The Leica SL2 is the renaissance of the SLR camera systems that ruled the world of photography from 1960-2005. Now without a mirror, this redesigned idea and concept of a camera is taking over the world. It's the highly popular mirrorless compact camera concept that meets dSLR. It's such an obviously good idea that Nikon, Canon and everybody else is now following in the footsteps of Leica.
In this article series I will take you on a tour of what the Leica SL system is and why. In this first article, I'll tell how I got it to work for me.
"Dear Leica SL2, I love you but I hate the way you act sometimes"
My Leica SL2 had been left in a dark closet for half a year. To say that the Leica SL2 was easy to love would overstate the facts. Truth be told, I got a Leica SL2 because Nico, the man at Ken Hansen’s Leica store in New York, threw one at me.
But now the Leica SL2 is around the world with me, and we have improved the relationship.
The way to know if something works or not, is to look at the results. And no, I don't mean zooming in to look at details of photos. I simply mean that you count your successes with it: How many photos did you make with it that worked?
When I noticed that the Leica SL2 had made it very easy for me to produce a series of good photographs on an evening walk in Paris, I started taking it seriously.
We’ve all had the experience of walking around with a camera for a few hours, and seldom feeling we really made something stellar. That is why it is important to edit one’s photographs the same day if you can. Or otherwise, the next day. One reason is that you are still fairly enthusiastic about seeing the results, but also that you need to finish the work. It's not about taking photographs, it's about making photographs. So we must make the ones that work, into final photographs - no matter how tiring the editing phase may seem for most of us. It must be done, and it is best done when that which we saw, is still fresh.
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I would not say that I am always surprised about what I made. Because I've noticed it so many times, it of course is no surprise to me anymore: But from a series of photos where nothing stands out as spectacular, there are in fact always some things that turn out pretty well. And sometimes, there is even something that is surprisingly great.
This is why people who never finish making photographs by editing them, keep thinking they suck at photographing. They never really looked.
It takes as little as 1/125th of a second to make a photo, but it can create pleasure for a lifetime. There is frankly no other way to tell which edit will cause that spectacular turnaround, unless you edit your photos.
"Edit" is a word with several meanings. One meaning is to prepare something for publication and use, which is what I am talking about here. You select the ones you like, you make decisions as to cropping, tilting, contrast, colors and so on, and the result is that of maybe 70 photos you took, 9 of them you make into something ready for use, something to be proud of.
The other meaning of the word "editor", or to "edit", is to be the person who decides what is used in an article, a magazine, an exhibition, or something. Without getting lengthy about it, this is the part of editing that you do (or somebody else does) in the future. Because after you photograph, you prepare the photos for use and put them in an archive of good photos you made. Later, yourself or another person needs good photo(s) for an article, an Instagram post, to submit for a photo competition, or some other type of publishing, and then you act as this definition of editor by looking in the archive of photos for those that will fit this use.
This, by the way, is also why I edit my photos mostly in both color and black and white: Because despite what I might feel right now about which is the nicest format, myself or someone else will some day be looking for a certain emotion and communication. Maybe part of the requirement is that it must be color, so even though the photo also exist in a very nice and delightful black and white version, the color version would be the one chosen for this specific use.
You know, I could be talking the length of a full book or do a 50-episode television show about this. One thing that springs to mind that I must mention is that any creator owns his work from the moment he makes it. It's called copyright (the right to make copies), and is simply your ownership of what you make. It is so much your right that it is one of the official Human Rights. Even though a photo only took 1/125th of a second to make, it's yours from that moment. And the glory of art, photography, writing, music and more is that you create a photo or work of art once, and it may be used many, many times. For each use, you as the owner of the copyright, is paid for your rights to copy and use. That should be an enticement for you to edit what you photograph, to make final photographs which are ready for use. Even if you don't intend to sell your photos, you should make them ready for use/publication because the payment might be goodwill and admiration from your spouse, family, friends and so on who get to see the photos now or in twenty years.
Leica SL2: There're cameras and lenses I like to own,
and then there is stuff that gets the job done.
You know the feeling that you have when you go to great lengths to convince yourself that this piece of equipment is really the best choice for the job. This is how we justify a vintage car that smells so bad of gasoline and drives so slow that it drives other commuters nuts.
Or, speaking of cameras, this is how someone convinced himself that buying a large Canon professional dSLR system with three large lenses was necessary to capture his newborn child. Just to realize (which is not the same as admitting) that it's just not practical to trolley a newborn around in the city with diaper and food bags - and another heavy bag with camera and lenses.
I'm happy to report that the Leica SL2, with a few limitations, is the camera that I couldn't resist getting, and that I now have also gotten to work for me. I don't have to justify why I "had to have it". It's simply a camera that makes sense.
There's a point in life where a piece of equipment like a camera, a car, a smartphone, or a house, truly becomes yours. It becomes an extension of you, if not a part of who you are and what you do. The opposite are the things that just never became that friend you had hoped for them to become.
Mobility is the most important feature of any camera. If you can't stand having the camera with you, it’s not going to make much use, is it? I can tell of people with the most amazing camera systems that sit in their closets.
My saying, "Always Wear A Camera" is as true for you as a photo enthusiast as it is for a writer to always have pen and paper around.
Here are a few things to set up so the camera works for you:
1. Set the diopter on the Leica SL2 to your eyesight
The diopter adjustment on the Leica SL2 is an optical device that allows you to adjust the eyepiece exactly to your eye sight. If you have used the same prescription glasses for a year or two, it is very likely that your glasses and eyesight are not 100% crisp.
Simply look through the viewfinder and turn the diopter adjustment ring until the text on the screen is crisp and clear. This will work for most things.
However, if you want to get 100% detail, so much that you might be able to focus without having to zoom in on the image, then do this: Take a photo of something where some element of it is in focus. Then press PLAY on the camera to see that image in the EVF. Now, adjust the diopter adjustment ring untill a detail in the photo is clear and crisp. It might even be grain noise in the image.
I learned that the text in the EVF is not on the same level as the image. If I adjusted the EVF to crisp text, I was never really able to focus the Noctilux on the Leica SL2 without having to zoom in. With the finetune of the focus, by using an actual image, the image is now crisp enough in the EVF that I can focus without having to zoom in. When I adjusted the EVF by looking at the text,
no adjustment were needed. When I adjusted for an image, it had to be set to -1 click. You might have the same experience of difference.
Once you are satisfied with the setting of the adjustment ring, take a look at the outside of the camera and note what the adjustment of the diopter is so that later on you can always confirm it is set right (and didn't move accidentally) with simply just one look at the outside of the camera. It can move by itself, or maybe someone used the camera and adjusted it for their eyesight.
The diopter ring is very easy to adjust. When the mark is in the center of the scale, the eyesight is normal. One side is +, the other side is - adjustment.
2. Choose a camera strap for Leica SL2 that works for you
A camera should hang across the chest and the camera body itself should rest by your hip (on the belt if you use one). This way the camera is always ready, and you don't have to keep preventing it from falling off your shoulder (as it would if it is was hanging over the shoulder and not across the chest). When hanging across the chest, it simply sits there. You can move it to the back of the body to keep it out of the way, or move it to the front if that feels better. Or let it hang on the side of the body.
As I always wear a camera, it has to be an integrated part of what I wear and my lifestyle. The Leica SL (2015) and Leica SL2 (2020) and I have had a difficult time with this, because the way the SL camera body is made, and with the size of the lenses, it is a bit on the bulky side sitting in a 45 degree angle out from the hip so that the edge of the camera bottom bangs my hip. Also, the weight of the Leica SL2 is edging the level where it can easily become one of those cameras you leave at home.
How to solve this? Without coming across as eccentric, this "how to always wear a Leica SL2" has been a real problem. This is how the Leica SL never became my camera of choice. How could I use a camera I couldn't stand to carry?
The solution was to make my own straps. While the result is truly a simple strap, the work to get there was a long and cumbersome road. Credit is owed to Rock'n'Roll Camera Straps because they make great SL straps that work to some degree. And there are other straps that work, because we are all different.
But for me, the Magnum strap (made for myself with the help of my Italian Designer Matteo Perin and his experienced artisans in Verona and Milano) is so simple that wearing the Leica SL2 now approximates the feeling of freedom I get wearing a Leica M.
The Magnum strap: It's so simple that you may exclaim, "Of course". Simply one piece of soft Italian calfskin without any stitching or piecing things together. I don't think you can remove anything from this anymore, it's been stripped of all unnecessary parts. But I can tell you we stitched and glued and made all sorts of complicated compromise prototypes before we arrived at the simplest of all solutions. Simply a strap.
If the Leica SL2 doesn't work for you, it might be the strap. Take the effort and expense to try different straps until you get it right.
My good friend Rob
is one of the people I know who abandoned the Leica M system and often carries two Leica SL2 bodies with the large L lenses. He uses an double BlackRapid strap for that, which means you are really strapped up and dressed for photography. Here is his Leica SL with the 24-90mm zoom and an "Always Wear A Camera" Leica SL camera bag.
3. Choosing one lens that works for your Leica SL2
The way to concentrate on what is in front of the camera is to choose one lens that you use so much that it becomes a natural extension of you. Something you don’t have to think about. Mind you, if you are new to the Leica SL2, you will have your hands full figuring out the camera menu and buttons. If you add a small selection of lenses, you have to constantly consider which to change to.
For the Leica SL2, the lens I use most is a Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 which is a manual focus Leica M lens attached via an adapter. It's a compact lens on the Leica SL2, and it has many great qualities that come to life with the 47MP sensor of the Leica SL2.
I also use the Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 which is a fairly large manual focus Leica M lens, but is reasonably balanced when sitting on the Leica SL2 via an adapter.
Finally, I use the Leica 35mm Summilux-L ASPH f/1.4, which is an autofocus L lens made for the Leica TL2 and other crop cameras. On the Leica SL2 it is thus a 50mm lens as the camera automatically crops the 35mm frame to a 50mm frame (and the DNG files are accordingly smaller, 37MP cropped DNG vs 85MB full-frame DNG, which is also nice).
