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Canon Rangefinders - Peter Dechert and Peter Kitchingman Peter Dechert is best known for his Canon Rangefinder, Canon SLR, and Olympus Pen books, the latter two long out-of-print. He was a monthly columnist for many years for SHUTTERBUG magazine, and has contributed to many others. Most recently he has written about the pre-WW2 Zeiss 35mm cameras, but his interests in camera equipment and optics are many and varied. As a pro protographer and honorary life member of ASMP, Peter is also expert in using the gear! Peter Kitchingman - author of Canon Rangefinder Lens book Peter Kitchingman's 'Canon M39 Rangefinder Lenses 1939-71' book is the definitive source on these very interesting optics. His interests also go to the entire Canon Rangefinder system and beyond.

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And What About the Canon RF Lenses?
Old 09-06-2007   #1
pdek
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And What About the Canon RF Lenses?

Now we've explored the cameras, let's think about the lenses for a bit. Some of us have already expressed opinions, but for the moment let's pose a few questions:
1. Among the Canon RF lenses that you've actually used, which one or ones gave you the most satisfaction so far as results were concerned?
2. Which was least satisfactory: that is, if any were?
3. If you have a camera collection that includes one or two Canons, which lens or lenses would you most like to display with them? Why?
4. If you are a serious Canon collector, what lenses are you proudest to own?
5. And, among the ones you don't own, which ones would you like to add?
6. Finally, I'll ask you a question that you keep asking me, in one way or another: during the 1950-1960 period, what manufacturers made the "best" lenses for 35mm photography?
(My answer to that one is, in no order of ranking, Zeiss, Nikon, and Canon.)
So what do you all think?
Peter
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Old 09-06-2007   #2
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I think Canon made fantastic lenses. I have the 50/1,2 and 1,5 and the 35/2,8, pleased with all of them. I have a Canon V which is kinda made for the 1,2. I don't know if I will keep the 1,2 because the 1,5 is so close in speed and so much smaller.
I am pretty much done with lenses, too many around that I use too little. Of various brands.
You don't think Leica made good optics then? Think again. Have a look at the bartender's site on various lenses, that should explain you a lot.
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Old 09-06-2007   #3
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the best allrounder was the 50/1.8
a great lens, not too much is said about it because it is too common.


my least liked Canon lens was the 50/2.8.
I think the Industar 26m was better than this lens.
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Old 09-06-2007   #4
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Quote:
1. Among the Canon RF lenses that you've actually used, which one or ones gave you the most satisfaction so far as results were concerned?
Serenar 50mm f/1.8
Canon 50mm f/1.4 (I)
Serenar 85mm f/1.9

Quote:
2. Which was least satisfactory: that is, if any were?
I have not found any to be unsatisfactory.

Quote:
3. If you have a camera collection that includes one or two Canons, which lens or lenses would you most like to display with them? Why?

N/A
Quote:
4. If you are a serious Canon collector, what lenses are you proudest to own?

N/A

Quote:
5. And, among the ones you don't own, which ones would you like to add?

50mm f/1.2

Quote:
6. Finally, I'll ask you a question that you keep asking me, in one way or another: during the 1950-1960 period, what manufacturers made the "best" lenses for 35mm photography?
(My answer to that one is, in no order of ranking, Zeiss, Nikon, and Canon.)

N/A

Quote:
So what do you all think?
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Old 09-06-2007   #5
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I really like the later black Canon lenses - even if some ue the same optics as their earlier brethren, they're lighter and more ergonomic.

I have the 28/3.5, 50/1.2 and 135/3.5. The latter two are fantastic, and hold their own against much more modern lenses. The 28/3.5 lacks resolution even when closed up to f/5.6-f/8.

The 50/1.2 seems unfairly maligned. It's popular among R-D1 users - but a very common problem has been that the lens calibration is way off (luckily easy to address): perhaps this has led to the lens being wrongly tagged as "soft".

Can't answer the other questions as I don't know anything about the Canon RF cameras: I chose Canon lenses as I wanted high-resolution, low-contrast lenses for use with my Epson R-D1 - "sunny day" lenses as Sean Reid calls them.
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Old 09-06-2007   #6
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1. Among the Canon RF lenses that you've actually used, which one or ones gave you the most satisfaction so far as results were concerned?

50 f1.2
50 f1.8 (chrome)
35 f3.2 (oddly.. but I really like the look)

2. Which was least satisfactory: that is, if any were?

100 f4 - but that was to be expected.

