jvr is offline
Join Date: May 2006
My R-D1s and a Summicron 28/2 ASPH...
...bad match, unfortunately.
Alhtough I like my Ultron 28/1.9 very much, I always felt it was a very unpredictable lens, especially in terms of flare (not "ghosting", small images of the diaphragm, but veiling flare, a widespread veil that lowers contrast and taints color). The best photos I get with the Ultron are really good (I mean, _really_ good) but once in a while, I have some of them that infuriate me, just because of that stubborn flare (I have to find a better hood!!)
This is the only reason why the Ultron is not "the" lens I usualy keep on my Epson. This honor belongs 50/50 to the 21/2.8 Biogon and the just incredible, surprisingly good (especially after all I read in contrary) CV Nokton 35/1.2, a really fantastic lens. BTW, did I already said I find the 35/1.2 a great lens? Oh, yes, I just did! Sorry! :-)
But 35mm is a bit too long on the Epson (for me!) and 21 means extra VF. So I always longed for a fast 28 that could replace/complement the Ultron (B&W files from the Ultron, when not flared, are just perfect...). So, I decided to take the plunge and orderd a new Summicron 28/2 ASPH (impossible to get them used). It took more than 5 weeks to receive it (that's how the market is) and I was even moisty-eyed when I opened the package.
Beutiful. I only bought 2 new Leica lenses before (my ex-35/2 'Cron ASPH and my ex- 50/2 'Cron) but I still remembered the feeling of unwrapping the thing. CV lens are great and I love them but we have to admit that packaging is a bit more pedestrian! And the lovely lens pouch! And the Passport... Ok, back to reality!
So, into the Epson it went and I left to take some pictures. I spent the weekend in bliss, because colour is better than the Ultron (the Ultron is a tad warmer than it sould be), no flare, contrast is perfect (not even too much, good for digital), sharpness great. Or so I thought.
I took a lot of low-light (wide-open) shots during the weekend and some of the shots were "softer" than I would like (and expect). In fact, worse than the Ultron. I quickly shot some tests on a tripod when I got home and...
... this particular lens on my particular Epson shows a lot of focus error on close range. More or less 6cm at 80cm. That's a lot... Worse than that, the lens correctly aligns the RF on infinity (like all my other lenses) and that means that even adjusting the RF is no good (unless the RF base is re-calibrated, but I would not mess with that).
The focus error is enough to make the Ultron much better wide-open than the Summicron on normal use, while after careful trial-and-error focusing (digital is great, or what? :-) of both lenses, the Summicron wins. BTW, not by much and the difference is mainly constrast, not detail (I'm impressed with the Ultron!).
I'm not a pixel-peeping-detail freak (I make prints... :-) but this amount of misfocus is even noticeable at f2.8, let alone f2.
So, since I don't want to change the calibration of the RF of my Epson (it works ok with all my lenses), I had to ship back the Summicron and ask for a refund (which I got, nice dealer! BTW, with the shortage these lenses show, maybe I should have kept the lens and sell it at a premium for instant delivery!!! :-).
Just in case someone asks, I'm VERY able to focus in a completely predictable way (especially on a tripod!) my Nokton 50/1.4 and even my Nokton 35/1.2, both wide-open, at the same distance. BTW, the 35/1.2 at 1.4 and close range has a lot to show to either the Ultron and the Summicron, even with "optimized" focus... I can post a few pics when I get home but the difference is noticeable (did I day I really like the 35/1.2? Oh, sorry!).
So, I'm very unhappy at the moment (i'll get over it! :-)).
I'm sure the Leica lens is OK and it's of course a problem of my Epson (I read about similiar problems with a new Elmar 90, for instance...) but it's frustrating nonetheless.
Just to let you know.
From now on, I'll try to buy used lenses for the Epson (so that I don't risk losing a lot of money if they don't work) or I have to test them before I buy... :-(
If the M8 is better in this regard (and I guess it is), I may think to switch to the M8, as much as I love the R-D1s (and I do!). Never had these kind of problems on my M3 (I didn't even tried the lens on the M3, stupid!).
Well, it's back to my 21/2.8 and 35/1.2 (a really great lens... :-).
Too much M-mount lenses and bodies, a lifetime of Nikon (D)SLR bodies and lenses, plus a heap of MF gear I use more and more...
Using (at the moment):
Leica M8 with 28/2 ASPH; CV 12/5.6, Zeiss 21/2.8, UC-Hexanon 35/2, CV 50/1.5
Mamiya 7 + 43 + 65 + 150