AF 50 Lux
Old 12-15-2016   #1
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AF 50 Lux

Last Friday I spoke with John Kreider at a Leica Sponsored event. I mentioned that I tried a pre-production AF 50 Lux at PhotoPlusExpo. He mentioned that on Monday that he was going to try the 50 Lux with newly released firmware on Monday. On Tuesday I got the firmware update notice from Leica.

Today is 15 December 2015, and my dealer let me know that their first AF 50 Lux for the SL is being shipped. Initially they are only getting one, and I am now number six on his list.

So it seems spring 2017 is happening in December 2016.

Earlier is better than later. I'm hoping the autofocus is sped up.

Cal
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Old 12-15-2016   #2
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Just like I predicted, slightly better than the Sigma, slightly worse than the Otus.

http://www.jupitersnake.com/review/5...ew-first-look/

They may improve AF speed but I doubt the optics will be changed. Looks like it'll be another software correction dependant lens. I guess for the SL that doesn't really matter since you can't use it on film, but it doesn't really seem like you're getting what you pay for here.
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Old 12-15-2016   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
Just like I predicted, slightly better than the Sigma, slightly worse than the Otus.

http://www.jupitersnake.com/review/5...ew-first-look/

They may improve AF speed but I doubt the optics will be changed. Looks like it'll be another software correction dependant lens. I guess for the SL that doesn't really matter since you can't use it on film, but it doesn't really seem like you're getting what you pay for here.
For me hard to predict. I'll see what it is when I get it. Sounds like you made judgement already.

I tried a pre-production version. I saw promise, I like what I saw, and I'll pass judgement later. I'm not so sure I would agree with that review, my test shots were different, but thanks for the link from when you posted it in another thread.

I don't know if the optics got or will be changed either.

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Old 12-15-2016   #4
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I'll wait until final versions are floating around before passing my final opinions, but for now I'm not that impressed.

(And certainly don't share his views about this Vs the Sigma, but saying the S word seems to cause all sorts of drama).
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Old 12-15-2016   #5
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Why is it so big considering they didn't use that size to make the optics perfect?

Remember when people bought Leica gear because of the compact size (and quality)? I love that my 50 1.4 Asph is much smaller than my Nikon 50 1.8G. Or 50 1.4 AIS.
Guess those days are long gone with the SL line.
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Old 12-15-2016   #6
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I'll wait until final versions are floating around before passing my final opinions, but for now I'm not that impressed.

(And certainly don't share his views about this Vs the Sigma, but saying the S word seems to cause all sorts of drama).
I think the S word you're looking for is "Sigmalux".
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Old 12-16-2016   #7
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Just like I predicted, slightly better than the Sigma, slightly worse than the Otus.
And somehow this is bad? I think people expect way to much "magic" and perfection these days.
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Old 12-16-2016   #8
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And somehow this is bad? I think people expect way to much "magic" and perfection these days.
Not "bad". From the look of those portraits it has a lovely rendering. The level of contrast seems very high and it seems to have some great booookah for for people who like it smooth. (However while definitely A LOT sharper, it still doesn't beat the Nikon 58mm 1.4 G for pure rendering, that lens is so under-rated IMO). BUT... Leica said this will be the "reference" 50mm lens. The one 50/1.4 to rule them all, if you believe Leica. If they don't deliver on that promise, well....people have a right to point that out. If it requires software correction to beat the Otus well then the Otus remains the actual reference lens. And I'm not too proud to admit that when the cheaper, Cosina made 55/1.4 beats a high and mighty Leica lens I get a little smug.

But! The lens isn't out yet! I will allow for the idea that Leica made an unprecedented last minute change to the optical formula... I look forward to reviews which will apparently have to tide us over until the NEXT Photokina when they say they're finally going to have a 35/2 for SL users.
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Old 12-16-2016   #9
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Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Why is it so big considering they didn't use that size to make the optics perfect?

Remember when people bought Leica gear because of the compact size (and quality)? I love that my 50 1.4 Asph is much smaller than my Nikon 50 1.8G. Or 50 1.4 AIS.
Guess those days are long gone with the SL line.
Huss,

I'm not trying to second guess, but I have owned the Nikon 50/1.4 AIS and the 58/1.4 AF-G, but I don't know why Nikon 58/1.4 AF-G is so oversized.