3. If you have a camera collection that includes one or two Canons, which lens or lenses would you most like to display with them? Why?

Not big on display only. But the 50 1.4 is nice and balanced, without overwhelming the later cameras.

For early cameras I like the chrome 50 1.8

4. If you are a serious Canon collector, what lenses are you proudest to own?

Not a collector.

5. And, among the ones you don't own, which ones would you like to add?

NA

6. Finally, I'll ask you a question that you keep asking me, in one way or another: during the 1950-1960 period, what manufacturers made the "best" lenses for 35mm photography?

Zeiss, Leica, Canon, Nikon - in that order.
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Old 09-06-2007   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
Now we've explored the cameras, let's think about the lenses for a bit. Some of us have already expressed opinions, but for the moment let's pose a few questions:
1. Among the Canon RF lenses that you've actually used, which one or ones gave you the most satisfaction so far as results were concerned?

50/1.5 and 35/2

2. Which was least satisfactory: that is, if any were?

I do not care for the results from the 25/3.5. Corners are dark and resolution is mediocre. Maybe I have a bad example...


3. If you have a camera collection that includes one or two Canons, which lens or lenses would you most like to display with them? Why?

I have a few favorites fordisplay, with occasional use - 19/3.5, 85/1.8 and 50/0.95

4. If you are a serious Canon collector, what lenses are you proudest to own?

See above list. I am not a serious collector, I use my lenses.

5. And, among the ones you don't own, which ones would you like to add?

Can't think of any at the moment

6. Finally, I'll ask you a question that you keep asking me, in one way or another: during the 1950-1960 period, what manufacturers made the "best" lenses for 35mm photography? (My answer to that one is, in no order of ranking, Zeiss, Nikon, and Canon.)

So what do you all think?
Peter
pdek, I like your list, but based on my experience, I would have Zeiss and Nikon tied for first place.
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Last edited by dexdog : 09-06-2007 at 10:07.
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Old 09-06-2007   #8
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1. Among the Canon RF lenses that you've actually used, which one or ones gave you the most satisfaction so far as results were concerned?

85mm/1.9
50 f1.2
28 f3.5

2. Which was least satisfactory: that is, if any were?

None. I like all of my Canon RF lenses.

3. If you have a camera collection that includes one or two Canons, which lens or lenses would you most like to use?

I like the small 28mm/3.5 and the 35mm/2.8 for classial look and performance.

If you are a serious Canon collector, what lenses are you proudest to own?

I am not a serious Canon collector.

5. And, among the ones you don't own, which ones would you like to add?

maybe the 100mm/2.0.

6. Finally, I'll ask you a question that you keep asking me, in one way or another: during the 1950-1960 period, what manufacturers made the "best" lenses for 35mm photography?

(Zeiss, Leica) and (Canon, Nikon) - two groups in that order.
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Old 09-06-2007   #9
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Hi Peter,

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
1. Among the Canon RF lenses that you've actually used, which one or ones gave you the most satisfaction so far as results were concerned?
I have tried 135/3.5 (chrome and black), 85/1.9, 50/1.2, 50/1.4, 50/1.5, 35/1.8 and 35/2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
2. Which was least satisfactory: that is, if any were?
Least satisfactory was the 35/2. I find its OOF behavior real ugly and prefer the 35/1.8. Next the 85/1.9 OOF I don't like either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
3. If you have a camera collection that includes one or two Canons, which lens or lenses would you most like to display with them? Why?
I have (now) a P and like it best with the 50/1.4. From the 3 framelines, my eyes get attracted to the 50 lines.
And the 50/1.4 + P is a great, rugged, sharp combo. Feels just right with a GMP grip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
4. If you are a serious Canon collector, what lenses are you proudest to own?
I'm not a serious collector I guess, and mostly proud that my lenses
are very well collimated/adjusted. I am particularly proud that I have good
copies of the 50/1.5, 1.4 and 1.2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
5. And, among the ones you don't own, which ones would you like to add?
The 85/1.8 and/or 100/2. And maybe the 19mm.

Best,

Roland.

Last edited by ferider : 09-06-2007 at 09:55.
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Old 09-06-2007   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
Now we've explored the cameras, let's think about the lenses for a bit. Some of us have already expressed opinions, but for the moment let's pose a few questions:
1. Among the Canon RF lenses that you've actually used, which one or ones gave you the most satisfaction so far as results were concerned?
That's a tough one, because I love the rendition, build and overall quality of the Canon 50mm f/1.5. But it flares horribly whenever a strong source of light comes through, literally ruining the shot; given that it's a "high-speed" lens, I guess sun flare wasn't a concern in low-light situations (heh), but there are very strong sources of light at night too that can ruin your low-light shot.

