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Some M240 + 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE night photos - straight out of camera JPEGs
Old 05-02-2014   #1
papasnap
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Some M240 + 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE night photos - straight out of camera JPEGs

Hello all!

I just wanted to share some pics from my saturday night last weekend, taken on my M240 and my new 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE. As someone who loves 35s, I've wanted this lens for some time, but couldn't really justify it. So naturally, I've wound up buying it anyway.

I was so impressed by the out of camera JPEGs I decided to go with them - something I have never done before, normally I always use the RAWs and give them a quick run through Lightroom, and often a light touch in Alien Skin Exposure. It seems that when the M240 detects the FLE it really shines in it's image processing - there something quite slide film like in their look, even on all default settings. I still need to figure out how I can get the RAW/DNG to look as good via Lightroom without having to spend a fair bit of time tweaking.

Hope these flickr-resized ones look OK - the originals look amazing on my big IPS monitor

All shots (except the last one) wide open, usually at 1/60 or 1/125, varying the iso usually before the shutter speed.

ISO1250


ISO1000


ISO3200


ISO2000


ISO1600


If you'd like to see more, please visit my flickr - http://flickr.com/photos/papasnap

In short, I'm very very happy with the combo! I was already using the leica 28mm summicron asph, voigtlander 35mm f1.2 nokton II and MS-Optical 50mm f1.1 but the FLE is by far my favourite (you'd hope so, at the price!). I used to own the 35mm summicron asph too, in my M6TTL days, I loved that lens but the FLE is hands down better - not much bigger but the extra stop makes all the difference at night. Compared to the Zeiss 35mm f2 Biogon ZM, the FLE is the same size but heavier, sharper at f1.4 than the biogon is at f2, and again a full stop faster for good measure. The 28mm summicron asph is really outstanding too, but the 0.68x finder on the M240 means I can't nearly see the full 28mm frame lines - even the 35mm lines are woefully hard while I'm wearing glasses, which was a real letdown after my 0.58x finder M7 and M6TTL - or the huge 0.72x Zeiss Ikon finder, which is positively luxurious in comparison.

I recently gave the Sony A99 + Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG HSM (Art series) a go, there was a lot to like in that combo too (especially as the only image stabilised full frame camera - I think all digital cameras should have stablisation like my OM-Ds) but the size was too much - I found my subjects, usually just friends and family, would flinch when I pointed that huge lens and hood at them. Depends on your style, depends on your subjects, depends on where and when you take the photos. Compared to Sigma + A99, the FLE + M240 is wonderfully compact and portable - so I think I'll let the A99 and Sigma go. I'm not seeing any other full frame digital cameras with such a compact 35mm f1.4 going - if Sony/Zeiss were to bring out a FE 35mm f1.4 I'd show a lot of interest in that, but at the moment their only native 35mm is a f2.8, and it's even chunkier than the FLE, so it's not competitive for now for me. A new RX2 could be a strong competitor if it adds an EVF, especially if those rumors about a 35mm f1.8 lens on a curved sensor come true.

Cheers! Hope you enjoyed them
papasnap
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Old 05-02-2014   #2
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Fantastic! The colors are excellent.

I just got the M240 myself and im raring to go out to shoot with it.

I agree with the finder though. When i had my 35mm Canon on the M240 for a moment i thought i had a faulty LTM to M adapter because i thought the 28mm framelines were activated.
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Old 05-02-2014   #3
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Thanks very much! I'm addicted to the colours too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merelyok View Post
I agree with the finder though. When i had my 35mm Canon on the M240 for a moment i thought i had a faulty LTM to M adapter because i thought the 28mm framelines were activated.
Yeah I think Leica really should do something about this - naturally it's going to make life easier for them offering just a single finder magnification, but at US$7k for an M240 it's not exactly like they're passing the savings onto the customer!