In one regard Leica is known for compactness mostly through their Rangefinders. The only SLR I deem compact like a M is perhaps the R6 and R6.2, and the "R" glass is kinda big and kinda extra heavy. I find the Leica "R" glass to be bigger than Nikon SLR glass.

A 50 Lux "E60" is perhaps 25%-30% larger than a Nikon 50/1.4 AIS, and have you ever seen a 35 Lux-R with its massive E67 filter size?

If one is looking for compact surely M fits the bill. Perhaps Leica maintained E82 filter size and is using existing tooling to maintain costs, maybe because their design criteria was to be modular to an extent, but here I am second guessing...

Leica has done a lot of funny stuff in the past. My SL2-MOT is crazy kinda heavy, expecially with a 35 Lux. On the first day I owned the 35 Lux-R someone asked if it was a telephoto because of its filter size, large front element, and length. LOL.

For sure M-bodies and M-glass is compact. My friend Joe just bought the digital MP and uses a 35 Lux ASPH FLE. What a great compact rig. If compactness was my priority, I would of went that route.

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Old 12-16-2016   #10
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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
But! The lens isn't out yet! I will allow for the idea that Leica made an unprecedented last minute change to the optical formula... I look forward to reviews which will apparently have to tide us over until the NEXT Photokina when they say they're finally going to have a 35/2 for SL users.
The first post mentions that it has been released officially and is being shipped to dealers. The surprise is that elsewhere they were saying spring 2017 on the Leica website, and in Leica e-blasts.

Today is December 16, 2016.

At PhotoPlusExpo my Pre-production lens seemed different than your tester's. Granted it was only a couple of dozen test shots, but like I said, I liked what I saw. Not sure if it was any change, and could of been a minor tweak. Who really knows?

Cal

POST SCRIPT: BTW I would be very pleased if the AF 50 Lux rendering matched the 58/1.4 AF-G. I also agree that it is an under rated lens.
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Old 12-16-2016   #11
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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
And I'm not too proud to admit that when the cheaper, Cosina made 55/1.4 beats a high and mighty Leica lens I get a little smug.
And that's the jist. You're just waiting to crap on the lens. I don't care either way... but it's a little early to judge based on minimal evidence. AND not many of us buy the best lens ever made simply because it is THE BEST. We buy what fits a number of personal wants and needs. These camera wars that the internet perpetuates are crazy at times.
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Old 12-16-2016   #12
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And that's the jist. You're just waiting to crap on the lens. I don't care either way... but it's a little early to judge based on minimal evidence. AND not many of us buy the best lens ever made simply because it is THE BEST. We buy what fits a number of personal wants and needs. These camera wars that the internet perpetuates are crazy at times.
Sure I am. But Leica invites this kind of treatment with sky-high pricing, obnoxious promotional materials where people open their boxes with white gloves on, and claims that they're the best. They have a rabbid user base online too that eats this stuff up. But there is always the kid in the story who laughs when the emperor has no clothes, and I'm happy to play that role. The 58/1.4 I mentioned was beat up in reviews up and down the internet but I'm comfortable defending it. It all evens out.
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Old 12-16-2016   #13
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But does the emperor truly have no clothes? I mean, if you want a modern digital camera with a mechanical rangefinder, where else do you go? The SL has a best in class EVF and there is truly nothing else like it out there. The 50mm in question is still going to be the best native AF solution for that camera. The Q is unique as well. Pricing is due to its business model and for Leica to become a "me too" company would be suicide.

I too am put off by the special editions and rabbid fanboy BS, but they do have some unique products in a market full of safe, pedestrian products (that, of course, have their own value). And you cannot argue with profitability. It's seemingly working for the company.
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Old 12-16-2016   #14
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But does the emperor truly have no clothes? I mean, if you want a modern digital camera with a mechanical rangefinder, where else do you go? The SL has a best in class EVF. The 50mm in question is still going to be the best native AF solution for the camera. The Q is unique.

