About making pictures   - Summarit 50 f1.5  by  Waeshael


Summarit 50 mm f 1.5 1957 ($500-700)

My lens has a little fogging and the UV coating has been partially rubbed away through cleaning. This reduces the contrast of the lens, noticeably at f 1.5 through f 2.8 which has to be compensated for with the camera settings, by boosting Contrast to +3. All older Summarits have lower contrast at f 1.5 due to reflections in the glass elements. This turns out to be an advantage for portraits because it hides blotches and wrinkles by filling in the shadows. The lens is also softer (lower res) at f 1.5 which smoothes out skin tones. The detail in the hair is retained. I do all portraits with this lens which produces pictures immediately that clients like ( i.e. on the display.)

At  settings of f 4 - 5.6 it has good contrast and high definition for landscapes etc. Beyond that I see a small gray circle in the images which I have to touch up in PP. I suppose the camera is seeing the effects of poor cleaning of the lens, but it maybe something else. I don’t use the Summarit closed down, so it doesn’t bother me.

It has a 16 leaf iris, which must be a record for any lens, and the OOF highlights have a perfectly circular shape, otherwise a smooth transition for nice bokeh (see ball below.)

The camera/lens can be adjusted to match the luminance range of the scene. By opening up the lens the contrast of a bright scene is controlled. You can watch the histogram display as you change the aperture and the contrast control, until the shadows fall within the range and the highlights are not burnt out. Pictures often need PP to boost contrast.

This is a good lens for indoor pictures under low lighting. Focussing is precise with the NEX-5 camera - DOF is very small at f 1.5. I hardly ever mis-focus.

I think I will not have this lens cleaned, as I like the pictures it makes as is.

More examples at  (no WWW)


Leica Summarit 50 mm f 1.5

Abigail F 1.5 1/100 at ISO 400. The point of focus is the eyelash on the right eye. AT 1/100 sec and 75 mm equivalent FL, there is some operator induced camera shake. But it gives a good idea of how portraits will look. I could have adjusted the colors which are warm due to the late evening light coming through the window, but I printed it with these tones.  This was the first shot of the evening, and I had just met her. She liked the prints, so did her mother and grandfather.