Indeed. I think the typeface on the new Summarits is a DIN variant (a realist sans-serif typeface) that has been used in German engineering since the thirties. It's timeless and quintessentially German (very Bauhaus), whereas I feel that the square typeface used on the other Leica lenses, while not overtly fashionable, is still not as timeless as the DIN typeface. Of course this doesn't matter much, but if you're coming up with a new lens range you might as well change these things.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
I'm praising the introduction of a new lens line, not their optical quality. Having said that, can you think of a Leica lens released in the last decade that hasn't been optically superb? There is some reason to expect the new lenses to be optically excellent.
Originally Posted by copake_ham
Why is this obvious? It's not to me. Below are UK price comparisons, with Robert White prices for the existing lenses and official Leica prices for new Summarits. The lenses of each focal length are listed from fastest to slowest:
Originally Posted by copake_ham
Summilux ASPH - £1958
Summicron ASPH - £1358
Summarit - £890
Noctilux - £3413
Summilux ASPH - £1645
Summicron - £920
Summarit - £690
Elmar - £572
Summilux - not available from Robert White, but around £2000
Apo-Summicron ASPH - £1519
Summarit - £890
Apo-Summicron ASPH - £1645
Summarit - £890
Elmarit - £1073
Macro-Elmar - £921
To me these prices do not suggest a lack of quality in the new lenses. Several of the expensive Summicron and Summilux lenses use aspherical elements and/or complicated floating element mechanisms, which obviously drive up the price. And in general, as the maximum aperture decreases the ease of design and production rapidly increases. This is why a 50 mm f/1.8 from Nikon or Canon costs a small fraction of the same company's 50 mm f/1.4.
Digital sensors are a bit more reflective than film, but film does reflect light too. If a lens flares with digital then it will also cause flare on film to a lesser degree, and vice-versa. In other words, a good lens is a good lens and "designed for digital" is more of a marketing slogan than an engineering approach. A true "designed for digital" lens design would allow rampant geometric distortion (correctable in software) to gain an edge in sharpness, but no such lens has been marketed. Another digital approach would be to design near-telecentric lenses, which would incidentally work fine with film, but Leica's offset microlenses make that unnecessary and perhaps even undesirable, and such a lens would be much larger and more expensive than these Summarits.
Originally Posted by elekm
You guys (and girl) lost me a bit here. I'm still thinking about dishing out for a Zeiss Planar 50/2 sometime in the near future. Should I wait and see what the reviews will yield in regards with the new Leica 50? I realize the Leica is a fart slower but will it be better? I've checked Shutterbug...nothing yet.
Originally Posted by Rob Skeoch
I think it's pretty clear that the focal lengths and slow apertures indicate they are primarily designed for digital.
Won't be for a while, either. I've not got 'em yet; it'll take some time to try 'em out; and then there's 12 weeks lead time. Unlike the 75/2, I didn't get these before they were announced, let alone available.
Originally Posted by Donald Boyd
Last edited by Roger Hicks; 08-25-2007 at 01:50 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Not really. Those are the equivalents of 46mm, 67mm, 100mm and 120mm on an M8. Where is the 24mm (32mm equivalent)?
Originally Posted by aldevo
The slow apertures indicate to me a wish to sell Leica-quality lenses at lower prices. As there are already lenses at f/1 (50mm only), f/1.4 (35-50-75) and f/2 (35-50-75-90) there would be no sense in duplicating what already exists.
Most people use significantly faster films today as their everyday films than they did even 30 years ago, especially if they shoot colour: in 1967, Kodak's High Speed Ektachrome (160 ASA) was the fastest colour film available (Ansco 200 and 500 came later) and Kodachrome-X was the standard fast colour film. Many neg films were still 40 ASA.
What is more, anyone who wants fast film in their Leica today can get a lot more of it, and a lot faster. Royal-X Pan was never available in 35mm; HPS was never much of a success; and today's Delta 3200 is over twice as fast as 1967 Tri-X and a lot more suitable for pushing. In colour, even ISO 200 (probably the standard slow negative film today) is 2-1/3 stops faster than 40 ASA, allowing the same shutter speed at f/3.2 as you'd have had at f/1.4 in the early 70s. The same increase applies among the fast films: 800 is 2-1/3 stops faster than 160.
In other words, the heyday of the ultra-fast lens is over. There may be one or two more in the pipeline faster than f/1.4, but I doubt we'll see many. The Summarits are common-curve lenses, a lot cheaper to grind than aspherics, but the lower aperture allows easier correction.
Why f/2.5? Because Kobayashi-san has already established this for 35-50-75, and many might be swayed by the 1/3 stop. There are also 50/2.8 and 90/2.8 lenses in the current line-up (I think -- I've not checked lately) and the idea is to have a new series of lenses, all consistent. I'm surprised they didn't go for f/2.4, 1/6 stop faster than f/2.5 but on the half-stop rest, not 1/3 stop.
Before these lenses were announced, I was thinking of doing an article on how we may be clinging to the past with fast lenses when slower ones are smaller, lighter, cheaper and often better.
Of course the availability of ISO equivalent 2,500 on the M8 means that for colour, there is even less need for speed, but to describe these lenses as 'designed primarily for digital', let alone 'troubling', seems to me all but meaningless. After all, what would 'designed for digital' mean, that could have adverse implications for silver halide? Higher resolution? Closer to telecentric? There might conceivably be more vignetting, but I'd be astonished if that were the case with these focal lengths and apertures.
Last edited by Roger Hicks; 08-25-2007 at 01:57 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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Zeiss does not use asph elements in their ZM lenses to my knowledge and the performance is exceptional. maybe Leica has had a penny drop, realising that there are ways to produce great lenses at a much lower price using regular elements and non Leica Elf staff for certain components? I also suspect that they will be very good performers as the Leica brand demands that. Many people dont need fast apertures so why pay a grand more for a stop or 2/3 stop you dont use? Unless you are shooting people, fast apertures tend to be somewhat less useful due to loss of DOF. If I was wanting lenses to shoot street etc I would not dream of forking out for super fast lenses and in fact did not, hence the ZM lenses and one fast 50mm. All others are f2 or slower and it suits me. Leica is sensibly tapping into this.
As Roger says, these FLs are bog standard 35mm FLs.
I also fail to see why these lenses suggest a bias towards digital, and in fact would have thought the opposite given the lack of a wide angle focal length with the 1.33x "crop factor". Not that it matters in any case. A 35 mm lens is useful on film whether it was designed for digital or film.
Roger, Canon still seem to take very fast prime lenses seriously. This seems to me to be mostly for wedding photographers aiming at a "dreamy" shallow depth of field. Unfortunately Canon's EOS stuff is full of gizmos that don't appeal to me at all.
Well, Leica take ultra-fasts seriously too: 35/1.4, 50/1, 75/1.4, 90/2. All I was querying was how many new ultra-fast lenses we are likely to see (I know of at least one in the planning stage but I'm not sure if it will enter production).
Originally Posted by Dorian Gray
With EOS, we are of one mind.
Then of course there is the question of what sort of lens Oscar might have suggested for taking your portrait...
New Elmarit-M lenses reviewed - part 3 by Erwin Puts