Photoessay: Chinatown cinematics, and using the Leica 50/1.4 ASPH on the OM-D

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Though visiting Chinatown in the USA is somewhat ironic for a person from Asia (we do have Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur too; it’s just not that different from the rest of town); I did find it to be quite photographically rich – especially with San Francisco’s inclined streets. Between the Cantonese and interesting side alleys, it felt a lot more like Hong Kong than anywhere else – which is perhaps a consequence of the origin of the immigrants. More than that though, something about the atmosphere was rather conducive to the cinematic style, though it could also be because both times I arrived at the end of the day as the sun was setting and pouring down the east-west streets in a gloriously saturated manner. I sent my workshop students off to explore style with a few different assignments, mounted the Leica 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH on my OM-D via an adaptor and set off to grab a few frames from a movie.

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Quick comment on using the 50/1.4 ASPH on the OM-D: you can really see the field curvature; center-focus-and-recompose doesn’t work; the corners will visibly focus shift. You have to focus in place for optimum results, or risk smearing. I don’t think it’s a consequence of the lens design so much as the interaction between the lens and the microlenses on the sensor (the M cameras have offset microlenses to deal with edge issues, the OM-D doesn’t). That said, I’ve frequently found that this field curvature is something that is both frustrating in practice – it makes nailing precise focus wide open near-impossible – and a strong contributor to the cinematic ‘look’ because it helps with subject isolation, especially at distance. It’s not easy to focus the lens precisely on the camera, but using the 5x magnified view and OIS helps (there’s an option to disable cancelling the magnified view with the shutter half press, and OIS is activated only with the half press).

In any case, I think the images speak for themselves – when you get it right, the output simply sings – I have a feeling that this combinationn is going to replace my FX/85mm or M43/45/1.8 combination for a lot of applications simply because of the way it looks. More images from the USA to come. Enjoy! MT

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  1. Christian Stocker says:

    I really like the colors of this lens. As it has a bit a long focal length to become a standard lens on my omd em5, I just wonder if you know a comparable leica lens with about 25mm focal lenght (resulting in 50mm adapted to the m43 system)? Eventually a review of the new panasonic leica 42.5 f1.2 nocticron brings leicas color rendition and even autofocus to the m43 system?

    • There’s always the Panasonic Leica 25/1.4…

      • Or the Summilux 35 mm 1.4 FLE, which is gorgeous…
        Superb pictures! I’m thinking of getting a Summilux 50 for my EM1 but I’m afraid it doesn’t perform too well in low light (I mean the Em1). Maybe the Sony A7 could be more versatile. What’s your opinion?

        • Those lenses are not happy on M4/3 because of the optical formula and interference with the very thick filter pack over the sensor for M4/3. Roger Cicla did a very revealing article on why M glass doesn’t really work on other cameras…

  2. Wonderful pictures. The atmosphere and light quality imparts a beautiful and soft cinematic look to the photos. The colors are excellently muted and harmonized.

  3. Sergey Landesman says:

    Would you say OM-D-E1 works better with Leica 50 Lux or OM-D-E5?



  4. danfascia says:

    Great to see an article about using M-mount lenses on the OMD, something which I have successfully been doing and also did on my GX1 (with great results ISO permitting) before the OMD. I love the Summicron 40/2 and Zeiss ZM 28/2.8 for these purposes and the LTM Jupiter-8 also gives a great softish portrait rendering with quite wonderful bokeh. The colours are much more washed out than the Zeiss and Leica though.

