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Fast 50mm M9 options without breaking the bank?
Old 04-22-2017   #1
Roel
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Fast 50mm M9 options without breaking the bank?

Would be very interested in your opinions about which are the best options for a 50mm on the m9 that wide open will give good enough results for wedding shots.

I have a M9 coming which i will use besides a M9M and am looking for a good fast option. I have a 50mm summicron v3. and 35mm summicron v4.

Which 50mm would be a good compliment to shoot faster than f2 (and be less money than the summicron). So this would be an option to 'only' use between F1.4 and f2 and should be sharp and contrasty enough. (I have the vc 40mm 1.4 but feel i cannot trust the focussing shift and sometimes gives the funky bokeh)

-Canon 50mm 1.4 ltm ?
- Voigtlander 50mm f1.5?
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Old 04-22-2017   #2
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The Voigtlander 50:1.5 is an excellent lens, it punches way above it's price level.
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Old 04-22-2017   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepyhead View Post
The Voigtlander 50:1.5 is an excellent lens, it punches way above it's price level.
Also good at f1.5 and 1.8?
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Old 04-22-2017   #4
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Perfectly usable wide open.

Only things I don't like are focusing ring (some like it), stock hood and straight aperture blades.
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Old 04-22-2017   #5
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Canon 50mm 1.4 or 1.2
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Old 04-22-2017   #6
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I sold Viogt 50 1.5 latest version. It was giving unacceptable purple fringing at f1.5 on faces. It is fine lens for sharp BW and 1.5-2 apertures and color pictures, but not at f1.5.

You already have two best possible lenses for M9. If I could only afford at least one of them now...
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Old 04-22-2017   #7
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For use only between f/1.4 and f/2.0? Cheaper than a v3 summicron. Sharp and contrasty wide open?
Definitely not the 50 year old Canon for high contrast, you'll need modern coatings.
Which leaves us with the Voigtlander 1.5 and the Zeiss 1.5.
Using only between 1.5 and 2.0 focus shift is a non issue, get the lens calibrated for wide open. I'd get the Voigtlander as it has 1/2 stop clicks like Leica rather than the 1/3 clicks on the Zeiss. It's a pain to use both, but then again you're not changing the aperture.
Are you really going to change lenses if it gets 1 stop brighter?
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Old 04-22-2017   #8
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I was fairly happy with the Nokton 50/1.5 ASPH (LTM) on the M9.

BTW: Never had any focus shift problems with the Nokton 40/1.4 MC.

That said, I only rarely use any lens at f/1.4 on a consistent basis. A couple of years on and shooting with the M-D now, I've sold both of those and use a 1972 Summilux 35mm v2 and a current series Summicron-M 50mm.

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Old 04-22-2017   #9
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The Nokton is wonderful, way better than it has any business being. Of course if you can live with F2, the 50mm Planar is even better.
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Old 04-22-2017   #10
Erik van Straten
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The Leica 50mm Summilux v1 can be had quite cheap and is an excellent performer wide open. Excellent for marriages and such.

Leica M5, Summilux 50mm f/1.4 v1, 400-2TMY.

Erik.

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Old 04-22-2017   #11
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Why do you want to buy another 50mm lens if you already own one of the very best 50mm lenses available to mankind? [slightly hyped up!]

If it is based on curiosity, then maybe [for fun] trying out a Zeiss Jena 5cm/1.5 Sonnar or its clone a Jupiter 3 could be suitable options.

If the Summicron does not give you the satisfaction level that you look for in a 50mm lens (and if you sell the Summicron first), I would consider a Summilux 50/1.4.

If you need the cash, then sell off your Summicron and get a Hexanon 50/2.4 ltm or a CV Nocton 50/1.5 ltm or M.

If you are targeting a 50mm lens mainly for B&W photography, there exist many awesome options to you. The cheapest "awesome" option is maybe the Canon 50/1.4 ltm, but the Nikon 50/1.4 is also very much admired and used by many RFF members.

If you .... [I don't know the exact reasons] ....


Enjoy what you have and get more "stuff" depending on buying desires!
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Old 04-22-2017   #12
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Since you have a good 50/2, why only go 2/3 of a stop faster ?

Get the CV 50/1.1, one of the best technical 50s out there and you can use it for the times when size doesn't matter and you need faster than f2.
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Old 04-22-2017   #13
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I have a CV 50/1.1, and yes, it is a true bargain of a lens for what such a lens can provide in overall performance.
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Old 04-22-2017   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
The Nokton is wonderful, way better than it has any business being. Of course if you can live with F2, the 50mm Planar is even better.
Agree. VC 50/1.5 - pretty crazy how good it is wide open.

With the M9 it's nice to have that extra 3/4 stop, or more, which makes the VC 50/1.1 a great option.
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Old 04-22-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
Since you have a good 50/2, why only go 2/3 of a stop faster ?

