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View Full Version : Habit (and falling in love with lenses)


Roger Hicks
04-15-2009, 01:51
The 35/1.4 Summilux has been my favourite lens for almost 30 years. I fell in love with it when I first tried it and it's still great today.

But how much of this is habit? You fall in love with a lens; then, afterwards, you learn to live with it (quite unlike people, really...).

Every few years I encounter another 'magic' lens, and (increasingly, now I'm older) I buy it. The three 'magic' Leica lenses I own are the old Summilux, the new 75 Summicron, and the Thambar. The 24 Summilux may join them and one day I'll buy a Noctilux.

But I still use the 35 Summilux most on film; the 24 Summilux is for the M8.2. Who else reckons they use their favourite lenses from habit as much as from conviction?

Tashi delek,

Roger

maddoc
04-15-2009, 02:01
Well, I haven't really fallen in love with any of the lenses that I own but in my case, the SA, 35mm Summilux pre-ASPH, and Noctilux have "survived" longest. These lenses are not perfect, have flaws but I like the results and in case of doubt the lenses are far better than my skills. :)

Keith
04-15-2009, 02:02
Because I'm new to photography I have no really long term relationships with lenses to report on.

The one lens I fell in love with immediately was my Canon f1.2 50mm but like most of these types of relationships a year or so down the track, I'm starting to see real faults with it now that the infatuation/honeymoon stage is over.

It's not that surprising really because I had exactly the same problem with my last wife! :p

Dave Wilkinson
04-15-2009, 02:13
I mentioned on a similar thread recently that my all time favourite 'magic' lens
was a Nikkor 105mm f2.5 ( the old Sonnar type) that has been in my bag for over thirty five years! - don't really know why - it just (to me) has a special look, and even more so on digital.
Dave.

gavinlg
04-15-2009, 02:45
The day I fall in love with a lens will be a very sad day for me.

Pickett Wilson
04-15-2009, 02:58
My favorite rangefinder lens is the Canon 50 1.4 ltm. I have two, one that I've had a long time (and used to the point that it's now getting a well deserved CLA) and one I bought recently. I guess it's as much habit as conviction. For much of my shooting, just about any 50 would give similar results, but after so many years, it just "feels right" in the hand and the FOV seems "right."

Brian Sweeney
04-15-2009, 03:01
I have an absurd number of lenses. Thirty 50mm lenses for the Leica Mount alone. Many of these were picked up very inexpensively and required work to make them right. Some of them, I made into LTM. As of late, I've sold a couple that I "REALLY" liked. They were too good to get such little use.

Sometimes being in love means just letting go...

http://ziforums.com/picture.php?albumid=16&pictureid=113

I made that lens, pre-war CZJ 5cm F1.5 now in LTM. And now, someone else is very happy to have it.

Roger Vadim
04-15-2009, 03:08
I was utterly surprised to "fall in love" with a rather old fella... at the first glance the 2/50 Jena Sonnar T looked lik an old diva, something you respect, but not something you desire. But after a couple of dates (i..e. films) I am completely hooked... arghhh... And she is 20 years older than me...

(I suspect the younger chick, the recent 1.5 Sonnar, might be a bit hotter, and maybe a tad sharper, but my Sonnar is soooo smooth. mhmmm.)

bon. enough of that cheesy analogies.
Ciao!

Roger Hicks
04-15-2009, 03:52
The day I fall in love with a lens will be a very sad day for me.

Even sadder not to. When you find a lens that suits your vision; where there's something extra; well, you don't have to call it falling in love, but unless you're VERY literal-minded, it's as good a term as any.

But this thread is more about 'old friends' than 'new loves', i.e. lenses where there might be something 'better' but you've got used to them over the years or decades.

Tashi delek,

R.

Ronald_H
04-15-2009, 04:27
Wondering about the "Leica mystique" I bought a classic Summicron DR. 1963, much, much older than any other lens I have. But no lens I ever used is so sharp wide open and so sharp overall. Sure, there is some softness towards the corners, but now I can see why Leica glass is so special.

And besides all that it is fantastically well made. Mind you, I still wouldn't pay what they ask for their new lenses...

rbiemer
04-15-2009, 05:05
For me, "the" lens is the Jupiter-8. I know that by several different objective criteria there are better lenses--and I've owned some of them--but by the purely subjective criteria of how I like the photos I take with it, there hasn't, yet, been another lens I like better.

