The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2

Started Mar 25, 2010 | Discussions
walter marshall
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The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
Mar 25, 2010

I went out with my M9 and my recently acquired 35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2 tonight, taken at f1.4, the one of the two guys is a big crop, I think these are beautiful renderings, this lens was made for night photography.

Barrie

polarabbit
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to walter marshall, Mar 25, 2010

Barrie, I really like your second one!

Looks like your copy does glow quite a bit! Let me give mine a try this week at night in these conditions and see if it glows as much.

Walter Marshall wrote:

I went out with my M9 and my recently acquired 35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2 tonight, taken at f1.4, the one of the two guys is a big crop, I think these are beautiful renderings, this lens was made for night photography.

Barrie

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menos
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to polarabbit, Mar 25, 2010

It does indeed look very interesting!
Where these both shot @ f1.4?

The interesting aspects of the old 35 Lux for me are more of a practical nature:

  • compact size,

  • price,

  • faster than my Cron ASPH and

  • compact size

I will have a serious look at these (if I can find a nice black user sample with perfect glass and focus mount).

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walter marshall
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to menos, Mar 25, 2010

menos wrote:
Where these both shot @ f1.4?

Both at f1.4 at 1600iso

The interesting aspects of the old 35 Lux for me are more of a practical nature:

  • compact size,

  • price,

  • faster than my Cron ASPH and

  • compact size

I agree, the compact size is great, it also looks like a cheap lens without the lens hood.

I have the ASPH Cron 35mm, I will keep both as they both have different uses, my plan is to take night pictures of my home town with the Summilux,

Here is one more with the Summilux taken from the hip on the bus home with estimated focusing distance, some work in PS, some mild sharpening with Smart Sharpen, also f1.4 at 1600iso, black and white conversion in PS using high structure with Silver Efex Pro, the original untouched jpg image below.

The digital darkroom is a wonderful thing.

Barrie

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markforce
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to walter marshall, Mar 25, 2010

This looks interesting indeed. The longer it takes for me to be able to get my hands on an M9 myself, the more I see/read (obviously) and pictures such as your first one make me think whether the camera - unlike the lens - is indeed also made for night photography? Don't get me wrong.. I think your shots are nicely rendered, but I think we can all agree that @ISO1600, noise is quite visible. Now granted, with the Leica glass a few considerable advantages can be thrown into the whole mix. Personally, I am primarily looking for the 50/1.4Lux, though a bit larger in size than your 35mm. But I digress.. this is just some food for thought, for my own thoughts to begin with, and not to be taken the wrong way. Thanks for sharing, anyways!

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Jark89
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to walter marshall, Mar 25, 2010

Quite glowy indeed! I particularly like the 2nd one as well.
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polarabbit
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to markforce, Mar 25, 2010

markforce wrote:

This looks interesting indeed. The longer it takes for me to be able to get my hands on an M9 myself, the more I see/read (obviously) and pictures such as your first one make me think whether the camera - unlike the lens - is indeed also made for night photography? Don't get me wrong.. I think your shots are nicely rendered, but I think we can all agree that @ISO1600, noise is quite visible. Now granted, with the Leica glass a few considerable advantages can be thrown into the whole mix. Personally, I am primarily looking for the 50/1.4Lux, though a bit larger in size than your 35mm. But I digress.. this is just some food for thought, for my own thoughts to begin with, and not to be taken the wrong way. Thanks for sharing, anyways!

i think one has to look at more than just how much noise there is but also at the kind of noise it is. the M9 noise is nothing obtrusive and the details are well kept. surely leica could have chosen a different path by reducing noise at the expense of detail retention. i would suspect that this would have been the "cleaner" path, literally. also the M9's FF advantage is obvious when it comes to detail retention. of course if one were to compare the M9 to somethign like the D3s in terms of high ISO performance then your comment is indeed very valid, but that is not the point, is it?

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walter marshall
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to polarabbit, Mar 25, 2010

With my M9 images I never use noise reduction, with all my other digital camera images I use it a lot but on the M9 it seems to lose something in the translation, I do use a small amount of sharpening depending on the image.

Barrie

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sung nee
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to Jark89, Mar 25, 2010

If that is the Leica glow that I have been hearing about in the last 8 or 9 years, then I'm afraid that is a complete mis-understanding.

I have used Leica's since 1982 and the 35/1.4 pre-asph was one of the lenses I have used, brand new when bought. The glow at F1.4 is softness at the widest aperture. Leica's own literature admitted this, although they did also say that the aperture was ideal for flattering portraits and special effects, but that's just marketing talk to me, because I had the 50/1.5 Summarit and it glowed even more, and it was well known that the 50/1.5 was soft at the widest aperture.

