Upload & Sell: Off
Very nice moments Edward - and so much colour too - Thailand must be sensory overload at times!
Great set Ryan! And thanks! Yes, you can go under Cloud Gate. It's where all the visual fun happens with the distorted reflections. But it's also quite dark under there (on a gloomy November day) - my exposures were in the 1/30 f/5.6 ISO 640 range, and probably still a bit under. I've visited a few times so now and have had mixed results - it's really tough to find a unique perspective because it has been photographed a bazillion times already.
Andrew - was in town for a Bears game, and got sick (flu or cold), so kind of just wanted to get outta there for the 8 hour drive back. But blues would have been nice. Next time I'll have to check with you before I go...
Thanks Gary, Joe, airfrog!
Joe: it would seem the advantage of the MM is ultimate sharpness from that particular sensor, and my impression is it has even deeper shadow latitude. That said, I'm quite impressed by how much I can manipulate the M9 files in B&W.
Yup, added the 21SEM a couple months ago during the latest visit to Munich. The Leica store there just happened to have one in stock, and I couldn't resist. I have yet to do a formal comparison against the ZM21/2.8, but my impression is the SEM has a flatter plane of focus and therefore better edge/corner performance wide open when photographing planar objects. My guess is any sharpness difference is gone by f/8. It's a lens you can most certainly use wide open and get very, very sharp results. I've done some limited, casual comparison shots against the 21 Lux and when both are at f/3.4, I can pretty easily ID the SEM just by the look due to its sharper definition of fine details. In some respects it's a fairly 'Zeissy' lens coming from Leica - quite high contrast and very sharp. After getting it, for the first time I can remember, I started applying minus contrast in LR...
Is the SEM worth spending 2x more than the ZM...? I think it is if you're a frequent 21mm user, want better edge to edge w/o performance, a smaller lens and 6 bit coding. The only aspect where I find the ZM is better, is CA. It seems to have none, whereas the SEM has a very, very slight amount that can actually cause very fine, sharp detail to look somewhat nervous (though cleans up OK in with software CA correction). The point about 6 bit coding actually has become more significant for me than I would have thought when I first started with the M9 and only ZM lenses. I discovered that at least my ZM21, when mounted on the M9 and used in direct sunlight, with the sun shining on the lens/camera mount interface, that some light would apparently seep into the gap and interfere with the 6 bit reader, causing the camera to revert to an uncoded state. This was a major hassle when processing images and half the edit for that lens would be coded and the other half not... The solution is pretty simple - jam a finger up against the lens mount while shooting. But it just seems the Leica 6 bit coding works 99% of the time (pretty sure it's flaked out a few times while using the 50 Lux ASPH), whereas hand coded ZM mounts have been somewhat inconsistent.
As for what is currently in my M collection:
Leica: 21 SEM, 21 Lux, 28 Cron, 50/1.5, 50 Lux ASPH, 90 Summarit
ZM: 21/2.8, 35/2.8, 50/2
CV: 12, 15, 35/1.2 v.II, 40/1.4, 75/1.8
Misc: Nikkor 5cm f/1.4
I will likely sell the ZM21 and 35, CV75 and perhaps also the 35/1.2. I really like both Leica 21s and sometimes bring both because they each have certain strengths. The Lux can't be matched for its w/o look and when you need f/1.4... whereas the SEM is great even from wide open across the frame, which is a weakness of the Lux between around f/2.8-5.6.
In terms of future acquisitions... about the only new lens I would like to see from Leica is a 14/4 at a similar price point to the SEM. Who knows, it could happen! Otherwise, I think my priorities at the moment will be looking for vintage glass for a different look from the modern lenses in my collection.
A few more from Cloud Gate....