The 50mm Lens Rangefinder Experience

Leica M9 Zeiss 50mm f/2

A gorgeous warm sunny afternoon in Stratford-upon-Avon with the Leica M9 and Zeiss 50mm f/2 T* Planar lens.

Leica M9 Zeiss 50mm f/2

If I could only ever use one lens this would be it. A 35mm lens is often regarded as a "perfect" single lens, and indeed the Leica X1 and Fuji X100 go for that option, but personally I prefer a 50mm. By using a large depth of field it can work well as a landscape lens and by stopping down has a semi-telephoto effect. I find it lets me produce very tight "fill the frame" shots, and because of its natural perspective, the composition is all important. Just pointing a wide-angle at something can produce a dramatic effect. With a 50mm "standard" lens you often have to be a little more creative to get a eye-catching shot.

Leica M9 Zeiss 50mm f/2

Leica M9 Zeiss 50mm f/2

I met another photographer who was out with his 40 year old Leica M4 and 50mm f2 Summicron lens. He told me stories of going round the world with it, including photographing in the Burmese jungle. It looked it great condition, but he did tell me that a Leica service and a few repairs cost him £800! Longevity comes at a price with Leica.

Leica M9 Zeiss 50mm f/2

Leica M9 Zeiss 50mm f/2

I do enjoy these one-lens shoots and I'm doing it more often. It works particularly well when I'm in a place I've visited many times, and makes me look for different angles.

Leica M9 Zeiss 50mm f/2

Words - David
Images - David and Ann