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Some 50mm Lenses
Old 04-30-2012   #1
srtiwari
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Some 50mm Lenses

Having collected way too many 50mm LTM and L lens, I decided to have a "shoot-out". This is by no means a "scientific" test, limited by my 'copy' of the lens, uncertain focusing accuracy on my part, minor changes in light, and any camera shake I introduced.
I merely wanted to see how my gear would stack up against each other in a real-life situation, so that I could decide how/where to 'thin the herd'. I am merely comparing sharpness and overall tone.


Leica M9
ISO 160
F5.6
Aperture priority (Most shots about 1/180th sec)
Distance about 10 feet.
During the 20 minute shoot, the light changed minimally but was generally soft and bright.


Lens prices ranged fro $300 to $4000, all in Mint/Mint- condition, no marks on lens, but only one lens (Summilux V2) recently CLA'd

The lenses were as follows (Alphabetical order)-
1. Canon 50/1.4 LTM
2. Canon 50/1.5 LTM
3. Leica Summarit 50/1.4 M
4. Leica Summicron M 50/2 V3 ? (Tabbed, no built-in hood)
5. Leica Summilux M 50/1.4 V2
6. Leica Summilux M Asph 50/1.4
7. VC Color-Skopar 50/2.5 LTM
8. VC Heliar 50/2 M
9. Zeiss ZM Planar 50/2 M


Here are the 100 % crops from the center of the field.
I selected "all" in LR4, and "Auto-Sync'd" to make identical minor adjustments in sharpening, tone, and White balance.

You might enjoy guessing which lenses took which images. I plan to post the lens/image matching list in a couple of days--



























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Old 04-30-2012   #2
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At f5.6? That's going to be tough to spot big differences. A wider aperture would be more telling. With your particular lenses, I'd shoot them all at max aperture and then a wide common aperture like f2. The CV50 f2.5 would be compared at f 2.5.

Anyway, that's how I would do it.
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Old 04-30-2012   #3
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Hi Frank. I did shoot them wide open, but the differences there were huge- the older lenses all showing a soft haziness that would preclude my ever shooting at those settings. My interest was to keep lenses for my usual settings, say f4 to f11. Interestingly, I found great differences even at f5.6.
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Old 06-05-2012   #4
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by srtiwari View Post
Hi Frank. I did shoot them wide open, but the differences there were huge- the older lenses all showing a soft haziness that would preclude my ever shooting at those settings. My interest was to keep lenses for my usual settings, say f4 to f11. Interestingly, I found great differences even at f5.6.
Say what? You don't use these marvelous lenses wide open? That is the whole idea behind owning multiple, old 50mm lenses.
Your list is missing a few greats. Each one unique wide open and great stopped down.
Leitz 50mm f/2.0 Dual Range Summicron.
Canon 50/1.2
Nikkor 50/1.4
Konica 50/any from 3.5 to 1.2.

Enjoy. Open up!

Wayne
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Old 06-05-2012   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venchka View Post
Say what? You don't use these marvelous lenses wide open? That is the whole idea behind owning multiple, old 50mm lenses.
Your list is missing a few greats. Each one unique wide open and great stopped down.
Leitz 50mm f/2.0 Dual Range Summicron.
Canon 50/1.2
Nikkor 50/1.4
Konica 50/any from 3.5 to 1.2.

Enjoy. Open up!

Wayne
Whereas I like the slight "glow" that one sees at F4 on (particularly with the Leica F1.5 and F1.4 Pre-Asph), at fully open it is too much for my taste. I have been interested in the differences in look just slightly closed down.
And they *are* marvelous lenses, including the DR Summicron, which I think of as mainly for B+W, and did not include it in this series of images.
I also have a Canon 50/1.8, a Nikkor 50/2, Leica Elmar 50/3.5 LTM, and a Jupiter 50/2. I don't have the others you mention, but there is still time...

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Old 04-30-2012   #6
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Cool. I'll be interested in learning how each lens performed.
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Old 04-30-2012   #7
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Oh, this is going to be trouble...
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Old 04-30-2012   #8
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I can see differences between all the photos but I couldn't tell you which lens took which photo. This is definitely going to be a good fireworks show.

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Old 04-30-2012   #9
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2 looks very contrasty and warm, am curious to see if it's the ZM planar but I don't really think it is.

if I had to chose one of these to take home it would be 7. just, please, don't be the Lux ASPH T_T
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Old 04-30-2012   #10
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Using also smaller apertures would help separating the lenses. A tripod is also highly recommended to reduce any shaking.
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Old 04-30-2012   #11
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to me, the top three are number 2, then 7, then 1. i have not a friggin' clue on which is from which lens but i'm really curious to find that out.
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Old 04-30-2012   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by umcelinho View Post
to me, the top three are number 2, then 7, then 1. i have not a friggin' clue on which is from which lens but i'm really curious to find that out.
I agree, but I think I'd probably insert number 6 inbetween 7 and 1, pushing 1 down into 4th place.

