoating Elements). So the lens shade didn't fir the new lens, but only the old one.

The good thing is that it also fits the current 28mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 [11604] and the previous 28mm Elmarit-M f/2.8 [11809] .

It's the sort of thing everybody thinks is overpriced - €350 - yet love when they have gotten it.

In all fairness it's not just a piece of metal but does have some moving mechanical parts inside enabling it to be mounted as a clip-on shade.

And to justify the purchase further, an old half-beaten-up ventilated lens shade for the 50mm or 35mm lens from the 60's easily runs up in $200.

 

Leica lens hood 12 466 Leica lens hood 12 466 on the 1994-2010 35mm Summilux-M ASPH edition. Leica M9-P silver and Gordy's Camera Staps.

 

A retro-moment as a Danish guy departs for a music festival on his 1970's PUCH Maxi in July 2015. It's actually in Hjemensgade in Aarhus where I used to go to school (the buildings to the right in the picutre).  Leica M 246 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
A retro-moment as a Danish guy departs for a music festival on his 1970's PUCH Maxi in July 2015. It's actually in Hjemensgade in Aarhus where I used to go to school (the buildings to the right in the picutre).
Leica M 246 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Using the Leica M electronic "Spirit Level" to get straight lines

For 28mm and other super wide lenses it may be of use to press the INFO button till the Gyroscope or "Spirit Level" comes up on the screen.

It works on an X-axis to get the sensor upright (avoid falling lines) and keeling the camera (buttom) vertical as well (avoid tilted photos).

It has a long horizontal like and a short vertical line: When the long vertical is in center and lights green, the camera is balanced so the sensor is 100% upright vertical.

When the short vertical line is in center og the screen and lights green, the camera is balanced vertical so the bottom plate of the camera is completely hotizontal.

It's quite a task getting both points crossing and green when handheld (but it can be done). Much easier on a tripod.

 

All vertical lines are straight here because the camera is 100% balanced. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
All vertical lines are straight here because the camera is 100% balanced. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The third element in getting a photograph completely aligned would be that you are in the exact center of the street, a room or so.

If you imagine a laser beam going out shtough the lens, that laser line must be going 100% horizontal, and will hit the center of the scene. And the camea must be level as well (the bottom plate so the image doesn't tilt).

 

This one is taken from the center. If I had been standing to the right, I would have turned the camera to capture the whole scene and the (horizontal) lines would have tilted. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.This one is taken from the center. If I had been standing to the right, I would have turned the camera to capture the whole scene and the (horizontal) lines would have tilted. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

What I mean with being center is that you cannot be to the left of a building (or under a tall building) and then "tilt" the camera so as to get the whole building. You have to imagine that "laser line" going through the center of the subject. This is why you wither have to get up higher to take a photo of a tall building, and why you have to move to the center front of a street to get it completely straight.

 

Straight lines vs. not straight lines:

 

 

 

Denmark in July, 2014. Leica M 246 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4.  © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.   Denmark in July, 2014. Leica M 246 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4.  © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
Denmark in July, 2014. Leica M 246 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4.
© 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

It's easier to see in this one what it does to the lines in the picture:

 
Denmark in July, 2014. Leica M 246 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4.  © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.   Denmark in July, 2014. Leica M 246 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4.  © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
Denmark in July, 2014. Leica M 246 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4.
© 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

 
     
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A couple playing volleyball in the Danish summer evening. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4at f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
A couple playing volleyball in the Danish summer evening. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4at f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

 

The "Leica Glow" and the Leica philosophy on lenses

The "Leica Glow" is something you hear spoken about from time to time. When you use Leica every day, you don't notice it that much. If you use other lenses and then see a Leica photo, most people clearly notice that something is "glowing".

I can't recall that Leica Camera AG ever have described what this might be.

 

Election night in Denmark, June 2015. Leica Q, 800 ISO, f/1.7, 1/2000 second. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
Election night in Denmark, June 2015. Leica Q, 800 ISO, f/1.7, 1/2000 second. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

I have one explanation that I usually give: When I was scanning slide film photos for a book some years ago, I used a Nikon scanner ($1,200) and a Imacon scanner ($14,000). I used the Nikon for the less important ones as it would scan images in less than a minute. The Imacon I used for the images I really wanted to sing, because the Imacon takes 8 minutes to scan one image.

Same size of scan, different scanners. Imacon has been known for making the worlds best scanners and still does (they were bought by Hasselblad some years ago).

I decided to test the quality, so I did a scan of the same image on both scanners. When I zoomed in to 100% I was horrified: The Nikon scanning was sharper than the Imacon scan!