I sold the 35/1.4 and bought the 35/2 (pre-asph). No regrets whatsoever. I still have it. I adore Leica's but I don't want any myths being built up.

If there's another version of the glow I'll gladly be educated.

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markforce
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to walter marshall, Mar 25, 2010

Walter Marshall wrote:

With my M9 images I never use noise reduction, with all my other digital camera images I use it a lot but on the M9 it seems to lose something in the translation, I do use a small amount of sharpening depending on the image.

Barrie

Agreed with both of you guys. I am not trying to compare with D3 type low light ability but I guess I would have expected a somewhat cleaner image at ISO1600, to be entirely honest. Again, this is just me. There's different magic at play, I get that and this is certainly part of the attraction. However, the notion of sharpening instead of applying noise reduction is kind of intriguing given the absence of the AA filter, which makes the M9 shine in the sharpness department.

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polarabbit
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to markforce, Mar 25, 2010

markforce wrote:

Walter Marshall wrote:

With my M9 images I never use noise reduction, with all my other digital camera images I use it a lot but on the M9 it seems to lose something in the translation, I do use a small amount of sharpening depending on the image.

Barrie

Agreed with both of you guys. I am not trying to compare with D3 type low light ability but I guess I would have expected a somewhat cleaner image at ISO1600, to be entirely honest. Again, this is just me. There's different magic at play, I get that and this is certainly part of the attraction. However, the notion of sharpening instead of applying noise reduction is kind of intriguing given the absence of the AA filter, which makes the M9 shine in the sharpness department.

my guess is that with RF images one would sometimes need to sharpen due to less accurate MF. with something like a D3s one gets perfect AF so one always gets the sharpest result from the lens, but this is not the case with the m9 or any other RF for that matter.

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polarabbit
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to sung nee, Mar 25, 2010

sung nee wrote:

If that is the Leica glow that I have been hearing about in the last 8 or 9 years, then I'm afraid that is a complete mis-understanding.

I have used Leica's since 1982 and the 35/1.4 pre-asph was one of the lenses I have used, brand new when bought. The glow at F1.4 is softness at the widest aperture. Leica's own literature admitted this, although they did also say that the aperture was ideal for flattering portraits and special effects, but that's just marketing talk to me, because I had the 50/1.5 Summarit and it glowed even more, and it was well known that the 50/1.5 was soft at the widest aperture.

I sold the 35/1.4 and bought the 35/2 (pre-asph). No regrets whatsoever. I still have it. I adore Leica's but I don't want any myths being built up.

i don't think it is a myth; which is probably why the leica glow concept has been around for so many years. to my untrained eyes and to put it simply, i notice that the leica glow refers to the type of softness that does not make the subject seem out of focus. there is a layer of halo around the edges of the subject but the subject itself, at the centre, is well in focus. the amount of glow depends on the thickness and fuzziness of the halo. other types of softness i have seen from other lenses do not have the glow; they look out of focus with no white halos around the edges of the image. the leica glow is not as prominent in the shadow areas whereas softness in other lenses seem more uniform throughout the image. at least that is what my untrained eyes tell me. i also found that not only leica lenses exist the leica glow but certainly it is found much more often in leica lenses than others.

btw, from my experience, the biogon 2/35 is sharper, more contrasty and renders colors more accurately than the 35 cron preA (6/7/8 elements alike) and cheaper, so why not get that instead?

If there's another version of the glow I'll gladly be educated.

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markforce
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to polarabbit, Mar 25, 2010

polarabbit wrote:

markforce wrote:

Walter Marshall wrote:

With my M9 images I never use noise reduction, with all my other digital camera images I use it a lot but on the M9 it seems to lose something in the translation, I do use a small amount of sharpening depending on the image.

Barrie

Agreed with both of you guys. I am not trying to compare with D3 type low light ability but I guess I would have expected a somewhat cleaner image at ISO1600, to be entirely honest. Again, this is just me. There's different magic at play, I get that and this is certainly part of the attraction. However, the notion of sharpening instead of applying noise reduction is kind of intriguing given the absence of the AA filter, which makes the M9 shine in the sharpness department.

my guess is that with RF images one would sometimes need to sharpen due to less accurate MF. with something like a D3s one gets perfect AF so one always gets the sharpest result from the lens, but this is not the case with the m9 or any other RF for that matter.

Fair enough, haven't thought about that.