While you can see that I stay with 50mm all the way, the three lenses I use have different looks. The 35mm Summilux-L is a great lens. Even though it is not the crown jewel of the Leica L lenses (the 90mm Summicron is, in my opinion), it gives razor sharp and crisp images while enabling the autofocus. But mainly, it is very compact and very lightweight.
Leica 35mm Summilux-L f/1.4 ASPH acts as a 50mm on the Leica SL2 due to the crop.
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 via adapter on the Leica SL2.
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 via adapter on the Leica SL2.
For me, none of the L lenses are the "Always Wear A Camera" types, though I might go with the 90mm or another fixed focal length from the L system. With the possibility of attaching the excellent Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0 or the funky Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4 to the Leica SL2 via adaptors, I haven't really felt an urge to buy into the L lenses. More on that, later.
Most people are either 35mm or 50mm persons. This means, look through the images you have done to date and notice - no matter whether you used a zoom or a fixed lens - which focal length was most you. That is the place to start.
I wrote the article, "Which lens are you"and it is very applicable. You can rather easily figure out "your lens".
You may choose a zoom lens for flexibility, but you seldom need that flexibility, because with it comes the actual weight of the lens, as well as constantly having to make decisions about what focal length to zoom to. It tends to be that you stop and zoom into a picture frame, where the right way (not according to theory, but because I'm telling you now:) is to prevision a picture and go stand at the place, at the distance and from the angle where you can make the photo, you envisioned.
The point of having one fixed focal length (as 50mm is for me) is that I see the world in 50mm. I never consider "what if I had a 400mm" or "what if I put on a 28mm". I removed those choices and complications from my life, after taking some 40,000 photos a year and seeing that I can do anything with 50mm. I don't need any other lens. I only have other lenses because I can't help myself. But strictly in terms of photography, all I need is one 50mm lens.
Having used the Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 a lot, and almost always wide open, I not only see the world with a 50mm frame around it, I also see it with selective focus and the background as a dreamy, artistic blur.
The foundation for any photographer is enthusiasm and inspiration. You are reading this, and you have a camera, because you felt drawn to photography. It makes you happy. You get to make things, and when you show a photo, you are showing the result of doing something. You made this.
Thus it will make sense to you when I tell you that you must go with the lens that makes you the happiest. If thinking of acquiring a zoom lens, or a 90mm, or a 35mm, or a big fat 50mm f/1.4 L-mount lens makes you smile and makes it hard to curb your childish enthusiasm, then that is your lens. That is the lens that will get you out the door taking photographs. It’s as simple as that.
If you get a 50mm Noctilux because you want to be like me, or you get a 35mm APO because all the reviews say it's awesome ... none of this may make you as happy as simply imagining which lens you’d go play with if a camera store lined them all up and let you take your pick. You would pick the most fun one, not the one that had the best reviews. So it is with buying lenses.
Great thing is you can always buy more lenses, and you can even trade lenses you already bought into new or different lenses. That’s a different game, and fun too. But for the sake of simplicity and enthusiasm, start with the one that matters to you. If you are wrong, you can change it.
You may wonder why I don't review a lot of lenses and cameras. There it is, that is the reason. I work with what makes me enthusiastic, and I only write about things I use.
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4. Set the EVF and LCD right on the Leica SL2
I have my Leica SL2 set to EVF EXTENDED, which means that when I walk about with the camera, the screen is blacked out. Only the EVF is on. But when I press MENU or PLAY, the menu or the preview is shown on the screen.
Set the Leica SL2 to "EVF Extended":
Press MENU + MENU, then scroll to > "Display Settings" > and set "EVF-LCD" to "EVF Extended".
If you use the screen to focus or frame, set The Leica SL2 to "Auto" or "LCD" only. I personally can't focus using the screen, I am old school and think one must use the viewfinder. I dislike the screen lighting up on the camera all the time as I try to walk around unnoticed. And then of course there is the extra battery use.
5. Set the Leica SL2 camera ISO to your likings
Technically speaking, photography is about light and the camera is about getting the exposure right. In that way, the choice of ISO setting can be daylight 100 ISO, or evening 3200 ISO. That's how simple it can be.
What's your ISO?
Set the ISO manually in the menu, to "daylight" (100 ISO) or "evening" (3200 ISO) Change between just two ISO settings and the rest will take care of itself.
In the morning, you check the ISO of the camera and make sure it is set to daylight 100 ISO. And it stays there unless some special occasion makes you change it (it gets overcast, or you want to stop the lens down to f/5.6) to 400 or 800 ISO. If you use a slow lens like a f/2.8, or you work in a less sunny environment, like Scandinavia in the winter, your "daylight" ISO migth be 400 ISO or so to always be having faster shutter speeds than 1/60th second.
When darkness falls, you change the ISO to 3200 ISO. The camera can go higher, but 3200 ISO is sufficient for almost all you want to do, and it has less noise than higher ISO settings like 6400 or 12800. No reason to overdo it. 3200 ISO does the job.
There is more to the menu, and we'll get around it in the next pages.
While the Leica SL (2015) was the ideal camera, except for some annoying things (such as the complicated operation of the menu with four black buttons), the Leica SL2 has ideal ergonomics, speed of operations, a simple menu and more. It is really a refined edition of the original Leica SL. But it is also a new 47MP sensor, which gives huge files. And the look is slightly different from previous sensors. I don't like the video output of the Leica SL2. And I find that the Leica SL2 might sometimes have too hard a contrast of the files.
All this speaks for "downgrading to the Leica SL2-S which has the SL2 ergonomics and speed of operations (buffer and all), but with the "better and more natural" Leica SL sensor. Voila, an easy choice.
I use the Leica SL2 (2020) for stills, and the Leica SL (2015) for video. I love the video output of the Leica SL. I have no need at this point to consider the Leica SL2-S. I don't want a third camera. I usually have two of the same cameras. I have two Leica M10-P cameras. One I use, and the other is a backup. In reality I hardly ever need the backup. But if I had to use a backup, it has to be 100% similar to the one it replaced. So for me, that's why no Leica SL2-S. But had they made it before the Leica SL2, I probably would have gotten that one and not thought more about it.
That is the point: If you get the Leica SL2-S and keep thinking that it might have been better with the larger 47MP sensor of the Leica SL2, then you should have gotten that one to begin with.
The Leica SL2 finally became available in silver as of June 2023. It has been rumored for years. So here it is.
Leica SL2 in silver (as of June 2023).
Leica SL2 with a 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 via adapter and with RED ventilated shade.
Of course, all the specifications are the same, as is the price. Only the look is different. As someone who has gone from having all my Leica cameras in black to now having some in silver, and recently more silver models than black, it seems like a better idea now than when the Leica SL was introduced in 2015. In silver, it looks classic, like a real camera. Maybe louder, though I personally don't subscribe to the belief that a black camera makes you more stealthy. Discretion is an attitude, not a color.
The Leica SL2 with a classic Leica M lenses and a ventilated shade already looked good. With the silver version of the Leica SL2 it looks real classic.
Leica SL2: Why not the Panasonic Lumix S1R..?
I bought the Panasonic Lumix S1R (2019) and used it for almost a year as a preview of the Leica SL2 to come. As you can read in my extensive user report and review, I didn't like the camera, but I liked the photos it made.
In a comparison of the Leica SL2 and the Panasonic S1R, they are the same, except for the usability. The Leica SL2’s simplicity of operation is superior to Panasonic complexities - in any regard.
A lot of buttons. Granted, this camera can do everything for anybody. It seems that the designers though, if there was an empty space, a button must be put there.
Let's agree to express it this way. If you are a Leica freak like me who gladly pays extra for less (like $1,000 for a Leica Monochrom camera that doesn’t do colors, or $1,000 extra for a Leica M10-D camera that doesn't have an LCD screen), then the Leica SL2 is definitely for you. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and it naturally costs more. It just takes a lot more work to make things simple. But if you like to have it all, and then some extra, just in case, and you love to scroll through camera menus to find new ways of doing things you don't need to do, then the Panasonic is definitely the right one. Costs less, does more.
The Leica SL (2015) could be an option. It's economical as a second-hand purchase, and it has most of the things you need. It is perfect for video with the excellent sensor. Leica S lenses and Leitz Cine lenses make the sensor glow particularly. It is really a lot of camera for the $1,500 - $2,500 that they go for these days.
The Leica SL2 (2020) and the Leica SL (2015) are very similar cameras. The Leica SL2 has better egonomics and simplicity in the menu, and larger sensor. But ht e Leica SL (2015) is great for video, the 24MP files are easy to handle and the Leica SL is very economical to buy now.
Paris. Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.
Why not a Leica TL2..?
Here's another possibility. The Leica TL2 is a very different designed camera, but also very compact and simple. In this context it is relevant because all the L lensese made for the Leica SL, Leica SL2 and Leica SL2-S also fits on the TL2. And all the back catalog of Leica lensees fits too, via the same adapter as for the Leica SL2. Maybe, if your ambition is to get into this system, the Leica TL2 is a very economical and compact route...
The camera is my tool, as are my feet or my eyes. It does what I think it to do. Okay, let’s just talk about that for a moment, how that works: No, in the moment of taking a new photo, I am not concerned whether the viewer will judge the sharpness of the photo. I am not considering if my "hit rate" will be going up or down (this idea some people have that they must have as large a percentage possible of their photo being right so as to not risk ridicule from others because they suck at taking photos). All I am concerned about in that moment is where to go and stand, from which level, low or high, how to get the right background and avoid an unwanted background, what part to have in focus and what to blur away, what to have in the frame and what to omit. Most of these things are easy and come with the original idea and image I previsioned. The prevision has the answer to most of the decisions that have to be made, including if it is a horizontal or vertical frame. A lot of it is inborn in my aesthetics that I developed from when I was young and throughout life. My likes and dislikes for shapes, subjects, light, colors, people, cars, houses and all are something I have.
In all this, what I expect from A camera, is that it can assist me in doing what I want to do. I cannot have a camera that needs special care or attention. The camera must work for me, I don’t work for the camera.
This is the barrier in choosing any camera. To get it to work for you and act as fast and natural as you can think.
As we move on in this series of articles on the Leica SL2, I will get into how to make the camera work for you and become your unseen tool and dear friend.