Frankly, in the post-Sony A7 days, given how many other mirrorless cameras can take M-Mount lenses, the only clear differentiator and reason to keep buying an M is the optical rangefinder VF. I think if Leica is going to bring out another rangefinder M (and I hope they do) they need to go back to the drawing board and introduce a larger, more versatile OVF like the Zeiss Ikons, and/or a hybrid OVF/EVF like the Fuji X100S. Even just showing a histogram overlay could be good - after mostly leaving slide film and getting used to EVFs in my OM-Ds I do really wish I could see in real time how my exposure is going to turn out in tricky lighting. Compared to my M7, the M240's rear LCD live view is a huge asset for checking exposure and precise composition, but it's still very clunky compared to having a built in EVF. I use the Olympus VF-2 external EVF on my M240 for focusing the MS-Optical 50mm f1.1, which is a really lovable lens but has crazy focus shift, but the implementation is still a bit clunky and having the external EVF is a hassle. Still, that lens is really something for portraits and is remarkably compact - here's an example

MS-Optical 50mm f1.1 Sonnetar, f1.4, ISO1600
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Old 05-02-2014   #4
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Very cinematic.. the flare is perfect
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Originally Posted by papasnap View Post
Thanks very much! I'm addicted to the colours too.

Yeah I think Leica really should do something about this - naturally it's going to make life easier for them offering just a single finder magnification, but at US$7k for an M240 it's not exactly like they're passing the savings onto the customer!

Frankly, in the post-Sony A7 days, given how many other mirrorless cameras can take M-Mount lenses, the only clear differentiator and reason to keep buying an M is the optical rangefinder VF. I think if Leica is going to bring out another rangefinder M (and I hope they do) they need to go back to the drawing board and introduce a larger, more versatile OVF like the Zeiss Ikons, and/or a hybrid OVF/EVF like the Fuji X100S. Even just showing a histogram overlay could be good - after mostly leaving slide film and getting used to EVFs in my OM-Ds I do really wish I could see in real time how my exposure is going to turn out in tricky lighting. Compared to my M7, the M240's rear LCD live view is a huge asset for checking exposure and precise composition, but it's still very clunky compared to having a built in EVF. I use the Olympus VF-2 external EVF on my M240 for focusing the MS-Optical 50mm f1.1, which is a really lovable lens but has crazy focus shift, but the implementation is still a bit clunky and having the external EVF is a hassle. Still, that lens is really something for portraits and is remarkably compact - here's an example

MS-Optical 50mm f1.1 Sonnetar, f1.4, ISO1600
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Old 05-02-2014   #5
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These look absolutely fantastic. Makes me start to think about a M240 again, just when I'm getting back into my M9. Argh!
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Old 05-02-2014   #6
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Thanks for sharing !
A tip : if you wear glasses, get a diopter lens and be done, you will ask yourself how you ever could have taken pictures wearing glasses and trying to eye through the VF.
And if you like the colors, perfect - otherwise try some manual WB ( I use an expodisc with my M9).
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Old 05-02-2014   #7
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Lovely images! I saw that you also have a Nokton 1.2. How much better would you rate your experience with the Summilux?
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Old 05-02-2014   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicoM View Post
Lovely images! I saw that you also have a Nokton 1.2. How much better would you rate your experience with the Summilux?
I'd like to know your thoughts on that as well.

The colors are nice, the compositions lovely, but you've apparently got, at your fingertips, THE most amazing model in the world. I LOVE your Flickr photostream.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-02-2014   #9
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Cool shots. There is only one thing about carrying a lens like that I don't like is when I really hit the streets.....and sometimes end up in some "shady" areas, I start to worry about the lens more than about my life, hahahaha and that's a bit weird.
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Old 05-10-2014   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hepcat View Post
I'd like to know your thoughts on that as well.

The colors are nice, the compositions lovely, but you've apparently got, at your fingertips, THE most amazing model in the world. I LOVE your Flickr photostream.

Thanks for sharing.
thanks - and agreed! that's my very lovely (and patient!) fiancee, she's dynamite

re: the 35mm f1.2 nokton II vs the summilux FLE - that's an interesting one. For years, the 35mm nokton f1.2 v1 was my primary lens on my ZI/M6TTL/M7, and I loved that lens more than I'd thought possible. Especially when shooting slide film, which can only really be pushed as far as ISO1600 (in the case of Provia 400X/400F), every last bit of light gathering helps. I knocked the hell out of that lens, taking it around south east asia and europe (and many, many late nights in australia), and it's been in for repairs at least half a dozen times. I'd never get rid of my noktons, particularly my well-worn V1.

