Angelique Photoshoot and Leitz Summitar Review
I had a photo shoot recently with the lovely Angelique in and around downtown Knoxville and I decided to only use one lens on my Leica M3 for the entire session; a 1946 Leitz Summitar. This 50mm F/2.0 optic has a rather unique set of properties that I thought would enhance the images from this particular shoot.
Production of the Summitar started in 1939 and, apart from adding lens coating to the front element in 1946, it remained largely unchanged until it was replaced by the Summicron in 1955. Unsurprisingly, it exhibits a definite old-school look in the images it produces, and it requires some care in use to get good results. It is prone to flaring (a lens hood is absolutely required), is soft in the corners, and has all kinds of crazy aberrations, especially when shooting wide open.
With all these issues, you’re probably wondering why I would want to use it. Well, that’s easy; it also has some really attractive properties. Mainly, it’s prone to flaring, is soft in the corners, and has all kinds of crazy aberrations! Like many other photographers, I’ve come to appreciate the quirky rendering of this lens. It’s a refreshing antidote to the perfection of modern digital cameras and super sharp lenses.
Here are some images from the shoot, mostly shot wide open at F/2.0.
Although it has a reputation as a slightly soft lens, it can still produce some respectably sharp images. Notice the wild out of focus background areas though!
The remaining shots where taken on Legacy Pro 400, pushed to 1600 ASA, so they are a lot more contrasty.
This next shot, in particular, shows one of the most noticeable traits of the Summitar; the swirly bokeh!
Overall, I was very pleased with the results from this little gem of a lens. Although prices have been on the rise lately, it is still available relatively cheaply, particularly when compared to other Leica 50mm lenses. If you’re looking for something a little different, and can live with it’s quirks, I would definitely recommend giving the Summitar a try.
More images of Angelique can be found here.
My full portfolio can be viewed from the menu at the top of any page.