    I am interested that you refer to your colour editing as “grading”, a term usually used in the movie industry for colour correction on motion picture rather than in still photography. Is that just to fit with your cinematic theme? Same thing different name I guess

    • I see it as grading, because I’m going for consistency of feel between different lighting situations rather than just ‘correction’ – which is something I traditionally associate with color accuracy instead…

  5. Sergey Zhestkiy says:

    Great shots with real movie-like look! I have just found you blog surfing the Net for seeking answers for some questions. Before they mainly were Steve Huff or Sansmirror or so on. Much more better than I can, of course :).
    Could you please share your experience or maybe just give me right direction? I am using OM-D (with 25mm, 45mm and Pentax 77mm lim with adapter) and really suffering of absence of good 35mm. The matter is that when I used Pentax K10d, my universal prime was 43mm lim giving me about 65mm in 35mm-equvialent. I used to it, I watch the world in “standard all-around” way like this 65-70mm lens :). So I really want 35mm on my OM-D which will give that sector of view. Of course the faster the better, cause I like to do photos with bokeh you know :). But unfortunately I cannot afford Summilux 35mm f1.4 or “king of bokeh” Summicron. So I am thinking about Zeiss Biogon ZM35mm T*2 or Nokton 35mm f1.2 VMII Asph. Voigt is faster but much more bigger and I have heard a lot about not good behavior of M-mount lenses less then 50mm on MFT (smearing picture and so on). So Zeiss which should be much sharper a-priory may be the better choice. On OM-D the DOF with Biogon will be like with 70mm f4 in 35mm-equivalent, not so shallow actually, but in complex with other factors you can make bokeh with this figures.
    Please give me a push to the right direction! Maybe it will be some other manual lens with another type of adapter?
    Thank you in advance for your kind attention to my request!

    • I wouldn’t bother with the M mount 35mms as they aren’t telecentric designs, and generally don’t do very well on the M4/3 cameras – even the latest versions like the 35/1.4 ASPH FLE. The Biogon is an excellent lens on M but I have not tried it on M4/3 as I no longer own one. Not a lot of options in this FL range; I might consider ditching your 45 and 77 and going with the 35-100/2.8 instead…

      • Sergey Zhestkiy says:

        Many thanks for your advice! It really seems so. But I am afraid of all those zooms being spoiled by using primes for long time :). What could you say, or may be predict from your experience, about Distagon 35mm f2, for instance M-42 mount? This creature while using on OM-D would be a good thing for my Pentax with the adapter as well, I think (as far as I have not got their 31mm Lim). As far as I understand lenses for SLR are more, how to say, telecentric, are not they? Or maybe Leica R? And Distagon itself comparing to Biogon is more telecentric, is not it?

        • Hard to say, other than the Distagon wides are going to be monsters – they’re enormous. The Distagon ZF 28/2 is not bad, but still shows some edge fringing on the OM-D. They’re definitely better than the Biogons though – you’re right, they’re more telecentric.

  6. Don Moraes says:

    Just wanted to know if you tried out the pseudo focus peaking hack on the OM-D wherein you use the Key Line Art Filter as a substitute to assist you with focus peaking? Apparently it is supposed to work quite well. I’m still waiting for my Leica-M to Micro 4/3 lens adapter. Do you use the Novoflex or will the Fotodiox suffice?

    • Frame rate drops dramatically…

      I’m using a cheap adaptor off ebay – works just fine, but they can be a bit hit and miss when it comes to planarity and perfect flange distance (some may not focus to infinity).

  7. Vincent Smink says:

    Dear Ming, nice photo’s and thank you for sharing your thoughts on this remarkable combination! Please show us a picture of the combo (OMD-with the Summi 50).

  8. Eh, while I agree on the microlens point, the m4/3 sensor however largely samples the middle 1/4 of the image circle, where I would expect that at the same portion of Leica M9 35mm sensor, the microlens structure would be more typical compared to the microlenses at the corners of the 35mm sensor where one would design them such as to compensate for the skew rays arriving at a non-orthogonal angle. Would the issues with the 50mm/f1.4 ASPH be more to do with the fact that the sampling of the image center is done with 16MP versus say ~6MP on the new Leica M, or ~3MP on the Leica M9 and now any issues with field curvature or resolution are now more obvious than before?

    • I think it’s a bit of everything. In my experience, a good 50/1.4 ASPH will outresolve the M 240 sensor in the centre even wide open. Whether that translates to matching an OM-D or not is another issue; the center certainly has no problems, the edges require some care in focusing, but are mostly good; the extreme borders can sometimes be a little smeary. How much offset the microlenses on the M sensors have isn’t entirely clear – it could be more than we think, starting closer to the sensor than we think.

