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View Full Version : Which 35mm? Biogon or Nokton?


toksuede
10-29-2009, 05:18
So I got my CV 40mm 1.4 and I don't like it.

Nothing to do with the performance of the lens (althought the bokeh is not to my taste), but everything to do with the frameline. Yes, I know that I can file it down, but I'm really bothered by the fact that I have to guess where the frame is by looking at the 35mm frameline.

Therefore I started my research and decided to get a 35mm. Did think about the 28mm, but at the end of the day for what I intend to do (shooting football), the 28mm is not what I'm looking for.

I've narrowed it down to these two:

-Biogoon 35mm f2.0
-Nokton 35mm f1.4

I briefly considered the Hexanon f2, but it's completely out of my league in terms of price.

What I'm looking for first and foremost is speed as most of the shots will be taken when the sun is not out. I would have liked to consider the 2.8 lenses, but losing one stop from 1.4 was my limit. Second of all sharpness in the middle. Third of all compactness, the reason bhind the exclusion of Nokton 1.2.

I will mainly be shooting BW and I don't mind if it's mid or high contrast. That could be fixed in post.

Any input/suggestion/mockery wil be very welcome.
:)

Ryu

ferider
10-29-2009, 05:26
If you like the 40's signature get the 35 Nokton. That's what I did having similar problems as you with the 40mm framelines. Nothing can replace f1.4. The way I look at it: to shoot 400 ASA indoors you need f1.4.

Note that only the 35/2 UC Hexanon is very expensive. The 35/2 M-Hexanon is usually cheaper, in the same price category as the Biogon.

jtm
10-29-2009, 05:29
And if you DON'T like the 40's signature, you could get a 35 f/1.7 Ultron. It has a smooth look, even though it's plenty sharp. Not as small as the 35 Nokton, though (but smaller than the Biogon).

ferider
10-29-2009, 05:31
Agreed. Less distortion and cheaper.

dfoo
10-29-2009, 05:33
I have a nokton 35, and have been thinking about getting a biogon. I tested one a couple of weeks ago, and really like the lens. It is, however, pretty big when compared with the nokton, and has no focus tab which sucks.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mnewhook/4053301524/
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3500/4053301524_20427fee85.jpg

silvalis
10-29-2009, 06:06
I had both, sold the Nokton and kept the Biogon.
Now I'm on the verge of selling the Biogon and keeping a UC-Hex...

toksuede
10-29-2009, 07:15
Thanks for the responses.
From the information I have gathered, the only thing Nokton does better than the Ultron 1.7 is size. Sounds like Ultron is a better lens than the Nokton.

So assuming no one is really seriously pushing the Biogon over the Nokton / Ultron, it's safe to say I would be the happiest if I go for the Ultron 1.7 for quality and price?

Dave Wilkinson
10-29-2009, 07:29
Shooting football - with a rangefinder and a 35mm lens?:eek:....would it not be a whole lot better/easier to use a SLR, and have the option of lenses that will get you among the action - when needed?
Dave.
PS.......bokeh is the least of my concerns - when shooting football!

andredossantos
10-29-2009, 07:32
Thanks for the responses.
From the information I have gathered, the only thing Nokton does better than the Ultron 1.7 is size.

Its also faster

Dave Wilkinson
10-29-2009, 07:44
Its also fasterand focusing on those tiny little players - in the distance should be fun!.....unless of course you are the referee - and can run around with 'em!:D

Roger Hicks
10-29-2009, 08:13
I sold my 35 Summicron because my Summilux was a stop faster and I can't be arsed to go around changing 35mm lenses for quality vs. speed. If the picture is any good, no-one gives a toss about the extra quality of the Summicron anyway.

On the other hand I prefer the Summilux to the Nokton (which I had for a few weeks) because the Summilux is smaller.

Take what you want, and pay for it, saieth the Lord.

Cheers,

R.

toksuede
10-29-2009, 08:20
Well, I do shoot football professionally and I use 2 x D3s + big lens for that. But since I get bored very easily, I decided that from now on I'm going to shoot at least half a roll of BW every match so that I will have a series of football related photos. You can have a look at my flickr in my sig and you'll get the idea.

I did shoot couple of frames with the 40 1.4 and I'm getting an idea when and how I should use the ZI instead of the D3. (Answer: Not when they are playing)

And as Andre said, the Ultron is faster by .3.
And I agree with Roger's sentiment that good photos are good photos regardless of the lens. :)

pevelg
10-29-2009, 08:22
I had both the Ultron 35mm f1.7 and the Biogon 35mm f2.0

I loved the Biogon... And it has very good corner to corner sharpness. Here is a free article by Sean Reid on Luminous Landscape, talks about both Ultron and Biogon.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/lenses/fastlensreview.shtml

I originally bought the Ultron due to cost and then traded it to get the Biogon later on.

Edit: Both are wonderful lenses though.

