Aug 282014


My Favorite Camera Shops & Dealers. Ever.

There are so many camera shops, store, internet sites and dealers out there ready to take our cash and send us a new fresh box of happiness. If you are like me, receiving a new package from the Fed Ex or UPS man brings  not only a smile, but a rush of energy, happiness and joy. A shiny new or even a new to you (used) camera can really bring you motivation as well. For example, I remember back many years ago I was shooting an Olympus E-1, yep, the original Olympus digital SLR. They now sell for about $60 on e-bay but at the time, I loved the E-1 and paid $1400 for the body only!! It had gorgeous color and solid build and its measly 5MP, at the time was plenty for me.

My local shop at the time (which has now closed down) told me “This is Canon 1d quality”! Well, it was not quite 1Ds quality but it was fantastic. After a while though I remember seeing full frame cameras and some cool film cameras. After a while of shooting the E-1 I moved to a Leica M7 and was wowed by the slim and solid camera. It just felt right. That camera motivated the hell out of me and I went on to shoot hundreds of rolls of film, even taking classes at a local college to finally learn how to do my own B&W film.

That was years ago but today I still remember that motivation, rush, excitement and joy from using that new camera. Even though it was film, for me it was so enjoyable to use. It taught me many things, just using that camera. I eventually went on to full digital of course with an M8, M8.2, M9, M9-P, M 240 and now MM and M-P 240. I also own a Sony A7s and adore it. Olympus still rocks for me as well, as I enjoy the E-M1 as well.

I love my cameras and over the last 20 years I have learned WHERE To buy from to get the most hassle free and enjoyable experience, as well as the best deals sometimes. I always get e-mails asking me “where should I buy XXX camera”? Well, here you go.

Over the years I have recommended the same dealers here. Those that I have worked with and bought from on many occasions. I have shopped from a few other sources but sometimes have had a negative experience so this is why I only recommend those who I trust and those who have really went above and beyond. I only allow advertisers and sponsors whom I trust and support back and know would never rip anyone off.

Look what the USPS man drug from Ken Hansen. The Leica Monochrom in silver chrome and the new M-P in black. 


Below is a list of whom I buy from, who I have had great experiences with and all of those that I trust and put my name behind when it comes to camera dealers and shops!

1. Ken Hansen – This guy is everything LEICA. He has been a Leica dealer forever and used to own a store in NY. He now works from his home as he is semi-retired but his Leica business is still going strong with many Leica shooters praising his name every day. Ken has become a legend..legendary. I have never in my life experienced anything like Ken from ANY shop, dealer or store, ever. He goes above and beyond and the funny thing is he does not even have a web site, a Facebook or twitter ;) He runs it all from his home via phone or e-mail. He has been with me since day one and you may have seen his ad in the sidebar before. It will be there for the life of the site because if it not for Ken (and a couple of other friends) this site may not have made it!

Ken has new Leica and often times has used items and unique items as well. Just call him at 212-879-3263 or send him an e-mail at [email protected] and let him know what you want, need or are looking for. Most likely, he will have it. Plus, mention my name and you may get a bit of a deal..maybe. I stand 100% behind Ken Hansen.

2. B&H PhotoThese guys are the king of Retail and Online sales. They do MASSIVE volume. I mean MASSIVE. I have been to the store and it is a sight to see. Hundreds of customers at any given time, long lines to check out (but they go fast) and conveyer belts that travel through the store to deliver your goods when you exit. Amazing. They have the best online experience I have encountered. First, if an item is in stock and ready to ship, it says so clearly. If it is not, it clearly states this. No guessing games. They ship same day as well if you order before a certain cut off time. So technically you could order a lens on a Monday morning and have it arrive Tuesday. They also are top notch on their returns, undo nay to Amazon. It is an online automated process, never needing to email someone or call someone for an RA number. B&H Is the king of camera retailers. You can see their site here and they sell all kinds of goodies, not just photo related. They are sort of a giant electronics megastore. I give them a 100%!

3. Amazon- Who does not shop from Amazon? Myself and everyone I know shop at Amazon and they are doing amazing things..amazing. Amazon is the future of internet shopping, food shopping and everything in between. I believe in 10 years Amazon will have the most amazing services. You can get anything and everything from Amazon. I have certain household items get delivered every month using their subscribe and save feature and I also buy tons of music (LP’s) and camera accessories such as Gariz cases, caps, batteries, lights, etc. They have anything and everything. Click here for a link to Amazon and see for yourself. Never an issue with them, ever! The return policy and process is painless and simple. You even get a label to print for easy return. My score = 100%!

4. - PopFlash has been around for a long long time and Tony Rose is the man who owns and runs it. He is well-known among Leica shooters but he also sells Fuji, Olympus, Zeiss and many other brands at his online shop. I have purchased Leica lenses, cameras and Artisan and Artist bags and cases from PopFlash and Tony always comes through. They have some superb prices as well and when you see the “used/mint” pricing on some Leica items you may be super tempted to go for it. Check out the site at! 100%


5. The Pro Shop - These guys are great and know their stuff. They have years of experience and sell Leica, Nikon, and even the Hasselblad Stellar and Lunar line. They have so much to choose from so here is where I would go for not only the best camera brands but for some of the best advice and experience. 100% for these guys as well! You can call them for info at 561-253-2606 or see their website HERE.


6. CAMERAQUEST - Run by Stephen Gandy this long tim Voigtlander dealer has just about anything you could ever want from the brand. There are a few Voigtlander lenses that stick out to me and some I like better than Leica glass! The 35 1.2 II, the 15 4.5, the 50 1.5 Nokton, all superb and all a fraction of the cost of a Leica lens. If you want a great buy and fast shipping on Voigtlander lenses then you must check out CAMERAQUEST! 100%! Check out the shopping site HERE!


