Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sample Shots With Leica 60mm f/2.8 Macro-Elmarit-R

man down
In my initial review I promised some real-world photos with my first Leica lens; you'll be happy to see them in this post. All the shots have been processed to the fullest, which is only fair since that is what I would do with any lens. But this is generally a modest process: a touch of contrast and exposure correction, plus sharpening after downsizing.

However, I must admit to having my own techniques for bringing out detail and tend to apply one of these actions to my shots. Not always, but usually. And these make a significant difference to the look of the shot. Without my processing your shots might not look like these -- just saying!

Since there is no coupling, the body cannot record aperture information in the image EXIF. And my memory is notoriously poor. But I can tell you the chess pieces above were shot wide open, ISO 400, 1/90s, distance 30-40cm. Like all the others here, the photo is hand-held in available light.

tracks and traces
This was ISO 200, 1/500s, even closer to the subject. This might have been f/5.6. Having the macro ability is very useful even if you don't plan on shooting macros; it means you simply don't have to worry about getting close. Conceptually it has the odd effect of making the lens act shorter than its 60cm focal, since you don't have to worry about keeping a certain working distance. I love this!

Induction Circuit, a sound walk
ISO 280, 1/8s, which was achieved by balancing the camera on a plate and using remote release. I'm guessing f/4. The subject was quite a bit further away in this shot; I've cropped the image as well.

Ciaran O'Driscoll enjoys the stories
ISO 560, 1/60s, f/2.8 methinks. I don't like pushing the K20D to ISO 800 if I don't have to, since the quality of the noise changes. So I had to stay wide open, even though I am gaining an appreciation for the fact the lens is significantly softer at its widest. Of course many lenses are softer wide open, but here "wide open" is a relatively slow f/2.8. At 60mm that doesn't give an exceedingly thin depth of field.

I can make a few other critical observations.

The colours are not as vibrant as I would like. I will here state that I dislike over-saturated unrealistic colours, but I am spoiled by the accurate and bold Pentax colour rendering. I think I can fairly say that this particular Leica lens does not have the same. Neither does it have any annoying tint, appearing only slightly warm. For me the rendering is fine, but I can imagine if you are picky in this area you might be a little underwhelmed.

Handling is much as I had gathered from my first-day tests. The focus ring is too stiff and the aperture ring too loose. Many times I accidentally turned the ring and lost my exposure. Without clicks or any tactile feedback I then have to take the camera from my eye and reset. This is terribly annoying for me but might not bother others as much. The Leitax K-mount adapter apparently allows click stops, so maybe I need to "upgrade" to that one.

On the other hand the bokeh is lovely. I simply keep wishing for one more stop, so I can blur out the background even more.

Best of all, at 60mm and 1:2 macro, this is a very versatile short telephoto. You can focus in on small objects and details while also having a lens capable of representing a person in an environment. More photos will follow in my Flickr stream, but the few here should demonstrate these uses.


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