  9. I like the last image but the rest of them I feel are not up to your usual high IQ standard. Not a fan of the washed out bright backgrounds and the colors seem dull. Maybe I am more used to usual rich B&W tone images.
    I see a definite IQ difference between this smaller sensor camera and FF cameras like the M9/M240 and D800E and my RX1.
    The background bokeh of the m50 asph looks a little nervous on the omD and see it the shot of the woman walking uphil in the rendering of the one way sign in the background. I am sure the smaller sensor aggravates the asph bokeh nervousness compared to when shot on FF.
    I feel your best images were with either D800E, Leica M9, or the ‘blad.
    Sensor size matters! 🙂

    • Ciao Pui says:

      The images look “washed out” maybe because you’re viewing them on a non color-aware browser like Firefox? That was my first observation too but after checking with Chrome and Safari, the images look vivid and properly toned.

      I don’t know what’s up with Firefox these days, you gotta manually go into about:config to change “gfx.color_management.mode” to “1” so that it would treat untagged images as sRGB, otherwise it just does wonky things with colors.

      But for this set, even after I did that, colors still don’t come out right, maybe because they are tagged as AdobeRGB and Firefox just couldn’t handle AdobeRGB? Which brings up a question for Ming, do you convert all your images to sRGB before posting? Is AdobeRGB intentional for this cinematic series?

      • Correct. Firefox, IE and Chrome are NOT color aware browsers. Only Safari is. Otherwise, you’ll find everything converted to whatever sRGB the browser feels like using; you can be sure it isn’t to give your images the best showing. I did the final color grading on my usual calibrated monitor setup.

        All of my images are left as ARGB and hosted on flickr, which doesn’t interfere with your color spaces. sRGB is simply too limiting to display tonal subtlety properly. You really need to use a color aware browser to see them as intended, and even then, you’re losing something on the full size uncompressed image on a calibrated monitor or even a print.

    • At this size, you can’t really tell. JPEG compression etc take a huge bite out of color subtlety. I also have no idea what browser you’re using and if your monitor is calibrated, so we may be looking at two different things entirely.

      And saying that larger sensor cameras are better compositionally is a fallacy…composition has nothing to do with the sensor size at all.

      • I see a big IQ difference between cropped sensor cameras and FF ones and I am not talking about composition.
        Talking strictly IQ, how the image is rendered. The washed out part I was referring to are the shots with overexposed background approaching white. If you can not see any IQ differences between your M 50 asph on a m camera and your omd then I guess you don’t see it.
        Ff browser is color aware if you go into config and configure it to be on.
        Tagged color space images on diglloyd blog site worked under FF.

        • In that particular situation, I don’t have any cameras – other than the film ‘Blad – that would have held all of the DR; it would have blown regardless.

          These should be aRGB tagged – it could be the flickr back end doing odd things again, like after they introduced resizing sharpening…sigh.

  10. The lighting for the last shot is superb.

  11. Beautiful look to these images. I’m almost sold on switching from the Nikon D90 to the OM-D. Thanks for sharing your work.

  12. Dear Ming,
    The photo’s of SF are great, I like them a lot. My experience with the OM-D and legacy Minolta manual focus lenses was not so succesfull. The specific rendering of Minolta Rokkor lenses was not obtained. Furthermore I got severe purpur fringing with my MD 300 f4.5 telelens. Recently I switched to Ricoh GXR M Mount to continue my love for Minolta Rokkor lenses. To my surprise the results are a lot more pleasing now. With the Ricoh I can see the specific rendering of the old Minolta lenses, which I haven’t seen since I gave up using film. Your excellent results with the summilux prove your extraordinary skills. To what extent are your photo’s the result of post processing in PS? I am still not using PS, but very interested in doing so. Remember that In the old days it was impossible to post process, as I did shoot Fujichrome 100 slides only!