At first, I thought number 9 was a bit of a dog, but it's obviously just back-focused. I'd be interested to see a) what that lens is b) if it consistently back-focuses and c) whether that's down to focus shift or a mis-calibration.
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Old 06-03-2012   #13
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The suspense is killing me! No final answer on the image + lens match-up?
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Old 06-03-2012   #14
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I think it was forgotten in the aftermath of 5/10 and all the pandemonium that ensued.

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Old 06-04-2012   #15
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Sorry Guys,
I had assumed there was no further interest.
The numbers 2, 7 and 1, are my favorites too. The lenses producing these images may surprise you.
In the same order as the images -

1. ZM Planar 50/2
2. CV Skopar 50/2.5
3. CV Heliar Classic 50/2
4. Summilux 50/1.4 Pre-Asph V2
5. Summicron 50/2 (Tab, no hood version)
6. Summilux 50/1.4 Asph
7. Canon 50/1.5 LTM
8. Summarit 50/1.5 M
9. Canon 50/1.4 LTM

As I have noted, these "test" images represent my lenses, my M9, and my focusing limitations. And they help me decide which ones to keep.
YMMV !
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Old 06-04-2012   #16
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Thanks very much for doing the test - very interesting results! I didn't guess any right ;-)
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Old 06-04-2012   #17
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I am very pleased to see the CV 50/2.5 as #2, since I thought that crop was the best of the bunch. Great little lens.
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Old 06-04-2012   #18
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I am afraid that this test is not representing the actual performance of some lenses there. Having performed a lot of lens tests, a few points from my side:

- Such tests are to be performed on heavy tripods (for the M9 files can be enlarged beyond A0 size, at least 100cm.)

- Self timer-shutter release to minimize vibrations.

- Against focus shifts (as the M9 has no live view and image magnification for focusing): At least four extra shots following the one of fine focus and though incremental focus moves of the focusing ring; 2 backward, 2 forward direction of the optimum focus, each with only 1 mm steps around the optimum focus distance set by the rangefinder. Then pick the sharpest one out of these 5 frames.

Are you sure your rangefinder is 100% calibrated? Place a book to make 45 degrees angle to the camera at a distance measured exactly 100cm from the back of your camera (sensor plane) to a letter on the center of the cover . Now try to focus on the center of the cover with a sharp lens at full aperture (say the Planar). Then:

- check whether the focusing scale on the lens shows exactly 100cm.

- enlarge the frame and check whether the sharpest plane of focus is the letter on the center of the cover.

Especially the latter one will indicate whether your rangefinder/lens combination is calibrated or not.

Unless the above conditions are not satisfied, the best way to test lenses is to use digital bodies with live view and at least 8x image magnification as focusing aid.

As for checking focus shifts thru smaller apertures, place a ruler again at 45 degrees to the lens axis by focusing first at full-open aperture on a mid-number and then check whether it shifts forward or backward as you stop down.

BTW, DOF figures on the lenses are rather for Circle of Confusion calculations based on film-type resolutions, which is 0.029mm (roughly three-hundredths of a millimeter); this is rather a coarse figure for anything over 6-8MP.
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Old 06-04-2012   #19
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I am not really impressed by the performance of the lenses in combination with the M9 in this test.

Erik.
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Old 06-04-2012   #20
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Thanks for doing the lens comparisons. I have only done lens comparisons with film cameras, and then I would use multiple aperture settings
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Old 06-04-2012   #21
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Thanks for the interesting comparison.

I've been meaning to make a cross-brand comparison of my 50s too: Summitar, Summilux 50 asph and pre-asph, EF 50/1.4, FD 50/1.4, Mamiya 50 (forget the f now). All on film except the EF which I'll also shoot on digital.
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Old 06-04-2012   #22
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Again, these tests were primarily done to pick out of my stable, those lenses that would give me images that I would like best, using my M9. That is all. One cannot generalize any further.
Given all the limitations, the best surpirise for me was how good 2 relatively inexpensive lenses were (CV50/2.5 and the Canon50/1.5LTM). I am certain that controlling for all the possible adjustments one can make to the body and lens, the very expensive lenses (50/1.4 , Summicron, etc.) can really shine. My M9 is, in fact, with Leica in NJ presently, and should be back soon. At that point I will re-run these tests for my own interest.
The other caveat might be that these lenses may perform quite differently on film bodies...
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Old 06-04-2012   #23
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I don't get the sense that camera steadiness and actual focus are guaranteed here. That said... meh?
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Old 06-05-2012   #24
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It looks as if some of the photos aren't focused properly. Photo #4, for example, it appears that the leaves in the upper left portion of the photo are in focus.
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Old 06-05-2012   #25
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The DR Summicron was literally made for Kodachrome. Alas, I made this discovery too late.
Good luck with your quest.

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