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First Results: Test of Fifteen 50mm Lenses
Old 11-29-2006   #1
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First Results: Test of Fifteen 50mm Lenses

Hi,



The test is a comparison of my own lenses [and some loaners] and it may not necessarily reflect results applicable to every lens of these types.



I have tested the following lenses:

FSU:
1. J-3
2. J-8
3. Industrar 61L
4. Industrar 50mm/3.5 rigid

Japan:
5. Canon 50/1.2
6. Canon 50mm/1.4 ............... from Mark.
7. Canon 50mm/1.5 ............... from Mark.
8. Canon 50/1.8
9. Nikon 50/2
10. Nikon 50mm/1.4 (separate camera and test) ............ from Kiu.

Germany:
11. Summicron rigid first version
12. Summicron Collapsible
13. Elmar 5cm/3.5
14. Zeiss 5cm/2
15. Summitar
16. Summarit


I started out with a test that Ted (ampguy) insisted on. It was a time consuming focusing test with markers set at 2 inches, 3 inches and 4 inches in front of the focus target and behind it. Ted will let us know why I did this test

To get more out of this test, I arranged a light source for comparing bokeh effect. I feel that sharpness can also be compared.

I used a lens hood for each camera. This was a pain in the ....

Anyways, I use the same set-up as in my last two tests. A Bessa T with Ilford XP2 Super film, stabilized on a tripod and used with a cable release. Results can now be compared to my earlier tests.

Old link: http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=20666

I posted the images on PN to allow side by side viewing of over 30 images.

The lenses with max aperture 1.5 or faster were tested at 1.5/2.0/4.0.
Lenses with max aperture 1.8~2.0 were tested at 2.0/4.0
Lenses with max aperture2.8~3.5 were tested at 4.0.

Let me know what you can conclude from this first test. I can see winners very clearly. A pattern is emerging quickly.


Once I complete all testing, I will have a roll of film on the Nikon 50mm/1.4 currently in Kiu's Nikon S2 camera.

I have placed a label with information on lens used and aperture setting for each image. I have also labeled the scanned image so that when you place the cursor over a photo, you will see the information displayed.


Raid

http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=669440

================================================== =

edited: Here are the links for the tests:

1. B&W Focusing Test of Most 50mm Lenses in the Test:
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=669440

2. Color Test of Lenses at 4.0
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=670650

3. Color Test of Lenses at 2.0
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=671321

4. Color Test of Lenses at 1.4-1.5
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=671339

5. Canon 50mm/0.95 on Canon 7s at 0.95
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder....lder_id=672398

6.Nikkor 50mm/1.4on Nikon S2
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=672453

7. Second Roll with the Canon 50mm/0.95
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=674636

8. Nikkor 50mm/1.1
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=679532

9. Nokton Prominent/Nikkor 50/1.4 for the S3/Zeiss Tessar 50mm/3.5
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=679553

10. Leitz Noctilux (hand-held)
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=679571

11. Nokton Prominent LTM/Zeiss Jena 50mm/1.5/ Zeiss C-Sonnar
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=679915

12. Noctilux
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=683401

Last edited by raid : 01-13-2007 at 12:53.
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Old 11-29-2006   #2
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Raid, another great test. I have quickly looked over the displayed photos, and I agree with your statement that certain lenses really stand out above the others at first glance. One lense was a surprisingly good performer, another surprisingly weak. I have a short list of favorites, but want to do some more examination before posting my choices. Thanks again!
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Old 11-29-2006   #3
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I am impressed by the overall qualities of these vinatge 50mm lenses. Unlike a comparison of modern lenses, there will fewer RFF members taking sides strongly. Maybe this has to do with people spending top Dollars on a new lens, and they want to believe that they got the "best lens". With vintage lenses I think that it is more a mood you are looking for. Maybe it is called a "signature", but I think of it as a mood that a lens gives you.

Learn from the images with labels because the next test will have no lables.

I wonder what we really are comparing in this test. Knowing the factors tested will help us identify and understand differences better.

