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View Poll Results: Bigon VS Cron
Zeiss 35/2.0 Biogon 481 50.37%
Leica 35/2.0 Summicron ASPH 474 49.63%
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Old 09-29-2007   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray
Again IMO the main differences in optics are in the mind of the user not in the print. One day I'm going to post a variety of images and see if anyone can tell me what brand they were shot with. I'll wager that no one can do this.
OOOhhhhh...sound like the gauntlet has been flung!! I would almost (almost!) pay to see this one!

I think way too much emphasis has been placed on sharpness. When one looks at the famous 35mm photographs of the past I doubt many of them worried about sharpness. Most wanted to get the pictures at all costs. I think we get caught up way too much in the optical mechanics of our lenses, just as we do with our cameras.

I do, however, want a lens that gives the contrast and tonal ranges I desire, and yes, have a pleasant out of focus transition. These aren't necessarily the sharpest lenses in the box, so to speak.

No doubt that having well built, durable and ergonomically correct equipment to use is a pleasure and reassurance, but since I am not a professional and don't have the financial wherewithall to pursue the exotic glass and bodies, I make do with what I can afford and enjoy the pictures they take. As long as they state what I felt at the time I snapped the shutter that is what I want.

This is a reason I guess that I have gotten away from digital cameras. For the cameras that use full-frame sensors they are unaffordable to the common amatuer. The rest fall short in their ability for me to render the images I want. This requires me to continue to shoot film, with all of its nuiances. But adding another step (scanning) will not give me the sharpness that an exotic lens is capable of. At least, not with my meager talents.

The fixed lens dslrs like the Olympus C-8080, even though it has a good range of focal lengths and has a very capable lens, is the slowest thing on earth to operate. I had to give up shooting my grandkids with it unless I had full sun!

These views are IMHO.
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Old 10-28-2007   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray
Build quality is one of the major gripes I have with Leica at the moment. Four recent lenses in the past couple of years with major mechanical issues and my asph summilux wasn't built right at the factory. All four have had focusing mount issues with binding in two, sloppy wobbly focusing mount in one and my asph won't focus to infinity and focus on the film plane id off (confirmed by DAG )...
I had major binding problems (with fine focusing) with my 50 Elmar-M until Don replaced the synthetic Teflon grease Leica now uses with what he calls "real grease". The binding is gone. I wonder why Leica made the change in lubricants. Was this the kind of binding you were having?
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Old 10-28-2007   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox
Why not include the Hexanon 35mm/2.0 in the poll?
I chose the Hex over the Cron IV.
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Just wonder
Old 10-28-2007   #44
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Just wonder

Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray
I'm very critical about my work and equipment. It's much more than a hobby, it's my living. I own both the Biogon and asph Summicron and disregarding price I feel the Biogon is the superior lens in optics and build. The same goes for the Planar vs the summicron 50's. The Planar walks all over the summicron IMO. The old saying you get what you pay for is not always correct.

I have seen you praise Zeiss lenses here very often. And it's fine and good, I don't question your judgement or opinion - I have seen some of your work and it's great!
What I do wonder about is - since you are so fond of your Zeiss lenses, like in this post Biogon over Summicron 35s and Planar over Summicron 50 - why do you still keep Leica lenses if Zeiss are that much better and liked by you? I mean at least in the FLs that are the same?
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Old 10-28-2007   #45
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There are three reasons I buy lenses, regardless of application.
1. Optical capability -first and foremost, the most important aspect.
2. Build quality -after optics comes the ability for the lens to stay in one piece in my hads over an extended period of time.
3. Design -Design and ergonomics are extremely important and ultimately help me to choose one product over another.

I observed and studied long and hard on the pros and cons of various different manufacters products of offer, and ultimately I decided to wait for a used chrome leica 35 Summicron, because the for the money, the additional $3-400 on top of competitively priced Zeiss (the Leica and Zeiss lenses were in my view the only two worth considering for their optical qualities were superior to all others, with possible exception to the Hexar lenses, but they are hard to come by and not all that well constructed), the difference in both design, size and manufacturing quality was far superior to the Zeiss option. Optically they are similar though the Zeiss seemed a little to harsh for my tastes. Build on the Zeiss is standard fare by todays standards, however I dont like todays standards and am willing to shell out to get into a higher level of precision build.
I plan on getting a 21mm in the near future, a focal lenght I do not use as frequently as I do the 35, therefore the necessity for build quality is not as great, and at that wide, I am yet to be convinced that optical quality is that far apart. Perhaps the Biogon will center itself over the Elmarit 21mm......