  13. I was inspired by this post to try the same technique, but using the Olympus OM 1.4/50mm with my OM-D instead of the Leica lens. Needless to say my results were very very inferior to yours. I attribute my failure due in no small part to my poor skills, but I can also see how the OM 50mm, while a good lens, is no Leica. I do like the cinematic look, and I’ve been trying to achieve something equivalent. I might break down and purchase the more budget friendly Zeiss ZM 1.5/50mm Sonnar along with an adapter. Or maybe I’ll break down and finally get my own copy of the Nikkor 1.2/50mm AIS. The Nikkor has some interesting qualities wide open. And it’s more budget friendly at a “mere” US$700.

    • Could it be due to focusing issues?

      I would avoid the ZM 50/1.5 Sonnar, it’s not designed to be sharp wide open. The Nikkor 50/1.2 AIS doesn’t have enough resolving power for the OM-D’s sensor wide open; even the 58/1.2 Noct-Nikkor doesn’t (I’ve got one, and tried it). However, the ZM 2/50 Planar is a much better bet. I’m actually selling mine now that I have a good 50/1.4 ASPH – shoot me an email if you’re interested…

  14. Ming, I’m an amateur/enthusiast and a big fan of your photography. I feel like your B&W work has been heavily influencing how I shoot and process photos, especially B&W. I don’t want to sound like a solicitor but would appreciate it if you could visit my blog and share your thoughts on some of my photos. Thank you!

  15. Love the fusion of the Leica and Olympus colors

  16. congrats Ming on the cinematic feel of this series. i love the format (funny ‘cos I love square too…). you went wider than 16/9, right? but not as wide as the XPan 60/24 format It seems. Still, what a cropping waste from a 4/3 sensor… 🙂 not to mention how did you previsualize the crop while shhoting?

    • No, these are all 16:9. I’ve tried 2.4:1 before, but it’s so wide as to feel unnatural. Too bad as there aren’t any 16:9 sensors that I know of. As for visualization, I tried using the OM-D’s 16:9 mode, but it appears that ACR recognizes the crop tag and doens’t show the whole original file (even though the camera sees it on playback) giving you zero adjustment room, so I just did the usual – guess 🙂

  17. Lovely. Nice amber tone. Dig.

  18. You are a great photographer. One of the best I know, and a real big inspiration. Thank you.. I really enjoy your site and your photos.. I like to read it online and also bought your IPAD APP (that i dont read so oft because i cannot see the comments there).

    What I dont understand is why you do so many reviews of cameras (M, Om-D, GH3, RX-100 etc, etc ) but at the end all the photos you make are pretty good and very similar.. They all look the same, the diferences betwenn a Oly cap f8 are not very far away from another X or Y lens, exception made on the bokeh, off course. I think what your work show us is that is all about the workflow and not about X or Y camera 😉 Best regards and keep your good work.

    • It’s called style and consistency: this is one of the differentiators between professionals and amateurs. I can’t tell a client ‘sorry, the photos look different because I used a different camera’ – this would be unacceptable. I know exactly how I want my output to look before I hit the shutter. If a camera can’t deliver that – or rather doesn’t have the flexibility to do so – then it simply doesn’t work for me.

  19. just want to say that these are beautiful.

  20. Great shots as usual and a nice write-up. I wonder how you set up the OM-D for manual focus. Especially when focusing off-center. Do you use the EVF? Focus-assist? I find it hard to use the focus-assist in those cases as the only way to move the focus point is by the 4-way controller which takes too much time to move to the right spot for moving targets.

    • EVF and magnify, then focus and recompose. Or use the LCD without magnification – it’s larger and easier to determine focus with. Turn sharpening up to maximum; this creates a small oversharpening halo that’s visible when things are in perfect focus. It doesn’t affect the raw file, though.

      • Thanks for the reply. I was particularly interested about these shots as you mention that focus and recompose didn’t work that well with this lens and your subjects are mostly off-center. Did you then resort to the LCD?

        • It works fine stopped down, but if you want to shoot wide open then you need to either move the box or use the LCD (faster to move the box since you can poke the screen).

