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Fast Lenses

The current article over at The Luminous Landscape is “Fast Lenses for the Epson R-D1” by Sean Reid. This got my blood pumping a lot more than most LL articles, which are all about digital cameras. How 21st century. Boring.

Oops. This article’s about a digital camera, too. Actually, as the title says, it’s really about the lenses you put on it, but first a word about the camera. The Epson R-D1 is a digital rangefinder camera that works just like a Leica. You even have to wind it (to cock the shutter). Charming, methinks.

Back to the lenses. Sean compares 15 “fast” lenses (f/2.0 or faster) in focal lengths from 35mm to 75mm. It’s quite a roundup and interested me particularly because someday I would like to get a second lens for my Leica, probably a 35mm. He reviewed six 35mm lenses, only one of which was made by Leica. Since I will never be able to afford the Leica lens, it was interesting to read his thoughts on the less-expensive models. He found something to like about all of them; he’s obviously not a Leica snob.

I’m just window-shopping unfortunately, because I blew my camera budget when I dropped the Leica back in January. I won’t tell you what that repair cost, except to say I could have bought a very nice lens. Sigh.

Speaking of fast lenses, a thread on streetphoto about a hunt for a Canon 50mm f/1.0 turned up this photo of a Leitz 90mm f/1.0. What a monster—and probably useless, too. With that giant hunk of glass out there in front, there’s no way you could see anything through the rangefinder!

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