7. Leica Store Miami – These guys are in actuality Dale Photo in Florida, but this site is much improved and all about LEICA. This shop has it all from cameras, lenses, cases, accessories and even used Leica cameras and lenses. I bought my fancy Leica case from them and my shipment arrived in one day. You must check them out! I give them an easy 100%. Never an issue. Never a problem. You can see their site HERE. 

As you can see, all six shops/dealers get a full 100% from me because I would not recommend anyone who I did not shop with, buy from or feel 100% about. If I was 90% I would not recommend them! If you buy from ANY of the above dealers you will not be disappointed. With Amazon, if you have an issue the return policy is so good you can just return it. No questions asked. Just be sure to buy from Amazon and not a third-party (or prime). Same with B&H and some of the others. For me it should be about customer satisfaction and all of these do it very well.

So there you go, my fave dealers and vendors. When you want to buy a camera or lens or accessory or ANYTHING, check them out! They are what help to keep this site running!

Apr 022014

Using Sony NEX-7 and NEX-5n for Travel, Street and Casual Shooting

By Ernest Karl Roco Del Rosario

Hi Steve!

I’m Roco del Rosario from the Philippines. I’ve been wanting to send you a user report since last year but somehow I can’t find anything to say.

It was year 2011 when i first stumbled into your website. I was searching for a camera that is small and good for travel.

That was the time when I saw your review of the Sony NEX-5n, which eventually led me to choosing it as my first camera. Actually it was my girlfriend who first bought it then I purchased after her. Ever since, I visited your site everyday and have been a loyal follower. I learned to shoot by researching online and practicing with my little nex. Because of my enthusiasm and love for casual shooting, I soon bought a cheap Canon fd 50mm f1.4 lens, Sony 16mm f2.8 pancake plus wide-angle converter then the excellent Sony 50mm f1.8. These lenses are all really cheap and advisable to people who wants to start learning photography without draining the wallet.

During the day, I use NEX7 because the viewfinder is really helpful especially when the sun is up and shining brightly. The NEX-5n, on the other hand, is really great and enough for low light situations.

1 Puka Beach Boracay - Nex 7 + Sony 16mm

2 Nex 7 + sony 50mm

3 Nex 7 + Sony 16mm

4 White Beach, Camiguin Nex 5n + kit lens

5 nex 5n + kit lens

6 nex-5n + sony 16mm

7 nex-5n + Sony 50mm

8 Moonset over Calaguas Island Nex-5n + Canon fd 50mm f1.4

10 Nex-5n + Canon fd 50mm f1.4

11 Nex-5n + Sony 16mm

12 Tarsier- Nex-5n + Canon fd 50mm f1.4

Processed with VSCOcam




Nov 212013

Used Leica Deals..The M9 goes lower and lower..


With all of these new cameras hitting us before the holidays we cannot forget that there are used deals to be had and for those who wants a Leica but do not want to shell out $7k for an M 240 or $8k for a Monochrome, there are some used deals to be had. Of course, in the Leica world it is hard to use the word “Deal” but you can save some cash over what these sold for new, and that is always good.

Just saw that the old M9 is getting lower in price. It has now sunk under $4k selling through right here. Yep, they have an M9 in “steel grey” for $3997. So check it out if you are interested in that CCD charm. 12,000 actuations and comes with box and all.

Below you will find links to that camera as well as other used deals that some of you may find interesting..enjoy!


Used Leica M9 at – $3997

Leica Monochrom, less than 100 Actuations  – may be much less than that in reality – $7397

Leica Noctilux – $9897 – Pretty much new. 

Leica 28 Summicron for under $2700


B&H Photo

LEICA 50 SUMMILUX 1.4 – PRE-ASPH (Great character) – $2699 – Pull out hood, close focus

LEICA X2 – Chrome – $1699

LEICA 35 Summicron – $1499

Leica 50 Summicron 70 Year Anniversary – $1499


…and as always, Ken Hansen always has loads of used stuff and if you are ever looking for something give him an email at [email protected]  The Pro Shop also has used items from time to time and they can be reached at 561-253-2606.

With the new Sony A7 series being shipped now to many photographers there is a renewed interest in Leica glass. I loved the 50 Lux on the A7r as well as some Zeiss ZM lenses. Always fun to shoot old school :)

Jul 152013

Used Deals!

I was browsing the B&H Photo and PopFlash site today and noticed a slew of used gear, some old, some new-ish and some interesting pieces. Below are descriptions and direct links, maybe you will see something you like. :) There are new used items going up in the Buy and Sell forum daily as well.


B&H Photo

A 9 condition Sony RX1 for $2249 at B&H Photo

An in box 9 condition Olympus OM-D E-M5 for $729 at B&H Photo

An 8+ Chrome Leica M8 for $2099! A digital classic, probably the most film like of all digital M’s.

An in box 9 condition favorite of mine, the 50 Summicron f/2. $1799

A 9+ 28 Elmarit ASPH in box – $1799 – Great match up with the 50 Cron!

A 9 CONDITION Non Coded 50 Summicron. No box. $1599

A 9 condition 90 Summarit. Best bang for the buck 90 in the Leica stable. $1449

A LEICA CL film camera with 40mm Summicron in 9 condition for $999!

