View Full Version : 50mm lens advice sought
Here's my situation. I've got a Canon VI-L rangefinder body and there's a Leica IIIf on the way. I've got a couple of Russian 50's (thanks Joe and Lin) and hopefully a Canon 50mm f1.8 in my near future from Brian. 50mm is my most used focal length and I would like to add a collapsible lens to what I've got (to aid in portability of the camera).
The options I'm considering are: an old 50mm f3.5 Elmar (very compact), an old 50mm f2 Summicron (most expensive and aurguably the best quality), or a newer but used 50mm f2.5 CV Skopar lens (is this a collapsible lens?).
What are your recommendations?
The 50 Summar is very highly regarded too, pehaps more so than an old Elmar. I think all these lenses will fill your compact requirement. The Summicron will probably be about twice the cost of the others... Probably not a bad choice in the bunch. If you want sharp I would say Summicron, if you want the old look Summar, if you want sharp but not the sharpest, and small, and economical, then Skopar.
what rover said.
Frank, you can always try a collapsible Russian lens - Industar or a Fed. I've got a collapsible Fed, and it's not bad - has a certain old-fashioned "character" (means it's not that sharp :))
You can also try a collapsible Summitar 50/2. I also have one, and it's a very good lens!
Attached is a portrait of a friend, done with the Summitar on a Leica M2.
wow, that seems like a very nice lens.
good shot denis.
Would it be true to say that the Canon f1.8 will take care of my "sharp" needs, and the Elmar/Summitar/Summar/Colour Skopar would give me compactness and "character"?
If so, then I could by-pass the expensive Summicron.
frank, the canon is sharp indeed but it's not a big lens at all.
maybe not tiny but not big either.
maybe start looking at 35mm lenses or 28s. that cv 28/3.5 looks very tempting to me.
I have been using a collapsible Summitar for a bit and like it. It seems sharp enough for what I do, maybe check my gallery for examples to see if it might be suitable for you. They are likely more flare prone than the Summicron because they don't have the most modern lens coatings. They may also not be as sharp but then again they are about 50 years old . Have fun picking.
I don't think you'd go wrong with any of these -- good choices all. But there's often something special about the quality of photos taken with a 50mm Summicron.
I think you ought to go hunting for a nice LTM Nikkor. Just for the sheer blasphemy of it on the Canon body......
blasphemy is right!
but i assumed you were looking for something for the leica body as it is smaller than the canon.
How about this one: http://auction.igavel.com/Bidding.taf?_function=detail&Auction_uid1=511177&_UserReference=7F00000146B481D562695392981241888D2 5
It is a screw mount summicron, and you will be able to flash sync at 1/200th...C'mon, it's only 6900 dollars. Hurry up and bid before it slips through your fingers....
The Canon L1, lenses, and accessories are at the Post Office waiting for pickup; so Monday PM I will have them!
That Canon 50mm f1.8 is sharp, even wide-open. The Canon 50mm F1.4 is also very sharp. The Nikkor 50mm F1.4 is sharp, can have too much contrast.
The Coated Elmar F3.5 is sharp, pleasant, and compact. I was very happy with the results of my 1947 lens and camera(a IIIc factory converted to a IIIf). The Summar has a reputation for being soft when used wide-open.
So the choice: a faster lens than the F1.8 (marginal) or a collapsible compact?
HINT: I have never used any 50 but the Elmar on the IIIf. It is light and compact, like the camera.
man, that was fast!
is getting another camera just old hat for you brian? or are ya kinda excited?
I am always excited to get another camera and lens. I ldo not have any of the older Canon RF's, and always hear "Heavier made" or "The L1 is my Favorite Canon Rangefinder (Stephen Gandy)", "Variable magnification VF". This camera is "different" from the others. I had the Canon 7 with Canon 50 F1.4 and Canon 135mm F3.5 out today. I want to see how anything can beat that Finder short of my M3! I can tell you, it is not ANY of the Nikon RF's! So I figured I would get my Wide-Angle in LTM, try the L1, let Frank have first shot at the 50mm, sell off one of my Canon 7 cameras, and sell of the Nikkor 135 after checking it out.
The seller needed the money for getting a teaching certificate, and no one would touch the auction because of the change of address, change of name, and account inactivity for a year. After a few EMails the situation made a lot of sense.
how many 7s do you have?
i have read that the 7 finder is the best of the canon bunch. that L1 might be a disappointment vf wise.
and i'm glad to see you still get excited too. i'm looking forward to the 7 myself.
Thanks everyone! I'm planning on putting the Canon f1.8 from Brian on my Canon VI-L (gotta put a Canon lens on a Canon body, right Joe?) and using this with 400 speed B+W film for an indoor low light camera set-up.
For the IIIf that's coming, I'm thinking an Elmar would be best (least espensive, compact, good performer) and try to use 100 speed B+W film in it for day photography. This compact set-up would be my carry everywhere kit.
Opportunity is my guide though, and if a Summitar comes along before an Elmar, well, I'll just go with the flow. (I do want a coated lens, so I think Summars are out.)
Well, I have a Summar and a Elmar, both uncoated, J8 & I-22 both coated. The Summar flares quite a bit, but seems sharp enough.
I would like to get my hands on a Serenar 50/1.9 somewhere along the line.
Kin, what's your opinion on the Elmar compared to your other 50mm lenses?
Shot a couple of rolls of b&w with it so far, and it's decently sharp, and very compact with the IIIa. I haven't gotten around to comparing the J8, I22, Summar and Elmar together yet.... too many migrating birds right now :)
Brian is correct about the Summar. It's likely the least sharp of all the lens being discussed. Of the Leitz lens mentioned, the Summacron would be preferred, then the Summitar (for it's maximum apperature) and finally the Elmar. Don't sell the Elmar short as it can give fine results when there's enough light to shoot with it.
Frank, sometimes you can find a coated Summar. My IIIb Leica came with one. Most, however, will not be.
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