I too am put off by the special editions and rabbid BS, but they do have some unique products in a market full of safe, pedestrian products.
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The 50mm APO Summicron is probably the best 50 you can buy. I might still argue that you should buy a 50/2 Planar anyways because you'll never see the difference. The SL has an EVF with a high MP count and great magnification. However I've used the camera and the color and contrast are off by a lot. You get a much cleaner impression of your final image from an XT2 EVF. BOTH require that you zoom to 100% to see fine-focus if manually focusing a fast lens. So, the difference is moot IMO. The VF is only a part of a camera though, so what else does it have? The worst in class sensor, the worst in class AF (sure it's fast but it can't track motion with it's high FPS so what's the point?). As for the lenses, what photographer was dreaming up gigantic variable aperture zooms that cost double or triple a fixed 2.8 equivalent? And before you say they're best in class, does that really hold up if you have to stop down the new Nikon 70-200/2.8 to F4 at the long end? Same with the 24-70/2.8? This new 50 should be a nice lens, but is it better than the FE 50mm 1.4 Planar? Personally I wouldn't want to use either because they are gigantic. Leica doesn't even have a 35/2 coming until the next Photokina. It's probably a great EVF solution for M mount lenses if you must buy a Leica, but I'd argue that a Kolari modified A7II is a better choice when you line up practicality and sensor performance.

As for the M system, I really like the current line up. It's too expensive, but as you say, it's what we got. Plus you can get used 240s for reasonable prices now. I wish the sensors were better but overall I think they deliver on their promise. I have written about a 240 I had a lot over in the M digital threads, great camera. Ultimately my M4 is the only Leica I kept because my work requires more reliability and better sensor performance (dark, dark, dark NYC interior weddings, the 240 banding was killing me). I'd pick up the forthcoming M10 someday if I get it at the right price. My ZM lenses will want a digital home eventually. However if Sony's next breakthrough sensor can handle light at offset angles...well...
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Old 12-16-2016   #15
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Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The 50mm APO Summicron is probably the best 50 you can buy. I might still argue that you should buy a 50/2 Planar anyways because you'll never see the difference.
True, but then we are talking value and Leica never wins that battle.

Quote:
The SL has an EVF with a high MP count and great magnification. However I've used the camera and the color and contrast are off by a lot.
Maybe, but to me it is simply a composition tool and for that it pretty nice,

Quote:
You get a much cleaner impression of your final image from an XT2 EVF.
While I like the X-T2, I'm never thinking about the final image (with regard to color and contrast) in my VF.

Quote:
As for the lenses, what photographer was dreaming up gigantic variable aperture zooms that cost double or triple a fixed 2.8 equivalent? And before you say they're best in class, does that really hold up if you have to stop down the new Nikon 70-200/2.8 to F4 at the long end? Same with the 24-70/2.8? This new 50 should be a nice lens, but is it better than the FE 50mm 1.4 Planar? Personally I wouldn't want to use either because they are gigantic. Leica doesn't even have a 35/2 coming until the next Photokina.
I have no argument for this...


Quote:
but I'd argue that a Kolari modified A7II is a better choice when you line up practicality and sensor performance.
Sometimes practicality just doesn't cut it. I'd rather use so many technically worse cameras than the A7II because ergonomically it just doesn't do it for me. I do like the original A7R though still.
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Old 12-16-2016   #16
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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
Sure I am. But Leica invites this kind of treatment with sky-high pricing, obnoxious promotional materials where people open their boxes with white gloves on, and claims that they're the best. They have a rabbid user base online too that eats this stuff up. But there is always the kid in the story who laughs when the emperor has no clothes, and I'm happy to play that role. The 58/1.4 I mentioned was beat up in reviews up and down the internet but I'm comfortable defending it. It all evens out.
S-K,

You are not alone in being a fan of the Nikon 58/1.4 AF-G. I am fond of this lens and owned it. Just because there is a lot of bad information on the internet, is it your hobby to create more of it?

But how am I invited to receive abuse that is directed towards Leica in other threads?

You kinda were telling me how to better spend my money because I bought a SL, you tell me that Leicas are expensive, and you think I don't know that.