A 9 condition classic 90 Summicron, pre-asph. $799

A 9 condition 35 Summicron PRE-ASPH – $2199



Wow, this is cool to see. The classic Panasonic L1 4/3 Camera (Digilux 3)

Olympus E-1 with battery holder, $199!

Leitz 50 Summicron – No coding – $999

Leica S2-P – $13,997

Leica 35 1.4 Summilux ASPH FLE

Leica 50 Summilux ASPH

May 182013


More Classic Lenses: Leica 50 1.5 Summarit & the Canon 50 1.2 LTM

1st up, the classic but unique Leica 50 1.5 Summarit


The Leica 50 Summarit has had a weird reputation as an oddball “crazy bokeh” super soft lens and for years I held off on buying one for that very reason. Every time I have seen samples they were crazy soft and without any sharpness to be seen along with almost NO contrast. But at the same time, it had a unique look..almost like the lens was painting the pixels on to the memory card from the sensor. When I thought about it more I knew that this lens may be just about perfect for shooting B&W due to the lower contrast and “glow” it usually has in images I see.


After deciding to try one I recently had the opportunity to acquire an old stiff focusing 50 Summarit 1.5 lens. This copy was made in 1951 and 3000 of them were made that year. This lens started production in 1939 and was made through 1957 so there are many copies out there from super old to just really old. There were a total of just under 75,000 Leica Summarit 1.5 lenses made and I always see them for sale on buy/sell forums or sites such as

This lens on the M 240 at higher ISO


When my 1951 arrived I was pleased with the small size, hefty build and chrome classic look. I attached it to my Leica Monochrom and took some test snaps. When I pulled them up on my display I was shocked! Expecting to see super fuzzy soft low contrast images wide open I was instead seeing images that were pretty damn sharp, had medium contrast and a Bokeh I could describe as “unique” with some swirl and pleasing attributes. Hmmm. I think I am going to like this little guy.

Here is a shot at f/2 from my Summarit and Monochrom. Looks good to me. 


The lens I have looks a bit dirty inside when looking through the glass. I see a bit of dust, dirt and crud but not really any haze. The problem many have with this lens is HAZE. If you shine a flashlight through your old lens and it looks cloudy or “hazy”, you may have some  haze going on. For this summarit all I see is dirt that has somehow been trapped inside for many years, but it still gives a decent image. No fungus, no oil, no scratches on the glass, no other issues. Dirt and dust will not really affect your images.

When shot wide open it appears that the lens can be sharp in the center with a super quick falloff into softness. The hydrant shot above…the hydrant is sharp but it is in the center of the frame and also at f/2 where my copy sharpens up considerably.

When shot at 1.5 you will see the Summarit character come out.





I have to say that I love what I am seeing coming out of this old classic but I wish my lens focused smoother. It is very stiff so I may just send it off for a CLA but I am afraid I will be trying to fix what is not broken, lol. It focuses SPOT ON perfect, even wide open. I have no focus shift and am loving the output, even the wild Bokeh it can give. I will be shooting more with this lens including some color when I get another new M 240 :) When I do I will add to this page with samples.

A full size from camera shot wide open with the little Summarit. Look at how sharp this lens CAN be. Focus is on the center leaves hanging from the tree.



Next up, the Canon 50 1.2 LTM Lens. A Superfast and nice sized 50mm on the cheap, and guess what? It’s awesome!


If you want something REALLY unique and different with Bokeh that no other lens will give you then take a look at this Canon 50 1.2 LTM. Expect to pay around $600 and up or so for a good copy (compare that to $7-10k for a Noctilux) and if you want the original 50 1.2 hood, another $200 on top of that. This lens is larger and fatter than most of these classic lenses but it has a massive front element. It looks bad ass on a Leica M and amazing on my Monochrom with a mix of chrome and black. While having that short and stout appearance it is not too large and sized very nicely and still much smaller than even a classic Leica Noctilux f/1.

Stopped down to f/4 it looks great. Sharp, contrasty, and just about as good as most 50’s around.



But this lens is no Noctilux when shot at f/1.2, not even close really.

When I shot this lens I was let down at first as what was coming from the camera was VERY washed out with the lowest contrast I have seen coming from ANY lens..ever. I was about to sell it until I saw the Bokeh and realized that with some Processing the contrast is not an issue. I also realized that I have never seen a lens with this type of output. Just like the Leica Noctilux has its own unique look that some love and some hate, so does this Canon 50 1.2 LTM.



In fact, it is one of those lenses that can define you as an artist, just do not expect razor-sharp results or even normal results. After messing with the files a bit and adding some contrast to wide open shots I started to realize that this lens was staying in my collection of classic glass.

The Bokeh can be gorgeous (if you like crazy and unique)


Using this lens for a while  makes me want to find an M mount Canon 50 .95 “Dream Lens” which uses the same formula but is much larger, heavier and of course faster at 0.95. Those are usually much more expensive but could be worth it if you get a good copy and like the look these old Canon’s put out.

So for me, this lens is a keeper for me and one day I will try the 0.95 (if anyone has one they want to sell already modded to M mount or see me write about/borrow let me know). It offers such a unique way of seeing the world and while far from perfect, and very far from the norm, it has a beauty to it in the rendering as well as the build and feel. Focus is smooth, is almost spot on with my Leica MM and is easy to adapt to an M camera with a $20 adapter.

Since committing to the Leica MM I have become a classic lens Junkie, especially for 50mm lenses. Most are so cheap you can buy a few and decide what type of look you want for any certain day or project. You can also just buy one you love and shoot that one and only lens. For me, this one may be my new classic 50 fave next to the Summarit above. Both are lovely.