  21. Hi Ming, congratulations, these are really phantastic! These pictures indeed have a quite cinematic look which you attribute that to the lens a lot, but how much of that style is really the lens vs. the right settings to develop that light (, micro contrast, tonality, …) in Lightroom? You always strive for the optimum quality, so every link in the chain needs to be right on the spot, but still I believe without the right development the images would be good, but not as jaw-dropping. Would you agree?
    Anyway, thanks for sharing, this is great work! All the best from Germany (where we literally say “grand movie theater” to such things 🙂

    • Thanks. It’s definitely a bit of everything – the most important of course being light…

      • Have you explained the meaning of the term “cinematic”? It is evidently a look or photographic style, but I’m not sure what it consists of.

        • I realized that (huge) oversight after posting this. Fodder for a future article…

          • Just wondering if this article was still in the pipeline? I’ve been reading some threads and it certainly can lead to some vitriolic exchanges between the purists who insist it can only apply only a print from a movie frame to those who see it as merely another preset action in their photo editing software …16:9 landscape, very shallow DOF, muted colours …
            One of the more insightful remarks was that a major challenge was to make the image’s pronounced horizontal width meaningful and not just a lot of empty space for bokeh fan boys.

            • Yes it is. Next week, as a matter of fact – you’ll enjoy a few articles on cinematic-ness. (I run this site like I previously did the magazine, with articles written out to two months or so from now, and an editorial framework out to six months.)

  22. Hi Ming just a quick question what is the best image wise non M digital camera for Leica M lenses

    • None of them work particularly well with all lenses as either the crop factors are wrong (Ricoh GXR M module) or they lack offset microlenses (everything else), so the edges have curvature/ softness/ CA issues.

  23. Ming, did you process every photos using the presets taught in your tutorial?

    • I don’t use presets. The basic process is the same. Judicious application will obviously give better results. Actually, a lot of these were processed as demos during the San Francisco #1 workshop session.

      • Ciao Pui says:

        Sitting next to Ming in San Francisco while he was processing these photos, I can attest that his “judicious application” is faster than using any presets, not to mention consistency. His workshops will demystify and challenge your views on photography… if you’re open.

  24. Lovely set. At these sizes and with this kind of subject matter (not hugely demanding of that last 10% or so of dynamic range), the M240 certainly doesn’t look over five times the price of the Olympus…

    One question, Ming: you often mention having “custom calibrated colour profiles” for your cameras (most recently in an interview with the Leica Camera Blog, but also in articles like Chasing Perfect Colour etc), but unless I missed it, I don’t think your first DVD covered this. What exactly are these? Simple tweaks to the H/S/L panel to get the colours more to your liking that you then save as a preset in ACR, or something else?

    • No, I haven’t covered this process anywhere yet. You can calibrate for accurate or for perceptual – the former requires you to use a known color temp (flash is easiest); shoot a color chart, then tweak the HSL panel on a calibrated monitor until they look consistent. The other is to adjust by eye and experience until you get what you want. Both are then saved as presets in ACR (defaults, actually). It’s a little more involved in reality, but that’s the gist of it.

      • Cool, thanks for clarifying 🙂 Any plans for a video along these lines? And a Lightroom video? And a film processing video? And, and, and…!

        • Processing for style is in the plan. Lightroom was, but I haven’t been able to get the results I want out of it. Film processing…not sure the demand is there.

          • Processing for style sounds excellent. Sold! 🙂 Not bothered about Lightroom, as I basically just use the portion of it that’s identical to Camera Raw; really don’t like Lightroom’s attempts at dodge ‘n’ burn etc. I’ll pay you to make the film processing one myself! ;D It’s one of those things where I’m happy enough with the results I get, but I always feel like there might be a better way of doing it, and reliable information on the subject is just impossible to come by. And that’s before we get to processing colour film…

          • Count me in as one more reader who is interested in this – colour grading, that is. Reading an experienced photographer who explains the software side of photography – what to do in LR/ACR after you have pressed the shutter – would be very valuable.