Believe me that I was not trying to recruit a Financial Advisor to tell me how to spend my hard earned money on this forum. You really crossed a boundry there with me. Why am I collateral damage? Because I bought an SL and am happy with my camera?

In another thread involving mention of Pentax 67 medium format lenses you insulted someone who shoots large format and extensive medium format, who maybe expressed in not a good manner that he was looking for more character in lenses and was regressing back into small format. Why did you attack and insult him? Sometimes you read into things and really loose your credability. You basically come off as either an angry or unhappy person.

Are you aware of this? Also you signed a contract when you registered onto this forum to be respectful. Pretty much I see a lot of hostility.

Anyways what is this all really about? Abuse? Entitlement? Privilage?...

Cal
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Old 12-16-2016   #17
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If I were spreading 'bad information' on the internet, wouldn't that hinge on false information? Nothing of what I'm saying is false. It might be an opinion, but if you can prove to me, for example, that the SL doesn't have the worse sensor in class, well...I'm open to that.

If I make fun of the SL, you really shouldn't take it so personally. You are not your camera. OTOH, you spend a lot of time on the internet telling us about all the fancy things you own. Guitars that take 10 years to make, a super special printing technique, eizo monitors, an SL with lots of Leica glass. You were the one that posted that you have a $5300 dollar 50/1.4 on pre-order. Which one of us is coming at this from the perspective of privilege again? You offer this information up on a gear forum, well, you get gear answers. If you wanna spend your money on the SL system that's great. Nobody is going to convince me to sell my Rolleiflex for a Hasselblad even though the Hassy lenses are better. If I were to talk about my love of Rolleiflex it wouldn't offend me if someone pointed out how much it's 80 has a tendency to flare. Relax, or defend your positions, not your ego. Defending the SL might be a more fun conversation though.

As for the Pentax 67 guy, HE said something like "all japanese medium format lenses are super sharp but have no character and are boing". I said, if he can't see character in the pentax 67 lenses he's blind as a bat. If that's the worst thing that happened to him that day he had a pretty good day.

Anyway, I'm going to get back to my position of entitlement and privilege. It's lonely up here on my mountain of smugness.
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Old 12-16-2016   #18
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That level of optical distortion is wholly unacceptable for a $5,300, not-so-fast prime. It seems significantly more than the Noctilux. Draw is hard to say but IMO it doesn't best the APO-summicron. I would never take a kit of this size over the 7rII with the AF adapter and the APO Cron (which is actually what I use as a walkaround kit). Regardless of performance, that lens is just too freaking huge for a F1.4 50mm.

I also disagree that the APO Cron isn't meaningfully better than the ZM. I've owned, at one time or another, every modern-ish 50mm in Leica's lineup, and the APO delivers completely different output. It's just very, very good, and very noticeable even at online display sizes.
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Old 12-16-2016   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
The first post mentions that it has been released officially and is being shipped to dealers. The surprise is that elsewhere they were saying spring 2017 on the Leica website, and in Leica e-blasts.

Today is December 16, 2016.

At PhotoPlusExpo my Pre-production lens seemed different than your tester's. Granted it was only a couple of dozen test shots, but like I said, I liked what I saw. Not sure if it was any change, and could of been a minor tweak. Who really knows?

Cal

POST SCRIPT: BTW I would be very pleased if the AF 50 Lux rendering matched the 58/1.4 AF-G. I also agree that it is an under rated lens.
S-K,

Above is an example of where I correct you. In fact the AF 50 Lux has been released as per the e-mail sent to me via a dealer.

Funny thing is you can't respond to corrections or errors on your part.

I didn't have to look too far for bad information, and you ended up propagating your bad information again through repetition.

Also I can agree with you and that too will get disregarded. One example i in this thread with the 58/1.4 AF-G. Here again I didn't have to look so far.

In your own post in this thread you kinda self proclaim you are a troller. Basically you leave me no choice but totally disregard and ignore you. Pretty much no way to positively engage with you.

Cal
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Old 12-16-2016   #20
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I never said it wasn't shipping, I was referring to the review being of a pre-production model.

