Jul 102012
 

Dear Steve,

After for quite long times seeing so many great photos of Leica lenses everywhere from your portfolios and many photographers,  the character… the overall signature that I myself can’t explain.. beside enjoying the results..All that poisons (oops.. sorry..) already built this desire to know and shoot it personally.

Three months ago, a friend from Munich, offer me this vintage Leitz Wetzlar Summicron-R 1:2/50. I know it’s not the Leica M mount but it’s way in the affordable range price in Leica league. Fortunately.. I still could manage to afford the Leitz.. its from 1969. After a 2 week wait for the old Leitz to arrive from Munich… I am so overwhelmed!  I already bought .. well .. not a Novoflex adapter (that would cost almost like the lens)… I can afford a generic adapter to M4/3 body.

I know the Cron R50 would crop 2x becoming 100 mm lens and that’s not my comfort zone ( I am just a beginner and get used to 50 mm range). Some friends said I am into nothing buying the big names a great lens, and match it with this unholy matrimony with Micro 4/3 body with old sensor . The combination will kill almost all the beauty and power from the Cron R50..well… I know guys.. I can only get some of the goodness.. but stubborn me.

For 2.5 months straight I’ve been using the combo every day. I think I have started to get used to them.. the unbalanced weight to the front… the very prone to flare character of the lens (CMIIW). Call me a nut but there is some mojo that comes from this unusual combo. It’s not the crazy bokeh definitely (imagine F2.0 in M4/3 body).. or not even the perfectness of Leica design (it’s a vintage Cron R50 , after all). Or maybe the Lens simply boost my spirit to keep shooting and practicing. Oh well.. I simply want to share my journey with the Cron R 50 for this 2 months (and still going).

At first…. I am so confused what to shoot . My first curiosity is why the Summicron becoming a standard or reference… some said because the sharpness. Some of my first shots are simply a test of sharpness. Some of daily things I met in my life … all are shots in F4.0.

 

 Vase and flower.. small vase.. Scale.. and Kettle… (somehow reminds me of Beauty and The Beast animation)

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Shots of a restaurant kitchen… (ok.. I am fans of ratatouille animation movie)

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Breads and Cakes

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901.. Pile of Glasses in darkness

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879.. The Chairs… I somehow captivated by the light and how it bounce to the floor

 

I also try to know how sharp it can be.. I think the limit in MFT body is F8.. and the Flare… definitely there

Statue in the garden on Sunset… (using the hood already)

 

 

ok… the Cron is good to shoot unmoving objects… not human..how about Humans ?? how about chasing a manual focus of Cron R50 with GF2 ?? counting only by live view LCD ? Can I do it ?? Here are some human object shots (street shots, candid) and how I get used to chase my baby moves with the Cron R50 and GF2

I shot some students doing a video projects .. a small commercial on the park.. and tested the bokeh in F2.0

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Music for all.. the body is Rasta .. but the play the classic piece beautifully

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a stranger relaxing and reading book

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979 a chef is working behind the kitchen

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She shoot.. I shoot

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786 a violin teacher playing in the park

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a trio violin …

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Using cellphone while doing construction work..

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woman washing her hand

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a street beggar and his daughter

 

Ok… how about shooting quite fast-moving object.. its my baby… I learn to shoot people.. cause of her.. baby Daini. Can I cath her photos using Cron R50 in GF2 ? I think after get used to the manual focusing.. I can but not as fast and as productive as Pan Leica 25 mm AF.

 

my baby Daini in various expression .. Shots using Cron R50

 

Well… its been a crazy 2.5 months… forcing my self using manual focus only but man, I do enjoy the time.

I love the Cron R50. The lens can be sharp even in F2.0 but it is most appropriate sharp in F4.0 and while the bokeh is not very prominent (well F2.0 in a 2x crop body ??) the flare is definitely there. The 50 becomes 100.. it has the advantages of becoming a mid zoom. So what s a Leica look anyway ? After these shots.. and many more.. I really can’t tell.. I just feel it.. ok.. ok.. its absurd.. I know! But the main thing is.. I am having great times shooting it.

I can’t be technical.. I am just a beginner … this is not a review whatsoever.. it’s just my personal journey.

 

Sincerely

William Jusuf

  46 Responses to “USER REPORT: My journey with the Panasonic GF2 and Leica 50 Summicron R by William Jusuf”

  1. Great photos. Makes me covet an old school lens like this one :)

  2. Really liked the photos you shared. The months of the experiment are worth it. It’s something I have planned as well – someday.