I hope you enjoyed this introductioon to starting out with the Leica SL2. I will be adding more pages to this, covering different subjects. As always, feel free to email me with suggestions, ideas, questions and more.
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What are the different Leica SL2 buttons and symbols for?
A walk-through of the Leica SL2 features and buttons
Use of adapters
One of the key things of the Leica SL2 is that you can get adapters to connect the whole back-catalog of Leica screw mount lenses, Leica M lenses, Leica R lenses, as well as current Leica S and Leitz Cine lenses.
Further, Nikon, Canon, Hasselblad and all brands you can think of - an adapter exist.
You may get cheap Chine adapters from eBay, or the Leica made ones that also register bit-codes throught he adapter.
ROM contacts and bit codes
The metal contacts inside the bayonet of the Leica L and Leica T lenses and the adapters are for communication with the camera. For Leica T and Leica SL lenses they power the aperture and the autofocus motor inside the lens from the camera battery, and in the case of T and L lenses they tell the camera the focus distance and zoom position as well. In all lens combinations they supply the camera with info about which lens is used.
For Leica M lenses there is no AF and there is no info about the aperture going to the camera. But with an 'intelligent adapter', the bit code of the M lens is read so the Leica SL2 knows which lens is used.
ROM contacts in the Leica SL2
Inside the bayonet of the Leica SL2 is the contacts to communicate with the lens' or adapter's contacts.
The strap lug on Leica SL2
The strap lug on the Leica SL2 has a square shape and doesn't take metal rings as the Leica M and other cameras. It has to be a nylon strap or leather strap that goes around it.
You can turn the diopter on the viewfinder to adjust to your eyesight.
Stereo microphone on Leica SL2
The two sets of four small holes on top front of the camera are the stereo microphones for video recording.
The rubber thing in the bottom
The rubber seals the contacts that are used when the battery handgrip is attached.
The rubber cover on the side
The shape of this rubber edge of the Leiac SL2 makes the camera sit really well in the hand.
Underneath you'll find mini-jack plugs for microphone and speaker, HDMI connection, as well as a USB-C charger connection.
The SD-card slots on Leica SL2
Behind the door on the right side of the Leica SL2 is two slots for SD-cards. I use the number 1 all the time and never number 2.
There are different configurations for backup and all, but I find it confusing and am more concerned about loosing data using both, than timply using one.
Two Function buttons on the front of the Leica SL2
The two buttons on the front are Fn buttons (Function button) which you can program to your likings.
By default, from factory, the top one zooms into the imagre (press it; and if you turn the thumbs wheel you can change the zoom ration).
The bottom one is default from factory a selection for AF mode - you can change it from spot to multi-field and so on.
The scan code and a hole
The screw mount hole in the bottom of the Leica SL2 is for attaching it to a tripod.
This bottom plates also contains the serial number as well as a scan bar that can't be read by the iPhone. It is for factory internal use.
The rubber ring on the battery
The Leica SL2 batteries have a rubber band that is for weather-sealing the camera in that department as well. The rubber ring feels loose when your finger moves over it, but is actually pretty well attached to the battery.
The bettery of the Leica SL2 firths the Leica SL, Leica SL-S, Leica Q2 and Leica Q2 Monochrom as well.
Eye sensor on Leica SL2
The small arc-shaped window above the viewfinder is a sensor that detects if a hand or eye is in front of the viewfinder. The idea is that when you take the camera to your eye, the viewfinder EVF is activated and the screen on the back is turned off.
Top Display on Leica SL2
The top display of the Leica SL2 is backlit and lights up in the dark. The A in this photo stands for Aperture Priority, and that mode can be changed by pressing in and rotating the thumbs wheel.
It futher shows the shutter speed 1/8000, what the ISO is set to, and
If the camera is connected via Bluetooth to a phone, the displays show what as well, and it shows if GPS is on or not.
Up to 20 fps at 47.3 MP for up to 78 Frames (Raw) / 100 Frames (JPEG)
Up to 10 fps at 47.3 MP
Up to 6 fps at 47.3 MP
Up to 3 fps at 47.3 MP
5K (4992 x 3744) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p
DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 24.00p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p
Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p/180p MP4/H.264 10-Bit
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160)23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p
Full HD (1920 x 1080)23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p/180p
1:2/50 the description says.
But what does it mean?
1: = Basically means 1 divided with. On the lens to the right, it means that the diameter of the hole throught he lens is 25mm.
We would normall call it a 50mm f/2.0 lens. The writing of 1:2/50 is a tradition from the 1800's of specifying a lens, which reveals quite a bit about the construction: Focal length 50mm simply means that the distance from center of focus inside the lens to the focusing plane (the sensor or film) is 50mm, and the aperture of f/2 or 1:2 means that the diameter of the hole the light comes throught is 25mm (50mm divided with 2 = 25mm).
In traditional lens design, one could usually tell from looking at the length of a lens if it was a 400mm, 100mm or 35mm. Newer designs with mirrors (in tele lenses) and more corrections (in wide lenses) can make the size of the lenses shorter or longer, but the distance from center of focus to sensor in a modern 50mm lens will still be 50mm for a 50mm and 400mm for a 400mm, and so on.
See Focal length and Aperture further down for more.
a) 35mm lens is a lens that has a viewing angle of view is 63°vertically, 54° horizontally and 38° vertically within a 35mm film frame or "full-frame" 24x36mm digital format. See Focal length further down.
b) 35mm focal length: the distance from center of focus inside the lens to the focusing plane (the sensor or film) is 35mm.
35mm film format (also known as full-frame)
c) 35mm film format (also known as full-frame in digital sensors) was a standard film format that came about in 1892 where the width of the film roll was 35mm, and it's been the most used format ever since. Only a format of 24 x 36mm is used for the photo on the film roll.
35mm film format was first used in 1892 by William Dickson and Thomas Edison for moving pictures with frames of 24 x 18mm, using film supplied by George Eastman (Kodak), and this became the international standard for motion picture negative film in 1909. Later other motion picture formats came about, such as Academy Ratio (22 x 16 mm), Widescreen (21.95 x 18.6 mm), Super 35 (24.89 x 18.66 mm) and Techiscope (22 x 9.47 mm).
The inventor of the Leica camera, Oskar Barnack, built his prototype Ur-Leica in 1913 as a device to test film stock and\ motion picture lenses and had it patented. Putting 35mm film format into a small camera gave him the idea "small negative, large print" and he decided to increase the size of each frame on the 35mm film to 24x36mm (for more detail and sharpness), and then invented an enlarger to make large prints from the small negative. The length of a film, 36 pictures, is said to have become the standard because that was how far Oskar Barnack could stretch his arms (when cutting film from larger rolls to put them into film rolls for the Leica camera).
d) 35mm equivalent is often given as a standard when talking about lenses in small compact-cameras or large format cameras with other sensor/film format than the 24 x 36mm frame. Example: A camera with a 12 x 18 mm sensor has a 14mm lens on it, and even the lens is actually a 14mm, it is specified as a 28mm lens because the viewing angle that ends up on the sensor is equivalent to a 28mm lens on a 35mm of full-frame camera.
The Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M
ASPH f/2.0 lens
a) 50mm lens is a lens that has a viewing angle of view is 47° vertically, 40° horizontally and 27° vertically within a 35mm film frame.
b) 50mm means there is 50mm from the center of focus inside the lens to the focal plane (sensor or film).
c) 50mm lens is often compared to the human eye. Not because of viewing angle (how wide it sees) but because of size ratio (how it sees). The 50mm lens is the lens that comes closest to the size that the human eye see things. Whereas the human eye has a much wider angle of view [120-200°] than the 50mm lens [47°].
AEL = Auto Exposure Lock. This is a function that can be used when you want to reframe the scene, but keep the current exposure from changing.
AFL = Auto Focus Lock. This is a function that can be used when you want to reframe the scene, but keep the current focusing from changing.
AF = Auto Focus. The idea is that the camera does the focusing itself (the word auto comes from Greek "self").
AF Assist Lamp = A little red lamp that some cameras have on the front, which will light up in dark places so as to help the Auto Focus to see in the dark. If you put a hand in front of the lens and press the shutter release button, you can see it in action. The AF assist lamp can be turned off in the menu.
AOV - angle of view = Is the angle a lens 'see'. A 35mm lens has a 54° angle of view horizontally. Each human eye individually has anywhere from a 120-200° angle of viewn ags.
Aperture = The same function as the iris and pupil has in the eye. The pupil in the eye is the dark circular opening in the center of the iris of the eye, varying in size to regulate the amount of light reaching the retina (the sensor area inside the eye).
Aperture on a camera is the f/ stop on the camera that regulates how much light passes through the lens by increasing or decreasing the hole through the lens. On a f/2.0 lens the lens is fully open" at f/2.0. At f/2.8 the aperture inside the lens make the hole through the lens smaller so only half the amount of light at f/2.0 passes through. For each f/-stop (4.0 - 5.6 - 8.0 - 11 - 16) you halve the light. The aperture of the lens is basically the focal length divided with the f/-stop = size of the hole (50mm divided with f/2.0 = the hole is 25 mm in diameter).
Besides regulating the amount of light (so as to match the correct exposure), the aperture also affects the dept of field: , which is how deep the sharpness is. To get the sough-after photos with narrow depth of field where the background is blurry, the lens has to be wide open at f/2.0 or so. Stopping the lens down to f/8 or f/16 will result on more depth of field, meaning the background will start becoming in focus. To maintain narrow depth of field, one can use the ISO sensitivity and/or the shutter speed to match the correct exposure (as aperture is only one of three ways to control the exposure; the correct amount of light). ORIGIN: Late Middle English : from Latin apertura, from apert- ‘opened,’ from aperire ‘to open’.
Aperture Priority Mode = When the Leica SL2 display shows a large A, the camera is set to “Aperture Priority” and allows the user to set a specific aperture value (f-number) while the camera selects a shutter speed to match it that will result in proper exposure based on the lighting conditions as measured by the camera's light meter. In other words, you set the aperture as priority (f/1.4 for example), and the camera calculates a shutter speed (1/250 of a second) that matches that. If you change the aperture to f/2.0 by changing the aperture ring on the lens, the camera will re-calculate the speed to 1/125 so as to get the same amount of light to hit the sensor (f/2.0 is half the light through the lens as f/1.4 and 1/125 if twice the amount of light on the sensor as 1/250).