EDIT X2: My first M lens was the 40mm Nokton. Used it until I got the Ultron, which I liked better. I would say go with the Ultron, you gain some speed over the Biogon and it is only 1/2 stop slower that the Nokton.

ferider
10-29-2009, 08:40
On the other hand I prefer the Summilux to the Nokton (which I had for a few weeks) because the Summilux is smaller.

R.

Dear Roger,

you must be talking about the 35/1.2 Nokton. The 35/1.4 Nokton (A) and pre-asph Summilux (B) are about the same size, IMO. The asph Summilux (C) is much larger than both.

http://ferider.smugmug.com/Technical/Tests/3-Fast-35s-with-Mike/both/443623891_LxZqp-O-1.jpg

I find (A) and (B) quite similar, with the Nokton flaring less wide open.

Best,

Roland.

MCTuomey
10-29-2009, 09:12
you indicate you value speed, center sharpness, and compactness.

the nokton betters the zeiss in speed and size, not sure on center sharpness. that's at least 2 out of 3 in favor the nokton.

so, nokton, right?

toksuede
10-29-2009, 09:15
Pavel: Well, you used it both and you liked both. I know this sounds strange, but do you consider the Biogon to be a lot better (ie 3 times the price) than the Nokton? It's a stupid question, but if all things considered if one lens is visibly better than the other, I will pay that and be happy. But if not, I'd be happy to buy the cheaper one.

Roland: Wow, the 35 1.4 Nokton is as small as the 40 1.4 that I have. Do you know how much bigger the Biogon and the Ultron are compared to the Nokton 35 1.4?

toksuede
10-29-2009, 09:16
In a perfect world, yes. And the more I read about the Nokton and it being compared to the Biogon, I don't really see that much of a difference. And let's face it, the Ultron is BIG compared to the Nokton...

you indicate you value speed, center sharpness, and compactness.

the nokton betters the zeiss in speed and size, not sure on center sharpness. that's at least 2 out of 3 in favor the nokton.

so, nokton, right?

ferider
10-29-2009, 09:26
Roland: Wow, the 35 1.4 Nokton is as small as the 40 1.4 that I have. Do you know how much bigger the Biogon and the Ultron are compared to the Nokton 35 1.4?

Hi Toksuede,

the 35/1.4 is almost identical in feel to the 40/1.4, and optically just a little smoother. But it is a very sharp lens even wide open.

The Ultron is just a little longer, but feels different. More like a pre-asph Summilux 50/1.4. No focus handle. The Biogon and Ultron are similar in size, I guess. Note that the Ultron has .9m min. focus, the Biogon and Nokton 0.7m.

Bottom line is this: if you want to shoot landscapes and architecture, the Ultron or Biogon are better (practically no distortion).

If you often shoot people, you want to use the lens for travel, in-doors, and with 400 ASA or so, the Nokton is a great solution. I suspect the Nokton is also better built than both Ultron and Biogon, lots of reports about "wobble" (loose focus helical) for those two lenses.

Check the flickr M-mount forum. You will find many pictures taken with all three lenses.

Here is a characteristic Nokton shot on Arista 100:

http://ferider.smugmug.com/Picture-a-Week/One-Year-Two-Lenses/July-09-C/Arista100-07/620173326_ezTk9-X2.jpg

Roland.

ferider
10-29-2009, 09:30
And here is some camera porn to show you size:

http://ferider.smugmug.com/Picture-a-Week/One-Year-Two-Lenses-Keepers/P1010157/431266254_4ctdy-L-3.jpg

I use it together with the 75/1.4 a much more expensive lens. But the two match very, very well.

:)

pevelg
10-29-2009, 09:32
Pavel: Well, you used it both and you liked both. I know this sounds strange, but do you consider the Biogon to be a lot better (ie 3 times the price) than the Nokton? It's a stupid question, but if all things considered if one lens is visibly better than the other, I will pay that and be happy. But if not, I'd be happy to buy the cheaper one.

It depends on what you can afford. Since I was able to afford the Biogon, I could justify the increase in price for the increase in performance. Was the increase in performance drastic? No. Is it worth 3x the price? Yes, unless it stresses your income, at which point it is no. If you compare the corner sharpness of the Biogon to the Ultron, there is a huge difference. The sharpness is also better than the 40mm Nokton, which has a closer fov. I've owned the 40mm Nokton not the 35mm though, so I am unsure how the 35mm Nokton compares to the Biogon. You stated in your post that sharpness is important, so thus I would recommend the Biogon. The ultron is not that big of a lens and is very easy to handle. I personally like a little weight to my lenses. You said that the Bokeh is not to your taste on the 40mm nokton, and if recall correctly, the 35mm Nokton has the same type of bokeh (gathered from reading this site). So, if cost is an issue and you want the higher speed, go Ultron (if you don't like Nokton bokeh) or the 35mm nokton. If sharpness is more important that speed, go with Biogon. I also like how the biogon draws. It was my all time favorite lens, my last lens to sell when I left the film world. Now that I am picking up a film Leica again, I am getting the 50mm Zeiss Sonnar instead of the 35mm biogon. I'd go with the biogon again if I wasn't sticking to a one lense system (35mm biogon pared with 75mm Heliar is a good combo in my opinion).

