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50mm vs 40mm nokton: comparison
Old 10-14-2012   #1
msbarnes
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50mm vs 40mm nokton: comparison

Sorry if this is a common comparison but...I see the 40mm being compared to 35mm/40mm's mostly and the 50mm being compared to 50's, mostly.

I'm looking for a modern cheap(ish) low light lens (f1.4/f1.5) that doesn't have a focus shift.

That pretty much limits me to Voigtlander.

I'm debating between these lenses: 40mm f1.4 and 50mm f1.5. They are priced similarly and close enough in FOV for me to use.

The 40mm seems better on paper to me: focuses closer, newer design, and is smaller. However, I have an M2/M3 so using one might be awkward with framelines but I feel that I can adjust because it isn't that much wider than 50mm or that much narrower than 35mm. The 50mm has a reputation for being very sharp and on par with the 'lux. Not sure how true this is or not but I don't care because a lux isn't a consideration for me. Although I listed the advantages of the 40mm all of which are kind of minor to me. What I want is a sharp low light lens. I see advantages of having a fast 40mm and advantages of having a fast 50mm.

1. How do these lenses compare in sharpness at wide apertures?
2. How do these lenses compare in build quality?
3. How do these lenses compare in terms of bokeh?
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Old 10-14-2012   #2
jtullar
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well I dont know about the 50 1.5 but I love my 40 1.4mc and would recommend it!
sample pic @ F/1.4

5DMKII Landscaping by Jon Yap, on Flickr
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Old 10-14-2012   #3
CaptZoom
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I use the 50 1.5. It lives on my M9.

It gives a very modern rendition, and is sharp from 1.5!

I have no experience with the 40mm.
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Old 10-14-2012   #4
msbarnes
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Thanks +1 for the 40 and +1 for the 50. So far, it looks that I can't really go wrong.
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Old 10-14-2012   #5
CaptZoom
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Here are a couple of samples for ya:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg image-605411310.jpg (51.2 KB, 66 views)
File Type: jpg image-674600761.jpg (43.2 KB, 48 views)
File Type: jpg image-586948322.jpg (43.4 KB, 46 views)
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Old 10-15-2012   #6
Jockos
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The 40 shifts and OOF highlights looks terrible, very nice bokeh by 2.8 though.
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Old 10-15-2012   #7
ferider
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40 is much better built and smaller. And it focuses down to 0.7m.

For all practical purposes, they are similar in performance wide open.
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Old 10-15-2012   #8
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I have both and have used them quite a lot on the M9.

- The Nokton 40/1.4 is very compact and has the focusing tab, which I prefer. I don't find focus shift to be a problem with it; it's sharp even wide open but of course it improves greatly when stopped down. The bokeh is a little harsh until f/2-2.8 (compared to the Summicron-C or M-Rokkor 40/2), depending on the subject matter. The M9's 35mm frame lines are a better match to this lens FoV for my eyes than they are for the Color Skopar 35mm lens ... my glasses forces my eye back a bit further from the viewfinder eyepiece so I'm usually better off with a viewfinder frame that's "one step" wider than the focal length I'm working with. (I might file the frameline cam so that it brings up the 35mm frame by default.)

- The Nokton 50/1.5 ASPH (ltm) is a trifle bulky and a slightly older style of focusing ring. I've had a wonderful Summilux-M 50/1.4 in the past ... not the very latest, it was perhaps 18-20 years ago ... and to my eye any tiny differences in rendering and sharpness between them are immaterial. The Nokton 50's bokeh wide open is smoother and softer than the Nokton 40, part of that is simply the focal length difference of course. The M9's 50mm framelines work pretty well for this lens, they're accurate enough for me.

Either of these two lenses are certainly worth having. I have to say that since I bought the Nokton 50/1.5, it has spent more time on the M9 than the Nokton 40, but part of that is that I tend to prefer using the 40mm focal length on the Ricoh GXR-M (APS-C format) or on the Leica CL (film, 35mm format). The handling of the Nokton 50/1.5 feels better to me on the M9 due to its larger size and greater weight.

Given that both these lenses are really quite good, are reasonably priced, and produce excellent results, the real question is, "Which focal length do you prefer to work with?" Only you can answer that.
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Old 10-15-2012   #9
magicianhisoka
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I have the 50mm 1.5 and I would compare it with the summiluxes

I didn't like the pre asph bokeh. it was kinda distracting.

