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View Full Version : Zeiss 50: To 2.0 or not to 2.0


Avotius
07-22-2007, 09:08
So Zeiss has these two great 50mm lenses out there. Tho Planar 50 f2 and the Sonnar 50 f1.5.

Anyone interested in either of these will have read as much as they can about both and know the ins and outs of each....sooo....which way do you go?

btw, I used the two zeiss lenses because they are relatively close in price (especially here in china) compared to the Leica offerings.

kshapero
07-22-2007, 09:10
Sonnar 50 f1.5

Marc-A.
07-22-2007, 09:36
Avotius,
I'm about to buy the Planar. I made my decision lately.
I don't need the 1.5 stop. I don't know about the front focus shift but I certainly know that I can't focus accurately at 1.5. Besides, what X Ray and Meleica have said about the Planar satisfied me that it's as good as any Leica 50.
It shall be the Planar then!
Best,
Marc

back alley
07-22-2007, 10:00
i've had both and kept the sonnar.
the 50/2 is very sharp, it's a great lens and consistant.
the 1.5 seems more flavourful, flexible and as has been stated by others, is more like several lenses wrapped up in one.
not being a 'real' fifty kind of guy i can rationalize having the 1.5 for more than the focal length, it's the character.
i also rationalize having the cv 50/2.5 for it's small size on the r4.

ferider
07-22-2007, 10:19
Will depend on what you use it for.

Note that the two lenses have different minimum focus distance
so you can do certain types of portraits with the Planar that
you cannt do with the Sonnar. And vice versa, due to speed and
OOF behavior.

The Sonnar is a bit slower to handle due to focus shift (also when
corrected for f1.5, BTW).

You didn't want to hear this I'm sure, but the two lenses could coexist
in the same bag :)

Roland.

mfogiel
07-22-2007, 11:02
Avotius,
The C Sonnar is not like a "todays" lens until f 5.6, so if you need a normal lens for reportage, and you like shooting closer up, the Planar is an obvious choice. On the other hand, if shooting portraits is your thing, there is no other lens on the market that can render like the C Sonnar - I think this lens itself should justify a Zeiss Ikon as a lens cap... :-). The f 1.5 against f2 comparison is totally meaningless here. If you want to see how a "todays"Planar draws at wide apertures, take a look at my Makro Planar 50/2 shots here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157600939299824/
the 50/2 Planar (which I also have BTW) is very similar.

I've just posted a thread with a link to a series of test shots on C Sonnar across apertures, take a look and see for yourself:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=601803#post601803

msadat
07-22-2007, 11:14
I sent in my sonnar to zeiss for the "wide open fix" ( it was a very quick turn around), 50 is my favorit focal length and a i have a whle bunch of 50s. the sonnar now tops them all. this includes for my 4 leica 50 (1.0,2.0,.14. and 1.4 asph). but the fix was needed.

FanMan
07-22-2007, 11:28
have voted for the C-Sonnar - 'cause I like its results.

But it is not an easy-to-handle lens to my opinion.

Marc-A.
07-22-2007, 11:35
You didn't want to hear this I'm sure, but the two lenses could coexist
in the same bag :)

I don't want hear this, Roland!!! Stop teasing us !!! :)

FanMan
07-22-2007, 11:51
indeed! have to save my money for the 85-Sonnar!!

Avotius
07-22-2007, 19:40
heh, dont tell me guys! I already made my choice! I just thought it would be fun to know what people were thinking about these two pieces of glass now that we have two great lenses to tinker with

jan normandale
07-22-2007, 19:47
so you made a choice, and...... ??

triplefinger
07-22-2007, 20:52
I love my zm 50/2. I covet the 1.5 but have a spectacular jupiter-3 and just don't see a good reason for it.

SimonPG
07-22-2007, 22:54
The Planar 50mm f2 is an excellent lens and the equal of the current Summicron-M 50mm except at wide open. That difference is because the "formula" used by Zeiss is for a different optimisation purpose than Leica's wide open performance optimisation objective.

I shoot mainly Hasselblad 6x6 with the Zeiss glass and these have the trademark Zeiss characteristics that go back to the Contarex lenses. So, it is great to see the Zeiss formula available in Leica M mount now.

Had I not already owned my Summicron-M 50mm and 35mm ASPPH lenses, I would certainly have bought the Zeiss offerings becuase I like the Zeiss formula and the look it delivers.

