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5/2009 LFI 5

CONTENT
Fabian Zapatka: cab driver at lake Sewan, Armenia (page 6)
Focal lengths 16 to 24 mm for the Leica M (page 34)
Annibale Greco: Dhobis in Mumbai (page 52)
PORTFOLIOS
FABIAN ZAPATKA 6
Two bikes and little luggage: Fabian Zapatka and Lorenz
Schrter embark on a seven week bicycle journey across
Georgia and Armenia, where Zapatka points his Leica MP
at the ordinary, the unique, and the very odd.
ANNIBALE GRECO 52
They do the dirty work so others can have clean clothes
to wear: the launders of the Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai.
Annibale Greco from Italy captured impressions in black
& white from Indias biggest laundry house.
TECH TALK
NOCTILUX: NEW! 20
Reincarnation of a legend: The Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 Asph,
the fastest asphere lens in the world, is ready to ship.
We tested this new and improved masterpiece for its potential
and user-friendliness at maximum aperture.
S SYSTEM: THE CENTRAL SHUTTER 28
A number of lenses in the Leica S2 system will optionally
feature a central shutter, created like so many
components of Leicas new flagship completely from
scratch. We report on its development.
WIDE ANGLE FOR LEICA M: 16 TO 24 MM 34
From Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21 mm f/4 Asph to Summilux-M
24 mm f/1.4 Asph: The seven lenses from the 16 to 24 mm
segment cover all your wide angle needs.
We compare their properties on film and on chip.
EQUIPMENT BAGS 50
Lowepro 160 AW and 250 AW from the award winning
Classified Series are spacious and comfortable.
SECTIONS
EDITORIAL 4
EXHIBITIONS 18
LFI READERS GALLERY 64
PREVIEW / IMPRINT 66
Fabian Zapatka: Small-town trains
station in Dillijan, Armenia
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LFI
LEICA FOTOGRAFIE INTERNATIONAL
5/ 2009
JULY
FABIAN ZAPATKA
ADVENTURE. TWO
BIKES, ONE LEICA MP
IN THE CAUCASUS
NOCTILUX
FANTASTIC. FIRST
IMPRESSIONS WITH THE
50 MM F/0.95 ASPH
WIDE ANGLE
OVERVIEW. THE
M FOCAL LENGTHS
16 TO 24 MM
PEDDLING
THROUGH
THE
CAUCASUS
PHOTOS: FABIAN ZAPATKA
An exceptional trip from the
Black Sea via Tiflis to Eriwan:
With a Leica MP, two old racing
bikes and time on their hands,
photographer Fabian Zapatka
and author Lorenz Schrter
embark on a dusty road trip
through Georgia and Armenia.
8 LFI 5/2009 5/2009 LFI 9
This page, clockwise: cigarette
sales in Gori; Georgian kids on the
side of the street; street scene in
Samtredia, Georgia; cab driver near
Gori, cab driver in Georgian village,
magazine vendor in Eriwan
10 LFI 5/2009 5/2009 LFI 11
This page, clockwise: Tiflis
Georgias capital in the
evening hours; an Armenian
butcher and meat; idyllic villas
in the Caucasus; a painter
with muse on city outskirts
NOCTILUX-M 50 MM F/0.95 ASPH LEICA RANGEFINDER
5/2009 LFI 21
THE HIGH SPEED WONDER FROM SOLMS
It reached us in a black case, embedded in black satin, like a
precious trinket. Yet it was never designed to be locked away
in a safe or pulled out on special occasions only. This was
clearly made to be used passionately by all of those willing
and in the fortunate position to invest the 8000 Euro which
the new Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 Asph has been relieving
customers of since its market inception in early May, 2009.
What exactly, apart from an absolute superlative of a lens
with record-breaking ambitions which cannot help but feel a
little non-contextual, do you get by opening this mother of a
jewellery box?
