When using Leica M cameras I generally try to stick to using small lenses, but there is a problem: small lenses are usually slow and I find slow lenses (at least non-ultrawides) incredibly boring.
My workaround is using some of the MS-Optics lenses as they try to be small, lightweight and fast at the same time – at the cost of some optical compromises obviously.
I was a bit hesitant to use these lenses on film at first (doubts about rangefinder accuracy, focus shift and field curvature) but I decided to try nevertheless and exposed 4 films mainly using the 24mm 2.0 Aporia and the 50mm 1.0 ISM. How did it work out in the end? Let’s have a look.
24mm 2.0 Aporia
The 24mm 2.0 Aporia has a working infinity hard stop, even though the rangefinder patch doesn’t align perfectly here. The lens focuses down to 0.5 m, but the closest distance the rangefinder coupling actually works at is ~1.0 m.
I tried with the M10 before and got the feeling the rangefinder coupling is accurate enough between 1.0 m to 3.0 m even at f/2.0 and at longer focus distances I can simply use the infinity hard stop and will most likely use the lens stopped down anyway.
As you can see from the pictures I mainly used this lens stopped down for landscape/architecture shooting and on film it performed surprisingly well.
Even looking at the extreme corners it is hard to find a flaw with its performance, quite remarkable for a quirky 24mm lens the size of a lens cap.
50mm 1.0 ISM
As already pointed out in my review of the 50mm 1.0 ISM I consider this a rather mediocre f/1.0, but a decent f/1.4 lens. I found out how to adjust its rangefinder coupling so calibrated it myself to give best possible results at f/1.4.
I carried a 3-stop ND filter to be able to use it at wider apertures despite the M6’s 1/1000s fastest shutter speed limitation.
The lens has some issues with field curvature and I was a bit afraid this may lead to some focus errors at wider apertures and this is what happened. Some of the pictures that look fine in low resolution here don’t look that great even at screen size.
With the point of focus close to the center of the frame I have sometimes been positively surprised though.
What did I learn?
Using the 24mm stopped down worked quite well actually. I didn’t use an external finder and usually framed being aware that there will be some more legroom to crop if a slight tilt is needed to level the horizon.
As this lens is so tiny and because of the position of the focus lever I managed to have my finger in six of the pictures I took with it though, ah well…
With the 50mm I expected I was in for a wild ride and I haven’t been disappointed. It is simply not a good idea to use focus and recompose with fast lenses having field curvature issues. For lower resolution images things mostly look fine, but better not look too close.
In the future I will consider more thoroughly which lenses to use on the analogue camera and in which situations to pick it in the first place though.
Especially when it gets darker the image quality that can be achieved with a digital camera is so clear and so far ahead of what analogue can do, it is staggering.