Shooting w/ the 50mm Masterpiece, or How do I shoot Indoors?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by 35mmdelux, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. Guys, I was reading Mr Puts site where he says in his opinion that the best one
    lens for camera is the 50mm Asph Summilux. Sweet. But my problem is how would
    you work with 50mms lens indoors, close quarter conditions, if at all?

    Years ago I gave up my 50mms in favor of 35mm Summicrons, because the Cron was
    more useable indoors, where a fair amount of my shooting occurred.

    But here is the deal; recently I bought a 50mm/1.4 Zeiss for my D200. As you
    know with the crop factor the lens turns effectively into a 75mm, a nice short-
    tele. You know what, I really started liking the longer focal length and
    observed that my shots carried more punch (to my eye anyway). Lately, I have
    dropped using my 35mm Summicron and am using a 50mm (Leica or C Sonnar) when I
    take out my MP.

    My question is, for those of you carrying perhaps just the 50mm (on standard M
    body)how do you shoot indoors or in cramped conditions with that focal length?
    Or does one become ineffective at that point?

    Unless I am travelling or on a ?job? I favor a one lens one camera rig. I am
    considering picking up a 50mm Summilux Asph and before I drop large ($) I would
    like to think this through.

    What say ye?

    Thanks - Paul
  2. Paul,
    first, if you like the 50's you have, why spend way too much on another?

    Inside? You compose differently. You leave out part of the room. Look at Bresson's portraits. That's how you shoot indoors with a 50.

    Good luck,
  3. When in close, fill the frame with the subject which a normal lens does. If you need to get
    more in and can not move back, switch to a wider lens.

    Using a wider lens in close to fill the frame with a single person pretty much ruins the pic.

    I use a 50 on my D200 for individual people pics or my 35. Then the 24 if I can not back
    up enough. For more formal portraits with studio lights, my 60 micro works well.

    I use my 18/70 as a single lens to carry for outside, It works well.

    The other single lens I carry is a 28 2.8 AFD for the D200 (becomes a 40).
  4. Michael,

    I'd like to have one high quality fast lens as my primary. The jury is out on the C Sonnar until I have worked with it more, given the focus shift allegations. The C Sonnar is truly compact for a fast lens and I am hoping it works out.

    My other two faves are my 28mm/2.8 Asph and my 90mm/2.8 Elmarit-M. These are killer lenses but a tad on the slow side. Thus it is important to me to have one high quality fast lens in case the C Sonnar is not a keeper.

    Thanks for your feedback. Paul

    (Ron, thanks)
  5. I`m a fan of the one lens for all idea. Althought I like 50mm lenses (I own two), my choice usually is the `cron 35 ASPH which I love. The 35mm is to my needs sometimes too long, sometimes too short, but 촠s the most polivalent for my way of shooting. The 50mm focal lenght is sometimes perfect but most of the times too long for me.

    I like to use 50`s for mountaneering, landscapes, trips, etc. where I expect to be outdoors with a lot of space in front, or if I go for a specific portrait... For all situations where people (not portraits), indoors or unexpected subjects could appear, my one lens choice is the 35mm (90%). Sometimes I like to force myself to use a different lens, just for fun.

    I never bit the temptation of a good 50mm because I prefer something a bit longer: my object of desire is a `cron 75 asph.
  6. "Look at Bresson's portraits. That's how you shoot indoors with a 50"

    Granted that I bought the book "An inner silence" (Bresson's portraits) but I would also suggest looking at the portrait work of anyone who ever used a Rolleiflex indoors in available light for environmental portraits. High on my list would be Lee Miller. Some here.....

    Rolleiflexes were equivalent (approximately) to a 45-50mm in 35mm terms and capable of f/2.8 or f/3.5 at their widest aperture. Bresson used a Leica mount version of the Contax 5cm Sonnar f/1.5 for a lot of his portraits.

    Another one I can think of is Fay Godwin. When she first embarked on a photography career she started out with an Olympus OM SLR and 50mm f/1.8 and she specialised in B&W portraits for the publisher Faber & Faber. (Dustjacket portraits of famous authors in the 1970s) She later moved on to Hasselblads and landscapes but her early portrait work is excellent. All available light.
  7. Typical! That Lee Miller link forces you to a home page first. Sorry.

    When you get in click on.. 'Photo gallery and print sales' then 'Portraits'
  8. Better still, buy the book "Lee Miller - Portraits from A Life". It is a wonderful book to have even if you never shoot portraits :)
  9. Hi Paul. My standard two lens kit for the RD-1s, which has a 1.5x crop factor, is the 50mm Lux Asph or 50mm f1.2 Canon, plus the 28mm VC Ultron. These two focal lengths on an RD-1s are incredibly flexible providing cropped equivalents of 42mm and 75mm. The 50mm doesn't become ineffective ... I use it for portraits and detail shots. If I need to get more in, I switch to the 28mm.

    When I choose to limit myself to one lens and the RD-1s, I use either the 28mm Ultron, or one of the 35mms. The 35mm provides a 52.5mm effective crop, which is perfect for 50's lovers. I use a bunch of 35's ... 35mm f2 Canon Black, Type 1 and 4 Summicrons, Summicron Asph and Summilux Asph depending on mood and the kind of lens signature I feel like working with on the day.