APO corrected basically means that the red, green and blue has been corrected to meet more precisely in the same spot. Clarity of colors and definition of details would be the result.
APO = in lens terminology stands for "apochromatically corrected". In most lenses, optical design concentrates the focus of blue light and green light into a single plane, but red light falls slightly into another plane of focus. In APO lenses, the design and expense has been put in to making red light focus on the same plane as blue and green. Under a microscope you would see that all light subject is now in focus, creating a sharper image overall. Many manufacturers offer APO designs, but in most of these only the very center of the lens is APO corrected. Leica prides itself on making most of the frame APO corrected.
APo-correction has traditionally been used for long tele lenses (and periscopes), but in recent years APO-correction has been applied to 50mm and wide angle lenses as well. One will notice that the colors are really bright and alive, almost more real than to the eye, in lenses like the Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 and 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.
Apochromat; ORIGIN early 20th century, made of the two words; apo (Greek origin, away from) and chromatic (Latin origin, meaing relating to color).
ASPH = (Aspherical lens) stands for "aspheric design". Most lenses have a spherical design - that is, the radius of curvature is constant. These are easy to manufacture by grinding while "spinning" the glass. This design however restricts the number of optical corrections that can be made to the design to render the most realistic image possible. ASPH lenses (a-spherical, meaning non-spherical), however, involve usually 1 element that does *not* have a constant radius of curvature. These elements can be made by 1) expensive manual grinding, 2) molded plastic, or 3) Leica's patented "press" process, where the element is pressed into an aspherical ("non-spherical") shape. This design allows Leica to introduce corrections into compact lens designs that weren't possible before. Practically, the lens performs "better" (up to interpretation) due to increased correction of the image, in a package not significantly bigger than the spherical version.
There is another Aspherical lens manufacture technique: an uneven coating layer is applied to a spherical lens. The coating is thicker on the edges (or on the center, depending). Canon "Lens Work II" calls these "simulated" aspherical lenses. Simulated and Glass-Molded (GMo) asphericals show up in non-L Canon lenses, while the L lenses have actual ground aspheric elements.
A- means non, or without.From Latin, ex. Sphere: ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French espere, from late Latin sphera, earlier sphaera, from Greek sphaira "ball".
Normal spheric lens (grinded)
ASPH (note the shape of the glass as result of pressing rather than grinding)
Auto- means “self”. The idea is that when a camera has auto-(something), it does that (something) by itself.
Banding = Noise in digital images. Horizontal lines in a horizontal picture (if the camera is in portrait mode/vertical, the lines will obviously be vertical). It's simply noise; the result of uncontrolled algorithms working overtime with an image the sensor really can't see because it's very dark. (If your image has vertical lines in it, it is more likely that the sensor needs remapping).
This image at 6400 ISO, underexposed and then brought up to correct exposure in Lightroom, displays banding: Horizontal lines in the image. Leica M-D 262 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.
Base ISO = The ISO the digital sensor was born with. Even a digital sensor goes from say 50 ISO to 25,000 ISO, it only has one base ISO. Any other setting is an algorithm that figures out how the image whould look if there was 64 times more light, or half the light, etc.
When you go down from Base ISO (for example 200 to 100 ISO), you can expect a decrease in quality. When you go up, the decrease is much less. For some sensors, you loose 2-3 stops by going down 1 step in ISO, but can go 8 steps up and only loose 1 stop in dynamic range. Basically, your ISO range should be from Base ISO and as far up as you can, before you see visible decrease in quality (mostly 3200 ISO - 6400 ISO).
Base ISO for Leica SL2 the base ISO is 100, for the Leica M9 is 160 ISO, for Leica M240 it is 200 ISO. For Leica M10 it is around 160 ISO. For Leica M Monochrom (2012) it is 320 ISO. For Leica Q and Leica Q2 it is around 100 ISO. For Panasonic Lumix S it is 200 ISO. For most Canon cameras the base ISO is around 100, for most Nikon cameras it is around 200 ISO.
Max Berek (1886-1949) was lens designer who joined Ernst Leitz Optische Werke in 1912 and became the head of the microscope development where he also designed the first lenses for the company's new adventure into photography, the Leica introduced in 1925. In particular, he calculated the Elmax 50mm f/3.5 lens for the so-called Ur-Leica.
Bokeh = The visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens: It's a matter of taste and usually photographers discuss a 'nice' or 'pleasant' bokeh (the out-of-focus area is always unsharp, which is why the quality discussed is if one likes the way it renders or not by a particular lens). The closer you get to something, the 'more' bokeh' you get (in that the focus becomes less for the background and foreground at close distances than at long distances). ORIGIN from Japanese 'bo-ke' which mean 'fuzzines' or 'blur.'.
C = Continuous shooting (a series of photos), or in "AFc" it stands for continious Auto Focusing, that the AF keeps focusing onthe subject till the phto has been taken.
Cam = A Leica transmission system for the Leica R lenses, seen as metal parts inside the lens bayonet. (A cam is a rotatingpartinmachinery, designedtomakesliding contact with another part).
1-cam lenses (1964-68) was a curved chrome-bar between the mount and the rear lens element to transfer the aperture setting on the lens to the Leicaflex camera. 2-cam lenses (1968-76) came with the Leicaflex SL that supported TTL (Through The Lens light metering). Leica moved the curved cam to the opposite side of the lens mount. To make newer lenses could compatible with previous Leicaflex cameras, the first cam was maintained. The 2-cam is not recommended on the R8 and R9. 3-cam lenses (1976-96): The Leica R3, which was developed in cooperation with Minolta, introduced a different coupling mechanism, which was an adition to the 1-cam and 2-cam. The 3-cam is in the form of a triple-stepped, black projection on the inside of the lens bayonet. The 3-cam function on any Leicaflex, R3 and forward to Leica R9. R-cam lenses (aka "R-cam only", "R-only): (1986-09). In 2086 Leica started to produce R-lenses that only had the third, stepped cam, but lacked the first and second cams. These lenses would not transmit any aperture information to the Leicaflex/SL/SL2 models, and Leica changed the shape of the lens mount slightly so the R-cam lenses (alternatively called "R-cam only", "R-only", "three-cam only", or "3-cam only" lenses) could not be mounted on the Leicaflex, Leicaflex SL and Leicaflex SL2.
(For more om ROM contacts for Leica R8/Leica R9 (1996-2009), see ROM futher down).
CAM compatibility of Leica R lenses:
Camera comes from Chambre, mostly in relation to Spanish soldiers’ rooms. Obscura means 'dark', so a dark room is basically the derivation for the word camera.
Camera -is today’s short name for Camera Obscura (meaning “a dark room”). CamerameansChambre and was used only as a Latin or alien word, actually only for Spanish soldiers’ rooms, until popularized in connection with photography in 1727: “Camera Obscura”. In 1793 the slang term “camera” was used by Sterne Tr. Shandy: “Will make drawings of you in the camera” and by Foster (1878), “The eye is a camera”. Camera Obscura was described by Iraqi scientist Ibn-al-Haytham in his book, “Book of Optics” (1021) and by Leonardo da Vinci in 1500; popularized and made widely known in 1589 by Baptista Porta when he mentioned the principle in his book “Natural Magic”. Johannes Kepler mentions Camera Obscura in 1604.
Camera = chambre (room), Obscura = dark (or cover).
Why is it called a "camera"..?
The word Camera is today's short name for Camera Obscura (which originally means “a dark room”).
Origin of the word Obscura means "dark" or "covered", and the word Camera meansChambre and was used originally only as a Latin or alien word, actually only for Spanish soldiers' rooms, until popularized in connection with photography in 1727: “Camera Obscura”.
In 1793 the slang term “camera” was used by Sterne Tr. Shandy: “Will make drawings of you in the camera” and by Foster (1878), “The eye is a camera”.
Ibn-al-Haytham mentioned Camera Obscura in his "Book of Optics" in 1021.
The concept of Camera Obscura was described by Iraqi scientist Ibn-al-Haytham in his book, “Book of Optics” (1021) and by Leonardo da Vinci in 1500; popularized and made widely known in 1589 by Baptista Porta when he mentioned the principle in his book “Natural Magic”. Johannes Kepler mentions Camera Obscura in 1604.
Camera = chambre (room), Obscura = dark (or cover).
CCD sensor (as used in Leica M8, M9, Leica S)= (Charged Coupling Devices) - The first digital cameras used CCD to turn images from analog light signals into digital pixels. They're made through a special manufacturing process that allows the conversion to take place in the chip without distortion. This creates high quality sensors that produce excellent images. But, because they require special manufacturing, they are more expensive than their newer CMOS counter parts.
Central Shutter = Some lenses, for example the Leica S lenses and the Leica Q where a shutter is located in the lens itself. In most cameras there is a shutter curtain just in front of the sensor, and in SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras there is also a mirror in front of the shutter curtain.
In the Leica T/TL/TL2 the shutter is in front of the sensor, but only acts to "refresh" the sensor. In the Leica TL2, there is a mechanical shutter curtain from 30 sec. to 1/4000 shutter times, and digital shutter from 1/4100 to 1/40,000 shutter times. A digital shutter is simply "turning on/off the recording of the sensor.
An acronym for "(C)lean, (L)ubricate & (A)djust", whereby the item is merely re-lubricated, fine-adjusted and calibrated rather than repaired. "I just got my equipment back from CLA at Leica"
CMOS sensor (as used in Leica CL, Leica T/TL/TL2, Leica M10, Leica M 240, Leica M Monochrom Typ 246, Leica S Typ 007, Leica SL, Leica Q, Leica Q2, Leica M10, Leica X, Leica D-Lux, etc.) = (Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) chips use transistors at each pixel to move the charge through traditional wires. This offers flexibility because each pixel is treated individually. Traditional manufacturing processes are used to make CMOS. It's the same as creating microchips. Because they're easier to produce, CMOS sensors are cheaper than CCD sensors. CMOS allow Live View and use less energy than CCD.