The new Noctilux design weighs in at a proud, yet
well proportioned 700 grams. It is only nominally longer
and wider than its predecessor, boasting an extraordinary
f/0.95 maximum aperture which is unquestionably
one of lens designs greatest triumphs as well as partly
marketing-related. When Solms set out to work, the objective
was to exceed the predecessor in every way. The forbearing
Noctilux f/1.0 has enjoyed a prime spot in Leicas lens
portfolio for more than 32 years and contributed greatly to
the Leica nimbus, having helped cement the brands kudos
as a specialist for outstanding available light lenses if not
through perfection then definitely through singular character.
High-speed lenses and we really are talking about the
fastest known to mankind are extremely difficult to make.
Designing them requires the careful balancing of countless
types of optical errors, such as spherical aberration, chromatic
aberration and koma. Moreover, they demand zero-tolerance
manufacture if they are to deliver the goods as intended by
the engineers. This explains both its price and its prestige.
The message is: If you can build a Noctilux and build it well,
you can basically build anything. The other message is that,
henceforth, the f/0.95 world record is no longer associated
with Canon, who built a corresponding 50 mm lens back in
the 1960s. More importantly, however, it proves once and for
all that you can have the best of extreme aperture and fantastic
quality fused in a single lens provided, of course, it was
made by Leicas optical department.
Still, isnt a lens like this an anachronism? If you look at
the conditions leading to the creation of super speed machines
like the Noctilux, and you also understand the competition
historically surrounding who could create the fastest lens, then
the answer is yes. The term Available Light really stands for
two things: the photojournalistic need to document authentic P
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Are you looking to treat yourself? If so, heres an idea: the new Noctilux by Leica.
It took a long to make but its turned out fantastic. A first impression.
5/2009 LFI 21 20 LFI 5/2009
The latest masterpiece from
the Solmsian lens design
department in a dignified
black satin box. The Noctilux-
M 50 mm f/0.95 Asph is a
real treasure one that insists
on being put to good use
LEICA RANGEFINDER NOCTILUX-M 50 MM F/0.95 ASPH
22 LFI 5/2009
testimonies of time even when the subject is illuminated by
little more than a pit lamp; and the necessity to cope with the
slow emulsions of the 1960s. The possibility to increase the
aperture just a little bit more may have dictated whether or
not you succeeded at getting that picture.
Meanwhile, the world of photography has moved on.
Today, an f/1.4 lens is all you really need to create powerful
low-light photography (see 50 mm Summilux-M Asph). And
yet pushing the speed boundaries through the roof is not
solely about making a point. The significance of maximum
aperture has also changed. In the past it primarily denoted
the ability to see in low light. Today, it stands for increased
compositional possibilities and ways of emphasising
photographic content through focus and blur. It comes as no
surprise then that the design process has also evolved to a far
greater level than if it were simply about chasing pictures
in the dark. The focusing plane, given its tiny depth of field
of two centimetres at one metre distance or eight centimetres
at two metres distance with full aperture, as well as the skill
involved in focusing it correctly, really has to earn its name;
the transition from focus to blur and the detail in the bokeh
has to be harmonious and smooth, as well as precise and
teeming with nuances. What is more, the lens will want to
perform to an equally high standard across all aperture stops
as you wouldnt want to invest all this money in a lens that
lacks convincing all-round qualities.
The Noctilux-M 50 mm f/1 developed by Walter Mandler
at Leitz Canada in 1976 consisted only of spherical lens
Maximum aperture at evening light. The result is so crisp youd never
think it were shot at f/0.95 if it werent for the creamy bokeh
The new Noctilux contains
two asphericals of large diameter,
whose manufacture demands
a highly sophisticated grinding
and polishing process
5/2009 LFI 23
Footloose snapshots at maximum aperture neednt be complicated. The
focusing ring requires a little force but operates smoothly and precisely
Thanks to the plasticity generated at maximum aperture,
anything shot with the Noctilux will have a special appeal
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TECH TALK LEICA S SYSTEM


28 LFI 5/2009
LEICA S SYSTEM TECH TALK
5/2009 LFI 29
THE CENTRAL SHUTTER
Leicas proprietary central shutter readies the Leica S2 for
top performance in the field and in the studio. Though its yet to reach
completion weve been granted a sneak preview.