I focused on the Zeiss paper boxes (on the plus sign). Note that the markers behind the focus point are in focus but the markers in front of the focus point are out of focus. Is this something to expect from the hyperfocal distances or is it a "result"?



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Last edited by raid : 11-29-2006 at 17:57.
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Old 11-29-2006   #4
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I think that test proves how difficult it is to get a 50mm lens that's truly sharp at f2, at least among older lenses.
I was surprised that the collapsible summicron was sharper than the Rigid at f2, and at how well the Elmar/Industar 3.5's performed at f4.

THANKS for performing the test Raid!
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Old 11-29-2006   #5
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I was also surprised at how good a performer the Canon 1.2 is, being sharp even at 1.4.

The J8 has a really nice look to it, but the I61L was a big disappointment IMO.
The J3 also impressed me.

I also preferred the Elmar 3.5 to the Industar 3.5 but there isn't a lot in it.

The Canon 1.8 looks like an excellent lens for so little money.
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Old 11-29-2006   #6
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Wow! Excellent testing Raid. The text reveals sharpness and contrast, and the glass highlights of the cabinet showcases the OOF characteristics. Perfect.

All hail the new King of 50's!
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Last edited by FrankS : 11-29-2006 at 17:53.
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Old 11-29-2006   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid
I am impressed by the overall qualities of these vinatge 50mm lenses. Unlike a comparison of modern lenses, there will fewer RFF members taking sides strongly. Maybe this has to do with people spending top Dollars on a new lens, and they want to believe that they got the "best lens".
I agree with that remark. But I am equally happy with a good picture taken with my Summarit, my "expensive" Summilux, and my "cheap" Sonnar.
BTW, I still can't get to the lens test.
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Old 11-29-2006   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel M.A.
I agree with that remark. But I am equally happy with a good picture taken with my Summarit, my "expensive" Summilux, and my "cheap" Sonnar.
BTW, I still can't get to the lens test.
Gabriel: Why can't you get to the lens test? Must you be a member of PN to see the results?

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Old 11-29-2006   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankS
Wow! Excellent testing Raid. The text reveals sharpness and contrast, and the glass highlights of the cabinet showcases the OOF characteristics. Perfect.

All hail the new King of 50's!
Frank: Thanks! You have to be the King of the 50's.

Raid
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Old 11-29-2006   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosk
I was also surprised at how good a performer the Canon 1.2 is, being sharp even at 1.4.

The J8 has a really nice look to it, but the I61L was a big disappointment IMO.
The J3 also impressed me.

I also preferred the Elmar 3.5 to the Industar 3.5 but there isn't a lot in it.

The Canon 1.8 looks like an excellent lens for so little money.
i'm familiar with the Jupiters but i just wanna ask, are these Canon lenses screw mount? if they are, they should easily fit a Fed or screw mount Leicas correct?

thanks.
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Old 11-29-2006   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wamjam
i'm familiar with the Jupiters but i just wanna ask, are these Canon lenses screw mount? if they are, they should easily fit a Fed or screw mount Leicas correct?

thanks.
Yes, all the Canon lenses here are screwmount lenses that can be used on any Leica camera and of course on FSU cameras that accept the Leica screwmount lenses.

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Old 11-29-2006   #12
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Hi Raid, great test. To my eyes, it looks like many of your FSU lenses are front focusing more than say the Canons, except for the J3 which looks semi focused, others like the Zeiss lens looks way out of focus to my eyes. What distance was your film plane to the subject you were focusing on?

I'm glad that you put the markers for focus, I really appreciate it.
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Old 11-29-2006   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosk
I was surprised that the collapsible summicron was sharper than the Rigid at f2.
Actually, I wasn't all that surprised. I've got a collapsible that is scuffed & beat & just plain abused, yet it blows away every other lens I've _ever_ used. (Joe, you really should have had this one fixed. It's really that good.) I still expect - and this test helps - to get a Canon 50/1.5 or 50/1.4 eventually, but that's for the speed. Anywhere f2 is appropriate, it's going to be this collapsible 'cron. Around here, I'm known as a major Tessar/Sonnar nut. And while I still love that look, the reality is that I've always gone for the old 'cron fast enough that I sold my Canon 50/1.8 (and it was an excellent sample of that lens) because I just didn't use it after I got that collapsible back from DAG.