Of course I have no criticism of the Leica versions - they are outstanding all the same. The Zeiss are NOT better, just different.

Having never used truly fast Zeiss lenses, I would prefer the f2 over the f1.5, but I say that with no knowledge of how the f1.5 performs.

Nachkebia
07-23-2007, 01:18
I would say depends what kind of photos you want to take, if you want a lens that can do anything you desire with perfect balance go for planar ZM! if you want that smooth retro look go for sonar, end of story :)\

P.S Owning planar 50m with 50mm asph lux I still want sonnar and probably will get it someday, because I don`t think there will be more lenses coming in near future with such a build quality with such retro look :D

Avotius
07-23-2007, 04:39
so you made a choice, and...... ??


Oh! Yeah, I made a choice and im going to go with the planar because I like a good all around lens with consistency. Plus close focus is something that I need, and I have my heart set on a summilux one of these days...

but despite all that I am surprised how fast this simple poll wondering which lens people liked turned into a technical conversation about which was better

then again all this me buying a lens malarkey is all based on if my gf gets her visa to go to the states or not. If not its lens time, if she get it.......in a year its lens time

Marc-A.
07-23-2007, 05:41
I am surprised how fast this simple poll wondering which lens people liked turned into a technical conversation about which was better


What did you expect? "I like this one" or "I don't like this one"? If there's nothing to say except I like this one rather than that one, I don't see the point of discussing gear, nor participating in a poll in this forum. My 2 cents.

Avotius
07-23-2007, 20:03
What did you expect? "I like this one" or "I don't like this one"? If there's nothing to say except I like this one rather than that one, I don't see the point of discussing gear, nor participating in a poll in this forum. My 2 cents.


heh....have a nice read through this http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44453

Marc-A.
07-24-2007, 02:46
heh....have a nice read through this http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44453

I'm sorry Avotius, I'm not smart enough to understand your reference; you surely have an idea, but I don't get it.
Please read again my previous post, with no "heh". There's nothing to be surprised of when people talk about gear in a thread about gear. That's my point, I don't mean anything else.

mfunnell
08-14-2007, 18:40
If I didn't like my M-Hexanon 50 so much as my "general purpose 50" I'd probably be thinking very seriously about the 50 Planar. But since I do have and like that lens, I'd be far more likely to want to investigate the Sonnar. However, I have other 50s (and a 55, which is almost the same) I need to explore first, before I even think about acquiring another one. (:slaps self: "out, damned GAS!")

...Mike

thomasw_
08-14-2007, 18:42
I would say depends what kind of photos you want to take, if you want a lens that can do anything you desire with perfect balance go for planar ZM! if you want that smooth retro look go for sonar, end of story.......

Vlad nails the issue here for me. For my uses the planar is a better compliment to my lens bag. Bear in mind that for low light with a 5cm FL I do have the L summilux 50 for a very different signature.

kshapero
08-15-2007, 02:30
I use the C Sonnar 50mm f1.5 and the CV 40mm f1.4 on my ZI. What a pair!!

awilder
08-15-2007, 12:14
For people that have gotten the focus shift "fix" or the latter ones with the fix built in, how does the improved ZM 50/1.5 Sonnar-C perform under various focusing situations, i.e. close up at f/1.5 and f/2.8-4, mid-distance and far at the same apertures as with close up?

thorirv
08-15-2007, 12:50
just read through this (as well as the linked 50 thread)... now i haven't read much about the zeiss 50's (just flirting with the idea of getting one), but is the general consensus that the sonnar needs "fixing" to focus correctly.??

ferider
08-15-2007, 12:53
"but is the general consensus that the sonnar needs "fixing" to focus correctly.?"


No.

It's not broken.

It will shift after the change as much as before.

So do older Sonnars, like the Nikkor 50/1.4 that was used professionally for many, many years
without this issue even coming up.