Compact Camera - A camera that is compact, usually the same as a point-and-shoot or beginners camera. See my article Leica Compact Cameras.
Contrast - The degree of difference between tones in a picture. Latin contra- ‘against’ + stare ‘stand.’
Normal to low contrast
Contact strip = Electronic strip of contacs between lens and camera. The Leica L mount system (2013) features a Leica L bayonet with contact strip for communication between lens. It is simply contacts that allow communication back and forth between camera and lens: Share information to the camera about aperture, focal length and focusing distance of the lens (which in the Leica TL, Leica SL and Leica SL2 is used to calculate and display depth of field calculations inside the electronic viewfinder). The contact strip supply power and control to the lens for the auto focus and aperture.
Leica L-mount lenses with contact strip
CS = Central Shutter = As in the Leica S lenses for the Leica S where a shutter is located in the lens itself. In most cameras there is a shutter curtain just in front of the sensor, and in SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras there is also a mirror in front of the shutter curtain.
In the Leica Q and Leica Digilux 2 the shutter is in the lens which makes the camera mirrorless as well as very quiet because there is not a metal shutter curtain going up and down in front of the sensor.
Depth - Distance between front and back. Distance from viewer and object.
Digital Shutter = A digital shutter is simply "turning on/off the recording of the sensor. In the "old days" this had to be done with an actual mechanical shutter curtain; a metal curtain in front of the sensor (or film) that goes up for 1/125th of a second, for example. In the Leica TL2, there is a mechanical shutter curtain from 30 sec. to 1/4000 shutter times, and digital shutter from 1/4100 to 1/40,000 shutter times.
Digital Zoom = Refers to zooming in on a scene digitally. All that happens is that the camera zooms into the area of the sensor and records only that. The quality will be less as it's a smaller part of the same recording. Zoom is originally used for an optical zoom lens where optics move inside the lens so as to enlarge the subject optically. This does not reduce the image quality/resolution the same way as digital zoom does. Generally, digital zoom can be performed on any picture later in the computer as it's in essence simply a crop.
In the Leica QDigital Zoom refers to the possibility to change the crop from 28mm to 35mm or 50mm (and for the Leica Q2, 75mm as well). Choosing a different "digital zoom" simply shows frame lines for the chosen focal length in the EVF and in the final image (that is in fact the full 28mm frame), there is a pre-selected crop for the chosen frame when you open the image in Lightroom or Capture One Prom.
DIS = Digital Image Stabilization. This is a feature often offered in video recorders and sometimes for tele lens still photography (so as to avoid motion blur when the lens is moving during slow shutter speeds)
For example the Leica Q offers DIS but the factory recommend to set it to OFF. (The DIS is set to off from the factory because it can affect the image quality negatively, according to product director Stefan Daniel in an interview).
Lens distortion looks like this. The lines are not straight. Our eye uses distortion correction. Lens designers can design lenses so they have very little distortion, or they can make less complicated lens designs and "fix" the distortion in software.
Distortion = In photo optics/lenses: When straight lines in a scene don't remain straight because of optical aberration.
Lens designers can correct for distortion to a degree so the whole image field is perfect corrected and all lines remain straight. In modern lens design many designs rely on Software Distortion Correction (SDC).
The eye adjusts for distortion so we always see vertical and horizontal lines straight when we look at things. Even when you get new prescription glasses (if you use such), you will often experience distortion in your new glasses. After a few days they eyes have adjusted for the glasses and the distortion you saw to begin with is now gone. Software Distortion Correction (SDC) is far behind what the human eye can perform of adjustments. (Also see my definition on Perspective for more on the eye and optics)
DNG = Digital Negative, an open standard developed by Adobe. It is a single file that contains the raw image data from the sensor of the camera as well as date, time, GPS, focal length, settings, etc.
The alternative is a RAW file + XLM file where the RAW file contains the image information and the XML contains the rest of information about where, how and when the picture was taken.
A Camera Raw profile (that is specific for that camera) in the computer helps the software program, for example Adobe Lightroom, to translate the RAW data into the image.
A raw file (or DNG) is simply the full recording of digital data (1's and 0's) from the sensor. In the computer, the sensor data is translated into the exact colors, via a camera profile.
The lines on this 28mm lens indicates the DOF. Here the focus is on infinity, and if the lens is stopped down to f/1.6, objects from 1.8 meter to ininity will be 'acceptable sharp'.
DOF = Depth of Field (or Depth of Focus), an expression for how deep the focus is, or (more often use to express) how narrow the area of focus is. This is how much of the image, measured in depth or ditance, will be in focus or "acceptable sharp".
The appearance of the DOF is determined by:
1) aperture (the smaller the aperture hole is, the deeper is the depth of field, and opposite, the wider open a lens you se, the more narrow will the DOF be) and
2) distance to the subject (the farther away, the larger area is sharp; the closer the subject in focus is, the more narrow the DOF gets)..
The DOF scale measurement on top of the Leica lenses shows lines for each f-stop that indicates from which distance to which distance the image will be sharp. Shallow DOF is a generally used term in photography that refer to lenses with very narrow focus tolerance, like f/1.4 and f/0.95 lenses, which can be used to do selective focus; making irrelevant subjects in the foreground and background blurry so only the subjects of essence are in focus and catches the viewers eye).
in modern cameras like the Leica SL2, the camera has a DOF scale inside the viewfinder. As DOF is the same for all lens brands and designs, only depending on focal length, distance and aperture f-stop, the camera can calculate it and show a 'digital DOF scale" in the viewfinder.
Depth Of Field scale from Fujifilm, same lens with different aperture settings from f/2.0 to f/8.0.
Dynamic range. The grade of ‘contrast range’ (or number of tones) a film or sensor, or simply a photograph, possess between bright and dark tones. The human eye is said to have a dynamic range of 10-14 ‘stops’ (but because we scan area by area and compile a concept of the overall scene, they eye is often thought to have a much higher dynamic range), Film used to have 7-13 ‘stops’ and some modern sensors have up to 15-17 ‘stops’.
E - Diameter in Leica filters and screw diameter, as in E46 which means that the filter diameter is 49mm for this lens. In general language, one would see Ø46 used, as Ø is the general symbol for diameter.
Elmar = Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f3.5 . Historically derived from the original 1925 50mm f3.5 Elmax lens, which was an acronym of (E)rnst (L)ieca and Professor (Max) Berek, designer of the original lenses. Later that year the 50mm f3.5 Elmar superceded the Elmax, which was discontinued due to its complexity and high cost of manufacture.
Elmarit = Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f2.8 . The name is obviously derived from the earlier (and slower) "Elmar" designation. Not every f/2.8 lens is called an "Elmarit" though, the most obvious current exception being the 50mm f2.8 Elmar-M collapsible lens which for nostalgia and marketing reasons has kept the original 1930's Elmar name (the 50mm f3.5 collapsible Elmar, manufactured 1930-59, was one of Leica's most famous and popular lenses). Vario-Elmarit (and Vario-Summicron, etc) is Leica Camera AG's name for zoom lenses.
EVF = Electronic ViewFinder. A viewfinder where you look at a small screen through optics/prisms. The advantage is that you see what the sensor sees.
Exposure Bracketing = The possibility to set the camera to automatically record a series of images where the exposure is above and below what the camera measures. The idea is that at least one of the images will be correctly exposed.
f/ (f-stop, also known as aperture).
f- (focal length). Often given in mm, for example 90mm. In the past they were often given in cm or inch, for example 9.5 cm or 3.2 inch.
f-stop = the ratio of the focal length (for example 50mm) of a camera lens to the diameter of the aperture being used for a particular shot. (E.g., f/8, indicating that the focal length is eight times the diameter of the aperture hole: 50mm/8 = 6,25 mm); or the other way around, the hole is the focal length divided with 8).
ORIGIN early 20th cent.: from f (denoting the focal length) and number.
One f-stop is a doubling or halving of the light going through the lens to the film, by adjusting the aperture riing. Adjusting the f-setting from f 1.4 to f.2.0 is halving the light that goes through the lens. Most Leica lenses has half f-stops to enable the photographer to adjust the light more precicely.
FLE = See "Floating Elements"
Flickering in the EVF is very normal and will appear often without the vertical lines you see in the EVF will be in the picture.
Floating elements (a group of lenses or can also be s aingle lens element). .
Floating Elements (FLE) = Near focus correction in a lens by having a single lens or a group of lenses floating independently of the other lenses. Most lenses are born with poor performance at their closest focusing distance. Center sharpness may be good, but aberrations and corner softness increase when you’re shooting closeups. Floating elements are lens elements outside of the primary focus group that change position when the lens is focused on a close object, correcting aberrations and improving close up performance. Floating Elements originally was coined by Canon in the 1960's and quickly became the general term for this feature. Other brands came up with new names for the same thing, Minolta called it Floating Focusing, Nikon used the term Close-Range Correction (CRC), Leica call it FLE/Floating Elements.
Floating elements are for close-focus improvement of image quality and not for reducing "focus shift". Floating elements by themselves cannot reduce focus shift, but by reducing the impact of focus distance on performance, they give the designers more freedom in other areas - which could include minimising focus shift.
(As a side-note, when a lens "rattler when moved, it is not the floating elements "floating around" but can be the IS (Image Stabilization) elements for elense that has that, AF elements for auto focus lenses, or the aperture cage that rattles (as in the case of the Leica 35mm Summilux-M f/1.4 FLE - if you stop down the Summilux to f/16, the sound is usually not there).
Fn = Short for Function. It's a button or wheel you can program.
The Leica TL2 and Leica CL has two Fn wheels (wheels you can program to different functions after your likings).
A 28 mm lens has a 74° viewing angle
Focal length = Originally focal length referred to the distance from the sensor (or film in older days) to the center of focus inside the lens (28mm, 50mm, 400mm, etc). Today one call it effective focal length (EFL) as a 400mm lens is not nessesarily 400mm long due to optical constructions that can make it shorter. The 35-420mm zoom on the Leica V-Lux 1 is for example only ca. 135 mm long. Nobody uses that measurement, except those who construct lenses! For users of lenses, focal length refers to how wide the lens sees. The viewing angle, which is often given in for example 90° viewing angle for a 21mm lens, 74° viewing angle for a 28mm lens, 6° viewing angle for a 400mm lens, etc.