The difference between a black Leica lens and a chrome one blew me away when researching. The weight of the chrome lens has a difference to the focus swing, because it is chrome plated solid brass, it feels like you are functioning with a piece of ceramic. Brass is also very responsive to use and warms to the touch, it is a good conductive material.
Eitherway these are tools designed for a purpose, they are designed to achieve a task. I believe that the Leica lenses are professional grade tools. I am extremely hard on my equipment, I use it all the time. I have worn out so many cameras, the M cameras Ive been using have as yet not needed any repair other then cosmetic or superfluous functionality.
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Old 10-30-2007   #46
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irq506,

I'm a bit surprised that you found the Zeiss Biogon harsh, especially in comparison to the Summicron-ASPH. I found that most people see that the opposite is true - that the Leica is too harsh.

I struggled with which one to get too and ultimately went with the Leica. However, I did see that extra harshness of the Summicron-ASPH that everyone talks about when going viewing about over 400 photos taken when both lenses. I somewhat agree with the folks here who say that the Leica is harsh, yet for me it wasn't that big of a deal.
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Old 10-30-2007   #47
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Im quite enthusiastic to get my hands on a asph cron so I can give it a good once over. I like the idea of a focusing tab like my 35mm skopar PII and am sure that regardless I will be albe to get good results out of it. Frankly now I dont think its a fight for who is sharper or this and that but more about overall fingerprint. Hell I think my mold infested argus 50mm cintar lens is sharp enough... Im sure in the far off future when I get a chance to shoot more with a 35 asph cron that it will be great.
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Old 10-30-2007   #48
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the additional $3-400 on top of competitively priced Zeiss (the Leica and Zeiss lenses were in my view the only two worth considering for their optical qualities were superior to all others, with possible exception to the Hexar lenses, but they are hard to come by and not all that well constructed),

I am very surprised to see this reference to the Hexar lenses as not well constructed. They seem beautifully constructed to me and have held up very well under very heavy professional use, too, producing great images for me for years.
Having said that, my Biogon 35 is my current favorite of all the glass in my house.
It produces really distinctive images, with a clarity and punch that grows on you very quickly.
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Old 11-02-2007   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irq506
There are three reasons I buy lenses, regardless of application.
1. Optical capability -first and foremost, the most important aspect.
2. Build quality -after optics comes the ability for the lens to stay in one piece in my hads over an extended period of time.
3. Design -Design and ergonomics are extremely important and ultimately help me to choose one product over another.
True.

But as a former owner of a 35mm f/2 Biogon ZM, I can tell you that the "optical capability" of that lens is absolutely fantastic. Very "clinical", but it handles light and tonality beautifully.

The build quality, compared to a vII, vIII or vIV 35mm Summicron is better, but compared to, say, any 50mm Summilux pre-asph, it's a few notches down.

The design: I think here's where they dropped the ball. Overall its handling is fine, but it's just too big for a M rangefinder 35mm lens, for my taste. Main reason why I've stayed away from the 35mm Summilux ASPH, despite the wonderful images it makes.

The Biogon is an excellent lens, but built with "who cares about size" as an after-thought. Image-wise, I can't see any of the pre-asph Summicrons holding a candle to it. But I'd rather have a pre-asph Summicron than the Biogon for ergonomic reasons.
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Old 11-02-2007   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel M.A.
True.

But as a former owner of a 35mm f/2 Biogon ZM, I can tell you that the "optical capability" of that lens is absolutely fantastic. Very "clinical", but it handles light and tonality beautifully.

Strange. "Clinical" is NOT the way I would describe the 35/2 Biogon at all. But maybe we define clinical differently? For me clinical means it gets the job done, it's sharp, good contrast, etc. but without much in the way of character or unique personality in the results one sees in the images. Of course that being very subjective.

Lenses I found that fall into the clinical category for me include the 40/1.4 Nokton, the 50/1.5 Nokton, the 50/1.8 Canon in LTM and the 35/3.5 Summaron. Lens I love as I find them to give just a little something special and not seem so clinical include the 35/2 Biogon, the 50/1.4 Summilux, the 50/1.5 Summarit, the 50/2 Summitar, 90/4 Elmar-M and 50/2 Summicron DR.
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Old 11-02-2007   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel M.A.
True.