The 50 lux asph beats the 1.5 in the corners. But it is honestly very difficult to tell unless you print it big!
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Old 10-15-2012   #10
hausen
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I had both and I still miss the 50/1.5 but don't miss the 40/1.4 at all. the 50/1.5 was a gem.
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Old 10-16-2012   #11
msbarnes
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I guess either will do. Both lenses are liked and unliked but when the time comes (when I have money) I think I'd go with the 40mm because it is smaller.
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Old 10-18-2012   #12
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I have the 40/1.4 and the 50/1.1

I'd recommend the 50/2 Planar. Best lens i own.
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Old 10-18-2012   #13
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I love my 50/2 planar but i'm contemplating snagging the 40mm as its that nice in-between where its better for portraits than the 35, yet still wide enough for landscapes, etc. Just my own personal taste i guess...really loved my old canonet QL17 and all those 70s rangefinders
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Old 10-29-2012   #14
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I have the VC 35/1.5, 40/1.4, 50/1.1 and ZM 50/2 - of these, the VCs are all noticeably softer then the Zeiss, only my VC 21, 25 and 15 are anywhere near the ZM in this respect.

The 35 and 40 are very similar to each other in all respects, in a blind test, i doubt i would be able to tell them apart if i'd not shot with them. I only have both so that i can have the 40mm on the M8 and the 35mm on the M6TTL to make a 35/50 pair with identical results.

The 50/1.1 is soft, smooth, and brutal to focus - get that a touch off and you miss the shot. However i'd have no problem distinguishing between the 40 and 50.

Now the difference in size between those two lenses is ridiculous. However i believe the 50/1.5 is closer to the 50/1.1 in size than the 40/1.4?

I can't speak for the 50/1.5 as i was going to get one, then found myself with the Planar. Boy am i glad that wasn't my first lens or i'd have hated all the others i've mentioned here.

All this assumes you're going to be shooting them wide open, of course. Otherwise a 50/2.5 Color Skopar is small, sharp and fast enough!
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Old 10-29-2012   #15
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By the way, here's a comparison of the 40mm, both on the M8

Wide Open and close


Caught in the Glow by Cris Rose, on Flickr



Stopped down to f8, hyperfocal.


The Road to Ruin by Cris Rose, on Flickr
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Old 10-29-2012   #16
jsrockit
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If you are using the 40mm on a digital m, you will notice the shift. The 50mm doesn't shift.
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Old 11-15-2012   #17
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I have CV 40/1.4 and CV 50/1.5. Two very different lenses IMO. I like them for different reasons. If I had to chose one - I'd keep 50/1.5. Very fine lens, with great bokeh and very pleasant drawing. I even like it better than ZM Planar I used to have. But these things are personal preference. CV 40 is cheaper, more easily availble, Smaller and focuses closer. However my CV 50/1.5 is silkier, as sharp or even sharper, better bokeh wide open and mine does also focus to 0.7m ( I had it adjusted to be able to do so). Cant go wrong with either, but I think 50/1.5 is one of the best lenses CV made, along with 35/1.2, 15/4.5 and maybe some others.
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Old 11-15-2012   #18
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My pie-test window. M2 with the 40mm Nokton f1.4 MC - Kodak double X and at f1.4. D96 for 7 minutes.

Last edited by Tom A : 11-15-2012 at 07:33.
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Old 11-15-2012   #19
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Nokton 50mm f1.5 at f1.5 - Pie test window. Leica M2, Kodak XX in Adox MQ developer (8 min)

Last edited by Tom A : 11-15-2012 at 07:29.
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Old 11-15-2012   #20
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Nokton 40mm f1.4 SC, Varese, Italy. M2 with TriX and D76. Slight softness which in my opinion more a case of camera movement than lens performance. I remember shooting at either 1/4s or 1/8s.

Both the 40f1.4s and the 50 f1.5 are very good performers. I have never had a problem with focus shift with either version. With the 40mm I simply file down the claw on the mount to give me the 35 frame lines and then use the inside of the 35 frame as a guideline.
The 40f1.4's are my "walk about" lenses - usually on a M2. It can substitute for a 35 or a 50 when needed - as can any other 40.
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Old 11-15-2012   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A View Post
Quite nice.
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