  3. The homeless baby is heartbreaking.

    • :-(

      Homeless people are a common sight around here, and we just move on and never bother to pause to take a (closer) look… and when an image such as the father and child is captured, man, it does break your heart in pieces.

  4. The 5 first photos are great, they don´t look like beginners picts! Love the chair!

    • Thanks aitor

      actually the very first photo, I took with the Cron 50 attached to GF2 is The chair…

      its the first shot .. doing it while i had dinner with my wife and look at the chair and the light..
      took out the combo..
      I had a strange feeling shooting the Cron for the first time.. wishing it will be good…

      and that combo dont dissapoint me at all

      Cheers
      William

  5. thanks for sharing.
    one thing that is interesting seeing the photos is I guess there is a reason for having a Leica camera with the lens though. I like the photos, especially the violin players, but either there is camera shake in more or less all of the photos or the photos are not that sharp. I guess with a small camera like that having to manually focus that could results in camera shake, but having seen Ricoh GXR photo files that were shot with Leica lenses I would say that it is quite visible that those cameras are not creating as sharp results as Leica lenses plus m9 or m8 or other Ms.

    would be interesting to see some lens comparisons … how does the Leica lens compare to other great lenses for the GF2.

    • Very nice pictures. I like them. Some pictures show nice bokeh. I bought some Leica R lenses recently to mate with Sony NEX 5N. The 50mm CRON has beautiful bokeh. The 135mm F2.8 has bokeh too with bigger light circles.

      I think the sharpness problem could be caused by sensor plane moving during focussing and shooting. Slightly shift will lose sharpness. With the NEX 5N, I use focus peaking and magnify focussing then compose the picture and shoot. Unless you mount the camera on tripod or have a electronic/optical view finder, it’s hard to guarantee your sensor plane will stay at the same spot.

    • the reason of the not sharp is not the lens..
      its my own skill .. I shake a bit.. since I purely use the LCD Live view… magnification doing the manual focus..
      sometimes when everything is good and I press the shutter…

      I wasnt steady enough causing slight shake..

      I know I should do the touch not press shutter… the holding breath.. etc.. but sometimes the moments comes so fast and I simply go for it..

      Thanks to reminding me to keep practicing and pay attention to the shutter time..

  6. Keep on shooting! Leica lens are beautiful in so many ways. I recently.gave up my M9 and use an OMD with the 35mm Summilux. You got some nice Street shots. Find what type(s) of photography moves you and have fun.

  7. Really nice photographs, the last one is my fav with that backlighting. What really came across is your infectious enthusiasm about owning and using a Leica lens. It is all about the feeling you get when you photograph for me too, not so much about the result although of course the result is important too. For me, I enjoy the feeling of shooting and it seems you do to. You are not alone.

    When Garry Winogrand (look him up if you don’t know him) died in 1984, there was discovered about 2,500 rolls of undeveloped film and 6,500 rolls of developed but not proofed exposures. People can take various interpretations about this but one take is that he enjoyed shooting more than anything else, so much so, that there were thousands of rolls of film that he did not have time to develop as he was too busy shooting. So if you find an equipment combination whether it be Leica, Nikon, Canon Olympus etc etc that excites you and makes you want to go out and shoot more, then you are going to enjoy your photography and the more you photograph the more opportunities there are to learn.

  8. Very nice pictures, Mr. Jusuf.

    Here’s a suggestion about the flare:

    The Summicron 50 (like all lenses that were built for 35mm cameras) is designed to cover an area roughly twice as big as the 4/3 sensor. That means that it’s spraying light around the insides of the camera that will bounce off the sides and cause lowered contrast, even if it doesn’t cause visible flare.
    A good way to reduce this is to fit a lens hood that was designed for the “effective” focal length of the lens, on your camera. That is (in your case) a hood originally designed for a 100mm lens.

    If I am thinking of the correct version of your lens, it has a 55mm filter thread. Lens hoods like this, intended for an 85 or 100 mm lens, with a 55mm attachment thread (or clip) are easy to find on the famous auction site, or used camera stores or web sites, or even new at B&H or Adorama, for very little money.

    Try it. I think you’ll be pleased.

    • Parisi

      wow thank you for the advice

      I ll try to look it up …

      Thanks a lot
      WIlliam Jusuf

    • Hi, Parisi.

      Certainly a useful piece of advice. I am not so sure about the lens hood, though. William doesn’t say exactly which R Summicron he has, but if it is the first version, the single cam one supplied when the original Leicaflex was released, this lens does not use the 55mm screw filter mount, but a bespoke spring loaded mount built into it which attaches to the outer rim of the lens. This lens hood is designed to be parked, reverse fitted, on the lens itself.