But as a former owner of a 35mm f/2 Biogon ZM, I can tell you that the "optical capability" of that lens is absolutely fantastic. Very "clinical", but it handles light and tonality beautifully.

The build quality, compared to a vII, vIII or vIV 35mm Summicron is better, but compared to, say, any 50mm Summilux pre-asph, it's a few notches down.

The design: I think here's where they dropped the ball. Overall its handling is fine, but it's just too big for a M rangefinder 35mm lens, for my taste. Main reason why I've stayed away from the 35mm Summilux ASPH, despite the wonderful images it makes.

The Biogon is an excellent lens, but built with "who cares about size" as an after-thought. Image-wise, I can't see any of the pre-asph Summicrons holding a candle to it. But I'd rather have a pre-asph Summicron than the Biogon for ergonomic reasons.

I find the character of the Biogon to be more classic and less harsh than the asph summicron. I think most people would describe them the same way. I describe the Biogon as organic and warm with a great deal of texture and full detailed shadows. I then describe the asph summicron as inorganic and hard in tone like a piece of cold stainless steel vs a nice tanned piece of leather. Just my observation but that's how I feel.

Ergonomics are personal preferences of the user. You either hate tabs or love them. I personally do not like tabs but like a serated focusing ring that I can grab a hold of like the Biogon.

Size, now lets not exagerate. Search for a thread I started "Let's be honest about size". In this thread I and others do a side by side comparison of a number of lenses including the asph summicron and the Biogon. I shot my images next to a 35mm film box and a summitar 50 f2. The Biogon is the same size as the Summitar and the 35mm film box. The Summitar and Biogon are the same size as the 50 summicron and I never hear of anyone complaining about the size of the 50 summicron. This in my book is not large or "huge" as some describe it. Search the thread and see for yourself.
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Old 11-02-2007   #52
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I only have one, the 35 ASPH Summicron, which I got before the Biogon came out. For me, the ergonomics are perfect, as the pre-asph was too fiddly for my paws. I love the tab (I also use a tabbed 50 cron, and DAG installed a tab on my pre-asph 50 summilux), which I find extremely helpful for the way I usually use my 35mm, just guess focusing by feeling the tab.

I probably would be in the same dilemma if I were to choose one 35mm lens now. But I was lucky enough to acquire my ASPH, used, at roughly the same price as a new Biogon.
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Old 11-02-2007   #53
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OT, but:

Ray--I'd love to see how a 50mm Summilux looks w/ a tab.
Gabriel--Did you transition out of a Biogon into??? I'd love to know!
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Old 11-02-2007   #54
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OK, so it seems "clinical" is also subjective. I agree with xray that the Biogon has a "warmth" to it. Not color-wise, but how it renders light. In this respect, I'll miss the Biogon. It was just way too "sharp" for my taste, and the contrast, while low by today's standards, was too low for color, a tad high for B&W.

I'm not "exaggerating" on the Biogon's size, for I didn't say it's huge. It isn't huge, or *big*. It is about the size of a modern 50mm Summicron. The main difference between the Summicron and the Biogon is, of course, that the Biogon is 35mm. The framelines are invaded by the Biogon if you use it with a shade, and you need the shade, although it's not very effective (it is, but not *very*) for a lens which suffers from veiling glare in certain situations.

I "transitioned" to a 40mm M-Rokkor. That lens is fantastic: compact, small, smooth, great bokeh (some would find it barely acceptable, but I think it has a nice quality), it is both "sharp" and smooth, great in-focus/out-of-focus transition, just like the Biogon. But more importantly, smaller than either Biogon or any 35mm Summicron. The best of both worlds. And to top it off, it gives me that 50mm FOV in real life with virtually the same optical qualities as the 50mm Summicron, although I can still tell the 50mm Summicron and the 40mm f/2 M-Rokkor apart.

