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A new lens



There are a few pages in this blog about my photography. The most recent told the story of my move back towards film-based photography. In February (2008) I bought a second-hand Leica M6TTL camera together with one lens, a new 50mm f2.5 Summarit. Just before Christmas I took a further step by buying a second lens, a 35mm f2.5 Summarit. I like these Summarit lenses a lot: they’re very small, very solid and not too heavy (all that brass and other metal metal in their construction means that they are inevitably quite heavy), and reviews of their performance praise them greatly. I’d been wondering if I’d done the right thing in buying a 50mm lens for my first/only lens for this system: during the year I had felt that it was too long.



Cube Houses: close-in

from a distance

Cube houses: from a distance

When we were in Rotterdam on the Oriana cruise we visited the Cube Houses, and in the confined space there the 50mm was just too long. The picture on the left was the best close up I was able to take with the 50mm lens. The picture above on the right was better, because I was further away of course.




Obviously I needed something wider and as my Leica has .85 viewfinder magnification, and therefore doesn’t have frame lines for 28mm, the obvious choice was a 35mm lens. But which one? For a long time I was looking for a s/hand f2 Summicron v4, the pre-ASPH one, but my local dealers never had one (and I feel uncomfortable buying something as expensive as a Leica lens unseen via mail order of the net). I was also attracted to one of the Voigtlander lenses: they’re small and much cheaper – the f1.4 is around £400, and the f2.5 can be had for around £250 or less. But they weren’t Leica lenses. As this year went on so I began to hear more good reports about the 35mm Summarit, and so I decided to get one of them. Then I learned that Leica UK were running a ‘15% cashback’ promotion on their lenses; and next I learned from my favourite photographic retailer that there would be very large price rises in the new year from all the photo manufacturers, mainly as a result of the fall in the value of the pound against – well, against pretty much everything. So I bought the 35mm Summarit.

My impressions from the first film I’ve put through it are very favourable. The focal length feels right, I have a lot more options when taking pictures in confined spaces. I took a number on a dull Saturday afternoon in Sheffield just before Christmas, and I’ve put three of them up here. They were all taken around the Peace Gardens in the centre of the city. The globes are stainless-steel globes, of varying sizes, with water gently pouring down them; the water sculpture is inside the Winter Gardens, and is a water-powered mobile art work; and the third picture is from within the Winter Gardens, looking through the roof at the (unfinished) St Paul’s Tower apartment development (which may or may not get finished).

Water sculpture

Water sculpture

Inside the Winter Gardens

Inside the Winter Gardens

One Response to “A new lens”

  1. I’m learning how to use my new 50mm 1.8 lens on my Nikon. While I love, love love it, there are times it’s frustrating when I can’t position myself where I need to be to “zoom” in or out enough.

    Great pictures – enjoy!

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