Each human eye individually has anywhere from a 120° to 200° angle of view, but focus only in the center.
Focus, in - Sharp and clear in appearance. Focus - “The burning point (of a lens or mirror)”. In Latin the word focus meant fireplace or hearth. The word was probably first employed outside of its Latin literal use as “the burning point of a lens or mirror” in optics, and then came to mean any central point. The German astronomer Johannes Kepler first recorded the word in this sense in 1604.
Focus shift = That the focus of a lens shifts as the aperture changes. For example, if one focus a 50mm lens at f/2.0 and then stop the aperture down to f/8, the focus may change, especially noticeable in close focusing. Modern lenses with floating elements (FLE) where the floating elements adjust for image quality in close-focusing may also help avoid focus shift.
Full Frame is "king of photography"
Full Frame (FF) = The size of the sensor is 24 x 36mm which is the format Oskar Barnack and Leica Camera AG invented with the first Leica that was introduced in 1925. Many other formats invented since, such as APS, APS-C and all usually refer to Full Frame ratio, by which it means what size they have compared to Full Frame. The "full frame" technically deifinition thouhg is a sensor that camtures the full frame in one go (as the early sensors as in Leica S1 scanned the image/senor over a period of time).
The 24 x 36mm Full Frame format is so "king of photography" that it has continued to be the ideal for all cameras. Besides this, there exists Large Format cameras such as 4x5" (100 x 125 mm) and Medium Format 6x6 (60 x 60mm amongst other sizes in that area).
ISO = Light sensitivity of the camera sensor is given in ISO (International Organization for Standardization). It's a standard that was used in film and is now used in all digital cameras also. The base ISO for the Leica TL2 sensor is around 100-150 which means that this is what the sensor "sees". All other levels are computer algorithms calculating the effect as if the sensor could "see" more (hence noise at higher ISO levels).
ISO goes in steps of doubling: When the ISO is raised from 100 ISO to 200 ISO, the camera only need half the amount of light to make the same picture. For each step in ISO to 400, 800, 1600, 3200, etc. the light sensitivity is doubled for the sensor (and the camera sensor only need half the light of the previous ISO to record the same image).
JPEG = A standard for picture format made in the 1990's by Joint Photographic Experts Group). Mostly referred to as JPG as in L1003455.JPG which would be the name for a JPG file from the camera.
Leica L-mount bayonet.
L-mount = Lens bayonet mount introduced by Leica for the Leica T in 2014 and used for Leica TL, Leica CL and Leica SL. Since 2019 the L-mount has also been shared with Panasonic, Sigma and others who produce cameras and lenses that are compatible with Leica L cameras and lenses lenses, and vice versa.
The L-mount has a diameter of 51.6 millimeter which is big enough for any design we could wish to design, and at the same time compact enough for the L-mount to be used on compact cameras such as Leica TL and Leica CL with APS-C sensor sizes. Leica chief lens designer Peter Karbe spent years calculating this ideal size, large enouhg for any design, yet as compact as possible. Read my article "Small Camera, Large Print" (2019) with interview with lens designer Peter Karbe for more.
After Leica introduced this new bayonet mount in 2014, Nikon (Z-mount 55mm), Fuji (G-mount 65mm) and Canon (RF-mount 54mm) followed with similar new bayonet mounts, but with bigger diameter, making them less able to produce compact lenses.
Leica = A compound word derived from " (Lei)tz" and "(ca)mera". Apparently they were originally going to use "LECA", but another camera company already used a similar name in France, so they inserted the 'i' to prevent any confusion.
Leicaflex was Leica's first single lens reflex (SLR) camera, released in 1964. It is a very solid, fully manual SLR with an exceptionally bright viewfinder. The Leicaflex SL and Leicaflex SL2 and Leicafles MOT (enabling attachment of motor winder) came after, and then Leica went onto Leica R3 that it developed with Minolta, then Leica R4, Leica R5, Leica 6.2, Leica 7, Leica 8, Leica R9.
My Leitz Leicaflex SL (1973) film camera in black, here with 50 mm Summicron-R f/2.0 from Canada.
The word lens derives from lentil, because of the similar shape.
Lens - A piece of glass or similarly transparent material (like water or plastic). It has a shape so that it can direct light rays. The word “Lens” is used both for single piece of glass as well as a camera lens with several lenses that works together. The word lens if often used to refer to the entire camea lens, which is usually compose of seberal lens elements. From ‘lentil’ because similar in shape.
A camera lens consists of several shaped lens elements of glass. The lenses can also be made of simple cheap plastic as in "kit lenses" (sold with a camera as a kit to make a workable cheap package), but it is mostly very exotic glass (that can be heavy or light in weight, very hard or very soft in surface (esay to scratch or very resistant) with each optical glass recipe made to develop very specific qualities in how the glass and final lens treats light. As a general rule, high quality glass is soft, which is why some lenses has as their front and back element, a non-optical lens element that is there to protect the actual optical glass from scratches. As a side noite, Leica made their own glass laboraty, The Leitz Glass Laboratory, from 1949-1989, which deveopled 35 new glass types and took out more than 2,000 patents of glass recipes from more than 50,000 experimental melts of glass. These designs, or recipes, are still used today by the lens designers to obtain very specific optical results. Other lens manufacturers in the world of course have had their glass laboratories, and today one will find an interchange of glass patents amongst production facilities that service Leica, Nikon,, Fuji and so on with optical lens elements.
Lens hood = (also called a Lens shade or Ventilated Shade). A tube or ring attached to the front of a camera lens to prevent unwanted light from reaching the lens and sensor. In the past where lenses were not coated to prevent internal reflections inside the lens, the lens hood was often essential. These days where lenses are coated, the shade serves just as much as decoration and protection (bumper) as well. ORIGIN Old English hod; related to Dutch hoed, German Hut 'hat,' also to hat.
Lens hood or Lens shade or ventilated shade. In the picture is a ventilated shade with clip-on mount to a 50mm f/2.0 lens. Ventilated means it has openings that allow for view from the viewfinder.
Lens names of Leica distinguish which widest aperture the lens has:
f/0.95 - f/1.25
f/ 1.2 (Leica-designed Panasonic lens)
f/ 1.4 - f/1.7
f/2.4 - 2.5
f/1.9 - f/6.3 (used 1930-1960 for screw mount lenses only)
f/2.8 - f/4.5
f/3.5 (only used 1921-1925 for the 50mm Elmax f/3.5)
f/2.8 - f/6.8 (used for tele lenses)
Bubble Level Gauge to mount onto the flash shoe.
Level Gauge = This is a tool in the viewfinder to see if you hold the camera 100% horizontal and/or vertical. You can turn it on in the Menu > Photo Live View Setup > Level Gauge > On.
Before level gauge was integrated as a digitized feature in modern digital camers, it was a Bubble Level Gauge / Spirit Level you put on top of the camera.
The idea is to be able to get 100% vertical and horizontal lines (because if you tilt the camera slightly, the horizon will not be horizontal, and of you tilt the camera forward or backwards, the lines of for example vertical buildings will not be vertical.
Digitized level gauge in a Leica M10-P. You tilt the camera up and down (front/back and left/right) till the level is completely straight.
Light = Tiny particles called photons that behaves like both waves and particles. Light makes objects visible by reflecting off of them, and in photography that reflecting off of subjects is what creates textures, shapes, colors and luminance. Light in its natural form (emanating from the sun) also gives life to plants and living things, and makes (most) people happier. So far, nobody has been able to determine exactly what light is. The word photography means “writing with light” (photo = light, -graphy = writing). Read more about light in my book Finding the Magic of Light.
Live View = This is the ability to see the image the sensor see, live, via the screen, or via an electronic viewfinder (EVF).
M (as in "M3", "M6", "M7" etc.)
A) The M originally stands for "Messsucher", which is German "Meßsucher" for "Rangefinder". The "3" in M3 was chosen because of the three bright line finders for the 50, 90 and 135 mm lenses. Later the numbers of the M cameras were more or less chosen to follow each other.
M-body evolution in chronologic order:
M3 - MP - M2 - M1 - MD - MDA - M4 - M5 - CL - MD-2 - M4-2 - M4-P - M6 - M6 TTL - M7 - MP - M8 - M8.2 - M9 - M9-P - MM (black and white sensor) - ME (Type 220) - Leica M (Type 240) - Leica M-P 240 - Leica M 246 Monochrom - Leica M-A (type 127, film camera) - Leica M 262 - Leica M-D 262 (without a screen) - Leica M10 - Leica M10-P, Leica M10 Monochrom, Leica M10-R.
B) M also refer to M-mount as the M bayonet that couple the Leica M lenses to the Leica M camera. Before the M bayonet the coupling between the camera and lens was screwmount.
C) M nowadays refer to the Leica M line of cameras rather than the "Messsucher".
The Leica M bayonet on the Leica M10.
M-mount: The Leica M-mount is a bayonet that was introduced with the Leica M3 camera in 1954 and has been used on all subsequent Leica M cameras, as well as on the Epson R-D1, Konica Hexar RF, Minolta CLE, Ricoh GXR, Rollei 35RF, Voigtländer Bessa, and Zeiss Ikon cameras (2019).
Compared to the previous screw mount (M39), the M mount requires a quick turn of the lens, and ithe lens is mounted. The patent for the M-bayonet ("Bajonettvorrichtung für die lösbare Verbindung zweier Kamerateile") was registered by Ernst Leitz GmbH 10 February 1950 (patent number DE853384). Hugo Wehrenfennig was credited with the invention.
MACRO = Macro lens. The Leica 60mm APO-Elmarit-Macro-R ASPH f/2.8 is a 60mm lens for portraits, landscapes, etc. as well as a near focus macro lens. The Leica Q lens can be turned to Macro which enables you to go close so as to enlarge smaller subjects. The Leica M cameras becomes Macro when you add a Macro ring "Oufro" or "Leica Macro M Adapter" that increases the lens' distance to the sensor. The word macro comes from Greek makros ‘long, large.’