The Canon 50mm f/1.2 is a very nice lens, both wide open and stopped down. Stopped down it has a "sharpness" and very pleasing contrast, and wide open, the bokeh is good enough (not "wonderful", but good), and with the right filter, you can minimize the apparent effects of "softness" of details in the "focused" DOF.

Both are very heavy for their sizes, but that is actually a good thing when shooting and helping stabilize your shot with low shutter speeds.

If only the 50 f/1.2 rendered the same bokeh as the 50 f/1.5, it'd be one of the most coveted LTM lenses (for actual shooters, not collectors...well, maybe if the shooters loved it so much that the collectors would want it just because of its reputation)

These two lenses have their weaknesses, but they are heavily outweighed by their strengths.
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Old 09-06-2007   #11
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This is a great thread, and the discussion is enlightening. I purchased my P and 7 bodies not so much to buy into the Canon rf "system," but as rugged, relatively inexpensive platforms for a range of ltm lenses. Nevertheless, I love my Canon 50/1.8 (I have a later black one), and have GAS for a 35/1.8 (only confirmed by some of the comments above).

I would also love to get the 100/3.5. I'm curious why no one's mentioned it so far.
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Old 09-06-2007   #12
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The Canon rfdrs are cheap and perform real well.

You dont have to worry about hole in shutter.

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Old 09-07-2007   #13
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I find the Canon lenses are probably the best "bang for the buck" in the classic RF arena. The 35/2, 50/1.2, 50/1.5, 50/1.8 (chrome or black) and 100/3.5 mid-black are particular favorites. I was surprised to see someone really down on the 35/2. I have the late version, which is only a small cosmetic change, and it's one of my most used lenses. I also like the early chrome 28/3.5 for its tiny size and lovely rendition, particularly in B&W.

The 100/4 is heavy and not especially sharp. It's probably of most interest to a collector, rather than a user. There are several (50/0.95, 1.2, 85/1.9 and 2 come to mind) that have poor reputations, but perform very well in the real world. That's fine, as it keeps the price within reason.

The Leica/Zeiss/Nikon lenses are all mostly high in price, with little or no increase in results in actual picture taking. This is, IMHO, partly mystique, collector demand and reputation among the beginners. My favorites are the 50/1.5 Sonnar, and the 50/2.0 Summitar... two very different lenses, both with similar Canon equivalents.

If I have the money, I'd love to add a black 85/100 to my arsenal. They seem to represent the finest examples of fast/long lenses Canon produced for the RF cameras. Unfortunately, they also seem to be in very short supply, and desired by many, both for use and collections.

Harry
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Old 09-07-2007   #14
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I only have one Canon lens, the Canon LTM 50/1.8. As I don't own a Canon camera I use it on my Bessa R, and I consider it a very good lens.

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Old 09-09-2007   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
Now we've explored the cameras, let's think about the lenses for a bit. Some of us have already expressed opinions, but for the moment let's pose a few questions:
1. Among the Canon RF lenses that you've actually used, which one or ones gave you the most satisfaction so far as results were concerned?
2. Which was least satisfactory: that is, if any were?
3. If you have a camera collection that includes one or two Canons, which lens or lenses would you most like to display with them? Why?
4. If you are a serious Canon collector, what lenses are you proudest to own?
5. And, among the ones you don't own, which ones would you like to add?
6. Finally, I'll ask you a question that you keep asking me, in one way or another: during the 1950-1960 period, what manufacturers made the "best" lenses for 35mm photography?
(My answer to that one is, in no order of ranking, Zeiss, Nikon, and Canon.)
So what do you all think?
Peter
Peter,

This one is fun. Almost all of my RF glass is from Canon - I have a Serenar 28/3.5, a Canon 35/1.8, a Serenar 50/1.8, a Canon 135/3.5 (late, black) and non Canon I-65 L/D & a nice pre-war uncoated Elmar 90/4. So to answer your questions, in your order:

1) 35/1.8 & 50/1.8 - the 35/2 is supposed to be better and the 50/1.8 is consistantly underrated by many. OTOH, I have gotten more keepers with this pair (& have only owned the 35/1.8 only a few months!) than with any other 2 lenses I own. Exquisite sharpness when you want and glorious OOF areas.