Say you have a modified or newer lens with maximum sharpness at f1.5.
Further, say you will shoot at f5.6. Your f5.6 DOF window will start (i.e. softly) at
your focus plane and go back, i.e. the lens will back focus.

thorirv
08-15-2007, 13:21
ferider, i don't quite understand what you're saying... does it shift? at 1m (mark on lens), does it focus a subject correctly at 1m. or does it have to be "modified" to do so? or is the "issue" more complicated (since you mention other sonnars)? all i'm thinking, is that this is a new lens, and i would assume that i could mount it on a camera and expect it to focus according to the rf, close as well as infinity (meaning a correctly calibrated rf, accurate enough to focus it at these distances).

ferider
08-15-2007, 13:28
ferider, i don't quite understand what you're saying... does it shift? at 1m (mark on lens), does it focus a subject correctly at 1m. or does it have to be "modified" to do so? or is the "issue" more complicated (since you mention other sonnars)? all i'm thinking, is that this is a new lens, and i would assume that i could mount it on a camera and expect it to focus according to the rf, close as well as infinity (meaning a correctly calibrated rf, accurate enough to focus it at these distances).


Basically it shifts before and after the "fix".

Older versions of the lens, when you focus at 1m, will shift toward you
(front focus) by around 6cm at f1.5, not at all at f2.8 and back-focus
by about the same amount at f5.6.

Newer versions of the lens, when you focus at 1m, will not shift at f1.5,
will back-focus by 6cm at f2.8 and around 12cm at f5.6. Not as visible
because the DOF window covers the shift partially, but visible IMO.
Basically your focus plane will always be at the border of the DOF window,
towards you.

In really, it's a little more complicated since the corners behave a little
differently, but in practice, in the center that's what happens.

Roland.

foto_fool
08-18-2007, 08:49
If I didn't like my M-Hexanon 50 so much as my "general purpose 50" I'd probably be thinking very seriously about the 50 Planar. But since I do have and like that lens, I'd be far more likely to want to investigate the Sonnar. However, I have other 50s (and a 55, which is almost the same) I need to explore first, before I even think about acquiring another one. (:slaps self: "out, damned GAS!")

...Mike

Mike this is exactly the reason I don't have the Planar - the Hexanon is so good. It is a little bigger though.

I have the Sonnar and it is my favorite M-mount 50, followed closely by a very nice Summarit that just came abck from a CLA by DAG. I use the extra stop a lot. The Hexanon gets used about 5 x less than these other lenses.

- John

cmogi10
01-16-2008, 02:56
I think I'm going to 1.5

:cool:

Roger Hicks
01-16-2008, 03:46
What did you expect? "I like this one" or "I don't like this one"? If there's nothing to say except I like this one rather than that one, I don't see the point of discussing gear, nor participating in a poll in this forum. My 2 cents.
Make that 4 cents, because I agree completely. Unless someone tells me why they like a particular lens, I can't begin to judge whether their choice can tell me anything. And if it can't tell me anything, why am I going to waste my time reading it, or participating in a poll?

Among 50mm Leica-fit lenses I currently have in my possession (I don't own all of them) are the Sonnar; a 1930s Elmar; a DR Summicron; a Noctilux; the new Summarit; a Nokton (current); a Color-Skopar 50/2.5; and a Canon 50/1.2. I have tried an awful lot of others including most Leica 50s (except Summiluxes, for some reason), the 50/2 Planar, various Summicrons, most FSU lenses, and more.

The 1,5/50 C-Sonnar is easily my favourite: it has a 'magic' that I don't see in any other 'standard' I own or have used except perhaps the 58/1.4 Nikkor. The Planar is a superb lens. So is the current Summicron. But they don't have the 'personality' of the Sonnar -- and incidentally, I cannot begin to see why anyone thinks this lens is tricky to use. My second choice for a new 50 would be the Noctilux, and my third, the new Summarit.

Cheers,

R.

john_s
02-15-2008, 13:15
........The 1,5/50 C-Sonnar is easily my favourite..................., I cannot begin to see why anyone thinks this lens is tricky to use. My second choice for a new 50 would be the Noctilux, and my third, the new Summarit.

Cheers,

R.

I found it tricky to use because of the focus shift. I take fairly close portraits of children at wide aperture, and couldn't get it to focus. Altering the focus (plus or minus) according to which aperture I was using was too tricky for me. I did some tests with tripod and found that the problem was all to do with the focus shift.

visiondr
03-22-2008, 22:03
My understanding was that with a Sonnar calibrated for f/2.8 all one has to do to avoid focus shift at f/1.5 is to focus on the end of the subject's nose. Thus the plane of focus will fall at the eyes. Is that correct? If so, that sounds simple enough.

