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The Best of Enemies...

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

..Er, no - this isn't about William and Josh.

We have two exquisite rarities in stock: an 'infinity lock' Leitz Summilux 35mm f1.4 and a very lovely 35mm f1.8 Nikkor. We've been trying them out in the office on our trusty old 'works' Monochrom -

Nikon and Leica were great rivals during the classic era of photography. These days their products are so strikingly different that there seems no point in making any direct comparisons but (especially with the availability of Leica/nikon lens adapters) we just can't resist trying out a lovely lens when it comes our way...

The joy of the Monochrom is that with no colour filtering needed, the incredible sharpness of its sensor reveals the true performance of any lens tested on it.

Summilux -

Nikkor -

And the truth of the matter is that whilst these two lenses might have been built a few years apart, the two are so well matched that neither can deliver a knock-out blow to the other. Truly they appear the best of enemies. Of course, we could slave over a lens chart, shooting pics at a whole lot of different apertures, iso ratings and so on... But in 'real world' conditions the whole deal with lenses like these is to be found entirely in the eye and hands of the beholder. We love both lenses. They handle almost equally well - the Summilux might be a bit faster to focus - but both appear damn-nearly equally sharp at moderate apertures and we don't think we need to wax lyrical about 'bokeh' or whatever, because with lenses of this quality, such joys come with the territory.

Above, shot (iso 400 125 sec f4) taken with the Nikkor...

...Below, shot (iso 400 125 sec f4) with the Summilux

The Nikkor is slightly 'punchier' in contrast. The Summilux a little 'cooler' in its impact. The choice, in the end, is yours. We'd keep both. We'd buy both... But we can't because something's got to give - otherwise we'd go out of business... And you would never get to enjoy such treasures as these glorious lenses. The best of enemies..? No - actually, these are the best of travelling companions on the path to great photography!

Blog copyright Matthew Whiteman 2023

Camera images copyright The Latent Image 2023

Historic images copyright various

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