And show me a store that has it in stock and then I'll agree that it's actually available. If that's the only point you can argue with me on, which is one that I wasn't trying to make, ummm ok!
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Old 12-16-2016   #21
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That level of optical distortion is wholly unacceptable for a $5,300, not-so-fast prime.
Jeez, now 1.4 is not fast either anymore?
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Old 12-16-2016   #22
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Jeez, now 1.4 is not fast either anymore?
Well, I did say not-so-fast. F2.8 would be not-fast...

But yes, for this price and size one would think that Leica could at least make it a F1.2, even if the difference is minor in practice.
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Old 12-16-2016   #23
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But! The lens isn't out yet!

S-K,

So I took this out of context.

My apologies. LOL.

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Old 12-16-2016   #24
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If it's actually getting out to customers sure but I haven't heard of anyone receiving a production model... if you have, great. I'm not sure if this particular point of interest is the most salient part of my comments but, again, ok.
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Old 12-16-2016   #25
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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
Just like I predicted, slightly better than the Sigma, slightly worse than the Otus.

http://www.jupitersnake.com/review/5...ew-first-look/

They may improve AF speed but I doubt the optics will be changed. Looks like it'll be another software correction dependant lens. I guess for the SL that doesn't really matter since you can't use it on film, but it doesn't really seem like you're getting what you pay for here.
It might not be optically better that the Otus (yet to be verified) but the autofocus speed is infinitely better You have choices, "best" optically or most useful?

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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
As for the lenses, what photographer was dreaming up gigantic variable aperture zooms that cost double or triple a fixed 2.8 equivalent? And before you say they're best in class, does that really hold up if you have to stop down the new Nikon 70-200/2.8 to F4 at the long end?
They might be variable aperture, but it's not an apples to apples comparison. The standard zoom goes to 90mm, not 70mm, and the tele goes from 90-280mm, not 70-20mm. So your two lenses now get you from 24-280mm, instead of 24-200mm. The question is now if that range is more useful to you than the fixed aperture? You make your decision and buy your camera, everything is not for everyone.

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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
However if Sony's next breakthrough sensor can handle light at offset angles...well...
Surely Sony's issue is not their light handling on the sensor, but the horrible feeling of holding it? It has to be the worst ergonomically designed camera - although I've never used one of those sigma abominations...)

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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
Sure I am. But Leica invites this kind of treatment with sky-high pricing, obnoxious promotional materials where people open their boxes with white gloves on, and claims that they're the best. They have a rabbid user base online too that eats this stuff up. But there is always the kid in the story who laughs when the emperor has no clothes, and I'm happy to play that role. The 58/1.4 I mentioned was beat up in reviews up and down the internet but I'm comfortable defending it. It all evens out.
Can't argue with the pricing and the naff gloves, but I suppose you need the gloves to charge the price

EDIT: All this is from someone who doesn't own or plan to an SL, or any digital mirrorless or DSLR. I'm not defending the SL, it's just a camera.
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Old 12-16-2016   #26
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That level of optical distortion is wholly unacceptable for a $5,300, not-so-fast prime. It seems significantly more than the Noctilux. Draw is hard to say but IMO it doesn't best the APO-summicron. I would never take a kit of this size over the 7rII with the AF adapter and the APO Cron (which is actually what I use as a walkaround kit). Regardless of performance, that lens is just too freaking huge for a F1.4 50mm.

I also disagree that the APO Cron isn't meaningfully better than the ZM. I've owned, at one time or another, every modern-ish 50mm in Leica's lineup, and the APO delivers completely different output. It's just very, very good, and very noticeable even at online display sizes.
Idk man, looking at this comparison it just seems so close:
http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2015/1...iss-planar-zm/

Granted, RF ppl are nuts (talking about myself here) about the subtleties of 50mm lenses, so I can see picking one over the other, but it is crazy close. Certainly closer than you might imagine given the price of the APO. I wish he would have included the current Summicron M too.

I am an admitted Zeiss guy though. I have the block diagram of the 50mm Distagon tattoo'd on my arm haha.
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Old 12-16-2016   #27
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It might not be optically better that the Otus (yet to be verified) but the autofocus speed is infinitely better You have choices, "best" optically or most useful?