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samuel49
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The Leica glow = urban myth
In reply to walter marshall, Mar 25, 2010

I think way too much is made of the supposed 'special' look called the Leica glow. Before others jump on me to tell me that if I've never used Leica, I wouldn't know what the term meant. I've used the Leica M6, M6TTL, and M7 over several years, using both Summilux and Summicron lenses, including the 75/2 Summicron, maybe the best lens of all. They are wonderful lenses capable of wonderful results, but this legendary 'glow' is no better than images produced by the Zeiss G lenses for Contax and some top Canon/Nikon counterparts.

I think your images, while good night shots, have more to do with the street lighting than it does with the lenses creating this mythical Leica-only look. My opinion, of course.

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Artichoke
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fine examples of Leica glow, Barrie (pic)
In reply to walter marshall, Mar 25, 2010

their more modern lenses don't demonstrate this quality as well

the glow is an aberration seen with fast pre-ASPH lenses, but one that is pleasing

I think it fairly typical of pre-ASPH Leica lenses & one treasured by many, particularly for BW rendering as it gives a "dreamy" look to the OOF areas
both your examples show this well

to my taste the transition to OOF areas is of greater importance & here the Leica's excel & in particular the more modern fast lens designs, i.e. the asphericals which correct for this glow aberration

I have some Nikkors that rival my Leica's, such as the 28 & 35 f1.4 (the latter being MF, which I found better than the AF version) but none that surpass them

sample variation may be less with Leica lenses as well & in the M mount they are hard to beat for size

the notion raised by some in this thread about AF giving better results than RF for narrow DOF runs counter to my experience & I suspect reflects inexperience with RF focusing techniques or lack of practice

here is an example taken with a second generation 90 mm Summicron near wide open at iso 1250 with the M9

my focus point was on the horse's eye

a larger version of this can be found here -------> http://www.pbase.com/artichoke/image/122934828/original along with shooting information

note that this was about a 60 percent crop (longer lenses & zooms are not RF strongpoints)
I find my keeper rate about the same or maybe better with RF focus than with AF

being able to anticipate action with RF is a HUGE advantage in dealing with fast movers
I think I prefer using a RF for such, providing I can get close enough
is the difference worth lugging about a 70-200 zoom & a DSLR?

I suppose that depends on the state of your back & the skill of your chiropractor
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nick_webster
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That's not Leica glow
In reply to walter marshall, Mar 25, 2010

The "glow" you are seeing is due to using a non-aspherical lens wide open. I believe that it is caused by uncorrected spherical abberrations, but a lens engineer would be able to give a more detailed explanation.

I've got a couple of lenses that look like that shot wide open, an OM 55 f1.2 and a Contax 50 f1.4.

I quite like your shots but that "glow" is not limited to Leica lenses,

Nick

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stealth3kpl
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Re: That's not Leica glow
In reply to nick_webster, Mar 25, 2010

Artichoke wrote:

their more modern lenses don't demonstrate this quality as well

Possibly because the coatings are better and spherical aberration is better controlled with aspheric lenses.

nick_webster wrote:

The "glow" you are seeing is due to using a non-aspherical lens wide open. I believe that it is caused by uncorrected spherical abberrations, but a lens engineer would be able to give a more detailed explanation.

I agree (not that I'm any expert). It is a fault but a fault that can be used to our advantage (as the marketing department pointed out ). If sharp higher contrast images are required at f1.4 then perhaps the asph version should be used.

I've got a couple of lenses that look like that shot wide open, an OM 55 f1.2 and a Contax 50 f1.4.

I quite like your shots but that "glow" is not limited to Leica lenses,

Nick

The Nikon 35mm f1.4 is another oft quoted example.
Pete

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rollei53
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to walter marshall, Mar 26, 2010

Great shots and love the glow! The granular appearance is interesting and seems to be reminiscent of film grain - but in my opinion it's just a bit over the top. I'm assuming it's due either to oversharpening of high ISO noise, or the "high structure" thing you mentioned. I'm not familiar with Silver effects but I've had similar results from oversharpening as I previously described. I like the effect, I just wish it was backed off a bit. As is, the grainiy texture looks almost like that of the material used to cover the M8 camera body.

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Sam Edwards
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to walter marshall, Mar 28, 2010

Wow, I really like the look. Absolutely captivating. When I was a photography student I used to breathe on the lens and then screw the skylight filter back on quickly to fog my pictures. I always thought it gave the pictures a cool look when used sparingly.
Good work! Thanks for posting.
Sam

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sung nee
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Re: The Leica Glow.35mm f1.4 pre ASPH Summilux version 2
In reply to Sam Edwards, Mar 29, 2010

...When I was a photography student I used to breathe on the lens

Vaseline on an old filter, old stocking over the lens, etc.

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