The Leica S2 abandons the familiar and enters uncharted
territory with the development of a medium-format-
ish image sensor. It also pushes developers to consider
numerous other new technologies, such as lenses with
central shutters. Here, the medium format market has a
sizeable gap down the middle, as illustrated by our two
examples: Hasselblad, for instance, works exclusively with
central shutters; they were never very successful with their
focal plane solutions. Mamiyas esteemed 645 cameras are
based entirely on the focal plane shutter system, despite
the companys recent announcement to introduce their first
central shutter lens to this system. Studio photographers
generally want more than superior image quality. One
of their reasons for shooting medium format in the first
place is precisely because of the central shutter. Where
focal plane shutters for medium format cameras warrant
a maximum shutter speed of 1/125 sec when working
with flash, in action photography this is far from ideal.
Central shutters, on the other hand, can be run across their
complete speed spectrum.
To this end, Leica is placing all of their cards on the
development of a dual system and includes, what is for
medium format image sensors, an extremely fast focal plane
shutter with a maximum 1/4000 second shutter speed and
1/125 flash sync. Sports and action photographers will be
pleased to hear this. Moreover, most S lenses will be available
in CS editions with central shutter, while the camera will
feature a switch to swiftly toggle between CS and FPS mode
(central shutter and focal plane shutter). The entire platform
will revolve around both shutters equally. There is nothing
quite like it in the photography industry today.
THE OPTICAL CORE
Focal plane and central shutters are fundamentally different.
The central shutter sits right up against the aperture in
the optical centre of the lens. In other words, the shutter
activity takes place inside the lens and not the camera body.
The speed at which the shutter sectors move is finite,
which is of little importance in practice as long as the
movement is fast enough to respect the set shutter speed.
This speed, however, limits maximum shutter speed, which
is why central shutters typically operate between 1/500
and 1/1000 second values which, as well find out later, are
rarely accurate.
With focal plane shutters, faster exposure speeds per
pixel are easily achieved by firing two shutter curtains
virtually simultaneously (in rapid succession). However,
the flash will only work when the shutter is fully open
and the sensor completely exposed. Its a limitation central
shutters do not have, which is key to studio photographers.
Where the focal plane shutter is restricted to 1/125 sec flash
sync speed, the central shutter can go up to 1/500 second
and faster and allows for exposures of at least 2 EV less.
This effectively suppresses ambient light and prevents
double contours and blur from occurring when shooting
moving objects. It also gives you more control outdoors.
BY HOLGER SPARR
5/2009 LFI 29
Konstantin Aab, intellectual father of
the Leica central shutter system, with
experimental model. In the background:
the shutter as CAD model
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LEICA RANGEFINDER WIDE ANGLES 16 TO 24 MM
34 LFI 5/2009
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Since Photokina 2008 the Leica M system has grown by several new wide angle lenses.
Its latest family member: the Super-Elmar-M 18 mm f/3.8 Asph. For us it means mounting all
seven wide angles and putting them through their digital and analogue paces.
Heres the latest from the 1624 mm department.
Getting our hands on Summiluxes
21 mm and 24 mm f/1.4 Asph was an
act, despite their Photokina introduction
now residing almost three quarters of a
year back. The logistics revolving around
the production of these complex designs,
however, are now being finalised. As
a result they will likely become more
readily available. Thats excellent news.
Sure theyre expensive, weighing in at a
whooping 5000 Euro. Its what you pay
when you want lens speed, wide angle
and compact design in one. However,
all hope is lost the moment any one of
these fine young ladies meets her M
counterpart, when you find yourself
drooling over the dazzling light of the
Summilux design.