      • mine suplied with the lens hood that is spring loaded to outer rim om lens..
        is it the first version ?? all i find out is the serial number said it s made in 1969..

        • William,

          Yes, that is the first version Summicron R that comes in 1 or 2 cam versions. As you can see, a normal lens hood would not fit it. So it is good you have the correct lens hood already.

          Whether your lens is a 1 cam or 2 cam version, is not relevant as optically the lenses are the same. It matters if later you decide to get a Leicaflex 1, or an SL or SL2 film body. A single cam lens can’t be used on the later SL or SL2 bodies which incorporate TTL metering, which the original Leicaflex 1 doesn’t.

          But I think we are getting ahead of ourselves at this point, so I’d better stop!

          • :) its nice to know that knowledge..

            and now, u makes me curious and in process of learning about all you explained about

  9. The 979 shot of the chef is just awesome. Great framing and composition. Love the silver grey tones too.

    • Thank you Damian..

      he’s a good chef.. cooking my Baramundi perfectly….
      I took a picture of him baking pizza and prepare it for customer…
      if i am not too busy , ussually I went to his restaurant to have lunch

      I cross process a bit in Nix software … to get that tone actually..

      Sincerely
      William

  10. Amazing pictures. I like the lovely soft pictures. They’re softly, but they’re sharps. Excellent!

  11. These are great photos! I’m so glad you’re enjoying this combo.

  12. love the ratatouille shot!

  13. A great example, that the camera is meanwhile less important than a good eye and a good lens to achieve outstanding photos.

  14. I love the color rendition in your color images. Can someone explain if that’s from the lens or the sensor or the combo?

    You made some great monochrom street captures, too.

    thanks for the story,

    Jeffrey

  15. Awesome. I like it. Reminds me of my style. Especially those baby pictures. But I use a wider lenses for babies and get closer as they are intrigued by the camera :P. Some shots are a bit oof but oh well beautiful life captures nonetheless. You weren’t going for technique or perfect shots just line up and shoot…capture the moment. Cheers!

  16. Very beautiful. It seems there is a subtle addiction effect from shooting legacy MF lenses on modern bodies… :D

  17. William,

    I found your images really pleasing to look at, and I particularly noticed that none of the people you captured looked at all self-conscious, everything looks so natural and relaxed. There is another aspect to your images, the perspective you have from what is, effectively, a 100mm lens. This has flattened the perspective a little to give a more natural view of your subjects. This is especially noticeable in the images of the musicians. These are better than if you had taken the same subjects at the same image size, but with a 50mm equivalent focal length. This would have given slightly undue prominence to the nearest subject in the group.

    Regarding the alleged lack of sharpness, I only really noticed this with the image of the father and child where, clearly, there is no plane within it that is sharp. But as for the others, I didn’t find this an issue. Actually, to me, they looked fine and would be what I would expect shooting wide open and/or in low contrast and with, and it has to be said, an older Summicron which is not renowned for absolute sharpness or contrast. At its best, around f4 to f5.6 it is very good but not exceptional by today’s standard. But to set against this, it does have that classical imaging quality, which I’d trade absolute sharpness for any day! I use one and love its particular characteristics.

    • thanks TerryB

      thats what really concern me about the M4/3

      50 mm (my most use focal) becoming 100 mm..
      I know the 100 mm (from 50 x 2) makes the scene more flat..

      I am working on how to make it better.. with the gear I have..
      just so glad that you bring up that topic Terry B

      Sincerely
      William

  18. You achieved a consistent look, at least. Skin tones are consistently too grey for me though.

    • a bit grey..

      thanks for the eyes Porstfan
      I will work on that so the skin color would be more pleasing

      thanks a lot
      William

  19. Nice work and review Will… Keep shooting and sharing :)

  20. I really enjoyed reading and seeing your experience with the 50 cron and the GF2. I’ve been using a 50 cron with my NEX 5n and had similar experiences. I find I have to pay more attention to my composition, settings and focus, but the colors and contrast are great.

    I really like your first few photos. In particular I like the symmetry and color tones in your breads photo. Have you considered cropping it to a more square format by removing the cutoff breads on the right hand side? This might be an interesting result.

    Best and keep shooting!

    • hello Hans..

      great to meet a fellow using the same lens :)
      after reading this journal, tommorow, a friend will borrow me his Nex 5N to use with the Cron R50.. I wonder how it gonna turns out….

      I ll do try the format.. to see how it turns out..
      thanks for the input Hans..

      William

      • William,

        The 5N has a great sensor so I’d be interested in what you think when you use your Summicron on the Nex5N. I have the same lens as you and, like Hans, I’ve played with on my 5N.

