My 35mm Summilux is more or less a permanent fixture on my camera while I breakout the 50mm Summilux possibly once a year so it was a bit of an adjustment when I got to put the Lomography 20mm F5.6 New Russar+ lens to the test.
The New Russar+ is one quirky lens but it soon won me over with its compact size and solid build.
It took me a while to figure out where the aperture ring is and you need to be gentle when you turn the ring to make sure you do not get fingerprints on the glass; this can be quite a hassle when you need to change your aperture quickly.
Even though it is a wide angle lens, I love that the New Russar+ has little distortions; it however, has very heavy vignetting at F5.6 which I suppose is part of the appeal. I enjoyed the vibrant and warm colours rendered by the lens but there is apparent colour shift at the bottom left of my images which occasionally annoys me.
From what I understand, this is due to the digital rangefinder I am using and it should be fine in film rangefinders.
On the rangefinder, the lens would activate the 28mm framelines; to compose accurately, you would either have to use a 20mm viewfinder or use the lens enough to know your frame.
As a 20mm, this lens is great for landscape and street works. Bonus points goes to the 0.5m minimum focusing distance on the lens which makes it useful for portraits
You won’t be able to use the rangefinder focusing patch to focus so this is a great time to practice zone focusing. Then again, with such a small aperture, you can’t really go wrong with the focus.
All in all, I enjoyed working with the New Russar+ although I am not particularly fond of the colour shift at the bottom left of my images, I’ll overlook it for the lens’s compact size and low distortion.
I brought the New Russar+ along for my trip to Nusa Lembongan, an island off Bali, Indonesia.
An island which is accessible via boats about 30 minutes off Bali, Nusa Lembongan has a lot to offer to those seeking beautiful beaches, mangroves and dive spots without the bus load of tourists. (If you need a villa, consider Villa Lotus)
Be prepared for the occasional electrical outages and bring lots of mosquito repellents because those buggers are a nasty piece of work.
If you are thinking of doing a bit of exploring, be sure that you are decently skilled on a scooter as the island’s roads (or lack of) are fairly technical in some areas and are really narrow so they will be a fair amount of close shaves with other motorist.
Here are snippets of my time in Nusa Lembongan, shot on the Leica M-E with the Lomography New Russar+ lens.