2) 85/2 - major flare monster. I once used it indoors under flourescent lighting without it's hood and had many major flares. Outdoors even with the hood it was hit or miss to get a decent result. Excellent lens for a collector; not so good for a user as far as _I_ am concerned.

3) I actually have a couple of FL lenses I'd be more inclined to show off simply due to matters like f/1.2 & the wonderful aperture rings those lenses used.

4) N/A

5) Serenar marked 50/1.5 & a 50/1.9. I know the 50/1.5 is a cracker & I've heard that the 50/1.9 is nothing terribly special especially considering the major advance that the 50/1.8 was. Still, it would be fun to have a Canon collapsible for a IV body and that one was probably the most usable in the real world.

6) Zeiss, Canon, Nikon, & Leica. This has more to do with taste than anything else. Z&C have a similar look & N&L have a similar look. I happen to like the first one better.

Thanks!

William
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Old 09-09-2007   #16
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I own or I've owned the following Canon RF lenses. This what I think about it :

The 25mm f/3.5 is a good old wide angle lens, the Topogon design helps creating some really retro work.

The 28mm f/3.5 is one of my favorite, it always delivered me crisp images with very nice half tones. (don't expect sharp corners at full aperture, we're talking of nearly sixty years old lens...)

The 28mm f/2.8 is a great lens too, but with a much more modern feeling. It is a bit more sharper than the older 28mm, and it is a good general purpose wide angle.

The 35mm f/2.8 is one of the best wide angle I ever had for my taste. It is not really constrasty like modern lenses, but it is simply beautiful and delightful to use.

The 50mm f/1.8 is a really nice prime lens with really nice OOF effects on full aperture

The 50mm f/3.5 collapsible is just the one I prefer. It has something like it is a super-Tessar !

The 85mm f/2 is a nice lens for portraits. I will not use it for street shooting, because I find it lacking some sharpness and prone to flare, but for portraits I like it delivers just what I need.

The 135mm f/3.5 is tack sharp as all RF tele lens from this period are from full aperture to full stop down.

Of course, I'm speaking of these lenses correctly shaded and monted on good working cameras !

If I could afford one, I'd like to try a 19mm Canon RF lens, but it is very expensive.

If I had to keep two lense from my list, I would say the 28mm f/3.5 and the 50mm collapsible f/3.5. Just because they have a great and unique rendering, and because thay are small, which is what I like on Rf cameras.

I had some Nikkor lenses on Leica mount, but they are slightly different.
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Old 09-10-2007   #17
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I've used the 50/1.4 (sold), 85/1.8 (kept), 35/1.8 (keeping, I think), and the 50/1.5 (keeping).

I didn't like the ergonomics of the 50/1.4 and the 50/1.5 is great and so small that it was the winner.

The 85/1.8 IS A GREAT LENS! It's big but the results from it are truly wonderful. I was lucky to get it cheap - I see it lately for almost $1000!

The 35/1.8 is also surprisingly good, but I've only had it for a few weeks - it was cheap and would give a 35/2 Summicron pre-ASPH a challenge!

There are no Canon lenses that i currently want, except a 50/0.95! IF ANYONE HAS ONE TO SELL, PLEASE SEND ME A PM. Thanks
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Old 09-10-2007   #18
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If I could have just 2, they would be the 35/2.8 and 50/1.5. Both produce more classic looking images then most of the other lenses I have, and I like that.

I actually have used the 50/1.4 the most. It just is an excellent all around lens. Fast, sharp, good contrast. Canon seems to have gotten everything right with this lens.

I was not that impressed with the 35/2. I did not like the images I got from it and it was tiny, ergonomically not a good fit for me.
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Old 09-10-2007   #19
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Hi Peter,

The first two I am still working on but just don't seem to get time to use what I have. Have purchased a Bessa R mainly because of the TTL metering as I didn't want to cart around a valuable collectable. At the moment I have a black 100mm f/3.5 attached and also a 35mm f/1.5 lens in the bag.

3. If you have a camera collection that includes one or two Canons, which lens or lenses would you most like to display with them? Why?

Wont say how many cameras I have but I try and match the serial # of the lens with the era of the camera according to my database information.


4. If you are a serious Canon collector, what lenses are you proudest to own?

This one I had to think about but the one lens that stood out in my collection is my 35mm f/1.8 Prototype lens serial # 1803. If anyone has Jacob Deschins Canon book lens # 1806 is pictured there. The one reason why I include Deschins book as a must in a Canon RF Collection is there are so many Prototype lenses pictured in the book.