        • I have the m chron lens, different lens, but same basic comment and Leica look. William, let us know what you think. The 5n by default requires many trips into menus, but i you customize the dial on the back and assign custom functions it’s much easier to use. Terry, what other combinations have you experimented with? I have M adapter and Nikon F, and I’ve seen Pentax m42 on the 5n. Unfortunately, my camera is in for repair due to a pit on the sensor or glass covering – no idea how it got there.

          • Hello, Hans.

            Because of the availability of really inexpensive Nex adaptors from China, I’ve been able to “play” with quite a few legacy 35mm lenses that I’ve acquired over the years.

            I haven’t got an in-depth selection of any one marque, but I found the following gave remarkably good results that really surprised me: my L39 90mm Elmar and a Russian Jupiter f4 135mm Sonnar copy, an Olympus f1.8/50 and their f1.2/55, and of course the 50 ‘Cron. But even more surprising, a really cheap ebay item, about £6.50. This one is a Sirius f2.8/28mm with a 1:4 macro capability.

            I got this mainly to get a FoV of a 50mm lens on the Nex. For this intended purpose it performed terribly, but it came as a complete surprise in giving quite exceptional results in macro.

            Wides don’t fair as well, My f3.5/35 Summaron is the exception, but two really sharp lenses on film, much sharper than my Summaron, are my two Russian Orions, f6/28mm, in both L39 and Contax rangefinder mount, My Contax version is the sharpest 28mm I’ve ever owned.

            I was also surprised at the results from two zoom lenses. An old, but mint, Tamron f4/70-210. This is a rare model now. It incorporates its own auto focusing system. turning any manual camera into autofocus. The Nex looks rather silly stuck on the end of this heavy beast, but fortunately the adaptor incorporates a tripod socket.

            I don’t really know why these old lenses work so well on the Nex, but you will notice the best results are with lenses from 50mm upwards. Wides don’t do anywhere near as well. Still to test are some Minolta lenses, and a bevvy of Praktica/Zeiss Jena optics.

            • Ooops. Omitted to add that despite the Orions being really sharp on film, they didn’t come up to expectation on the Nex.

              • Hi Terry,
                Thanks so much for all the info. So far I’ve used the 50 cron, voigt 15 f/4, 35 f/2.5, and f/1.8, and elmar 90 in screw-m or m, and Nikon F 24mm 2.8, 55mm micro f/3.5 and 28mm 3.5. All except for the voigt 35 f/1.8 seemed pretty sharp even wide open. The nikkors are built like tanks, and I’m especially excited that I got the 24mm for only 30 dollars. I just picked up the sony 50mm f/1.8 and the bokeh on that is beautiful and the lens is pretty sharp (subjectively). I also like the IS on it. Definitely worth the 300 dollars if you want a good AF 50. I think next I’d like the try the Nikkor 135 f/2 and maybe some Pentax m42 takumar lenses. My friend has the radioactive(!) 50mm and the focus and handling is probably the best of any lens I’ve ever tried.

              • wow Hans..

                thats a lot of lenses you have

                Hans, which lens you used most time ?
                lets say, you want to go for vacation with family for 1 weeks.. how many lens you would take ?

                In my place, the Takumar are regarded very highly..

                so far, I am just in my sweet spot with this lens.
                Hopefully I could keep growing in many aspect and try other focal length

                William

          • for 5N.. I simply used the spot metering with half press to lock the exposure..
            The focus peaking ussually set to mid and yellow.. with manual focus assist and touch screen on
            The shortcut is simple.. only ISO, metering, file quality and the filter..

            I dont dig too much into the menu ussually

            • William,
              On a vacation trip – assuming most of the photos would be of the quick point and click type with some artistic thrown in I would probably bring an AF lens. I’d want to be sure not to miss a shot. I haven’t used, but I would probably try the 17-200 superzoom on a family vacation for sheer versatility and image stabilization. On my trips to Cuba and Israel (back in the big bulky DSLR days) I had only my Canon 40D and Tamron 18-50mm f/2.8. If sony offered a decent constant aperture zoom lens like this with IS, I’d get it. For lens options, Olympus and Panasonic have you well covered in this regard.

  21. Great pics and obviously great lens in good hands

  22. Well I think that they are a wonderful set of images – and you can see the passion the photographer has for his craft.

    And yes, you can see the Leica signature, absolutely.

    Don’t be overly concerned with a touch of softness – in fact, I bet if you printed them out, you would hardly be able to tell they were “soft”.

    Nice work.

    Cheers
    Adam

  23. You have a good eye man, glad that you enjoy your passion and give others a little inspiration as well.

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