 

Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 3 with 2010 Process, colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.
Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 3 with 2010 Process, colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.

 

But then when I zoomed out to a larger potion of the image, the Imacon suddenly appeared sharper, more alive and more 3D. Fresh, I would say. And when I zoomed out to the actual size of the image on the screen, the Imacon was so much more alive, sharper, better colors and more sparkling details.

Imacon and Leica are the only two optics/photography companies where I have seen this "philosophy" on light rays. If I look at a Zeiss image, I see extreme sharpness but an overall dead image. For me, that is optics designed by a computer. What I think distinguish Leica and Imacon is that some human make decisions on the road to the final design.

A computer can figure out the sharpest lens, but only a human can figure out a lens that makes things look alive.

 

Leica Q (100 ISO, f/17, 1/1000). © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica Q (100 ISO, f/17, 1/1000). © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

This might be a accurate, or less accurate description of the phenomena. If you are into Leica lenses, you know of the Mandler era: That is lenses designed by Dr. Walter Mandler who worked at Leica Camera AG and who's lens designs are characterized by a soft look, but at the same time very detailed. He did the 75/1.4, the 50/2 version II, the Noctilux f/1.0 and many more lenses. If you said his lenses didn't focus on sharp edges, but on many details, you would be on the right track.

 

Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 3 with 2010 Process, colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.
Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 3 with 2010 Process, colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.

 

Since then, Peter Karbe has taken over and is the one in charge of the design of Leica lenses these days. The new lenses has much more control of micro-details, light-rays and the overall result is higher contrast, more accurate colors and an overall apparent sharpness. One other thing that distinguish Leica lenses from other brands is that they cut no corners in lens design and production. This is why - surprisingly - new lens designs are better than older ones. "They don't build them as in the old days" is true for many things in life, but not for Leica lenses.

Sharpness is not a sharp edge, but is perceived sharpness; meaning that the idea that something is sharp and detailed due to the light conditions. It comes down to the control of light rays (Red, Green and Blue) and how they meet on the sensor plane.

 

Election posters in Denmark, June 2015. Leica Q. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
Election posters in Denmark, June 2015. Leica Q. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

If one have tried different binocular brands, one will know that Leica binoculars make you see almost better than with your own eyes. Bright, colorful,contrasty, well-defined and relaxed. Same philosophy.

During an interview in 2013 with Peter Karbe on the Leica lens design and the Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 he said something that might lead us to the human factor in lens design:

Peter Karbe: "At Leica we aim to reduce and minimize aberration within each element itself, with each surface and so forth. That is the concept and thinking behind everything we do."

"Look at the M system. We aim to keep it compact and each element has a certain task and this need to be selected carefully. That is the general description and the reason we try so hard."

 


TRX training in Denmark with personal trainer Lars Frederiksen. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 6 with 2010
TRX training in Denmark with personal trainer Lars Frederiksen.
Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 6 with 2010

 

So any other lens designer could do this, or do you have an extra secret?

”They need to understand why, and they need to know how to do that. That is our history of ideas at Leica. We have a history of ideas for photographic lenses. Max Berek (1886-1949) designed the first Leica 50mm f/3.5 lens for the Ur-Leica that Oskar Barnack made in 1911. That is our heritage. We learned from that."

"Everybody at Leica try to learn from that which others did before us,” he smiles. “It’s not learned at a university. We learned from them. Our first lens designer was Max Berek. His concept was to reduce the aberration of each element, or of each lens surface.“

 

Joy Villa having breakfast with Oskar Barnack in the book 100 Year Leica. Leica Q (200 ISO, f/1.7, 1/125 second). © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Joy Villa having breakfast with Oskar Barnack in the book 100 Year Leica. Leica Q (200 ISO, f/1.7, 1/125 second). © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The art of composing with a 28mm

Most prefer 35mm or 50mm as their standard lens. Very few have 28mm or 75mm as their standard lens. With standard lens, I mean the one that you use 95% of the time, which is what most people do.

I can do anything I want to do with a 50mm lens. It's only because I easily fall in love with nice optics that I occasionally get other lenses. I still use 50mm most the time no matter what other lenses I got.

 

Leica Q black & white converted in Lightroom from the Leica Q DNG. ISO 100, f/1.7, 1/500 second. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica Q black & white converted in Lightroom from the Leica Q DNG. ISO 100, f/1.7, 1/500 second. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

If you use your iPhone 6 for photography, you are actually using a 29mm lens. So you already know how to!

Composition is storytelling. What must be in the frame, and what should be omitted is the whole art on how to tell the story you want to tell. Obviously, the wider a focal length, the more there is to control. Buildings, trees, cars, posters, signs, people and all must be put into the frame and placed so they support the story and doesn't distract from the message.