I also have the ugly duckling of fast 35mm lenses: the 35mm Summilux pre-asph. It has a "glow-shmow" quality I've grown to adapt to, accept and look for from the 50mm Summarit f/1.5. It has a very unique character. I'm still bummed out by the 0.9m minimum focus. I have got to find a way to make it focus closer. 0.75m would be just dandy, just like the 40mm Rokkor. The tab of the Biogon is just fine. The tab on the pre-asph Summicron is just better for me (I also had it installed on my 50mm pre-asph Summilux a long while ago)

Ray_g: a 35mm Summicron ASPH for the price of a new Biogon? Now, that's a deal. I would probably trade both my 40mm Rokkor *and* 35mm Summilux for one. I've seen the images, very close to the Biogon, without the bulkiness.
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Old 11-02-2007   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel M.A.
Ray_g: a 35mm Summicron ASPH for the price of a new Biogon? Now, that's a deal. I would probably trade both my 40mm Rokkor *and* 35mm Summilux for one. I've seen the images, very close to the Biogon, without the bulkiness.
I was actually looking for a 35mm pre-ASPH, but found the newer ASPH for even less. No brainer for me at that time.

jja, the lens looks no different, just with a tab. It just so happened I just used it, and it is right here beside me, so here's a quick snap.
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Old 11-02-2007   #56
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Ray, very nice. I like tabs, and maybe I should try that w/ my Summilux. Gabriel, sounds like you've found happiness w/ the Rokkor.

So did the OP make us his mind?
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Old 11-02-2007   #57
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I sold my 35/2 biogon to someone on this board a while back when I was clearing out my kit. I had to many lenses in similar objectives. I will tell you I never had ANY problem getting a 3d look out of it and the tones and resolution were amazing. It really added something special to simple family snapshots.
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Old 11-02-2007   #58
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"...and the contrast, while low by today's standards, was too low for color, a tad high for B&W."

Gabriel, I am curious under which conditions/fstop you find Biogon's contrast too low for color. I have that lens and have somewhat different opinion but that is subjective.
Contrast on B&W film can be adjusted to one's liking through a developing process.

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Old 12-11-2007   #59
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I'd love to compare them, but I'm in love with my biogon as it is. Considering the 28 or 50 now.
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Old 12-11-2007   #60
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I currently own the ZM Biogon 35mm previously known as Gabriel M.A.'s.

I had the 35mm ASPH Cron for a long time too but never got along with the contrast. The Biogon is much nicer in this regard for my shooting.

All the recent B&W on my Flickr and gallery are with this lens.

Love it.
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Old 12-11-2007   #61
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I use the Summicron 35/2ASPH. practically every day. But I've been tempted to get the Biogon for when I shoot film and digital. I like 35. Wonder what the Biogon would be like on the M8. It might be a great combination--Summicron on the M7 and the Biogon on the M8.
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How Big Is Biogon Big?
Old 12-11-2007   #62
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How Big Is Biogon Big?

If you can't snap it shut in a traditional eveready case it's too damn big.
You can compare a Biogon to anything you want in size, and it may be close, but it ain't close enough. And, it's big enough to attract attention if you like being discreet.

At 60 years old and jumping rocks to cross creeks, mountain biking, climbing down embankments, or passing through crowds a back pack or shoulder bag is just to damn big.

I LOVE the traditional lower contrast image of the Biogons. Folks on this site keep saying how high contrast the Biogon is, well it ain't. In black and white it makes most B&W look like very-chrome pan or pany-tomic X.

Today's high contrast images look like charcoal or conte crayon drawings. They're great for production imgages and even posting to the net but they make ladies look like hags, kids like little old men, and landscapes devoid of any information in the shadows. All the rocks in the world are jagged. Mountains are torn paper. They great for 'in your face' shots but so what?

If you are shopping for a new lens Biogons are the only game in town, but they are far from perfect.
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Old 12-11-2007   #63
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it fits under both leica and hexar rf neverready cases...are you talking about the old, old brown leather leica cases?
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Old 12-11-2007   #64
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Quote:
But I've been tempted to get the Biogon for when I shoot film and digital.
Alex, Sorry for the smug observation, but what medium do you use with the Summicron?!! I couldn't resist & no offence intended by this pun!

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Old 12-11-2007   #65
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Another poll

1 I have used and compared both lenses

2 I own (or have tried) one of them and want to persuade myself I have made the right choice

3 I have used neither and am relying on worthless speculation and second-hand reports

I'm (sort of) in category 2 in that I've tried (but not owned) the Zeiss lens for an extended period (and liked it) but never tried a Summicron ASPH.