In short, I'd say the big nokton is for all practical purposes every bit as good, and at one-fifth of the price with an extra 1/2 stop of aperture, an absolute bargain. The FLE is the better lens, but it's not worth the extra money unless you really have cash to spare or want to spoil yourself with "the best" (you could say much the same of the M240 itself, compared to a OM-D or A7 or X-T1 etc). It's a bit foolish, but the fact that it is such an expensive lens can make you take it more seriously, respect it more, and want to go out shooting with it more - not a sensible reason to buy a lens, but also not without some truth in it.

here's another straight out of camera JPEG on M240/FLE from last night, ISO4000:


Optically, I'd say the FLE is visibly a bit crisper (higher contrast, higher sharpness), but not by a huge measure - maybe an extra 10% or so. I can see the difference on my big calibrated monitor, looking at the original full res files, but you could close most of that gap with a few tweaks in lightroom (a bump to clarity/sharpness/contrast sliders). If you're just sharing downsized and compressed JPEGs on the web, the difference is probably not all that visible. On the other hand, the extra f1.2 aperture on the nokton can give quite a unique look, and allow you to use a 1/2 stop lower ISO and the associated IQ benefits that come with that.

In terms of size and handling, I prefer the more compact FLE. It's less "nose heavy" than the big nokton, so a camera slung over a shoulder or neck will sit flush against your body better, with less swaying around. As someone who's had spine troubles I prefer the lighter weight too. I wouldn't call the nokton intimidating-looking (certainly not compared to big SLR lenses), but I think the FLE's smaller diameter is positively harmless looking - a relief after trying the huge Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art Series for A-Mount. I used to prefer the nokton's traditional focusing ring, but I'm seeing the benefit to the leica focusing tab too - it's nice to be able to set approximate focus just by touch without looking at the camera. For example, I have an unconscious habit of returning the lens back to the middle focus position, the useful ~1.3 meter position, just by touch when the camera is slung over my shoulder. It then makes it easier to know am I turning the focus left or right as I bring the camera up to my eye - I sometimes get caught out on the nokton, especially the v2 when the camera is to my eye and I accidentally wander under the 0.7m mark where the RF decouples, and I can waste time racking back and forth to figure out where I am in the focus range. It's nice too that this focus scale is consistent between my 28mm summicron and the FLE, so the same habits work on both.

I'd stress it's worth making sure your lenses (leica or nokton) are working spot on - film is quite forgiving, but full frame digital needs the lens (and RF calibration) to really be bang on for best results. Having shot with the noktons (v1 and then v2) since 2007, they can get out of alignment from drops or hard knocks, which can drastically affect the performance wide open given the shallow DOF. Both my v1 and v2 are off for recollimation at the moment, as I realised the local repair place I'd been using hadn't been getting them back to spec after repairs - they were both "smeary" wide open (I don't think this was the lenses fault, just the repairer). Something I like about the contrast-AF detect on my OM-Ds is they are inherently less prone to this - it just takes the sharpest result, rather than relying on the lens to be perfectly calibrated.

Gee - that was a bit of a ramble. I think I'd better go get a drink!

Here's a few more from the FLE/M240. With these I did process the RAW in lightroom, but it only needed small adjustments to make me happy with it. Oh, on the last one I cheated and used an adjustment brush in lightroom to increase the exposure on just the face, which I'd underexposed a bit.





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Old 05-10-2014   #11
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and a couple more straight out of camera JPEGs from last night, ISO800



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Old 05-10-2014   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papasnap View Post
and a couple more straight out of camera JPEGs from last night, ISO800
Do you us the RF for these or are you rocking the EVF?
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Old 05-10-2014   #13
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Lovely photos! I have this lens and it is a keeper.
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Old 05-10-2014   #14
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Wow. Those pix represent what the camera can do with color-balance? Impressive. I agree with something you wrote in your OP - there is something very slide-like in the rendering. Kind of reminds me of the days when National Geographic photogs used a lot of Kodachrome.

