Painting Zürich with vintage spring colors with 50 mm Summarit 1.5 on an M9-P
Hi Steve! As a long time visitor from your site I enjoy the practical information and the reviews from other users on your website. In the past I used to visit other sites , but looking back to these sites with all these graphs and technical information this was probably an overkill. At the end of a review you would be dounted with numbers but having little visible information on how serious the issue might be or not for practical use!
Currently I am the lucky owner of an M9-P, I was introduced to it by a working colleague, it is one nice piece of machinery and feeling shooting with it. I had to get used to it, using an EOS more or less only for sports shooting! I am slowly getting the hang of it. What lenses are concerned I own a 35 Summicron, the latest version and two vintage 50 mm lenses. A 50 mm Titanium edition summilux (which looks quite good on a total black M9-P!!) and a 50 mm Summarit 1.5 – which this practical review is about. The pictures in this review are not post processed in anyway – some are a little cropped – but all are directly converted from RAW to JPG using iPhoto – i resized them using LR. With the M9-P I shot DNG and Black and White JPG. The black and whites pictures therefore are straight out of camera. Unless otherwise noted the pictures were taken wide open (between 1.5 and 2.8) unless otherwise noted.
During the past months I have read a reasonable amount of reviews on vintage lenses and the results always amazed me. If you look around on the web on these lenses you read about people who love them and hate them and you read a lot of warnings as well. Until recently al these warning actually held me back acquiring one until just recently I saw this 50 mm Summarit 1.5 on display here in Zürich and after a short “inspection” I couldn’t resist buying it. The glass was clean, there was a little bit of oil on the blades – but I thought what the heck lets get this lens and try it!
Since there might be enough people out there that might have drawbacks as well on getting such a lens I thought of providing you my experiences until now and real world samples so that people with an M/Nex/M4T/Fuji might have some leverage in getting it. The lens can be easily found on eBay within the range of $600 to $1500 – depending on the quality.
The first tests I did was making sure if the focus was alright and it was snap on from the closest distance until 10 mm and infinity. Actually I thought I could focus quicker with this 50 mm summarit as with my 35 mm Summicron – but that might just be a personal preference.
The colors you get from this lens are just as putting a vintage filter on your eyes – they are flatter – even though I think red and blue’s are sometimes a little more pronounced and of course there is this famous Leica Glow on it!
The flat colors can be easily tuned in LR, on the other hand preparing your pictures to look vintage is a completely other story and such a lens does the trick in every shot! Actually if you look at the black and whites straight from the camera – these are lovely!
The Bokeh of this lens is similar to the results you have obtained with your rigid summicron test – a nice swirly bookeh – just as with the rigid summicron. I think this might not be everybody’s cup of tea but it adds character to the pictures and as you can see from the pictures it is not always as pronounced.
I can support the results of older lenses that wide open these lenses are a little soft – but oh man – look at the results I got on this fountain wide open with this lens – simply amazing! If you close it down from up 2.8 upward this lens gets almost as sharp as current lenses!
Lets move on to the pictures – enjoy!