Maestro II - A processor developed first as Maestro for the Leica S2 and upgraded to Maestro II for the Leica S (Typ 007). The Leica Q has a Mestro II (Leica Q edition) processor developed by SocioNext Inc. based on Fujitsu's Mibeault architecture. Leica M10 also has a Maestro II processor, but seemingly developed further for this model. Leica SL and Leica SL2 have Maestro processors as well.
Megapixel (or MP) - Millions of pixels. See pixel further down. How many units of RGB is recorded by a given sensor by taking height x widt. A Leica M10 delivers a 5952 x 3968 pixel file = 23,617,536 piexls. On a screen the resolution you choose determines the size of the image. Say you have a 5000 pixel wide file and your screen is set for 8000 pixels wide. Then the image will fill only the 5000 pixels fo the 8000 and the rest will be empty, If you then change the screen resolution to 5000 wide, the image would be able to fill out the whole screen.
mm = millimeter(s), as in a 50mm lens. (Earlier in lens history lenses focal length was given in cm = centimeters; as in a 5 cm lens). For anyone used to centimeters and millimeters, it’s no wonder. But if you grew up with inches, feet and yards, you may have had a hard time grasping what a 50mm lens was. But as lenses were designed first in Europe, the metric system with centimeters and millimeters was used to describe lenses.
(Leica and others made lenses for a while with either meter scale or feet scale; but then eventually started including meter and feet on all the lenses (two scales, usually distinguished with different colors). However, the lens' focal length remained always 50mm, 75mm and so on).
The reason a 50mm lens is a 50mm lens is that there is 50mm from the focus plane (the film or sensor surface) to the center of focus inside the lens. When photography was a young subject, it was engineers who made it all, and the users were expected to understand. The engineers were so into the making of the lenses, that it apparently never dawned upon them that today’s users would think of a 21mm lens as a wide angle lens rather than a lens where there is 21mm from the sensor to the center of focus inside the optics.
a) Stands for Mechanical Perfection, as in the Leica M-P.
b) Megapixels (millions of pixels).
c) Megaphotosites (millions of photosites).
Noctilux = Also known as "King of the Night" because "Nocti" means Night and "Lux" means Light. The f/1.0 lenes from Leica are named "Noctilux". The first Leica Noctilux lens was the 50mm Noctilux f/1.2 which shortly after it's introduction was improved to the 50mm Noctilux f/1.0. In the current model the f-stop has been improved further to f/0.95.
"Noctilux" refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f1.0 . "Nocti" for nocturnal (occurring or happening at night; ORIGIN late 15th cent.: from late Latin nocturnalis, from Latin nocturnus ‘of the night,’ from nox, noct- ‘night.), "lux" for light. The Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 is famous for enabling the photographer to take photos even there is only candleligts to lit the scene. See the article "Leica Noctilux - King of the Night"
The Noctilux "King of the Night" lens. From left the f/0.95 in silver (same on the camera, in black), the f/1.0 in the back and the rare and expensive first model, the f/1.2 in the front.
Number, on this site Leica catalog numbers or order numbers. Some the numbers changed depending on the number of cams in the lens: The Elmarit-R f2.8/135mm started life as No. 11 111, however when fitted with 2 cams for the SL became No. 11 211, yet another No. for the 3 cams lens and a fourth number for 3 cam only at the end of its life. Number changes also applied to M lenses depending on whether they were screw-thread, bayonet or for M3 with “spectacles”. Thus the No. in the Thorsten Overgaard Leica Lens Compendium list is a guideline but not a comlete list of existing catalog numbers.
OIS = Optical Image Stabilization. This is used in tele lenses where blurring motion of the camera from inevitable vibrations are adjusted by the lens. At low shutter speeds and/or with long lenses, any slight movement would result in a picture with "motion blur" unsharpness. The Leica TL2 supports optical image stabilization when A) OIS is turned on in the camera menu, and B) when you use lenses with OIS (the Leica SL longer lenses has OIS). An alternative is EIS = Electronic Image Stabilization, which the Leica T has. Here the problem of "motion blur" is corrected electronically after, which might lead to image degradation. However, the larger the sensor resolution, the less one will notice small 'degradation'.
Optic = Eye or vision. From French optique or medieval Latin opticus, from Greek optikos, from optos ‘seen.’
PASM = is short for P = Program Mode / A = Aperture Priority Mode / S = Shutter Priority Mode / M = Manual Control Mode. On some cameras, these P, A, S and M are choices on a wheel on top of the camera, or in the menu. On the Leica SL2 you choose between them by pressing the scrolling the thumbs wheel.
Perspective - The way objects appear to the eye; their relative position and distance. Also, selective focus (foreground and background out of focus) can change the perception of perspective (also see Three-dimensional). A wide angle "widens" the perspective and makes objects further away appear smaller than they are to the eye; and objects closer, relatively larger than they are to the eye. A tele lens will "flatten" the perspective and often objects further away will appear relatively larger than close objects than they are in real life. A 50mm lens is the one closest to the perspective and enlargement ratio of the human eye.
Vanishing points are the points where lines meet. This is how you make perspective in paintings and drawings (and some times make movie sets or theatre stages appear more three-dimensional than they are)
Painters works with vanishing points, which is where the lines meet, so as to create an illusion of perspective and three-dimensional effect on a two-dimensional painting or drawing.
The human eye corrects for perspective to an extreme degree. We always see vertical lines vertical and horisontal lines horisontal: The eye has a angle of view equivalent to an 8mm wide angle lens, a size ratio equivalent to a 50mm lens and we focus on relatively small area of the viewing field - one at the time. Three things happens that are worth paying attention to:
1) We compile areas of our view that we focus on, to one conceptual image that "we see". Ansel Adams, the great American landscape photographer pointed out that a large camera used for landscape photography capture every detail in focus and sharp so you can view it in detail after; but the eye does not see everything in focus when you try to compose the landscape photography, the eye scans only one part at a time and stitch the idea together. This makes composing or prevision of a landscape photography challenging.
2) We compile areas of our view that we individually adjust the exposure of. A camera adjust the exposure of the whole image frame to one exposure. That's why what looks like a nice picture to the eye of houses in sunshine with a blue sky above, becomes a photograph of darker buildings with a bright white sky: The camera simply can't take one picture that compare to what we "compiled" with our eyes, adjusting for each type of light.
3) Objects (on a table, for example) in the bottom of our viewing field will appear 100% perspective corrected - to a degree that it is impossible to correct in optics, with or without software correction. A wide angle lens, even with little distortion, will exaggerate the proportions of the closet part so it - to the eye - looks wrong.
Perspective correction - In software like Adobe Lightroom and Capture One Pro there is often a feature to correct perspective (and distortion) like seen below. You can change perspective this way, or at least make believe: If you correct a tall building on teh vertical lines, you will notice that the height of the windows doesn't match the perspective. If the building is with straight lines, the windows should all be of the same size. But a tall building seen from below and corrected with software will have taller windows (closer to camera) in the bottom than in the top (further away from the camera originally).
A graphic illustration of the typical Bayer Color Filter Array on an RGB sensor. It's called a Bayer filter because Bryce Bayer of Eastman Kodak invented the technology of filtering incoming light into RGB and distribute it into the the photosites that each read just one color (R/G/G/B).
Photosite - The unit in a digital camera sensor that records intensity of either red, green or blue. Unlike the output of a sensor, measured in pixels (and where each pixel contains RGB), the photosite records only one color each, and it's intensity (how bright it is). A photosite can not distinguish colors, which is why there is a Color Filter Array (basically a prism) above them to filter the colors and send information to the photosite if 's a R, G og B color. See illustration below. In a monochrome sensor (as in the Leica M Monochrom and the Phase One Achromatic), all photosites are recording intensity of light only as there is no concern which color it is, and there is no color filter.
The ratio of photosites to pixels is not a given. Each block of 4 contiguous photosites contains one photosite sensitive to low wavelengths (blue), one photosite sensitive to high wavelengths (red), and two identical photosites sensitive to medium wavelengths (green). So four photosites would be the minimum to create one 'full-color' pixel. Apart from that, depends on the sensor specifications, which is different from brand to brand. Sometimes four photosites (two Green, one Red and one Blue) makes up one pixel, at other times it's more photosites to one pixel; and there is also pixels sampled from photosites across (sort of overlapping patterns).
Pixel - Made up word from Pix (picture) and el (element). A pixel is the smallest full-color (RGB) element in a digital imaging device. The physical size of a pixel depends on how you've set the resolution for the display screen. The color and tonal intensity of a pixel are variable, meaning that each pixel contains RGB. This is different from a camera sensor's small eyes (photosite) that are an intensity of either red, green or blue. You could say that the digital sensor's photosite (where each unit collects just one color; red, green or blue) is the input technology, whereas the pixels on a screen (where each pixel contains red, green and blue) is the output device. So while sensors are measured in megapixels (mega = million), it's their output unit of pixels, and not the input unit of photosites that is measured and stated. See illustration below.
R - Reflex: The Leica R cameras (2009) is the SLR cameras from Leica. The first Leicaflex (1964) feels like a Leica M, built as a tank, and with reflex and fits Leica R lenses. Over the production time of the Leica R system, a number of magic lenses from fisheye to 800mm were made for this system (as well as a made-to-order 1600mm lens for a prince in Qatar). Also a number of zoom lenses was made for the Leica R system. Many of the lenses are being used for cinema in their next life, especially the wide angle and the 50/1.4, but also the 280mm APO f/2.8 tele lens was retrofitted with a PL mount and used for the Joker movie in 2019.
The Leicaflex series (1964 - 1976) was modernized with the Leica R3 (1976) that was made together with Minolta , and then Leica went on with Leica R4, Leica R5, Leica 6.2, Leica R7, Leica R8 and Leica R9. The latter two models got a digital 10MP back made as an accessory in 2004 (CCD-sensor made with Imacon and Kodak). You simply took off the film back and mounted a digital back (and could change back to film if you wanted to). See my Leica DMR article. The Leica R system was retired in 2009 when the production of new lenses stopped. Leica Camera AG said then that the plans fot the R10 camera had been retired as it was not feasible to maintain an SLR system. Though, in 2016 Leica opresented the Leica SL system which is a SLR camera without reflex and instead is mirrorless cameras, and with a new series of L-mount lenses. The Leica SL (and Leica M) can use Leica R lenses via adapter.
