Category Archives: Leica 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE f/1.4

Laugh again, again.

Laugh again, again

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE @ f/1.4.

3 Generations, revisited.

The original 3 Generations can be found here.

3 generations, revisited

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/1.4.

Q&A: Peter asks about new Leica M vs. M9P/ME, and lenses.

Leica M and M-E - Prosophos.


Hi Peter,

I wonder if you would want to give me your personal opinion about my next photographic step.

I adore the way you placed life’s little moments in the picture. As a physician too I already know how fragile life can be and that we have to live it by enjoying or at least inhaling every little good moment. Your photos are wonderful.

I mostly make pictures of people who I care about and when I am abroad for meetings or holidays. I am a hobbyist but invest in my eye and technique. As an interventional cardiologist I also developed an eye for quality materials and technique and therefore I recently decided to go for my childhood dream camera, an M…no snob-ism involved.

Initially I used a second hand M9P for a day to see if I would like it, and I did. The colors and clarity are stunning. I came from a Nikon D700 with 24,35,50,85 primes. I kept the D700 and a 50 mm since sometimes I will likely need AF or high ISO capabilities and its not a bad camera at all. However the M has something special. It forces me more to make a perfect composition and exposure and the results seems very nice.

I always said I would keep my budget within certain constrains so now I would like your opinion on how to spend my money best:

  • new M + 35 summarit, 50 summilux, 90 elmarit / summicron preASPH

  • ME or M9P + 35 summilux 35, 50 summilux, 90 elmarit / summicron preASPH

I do not need video or live view but I am a bit worried about the M9P/ME high ISO capabilities and its re-activeness. The new M also will be more responsive and more silent.

Did you experience the high ISO quality or responsiveness of the M9 as a creatively limiting factor? I tend to use the lowest ISO setting I can and do not do a lot inside but as you do, sometimes I do. However I would like to have wide aperture lenses usable at full aperture or slightly stopped down. That way I guess I will rarely need higher than ISO 800 and I guess than image quality is still OK. I still have the Nikon D700 when really low light performance counts but I expect me to not have it with me anymore…
I tend to go for the extremely expensive summilux 35 more then a more expensive camera (new M). Do you like its character and can you comment on the difference with the rendering of the summarit 35?

Also did you have any troubles with skintones on the M9? What is your workflow there? Do you set your white balance ad hoc or later?

Many thanks




Hello Peter,

So many questions!  I’ll be concise, but hopefully comprehensive, in my responses.

In a nutshell, given you already have a D700, I would recommend:


  • M-E or M9(P) with EITHER 35 or 50 Summilux*.

(*i.e. one lens.  I wouldn’t bother with any other for now.  And really, it will free you.)


I should also inform you that I am biased towards CCD sensor-based cameras, even though the new “M” will have many features, the “older” technology wins out for me at base ISO (at least until I’ve seen evidence to the contrary).

Your question about the 35 Summilux vs. 35 Summarit:   Both are capable, but the 35 Summilux is the optically “superior” lens (sharpness, micro-contrast, etc), however it tends to “paint” with bold strokes which is desirable for some subject matter but may be too harsh for others.  The 35 Summarit, on the other hand, is a little more classic/delicate in its rendering with a smoother bokeh.   It’s a lovely little lens.  You may view examples from both the 35 Summarit and 35 Summilux on my site:

Ultimately, which you prefer is really a matter of personal taste, but if you opt for an M9 (vs. the new M), you really should purchase a Summilux lens for low light work.  Also, the Summilux (50 or 35) lenses are something special and need to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

As for your question regarding whether the low ISO constraints of the M9 limit creativity, I’ll let my images speak for themselves.  I don’t mean this in an arrogant way, but as a practical answer.

Finally, I shoot in DNG (RAW) format and am able to make minor colour adjustments easily during post-processing, so I do not have any issues with “skin tones”.

I hope this helps, and I thank you for your very kind comments regarding my work.  Despite my answer above, I really do think the new M will be a terrific camera, so I believe you can’t go wrong either way.





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This place will be quiet for a while.

See you in a few weeks.



↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE @ f/1.4.

Baseball, revisited.

A suspended moment.

Baseball, revisited

↑Leica M2 or M3, Kodak Tri-X 400, and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/2.

Snow Honey.

Happy 2013!

What a difference a year makes…


Honey Jan 2013, 2012

↑Leica M9 and Leica 50mm Noctilux @ f/0.95 (left), and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/1.4 (right).

In a Silent Way.

Title inspired by the Miles Davis album.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/1.4.

Union Station, revisited.

The previous Union Station post can be found here.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/4.

The chase 1 and 2.

Kids and dogs… an abridged 2-part representation of the nature of their relationship.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/1.4.


↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/2.


I live for moments like this.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/1.4.

Window light eyes.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/1.4.

Autumn audience.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/2.

Answer to: Film or Digital?

Yesterday, I posted an image and posed the question: Film or Digital?

To those of you who submitted a guess, thank you.  I know it’s difficult to go out on a limb like that, especially when you have the option of safely viewing the proceedings from a distance.

For what it’s worth, the final tally of guesses was:


Digital: 10

Film: 8


An almost even split!  Moreover, some who chose digital stated that the image looks like film, and vice versa.  This confirms what I suspected: this was a difficult image to identify.

So, without further delay, the answer is:



↑Leica M9, ISO 400, and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/1.4.


The above screen shot is of the original M9 file, opened in Aperture.

To stack the odds towards conveying a film look, I chose a scene in which the subject matter had a retro vibe about it.  Then I post-processed the image to B&W.  The “grain” seen in the finished image (to the right, in the shadows) is actually digital noise that has emerged from selective lightening, and that has been post-processed to look like film grain.  More or less.

Some of you were impressed by it.  Some of you commented that it did not “feel” like film grain, and so guessed digital.  I believe it’s in fact the quality of film grain, among a few other things, that usually identifies the medium… but I have occasionally been fooled.

Once again, I thought the simulation in this example was pretty good.

As an aside, a few of you remarked that you were viewing yesterday’s post on a phone screen, which means that the process of evaluating for any nuances in image quality would have been difficult, if not impossible.

I guess many of our photos are being viewed on smartphones or tablets these days, so it’s something I should keep in mind when posting such comparative-type evaluations.


Up the stairs.

The down stare.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/1.4.


Some simply exude warmth.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/1.4.

The gracious hosts.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/1.4.

Beep, beep.

Road love.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summilux FLE @ f/1.4.


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