Get the CV 50/1.1, one of the best technical 50s out there and you can use it for the times when size doesn't matter and you need faster than f2.

Yes on the Nokton f1.1/50mm!
Roland makes a good point about passing on f1.4 lenses.
The extra speed is worth the extra weight for a not so extra price (second hand sub $700 is common).
Some people nit pick the bokeh balls of this lens....Bokeh balls?
My thought is that Cosina should have made a reflex version of the f1.1/50mm Nokton lens for Nikon F and Canon Eos mounts.
It may be late now with the seemingly inevitable demise of reflex.
Would still like one for film use on eos.

I own the Canon f1.2/50mm.
The Canon f1.2/50mm is a really nice lens as well. One I like for it's split personality.
Softer and dreamy wide open and f1.4, By f2 it is Sharp and quite contrasty giving a more modern look.
For your desired use, I would pass on Canon lens(s) as the focus action requires the photographer to be very deliberate.
It's also not easy to find a clean copy of the Canon f1.2/50mm.
It would not be my first choice for candid moments. For posed portraits ...yes definitely.
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Old 04-22-2017   #16
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I was using a v4 Cron when I first got my M9.

I recently picked up a used Zeiss Sonnar 50 1.5 and love it. In many ways dare I say, I prefer it to the Cron.
Yes it has its shortcomings and may not be perfect, but something about the rendering really sings to me. I can't say I've noticed many issues on the whole focus shift either.

The Cron has moved to my film M now.
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Old 04-22-2017   #17
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Thanks very much for all your comments guys.

I don't have any problems with my 50 summicron. It is just that i think i would need some wider apertures at some instances cause of low light.

If i would have trade the summicron for the 50 summilux v1 and it would work asweel at f2 and f2.8 as my summicron that would be an interesting option. Erik, do you think the summilux v1 will be comparable to the summicron at the same f-stops?

On the other hand the VC 50mm f1.1. probably is a good option too. I forgot about that one.

Come to think of it the VC35 F1.2 might also be an option. Might give a little bit more depth of field wide open too.
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Old 04-22-2017   #18
Erik van Straten
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The Summilux 50mm f/1.4 v1 is better at f/2 than the Summicron 50mm f/2 v2 at full aperture.

The Nokton f/1.1 is fine but it cuts off a large part of the viewfinder image.

Leica M5, Summilux 50mm f/1.4 v1, 400-2TMY @ f/2.

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Old 04-22-2017   #19
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Thanks Erik. Wow that looks really good.

About the f1.4 shot. The 'glow' from the left lady with the darker jacket. Is that typical? How is the sharpness towards the corners. To bad my summarit doesn't look that good at f1.5. (great at 2.8 though)
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Old 04-22-2017   #20
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For portraits? Easy - Zeiss 50 Sonnar 1.5 optimized for f1.5. Gorgeous lens. Gorgeous bokeh. Much better for portraits than the 50 lux aspherical - I have both - and the Zeiss is very reasonable on the used market.
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Old 04-22-2017   #21
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Current C-Sonnar. I have one. I sold my f/1.5 Nokton because I always used the Sonnar in preference. Objectively the Canon f/1.2 is a joke compared with either (I have one of those too), but you may like the look. I had an f/1 Noctilux on loan for a year from a kind friend, but I found it too limiting (zero depth of field. huge, heavy, and too much money tied up). After f/1.4 or f/1.5 the extra speed is of limited value.

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Old 04-22-2017   #22
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roel View Post
Thanks Erik. Wow that looks really good.

About the f1.4 shot. The 'glow' from the left lady with the darker jacket. Is that typical? How is the sharpness towards the corners. To bad my summarit doesn't look that good at f1.5. (great at 2.8 though)
Well, that "glow" is no glow, she is just out of focus. At f/1.4 the dept of field is wafer thin. I focused on the face of the other lady.

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Old 04-22-2017   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
I had an f/1 Noctilux on loan for a year from a kind friend, but I found it too limiting (zero depth of field. huge, heavy, and too much money tied up).
How can money be tied up in a lens that you had on loan from a kind friend? That must be the money of the friend. Do you also have unkind friends? Must be ...

Erik.
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Old 04-22-2017   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
How can money be tied up in a lens that you had on loan from a kind friend? That must be the money of the friend. Do you also have unkind friends? Must be ...

Erik.
Dear Erik,

If I'd broken it, I'd have felt morally obliged to pay for it. Also, I was considering buying it off him: either that or a Thambar. He almost never used either, hence the very long loans. I bought the Thambar...

