Struggling with my 50mm

March 10, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

I have been using my 50mm Summilux ASPH with FLE almost exclusively over the last few weeks, and I admit I find it quite challenging.  My 35mm Summilux ASPH built in 1995-ish seems quite a bit more forgiving in certain areas where the 50mm is not.  I sent the 35mm back to Leica to get it 6-bit coded (Leica's answer to a digital body detecting what lens is mounted.)  Framing is not too challenging, though i do prefer the breadth that the 35mm gives me.  Most of my challenge comes in terms of focus.  As far as I can see I have at least two issues intertwined and tangled together.  Getting them sorted out is going to be a challenge.

Issue 1:  When the lens is set to ∞, the rangefinder portion of the viewfinder does not perfectly line up with something that should be in focus at ∞...  I am talking about things more than 1/2 a mile away.   This is easily seen when looking at the Space Needle or other radio tower.  It is there... it is annoying, but is it terribly wrong.  Is there something wrong with the lens, or just the linkage to the rangefinder?  Are things still in focus though the rangefinder indicates otherwise?  I don't know.

Issue 2:  I tend to shoot wide open, or as close to wide open as I can.  SInce the 50mm (the 35mm too) is a fast f/1.4 lens, by depth of field at f/1.4 is pretty narrow.   With the 35mm I can focus and things work out great, but no so with the 50mm.  Nailing focus with the 50mm is a challenge.  While the rangefinder tells me that something is perfectly in focus, this is sometimes the case, and sometimes not...

Just how much is the first issue affecting the second?  If the rangefinder is not dead on at ∞, it stands to reason that there may be an issue across the focusing range. such that when I see that focus is perfect in the rangefinder patch, in reality things are just slightly soft on the focus. 

At at a cost of this lens, these issues really bum me out.  

I guess what I really need to do is take a series of test shots, and log what I see in the viewfinder as I go.  Then, after examining the images and the log notes, I can come up with a direction to head to resolve this issue.

Anyway, here are some images that have come out wonderfully.

 

Pike Place Market

24 Hour Surveillance

91 1/2

Post Alley


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