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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Year Lights Around Siam Square in Bangkok with Sony A7r and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4

Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4

I took a walk around Siam Square in central Bangkok just after New Year to capture some of the lights that was still decorating Bangkok before they take it down.


Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4


Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4


Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4

Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4


Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4


Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4


Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4

Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron version 4 King Of Bokeh

Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh

Since they were quite uncertain about the situation regarding the big protest happening today, my workplace decided to give everyone a day off, with nothing better to do I decided to go out and take some pictures of what was going on.

Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh

I took the MRT (underground) to Sukhumvit station, which is one of the seven protest locations and wow was it completely packed. I could barely walk around.

Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh


Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh
This place reminds me of going to a concert in my younger days, it is certainly just as hot, packed and loud.

Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh


Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh



Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh

Protesting is tiring business, a quick snack from a stall setup amongst the protesters should get my energy level up. Business is great for these vendors who setup stalls to sell all sorts of things from food, drinks and props.

Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh

...and after snacks maybe some ice-cream to cool down in the hot Sun.

Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh



Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh

Of course you can not forget to pose for some pictures for your Facebook or Instagram pages.

Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh

I love this Thai flag beanie but it is boiling hot, I don't understand how she is wearing that thing. As they say, fashion is uncomfortable.

Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh



Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh

After just a couple of hours walking around I was completely exhausted, I got to give it to the people who are coming here day after day for hours on end, with some actually sleeping here.

Bangkok Shutdown Protest Demonstration - Sony a7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron King of Bokeh

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 "King Of Bokeh" 1979-1997 Review Test Sample Images

Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 "King Of Bokeh" 1979-1997 Review Test Sample Images

Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 "Bokeh King"

I just want to make a quick confession before starting the review. Up until starting to write this review I had no idea about the history of this little lens that I have in my possession, or what particular version it was, or if that even matter. I have used this lens before on the Leica M9 and it had been a love hate relationship. It is certainly nice and sharp especially in the center, but it's corner sharpness is not that amazing throughout the ranges compared to other lenses I have used. The thing that really puts me off the lens however is its amazing love of flaring. If you have a light source anywhere even just slightly outside of the field of view, you will get flaring, and I am not talking about strong light source like the Sun either, it could just be something like a computer screen. The type of flaring is also really bad, you just get a "Haze" across the photo. The saving grace of the lens though was that it produces some amazing photos, especially its beautiful bokeh. The transition from the focus plane to the out of focus areas was just so subtle and smooth, just so different and the best I have ever seen.

Since I also have the Carl Zeiss 35mm f2 Biogon, which I feel is "technically" far superior (in terms of sharpness across the frame and flaring) my first thought (and still is) was that this was a lens that you would take out when you just wanted a change of photo style, because it does have a unique look to the photos it took, but if you were on an assignment and needed to take clear and sharp photos I would take the Carl Zeiss everytime. The other thing I love about this lens over the Carl Zeiss is its size. It is much smaller, lighter and much more compact and most importantly for me it just looks so good on the camera with its better proportions :). 
 

Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 "Bokeh King"

Having done some research however I have found that this particular 35mm f2 Summicron was one of the most famous version of the lens. It is version 4, which has been given the nickname "King Of Bokeh", to be honest I can see why. What's funny though is that while doing my research online I saw one person giving this lens the nickname "King Of Flare", which is exactly what I was thinking. 

I also found that this lens is selling second hand at about twice the price of a brand new Carl Zeiss 35mm f2 Biogon!!!

Having read this far you might be guessing that if I had to buy one I would buy the Carl Zeiss...and you would be right. I just feel that overall it gives you the better value and is better overall.

Having both lenses however, I would often choose to use the Leica because sometimes instead of getting lots of really good photos you just want a few really magical ones, which you have a good chance of getting with the Leica's unique look. I mean if you take 10 photos with the Carl Zeiss you might get 9 really good ones (technecially), while with the Leica with its shortcomings you might get 5 not so good shots, 4 good ones and 1 magical shot.


Vignetting

 
Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 Vignetting Test at f2

Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 Vignetting Test at f2.8

Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 Vignetting Test at f4

Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 Vignetting Test at f5.6

Vignetting is a technical area where this lens performs very well. Its exhibit very small amount of vignetting wide open just right at the corner of the frame but just stopping down to f2.8 got rid of most of it. By stopping down further you do get a bit more improvement but not much more since there is hardly any left already.


Corner Sharpness

Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 Corner Sharpness Test at f2

100% Crop at f2

Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 Corner Sharpness Test at f2.8

100% Crop at f2.8


Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 Corner Sharpness Test at f4

100% Crop at f4


Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 Corner Sharpness Test at f5.6

100% Crop at f5.6

Sony A7r with Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Version 4 Corner Sharpness Test at f8

100% Crop at f8

The corner sharpness of the 35mm Summicron is capable but not amazing. The corner sharpness improves quickly, just by stopping down to f2.8 the lens pretty much is near its peak and stopping down further does not improve sharpness much. The problem however is that its "peak" is still not as sharp as other lenses I have tested, it is not bad but not amazing. Another thing you can see is that even from these test shots for corner sharpness you could see the flaring "haze" in the photos.


Conclusion

As mentioned right at the beginning of the post, this lens' technical performance might not be amazing, but its real strength is in being able to produce photos with a "unique" and beautiful look. If you do not yet own a M-Mount Rangefinder lens and are looking to buy one you might get better value and all around performance with other lenses, but this lens might be worth it if you really love its "unique" looks.

Hopefully I will be able to go out shooting more with this lens in the near future to bring you real life samples of this lens in real use for those who are interested.