Feb 222011

Field Tested in Venice & Padua

This is not a review in the classic

sense of the word.  Laboratory

testing is for scientists.  I am a

photographer.  This is a guide

to “What can you do with a

35mm Summicron.”  Over the

course of a week I used the

lens to uncover its strengths

and weaknesses.  The video

is a quick overview of my

thoughts and reactions.

This Not A Test

When I added a Leica to my Hasselblad system, I researched images from Leica professionals.  Who are Leica professionals?  One place to start are the files of Magnum Photo.  I wanted to see images created by Leica lenses.  The “Reviews” of bricks and wooden fences had some great technical information, but would eventually bore me to death.  I was am not interested in the lens charts or how well a lens would render the light on a house cat.  The big mystery was, who used a particular lens and why?  I found that most of the professional photographers who work with Leicas only use 3-4 lenses maximum.  In most cases, the majority of their work comes from 2-3 lenses.

Limited Shelf Life

There are plenty of reviewers out there and I would encourage you to do your research.  It also makes sense to understand who is writing the reviews.  The most useful tips I ever received about lenses came from photographers who I also trusted to advise on my professional career.  It makes sense to find someone who has a similar shooting style or you admire. My “reviews” are more like guides for lens selection, than technical assessments.  I do not plan on reviewing the entire Leica lens line up.  There are a few lenses I would never use.  Its not that the lenses are good or bad, they just do not match my style.

Woman walk to the hospital in Venice, Italy. Leica M9: 35mm Summicron f 2.0 Pre-Asph..

On Location

Before testing a lens I wait for a trip or an assignment.  This way the lens must perform with the added the pressure of a new city, unfamiliar setting, and live obstacles.  Is it crazy to shoot an assignment with a lens I’ve never used?  Sort of, but I like a challenge.  If I am less than two thousand miles from home, I will not test a lens.  Calling something “Real World” means that it requires a plane ticket, a passport, and maybe a visa.  Anything less is just a trial run.

  5 Responses to “Leica Lens Review: 35mm Summicron f 2.0”

  1. Hey Adam, I enjoyed that video. Editing,Confidence,Professionalism,Soundtrack and your Photos shining through. Really nice, is that your first one?

    • Hey Tim,

      Indeed, this was the first video. Happy to hear you liked it. Making videos is like looking at my own portrait, I cringe. But we have some improvements planned for the next one. 75mm Summicron is next.

  2. Hi Adam,

    I have been a few times at your blog, but just made a sign in to post a comment.
    Great blog, a pleasure to read and watch. A blog with a personal touch, something I like.
    Also you video is great and informative. A different “cup of tea” to create like taking photos.
    All the best!

    • Thanks Bas,

      Glad to know you enjoyed the video and the blog. I am planning on making ones for the other lenses I reviewed (75mm Summicron & 90mm Summicron). They should be coming soon, maybe a few weeks. When I got back from India, I ended up with a cold and lost my voice, so I returned the lens before I had a chance to film the review.


      • Take your time, plenty of articles to read :-) I love your latest post. A period I remember well from back in the 80ties. A few weeks ago I bought on a flea market a Polaroid Big Shot for 20 euro. The same camera Warhol used in that time. Last year some galeries/musea in the US showed his photos. I’m looking forward to your new posts. Thanks!

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