The 50mm f/2 Zeiss Planar ZM

Highway heading into a storm on the Navajo Reservation, Northern Arizona, Leica M-P 240, Zeiss 50mm f/2 Planar ZM – Photo © Andrew Tonn 

When I bought a digital Leica I wanted a new lens to go with it.  There was no question that this lens would be 50mm.  I use other focal lengths (and have nothing against buying used optics) but, in this case, I wanted a new lens for the new camera.  When I bought a Leica M6ttl in 2001, I briefly used an antique 50mm f/2 Summar, but was soon able to acquire well-used 50mm f/2 Summicron from the 1970s.  I bought the Summar for $150 from an acquaintance and the second hand Summicron for $500 at the now sadly deceased F-Stop Camera in Akron, Ohio.  That lens has served me well but, when I decided to buy the digital M-P 240, the Summicron was in for repairs.  Anyway, I wanted a new lens for my new Leica and the M6 would be lonely and jealous if I confiscated its friend Summicron.  I like to maintain harmony in my stable of cameras after all. Continue reading “The 50mm f/2 Zeiss Planar ZM”

The Leica SL: The Best Worst Mirrorless Camera Ever?

In the mirrorless camera world smaller, lighter and packed with buttons is the trend. But with their pro end mirrorless camera, the SL, Leica decided to provide fewer buttons and go bigger and heavier than any other mirrorless camera in the 35mm format on the market. Milled from a solid block of aluminum, featuring as few buttons as possible with no labeling on any of them and an awkward power switch, the Leica SL seems to kick to the curb any feature commonplace or desired in a mirrorless system, with one exception. The EVF. DSLR users flock to Sony or Fuji for a smaller lighter system that is packed with features but doesn’t force them to make huge compromises in quality. Some users regret the move and some users are quite happy, but one thing they all agree on is lighter is better and they love the EVF. I even made the jump from DSLR to mirrorless to cut the weight. So why do I now find myself using the absolute heaviest mirrorless 35mm format option out there? Because of the EVF. More on that in a moment, lets first take a broader look at the Leica SL.

Continue reading “The Leica SL: The Best Worst Mirrorless Camera Ever?”

The Impossible made Possible? Impossible Project now redirects to new Polaroid Originals site, and the Polaroid One Step 2

When news broke sometime ago that the majority shareholder of Impossible Project was also now the majority shareholder of Polaroid, rumors exploded. Our prediction? That the Impossible was indeed possible, Impossible Project was Polaroid. Not the pale version of the brand we’d come to know in recent years, but a rebirth of the instant film legend.  Continue reading “The Impossible made Possible? Impossible Project now redirects to new Polaroid Originals site, and the Polaroid One Step 2”

5 Days In Kathmandu

Leica M Monochrome, 15mm f/4.5 Voigtlander Super Heliar, Temple steps, Durbar Square (Photo by Andrew Tonn ©

There were times when our two years in Mumbai seemed an eternity.  I knew the time would pass quickly, however, that every day, strange as it was, would crossfade into the next and that sooner, rather than later, we would be headed back to the airport, boarding a flight out, and that everything undone would most likely stay undone.

Continue reading “5 Days In Kathmandu”

The Leica Summaron 35/ƒ2.8 M

The owner of Brittania & Company, one of the classic old Parsi restaurants in old Bombay. Leica M-P (Photo, Andrew Tonn ©)
ARLINGTON — Of all the Leica M lenses out in the world, there is one in particular that does not seem to gets its due.  That lens is the 35mm f/2.8 Summaron, a lens made from 1958-1974.  Continue reading “The Leica Summaron 35/ƒ2.8 M”

Leica Unveils the New TL2… And It’s Not What Anyone Asked For.

(Photo from Leica)

Leica has unveiled their rumored update to the TL, the TL2. The heavens opened, light shined down through the clouds from those very same heavens upon this wondrous marvel from Germany. Well… Not really. Actually, it’s quite underwhelming. Although the TL2 features upgraded specs such as USB 3.0, 20 frames per sec, 4k video, the new 24 MP APS-C sensor and the Maestro II processor, the TL2 is still lacking the single most desired and requested feature in the TL… A built-in EVF.

Continue reading “Leica Unveils the New TL2… And It’s Not What Anyone Asked For.”

Domke F3x Review

I will begin this review with the conclusion: there is no better all-around camera bag than the Domke F3x.  Now continue reading to find out why.  Or save yourself the time and just order one.  Continue reading “Domke F3x Review”

Nikon LTM 35/f3.5 and 28/f3.5 Review

The Nikon LTM glass, classic by any standard. But how good have they held up? This is what I set out to discover as I collected good examples of these lenses and got to work. Testing for the 35mm and 28mm was conducted on the Leica M9-Monochrome and Leica SL with Leica adaptors.  I was let down by the 50/f1.4, finding it to be very soft wide open and what’s the point in having fast glass if you can’t shoot it wide open?

Get ready, there’s a lot of images in this one!  Continue reading “Nikon LTM 35/f3.5 and 28/f3.5 Review”

CineStill Film 2 Bath Chems

Did you know CineStill film makes a special 2 step bath for developing color film? Because I didn’t and it looks pretty darn cool. My kit arrived not long ago and I’m fixing to try it out. In the mean time, here’s the details from their site along with a link. FP

Continue reading “CineStill Film 2 Bath Chems”

The Leica M240 Retrospective

Titled simply the M at the time of its release, it became known as the M240 and by a defiant few the M10. Of course Leica has since released their follow up to the “M” – the actual M10. We’d like to take this moment to express our annoyance over Leica’s numbering of the M system and that we feel the M10 is really the M11. There’s a lot of M240 reviews out there, filled with tech data and camera specs, so we’re going to get right into a retrospective on the M240. With now three full frame digital M platforms (the newest being the much praised, yet still unable to obtain M10) is the M240 still a viable option for the discerning photographer? Continue reading “The Leica M240 Retrospective”