May 022013


The Canon 50 1.8 LTM & W-Nikkor 35 1.8 LTM Lens on the Monochrom – Character galore!

Ahhh, old classic lenses. Sometimes you just gotta love them, sometimes you just gotta hate them, and other times you just want to use them for their unique classic character to inject something cool and different into your photos. True, some of these lenses are gorgeous and some are not so gorgeous but the fact remains. You can get a classic unique rendering and many times on the cheap, especially when compared to big money Leica modern glass.

Since shooting the Leica Monochrom I have discovered, thanks to Ashwin Rao, that sometimes old classics will perform better on this camera than the newest ASPH versions. When I say “perform better” I do not mean “technically” because in that area, the newest lenses from Leica are tough to beat, by anyone. When you want perfection, sharpness and amazing micro contrast it is tough to beat modern Leica glass. Lenses like the 50 Lux ASPH and 35 Lux ASPH FLE are just plain perfection but I remember Ashwin telling me months ago that the modern Leica glass can (at times)  look harsh on the Monochrom and that old glass is where it was at for this camera.

My 1st thoughts were..Hmmm, what about the Leica 50 APO masterpiece? I know that lens rocks on the MM but the more I thought about it the more I was intrigued simply because old classic lenses are MUCH cheaper (usually) than the modern counterparts. A few months ago I was using the beautiful Leica 35 Summilux ASPH FLE on the MM exclusively and did think that some of my results were harsh, mostly the ones in high contrast situations, which makes sense. High contrast lenses like those Leica ASPH lenses can be a bit too much contrast in bright conditions.

When the MM arrived in my hands once again a few weeks ago I was off to KEH, looking for some good cheap glass that I could use on the MM. The hard part is finding it though as many shooters out there buy these lenses up as soon as they appear on the site, but if you check every day you may just find something. I managed to find a Canon 50 1.8 LTM lens for $250. Yep, a teeny tiny fast 50 for $250. Much smaller than my Summilux but I just knew there was no way in hell this lens would even come close to the Lux. I imagined soft wide open, hazy and nasty Bokeh. The lens is a LTM” (Leica Thread mount) so it is not compatible with a Leica M camera as is but a $10-$20 adapter will solve this easily. In the video above I show the adapter and take it on and off. You can see how tiny it is.

The adapter I bought for my Canon 50 is the Voigtlander HERE. More pricey but I like Voigtlander :) You can also buy them cheaply on Amazon HERE. Many prefer the Voigtlander to avoid any focus issues. did the 50 18 work out for me? I will let you know in a bit but also wanted to talk about another little gem of a lens..a rare gem indeed. A Nikkor 3.5cm 1.8 LTM lens, which is rare and damn expensive for being so old.


The W-Nikkor 3.5cm 1.8 LTM

I was not aware of this little lens until an e-mail came in from Ashwin where he mentioned that once again, KEH had it. Curiosity got the best of me and there it was..a classic Nikkor 3.5cm 1.8 LTM lens but man, it was $1599! It was recently reduced (I was told) from $1799 so this is considered a “deal”. Why so high for an old and aging 35 1.8 lens? Well, this one was rated as “EX” and I guess it is a legendary lens with only 1600 copies ever made worldwide. Before purchasing I made sure I knew the return policy because spending $1700 on a classic old lens is not something I take lightly. If the lens arrived in “BGN” condition or had issues with focus I wanted to make sure it could be refunded. Luckily, KEH has an excellent return policy so my worries were gone. KEH also has a great rep so I was not worried anyway, but still, $1599 for an old lens is nothing to scoff at.

I took it out and tested it out with an ND filter to tame the AZ sun. I wanted to see what this lens would do wide open in regards to Bokeh and character. If usable at 1.8, I would most likely keep it. Below are some samples, click them for larger. The Bokeh is interesting to say the least. VERY classic. When shot in B&W it gives off a nostalgic feel and vibe and on the Monochrom it can indeed take you back. Check out the images below and look at the tones in the image. The contrast with this lens is about perfect.

As always, click on the images for larger 1800 pixel wide versions

One side of the immigration reform fence…




I did some research and could not find too much but did see some on e-bay listed at over $2000 so I guess the pricing was on par, if not better at KEH.

So what did I have to lose? Nothing. What did I have to gain? Maybe a kick ass vintage lens that could indeed  be quite special. I took the risk. Besides, my taxes are paid. My new iMac is installed and all paid for, and I just made the last payment for my Son’s Japan trip. I had a little left over to play with so why not? I placed the order and waited. When it arrived I was shocked at how tiny it, it is SMALL. Much like the old Summilux PRE-ASPH lens from Leica, a lens I have always wanted to own but never could muster up the courage to spend $2300 for a decent copy of. I love the old lenses that have some glow and flare..I call it “character”. The old pre-asph Lux has it in spades but does the Nikkor? Not so much “glow” but it does have a unique rendering that is plenty sharp for what I shoot.

Fast Fact: The Nikon W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 35mm uses a 7 element 5 group design. The lens also uses rare earth Lanthanum glass to improve performance, which is supposed to help with sharpness and flatness. Pretty cool huh?

…and the other…






In use the lens is very small and compact, much like the classic Leica Summilux Pre-Asph. It is chrome, solid and beautiful to look at. The image quality is indeed different from ANY modern Leica but that is what I like about it. It has some serious character and works very well on the Monochrom. One thing to note is that the aperture dial is in reverse from your normal Leica lenses so you will be twisting the aperture dial in the opposite direction to change the aperture. Doesn’t bother me at all though, especially when I mainly shoot wide open. That is where most of the character lies with this lens, between f/1.8 and f/2.8.

