The cuts and bruises are healing and I am back in the gym doing some light workouts. Strictly under professional supervision of course. The back and ribs are not yet sufficiently strong to carry my 20lb backpack of gear so I have done some gentle walks with my Leica.
Over the last 12 months I have spent a lot of time listening to podcasts and more recently watching photography videos on YouTube. It was on the latter that I discovered the excellent John Kasko. He has a relaxed, gentle style. His videos are laudably short to match my attention span. He recently posted a video about (Honestly) this is the best 50mm lens I’ve ever owned. Well of course that is some claim but it wasn’t a promotional video and I liked what I saw. I did some further research and concluded this was worth trying. Now John shoots with a Leica M11, one up from my M10R so I knew it came in an M mount. Tin Cheung had one in stock so I am now the proud owner of an f2 Voigtlander 50mm APO Lanthar. Why do I need another 50mm lens. Well I don’t need the lens but I definitely want it and it hasn’t come off the M10R since I acquired it.
The Voigtlander isn’t the fastest 50mm at f2. My Noctilux is f0.95. My TTArtisan is f1.4 and I have an f2 Summicron so this is sheer greed. Except it isn’t. The Summicron and I have never bonded. I don’t like the aperture ring and the lens hood slides in and out in an annoying fashion. It is a bit small for my hands. The TT is a decent lens for the money – under £300. Made in China and a decent piece of kit. But you get what you pay for. The Noctilux is a fabulous lens but big, heavy and partially blocks the viewfinder. And it costs the same as a decent car. The images are astonishingly good in the hands of an accomplished photographer. The Voigtlander ….. well the ergonomics are perfect. The aperture ring has a most pleasing click to it. The focus throw is short. The colour rendition is sublime. And it is sharp. Very, very sharp. It is a solid lens without being heavy and it balances beautifully on the camera body. And it costs a fraction of the Summicron. Under US$1,000 unless you want a lens hood ($100 extra). But the coatings reduce flare to a minimum. I bought the hood to protect against accidental knocks not because it needs it. I can only thank John Kasko for making his video. This is a top class lens.
Here is a shot I took with it which has done very well on Flickr with over 6,000 views in the Explore section.
This shot led me to connect with another HK photographer. We discovered we live about 200m apart and we are going to meet up. He mentioned to me a Leica service specialist in Central . So tomorrow I am going to take my late dad’s old Elmar 50mm f2.8 (yes, another 50mm lens) to be cleaned and serviced. This lens is 60+ years old and I shall be interested to see how it performs when cleaned up. Lenses are deeply personal. You may like the look and I may not. Old lenses are less technically perfect but sometimes have character that is missing on a modern lens. Perhaps I will find that with the Elmar.
I am hopeful that in the next few days I shall be sufficiently fit to go out for a hike. But in the meantime the Voigtlander is providing all the entertainment I need.