I hope this is helpful.

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Old 11-29-2006   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampguy
Hi Raid, great test. To my eyes, it looks like many of your FSU lenses are front focusing more than say the Canons, except for the J3 which looks semi focused, others like the Zeiss lens looks way out of focus to my eyes. What distance was your film plane to the subject you were focusing on?

I'm glad that you put the markers for focus, I really appreciate it.

Ted: The distance is about 1.5 meters. To my eyes, the Zeiss lens focuses well. DAG gave it a complete CLA plus shimming.

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Old 11-29-2006   #15
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b/w the collapsible and the rigid cron you can see that the location of the identification of the lens is different but the actual Zeiss boxes are not.

The main diff I see b/w these two lenses is the contrast offered by the rigid vs the collapsible.

This, of course, does depend on the fact that contrast can be adjusted via post processing when scanning but in print these may not exhibit the same behaviour.

Excellent tests Raid - as usual the community owes you a big one for going through all this trouble just to appease our sometimes morbid curiosity

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Old 11-29-2006   #16
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great test !! thanks! now i am convinced - that J3 really is great lens. i like his wide open samples best. Summicron Collapsible also gave great results. Summitar and zeis are disappointing to me.
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Old 11-29-2006   #17
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Of course, tastes differ. What I get out of these tests is that everyone of these old lenses can provide ample sharpness at f4 for day to day photography. I see the main difference in how highlights are handled, some render them as if there's a diffusion filter over the highlights. The Summarit50/1.5 (@f4) and Sonnar50/2 (@f2) are most pronounced here. Is this the 'glow'?

Anyway, hats off to Raid for conducting a test like this in such a structured way!
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Old 11-30-2006   #18
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OK...You want sharp? wait untill you see what the 55 year old Nikkor(untested) can do!!

I am still willing to expand this test....I will send Raid My Nikkor 1.1 and my millenium Nikkor if someone volunteers a Canon .95,Leica 1 OH(as chris weeks puts it) or even a Cosina 1.5!!

This is an arm twisting offer, I'll pay for return shipping!!

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Old 11-30-2006   #19
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Funny:
Your test indicates the Zeiss Sonnar 50/2 being considerably worse than the Jupiter-8.
As i mentioned earlier in the first thread, I expected them to be exactly the same if both in good condition That statement was somewhat a surprise to a few people. Now this result is... Surprise-surprise!
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Old 11-30-2006   #20
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Good work Raid. I have no idea which I prefer so far, but the differences are interesting to see.


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Old 11-30-2006   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NIKON KIU
OK...You want sharp? wait untill you see what the 55 year old Nikkor(untested) can do!!

I am still willing to expand this test....I will send Raid My Nikkor 1.1 and my millenium Nikkor if someone volunteers a Canon .95,Leica 1 OH(as chris weeks puts it) or even a Cosina 1.5!!

This is an arm twisting offer, I'll pay for return shipping!!

Kiu

Kiu: Mark has offered me to test his Canon 50/0.95! Will you mail me your lenses now?

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Old 11-30-2006   #22
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Please note that my Zeiss Sonnar is most likely a pre-war version that mechanically looks bad but optically looks great according to DAG [and me] who three times worked on this lens.

Raid

Last edited by raid : 11-30-2006 at 06:26.
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Old 11-30-2006   #23
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Summarit @ f4 shot is very front focused.
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not a surprise
Old 11-30-2006   #24
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not a surprise

The zeiss at f2 is simply out of focus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pherdinand
Funny:
Your test indicates the Zeiss Sonnar 50/2 being considerably worse than the Jupiter-8.
As i mentioned earlier in the first thread, I expected them to be exactly the same if both in good condition That statement was somewhat a surprise to a few people. Now this result is... Surprise-surprise!
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Old 11-30-2006   #25
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DAG adjusted the lens for me, so this is a surprise.

Raid
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