Ergonomics and 'signature' are all-important. Either lens can take better pictures than 99.99% of photographers who can afford them, and 99.9999999999999% of fantasists who can't, so why worry?

Also, how many people who have used either/both have had anyone pay good money for their pictures? And among those who have had pics published, how many give a toss about which is 'sharper' or 'contrastier' or has 'better bokeh'?

Cheers,

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Old 12-11-2007   #66
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Sorry, but when does one take better pictures than the lens? I don't quite understand that part.
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Old 12-11-2007   #67
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Quote:
Sorry, but when does one take better pictures than the lens? I don't quite understand that part.
Straight answer: When one is a photographer. (Not that I'm there, yet, mind you. )

The "superiority" of Leica lenses is measurable, in many cases. But so what? We're talking about a camera system that's intended for discreet, handheld photography. Leica's hitting notes only a dog can hear with their lenses, in too many cases; the benefits certainly don't measure up to the cost, IMO. I figured this out the hard way, BTW. I had a 35 Aspherical Summilux and a VC 40 SC Nokton at the same time and I couldn't usually tell the pics apart. If the Leica cost double the VC, then so be it; but it costs, what, $2,500 on the used market now.

I just paid $350 for another SC Nokton.
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Old 12-11-2007   #68
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...Leica's hitting notes only a dog can hear...

what a great line!!
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Old 12-11-2007   #69
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Quote:
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Leica's hitting notes only a dog can hear with their lenses
And that's what happens when someone mistakes an optical instrument for a musical instrument.
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Old 12-11-2007   #70
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Ah, I think you are better than your lens when your lens earns you more money than you bought it for. Is that it?
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Old 12-11-2007   #71
aizan
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a lens is only as good as its owner? i like that one.
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Old 12-11-2007   #72
dcsang
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We'll see how these two perform side by side - I've got both right now and am shooting the same thing and you guys can figure out if you can see a difference - I'm not going into the whole MTF chart crap or shooting brick walls but we'll see if there's any real huge difference between the two that would justify a 2.5x price difference.

Cheers
Dave
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Old 12-11-2007   #73
Krosya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox
Why not include the Hexanon 35mm/2.0 in the poll?
Exactly! Now this would interesting to compare.
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Old 12-11-2007   #74
cmogi10
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well
it looks like I'm ending up with the asph 35/1.4

Expect to see a biogon in the classifieds soon.
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Old 12-11-2007   #75
Krosya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmogi10
well
it looks like I'm ending up with the asph 35/1.4

Expect to see a biogon in the classifieds soon.

Wow, you go through lenses faster than NY minute!.
What made you switch so soon? Just a little while back you were so happy with the Biogon, right?
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Old 12-11-2007   #76
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I like my "ugly duckling" 'Lux35mm/1.4. It is prone to flare, soft wide-open but it is small, well build and has one stop advantage over f/2.0. Otherwise, the Summaron 35/2.8 is a nice lens, too.
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Old 12-11-2007   #77
cmogi10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krosya
Wow, you go through lenses faster than NY minute!.
What made you switch so soon? Just a little while back you were so happy with the Biogon, right?
The Biogon is a beautiful lens.
Not a damn thing wrong with it.
the 35/1.4 is better for me. I was super happy with the 35/75 combo when I realized I used 35 90 percent of the time and 75 a very small amount. So I'm trading the 75mm lux for the 35 asph lux and then selling the biogon.
Probably buying a current 50 cron and a CV 75/2.5.

*whew*

yeah.
I'l never say i'm done again
ever
I promise.
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Old 12-11-2007   #78
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Wow, I wish I had the money to go through lenses like this.
I love my biogon and I am not trading it even for a lux and crone combined.
Well, maybe yes. Then I could sell a lux and a crone and get 6 biogons.
Well, I actually think that biogon produces better images than either a cron or a lux.
"Better" here is the matter of taste. However, one stop difference for me is not worth $2700. And I got my biogon used (like new) with a hood for $650. I may miss a shot or 2 because of 1 stop difference, but the ones I get will be more appealing to me
because of the biogon look. And for the difference in price I can get another Ikon body and a few more ZM lenses.
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Old 12-11-2007   #79
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I havn't actually spent money on camera stuff in a long while, just shuffled it around in circles.
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Old 12-11-2007   #80
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Darn Carl, I was planning on swapping the Noct for your 75mm summilux, straight up......
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