Damn, this lens got me…






So is the lens staying with me? Most likely as I feel it renders in a beautiful and unique way, especially for B&W. It is gorgeous to look at, gorgeous to use and it gives me something totally different from something like a 35 Lux, 35 Cron or Zeiss 35. It gives me a classic look to the images that I quite enjoy. May not be everyone’s cup of tea but for me, it is a winner. Ashwin Rao is also getting to play with one of these this week. I will be looking forward to his shots with this lens. If there is anything I can say about this lens that I am not a fan of..and could be a “make or break” thing for many is that it has a minimum focus distance of 1m like most older RF lenses. The newer 35’s from Leica, Voigtlander and Zeiss focus to .7 meters and allows you to get close. Something to keep in mind.

*If you find one for sale be aware they are sort of rare and do not show up often. Also be aware there are TWO versions. An “S” version for a Nikon Rangefinder and the LTM version. You can not use the S version with your Leica, so if you buy one for your M use be sure it is a LTM version.


The Canon 50 1.8 LTM on the Monochrom

The Canon 50 1.8 LTM is a double whammy lens because is gorgeous AND cheap!  Teeny tiny, solid, metal build, and pretty fast at 1.8. No, it is not a 1.4 but Canon also makes a 1.4 LTM that is supposed to be superb-o. But I am not disappointed in the slightest with the 1.8, in fact, I am beyond thrilled. For $250 plus adapter cost I have a lens that renders beautifully on the MM. I also tried it on the M 240 and found it to be nice there as well, but the color was a little different from what came from the Lux. The contrast is softer but the lens is still sharp. Below are a few test snaps I shot, you can click them for larger views. I do know the last two were at 1.8 and the 1st one may have been at f/2 or 2.8. At $250 this lens is a no brainer if you want to test out some vintage glass.




I find the Bokeh pleasant, the lens is plenty sharp enough wide open and it gives us a little of that classic MOJO many of us like from time to time. Even shooting at night at ISO 1600 you can get a very nice look and honestly, not far off from some much more expensive glass.  The 1st image below is an OOC JPEG from the MM at 1.8 using the Canon 50 1.8 LTM, the 2nd one is wide open at 1.8 from my “glasses” series using the same glasses on all who I meet or can talk into wearing them for a snapshot :)



So as you may have guessed, I highly recommend this lens on the Monochrom. It has character (but not too much) and it has most of the things we look for in a Leica lens. Small size, quality build and feel, sharpness, contrast and pleasant bokeh. In fact, I find the bokeh to be gorgeous. Maybe I got a good copy but I hope they are all like this one. At $25o I find it the Deal of the Century in the world of classic Leica glass.

On the Leica M 240:

The lens on the M 240 will give you a low contrast look with decent sharpness and a more “vintage” type of color, which is usually more washed out. But I find the results pleasing and a break from the “Hyper Contrast and Color” norm:


But do not take my word for it, hear what Ashwin Rao has to say as he has been shooting this lens much longer than me…


Words on the Canon 50 1.8 LTM by Ashwin Rao

Hi everyone, I wanted to provide a second perspective of the diminutive but fantastic Canon 50 mm f/1.8 LTM lens. I have become a huge fan of Canon rangefinder lenses in my journeys with the Leica M Monochrom, and the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 LTM is no exception. This particular lens was designed by one of Canon’s legendary lens designers, Hiroshi Ito, who is credited with many designs that rivaled or even surpassed the performance of Leitz glass of the same era. The Canon 50 mm f/1.8 LTM remained in the lens line up for many years, undergoing cosmetic changes while the optical formula remained the same. For those of you who care about such details, The Canon 50 mm f/1.8 LTM is a double-gaussian design, which is also today called a “Planar” design. While the glass used and exact placement of lens elements varies a bit from lens to lens, planar lenses retain a certain look and richness that’s a product of their formulation.

In considering my options for the M Monochrom, I wanted to build a stable of vintage lenses through which to see the world in black and white. Whenever I used more modern lenses, I found their character to be too clinical or too contrasty on the monochromatic sensor. While others have been able to make this combination of modern glass and monochrome sensor work, I have had a harder time, and so I turned to older lenses. What I have discovered has been a revelation to me. These older lenses often resolve quite well, in fact impressively well, while imparting a wonderful character that’s more classic and filled with character than their modern brethren. Sometimes, the character is harsh, and at other times, it’s surprisingly pleasant. Such is the case with the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 LTM, one of the most pleasant rendering lenses on the MM. I have really enjoyed how the lens renders skin tones (almost looks like silver halide prints, where skin tones really shimmer). Out of focus elements (i.e. “bokeh” ) can be fantastic or jarring, depending on the context, but more often than not, everything is quite pleasing in a vintage sort of way. One of the biggest surprises that I experienced with this lens on the MM is how well it resolves. This is a lens that keeps up with the sensor, even when used wide open. It’s really incredible, and one of the mysteries that I have discovered with the Monochrom’s sensor. Some lenses that appear to perform poorly on the M9 really impress on the MM’s sensor, and I would put this lens in that category.

I find it to perform adequately on my M9, but it’s not a lens that I’d typically reach for on that camera. On the MM, it’s almost always one of the first lenses that I consider. The fact that it’s tiny, well-built, and images on part with such legends as the Leica and Leitz Summicron lenses makes it a worthy companion for the MM. I picked mine up from KEH for less that $250, and my copy is a later design with a black and chrome coloring (rather than all chrome). So for those of you who are looking for a bargain now that you may have invested heavily in the M Monochrom, this is most certainly a lens to consider adding. I have enjoyed it more than Canon’s more extensive faster offerings (50 mm f/1.2, 50, mm f/1.4, and 50 mm f/1.5), and it can be had for a very pleasing price. Pleasing images & pleasing price: what more could one ask for?!?