Similarly, the two new super wides
of the f/3.8 division glow with special
appeal. It is thanks to their moderate
speeds, alongside new and rationalised
production processes, that you can now
purchase the Elmar-M 24 mm f/3.8 Asph
and Super-Elmar-M 18 mm f/3.8 Asph
for what are for Leica standards genuine
peanut prices: 1795 Euro and 2300
Euro respectively. Both are wonderfully
compact and a pleasure to use.
If a little more speed is what you need
but the mere thought of 5000 Euro makes
you cringe, consider the time-honoured
Elmarit-M 21 mm f/2.8 Asph for 3300 Euro,
or the 24 mm f/2.8 Asph for 3100 Euro
(both designs introduced in the 1990s).
Also worth your time and money:
the Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21 mm f/4 Asph
from 2006. You pay 4495 Euro but get
the most extreme of all M angles as well
5/2009 LFI 35
Super-Elmar-M
18 mm f/3.8
Asph
Summilux-M
21 mm f/1.4
Asph
Elmarit-M
21 mm f/2.8
Asph
Summilux-M
24 mm f/1.4
Asph
Elmarit-M
24 mm f/2.8
Asph
Elmar-M
24 mm f/3.8
Asph
Tri-Elmar-M
16-18-21 mm f/4
Asph
Angle of view
(diagonal)
100 degrees
(M8: 84 degrees)
92 degrees
(M8: 75 degrees)
92 degrees
(M8: 75 degrees)
84 degres
(M8: 68 degrees)
84 degrees
(M8: 68 degrees)
84 degrees
(M8: 68 degrees)
107/100/92 deg.
(M8: 90/84/75)
Lenses/groups 8/7 10/8 9/7 10/8 7/5 8/6 10/7
Closest foc. distance 0.7 m 0.7 m 0.7 m 0.7 m 0.7 m 0.7 m 0.5 m
Dimensions
(diameter x length)
61 x 58 mm 69.5 x 66 mm 58 x 46 mm 61 x 58.5 mm 58 x 45 mm 53 x 40.6 mm 54 x 66 mm
Weight 310 g 580 g 300 g (black)
415 g (silver)
500 g 290 g (schwarz)
388 g (silbern)
260 g 335 g
Filter E58 Series VIII E55 Series VII E55 E46 E67
Price 2300 Euro 4995 Euro 3300 Euro 4995 Euro 3100 Euro 1795 Euro 4495 Euro
SPECIFICATIONS
Super-Elmar-M 18 mm f/3.8 Asph Summilux-M 21 mm f/1.4 Asph Elmarit-M 21 mm f/2.8 Asph Summilux-M 24 mm f/1.4 Asph Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21 mm f/4 Asph
Elmarit-M 24 mm f/2.8 Asph
Elmar-M 24 mm f/3.8 Asph
LEICA RANGEFINDER WIDE ANGLES 16 TO 24 MM
36 LFI 5/2009
WIDE ANGLES 16 TO 24 MM LEICA RANGEFINDER
5/2009 LFI 37
as three focal lengths in one mount.
The deal includes the Universal Wide-
angle Viewfinder M a gadget commonly
referred to as the Frankenfinder due to
its indisputably monstrous size, yet crucial
to the correct functioning of the lens.
The mere existence of the accessory
finder raises a very central question:
Is the Leica M system really designed
for wide angle photography? Well, it
depends on how you look at it. If you
assess the seven lenses for what they
are each in their own way consistently
excellent then the answer is simply:
yes, beyond a shadow of a doubt. On top
of that, the Leica M is the most precise
manual focusing system for lenses below
the telephoto threshold.
