Chill out TGIF: Portraits with the Leica SL + Summilux-SL 50MM F/1.4 ASPH

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We took the Leica SL out for another spin, this time with the large and heavy Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens. We loved the results, but leave you to judge for yourself with these portraits.

Leica SL + Summilux-SL 50MM F/1.4 ASPH

We did a rather in-depth review of the Leica SL recently, as the outcome of using the camera almost exclusively during our Baselworld coverage. We had three lenses then – APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 60 mm f/2.8 ASPH used for all watch closeup macro photographs, the Apo-Summicron SL 90 f/2 ASPH used mainly for portraits, and the Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16–35 f/3.5–4.5 ASPH as a general walkabout lens. More recently, we also had the Summilux-SL 50MM F/1.4 ASPH on test, and took it out for several spins.

The Summilux-SL 50MM F/1.4 ASPH is a standard lens, as in 35mm parlay the 50mm is the standard, with a angle of view closest to that of the human eye. In the film days, these lenses, especially at f/1.8 were ubiquitous, small and relatively inexpensive. However, in recent years, the trend is to design these lenses to zero distortion, and of course, with auto focus, resulting in huge(82 mm filter size), heavy (1.065g) and expensive lenses. The Summilux-SL 50MM F/1.4 ASPH retails for S$7,680 inclusive of GST in Singapore. But it is not alone in this stage. The Panasonic 50mm f1.4 S Pro is almost equally heavy (955g) with similar dimensions (77mm filter size) and retails for a not inconsiderable S$4,500.

The Leica SL + Summilux-SL 50MM F/1.4 ASPH. Photo from Leica.

But if one takes the price aside, the performance of the Summilux 50 is outstanding. Even when wide open at f/1.4, the lens is very sharp, very detailed corner to corner. Distortion is neglible, and the image produced with the SL is highly nuanced, and the colours exceptional. The bokeh at f/1.4 is also beautiful.

All images in this article was photographed with this combination. All shot hand held, in available light, at ISO100. All except for one was photographed with Aperture Priority mode at f/1.4 with AWB set by the camera. Raw files were processed by Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CC 2019.

H. Moser event with Cortina Watch

We attended the H. Moser event to celebrate their new partnership with Cortina Watch. This was held on the 70th floor of  Swissôtel The Stamford with panoramic views of the city.

The Singapore CBD, as seen from Skai.
This was the only shot taken at f/8. The full image can print to A2 at 1:1 pixels without resizing. And I reckon the image would hold up even printed at A1 or even A0.
Bertrand Meylan, CEO of MELB Asia.

With this new partnership, H. Moser & Cie. timepieces will be distributed by Cortina’s distribution arm, Pacific Time, and available exclusively at Cortina Watch’s Capitol Piazza and Paragon boutiques. Moser watches have been earlier retailed by The Hour Glass and Sincere Fine Watches.

Edouard Meylan, CEO H. Moser & Cie.
Sharon Lim, Executive Director, Pacific Time, the distributors for H. Moser and Hautlence.

Quick takes with Edouard Meylan

We also sat down for a 1on1 chat with Edouard Meylan. It was an interesting discussion where he shared some insights in his business.

He portrayed H. Moser as a growing person. When they took over the company in 2012, they had just moved into a teenage era. Provocative, Trying to express opinion. Challenging and seeking to carve out its own identity. Test, try, see the reaction was the order of the day. Through this we see many interesting aspects of the company. The whimsical products like the Swiss Mad Watch, the withdrawn Swiss Icon Watch, and recently the Swiss Green Watch.

But the time has come to now move into the next phase, adulthood. More mature, more serious. And Edouard assures us that will continue to keep the humour, the edginess and the rebel attitude.

And their creativity will show no ebbing. Novelties will continue to pour out of Schaffhausen. In the following months, it is anticipated Moser will announce their new chronograph, a collaboration with Agenhor. No doubt a variant of the Agengraphe movement already seen in Singer Reimagined and the Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph.

Also to be debuted soon is a new steel and metal bracelet, perhaps inevitable as Georges-Henri Meylan – Edouard and Bertrand’s father, reigned as CEO of Audemars Piguet when the brand saw the meteoric rise of the Royal Oak.

Photo Notes: The restaurant had an entire wall of floor to ceiling, West facing glass. Photographed in the morning, this presented us with a beautiful soft, natural light.

Casio Underground Fight Club

In an exclusive by-invite only event conceptualised entirely by G-SHOCK Singapore, over a thousand G-SHOCK fans, key opinion leaders and guests gathered at The Underground Fight Club last Friday, 23 August 2019. Paying homage to game changers far and wide, Mr Kikuo Ibe, the father of G-SHOCK shared his story of how he never gave up. Staying true to his adage, he eventually succeeded in creating the world’s toughest watch despite all odds.

Kikuo Ibe, Inventor of the G-Shock.

It is often said that the Leica SL is not a sporty or sports oriented camera, lacking the frame rate to shoot action sequences. But we think it can be done. Below, we see two frames out of two taken showing Shunichi Watanabe, Managing Director, Casio Singapore throw a punch a bag with the G-Shock mounted on it. The punch dislodged the watch, and it fell to the ground. But when Watanabe-san picked it up, it was still working and good condition.

The event also showcased live painting demos by visual artist Sam Lo. The event also had various music performances from Dharni, Axel Brizzy, Joie Tan and DJ Reikolah. The Underground Fight Club served as the launchpad for the new game changing G-SHOCK GA-2100, one of the thinnest yet toughest watches within the G-SHOCK family.

Samantha Lo, also known by the moniker SKL0, is a Singaporean contemporary artist. Dubbed the “Sticker Lady”.

Photo Notes: Lighting in this event space is totally different from the Moser event, as the space was lit completely with artificial lighting. Stage lighting is often very harsh, and under these circumstances, the camera/lens worked quite well. Autofocus acquisition was fast and easy, nailing focus every time. Due to the colour of the lighting used, white balance was set in ACR.

Concluding thoughts

The Leica SL with the Summilux 50 is an excellent combination for camera for general photography. It shines in image quality, and capability to print large. The files are detailed, sharp and free of distortion. The f/1.4 maximum aperture shows up with beautiful bokeh and relatively easy to nail focus. Even though the SL is not the fastest auto focus camera in the market, its performance is very good and we found the contrast detect auto focus system is accurate.

The two main drawbacks of this combination is that it is relatively heavy, and rather expensive. The SL 601 is also due for replacement soon, with the SL2 somewhere in the works. And the Summilux 50 faces internal competition from the APO-Summicron-SL 50 f/2 ASPH (S$$6,720.00). Leica Summicrons have always had an aura around it, and is somewhat smaller and lighter and even slightly less expensive. But you won’t go wrong either way. Build quality of the SL and lenses are legendary. And the history and legacy unrivaled.



  1. These photos are stunning a great camera and a great lens. However let’s face it as stated, the lens’ were inexpensive but now the association with Leica has bumped the price up considerably let’s not forget that. The way life is now, join two names and bump the price up. The Instagram types are gullible enough to pay it so why not?

    • I guess you are talking about the Panasonic 50mm f1.4 S Pro? Well, you might be right that having Leica endorse the lens raised the price. But consider also the Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art. It is similarly sized with a 77mm filter size, though weighing in at a lower 815g, costs about S$1,400. The Sigma in the L Mount is the same price as for that for the Canon, Nikon, Sony or Sigma mount. I am not sure if they need to pay Canon/Nikon/Sony for royalties, but certainly do not for Sigma, and certainly they do so for the L Mount.