Top 10 in my collection,

  1. 35mm f/1.8 #1803 Prototype
  2. 85mm f/2 #59000....possibly the last 85mm f/2 lens produced.
  3. 75mm f/4.5 S-K #616...from an Imperial Japanese Army Fingerprint camera.
  4. 13.5cm f/4 S-K S #4073 & #4074....matching pair with differences.
  5. 5cm f/3.5 #5114 S-K S Enlarging lens (copy of the Nikkor Hermes and Leica VAROB)...One of 4 known.
  6. 50mm f/1.9 #42187 with "Japan" on the ID ring....only one known
  7. 5cm f/1.5 #3053 S-K S R-Serenar and marked as so on the ID ring with apertures
  8. 85mm f/1.5 #10618 solid chrome marked "CANON LENS" on ID ring...one of three known.
  9. Full set of five Nikkor screw mount N-K 5cm f/3.5 lenses by year #460199, #502235, #570857, #610230, #7051067.
  10. 85mm f/2 #58080...one of three recorded with "Japan" on the front ID ring.


    5. And, among the ones you don't own, which ones would you like to add?
  1. 20cm f/4 S-K
  2. 5cm f/2 S-K lens
  3. 100mm f/2
  4. 85mm f/1.8
  5. Any tele lens over 400mm
Anyway just my addition but as a collector.

Hope all is well.

Regards Peter K



Last edited by CanonRFinder : 09-10-2007 at 06:42.
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Old 09-10-2007   #20
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I had extremely limited experience with these lenses prior to this weekend. I have a chrome 100/3.5 that's got focusing issues, even after John Van Stelten worked on it a few years ago. I need to get that fixed. But I purchased locally for dirt cheap the black 135/3.5 a couple of days ago and I am stunned at how good it is.
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Old 09-18-2007   #21
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I'll try to answer this, based only on my own experience (and not all copies of a single lens model are created equal, so that my experience, as in the case of the 35mm f/2, may disagree with the group of you who picked on this one: maybe I got a perfectly-made one, and yours were somewhat off for some reason) -- one question at a time, answers in capital letters:

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
Now we've explored the cameras, let's think about the lenses for a bit. Some of us have already expressed opinions, but for the moment let's pose a few questions:
1. Among the Canon RF lenses that you've actually used, which one or ones gave you the most satisfaction so far as results were concerned?
ANSWER - 25MM F/3.5; 35MM F/2; 50MM F/1.8, F/1.4, AND F/0.95; 85MM F/1.8; 100MM F/2; 135MM F/3.5 (LATE "black") MODEL).
2. Which was least satisfactory: that is, if any were?
ANSWER - I PARTICULARLY DIDN'T LIKE MY 35MM F/3.2, f1.8, AND F/1.5.
3. If you have a camera collection that includes one or two Canons, which lens or lenses would you most like to display with them? Why?
ANSWER - I ALWAYS KEEP MY COLLECTOR CAMERAS WITH "NORMAL" LENSES, AND I PREFER TO HAVE THEM MORE OR LESS AGE-MATCHED TO THE CAMERA THEY'RE ON. APART FROM THAT, I'M SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THE RARITY OF THE LENS IN ITS AGE PERIOD: FOR INSTANCE THE 50MM F/0.95 ON ONE OF THE CANON 7-TYPES, OR A SERENAR F/3.5 ON AN S-II OR IIB.
4. If you are a serious Canon collector, what lenses are you proudest to own?
ANSWER - THE 2 LENSES THAT MATCH MY CANON IIB USASC CAMERA (THESE CAMERAS AND LENSES ARE ENGRAVED IN A STYLE VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE ONE LATER USED ON THE USASC IIIAs SHOWN IN MY BOOK)
5. And, among the ones you don't own, which ones would you like to add?
ANSWER - AS A COLLECTOR, A KASYAPA FOR THE KWANON.
6. Finally, I'll ask you a question that you keep asking me, in one way or another: during the 1950-1960 period, what manufacturers made the "best" lenses for 35mm photography? ALREADY ANSWERED BELOW.
(My answer to that one is, in no order of ranking, Zeiss, Nikon, and Canon.)
So what do you all think?
Peter
AND THANKS FOR HAVING SO MANY THOUGHTS!!!
PETER
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Old 09-18-2007   #22
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I had an opposite experience than you with the 35 3.2 it seems. Maybe I just got a really nice copy.

