Much as I'm fascinated by camera technology and can appreciate just what a camera like the Sony A7 Mk II can do, I was actually more impatient to see how my 'new' Voigtlander Nokton 58mm F/1.4 SL-II N performed on my Leica T. So yesterday I had a wander around the grounds of a stately home with that lens and my Voigtlander 20mm f3.5 Nikon Fit Color-Skopar fitted via my Novoflex adapter. (And in the light of the Metabones issues I've been encountering, I may be getting more of these. Pricy but made to the same standards as some other German photographic gear I could mention)
And wandering around in the sunshine with this outfit, shooting landscape is about as close to my personal photographic nirvana as I can get. The Voigtlander Nokton 58mm F/1.4 SL-II N performed as expected, producing beautifully sharp images. In fact I've even upsized a few of them to 36MP and uploaded them to picture libraries.
However, the main point of this article is about the 'wonders' of the Voigtlander 20mm f3.5 Nikon Fit Color-Skopar and how I can turn that and my Leica T into a focus free point and shoot. I set the lens up as in the image below.
I then set the camera to aperture priority and auto ISO. Because of the nature of the lens everything from just over 2 feet to infinity is in focus at f/11 and I just let the auto ISO select what it needs. I've got a minimum shutter speed set, so it really is a point and shoot with no need to focus the lens. And if anyone is wondering why I keep this slower 20mm lens when I have the Nikon 20mm f/1.8G, this is why. Incidentally, if you're wondering why I don't move the infinity symbol to f/11 to get the full hyperfocal distance range, it's because if I did what's in the distance gets too soft. Because using this method there is still only one sharp point of focus anyway and it would be too close to me if I move the infinity symbol any further than this.
This technique has been used by street photographers (the real ones!) over the years and it was a favourite trick for people using Leica film cameras and m-mount lenses, enabling them to work quickly without having to go through the somewhat fiddly rangefinder focusing process. However, it's also been used extensively by Landscape photographers as a way of maximising depth of field and I used to adopt this method all the time with my medium format cameras and manual focus lenses. I hesitate to think how many Velvia transparencies I created using my 55mm and 35mm Pentax 645 lenses with this hyperfocal distance set and the camera at 1/60th. f/11. Tens of thousands I imagine.
So this was very enjoyable and of course created some very useful high quality generic landscape / location images. I was keen to use the Leica T again because if the courier is on time in a couple of hours I will be the proud (but significantly poorer!) owner of a complete set of Leica T lenses. The Leica APO-Vario-Elmar-T 55-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH is finally available in the UK and as soon as I saw the words IN STOCK appear on my dealers website I ordered it immediately.
As I've written often enough this is my personal camera and system. Of course it turns out very commercial images for my work as well, but my other cameras and lenses, much as I like them, are just tools. The Leica is something else. And I still can't get this idea out of my head that a couple of Leica T bodies, the T lenses and a set of the Voigtlander SL II Nikon fit primes is all I need. Now I already know it's what I want, but whether or not I take that final step and go into a Leica / Smartphone and nothing else phase, who knows. I seem to have bottled out of doing it up to now, so that will probably continue, but as I said it does seem to be an idea I can't shake. While I decide expect a few Leica telephoto zoom posts.
Now this doesn't mean I've given up on the Sony A7 Mk II or Fuji 16-50mm f/2.8, I haven't and there is more coming on both of those, as indeed there will be on the Sigma DP2 Quattro. But the Leica T system is my perfect mirrorless interchangeable lens system and while I realise that I'm very much in the minority with that view, it's just such an inspirational system for me and one that 'dares' me to create the best images I can. And there really isn't a much higher recommendation for a camera and / or lens than that.