Leica lenses

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by sabeking, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. sabeking

    sabeking Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 22, 2012
    North Carolina
    Im looking for some opinions, thoughts, or maybe subjective facts (oxymoron huh?) on Leica lenses. I have been reading on other forums about what makes a Leica picture look so good/different and most of the time, I get Answers that dont describe what a person sees. To me, there is something specials about the color saturation (especially yellows and oranges) of most images I see when using leicas. So, I have 2 questions:

    1) Do you think that the images that are so special (my opinion) are done with both Leica cameras and lenses (other words can you get the look with m43)?

    2) What specifically do you see as special about photos taken with Leica equipment?

    By the way, I don't think that what I see is from post processing only because, heck, they all (well most) look good and I doubt everyone is doing the same post processing.
  2. McBob

    McBob Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 22, 2012
    Leica images are often so special because they're often done by very skilled, very professional photographers that can afford to use Leica lenses and cameras. At least three of my Leica R's were used by their previous owner to take photos for Nat Geo... but that doesn't necessarily help them photograph my kids' birthdays any better. I bought a set of four R's (28/2.8, 35/1.4, 50/2, 90/2) because they had been heavily used, looked it on the outside, and were thus available at a very good price, comparable to a garden variety set of Nikkors. Optically, they still rock. Given my current working day rate, I could not normally afford or make use of Leica lenses at their usual retail price.
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  3. CarlB

    CarlB Mu-43 Veteran

    If you're referring to the M8 and M9 digital pictures, they share a sensor type and manufacturer: The Kodak KAF series CCD sensor.

    There is something a bit different about the colors and film-like qualities of these sensors. It's my belief that Leica chose these sensors (and still uses them) because they match the Leica film pictures look so well.

    Much of those same qualities are shared by the Olympus 4/3 cameras that used this same series of sensor: the E-1, E300, and E500. (I might be leaving one or two Olys out here - but unfortunately neither the E-3 nor E-5 used these sensors.)

    These aren't great at low light due to noise, but they do have great dynamic range given enough light. Pick up an E-1, you'll love using it during the day. The pictures from it are pretty darned special too. The E500 has more megapixels (closer to that of the M8), but it's a bit more of a challenge to get "the look," at least for me.

    The lens will have some part of the puzzle as well. But from the photos I've seen, it seems to be a bit less about the lens (as long as it's a great lens), and a bit more about the sensor.

    Here are a few photos from the E-1:

    <img src=https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7156/6814206315_b56a05bae3_b.jpg>

    <img src=https://farm7.staticflickr.com/6223/7022383727_5e9b09f22f_b.jpg>

    <img src=https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7014/6832942619_c5846eaf69_b.jpg>

    and one from an E500:
    <img src=https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8290/7659990054_708a1c431c_b.jpg>
  4. sabeking

    sabeking Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 22, 2012
    North Carolina
    Pictures 2 and 3 have a special look. Kind of that glow some refer too... What lens are you using?

  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I am lucky enough to have a partner who has a fine collection of Leica M lenses, and I have had the oppportunity to use these on micro 4/3.

    Leica lenses do have varying characteristics, depending on the lens, of extreme sharpness, a distinct 3 dimensionality, smooth bokeh and other characteristics. Not all these characteristics always carry over to using them on micro 4/3, partly due to the increased DOF with the smaller sensor, and the fact that the wider lenses ( as with most legacy lenses) dont really deliver the light to the sensor in an optimal way.

    I have a set on Flickr which show some examples... in most cases I couldn't have at the time replicated these shots with native lenses... though now with the 45/1.8 and potentially with the 75/1.8 then something closer might be achievable.

    The Leica lenses are very good.... my fav is the 75/1.4 summilux.... but the 5000 dollars it cost would buy you a lot of other glass.

    Leica on Micro 4/3 - a set on Flickr

  6. CarlB

    CarlB Mu-43 Veteran

    Those are some great photos, Kevin! Definitely a bit of the Leica "ethos" in them. :)

    Stacey, if I remember correctly those shots are from the Zuiko 50mm F2, probably the sharpest in the 4/3 - m4/3 offerings; and also the Panasonic-Leica 14-150, an exceptionally sharp zoom lens.
  7. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium

    Thank you

    I will add that the Pana 25/1.4 both on 4/3 and micro 4/3 does offer a look of Leica... well to my eyes anyway... The 4/3 version is a bit big and heavy... but is gorgeous

    some 4/3 shots here... shot on Oly 510

    Panaleica 25/1.4 - a set on Flickr

    also the micro 4/3 is no slouch either... though I am still getting into it

    not a spectacular shot, but it has some of 'the look'

    P1040699 by kevinparis, on Flickr