    If you have found the 35mm useful indoors on a film body, I would strongly recommend the 35mm Lux Asph instead of the 50mm Lux Asph. It will be more useful indoors on both standard film bodies and digital bodies. If you go digital, the 35mm Lux Asph gives you 52.5mm effective with a 1.5x crop factor, 47mm effective with 1.33x. Like the 50mm Lux Asph it is wonderfully sharp wide open ... the 50mm Lux Asph was based on the optical formula of the 35mm Lux Asph. The 35 and 50mm Lux Asphs are the two of the sharpest lenses I own. Sharp, and very, VERY resistant to flare. I can't seem to get the 35 to flare, even with strong light sources in the frame. The 35mm costs, but it is worth every penny. I find the only negative is that it is significantly heavier than any of the 'crons and the 35mm Canon.
  10. Jose, Trevor, Frederick -

    Thanks much for your perspective insights. Helps think it through. Anyway on the shorter end I have two 28s (Leica 2.8 Asph & Zeiss Biogon), two 50s (50 Summicron V & C-Sonnar), and the Boke King Cron -- enough to keep me busy for awhile. I almost picked up the 28 Ultron, but I am trying to keep it fairly compact as you can see.

    I guess I am facing that dumb old connundrum of high speed lenses vs. compactness again. The wife says not to sell any of the stable because I will only buy it back at much higher cost. My shooting style and stealth really commands a compact kit. [Well, actually the stable is not all that small considering I also maintain a Linhof TK45s system.]

    Best Regards - Paul
  11. Paul, the standard issue 50mm Lux Asph in black barrel is very compact, almost as light and compact as the latest Summicron. If the only factors are size and quality, it's no contest.

    A fun exercise in evaluating the speed v. size tradeoff in 35mm is to line up the following selection of 35s on a dealer's tabletop: VC 35mm f1.2 Nokton, Leica 35mm Lux Asph, Leica 35mm Cron Asph, Leica Bokeh King Cron, Canon 35mm f2 Black in that order. Hmmmmmm ..... :)
  12. "the standard issue 50mm Lux Asph in black barrel is very compact, almost as light and compact as the latest Summicron."

    hmm, interesting. Every confirmed Leica shooter ought to have one sometime in his/her life, no?
  13. Paul, in response to your original question but with regard to your 7:58pm post, we have two issues: how to use a 50 indoors and whether the 50 1.4 asph is to die for, so to speak. Others have already well addressed how to use a 50 indoors and more, so what is it worth to have the 1.4 asph? I understand that no matter if a person has money to burn, the concept of economy and efficiency in the kit is a satisfying aspect of acquisitions. While even Puts in at least one review of the asph 50 maintained a window of relevance for the collapsible 50 elmar by saying it was a great companion when the priority is close up imagery, my impression is that the 50 asph is the best that has been achieved in a 50.

    I have been satisfied with the 50 cron current, but if you can take the hit in selling your cron and your VC Sonnar and spending what you need for the aspherical 50, then I'd say do it, but only if it realy doesn't affect your other priorities because the 50 cron is awesome at everything except 1.4, which it doesn't have. What's the test of need and desire? If price were not an issue, then it would only be an issue of size and perhaps a desire for old Leica glow, and you have not mentioned either as a priority.

    In summary, I have the current 35 cron asph and current 50 cron. If I could trade them both in for an amount of money that was inconsequential to me for the 35 lux asph and 50 lux asph, I would do so, in spite of the size difference. End of story.
  14. Paul, have you ever considered the pre-ASPH 50mm Summilux ? It draws a little smoother, especially wide-open at f/1.4 which is not to bad for a portrait lens.
  15. Check out Jane Bown's work. 60 years in the business using just one camera, one lens: a Rolleiflex, then an Olympus OM1 and 50mm lens. No frills, just great photography.
  16. ask and ye shall receive. You guys are a wealth of knowledge. Thanks much - Paul
  17. "Paul, have you ever considered the pre-ASPH 50mm Summilux "

    I sold my mint pre-ASPH 50mm earlier this year because the built in lens shade was too short for my taste and because it flared. Perhaps I ought to have given more consideration to the sun's location but I had not ever had a flare problem with any of my lenses, including the much abated 35mm pre-asph Summilux.

    Yes, it did draw nice and was remarkable in low light. So much for its anti flaring attributes. With a larger detachable hood it may have been a different story..

    Thanks- Paul
  18. The 40mm Summicron is decried by some as neither fish nor fowl - wide nor normal. But for some it's that in-between size that does it all. Works indoors with almost the width of a 35, works outdoor with almost the reach of a 50 (not really, but...). Only f/2, but tiny and sharp.
  19. I have a 40mm f1.4 lens by Voigtlander and it's a great optic. For only about $350 you get a decent all 'round lens. I don't think this lens will replace a 50mm focal length for me on my MP, but it does put my desire for a 35mm 'lux or 'cron waaaay on the back burner.

    AND...because of the significantly lower cost of this lens, if you decide that it's not wide enough, or that you'd prefer the $50, it's not a huge tragedy. Certainly not the financial impact of either the 35 or 50 Summilux lenses.
  20. meant to write "that you'd prefer the 50" -- not sure where the "$" came from. :)

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