Leica Summicron-R 50mm f/2.0
At some point I went accidentally to Fred Miranda's forums and happened to
read few threads with example pictures of Carl Zeiss and Leica lenses on Canon EOS cameras. Then I was sold to the bokeh
and colors of Leica. At that time I was in USA working and due to that it was quite simple buy lenses from eBay. If I remember correctly this lens was my first "alternative lens" to Canon.
My usage and image quality
I use this lens mainly photographing nature details and sometimes landscapes. I prefer to use this lens when big
magnification is not needed (Canon EF50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro is better when with
close-ups) or smooth bokeh is required. Also I sometimes prefer 50mm lens when I want to emphasize perspective and
my favourite focal length (short tele, 85-135mm) would flatten the object too much.
With small apertures the bokeh can sometimes show hexacon shaped highlights. At close distances I have feeling that
element would be improvement... Colors are very vivid from this lens, similar as L-lenses typically. Flare resistance is
This lens has tendency to generate "3D look" to images easier than most of the Canon lenses (however not to
same extend as Zeiss). As an two examples see these photos:
Kettle Moraine South
Congaree State Park - Dead Leafs on Tree 1
Build quality and basics
Build quality is excellent and lens body is made from metal. According to my kitchen scale weight of this lens is
320g. With Leica -> EOS adapter and lens caps in both ends weight is 384g. Lens is 40mm long (from EOS lens mount = it
will extend 40mm from the body of camera) and maximum diameter is about 64mm. Lengths were measured when lens
is focused to infinity, at closest focusing distance lens extends about 7mm.
Minumum focusing distance is 0.5m. Focusing from 0.5m to infinity requires about 270 degree rotation (3/4 turn).
Maximum aperture is f/2 and minimum is f/16, aperture ring has 1/2 stop steps. Aperture has 6 blades.
Lens has integrated hood, which can be pulled from the lens. It extends about 11mm. Hood is pretty efficient considering
that front element is quite deep inside the lens.
Handling of the lens is excellent. Since lens is designed to be manually focused the twist of focusing ring is long
enough and not few degrees like in most USM lenses. Compared to Zeiss lenses I have I prefer Leica focus - the force
needed to focus is much smaller. Adapter is of
course needed and it adapters just physically mount the Leica lens to Canon camera. Therfore you have to manually stop
down the lens. Therefore it's not usable to fast situations, but just fine for me since I anyhow want to shoot from tripod
and compose images carefully.
+ Excellent sharpness, contrast and colors (also wide open) [except close-ups]
+ Excellent bokeh, it's beautiful
+ Excellent build quality
- Manual stopping down and metering required
- When stopped down can show hexacon shaped highlights in bokeh
- At close-ups the lens doesn't perform as well as middle distances and infinity
photos in my picturebank taken with this lens.
Photos of the lens