            • The basic fundamentals of my workflow are covered in the Intro to PS DVD, here. The subtleties require practice and a calibrated monitor…though I suppose I could produce something explaining how to fine tune the various output to taste…

              • I love the natural-but-effective look you get; it was my favourite long before I found this site, even before I understood what it was that I liked about it (actually, your writings have been instrumental in helping me with the process of deconstruction necessary to know what it is that I do like). I’ve yet to find anyone else who achieves that look so consistently, with different types of scene and different tools.

                Like many people, I started out making a lot of small tweaks in PP because you can/it’s the done thing/the effort involved gives you a feeling of achievement (even if the results aren’t really what you envisaged)/the original images were weak; a couple of years ago, my standard workflow was to slightly haphazardly move sliders around (sometimes starting with a preset) until I got something that I liked. Today–post-Intro to PS/other vids from your app/every article you’ve written since last May!–I find that my main creative tool is white balance (which I now know how to use properly!); I went through a phase of using curves intensively, but the flatten/put the contrast where you want it approach is hard to do in Lightroom (I’m good with Photoshop, but don’t own it–interestingly, because I used to think that Lightroom’s more simplistic approach would help me get more natural-looking images…). Part of me’s still clinging to the idea that perhaps a single tone curve/profile that’s 90% of the way there may be best for me; I don’t make any money from photography, it’s just a hobby, so I’d rather be out shooting than in front of the laptop editing. I’ve certainly learned that one solution doesn’t work best for everything, but when you get into significantly altering tones, that also affects colour, and the whole thing gets exponentially more complex…

                I actually shared a set of SOOC JPEGs recently (manual white balance was my only conceit), which for me would’ve been unheard of until recently! Conclusion: works as long as you like your camera maker’s processing choices. In general, I find I’m visualising better, taking better pictures and binning the ones that require more than a minute’s work to look good. Now at a stage where I’d like to either get a camera with a base profile that’s closer to my own preferences, or make one (a profile, that is, not a camera!).

                • Actually, I tried LR but found that it took me far longer to get what I wanted than just doing it in PS – we’re talking 5 min per file vs about 30 sec…

                  You can always tweak the HSL sliders and save them as presets.

                  • Yeah, I can see that about Lightroom now. When I got it four years ago, it was another attempt at getting a tool that would help me get a certain look, just like buying Camera X or Lens Y (or trying film!). Never works!

                    • I look at PS as something which isn’t actually that expensive (though don’t tell Adobe that) given that you use it for every single image – we can justify buying lenses that cost more and are less frequently used, why not PS?

                    • Indeed. Why not tuition, for that matter? Most people I know who’re into photography have spent hundreds or thousands of pounds on gear, but not a penny on learning how to use any of it.

                    • Oh, I completely agree. But you’d be surprised how tough a sell it is; people would prefer to spend thousands more in the mistaken belief that something with better specs will also improve the creative part of the equation 🙂

                    • I’m sure. I think a lot of people prefer to get objects in return for their money; it’s a primal thing.

                  • Ciao Pui says:

                    LR5 beta just came out, not sure if more features will be added later, but as it is, the finer brush controls and multiple curves are still missing/not possible, so I’m not sure if PS can ever be left out for consistency and precise controls in terms of processing. Regardless, I’d still like to see Ming tackle LR someday, especially for “strong” images that don’t require much processing or a trip to PS to begin with.

                    • I’ve been trying for months, but as you know – we discussed this – I don’t think LR will ever replace PS. I might take a look at LR5 beta if I get any free time…which doesn’t look as though it’ll happen for a few months.

                      As for ‘strong’ images – overdoing things there can kill an image post-haste. If anything, it’s all the more reason to have the finer controls of PS…

  25. Ah, nice to see your work in my own back yard. Really, it means so much more to see you pull the shots from familiar landscape.. Once again, very impressive. And I forgot about Sam Wo, still there? Got to give them a visit now. Thanks!

