I’ve been using the SL system for many years for my food/cocktail work. I started with the original SL and now have the SL2. It has become my workhorse. At some point during the last year or so, I’ve started thinking about trying to elevate the quality of my work. This aspect seemed a little daunting because of the already stellar images I get with the SL2. I have been improving my lighting setups as well as adjusting the color grading in post in order to get a different look. Yet, I wanted more.
Over the years, I’ve also had several M systems and have always loved the “look” you get with them. Even though both systems are Leica through and through, I still feel that the M’s have a very unique look as compared to the SL. This is probably due to the differences in the sensors and more importantly, the M lenses. I’ve mainly only ever used the M’s for street photography and portrait work. The M system is very difficult to use due to their focusing and workflow. Alas, the M’s have never really been on my radar for food/cocktail work.
It wasn’t until recently when Leica released the new 50mm Summilux close focus lens that I really considered using my M10R for food/cocktail work. Knowing the look I potentially would get with the M10R I jumped at the chance to try this new lens. Now mind you, in the past I’ve never considered using a macro adapter as it just didn’t appeal to me. But now with the close focus ability from this new iteration things have changed. Being able to focus down to as close as 0.45 meters really fits my work style, all without having to use a macro adapter.
Recently on some professional jobs I was able to incorporate this new setup into my workflow. I am quite pleased with the look. The images are tack sharp but yet painterly. Normally I am at an F stop of 5.6 but I did take a few snaps wide open and that really set off the images. The food almost seemed fake at 1.4. I’m not one to get overly obsessed about bokeh but it even rivals what you might get on a Noctilux. It’s very aesthetically pleasing to the eye by lending that soft, artistic look. The color rendering from the lens is exquisite. For my discerning eye the overall look is very cinematic. Something that I am constantly after.
Leica has always been known for their glass, especially their vintage screw-mount lenses. I used to use my Q2 for travel but now with the new close-focus lens added to my lens lineup I can cover all aspects of my work including travel. I foresee continuing to use my SL2 as my work horse for professional jobs. I want to be able to use the M10R/close focus setup for more personal work and slowly start adding it to my professional work. I will say that using an M system with this lens doing this type of work is still very difficult. Now it's just a matter of being able to get that critical focus on a consistent level. Hopefully the addition of a Visoflex helps.