Certainly part of my feeling for this lens is habit, I've used this one long enough that I have fairly good expectations about what the photos will look like and it doesn't get in the way.
Rob

Spider67
04-15-2009, 05:30
The Canon 50mm 1,8 Serenar did that to me I was fascinated.
Then the 21mm f4 grat lens for street photography
and then I discovered the 35mm 2,5 I had used already for a year when I took the time to review the photos I made

noimmunity
04-15-2009, 05:45
Every few years I encounter another 'magic' lens, and (increasingly, now I'm older) I buy it. The three 'magic' Leica lenses I own are the old Summilux, the new 75 Summilux, and the Thambar. The 24 Summilux may join them and one day I'll buy a Noctilux.


I remember at one point Roger you would have listed the 75 cron among those lenses. So the 75 'lux replaced it?

For practical reasons I've dealt off a number of lenses and cameras I really liked. In spite of my best efforts, however, some cameras/lenses refuse to go away. The R4A given to me by a dear friend, the black nikkor that makes the loveliest b&w portraits, and the beastly Nokton 35/1.2... Some even ended up in the hands of others for a brief moment, but by some stroke of fate, the other party regretted the deal and I took them back--with open arms!

Brian Sweeney says it all: to love you gotta let go!

retnull
04-15-2009, 05:47
My tabbed 80s Summicron 50 is not rare or glamorous, but it's the one that all other lenses get compared to. Is this what true love is?

Roger Hicks
04-15-2009, 06:58
I remember at one point Roger you would have listed the 75 cron among those lenses. So the 75 'lux replaced it?

For practical reasons I've dealt off a number of lenses and cameras I really liked. In spite of my best efforts, however, some cameras/lenses refuse to go away. The R4A given to me by a dear friend, the black nikkor that makes the loveliest b&w portraits, and the beastly Nokton 35/1.2... Some even ended up in the hands of others for a brief moment, but by some stroke of fate, the other party regretted the deal and I took them back--with open arms!

Brian Sweeney says it all: to love you gotta let go!

Whoops! Amended to read 'Summicron'. I was distracted: just going to get Frances. SHE'S HOME!

Letting go: daughters yes, lenses no.

Tashi delek,

R.

navilluspm
04-15-2009, 07:12
Great news, Rogers! I will say a prayer of thanks!

Bassism
04-15-2009, 07:14
Roger, I'm happy to see that Frances is back home :)

I haven't really been around long enough to really settle in with any lenses at all, but I'm still very fond of my M42 Takumar 50/1.4 that was the first lens I ever bought myself. That lens still does something special for me that I can't put into words.

I'm hoping somewhat that if my DR Cron ever comes back from repair, it'll be special enough to push the Tak out of my heart for good.

noimmunity
04-15-2009, 07:42
Whoops! Amended to read 'Summicron'. I was distracted: just going to get Frances. SHE'S HOME!

Letting go: daughters yes, lenses no.

Tashi delek,

R.
That's really good news!

Back on the lens front, yes, I am going to try very hard to hang on to those that I do have.

Andrew Sowerby
04-15-2009, 07:49
I like my 50mm Hexanon, but I don't really have anything to compare it to. I've never owned another M-mount 50mm and it's currently my only M-mount lens.

It works well and it doesn't make a big fuss in rendering images. I kinda like that.

hans voralberg
04-15-2009, 08:26
I have a rather strange "love affair" with the DR Cron, I love to hold it and play with it but it actually used much less than other lens, still every time I use that it made me really happy.

Bob Ross
04-15-2009, 09:54
For many years...70s, 80s & 90s...a Vivitar Series One 90.2.5 macro graced my OM-1 or OM-2. When I went to a Leica R kit, I didn't trade the OM stuff because of that lens. Today it occasionally rides my E-1 or E-3.
My Leica R & M kits each have their very own 90mm Summicron (Cana-Crons).
My modern kit is now the E-3 + the ZD 50mm/2 macro (100mm eqv)....got that habit bad. With the M8's format I have found myself drifting to the 50 cron, but the 90 cron pre asph is currently mounted. My mind's eye is obviously minimalist or the short tele resembles how I narrow my attention to a subject that catches my physical eye.
Bob

shadowfox
04-15-2009, 10:10
I don't think I've ever fallen in love with a lens :)

But I do have strong favorites among all my lenses, and strangely, these favorites are all 35mm lenses ... :p

Nando
04-15-2009, 11:04
For me its the 24mm Elmarit ASPH and it came quite unexpectedly. I was all set to get the Zeiss 25 and didn't even consider the Elmarit due to the price and the fact that the Zeiss 25 was supposedly the highest resolving lens Zeiss ever made, probably more flare resistant, etc.. A friend o mine suggested that I look at the Elmarit and once I saw some photos taken with it, I was hooked. I just love the look of photos taken with it, especially at f/2.8. I don't even know how to describe what it is but its something. Unfortunately, I don't use that lens as often as I should.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3285/2894723057_1ceecf4ccd.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/fgsemedo/2894723057/)

I also have a serious thing for my 1946 Summitar. The Summilux-ASPH is the 50mm I use the most but if you were to ask me which one I like the most, I honestly don't know if I'd pick the Summilux-ASPH over the old Summitar.

