Teaser - On a Comedy of Errors with the Leica APO 50, Elcan 50, and Dual Range 50 + the Leica M10, Leica M4, and Leica KE-7A
At first, I wanted to call this blog post The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. However, I decided against it, given what the consensus would have likely made out as the "ugly one". Obviously, the Leica APO 50mm f/2 Summicron ASPH would have immediately been identified as the "good one", being the charismatic golden child of Leica's current product line. Next, the Leica Elcan 50mm f/2 Summicron would have then been tagged as the "bad one", being the cold purpose-designed instrument of legendary precision. That ultimately leaves the Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron Dual Range as the "ugly one", because of its goggles.
Normally, I wouldn't have had much of an issue rationalizing these three lenses so superficially. But, since I've went to such great lengths to modify my example of the Dual Range Summicron - along with its accompanying Leica M4 in all its powdered blue glory and etched white snowflakes - I just couldn't commit with my original intent. Still, I suppose one of them would have had to eventually draw the short straw, given only three choices in that proposed title. With that being the case, I guess the indignity of calling the Dual Range Summicron ugly wouldn't be completely out of place.
But, not this baby blue Dual Range Summicron - that I would never do.
Anyway, what does this all have to do with this post? Honestly? Absolutely nothing. I just thought it was a cute observation. Still, there is another reason why I'm droning on and on about the originally intended title. You see, a tragedy had befallen us today. I couldn't finish my intended review. Oh yeah... and Judit injured her foot while rushing over to meet up with me. How awful for me... I mean for her. Judging from her limited range of motion, I’m guessing she is suffering from a mild case of plantar fasciitis. Needless to say, we had to cancel our photo shoot, since I wouldn't want Judit to put unneeded pressure onto her foot. Well, that means this blog post will be placed on the disabled list, which in case you haven't figured out is a euphemism for being incomplete. A such, I kind of need to stretch this double into an inside-the-park home run - hence the anecdote about the intended title.
Ambitious, isn't it to make lemonade from lemons? I might as well, since I already have the photos. Think of this post as a teaser.
You see, I started this review almost three weeks ago, when Anna first flew the coop for colder climes. Normally, I wouldn't have had any problem finishing a review like this on one go. But you know what it's like to collaborate with someone new for the first time. It takes time to get used to each other's process. I mean, let's get real. We could have been each other's worst nightmare. Like, I could've been an overbearing impresario type expecting her to strut en pointe. Or worse still, she could've had an asymmetrical silhouette... um... I'm big on symmetry and silhouettes, if you haven't noticed by now.
So yes, it took us some time to reassure ourselves that the other isn't... um... different? Hence, we had tea at the Peninsula Hotel, and then took a lovely stroll over to Kowloon Park, before parting ways. And in all that time, we kept on forgetting about the review.
Oh yes... the intended review. About that, I would like to explain why this review is not a review and is "a teaser". On average - or at least within the last six months - I normally share a minimum of thirty new sample images for each blog post. This one only has eighteen. And of the eighteen, half of them are not demonstrably apples to apples comparison. In my rush to cross over to Hong Kong's equivalent of bridge and tunnel country, I inadvertently forgot to check the film loaded into the Leica M4 and Leica KE-7A. I thought they both had JCH StreetPan 400. But apparently, one of them had Kodak GC 400? I mean, how is that possible? I only realized this oversight when the lab notified me of my error in processing request.
In retrospect, using black and white film for this comparison made no sense from the perspective of an apples to apples comparison, since the third camera in the comparison was the Leica M10. Or rather, using a digital camera in a hypothetically black-and-white film gun fight made even less sense. All three lenses should have been shot on the same film or same digital sensor. But regardless of whichever way you look at the goof-up, this entire review was truly fleshing out into a comedy of errors, with my attempt to add more sample images concluding in a whimper and not a bang. But we all know how marvelously that went, with tragedy befalling this blog post... I mean Judit's foot.
No point in tempting fate. I suppose I could have asked Judit to limp. But that wouldn't be humane. I mean, I wouldn't want to be that overbearing impresario expecting the impossible... I'm guessing... maybe. And more importantly, I don't think it would have been humanly possible either. With the way Judit was hobbling to the taxi queue, I don't see how she could have found the extraordinary resolve to strut en pointe in perfect symmetry.
Did I mention I'm big on symmetry?
Well, this review has certainly turned out to be the nightmare I wanted to avoid, despite my many precautions taken to ease into the newness of our collaboration. As Judit said before parting ways, this post was just not meant to be. And as much as I wanted to make this poor girl to walk for me, like the Phantom compelling Christine to sing for him, I had to call it quits. From how events had unfolded, the review I had intended to do didn't look promising. At this rate, I was never going to publish it.
Fact is, if I don't write something about this photo series, I will probably never share any of the photos I have already taken. And despite it being very incomplete in providing demonstrable evidence in an apples to apples comparison, I believe many of you might be interested to see how these three lenses compare - as a teaser to a future review. Who knows, I might even expand on the comparison? At the very least, I should have included the version IV 50 Summicron, since it's still the standard most accessible to the majority of Leica enthusiasts.
That said, what can I say about these three lens in comparison, without giving too much away from a future comprehensive review free of goof-ups. Not much really. I will leave that to a later date. Besides, Judit is off her feet recuperating from her injury, and Anna is on her way back from her extended break from this blog... not that I'm bitter for her prolonged absence. It's not like I'm an overbearing impresario, which I suppose seems less convincing an assertion the more I repeat it. But really, I'm not.
In any event, here are the rest of the photo series in a not so apples to apples side by side comparison. Still, I believe they're fun to look at. Please examine the accompanying sample photos for yourself. At f/2, the comparison is complete. But across the aperture range, and at further focusing distances, I believe I need additional demonstrable apple to apple comparisons for a more complete review.
So if you've reached this far in the narrative, there is no review this weekend. Just a teaser.
All tonal values have been optimized in Lightroom. Colors have not been altered. Images have not been cropped, except for the title image.
Also, special thanks to Judit for filling in this week. Anna is still away visiting her folks.
PS - For some reason, this uniquely modified powder-blue-snowflake M4 and Dual Range Summicron have been a lightning rod amongst Leica enthusiasts... well... Leica purist especially. Surprisingly, many of them do not do not find it breathtaking? It certainly took my breath away!
For the sake of these Leica purist, I refrained from committing with my originally intended title. I wanted to avoid any controversy for demonstrating bias in calling the APO Summicron the ugly one. I mean, one of them had to have drawn the short straw. And if I did, could you imagine the fallout? The village folks would have gone full torch-wielding-mob out with their pitchfork on the comment section - slandering the good name of my baby blue Dual Range Summicron. That's the real reason. So, now you know.
You know, I am trying to post more regularly. More than once a week.