A while back I had the chance to shoot the Leica 75mm Summilux and loved the images coming out of that lens. It had a Noctilux-ish feel and there is nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, Leica stopped producing the 75mm Summilux several years ago and the ones on the used market are quite expensive.
There really were no other alternatives until Leica came out with a body that allowed the user to focus using live view and focus peaking. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand how many people will think it is complete wrong to use these features on any M body.
Most of the time I am shooting somewhere on the wider end of the spectrum (28mm or 35mm), but once in a while I enjoy putting some distance between me and the subject, doing the occasional portrait shoot or working on isolating subjects. Lenses in the 75mm to 90mm range have traditionally been perfect for these jobs and this 85mm lens fits in that range nicely.
To make this combo work I purchased a FD to LM adapter. It wasn’t expensive and gives me full access to manually adjusting the aperture. Honestly though, I bought this lens to shoot at f/1.2 so I rarely need to stop it down. To make use of this aperture during the day I bought a ND filter, threw it on the front of the lens and kept shooting wide open during the day.
Like the Leica 75mm Summilux, this lens is out of production, but there are plenty of these lenses on the used market. I bought this particular one at Map Camera in Shinjuku. At the time of purchase they had two available.
In the end, I couldn’t be happier with this purchase.
All of the samples below were shot wide open at f/1.2, some with a ND filter attached.