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1072/1314290606_cf40abfcae.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/fgsemedo/1314290606/)

OldNick
04-15-2009, 11:27
On my Leica IIIf RD, I love the look I get with my Summitar. It would get more use if film processing were not such a bother. My recent "best" lens is an Elmarit-R 2.8/28, with which I produce digital images on my Oly E-510. Focus is more difficult than with a RF, but, the fact that it will focus down to 12 inches gives it an advantage. Wish I could afford an M8, but that is not to be.

Jim N.

Quercus
05-11-2009, 16:01
Don't know about love of a lens - but certainly my favourite lens to use. though it may in part be the camera not the lens, is the original 40mm 3.5 zeiss tessar on the early Rollei 35 - it just works

P. Lynn Miller
05-11-2009, 16:42
Not sure about love... but for years my Nikkor-N 35mm f1.4 was my most trusted lens... and I have yet to fall in love with a RF lens... the CV APO-Lanthar 90/3.5 has captured my heart, but I am not sure it is love...

Welder | Lakes Entrance | Victoria, Australia 2008
http://plynnmiller.com/rrf/2008_09_001_026_700e.jpg
Bessa R2 | Voigtländer APO-Lanthar 90mm f3.5 | Efke KB25 | Rodinal 1:100 Stand

I am still waiting for my true-love RF lens...

Ronald M
05-11-2009, 18:21
I am learning to love original Nikkor primes, 105 2.5 Sonar, 50 2.0 H, 35 2.0, on my D700 Nikon. Later AiS are pretty good too. The new zoom are , shall I say convenient. They give digital class as nothing new does.

They are not perfect as modern Leica lenses are, but they impart a certain took to the digital image that is wonderful just as the older Leicas did on film with the 35 version 1 Summicron,50 DR/Rigid. and 90 2.8 Elmarit.

Beemermark
05-12-2009, 16:19
T
But I still use the 35 Summilux most on film; the 24 Summilux is for the M8.2. Who else reckons they use their favourite lenses from habit as much as from conviction?Roger
Change is tough. But I'm your age and I've noticed over the decades I've bought an amazing amount of lenses. I just have to try them and I may be infatuated for awhile but most end up on the shelve. My favorite lens is the 50mm. I don't know how many I own. Leica lenses, SLR and RF, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, etc. I even had to buy a Canon body to use with a 50/1.2 FD lens I bought. For 15 or 20 years my second favorite lens was the 35mm but recently (within the last 5 years) I've moved to 28mm. The strange thing is is that it is always done sub-consciously. I buy lenses in GAS attacks but then over a period of years I realize I always grab the 28/2.8 4th version Elmarit over all the other 28 focal lengths. Give me a few more years and I'll post the other for sale. I can never give rational reason why I like a particular lens over all the others but then I guess rational does'nt really count in this medium.

amateriat
05-12-2009, 17:23
Lust, love, like...

I'll talk about my trio of Konica M-Hexanon glass (28/50/90), which have been my principal glass for the last six-years-plus. I love them all (in the, ahem, Platonic sense), but it's the 28 f/2.8, which was the first one purchased, that's the plum for me. A great, fast shooter, good for the obvious hyperfocal stuff, but I've found it to work beautifully under quite strenuous lighting conditions. It's simply the best WA I've ever owned, and truly one of the finest lenses I've owned and used overall.

At the moment, my current obsession is my new-to-me Contax Tvs compact with its 28-56mm zoom. The gestalt of this camera is jazzing me big-time, especially as it's easy to bring with me almost all the time. (More on this obsession in an ongoing thread :))


- Barrett

bmattock
05-12-2009, 17:34
Not sure about love... but for years my Nikkor-N 35mm f1.4 was my most trusted lens... and I have yet to fall in love with a RF lens... the CV APO-Lanthar 90/3.5 has captured my heart, but I am not sure it is love...

