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View Full Version : 28mm Summicron vs. 28mm Ultron


BillBlackwell
09-07-2008, 17:39
The test set was taken with a Leica M8. Both lenses were 6-bit coded and had an IR/Cut filter mounted with lens identification turned on. Comparisons were posted at f/2, 4, and 8. In each comparison the Summicron pic appears to the left and the Ultron to the right.

The test was shot in RAW and converted to jpg in Photoshop (with no processing). I only posted the test pics on PN because they will take larger file sizes than RFF.

Test folder here:

http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=861270

BillBlackwell
09-07-2008, 17:47
BTW, each of the test shots were focused on "28mm Summicron-M - f/16" on the identification sheet.

Krosya
09-07-2008, 17:52
I like Ultron better

padraigm
09-07-2008, 18:03
Well the summicron certainly seems to be sharper

noimmunity
09-07-2008, 18:52
The difference between the two is, to my eyes, marked until f/8.
Wide open, there seems to be considerable CA on the Ultron, less sharpness, less contrast, and less saturation. The summicron shows its neutrality and fidelity of rendering colour (perhaps a little cool), while the ultron has a colour cast at all apertures.

Thank you for sharing the test.

Would be interesting to see the two compared in B&W.

Also more close focus shots could potentially bring out the strengths of the ultron a little more.

Tom A
09-07-2008, 19:02
There is surprisingly little difference between them. The Ultron 28f2.0 is marginally sharper in the center at f2 whilst the Summicron 28 is better in the corners!. This is the same conclusion I come too whilst shooting with them in bl/w. What it is interesting is the warmer tone to the Ultron versus the rather cold rendition of the Summicron. Of course shooting only bl/w I would not see that. My testing was done with film too and that is different from digital.
On a personal note - I prefer the ergonomics of the Ultron versus the Summicron, but that is strictly my opinion. I find the Summicron a bit clumsy to operate and I prefer the small hood of the Ultron.
I suspect that either of these lenses would do well in the hands of a skilled user.

Dan States
09-07-2008, 20:33
Other than a warmer cast to the Ultron I don't the difference...What am I missing here? The Ultron is 1/5th the price of the Summicron so there MUST be a visible difference right? Dear God PLEASE let me see the difference!

monochromejrnl
09-07-2008, 20:44
28/2 summicron prices are about to nosedive ;P

not much of a difference (at least not one that matters to my eye) and certainly not one to justify the monumental price difference

BillBlackwell
09-07-2008, 20:45
This is how I typically test my lenses - in not perfect, but controlled conditions.

I agree the Ultron is very nice, especially for the price. The RAW test results are more dramatic. The Ultron is fairly consistent through all stops, at least on par with the Leica wide open, but as you stop down the Summicron improves dramatically delivering exceptional sharpness and contrast. The two lenses do not return to par until f/16 (the Ultron has one stop beyond to f/22).

One of the visual differences between the two lenses is the Summicron's blue tint in the white areas - this can be seen less dramatically in the small jpeg files in the link.

I would have happily kept the Ultron had I not already owned the Leica.

35mmdelux
09-07-2008, 20:50
to my discerning eye kind of a mixed bag. I cannot honestly say that one is the absolute winner nor can I say that the Cron pulls away.

(I have the 28mm EM ASPH). Tks for the test. Paul

loneranger
09-07-2008, 22:35
Extremely interesting test and this is why: The ultron wins wide open, and the summicron wins stopped down.
So, at least in my opinion, the ultron is the more useful lens because the only reason one would buy an f2 lens is for the wide open performance. If you do not need f2, then 28/2.8 would be cheaper and less weight and probably as sharp at f8.

sanmich
09-07-2008, 22:51
The Summicron seems sharper to me.
Also, as a film shooters, I have to consider that the "corner" in this M8 experiment is far from the corner of film frame, and further degradation of the image is going to happen in the corners.

A while ago, Being not entirely satisfied by several aspects of the Ultron, I bought an Hexanon and tested both at f/2.8. The hex won hands down in terms of sharpness and resolution.

Uwe_Nds
09-08-2008, 00:49
Well,
maybe I am just unlucky then with my copy or I am expecting too much.

Attached picture was taken wide open on the M8. I am curious what the results will be on the M6.

Best regards,
Uwe

BillBlackwell
09-08-2008, 10:02
... Attached picture was taken wide open on the M8. I am curious what the results will be on the M6...

Did you use a tripod? It looks like you might have a slight camera shake.

Uwe_Nds
09-08-2008, 10:08
Did you use a tripod? It looks like you might have a slight camera shake.

@ 1/4000? Somehow I don't think so.

Best regards,
Uwe

kevin m
09-08-2008, 10:26
The wild-card when Leica gear is being compared is always price, and in this case, as in many others, it's difficult, to say the least, to say that 6x the price buys much difference in real-world performance.

