Leica M2, 50mm Summicron V5 and 35mm Zeiss Biogon f2

5 Frames with a Leica M2, 50mm Summicron V5 and 35mm Zeiss Biogon f2 – By Giles Barratt

I am a musician and have been spending quite a lot of time in Krakow, especially as it’s a great city for jazz. For the last say 3-4 years I have been enjoying photography especially film photography, this bug started when I bought a Canon digital 750 for the purpose to film gigs and take a few promo shots.

On my free days I found I was walking around Bristol taking pictures on the street. I really didn’t know what I was doing, however it sparked an interest and something that I could only describe as adventurous. It brought back memories of briefly studying photography many years before as part of an art elective for GCSE. I suddenly remembered developing photos in the dark room and all the chemical smells came flooding back. This was when I knew I wanted a film camera.

Cut a long story short, after trying out a few cheap film cameras I realised the Leica M2 stood out after watching a few YouTube videos, I bought one from Reddot (serviced CLA’d). I am really interested in mechanical things , I also love well made automatic watches. I could see a parallel regarding German and Swiss engineering. Firstly I bought two Canon LTM lenses and used an adapter. One was a LTM 50 1.4 and the other was a 35mm 2.8.

These lenses were really nice and cinematic in the way they render the photos. As soon as a started using this set I felt freer enjoying this simplistic approach. There were no buttons or beeping noises to tell me that I was doing something wrong. I figured out the sunny 16 rule and some of the first pictures were hit or miss, although after around a week I was getting some pretty good results in terms of exposure and sharpness.

Carrying around this camera brought me some calmness to my thinking, a kind of meditational walk. As I walk around I am trying to capture micro moments (sorry for my lack of professional terminology). I switch between the 35mm Zeiss Biogon f2 and the 50mm Leica Summicron V5 depending on my mood.

I don’t have a clear strategy when it comes to taking photos, it’s more about spending a day with the camera and see what happens. I personally feel I am documenting my feelings associated with the day. I am really happy with the performance from these lenses, especially the effect they have on film. The portability is ideal.

Again, using film I really enjoy the process of being in the moment and not being being able to see the results straight away. I feel inspired if I get one or two keepers per 36 roll. Having a nice print feels tangible and something worth keeping or giving away as a present. Taking pictures and being interested in film photography has given me the space to think about music a little more freely and it has granted me another way to express myself.

In these pictures I am mainly using Ilford Hp5 or a cheap colour film (Kodak colour plus).

Kazimierz Krakow
Kopiec Podgorze
Flower seller
Planty Krakow
Planty Krakow

If you want to see more pictures follow me on Instagram gilesbarratt

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4 thoughts on “5 Frames with a Leica M2, 50mm Summicron V5 and 35mm Zeiss Biogon f2 – By Giles Barratt”

  1. I used to have an M2, I bought it in London in 1959. It got sold on the bay site. But more recently I picked up a Leica iiif and then along came two Canon FD lenses and a ‘Canon Lens Mount Converter B’. I hacked a Nikon point and shoot that has a 28mm lens and made a 28mm viewfinder to use with the iiif (see this on 35mmc). I have a problem that I relate to you in desperation. The Converter is stuck on the 28mm f2.8 Canon lens and all attempts to get it off have failed. The other Canon FD lens is a 50mm f1.8. Any suggestions, from you or anyone else to how to get the converter off would make my day.

    1. Geoff, you may have tried this alread, but if you have a rear lens cap that fits on the adapter, you can put that on the adapter and then grab and twist. Being able to hold the lens cap as opposed to the thin metal adapter often provides the little bit of extra leverage that’s needed to get it off.

  2. Geoff, I am assuming that the converter is made of an alloy in which case it has ‘grown’ on to the recipient item to which it is attached. You need to apply LOCALISED heat heat in order to expand the alloy part of the converter. To do this, use an electric soldering gun to precisely target the heat – preferably the pistol type as they have a high/variable power output and are more comfortable to use. Now apply a ten second ‘blast’ of heat equally to the offending part at equidistant points around its circumference until it is hot to the touch and in order to expand it. Without a picture I’m shooting in the dark but, the technique works fine for me on most things.

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