The dreamy 50mm ‘Lux David English shares his insights about the Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH and APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH.

© David English

© David English

© David English

© David English

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  • Two wonderful lenses and well put at use by a master.
    In the 50mm range i much prefer the summicron-m, the last dr Mandler design still in production for
    the classic black-and-white photography.
    I use the 50mm summicron-m with tri-x or hp5 for classic look
    and my 35 summicron-m asph with delta 100 for the modern almost grainless look.
    Each lenses has a personality and you can mix it with a film of your choosing to produce a unique couple dancing with the light.
    Well in the digital realm you can consider each sensor, ccd cmos color or mono as a particular film or dancer that is.

    • Thanks, Éric. Much appreciated. The more I use the various lenses, the more I understand their quirks and personalities. We’re lucky to have such a wide range of M-mount lenses going back to the 1950s.

  • Mr. English always educates and fascinates THANK YOU, never miss your posts!

  • David,

    Having followed your work, I seem to come away with a sense that the maturity of your style is drafted from your choice of not just specific focal lengths but the the specific lens models. I see what appears to be an evolution to the 21SE and 50 Lux after years of marriage to the 24Lux and 18SE. Is there something very personal in these choices or is it more experimentation and what happens to be in your bag at the time? Also do you tend to use your lenses at or close to widest aperture, or stopped down, and does this dictate one model over another?

    Fabulous work as always.

  • Freud and psychoanalysis are well represented in black and white photography.

  • Interesting, I dream in color which is perhaps why I shoot accordingly. Never considered the genesis of that proclivity until your comment.

    Fab work. Much to be envied in your style.

    • Thanks, Flip. Much appreciated. There may be a generational element, as well. I remember reading an article that suggested that people who grew up watching black-and-white television may be more inclined to dream in black-and-white than people who grew up watching color television.

  • David. Quick and hopefully innocuous follow on questions.

    What has prompted the change in lens focal length choices over the years? I see your migration from the 24mm lux and 18mm SE to the 21mm SE and 50 Lux. Would you say that you have found a style identity with these choices or are your decisions more of what is at hand, changing up for variety and just enjoying the ride?

    I have found the 24mm SE as a staple.

    • It’s a combination of things. Some of it relates to my transition from the M9 to the Monochrom. With the Monochrom’s higher base ISO and more film-like noise, I don’t feel as strong a need for using the faster Lux lenses. That has shifted me away from the 24mm Lux to the 24mm Elmar. I tend to rely on the 21mm SE because it has become my favorite wide-angle lens. I love the way it renders. And I do like to change the mix from time to time, in part so that I can have something to write about here.

      That said, I plan to give the 35mm Lux a good workout, as I haven’t used it much with the Monochrom. And I’ve been itching to go back to the 18mm SE. It’s a great focal length with the right content.

      There probably are some stylistic influences, as well. I’m seeking out shadowy images more than before, so I’m looking for lenses that can render objects distinctly from the background. The Elmar and Super-Elmar lenses seem to be particularly well-suited for that.

      Mostly, I’m just enjoying the ride.

  • Great to see what you are doing with the great Wake Forest degree and a sharp eye and mind. Proud of your many accomplishments.

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