Welder | Lakes Entrance | Victoria, Australia 2008
http://plynnmiller.com/rrf/2008_09_001_026_700e.jpg
Bessa R2 | Voigtländer APO-Lanthar 90mm f3.5 | Efke KB25 | Rodinal 1:100 Stand

I am still waiting for my true-love RF lens...

I really like that photo.

amateriat
05-12-2009, 17:55
P. Lynn: Agree with Bill...that's seriously good.


- Barrett

wlewisiii
05-12-2009, 18:16
Interesting question. I can't say I've fallen so much for a single lens as for a single design. Anyone who has read more than a couple of my photographic posts knows that I love the Tessar design. It may be a seriously old IIc f6.3 in barrel or a 50/3.5 on a folder, or an uncoated 50/2.8 contax mount, or the 135/3.5 in dial set Compur I got for $20 the other day or the 105/3.5 I bought I 2x3 Speed Graphic simply to be able to use the lens.

A Tessar has a very distinctive look - wide open it goes from razor sharp to a buttery consistancy in the edges. Some people, like me, love that look - other's hate that it isn't laser sharp from corner to corner on the negative. That's ok, but I've built the way I shoot around the look from a Tessar, or a Sonnar, rather than expecting the all around sharpness of, say, a Planar design lens.

Huh, 4500 posts and I'm still blatting about Tessars... :eek:

;)

William

dee
05-16-2009, 15:32
I love my Summitar , having been advised to find a modern lens for my M 8 , but just one Fed 50mm f 3.5 collapsible gives me that 50s brightness which blows me away ...
I have several Industars and a couple more Feds , but this one is magic .

I have no idea if it is correct , sharp , contrasty ... I could not care less - it creates lovely images - for me .

alan davus
05-16-2009, 17:40
In my rangefinder bag, amongst others, is a lens I've grown very fond of, the Hex 35UC (I'm not alone on this forum in this regard). But the little Hex 50 2.4 collapsible that I bought about a year ago is a firm favourite. In my SLR bag is an underrated lens I've been happily using for nearly 25 years, the Nikon E 135. I just can't see that the Nikkor version could be significantly better.

notturtle
05-17-2009, 03:05
I have not fallen in love with any so much as come to respect and rely upon certain lenses, such as the Zeiss ZMs and my Mamiya 7 lenses. If I had to pick two that have allowed me great flexibility and always done what was required they would be the 35 F2 Biogon and the Mamiya 7 65mm. Both kinda similar FLs, both very matter of fact, but absolutely reliable in every way. Neither have ever let me down, both have at times amazed me (in flare resistance or image quality overall) and so if it becomes love it will have been born out of a long dependence and prints in the portfolio.

I feel the mamiya 7 50mm is the better lens technically, but the 65mm seems perfect under so many circumstances that it spends 75% of its time mounted. I could travel the world with either and nothing else without too much frustration.

I find myself more emotionally attached to bodies as their feel and functionality i what allows me to shoot intuitively and comfortably or not. Lenses are judged on performance and handling too, but I could happily shoot Leica glass and be just as happy I suspect (same for some CV). I would not change the body I use however. This might seem perverse, but my imagery is not based on quaint image characteristics, intentional flare, softness, bokeh or anything else, so if a lens is reasoably neutral it is likely to work for me in terms of image character. For me, the subject matter renders subtle imaging differences relatively unimportant, although I daresay different lenses would produce differences. For me, knowing that flare wont be an issue, resolution good across the frame and the handling is fine is the key. I would happily use a 35 2.5 summarit, 35 2.8 biogon or Summicron V4 and don't think it would matter much once I got used to it.

I guess for those whose photography is more about a specific look, the tables will turn 180 degrees.

Roger Hicks
05-17-2009, 03:32
. . . This might seem perverse, but my imagery is not based on quaint image characteristics, intentional flare, softness, bokeh or anything else, so if a lens is reasonably neutral it is likely to work for me in terms of image character. . . I would happily use a 35 2.5 summarit, 35 2.8 biogon or Summicron V4 and don't think it would matter much once I got used to it.


I broadly agree, especially with the bit I highlighted; I could even get used to the 58/2 Biotar on my Exakta Vx (but I'm glad I don't have to, mainly because it's on an Exakta). What I'm looking for is versatility and reliability, and my old pre-aspheric 35 Summilux has given me that for a third of a century. There may be 'better' lenses, but I don't care.

There are however two other considerations. One is special applications, e.g. the Thambar for soft focus, the Noctilux for low light. There is no real equivalent to the former, and for me, having used both extensively, the Noctilux so far outperforms the Canon 50/1.2 that I gave the Canon away after I had returned the Noctilux to its owner (having had it on loan for 2 years).