My favorite is the first picture you posted -- so many different light sources/colors. You are really working that FLE. Great stuff.
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Old 05-10-2014   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicoM View Post
Do you us the RF for these or are you rocking the EVF?
Ah! A mix. Unlike my OM-Ds, I'm finding it works best when I work fully manual - manual ISO, manual shutter speed, and of course manual aperture (typically wide open). When using the FLE at night, here's my usual workflow: when I think I'm about to take a photo, I'll switch on the camera, roughly guess (by eye) the shutter speed and ISO I'll need, dial that in, then hit the LV button to bring up live view on the rear LCD and fine tune it if needed, and maybe move around and see what different broad compositions I like. Then for focusing, last-second composition and waiting for the moment to shoot, I'll use the RF (I still love RF focusing for very low light work, and I like being able to see outside the framelines a bit). It's a bit of a clunky process in some ways - usually around 5-10 seconds (there's a bit of lag in switching LV on and off). If you set up ahead of time and the light isn't too variable, it's the fastest possible way to get the photo once you need it. If you're not set up ahead of time and something happens (sudden change in light, etc), you can get caught out.

Here's another from last night, ISO6400. After dinner, we grabbed a pocket-sized bottle of wild turkey and wandered the streets. straight out of camera JPEG, default settings, no processing.


Cheers!
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Old 05-10-2014   #16
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Lets get real here! You can all credit the camera or the lens if you want but it is the model that turns these from pretty good snaps to terrific shots. With her I think you could use just about any digisnap you wanted and get excellent pictures.
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Old 05-10-2014   #17
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Agree w/prior comment. +1
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Old 05-11-2014   #18
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Quote:
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With her I think you could use just about any digisnap you wanted and get excellent pictures.
Agreed! it's even more of a pleasure to use a fine camera for the job
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Old 05-11-2014   #19
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Agreed! it's even more of a pleasure to use a fine camera for the job
Agreed. You are a lucky man. An awesome camera and a great model to use it with. Enjoy!
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Old 05-12-2014   #20
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Congrats on the lens! And great shots. Looks like you had a fun night out.

I could tell it was Melbourne straight away from the tram and train shots (Melbourne here too).

Yes the Zeiss Ikon has a bigger and nicer viewfinder but apparently the RF contrast isn't as high...only an issue at night I think. It's a shame Zeiss discontinued the Ikon but I heard they were losing money on each one sold. Can't have been a big earner for them anyway.

Happy shooting!
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Old 05-12-2014   #21
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Yes the Zeiss Ikon has a bigger and nicer viewfinder but apparently the RF contrast isn't as high...only an issue at night I think.
Ohhh nooo not at all! The Zeiss Ikon finder comes into its own at night. It can practically see in the dark. Definitely a shade better than my Leica MP, at least to my eyes. The focus patch can "disappear" if your eye moves off center (which is not hard to do thanks to the huge eyepiece for an RF camera) but you soon get used to keeping your eye centered. I don't even think about and center my eye subconsciously now.
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Old 05-14-2014   #22
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Sorry, but I have to say I don't agree. Maybe earlier model Leicas weren't as good but I have the latest model Ikon and M7 in front of me right now and I can tell you that in my hastily arranged romantic mood lighting consisting of a single candle the M7 focus patch is much clearer than the Ikon's. I feel confident getting the focus 3 times faster on the M7 than the Ikon. I can get a rough focus easily enough on the Ikon but precise focussing is difficult in low light. In contrast (no pun intended) I can get a precise focus easily on the M7 in next to no light!

So it's not that the Ikon is bad, it's just that the M7 is so good! It's now a defunct debate of course but I'd say the M7 is/was definitely worth the cost over the Ikon even at 2-3 times the price. The shutter is so quiet without even a hint of vibration in the camera body. I could go on but this isn't an M7 love-in thread.

Of course I love the Ikon too!

PS. I think I just saw this model on Chapel Street!

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Old 05-14-2014   #23
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Sorry, but I have to say I don't agree.
Not a problem

I base my observation on my Zeiss Ikon and my two Leica MPs which have the same finder as current M7s (I had an M7 with upgraded MP finder but sold it to a friendly fellow in Oslo). Maybe our eyes just work differently
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Old 05-16-2014   #24
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That Ikon pictured is brand new and just bought so unless Zeiss degraded the quality of components in a (desperate) attempt to make it profitable I really don't know how to explain our vastly differing opinions!
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Old 05-17-2014   #25
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That Ikon pictured is brand new and just bought
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Old 05-17-2014   #26
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those are pretty good for being straight out of camera
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Old 05-30-2014   #27
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amazing combo!
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