ROM = Read-Only Memory contacts on the Leica R lenses (1996-2009) with information about lens model and calibration of aperture (each lens was finetuned at the factory and the exact data stored in the ROM of the lens).
The Leica R8 and Leica R9 featured electronic contacts in the cameras bayonet mount that could take advantage of lens-specific information to correct for lens vignetting, adjust the zoom reflector on flash according to lens focal length, or to correctly display aperture information. The ROM chip came with all newly sold lenses since 1996, but could also be retrofitted by Leica to older lenses. The lenses with ROM contact could be used on older Leica R cameras such as the Leica R3 - Leica R7 cameras, but not on the plder Leicaflex cameras.
The later Leica L mount system (2013) features a Leica L bayonet with contact strip for communication between lens, which looks very much like the ROM contracts. In the Leica L system, this strip of contacts share information to the camera about aperture, focal length and focusing distance (which in the Leica TL and Leica SL is used to calculate and display depth of field calculations inside the electronic viewfinder). But the contact strip goes both ways, so here comes power and control from the camera to perform auto focus, control the aperture and more.
ROM contacts on an Leica R lens
Leica L-mount lenses with control strip that looks like ROM contacts.
Contacts inside the Leica SL that connects with the control strip of the lens.
S = Single image. When the ring by the shutter release on top of the camera (or in the menu of a digital camera in case it does not have this ring on the ourside) is moved from OFF to S, the camera takes only one photo at the time (Single). The other possibility is Continuous where the camera takes pictures continiously as long as the shutter release button is helt down. (see above).
Saturation: How colorful, intense or pure the color is. Less saturation would be less colorful, more saturation would be more colorful. In today’s photography, de-saturating a photo on the computer will gradually make it less and less colorful; and full de-saturation would make it into a black and white photo.
Sensor = A device that detects a physical property (like light) and records it. A camera sensor is a plane plate with thousands of small “eyes” with (photosites) a lens in front of each (CFA, Color Filter Array), which each individually records the amount of red, green and blue light rays that comes through the lens. Together, Red, Green and Blue form all colors of the spectrum, which becomes a pixel. Sensor comes from Latin sens- ‘perceived’.
SDC = Software Distortion Correction. A correction of lens distortion (not straight lines) applied in the camera and which is part of the DNG or RAW file. In Lightroom or Capture One Pro the SDC of the camera file is applied automatically (and cannot be removed), in software like AccuRaw one can open the DNG file without the SDC correction. Sean Reid Reviews have written a good article on what SDC is and does in "Software Distortion Correction".
SDC (Software Distortion Correction): In Lightroom the correction profile for the Fujinon 23mm is applied automatically and cannot be turned off.If you go into Develop mode in Lightroom and look under Lens Correction > Profile, you will see a message in the bottom with an exclamation mark. When you click on that, you get the message above.
Six-bit code (6-bit code) - An engraving on the flange of M-lenses that makes it possible for digital M-cameras to recognize the lens that has been mounted. The camera can include information on the attached lens and its focal length in EXIF data and make digital corrections for lens-specific flaws, such as color-cast or vignetting. Six-bit coding was introduced for all M-lenses sold since 2006, but many older lenses can be retrofitted with the code at Leica Camera AG in Wetzlar.
SL - Abbreviation for Single-Lens with a reference back to SLR (see definitiomn below).
SLR = Abbreviation for Single-Lens Reflex; the lens that forms the image on the film/sensor also provides the image in the viewfinder via a mirror. Newer camera models has aen EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) that displays in the viewfinder what the sensor sees in real-time.
The great thing about being a lens designer is that you get to name the lens. Dr. Max Berek who worked for Leitz from 1912 till his death in 1949 named lenses after his two favorite dogs. One was Sumamrex named after his dog Rex, the other Hektor named after his dog Hektor.
Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f/1.5.
Summicron = Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f/2.0 . There are many guesses how this name came about, a popular one being that the "summi" came from "summit" (summit means the highest point of a hill or mountain; the highest attainable level of achievement) while the "cron" came from "chroma" (ie. for colour). Not so: The name (Summi)cron was used because the lens used Crown glass for the first time, which Leitz bought from Chance Brothers in England. The first batch of lenses were named Summikron (Crown = Krone in Deutsch). The Summi(cron) is a development from the orignal Summar (the 50mm f2.0 lens anno 1933). Vario-Summicron, Vario-Elmarit is Leica Camera AG's name for zoom lenses, for example the Vario-Summicron f/2.0 as the one that is on the Leica Digilux 2.
Summilux = Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f/1.4 , "-lux" added for "light" (ie. the enhanced light gathering abilities). In Leica terminology a Summilux is always a f/1.4 lens and a Summicron is a f/2.0 lens.
Lens nomenclature - short-hand for " telephoto " (tele- is a combining form, meaning to or at a distance) and used in names of instruments for operating over long distances : telemeter. The name has been used for a number of tele lenses from Leica.
ORIGIN: from Greek t?le- ‘far off.’
Three-dimensional = Having the three dimensions of height, width and depth. In photography and lens design, three-dimensional effect is also the perception of even small micro-details; the texture of skin can appear flat and dead or three-dimensional and alive. Also, selective focus (foreground and background out of focus) can change the perception of depth. Also see Perspective.
Leica T is the compact camera developed by Leica Camera in 2014 as a touch-screen operated camera that can take the Leica L mount lenses made for this camera and the Leica SL and Leica CL. This camera series was names Leica TL later. See my article Compact Leica Cameras for more.
(T)hrough (T)he (L)ens light metering, usually WRT the flash metering capabilities built into the R6.2, R8, R9, M7 & M6TTL cameras.
V-Lux is a series of compact SLR-like digital cameras by Leica Camera AG developed with Panasonic since 2006, starting with the Leica V-Lux 1 (2006), V-Lux 2 (2010), V-Lux 3 (2011), V-Lux 4 (2012), V-Lux Typ 114 (2014), V-Lux 5 (2018). See my article "Compact Digital Leica Cameras".
To add confusion, Leica also made a Leica V-Lux 20 in 2010, V-Lux 30 in 2011 and a Leica V-Lux 40 in 2012 that was a temporarily renaming of the Leica C-Lux series.
Vario- is the Leica Camera AG name for zoom lenses. Vario-Elmarit, Vario-Elmar and Vario-Summicron and so on.
Ventilated shade on a 35mm of Elliott Erwitt's Leica MP camera.
Ventilated Shade - A shade is a hood in front of a lens that provides shade from light going straight onto the lens from outside what you are photographing, which could cause internal reflections like flare, which would make the picture less contrasty.
The ventilated shade has holes so it doesn't obstructs the view from the viewfinder. In many of today’s mirrorless cameras where there is no viewfinder looking ver the lens, so there is no actual need for a ventilated shade; but they are considered classic or vintage looking and are still in high demand. It makes no difference for the purpose of the shade (to create shadow) if it is ventilated or not.
Ventilated Shade for the Leica Q. I make ventilated shades for most lenses and sell them from here.
Viewfinder a device on a camera showing the field of view of the lens. Also known as the German word "Messucher" (or Meßsucher).
1) A built-in viewfinder in a camera that simply show the frame you get when you look through the viewfinder.
2) A rangefinder viewfinder which is also used to focus the lens. In Leica M cameras two pictures has to meet and lay 'on top of each other' for the picture to be in focus.
3) An external viewfinder, usually on top of the camera in the flash shoe, so as to show the field of view of lenses vider than what the built-in viewfinder can show (15mm, 21mm, 24mm, 28mm etc viewfinders exist)
4) Very simple "aiming-devices" on top of a camera that is simply a metal frame without any optics. Just a frame, as for example very old cameras (the original Leica), or when using cameras in diving where you can't look through the camera.
5) A Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) that shows what the sensor sees "live".
Zone System -A system of 11 greytones. Ansel Adams worked out the Zone System in the 1940's with Fred Archer. It may look as simply a grey scale (and it is) but it's the use that has troubled many. If you use a normal external light meter, it will give you the exact amount of light and you can expose your photograph based on that and it will be correct.
What Ansel Adams basically did was that he studied (by measuring with a spot meter), what the exact grey tones were of the sky, the clouds, the sand, the water, the skin and so on at different times of the day.
You could say that he built up a conceptual understanding of how different materials of different colors and reflective surface would look in black and white at different times of day (or different light conditions). He also realized that a tone changes for the human eye depending on it's size and in which context of other tones it is seen.
In short, you could say that the Zone System is know how something would look in black and white when looking at a scenery. Some who have struggled with the Zone System have done so because they think it is a rule. It is not.
How Ansel Adams made New Mexico look:
How most people see New Mexico:
The artistic use of the Zone System.
Ansel Adams developed the Zone System to understand light for himself, but also as a fundament for teaching the light, exposure and making the final photograph. How will it look if you do the usual, and what will it look like if you manipulate it. But most interstingly; how do you work with light, cameras and photographic materials to achieve the look you envision.
The Zone System is meant as a basis on which to create your own aesthetic style and communication. Photography is painting with light. The greyscale is our palette. Ideally we should have a conceptual understanding of the tones and be able to use them intuitive. That was his vision for us all.
Ø - Diameter. As in Ø49 for example which means that the filter diameter is 49mm for this lens (or if a filter is Ø49, it is 49mm in diameter and fits that Ø49 lens). Leica uses E to express their filters sizes, as in E49 for a 49mm filter size.
– Thorsten Overgaard
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Index of Thorsten Overgaard's user review pages on Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E, Leica M9 Monochrom, Leica M10, Leica M10-P, Leica M10-D, Leica M10-R, Leica M10 Monohcrom, Leica M11, Leica M 240, Leica M-D 262, Leica M Monochrom 246, Leica SL, Leica SL2, Leica SL2-S, as well as Leica TL2, Leica CL, Leica Q, Leica Q2 and Leica Q2 Monochrom:
Leica Digital Camera Reviews by Thorsten Overgaard
LEItz CAmera = LEICA
Founded 1849 in Wetzlar, Germany.
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish born multiple award-winning AP photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing and teaching workshops which cater to Leica enthusiasts. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.