Apr 212013


In case any of you are looking for some used deals in Leica land (well, not sure if they are exactly “deals”) I have found quite a few at B&H Photo and PopFlash Photo that some of you may be interested in. I know I am interested in a couple of these but my wallet is empty due to my purchase of the M and MM :) So enjoy the deals below and be sure to check back tomorrow for some new stuff. I will be posting my X20 review on Tuesday and I basically shot it as a mini Monochrom the whole time. I found the X20 makes for an incredibly discreet 100% silent retro looking camera that can do some great gritty B&W out of the camera. Stay tuned for that one. For now, enjoy these used deals! Remember, B&H has a 30 day return policy on new and used gear so if it arrives and is not as stated, you can get a full refund.

B&H Photo Used Leica


The deal of the day for sure. An original X1 in black for $899. Like new in box and all. I slightly prefer the X1 IQ over the this is a good buy and better than paying $600 for a new Fuji X20 as this will blow it away with IQ at all ISO. The X1 is a great piece of Leica history as it is their 1st German made compact camera that was made available.


I would not classify this as a “deal” but used Nocti prices have shot up for the f/1 version while they have dropped for the 0.95 version. I have seen older F/1 versions go for $5000 lately so not sure if this latest F/1 version is worth $7699. Still, if you want a Nocti F/1…

USED LEICA 21 1.4 SUMMILUX – $6299

This lens is fantastic if you love your wide angle. Using this at 1.4 injects some magic to your shots as you can actually get some shallow DOF going on. Normally $7k, $6299 is not so bad in this 9+ as new condition with box, case, etc. 


The Ultimate Leica film camera. While it performs the same as an M6, there is nothing like an MP :)


The 90 F/2 is a gorgeous lens. if portraits are your thing, this is a thing of beauty.

USED LEICA 135 F/3.4 TELYT LENS – $2799.95

For those who want the longest M lens available, and this one is stellar BTW, here you go.


B&H says it is in 8+ comdition so if you want to get your feet wet in the Leica digital RF world, here you go! The cool thing is the M8 is the one that comes closest to the Leica Monochrom in B&W output. Not high ISO of course but the B&W from the M8 is fantastic.


This is the PRE-ASPH version of the lens..a very classic rendering with some “glow”. I tested this once on an M8 and was very pleased with the rendering but at $1999 it is steep and in a “7” condition.


One of my all time faves. I remember when this sold new for $1250, now it is $2300 new so this one which is as new in box is $400 less.


THE PRE-ASPH “Bokeh King” has been very popular as it gives a less clinical rendering than the new ASPH version. Many prefer this one and at $1799, it is priced decently. They were going for $2700 a couple of years ago.

USED LEICA 28 ELMARIT 2.8 – $1299

This is the older version but still a great lens. I used to own it and loved it.




This one is basically new. Trust me, if you want this lens this is the best deal right here.


This is a steal of a deal at $2297. A GREAT lens and one I used to own and loved. I am tempted to grab this one. Larger than the newer Elmar but also faster at 2.8. With hood, etc.


Again, this one appears unused and is a great buy. I own this lens and the silver version is heavier than the black and feels extra hefty. Very very solid.


Great looking camera. If you shoot film, here you go!

LEICA M8 UPGRADED to M8.2 – $2257

If you want an  M8.2 which has the nicer shutter over the M8 then this is the way to go at $2257.







Jan 252013


Site Sponsors that keep this site going, I thank them all! Plus some Leica used deals…

It is no secret that in the past few months that Leica gear has been in stock at most dealers in the USA. Just about any lens or camera you want (besides the Monochrom and new M) are available right now, brand new. You guys know who the sponsors of this site are and I can highly recommend ANY of them if you want great service, great pricing and no hassles. It is because of these guys below that this site continues to rock on day after day. Without them it would really be tough so I wanted to thank them and let all of you guys know once again that these three dealers below are all TOP NOTCH, best of the best .

Ken Hansen – You can e-mail him at [email protected] and he deals in Leica new and used. I never know what he has used but in the past I have purchased all kinds of goodies from Ken including M6′s, MP’s, Contax T2, etc. If you are looking for a used item Ken might just have it and he is amazing when it comes to customer service and speed of shipping.  Ken is taking pre-orders for the new M and Monochrom so be sure to send him an e-mail if you want in.


POPFLASH – Tony Rose is no stranger to Leica fans and I can not say one bad thing about his business, service or pricing. In fact, you can find some great buys at his website when it comes to Leica gear. He always has interesting gear to browse and also sells some of the killer Artisan and Artist gear such as straps and bags. He sells Zeiss as well so take a look over at POPFLASH.COM to see what he has available today.

popflash has this SWEET Zeiss Super Wide Ikon setup on sale for $1,777 (normally $2497) – See it here!


THE PRO SHOP - The newest and last “shop” sponsor of this site the Pro Shop has all kinds of Leica gear, and a huge inventory of new stock of lenses, cameras and even the new S2-P for $19,999 brand new in box with special warranty – aBOUT $6K less than B&H Photo is selling a used one for. These guys are also great and know their stuff. If it is Leica you want, give them a call at 561-253-2606 or check out their site HERE.