They might be variable aperture, but it's not an apples to apples comparison. The standard zoom goes to 90mm, not 70mm, and the tele goes from 90-280mm, not 70-20mm. So your two lenses now get you from 24-280mm, instead of 24-200mm. The question is now if that range is more useful to you than the fixed aperture? You make your decision and buy your camera, everything is not for everyone.



Surely Sony's issue is not their light handling on the sensor, but the horrible feeling of holding it? It has to be the worst ergonomically designed camera - although I've never used one of those sigma abominations...)



Can't argue with the pricing and the naff gloves, but I suppose you need the gloves to charge the price

EDIT: All this is from someone who doesn't own or plan to an SL, or any digital mirrorless or DSLR. I'm not defending the SL, it's just a camera.
You do have me on AF speed haha. I doubt Sony would let them port any of the Otus lenses to FE mount. As for the zoom reach. Sure, yeah, ok. But the difference at tele are pretty slight, and the 24-90 already looses speed at 28mm. So it's not just at the ends. I think at 50mm you're looking at a 3.2 aperture. There just isn't much about a 50mm 3.2 that I find exciting. So it's the total package that becomes problematic not just the ends. I'd be more willing to forgive the tele for being a variable aperture lens generally.

As for the Sony camera design, it's definitely lacking. Can't argue with that. I'll deal with it for the price/performance ratio. I've never seen better quality from a 35mm digital than what i got out of the RX1RII. That BSI sensor is just incredible with a great lens in front of it. It just had a great subtlety of tone that I don't get from my Nikons. THe fact that it kept up with my D750 for low light was icing on the cake.
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Old 12-16-2016   #28
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I think at 50mm you're looking at a 3.2 aperture. There just isn't much about a 50mm 3.2 that I find exciting.
I hear what you are saying, but it's only a 1/3rd of a stop difference from the typical Nikon 2.8 zoom.
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Old 12-16-2016   #29
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Idk man, looking at this comparison it just seems so close:
http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2015/1...iss-planar-zm/

Granted, RF ppl are nuts (talking about myself here) about the subtleties of 50mm lenses, so I can see picking one over the other, but it is crazy close. Certainly closer than you might imagine given the price of the APO. I wish he would have included the current Summicron M too.

I am an admitted Zeiss guy though. I have the block diagram of the 50mm Distagon tattoo'd on my arm haha.
Not that I have anything against Steve Huff, but his comparison posts don't really say much about how lenses perform in actual photography. For me, the APO Cron really shines with portraits because of the OOF transition, and it also has an excellent microcontrast without being overly contrasty like the ZM. It is close if all you shoot are leaves and rusty faucets, though.

...but I agree, the difference is completely disproportional to price. I don't think I would have bought one if I didn't get a great deal on a demo copy. And I can see why people would actually prefer the less technical draw. The APO 50 is for people who look at the Lux ASPH output and think "man, this would be more awesome if it were more clinical".
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Old 12-16-2016   #30
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...but I agree, the difference is completely disproportional to price. I don't think I would have bought one if I didn't get a great deal on a demo copy. And I can see why people would actually prefer the less technical draw. The APO 50 is for people who look at the Lux ASPH output and think "man, this would be more awesome if it were more clinical".
Haha so def not me. I can appreciate it's qualities regardless of my taste preferences tho.
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Old 12-16-2016   #31
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@SaveKodak, IIRC, the Otus focuses with all the elements moving, the same as rangefinder lenses. Making it autofocus is no easy matter, as big elements don't accelerate fast enough, so you want the autofocus to be done with the lightest elements possible, which complicates things and requires an entirely different lens design.

Interestingly this was the big issue when Nikon changed from MF to AF and I think there is a 1001 nights article on the 1.4/85 AF that spoke in more detail about the issues.

On the AF side, the motor, gears, and electronics all take up space, and can't always be distributed wherever you want, making the lens bigger. The Otus and SL 50 are both huge, one has AF and in camera correctio, one is likely optically better without in camera corrections. Pick your poison.
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