Ah well.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts with us Peter. Much appreciated.
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Old 09-18-2007   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue_designer
I had an opposite experience than you with the 35 3.2 it seems. Maybe I just got a really nice copy.
That's what I thought about the 35/1.8. Of course, I got mine from Brian Sweeney, he may well have worked his optical magic on it. No matter, I love the look it gives me and want to find a nice P to put it on

William
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Old 09-22-2007   #24
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I regularly use the 50mm f/1.2, in fact used it only yesterday on my R-D1. Every time I use it I love it, always seem to get a shot that people like with it. I don't see any of the calibration issues that Rich reports. Of course it works so well because you're losing the corners on the cropped sensor.
This whole set was taken with it, virtually all @ f/1.2

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiloran...7602109420790/

I also have two P's, a couple of 50 f/1.8s (came with the P's), the 35mm f/2.8, and the 100mm f/3.5. I've used the 100 a bit and it did fine, nothing spectacular. The 35 is currently on the P and permanently in the glovebox of the car for those candid street moments. My 35 is all chrome and absolutely gorgeous, so heavy for its size. Shame about the infinity locks, what were they thinking with those?

I'd like to add the 50mm f/0.95 at some point.

Can't comment on 50s rangefinder lenses as I have no idea what makes a "good" lens and the only lenses from that period I've used are the Canons and Agfa's Ambi Silette system.
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Canon 50/1.2, etc.
Old 09-23-2007   #25
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Canon 50/1.2, etc.

Dear Terao,
Nice shots! I never tried the 50/1.2 on my R-D1, largely because I wasn't fond of it on 35mm but also because I am excessively fond of the 50/1.4, which is only 1/2 stop slower. And for speed, I do have the 50/0.95, which mounts better on my R-D1 than it does on my M8, and which produces really unexpectedly good results wide open. I had Marty Forscher's crew (actually Buddy, his right-hand man) modify it for M-mount years ago; since then both I and John Van Stelten have spent more time on it.
I guess Canon used infinity locks because Leica had done so, and of course the Nikon and Contax RF cameras also locked at infinity. Sign of the times!
Thanks for getting in touch,
Peter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terao
I regularly use the 50mm f/1.2, in fact used it only yesterday on my R-D1. Every time I use it I love it, always seem to get a shot that people like with it. I don't see any of the calibration issues that Rich reports. Of course it works so well because you're losing the corners on the cropped sensor.
This whole set was taken with it, virtually all @ f/1.2

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiloran...7602109420790/

I also have two P's, a couple of 50 f/1.8s (came with the P's), the 35mm f/2.8, and the 100mm f/3.5. I've used the 100 a bit and it did fine, nothing spectacular. The 35 is currently on the P and permanently in the glovebox of the car for those candid street moments. My 35 is all chrome and absolutely gorgeous, so heavy for its size. Shame about the infinity locks, what were they thinking with those?

I'd like to add the 50mm f/0.95 at some point.

Can't comment on 50s rangefinder lenses as I have no idea what makes a "good" lens and the only lenses from that period I've used are the Canons and Agfa's Ambi Silette system.

Last edited by pdek : 09-23-2007 at 08:50.
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Old 09-23-2007   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terao
I regularly use the 50mm f/1.2, in fact used it only yesterday on my R-D1. Every time I use it I love it, always seem to get a shot that people like with it. I don't see any of the calibration issues that Rich reports. Of course it works so well because you're losing the corners on the cropped sensor.
This whole set was taken with it, virtually all @ f/1.2

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiloran...7602109420790/

I also have two P's, a couple of 50 f/1.8s (came with the P's), the 35mm f/2.8, and the 100mm f/3.5. I've used the 100 a bit and it did fine, nothing spectacular. The 35 is currently on the P and permanently in the glovebox of the car for those candid street moments. My 35 is all chrome and absolutely gorgeous, so heavy for its size. Shame about the infinity locks, what were they thinking with those?

I'd like to add the 50mm f/0.95 at some point.

Can't comment on 50s rangefinder lenses as I have no idea what makes a "good" lens and the only lenses from that period I've used are the Canons and Agfa's Ambi Silette system.
I love the way this lens draws! Thanks for sharing...
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Old 09-23-2007   #27
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Wow I love the look of that lens! I find the BW images about 10x nicer than the colour versions of the same. I admit, I'm very tempted to start hunting one down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terao
Shame about the infinity locks, what were they thinking with those?
Forgive the ignorance, what is an infinity lock, and do the 50mm lenses have one?
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Old 09-23-2007   #28
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Canon 50 mm f1.4
Canon 35 mm f2.0
Canon 100 mm f3.5
Canon 19 mm f3.5
All were late model black lenses and were great, switched over to Leica and sold the Canon lenses as I replaced each one with a Leica lens. Wish I would have kept the 100 mm f3.5 that was a very sweet lens.
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Old 09-23-2007   #29
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Well, my Canon 50/1.8 had it. I say "had" because I disabled it immediately (you remove a tiny screw) as I cannot understand the logic of it.