Just so everyone knows, YES these are site sponsors but what you do not know is that I do not take ANYONE as a site sponsor. I have turned down 4 other stores/dealers in the past even when I needed them. Why? Because I will only recommend to YOU the best of the best, and to me, these guys are the best there is when it comes to Leica.


Other shops I HIGHLY recommend for everything and anything else

Other shops I recommend are B&H Photo, Dale Photo and of course, Amazon for just about anything you could ever need. I use Amazon every week and even have home necessities on subscription. Every months I get a case of dog food delivered, cat food, paper towels, dishwashing soap and laundry detergent and more. This cuts down on my grocery trips, saves me money and is super convenient. So while I recommend the guys above for anything Leica, I recommend B&H photo for all other photo needs and Amazon for just about anything you could ever want. Cameras, electronics, music, and everything in between. When you guys follow my links on this site to these shops and make a purchase of ANYTHING I will then get a small commission, a few cents when you buy some diapers for example. Over time it adds up and helps this site to keep expanding and going.

SO FOR THAT I THANK ALL OF YOU! Without the readers, all of you, even those who disagree with me…well, this site would not be able to go on. So thank you all.


As mentioned, Dale Photo is also an exceptional Leica dealer so be sure to check them out as well because they also have some cool used deals at times as well as pre-orders on new gear.

Of course there is one more site sponsor and I use their services quite often..LENSRENTALS.COM. They rent the coolest cameras and lenses and they make it so easy to do so. Hassle free, even including the return packaging and label, all prepaid. If you ahve been thinking of a camera but are not sure, rent it first so you know. They even rent the Leica Monochrom! 

With that, here are a few USED Leica deals on the B&H Photo used site:

Leica Noctilux F1 with slide out hood (latest before the new f/0.95) and this one comes in at a recent record low of $5995 It is softer than the 0.95 but has so much more “Character” – see some samples HERE from quite a while ago.

LEICA 90 Elmarit, latest before discontinuing. This lens is the one everyone seems to search for. B&H has one for $1499, $800 less than I sold my last one for a couple of years ago. With the new M, this lens should be a breeze to focus. $1499

How about this? A used Leica M8.2 Safari Limited Edition set with chrome 28 Elmarit. I so wanted this when it came out but just could not swing it. Looks like it is keeping its value though because at $6999 it is not cheap! Dale has it USED. 


A great find here…A Leica 35mm Summicron f/2 “King Of Bokeh” V4 with 6 bit coding. $1995 at Dale

I hope everyone here has a GREAT weekend, enjoy it!


Sep 232012

Used Leica Lens Deals at B&H Photo

Was just browsing the used section at B&H Photo and found a TON of Leica glass. While the demand for the glass has slowed I feel it will gain more steam by 2013 due to the new M. Many will happily stay with their M9 but some will buy into the M-E due to the lower price and the new M just for the new features.

Here are some of the better lenses available used at B&H right now and let me tell ya, some of these are INVESTMENTS. Lenses in the Leica stable that will always do better a few years down the road are lenses like the 35 Summilux, 50 Summilux, 90 Summicron, f/1 Noctilux, etc. Leica glass is one thing that you never have to worry about when considering resale value unless you overpay of course.

Leica 90 Summicron f/2 APO with case – 8+ – $2699

Leica 35 Summilux 1.4 PRE-ASPH – The tiny wonder with gobs of character – 9 condition – $2699

The Leica 75 Summarit – 10 condition as new – $1599

Leica 21 2.8 elmarit – 9+ with hood – $2499

Leica 50 1.4 Summilux Pre-Asph – 9+ – chrome – $2999 (Damn, these were $1500 used 3 years ago)

Leica 28 Summicron f/2 – 9 condition – with hood – $3499

Jul 082012

LOADS of used Leica Lenses and Cameras NOW available!

Just browsed over at B&H Photos used department and saw all of these USED Leica lenses and cameras. Here is what they have available now and there are MANY lenses here!

Noctilux F1 – latest F/1 design – $7895.00

LEICA 90 SUMMICRON ASPH APO, with case – $2799

Leica 35 Summicron PRE-ASPH – $1999

Leica 50 Summicron f/2  – latest pre APO version – $1499

Leica 28 Elmarit ASPH 2.8 – $1949

Leica 24 Elmar 3.8 – “10” in box as new – $2394

Leica 135 f/3.4 Telyt APO – $2449

Leica 28 Summicron ASPH – $3499

LEICA 21 ELMARIT ASPH f/2.8 – $3699

and now some cameras!

Leica M9-P Silver Chrome with hand grip and in the box, 9 condition – $7199


Leica M8 – $2499 – Black

LEICA M7 – BLACK – $2499

Leica X1 – Black – $1399

NOW THAT IS A LOAD OF USED GEAR! Hopefully some of you can find what you are looking for and get better pricing than new. Leica glass is always a good buy as they never really fall in value. Here are a few more I found at pop flash and Dale Photo!

Popflash also has a 50 Summilux 1.4 pre-asph for $2997

Leica 35 Summicron ASPH – $2797

Dale has a used Zeiss 50 Planar for Leica M – $900

Also a used 75 Summarit which is a GREAT lens!

Also, don’t forget Ken Hansen. He always has new and used Leica in stock. You can e-mail him with whatever you are looking for at [email protected]

Jun 242012

Lazy Sunday used deals! Well, some are deals! Leica, Olympus, Fuji, Nikon and more!

It’s the weekend and today I am going to be busy transferring all of the old reviews from my old iWeb site to this site because Apple is shutting down all mobile me services at the end of the month. So yes, I will be busy all day. Before I get to that though I thought I would mention that there are MANY great buys in the classified section here. Everything from a full Nikon V1 kit with everything included to a Fuji X100 with all accessories to a black OM-D from yours truly (have a silver on the way).