Cheers,

R.
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Old 04-22-2017   #25
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The original Voigtlaender Nokton 50/1.5 was a masterpiece of a lens in craftsmanship and in performance. It still is one of my all time favorite 50mm lenses today. Not all old lenses are inferior to modern lenses.
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Old 04-22-2017   #26
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It is not the type of 50mm lens; it is the photographer.
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Old 04-22-2017   #27
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You might look at the 50mm f1.1 Sonnetar
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Old 04-22-2017   #28
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As much as I am a huge fan of the C Sonnar it's the last lens I would recommend for wedding shooting wide open. When you have time to deal with the focus shift it's all good but in the heat of a wedding the missed shots due to missed focus would be a negative experience.
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Old 04-22-2017   #29
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Quote:
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As much as I am a huge fan of the C Sonnar it's the last lens I would recommend for wedding shooting wide open. When you have time to deal with the focus shift it's all good but in the heat of a wedding the missed shots due to missed focus would be a negative experience.
Absolutely right advice. I would stick with f2 maximum aperture. You can't check critical focus of the C Sonnar or any very fast lens on the M9 LCD screen. Use the Summicron and ISO 640 and 1/60th. Or use flash.
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Old 04-22-2017   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Well, that "glow" is no glow, she is just out of focus. At f/1.4 the dept of field is wafer thin. I focused on the face of the other lady.

Erik.
Here's a little calculator you might want to check. http://www.photopills.com/calculators/dof

I'd say it was shot at about 20 ft. At 1.4 and 20 ft you have over 4 ft of sharp focus. Wafer thin at close distance but not that far away.
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Old 04-22-2017   #31
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it depends what you want out of a lens wide open, i suppose. if you want clinical sharpness/contrast, the summilux asph sounds like the answer. the nokton 40/1.4 would also be pretty excellent if you use the 35mm lines.

personally, f/2 is the widest aperture i want to use with a 50mm lens, anything wider and the DOF is too thin and just does not appeal to me. are you ok with the way an image looks shot at f/1.4?

my absolute favorite 50mm is the summicron collapsible shot at f/2.8.

here's a random sample from an M8 RAW2DNG file:


sip by Mendocinos_Villain, on Flickr
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Old 04-22-2017   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
Here's a little calculator you might want to check. http://www.photopills.com/calculators/dof

I'd say it was shot at about 20 ft. At 1.4 and 20 ft you have over 4 ft of sharp focus. Wafer thin at close distance but not that far away.
The distance to the point I focused on was about 2,50 m, about 8 feet. It is shot with a 50mm, not a telephoto lens! DOF is about 25 cm, from wich 15 cm is behind the point of focus. So the lady in front is outside the DOF. The lens is in perfect order.

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Old 04-22-2017   #33
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I can't think of anything on which I could advise Erik that he doesn't already know. I just look at his photographs.
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Old 04-24-2017   #34
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Sorry I was off the grid for two days. Thank you very much for all the responses and examples.

To be honest I am not sure which route to follow. I like my 50 summicron, have it for 20+ years and don't want to part with it. On the other hand if I would gain a stop and still have the look with a summilux v1 than that is very interesting.

I could also just start with the summicron and a flash when the light is to low.

Will have my 40mm checked to see where the problem lies. It could be the lowlight addition for my 35 and 50 cron.

One other route that might be possible is maybe the new VC 35 1.7. which would give half a stop in the 35 range and have a bit less 'paper thin' focussing than the fast 50ties. I have seen really nice images of the lens. Maybe nicer than the 35mm f1.2.
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Old 04-24-2017   #35
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I've read on the photonet wedding forum some good pros who reckon they could do a whole wedding with just a 35 1.4. I had a version 2 Summilux and loved it, but a black Summicron is so much lighter. I just can't see that the extra stop in a 50 with the M9 is so necessary. Your thinking on making your fast lens a 35 seems good, but 1.7 hardly moves you wider much at all.
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Old 04-24-2017   #36
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Perhaps its heresy, but wouldn't a newer Leica that coped with higher ISO be the better commercial option? Then you get the extra stops on all your existing lenses?

Failing that, I'd consider RAW development and "push processing" the M9 for higher ISO to get the extra stop.

And if all else fails, I'd think about a Sony 7s to get quite a few more stops on all your lenses for less than a quality f1.4 lens. Only use it when you have to...

I have an old f1.5 Sonnar - and with Sonnars the high speed costs in definition though I love the look. I have the f1.4 Canon - and I think it's a great lens - you can always increase contrast in post. But the unavoidable cost is already discussed - paper thin DoF. And for anything other than tripod use and nearer eye focus its hard to see a real benefit to going that shallow in DoF. Just did a test ("bokeh") shot earlier today focusing on a plant in the garden - and the leaves nearest me are out of focus. Probably 4-6 inches difference between point of focus and clear OOF. But the camera was on a tripod and the plant was slow on its feet - it's not the same as you are doing.
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Old 04-27-2017   #37
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Took my 40mm 1.4 Voigtlander to a tech guy and some of the internals were loose (and the 35mm had lens separation...grrr). Will wait and see what the VC 40mm performance will be after the repair. It is nice small and light so it could be a good solution.

In the mean time i will keep on looking for a good option in the 35 or 50 range based on all of your remarks. Thanks everybody!!
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