On the downside, the nature of the
rangefinder mechanism puts a hold on
how close you can get, with the buck
usually stopping at 70 cm. It means
you wont be shooting those grotesque,
wide angle close ups which we take for
granted in SLR photography. Moreover,
wide angle photography with the Leica M
will always feel a little excessive: Because
the viewfinder features only a limited
number of frames for a limited number
of focal lengths, the use of focal lengths
smaller than 28 or 24 mm respectively
(analogue and digital M respectively)
requires the use of an accessory finder if
you dont just want to guess. We were here
75 years ago, when the Leica II introduced
a coupled rangefinder system with two
view windows, whereby one composed
the shot and the other adjusted the focus.
Last but not least, there is the crop
factor question. Since the introduction of
the Leica M8 there have been a number
of complaints regarding the expensive
21 mm, that it is a timid 28 when run
digitally. Its a valid point, and the fact that
you could have simply carried on shooting
M6 if the 92 degree angle of view is
absolutely essential to your work is of
course a rather sarcastic response.
Ultimately, it is the dawn of the M8
that boosted the amount of research &
development activity currently taking
place in the wide angle field. It is precisely
because of the crop sensor that the
lens portfolio has downright mutated.
First came the Tri-Elmar, successively
introducing digital M users to the
width (if not the speed) of traditional
M photography. And it isnt just digital
thats benefiting: traditional M users have
never had this many partners to dance
TECHNIK LEICA S-SYSTEM
5/2009 LFI 37
The new, metal-case
accessory finders for
18, 21 and 24 mm lenses
unite classic design with
total clarity and viewfinder
light frames. They sell for
650 Euro a pop
Super-Elmar-M 18 mm f/3.8 Asph,
aperture 5.6, M7 (left),
Summilux-M 24 mm f/1.4 Asph,
aperture 1.4, M8 (right)
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IN INDIAS
WASHHOUSE
PHOTOS: ANNIBALE GRECO
Every day a million garments pass through the
central laundry facility of Mumbai. Using a
Leica M7, Annibale Greco documented the gruelling
working conditions here in the Dhobi Ghat.
54 LFI 5/2009
This page, clockwise: A man beating laundry; a Dhobi working in a wash basin; the chemicals.
Right page: Young Dhobi the work of a Dhobi is passed from generation to generation
PORTFOLIO
ANNIBALE GRECO
5/2009 LFI 57
Left page: For 10,000 Indians, some still children, the Dhobi Ghat is the end of the line. This page, clockwise:
Man waits for spin dryer to become available; the launders are well organised; concrete wash basin
PORTFOLIO
ANNIBALE GRECO
64 LFI 5/2009 5/2009 LFI 65
ONE LINER. What does the back of a shirtless
man on the Mediterranean Sea share in common
with the legs of a young girl or a sleeping black
man on a park bench? Answer: a remarkably
consistent style of delivery. Roman T. Parker
(alias cyberean) has been known to dabble in
many a photographic genre. It is his street
photography, however, that is probably most
recognisable. Where a handrail stretches across
one of the images, a brick wall or park bench lines
the next. The Californian loves his horizontal lines
just as much as he enjoys shifting the focus to the
far edge of his pictures, placing his subjects and
backgrounds in visually stimulating juxtapositions.
Parkers photography has a well composed air to
it, always meticulously crafted. To this 43-year-old
gentleman, however, the Leica M7 and M8 are like
butterfly nets to capture whatever he fancies. He
never plans or waits. He plays with lines, intuitively
allocates his subjects to the right places in the
picture, and boosts the already very rich colour
with a little Photoshop tweaking. If you feel like
testing your eye for composition, consider clicking
through the M8 Master Shots section in LFI Gallery
and see if you can single out the work of a
certain cyberean. www.lfi-online.com/gallery
The wondering man, the wandering child: Often
a singular subject catches Parkers attention.
At first glance, the picture shows little emotion;
at a second, the subject reveals through subtle
expression and body language an individual story
LFI

GALLERY
From radiant colours and smooth compositions
to colourful characters and striped stockings:
Roman T. Parkers photography shows urban life
from an unusual angle, even though many of
his shots were taken right in front of his doorstep
in the remote village of Dana Point