Leica M 246 and 50mm Apo-Summicron: On camera fairs and motoring nostalgia
This morning I set out to visit the South London Camera Fair at Sidcup, Kent, with the new Leica Monochrom (Typ 246) and 50mm Apo-Summicron slung round my neck. I was hoping to get one or two shots to go with my forthcoming review of the Monochrom Mk.II. An ordinary sort of Sunday, but an extraordinary combination of camera and lens. After a couple of hours immersed in old cameras I made my way along the M25 in search of old and new motors—always to be found at the Brooklands Motor Museum.
Whenever you turn up at Brooklands there is something unusual to be seen. Today I bumped into a crowd of Dutch enthusiasts who had parked some rather desirable motors on the banking of the old race circuit, built in 1907. Brooklands was the world's first purpose-built banked race track but, sadly, it ceased functioning as such on the day war broke out in 1939. the facilities were turned over the aircraft production and, to the dismay of the motoring fraternity, there was never a possibility of it returning to its former glory.
We're fortunate, however, that some of the original banking, the 1907 clubhouse and a number of other buildings have survived to form one of the world's most unusual and rewarding automotive and aeronautical museums.
Quite apart from the excellence of the new Monochrom, I am again so impressed by the sharpness and resolution of Leica's flagship 50mm Apo-Summicron. This is a really outstanding lens and in my opinion is the finest fifty from Leica, old or now. Not everyone likes the rather clinical delivery but I do appreciate it. The Noctilux is the most expensive fifty, but this slower f/2 is the better, I believe. It's also much smaller and lighter than the hefty Nocti and is therefore more practical as an everyday lens. If I were to choose just one Leica M lens, irrespective of price or focal length, it is this sublime 50mm Apo-Summicron that I would have permanently glued to my camera.
RAW files from the new Monochrom are flat, as were those from the original camera. But a bit of post processing brings them to life. In this case very little was done, just a quick run through Silver Efex Pro and that's that.