    • Sam Wo got closed down, I believe…they didn’t pass a health and safety inspection last year. There were a bunch of notices on the door…

      • MarkInSF says:

        Yes, they’re going to have to make major upgrades to their kitchen before they can reopen. They say they are doing it, but who knows when? For those not local, Sam Wo is noted for having the world’s rudest waiter, an older gentleman who creatively insults his customers’ tastes in clothing, food, etc. He has worked there for many years and is a minor local tourist attraction. For those who go to Chinatown, there is a lot more to it than the souvenir shops on Grant Ave. Stockton St., a block to the west, is the main drag for the real Chinese businesses and is far more interesting, if not quite as elaborately colorful. The alleys are also neat, as many of the neighborhood residents live off them.

        For me, that picture of the two women (mother and daughter?) in the blue-violet jackets epitomizes Chinatown. Many immigrant women who live in other parts of the city take public transit down to Chinatown every day to do their shopping (some go to the Richmond, instead, another colorful area). At certain times of day the Muni underground trains are full of women like these with their shopping in pink plastic bags (often with a red rose printed on them). The city has outlawed plastic bags recently, but somehow I expect those Chinatown bags will somehow not disappear. I hope not.

        • For some odd reason, it seems that Chinatowns all over the world are renown for nothing more than rude waiters…London has a few of note, too. Plenty of mterial to shoot, though.

  26. Awesome Set Ming! Wonderful combination.

  27. An interesting combination, with its own sets of challenges, when combining the Leica and OMD. The results speak volumes on the unique look achievable with this combination.

  28. Ming

    It is hard to argue with success! This is a very nice series and I look forward to seeing more images as you post them.

    Last September when I went to Italy I took a Leica pre-ASPH 50mm Summicron dual range instead of my Oly 45mm for use on my Oly EP-3; since I was also taking my M7. I found, just as you described, that when you can take your time and things come together, the results are stunning.


    • Thanks – I shot a lot of cinematics with this combination in the US just because I loved the look of it so much. It’s much tougher to use than the 45/1.8, but I think the results are nicer, too.

  29. Christoph BALLE says:

    Dear Ming,

    What was your aperture setting for this very nice photos? Fully open (f=1.4)?

    Thanks, Christoph

  30. Thanks for your experience here Ming. Good to get the tip re using the magnifyer with this combination. I have used it (still do) but have had very issue of nailing the focus and smearing. I am not a big fan of the magnifyer though feel it probably is a requirment when using this combo. The 45mm obviously is “easy” given they are made for each other but I agree, when you get it right the micro contrast from the 50Lux can certainly add character to the image. It almost moves towards that higher contrast M9 look.

    Very nice photos as well.

    • andygemmell says:

      PS…to my eye and images I have seen…these images are far more appealing in tone, contrast and colour to the new M240…

    • Me too – if you don’t use the magnifier, you’re almost certainly going to get smearing due to missed focus. You can also rack focus while shooting to avoid this, but in doing so you may miss the moment.

  31. William Jusuf says:


    I am loving how the Chinatown felt . for me personally…

    btw its such a great use of the 50 lux on OMD ..



  1. […] This set was shot with a Ricoh GR, Olympus OM-D E-M5, the Panasonic 14-42/3.5-5.6 X pancake, and the Leica 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH. […]

  2. […] the Arca-Swiss P0 and Cube. I’m sure there were some lenses in there somewhere, too – a Leica 50/1.4 ASPH, the Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 Distagon, Olympus 75/1.8 and 12-40/2.8s. But I’m pleased to say that […]

  3. […] Micro; AFS 60/2.8 Micro; AI 45/2.8 P; pre-AI 55/1.2 SC; Leica 50/2.5 Summarit-M; 50/2 Summicron-M; 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH; 50/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH; 50/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH; Sigma 50/1.4; Zeiss ZF.2 1.4/50 Planar; ZF.2 […]

  4. […] were shot with an Olympus OM-D E-M5, Panasonic 14-42 X pancake, Leica 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH via adaptor, and Ricoh GR sometimes with the GW-3 converter. Enjoy! […]

  5. […] results is worth it – I have another photoessay of cinematics from Chinatown, San Francisco, here. Enjoy! […]

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