Week 3 with Leica M
Week three with the Leica M system has been fun. I think Leica should change its motto to “Putting the fun back into photography” as all my shoots with the Leica M10 have been fun so far. Sure there are some growing pains with hardware failure but now that the camera is working perfectly, it has been fun. I am slowly getting used to rangefinder focusing and composing with the frame lines but the 28mm is still difficult for me to use. The new 50mm fast lenses that I ordered arrived late last week but I didn’t get to play with it much while I was at home, just a few test shots of the pets, but I want to put it through a few workouts this week and see how good this lens really is.
After reading a lot about TTartisan 50mm F0.95 lens online, and hearing people complain about how big it was and (depending on who you believe) how bad of a lens it was, I was anxious to try the lens out and see for myself how it performances. I don’t trust 99% of the Leica review sites out there. Leica fanboys are full of shit. So to my surprise, when the TTartisan 50mm f0.95 lens arrived, was not that big, especially when compared to DSLR lenses. Hell, it is roughly the same size as my Nikon Z 50mm f1.8 lens. It is a heavy, dense feeling lens but it feels extremely well-made. I do want to talk about lens build qualities sometime soon as I have seen a trend in Leica M mount lenses and their construction, especially compared to my Nikon lenses. But right now, I will say that this lens is great. There is nothing I can fault it with regard to its build quality.
On my first night out shooting the TTartisan 50mm F0.95 lens, which was just a test walk down the road, I noticed how difficult it was to get the lens in focus with the rangefinder while the lens was wide open. I shot some of the scenes while I walked down the road and I then used the Visoflex to shoot the same scenes while walking back home. Needless to say that getting a 50mm f0.95 lens in focus with such a shallow depth of field is really difficult. All my shots with the rangefinder were soft. Yet the same shots with the Visoflex were much sharper. Like the Leica 90mm Summicron lens, the TTartisan 50mm f0.95 lens is another lens that needs you to use the Visoflex when shooting wide open.
I have never shot with a 50mm F0.95 lens before, but I thought that using the Nikon 50mm F1.2 AIS lens would have given me some kind of background for shooting with a fast 50mm lens. I could consistently get focus on the Nikon F2 and the DSLRs from Nikon so I was surprised to see how much I struggled with the rangefinder. Having said that, rangefinder focusing is a real skill. I have seen how my skills have slowly improved over the first two weeks, so there is no doubt that I would get better with practice. The one disappointing aspect that I found with the TTartisan 50mm F0.95 lens is the light transmission. I was expecting faster shutter speeds at the ISO I was shooting around. I have no idea what the T stop value of this lens is but I would guess that it is not much faster than a 50mm F1.4 lens.
After shooting with the TTartisan 50mm in the early morning light, I was very happy with the results. So next up for me was shooting the lens in low light.
The sunset was terrible in the evening so I decided to give up waiting for the light and shot some different stuff. But I mostly wanted to test out my faster lenses such as the TTartisan 50mm lens and the Leica 90mm Summicron. So far the TTartisan lens has been fantastic. But I need to do more shooting with the lens before I can really tell if it is a good lens or not.
I was fairly happy with the images that I had captured that day, nothing great or special but the lenses seemed to be working well. The Visoflex made focusing the Leica 90mm Summicron and the TTartisan very easy in dim light, and I was more than happy with the rendering of the images that the lenses gave me. But I still need a lot more practice with the lenses and I need more miles on my trigger finger with the Leica M system, so I headed back to the river the following day.
When the colors are bad during golden hour, I find it best to avoid shooting towards the sun during golden hour and almost shoot at a 90-degree angle to it. The horrible mustard-orange color becomes less prevalent in your shots that way.
Yesterday’s sunset was terrible, so I decided to go back to the same location the following day. The sunset was better this time around but I never got an amazing shot, unfortunately.
Final shot for this week, and once again it was off the TTartisan 50mm F0.95 lens. Right now I am really enjoying this lens. It works as a great combination with the Voigtlander 50mm F3.5 lens. I can use the Voigtlander 50mm during the day and switch to the TTartisan lens in the evening, once the light starts to drop. I am very happy with the purchase of the TTartisan 50mm f.095 lens. I think my Leica kit is basically complete now. The only thing I still need to work out is the 28/35mm lens issue. So next week I am going to try to force myself to use the 35mm lens and see if I can get used to it. If I can’t then maybe I just need to use the Visoflex with the TTartisan 28mm lens. I have to say once again, it is so nice to shoot with a real ovf for a large portion of the day. I did have to default to the Visoflex at times, but I loved using the rangefinder ovf.