I would choose the Sonnar calibrated for f/2.8. That would leave a good all-round lens.

mfogiel
03-22-2008, 22:28
visiondr
No, the "f2,8" version front focuses at f1.5. Search for my comparative focus test of the C Sonnars.

FanMan
03-23-2008, 01:43
My understanding was that with a Sonnar calibrated for f/2.8 all one has to do to avoid focus shift at f/1.5 is to focus on the end of the subject's nose. Thus the plane of focus will fall at the eyes. Is that correct? If so, that sounds simple enough.

I would choose the Sonnar calibrated for f/2.8. That would leave a good all-round lens.

if you focus with an 2.8-optimized version on the nose, the portrait will be entirely out of focus when using the lens @ 1.5. With a 2.8-version you will have to focus on the person's ear when using aperture 1.5. With a 1.5-version you have to focus on the tip of the nose when using aperture 2.8.

Doug
03-23-2008, 14:40
I think one can reasonably prefer either of the focus optimizations and work the consequent downside usefully into one's work. Mine is the original f/2.8 optimization, and in practice this seems more appropriate for my use, and I've figured easy workarounds for the times it's not ideal.

I like the character of the lens even at mid-apertures and seldom shoot wider than f2.4 or so. For wider apertures at portrait distances I can focus on the desired point and then lean forward a few cm. Or, more generally, focus as desired and then manually rotate the focus ring so that the focused distance marking is halfway to the first DoF marking at left of center.

As to which lens... I have both and plan to keep both. The Planar is a more conventional lens with exquisite performance, while the Sonnar is a real character calling for special handling. :)

raid
04-30-2008, 16:55
Why choose Zeiss when you have the Leica line?

Crucify me! [not]

triplefinger
04-30-2008, 17:03
2 of my 3 favorite lenses are Zeiss

planar 50/2
biogon 25/2.8
summicron-c 40/2

this just in Zeiss, good.

:)


Why choose Zeiss when you have the Leica line?

Crucify me! [not]

gertf
04-30-2008, 18:58
The Sonnar is fantastic. Shift is easy to compensate for with the 2.8 optimised version. I love mine :)

Incidentally I purchased it after reading Roger Hicks' review.

Arvay
04-30-2008, 22:25
I went for Sonnar 'cause I have planar on my Rollei and will have on G1.
I really love the picture from planar but see no reason to have all lenses similar.
Second reason is that I liked portraits made with Sonnar
Third reason is that I can buy it new at my place for reasonable price :two times less than Leitz Summicron here and three times than Summilux

Turtle
05-03-2008, 03:39
....-- and incidentally, I cannot begin to see why anyone thinks this lens is tricky to use. My second choice for a new 50 would be the Noctilux, and my third, the new Summarit.

Cheers,

R.

Surely having to account for shift at varying apertures slows you down and is a PITA when you are rushing to get things done. If you work slowly it might be fine but if you have to grab shots with no time at all I would not want to contemplate such an issue! The sonnar might appeal to me for more relaxed portrait work perhaps but I went for the planar for simple dependability at all apertures. I wanted a lens that I did not have to think about in use and that offered the same look and handling as my other ZMs. It does this perfectly and so I can slip from lens to lens without a second thought. I can certainly see the appeal of the sonnar, but it would not work for me as my only lens. The 1.5 optimised version sounds fun and would be something I would love to try for female portraiture in particular.

I am consistently amazed by how wonderful the planar images are wide open or close too. very smooth with lovely bokeh and whilst sharp, not insanely so at these apertures. At 2.8 and beyond it is like a razor however.

Andrew Sowerby
05-03-2008, 04:27
Mike this is exactly the reason I don't have the Planar - the Hexanon is so good. It is a little bigger though.

While the Hexanon may have a slightly bigger body, the collapsible hood makes it easier to store in a camera bag. Those Zeiss hoods are BIG.

Nachkebia
05-03-2008, 04:40
If you ask me to use only one 50mm lens it would be 50 planar f/2, it is almost perfect :)

Turtle
05-03-2008, 23:10
While the Hexanon may have a slightly bigger body, the collapsible hood makes it easier to store in a camera bag. Those Zeiss hoods are BIG.

True, however they are not really needed. Even using B&W MRC filters on the front and shooting in Afghanistan, I have had ZERO flare issues. Un&^%*&^believable!