It is a little tab sticking out the side of the lens, and when set the lens at infinity it locks it there. You must depress a little lever to get the lens to move off infinity again.

Way too fiddly for me.

Ted
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Old 09-24-2007   #30
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I LOVE the f1.5 50mm - can`t rave about it enough, have to post new work from it soon
(I own two very late ones 1955/56) it`s the legendary "sonnar" looks from this lens that are amazing, all my models love it when I photograph them with one

And it seems they are always on my Leica IIIC`s, I use these more than the standard Leitz f3.5 50mm Elmar

The f1.8 50mm has been on one of my IIF2`s since I bought it, great all around lens, proved itself well in some Crossprocessing here

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=46880

and more to come next time some blk n wht work

I want a f1.4 50mm becuase of it`s "Planar" signature look, another fast vintage lens to love.....

and I want the f2.0 100mm for some amazing portraits

Tom

PS: I want to TRY out the f 0.95 "Dream" when I get to San Francisco, my old M6 which has a new home is wearing one now occasionally
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Old 09-27-2007   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedwhite
Well, my Canon 50/1.8 had it. I say "had" because I disabled it immediately (you remove a tiny screw) as I cannot understand the logic of it.
After I bought a 7 that came with a 50/1.8 lens on which that screw was missing, I immediately understood why I like this lock. I can unmount the lens without having to wind it out to 3ft just to get a grip on the barrel. If you have a spare screw, I wouldn't mind restoring the infinity lock on this one!
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Old 09-27-2007   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
Now we've explored the cameras, let's think about the lenses for a bit. Some of us have already expressed opinions, but for the moment let's pose a few questions:
1. Among the Canon RF lenses that you've actually used, which one or ones gave you the most satisfaction so far as results were concerned?
100mm f/2 and 50mm f/1.4. I think these are as good as or better than most currently-available modern lenses.

Quote:
2. Which was least satisfactory: that is, if any were?
50mm f/1.2. Sometimes it produces beautiful pictures, but other times they just look flat and mushy, and it's hard for me to predict which result I'll get.

Quote:
3. If you have a camera collection that includes one or two Canons, which lens or lenses would you most like to display with them? Why?
The main reason I keep the 50/1.2 is that it looks so great on my VI-T. It's handsome, the proportions complement those of the camera, and "back in the day" that's what the serious shooter would have wanted on his/her VI-T.


Quote:
6. Finally, I'll ask you a question that you keep asking me, in one way or another: during the 1950-1960 period, what manufacturers made the "best" lenses for 35mm photography?

(My answer to that one is, in no order of ranking, Zeiss, Nikon, and Canon.)
I'll agree with you, bearing in mind the "no order of ranking" part. (I suspect the ranking would have been different in 1950 than in 1960. A huge amount of optical progress took place during that decade.)
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Old 09-27-2007   #33
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I have a 50 f1.4 that is may standard lens for both my M3 and MP, plus at a pich, I can use it on my Barnack bodies too. I think it often outperforms my 50mm Summilux - particularly in colour. One lens I am very unlikely to ever part with!

I used to have a 50 f1.8 Serenar on my IIIc, and found that to be a very good lens - much better (for me, anyway) that the Summar or Summitar. Somewhat sharper, if a little lower in overall contrast - very good period feel.

I also have a 35 f1.8 that generally sits on my Standard body - great lens, and not too slow for its size either. I did have a 35 f1.5 for a few weeks, but was not impressed and swapped it for a 35 'cron. I'm still wondering if I should have given it a better chance, so that would probably be the one I would like to add to my tribe.
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Old 09-27-2007   #34
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the Canon 35/1.5 lens does have its charms, you should have given it more use and time, it has a nice different look wide open. I would never get rid of mine.
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Old 09-27-2007   #35
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I only have two RF lenses in total, the 50mm 1.8 and the 35mm 2.8. Both of them bring a smile to my face everytime I use them (not very much recently which is a shame.)


I don't know whether the 50mm is considered chrome or black as its partly both - the focus barrel is black while the rest us chrome. My 35mm is all chrome, it comes in a little leather box with a chrome finder too - beautiful kit.