toksuede
10-29-2009, 09:42
Roland: Camera porn to always save the day. The world of rangefinder is so much more different than the DSLR one, based on the range of lenses in the same focal length. In DSLR, I've got 2 zooms, 3 primes, and that's it. They do what I ask them to do and I'm happy with the result. But when it comes to my ZI, I really just want one lens that will do it all. And realizing that Ultron / Biogon is almost twice the size of the Nokton, I'm inclined to just get the Nokton and get it over with. It's also fast and since I don't really care for distortion, I think I'll be happy to go the Nokton way.

Strangely, I cannot find a good used Nokton 35 out there...

jtm
10-29-2009, 09:53
There is one serious danger with getting a Biogon for your ZI: you might like it so much that you need some Distagons for your Nikons.:)

MCTuomey
10-29-2009, 10:06
There is one serious danger with getting a Biogon for your ZI: you might like it so much that you need some Distagons for your Nikons.:)

hilarious, but ominously true for your wallet's well-being

the debut of the ZE lenses (i'm a canonian) is a terrible thing to behold, given how delightful i find the ZM's for RF use.

aside: roland, that sample portrait from the nokton w/arista 100 is stunning.

aizan
10-29-2009, 10:07
i would get the biogon because it's much more flare resistant than the nokton classic at wider apertures. those flood lamps can be a headache.

using faster, grainier film could be a plus, considering the subject matter.

pevelg
10-29-2009, 10:10
the debut of the ZE lenses (i'm a canonian) is a terrible thing to behold, given how delightful i find the ZM's for RF use.

I was a firm believer in Jupiter lenses when I first started shooting RF's... That was until I tried CV lenses.... I was a hooked believer of CV. And then came Zeiss. Ahhh. CV are still great lenses, and jupiters can be great as well (I had the rare GOOD copy of the 85mm f2 jupiter), but zeiss is just so nice. I've only used one leica, the 90mm Macro Elmar, and that was the sharpest lens I've ever used. Couldn't justify keeping it though.

ferider
10-29-2009, 10:13
Thanks, Mike :)

Toksuede, I would just buy one new from ebay and use Microsoft cashback (8% today). You don't see them often used, I guess users like them :)

Cheers,

Roland.

MCTuomey
10-29-2009, 10:14
i agree, pavel. i'm captivated by that zeiss look that only awhile ago i thought was just a lot of senseless yammer.

now i'm yammering

Roger Hicks
10-29-2009, 11:23
Dear Roger,

you must be talking about the 35/1.2 Nokton. The 35/1.4 Nokton (A) and pre-asph Summilux (B) are about the same size, IMO. The asph Summilux (C) is much larger than both.

http://ferider.smugmug.com/Technical/Tests/3-Fast-35s-with-Mike/both/443623891_LxZqp-O-1.jpg

I find (A) and (B) quite similar, with the Nokton flaring less wide open.

Best,

Roland.

Dear Roland,

Of course you are right. Sorry for the short-circuit.

Cheers,

R.

kshapero
10-30-2009, 04:18
Question: Can someone tell me what is the "Nokton" in both the CV35/1.4 and CV 35/1.2? I can't think of two more different lenses in every aspect.

bene
10-30-2009, 05:12
Hi I wanted to ask on a new thread but I think i don't want to jam up the thread.

I am considering VC 35 1.2 and biogon 35 f2.

I can't decide which to get. Price around the same.

I just wondering image quality VS speed which will you pick.
Should I just save and go leica? 35 1.4?

Benjamin Marks
10-30-2009, 05:56
As far as I know, "Nockton" is just a brand name indicating a fast lens from the current C/V. I don't think that it is supposed to indicate a similarity of optical design, visual output or anything else.

Ben

kram
10-30-2009, 11:00
Depends on how much you want speed. The biogon is a great lens, I personally can't fault it. I have a Nikkor (SLR fit) 35mm f1.4 for faster work, but the increase in speed is slightly out weighed by the increase mass of the lens. when I use the f1.4, I normally find myself wishing for a f1. Easiest thing i to use faster film -for film users:-).

Tim Gray
10-30-2009, 15:07
I've heard the 35/1.4 Nokton is very very similar to the 40/1.4 Nokton. I had the Biogon for a year and I loved it. It's not that big - about the size of a 50/2 Summicron. Very flare resistant, good sharpness, very even across the frame, and zero distortion. Good color too. If you don't need f/1.4, I'd go for that (and did).