If you shoot locked down on a tripod, then why shoot 35mm? Why not MF or, better, a 4x5 camera?* And if you're using your 35mm M-mount camera the way God and Oscar Barnack intended - hand held - then these differences are largely moot.




*Why not own both? The cost difference between these two lenses would allow a smart shopper to own a very nice medium format and 4x5 camera plus the Ultron for what the Summicron costs.

ferider
09-08-2008, 10:34
The lens should not behave like this, Uwe. Something wrong.

Roland.

Uwe_Nds
09-08-2008, 11:18
Roland,
I hope so.
Here's another one.

My local models wide open @1/8000, so no camera shake involved.

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=63310&stc=1&d=1220897516

I am actually very pleased with the centre sharpness of the lens, but unfortunately it's a very small centre:
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=63311&stc=1&d=1220897516

IQ degrades dramatically towards the edges:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=63313&stc=1&d=1220897987


Best regards,
Uwe

Uwe_Nds
09-08-2008, 11:21
The left edge looks as bad:
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=63315&stc=1&d=1220898025

Best regards,
Uwe

BillBlackwell
09-08-2008, 11:35
In response to Kevin's remark, I would use a tripod for testing purposes to remove any variables not inherent in the optical performance (like camera shake).

In response to Uwe's test shots, IMHO for the test to be fair you should start stopping down to see how the lens behaves as the DOF opens up. To be fairer yet, it would be nice to have another lens to compare it with.

I would agree a tripod should not make a difference when the shutter speed is pushed beyond even 250-500th of a second.

BillBlackwell
09-08-2008, 11:54
To be clear, the CV lens I tested against the Summicron was the recently introduced M-mount 28mm Ultron f/2 (NOT the screw mount version). This M-mount model is said to be far superior compared to the now-discontinued f/1.9 screw-mount model.

Captain
09-08-2008, 12:16
To be clear, the CV lens I tested against the Summicron was the recently introduced M-mount 28mm Ultron f/2 (NOT the screw mount version). This M-mount model is said to be far superior compared to the now-discontinued f/1.9 screw-mount model.

How did you get one that was coded? After going to that trouble you then on sold it?

J J Kapsberger
09-08-2008, 12:38
...if you're using your 35mm M-mount camera the way God and Oscar Barnack intended - hand held - then these differences are largely moot.

I don't entirely agree. The Summicron seems a lens with greater contrast. That would show up in hand held shots. The test didn't show how the difference in contrast in real world shooting would set the two lenses apart. Also, the test didn't address bokeh, low-light performance, glare tendencies.

I think it's too early--especially based on this test (as interesting as it is)--to say that there would be no differences between these two lenses in hand-held shooting.

ferider
09-08-2008, 12:54
To be clear, the CV lens I tested against the Summicron was the recently introduced M-mount 28mm Ultron f/2 (NOT the screw mount version). This M-mount model is said to be far superior compared to the now-discontinued f/1.9 screw-mount model.

I would really like to see evidence of any optical difference. That verdict is still outstanding.

Yes, the 1.9 is bigger with different mechanics, obviously. But the design is similar with one asph element in the old lens replaced with two spherical elements in the new lens.

The 1.9 did well in tests both done by Sean Reid and Puts, that I can back up with my personal experience.

Like for other manufacturers, there is sample variation with CV lenses. Probably some lemons out there for the 1.9. As for the 2.0 as well (See Uwe's shot). Unfortunately, that's just the way it is, IMO. Of course, a lens hand-picked by Cosina's CEO might have gone through more rigorous Q&A ...

Roland.

kevin m
09-08-2008, 13:05
I think it's too early--especially based on this test (as interesting as it is)--to say that there would be no differences between these two lenses in hand-held shooting.

Not "no differences," just not enough difference to really matter in hand-held shooting. Resolution seems roughly equal, and contrast can quickly be addressed in either the darkroom, or photoshop. If anything, I regard high-contrast lenses as a bit of a liability when working with a digital sensor; a flatter, duller image recorded on the sensor is much easier to work with. :)

BillBlackwell
09-08-2008, 13:46
How did you get one that was coded? After going to that trouble you then on sold it?

I could have easily hand-coded the lens flange with a sharpie, but I happened to have a spare John Milich lens flange, which activates the 28mm framelines. I just changed the original flange out and coded my spare for a 28mm Summicron.

One thing to note about the 28mm Ultron f/2 - Cosina rotated the screws on the mount slightly to the right so 6-bit coding is no longer placed where any of the screws are located.

BillBlackwell
09-08-2008, 13:51
I would really like to see evidence of any optical difference. That verdict is still outstanding... Yes, the 1.9 is bigger with different mechanics, obviously. But the design is similar with one asph element in the old lens replaced with two spherical elements in the new lens...

True - Not having tested the two Ultrons myself, I am relying on what others have said. So I admit I could be wrong about this.