What works . . .

. . . and what doesn’t . . .

The 135mm APO-Telyt-M, when focused precisely, is blinding sharp, revealing the tiniest details. Miss by even a micrometer and it looks like a plastic Vivitar from the 1980’s. Therein lies the problem.

By the time the MS Optics 1.35X magnifier arrived early this afternoon, I’d read enough about the lens to know that I’m far from alone in being unable to consistently exploit its incredible capabilities. Too, it appears to be geared (literally) for shooting at short to medium distances.

Seeing how short the focus throw is from 20m to infinity, I looked more closely at the RF cam. It is raked at an angle that makes me wonder how the hell I got anything in focus! Still, the magnifier helped me go from a 10% hit rate to 35%, with almost all shots at least close enough to compete with the Vivtar. 🙁

The magnifier is yet another story. Beautifully made with a nicely damped diopter adjustment, it magnifies the patch nicely. However, its lower contrast compared to the Leica correction lens more than offsets the benefit of having a slightly larger patch.

The 75mm Summilux, with which my hit rate with the Leica correction lens has so far been around 95% shooting indoors at f/1.4-f/2, managed exactly 50% today shooting outdoors at f/4!  And the diopter adjustment can also be “adjusted” by my shirt as I walk, necessitating refocusing each time I start to shoot.

I see the magnifier as being a big help to folks who may need differing amounts of correction when changing shooting distances. It may also be of use for specific shooting situations or with specific lenses. The adjustable diopter has a nice, long throw that enables superb fine tuning. But for me, the better contrast in Leica’s correction lens makes for a “no doubt about it” MF experience from 18mm-90mm, especially when shooting wide and normal lenses.

The 1.35X will wait in the dry cabinet for whatever RF I may next add. Interesting to note that the MS Optics thread adapter for the M10 series looks and mounts with the same precision as Leica’s, at about a third the cost.

As for the 135mm, well, it’s not easy to ditch anything that good, but . . .

M10-R/75mm Summilux-M