Lens Flare | Leica M-E, Leica Summilux-M 35mm pre-ASPH
One of the major challenges I face shooting with my classic Leica Summilux-M 35mm pre-ASPH is lens flare. My lens was made in 1983 per the serial number inscribed on front. Today’s Summilux-M 35mm incorporates the latest technology in lens design and craftsmanship. From the Leica website the current version now incorporates a floating element: the lenses behind the aperture blades are constructed as a floating group that changes its position relative to the front lens group during focusing to ensure that the Leica Summilux-M 1:1.4/35 mm ASPH. achieves outstanding imaging performance at closer focusing distances. Plus the current version has been optimised for use on the digital Leica M models. It reveals the full extent of its outstanding performance particularly when mounted on the Leica M9.
Then again today’s version comes at a price: $5,150 here in the USA. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot a few frames with the latest 35mm lens and it really is amazing. However, due to my budget constraints I can not justify the upgrade yet. There is also a big difference in how my classic lens renders compared to the latest version. They both paint very differently on my digital Leica. I feel the latest version is “clinical”, maybe too perfect. For portraiture I think I’d have to decrease the “Clarity” setting in Lightroom to decrease the sharpness in the person’s facial features.
In the case of the pre-ASPH version, the rendering is “smoother”. The blemishes a bit disguised so to speak. But then when I have the lens set wide open I have to be very careful in which direction the light is arriving to ensure I don’t get the above. I don’t know but maybe some might like this effect at times or maybe not. The other challenge with shooting this lens wide open is when there are light sources in the scene and how it handles those. You get a real glow effect where the light source is undefined or appears as a “ghost”. Again, its a rendering that has a classic look.
Once I stop down to just f2.0 its like I have attached a different lens to my camera. Below is the next frame I shot by just moving the camera a bit to avoid the direct sunlight coming through the aircraft window:
A View out the Window | Leica M-E, Leica Summilux-M 35mm pre-ASPH