Composition means to put things together.

It's much easier to focus the message and story in with a 50mm or 90mm lens and blur out the background. Unless you have a wider story to tell. I've used 21mm quite a bit over the years.

It's demanding but fun to work with wide angle.

 

The Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt visits a school class. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2014-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
The Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt visits a school class. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2014-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The 28mm is a focal length I have been curious about and wanted to work with for a while (thee years, actually) . I've been waiting for the 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. Now I almost got it in the Leica Q for a fraction of the price. I don't know if it will satisfy me, but I will give it a go.

When you go wide angle, you have to get closer to tell a story. If you "stay at 50mm range", most people in the photo will be supporting characters with no main subject. When you go closer to a main subject, you tell a story and have the wide background to support to your story and tell more or add an atmosphere.

One of the inspirations I have to use the 28mm is The World Press winner 2008 by Anthony Suau who used a Leica M6 TTL and 28mm a lot. He is one of the few people I know of that have had 28mm as his standard lens.

 

World Press Photo Award winner 2008 by Anthony Suau
The World Press Photo Award winner 2008 that was taken with by Anthony Suau with a Leica M6 TTL and 28mm. It is a really strong image when you know the context. As an image itself it raises more questions than it answers. But in the World Press Photo context, and as a news photo, hands down one of the best photos I have seen, considering the year 2008 and the story behind:
"The picture shows an armed officer of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department moving through a home in Cleveland, Ohio, following eviction as a result of mortgage foreclosure. Officers have to ensure that the house is clear of weapons and that the residents have moved out."

 

If you look up his other photos, you will see a lot of 28mm composition and storytelling that I admire and would like to do. It's not easy I think, but that's why it would be fun to work with.

 


My daughter Robin Isabella out and about. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 6 with 2010 Process.
My daughter Robin Isabella out and about. Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 6 with 2010 Process.

 

 

Reviews of the Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4

Jono Slack - Sample photos based on the limited edition that came out in May 2014 (As of May 2014).
DPreview have a small introduction to he lens (as of May 27, 2015)
Kristian Dowling in Melbourne did a Field Review (as of July 21, 2015).

 

 

Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 3 with 2010 Process, colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.
Leica M 240 with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard. Lightroom 3 with 2010 Process, colors with Sekonic C-700 Color Meter.

 

 

 

 

To be continued ...

     
   
    Thorsten Overgaard, June 29, 2015
   
   

   
leica.overgaard.dk
Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
Leica M cameras:   Leica S:
Leica M10   Leica S1 digital scan camera
Leica M Type 240 and M-P Typ240   Leica S2 digital medium format
Leica M-D Typ 262 and Leica M60   Leica S digital medium format
Leica M Monochrom Typ246 digital rangefinder    
Leica M Monochrom MM digital rangefinder   Leica Cine Lenses:
Leica M9 and Leica M-E digital rangefinder   Leica Cine lenses from CW Sonderoptic
Leica M9-Professional digital rangefinder    
Leica M4 35mm film rangefinder    
Leica M lenses:   Leica SLR cameras:
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica SL 2015 Type 601 mirrorless fullframe
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica R8/R9/DMR film & digital 35mm dSLR cameras
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R10 [cancelled]
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R4 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R3 electronic 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL/SL mot 35mm film SLR
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95    
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 and f/1.2   Leica R lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 75mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 80mm Summilux-F f/1.4
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 180mm R lenses
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Above: Sri Lankan actress and politician Anarkali for a magazine shoot. Leica M 240 with Leica M 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2015 Thorsten von Overgaard.
 

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Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 (Model 11668)
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Thorsten von Overgaard in Rome by Morten Albek.
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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

Feel free to e-mail to thorsten@overgaard.dk for
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Leica M-D 262 Masterclass with Thorsten von Overgaard

"Leica M-D 262 Masterclass"
eBook with LR Presets

Release date: Februry 20, 2017
For eBook for iPad, Kindle
and computer.

The eBook comes with
Thorsten Overgaard's presets
for Lightroom, specially made
for the Leica M-D 262 files.

Only $198.

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The Thorsten Overgaard New Extension Course 2016

The Thorsten Overgaard New Extension Course 2016

Only $798
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Lightroom Survival Kit

How to survive and master Lightroom
so you can get your photographs made.
My accumulated experience
on workflow, storage and editing
in one essential package.
Lightroom 2 to Lightroom 6 tutorials
plus Photoshop and
Media Pro 1 tutorials.

Only $498

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The New Inspiration
Extension Course

Only $798

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  · © Copyright 1996-2017 · Thorsten von Overgaard


 

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