As a film and digi SLR user for work I find the simplicity, size and ergonomics a delightful change from those lumping great lenses I stick on the end of my SLR kit.
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Old 09-27-2007   #36
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Simon, I was looking at your RFF Gallery and quite enjoy your work. "A Fleeting Glimpse" is very, very HCB, and Snoop Dog is simply hilarious.

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Old 10-10-2007   #37
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1. Among the Canon RF lenses that you've actually used, which one or ones gave you the most satisfaction so far as results were concerned?

I was most impressed by the 50/1.5 "Sonnar" look. Followed by the 100/3.5 (all versions), 50/1.4, 85/1.8, 35/2, and lately, 35/1.5 - my best 35mm at f/2.8 - and 35/1.8 for its overall character. Even the 25/3.5 hasn't such corner falloff as I expected.

2. Which was least satisfactory: that is, if any were?


So far, every Canon RF lens made me happy in use. Although there are some lenses I didn't use much, i.e. the 50/0.95, 85/1.5 and 50/2.8

3. If you have a camera collection that includes one or two Canons, which lens or lenses would you most like to display with them? Why?


In any case the "monster" 50/0.95 is an impotant lens in terms of collecting, as well as the 85/1.5, 85/1.8 or 35/1.5. A quite unknown fact is that the 35/1.8 was the fastest 35mm in the world 1956 (its patent was issued half a year earlier than Nikons 35/1.8)

4. If you are a serious Canon collector, what lenses are you proudest to own?


The same as above. I have a chrome "Canon" 85/1.5 which is quite uncommon.

5. And, among the ones you don't own, which ones would you like to add?


Probably the 100/2, but not for a high price. Probably I won't use it much because it's much larger than the 85/1.8 and I prefer small lenses in use. But just to check it with the Canon P and 100mm framelines...

6. Finally, I'll ask you a question that you keep asking me, in one way or another: during the 1950-1960 period, what manufacturers made the "best" lenses for 35mm photography?

Hard to decide. Probably around 1962-1968, Canon was overall best in rangefinders and Zeiss in SLRs. As far as RF is concerned, Leica's development speed prior to the "Mandler era" was too sluggish, creating a serious lack on modern wideangles, short telephoto lenses too big and heavy because of unmodern design, lack of super fast lenses etc. Nikon did some excellent designs but stopped it around 1956 in favor of SLR lenses. Zeiss stopped it even earlier, just after the great Biogon 21/4.5

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Old 10-10-2007   #38
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At least in the last 3-5 years price are quite level at USD basis, compared to Nikon or Leica which has fallen. Of course, EUR:USD relation is good for European buyers. The only categorie which gained value and will gain in the future is very rare stuff. But as far as CANON is concerned, most stuff were sold in large numbers, until everything was sold out. They sold RF stuff even in the late 70's, didn't they? It looks to me that many US soldiers bought CANON cameras in PX shops, because they were cheaper than Leica. There are actually more inheritors willing to sell that stuff on ebay than collectors to buy it.
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Old 10-10-2007   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
1. Among the Canon RF lenses that you've actually used, which one or ones gave you the most satisfaction so far as results were concerned?
I have tried the 50/1.2, 50/1.4, and 50/1.8 (and I've just sent payment for a 50/1.5). I was very pleased with all of these lenses, but kept only the 50/1.2 for its low light capabilities and for certain portrait situations.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
2. Which was least satisfactory: that is, if any were?
I found the 50/1.4 to be an excellent performer and the 50/1.8 to be a really good everyday lens (possibly the best out there for the price). But after buying a ZM 50/2, I rarely used either of the Canons. So I sold both. I didn't find either to be unsatisfactory. But at the same time, I didn't find that either had a special enough signature to warrant my keeping it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdek
5. And, among the ones you don't own, which ones would you like to add?
I am really looking forward to receiving my 50/1.5. I have been coveting one of these for some time. I think that the "Sonnar" look will complement my current lens line-up much better than did the 50/1.4.
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Old 11-03-2007   #40
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I use a 50mm f1.5 a 50mm f1.2 and a 85mm f 1.8 and have but don't use a 35mm f2.8 . because then I use a 28 f2,8 elmarit more. Especially for portraits I use the 50 i.2 because of the softer look and the very nice coloring of the picture . For streetshot's often the 85 mm. Marvelous lens. I have got a R-1d since two weeks and that give a boost for my rf photography with was a little slowing down the last years. ( Using a m6 and a canon 7 beside a canon 5D).
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