Check out the classified section HERE 

Also, noticed that B&H Photo had some used deals on Leica today…check out what they have below – click each image to be taken to their site for ordering or to check it out further. The 50 cron is the one I would go for because I would never spend the cash on the new 50 cron as we are getting to the point of diminishing returns, and yes, I have seen many samples from it that were unpublished. The new 50 will indeed be gorgeous, sharp and almost like a mix of the 50 Lux and 50 Cron but man, for $2100 you can get a mint as new 50 cron classic. $5k cheaper than the new one. Then again, if you have the cash…the new one is better but I do love the old one and many of my favorite M shots were taken with the classic cron (the samples in that link are not my faves, but shots with the classic on film and an M6).


BEST BUY HERE! A used Leica 50 Summicron in a 10 condition with box, basically NEW



A used 9+ in box condition Leica 35 Summarit, a lens I prefer in many ways to the $3300 Summicron!


A USED LEICA X1. in box, 8+ condition for $1299  – basically a slower X2


The Leica OVF for the X1 or the new X2! Used, 9 condition. 


HOW ABOUT A NOT SO MUCH OF A DEAL? Used Leica Noct F1 for about $8k!


I also found that Amazon has a load of special edition black Fuji X100’s in their warehouse deals, which means these are the customer returns they sell at a discount. You can see all of them by clicking the text below!

Fuji X100 Black Amazon Warehouse Deals!

Jun 142012

19 Used Leica Buys including many Lenses!

Hey! Just realized there are many more Leica used buys over at the used section at B&H Photo, Dale Photo and PopFlash including a 50 Summicron! Check out the list of what is available below!

LEICA M9-P CHROME – In box, 9 condition WITH Hand Grip included! $7199

LEICA M9 – STEEL GREY – 10 condition as new in box – $6599

LEICA 28 SUMMICRON F/2 LENS – 9+ condition in box $3699

LEICA 24 Elmarit  – 9+ – with box and hood – $3449

Leica M8.2 – 8 Condition – $2899

Leica 24 Elmar 3.8 – 10 Condition as new in box – $2394

Leica 50 Summicron f/2 (latest version) – 8+ – $1599

Leica M6 TTL – Black  – 9 CONDITION – $1699

Leica X1 – Black – In Box – 8+ – $1399

Leixa X1 – Steel Grey  – In Box – 8+ – $1299

LEICA 40 SUMMICRON F/2 – 8+ with hood – $774.95

Leica 35 Summicron ASPH – BLACK $2600 – – CHROME – $2700

Leica 90 Elmar f/4 – $200

Leica 75 Summarit – $1400

Leica 90 Summarit – $1300

Another used chrome M9-P for under $7300

Black M9 – $6197

Leica 24 Summilux  – $6497

Apr 162012

TONS of Leica used deals and buys!

It has been a while since I posted used deals and special, mostly because I have been too busy to do so! But tonight I have been browsing B&H Photo, and Dale Photo and found some used Leica deals some of you might enjoy :) Looks like many may be trading in their M9’s in anticipation of May 10th! At the time of this posting, ALL of these were IN STOCK from B&H, PopFlash or Dale Photo.


RARE FIND! LEICA 90 SUMMICRON F/2 ASPH!$3499 – Click HERE to see it as it is IN STOCK now!

Leica M9 – Black  – 9+ – IN BOX – $5899

Leica M9 – Black – 9 – In Box – $5799

Leica M9 – Black – 8+ – In Box – $5649

GREAT BUY! LEICA M7 – Black – 9+ – In box! $2749

Leica M8 Chrome  – 8+ – In Box – $2599

Leica 35 Summarit 2.5 – “10” – In Box as new – $1699

LEICA X1 – Grey – $1499

LEICA M6 TTL – .58 BODY – CHROME – 8+ and in the box! $1699

Leica M6 classic – chrome – $1699

Leica M7 SILVER CHROME – $2377

Leica Silver Chrome M9-P with less than 140 Actuations – $7297

Leica 21 Elmarit 2.8 – Used Deal

Black Leica M9-P with less than 120 Actuations – $7297

Black Paint Leica MP, almost new!

Used Leica Noctilux F1, latest and last version of the F1 – $7300

Summilux 35 ASPH (not FLE) – $4250

Leica 35 Summicron Black – $2900

Mar 082012

Leica lenses in stock now!

Just an FYI…Looks like Dale Photo has a few cool Leica lenses in stock. Many of you have been looking for these so here is what is available at Dale as well as the links to grab them.


NEW: Leica 35 Summicron ASPH – Chrome

NEW: Leica 35 Summarit – Black

USED: Chrome Leica 50 Elmar 2.8

USED: Leica 28 Elmarit 2.8

USED: Chrome 50 Dual Range f/2 Summicron

USED: Leica 50 Summarit 2.5and another one!


Also, I noticed popflash has a special on the Ricoh GXR body with an M mount module for only $914 for the set. Click here to check it out. Also appears they have a used Leica 90 Elmarit as well.

Nov 292011

Just found this smokin’ “deal” on a used but mint Leica 35 Summilux ASPH over at . It is 6-bit coded and in the box. Figured I would post about it because there are so many of you looking for this lens, and the price is actually good for this lens. It is odd to say $3600 is a deal but in the world of Leica, and for this legendary lens, it is!  Go get it! Look alike they also have a used black paint Leica MP AND a black M9-P!


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