The other is that every now and then a new lens comes along that I find outstandingly useful as well as outstanding in its image quality, e.g. the 75 Summicron on film and the 24 Summilux for digital. Usually these are focal lengths I don't own, but (for example) the 1,5/50 C-Sonnar revitalized my interest in 50mm for general applications and my wife replaced her 50/2.5 Color Skopar with a 50/2.5 Summarit because the Color Skopar has not stood up well to heavy use.

Tashi delek,

R.

kram
05-17-2009, 04:24
I know what Roger means. However, I had it with a camera (not 'replaced' but lost) and a Flash gun (National, 26 years old) which has seen off a newer Metz (only lasted 15 years) and a couple of Sunpack's. I still prefer to use the National to my Nikon SB80.
Back to lenses, my Sigma 180mm f2.8 marco, massive lump but great quality and handles well- has not been replaced by newer, lighter, 'better' lens, but the Tamron 180mm is tempting. To keep in context of this forum, my Mamiya 7 65mm has been then main lens on my 7 since I purchased it, the 43mm rarely gets used -although that's the reason why I (and I think, others) purchased the Mamiya 7 (13 years ago) in the first place.
I have only ben using rf 35mm for 2.5 years, so I can't really comment on 35mm rf lens in this context.

ron1945
05-17-2009, 05:56
i never fall in love with a lense but years ago,when i first took up photography i had she who must be obeyed pose for me till she was totally fed up with me. a local pro photographer had tried her as amodel he could not get her skin tone right , I used a helios 44m on azenit ttl that photo is still on my wall 30yrs later.as anyone else fallen in love with aphoto? by the way i still love her to hope that doesnt sound to shmaltsy.

estudleon
06-03-2009, 12:40
I love for ever the summicron 2/50.

Now, I'm exiting with the cheap vivitar 85/1,8 pre set. It's not love, I know, but I wanto to use it all the time.

Very sharp (resolution and contrast) with rare bokeh. Nice IQ.

sojournerphoto
06-03-2009, 12:52
My old love was my canon 85 1.8 in fd mount. It's now been joined by an 85 1.8 in ef mount that gets used. I'm also very fond of the ef 50 and the ZM 50 C sonnar and Biogon 35 2

Mike

kshapero
06-03-2009, 13:52
My Nikkor 50mm/f1.4 circa 1974. It has been all over the world with. Once in Japan 1984 I was putting the lens on a body when it slipped out of my hand and fell into a stream. Still runs like a top.

Trius
06-03-2009, 14:01
Ages ago I fell in love with the Zuiko 35/2.8. It opened things up for me as well as challenged me visually/photographically. In the latter sense it was kind of like medicine that I needed to "get better".

I find myself using it (actually, a replacement) very little these days, but I have the nagging feeling that at some point I'll stick it on the camera and it will stay there for a long time.

rumbliegeos
06-11-2009, 17:24
A Nikon 55mm f3.5 AI lens won my sincere esteem during a multi-month session of complex close-up photography.

nikon_sam
06-11-2009, 18:11
One of my favorites is the Nikon 180mm 2.8 AF...I know what it will give me and I like the tight crops when shooting people...
Next is the Nikkor-O 35.. 2.0...I got that one last year and I'm still learning how to best use it...

JustPlainBill
06-11-2009, 18:45
Hi,
My all time favorite lens for my Leicas is a 35 mm f2.5 Nikkor (in Leica screwmount) that I bought for my IIf many years ago. It has become my most-used lens, now adapted for my M4 and M2. A 105 mm f2.5 Nikkor, also in LTM, is my all-around "rangefinder telephoto"; having it when I need it makes it worth carrying around. A 120 mm f6.8 Schneider Angulon that always covers my negative, no matter how much I raised the lensboard, has earneds its place as my favorite large format lens.
JustPlainBill

kermaier
07-12-2009, 20:25
For years the lens I couldn't leave alone was the Canon FD 50/1.2 L. Alas, I haven't put a roll of film through my FD bodies in almost 2 years, and with my growing collection of LTM and M mount lenses for the R-D1, I don't know when I'll be able return to it.

For the R-D1, I love 50mm Sonnar types, particularly the Canon 50/1.5 and Nikkor 50/2. But the lens that I reach for most when I don't want to have to think about optical quirks and limitations is the Summaron 35/2.8 -- that's a lens with no compromises, that never disappoints.

::Ari