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Which is sharper at 2.8, 35mm Color Skopar or Nokton 35 1.4?
Old 04-09-2014   #1
KM-25
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Which is sharper at 2.8, 35mm Color Skopar or Nokton 35 1.4?

As the headline implies, I am wondering which is the sharper lens at 2.8. I have the Skopar and it is truly stellar even wide open. But given the Nokton Classic is only a tiny bit bigger I am wondering how it stacks up at 2.8?

If the Nokton 35mm 1.4 at 2.8 is pretty close to the 35mm 2.5 Color Skopar at the same setting, I might be inclined to move to the Nokton. Just working through ideas, this is for my M3 where my 50 Lux Asph is the primary lens...

I also maybe feel like leaving well enough alone as the focus on the Skopar is spot on with no shift while the Nokton could need adjustments depending on the sample. It's a tough call, the character of the Nokton wide open and the 1-2/3rd gain in speed is an attractive proposition..like the 50, I only need one 35...
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Old 04-09-2014   #2
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I've had the color skopar 35mm for around 3-4 years now and sometimes think about switching to a faster lens too. It's just that my skopar is a really good lens, even compared to my modern 50mm from leica. I did own the 40mm nokton briefly. The nokton was inferior to my skopar but it also had a massive wobble so that probably didn't help.

I think i would only trade my skopar for a 35mm summicron but seeing as that is not going to happen, i'm stuck with the skopar. Which is not really a bad place to be.
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Old 04-09-2014   #3
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I do not own any of the lenses in question, but someone else does/did and posted a comparison here
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Old 04-09-2014   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slidesandthecity View Post
I do not own any of the lenses in question, but someone else does/did and posted a comparison here
I saw that too, his Nokton sample is impressive but his pancake Skopar is a total dud.

My Skopar which is the older type with the tab, blows his away...
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Old 04-09-2014   #5
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I see no problem with my Nokton, it is plenty sharp at 2.8. But I have never used the Skopar, and therefore cannot make any comparison.
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Old 04-09-2014   #6
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Tough call. I love my skopar 35. Mine is LTM with the tab. It's an incredible lens, and at the price point I don't see how one could do better. I find it to be plenty sharp at 2.8, but maybe I'm not as picky as others.
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Old 04-09-2014   #7
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Originally Posted by anjoca76 View Post
Tough call. I love my skopar 35. Mine is LTM with the tab. It's an incredible lens, and at the price point I don't see how one could do better. I find it to be plenty sharp at 2.8, but maybe I'm not as picky as others.
No doubt, I don't doubt the Skopar but rather the Nokton at 2.8. If I do decide to give the Nokton a try it will be from Cameraquest as Stephen allows a 30 day return policy.
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Old 04-09-2014   #8
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The issue I see is that the Nokton is known for focus shift... and focus shift is prevalent between f/1.4 and f/4. I know film masks this somewhat, but unless the optimal point on the Nokton happens to be 2.8 (where the RF matches the lens), then I would imagine the Skopar is the better option. It always was on my M8 and M9.
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Old 04-09-2014   #9
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Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
The issue I see is that the Nokton is known for focus shift... and focus shift is prevalent between f/1.4 and f/4. I know film masks this somewhat, but unless the optimal point on the Nokton happens to be 2.8 (where the RF matches the lens), then I would imagine the Skopar is the better option. It always was on my M8 and M9.
Thanks for the reminder, I went through that with the 50 Sonnar C, it was optimized for 2.8, might have kept it if it were optimized for 1.5.

I dunno, since I use a 35 on my M3 about 10% of the time, maybe it just makes more sense to leave well enough alone and stick with what works and that is the Skopar. It's tiny, sharp as heck and not terribly slow in a lot of light considering I rarely use slower than 400 speed film.

More comments are welcome....
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Old 04-09-2014   #10
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Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
The issue I see is that the Nokton is known for focus shift... and focus shift is prevalent between f/1.4 and f/4.
Which for general photography matters very little in my experience. The point is that you need to know the lens and understand how it behaves.

The test that was posted earlier in the thread gives some idea about Nokton performance. Still, I suppose anyone shooting brick walls should probably focus bracket a lens that is known to exhibit significant focus shift. Anyone else should just know their lens. Depending on the aperture and focus distance, you may want to compensate for the shift. It's hardly an exact science, but it is a workable solution.
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Old 04-09-2014   #11
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Originally Posted by Lss View Post
Which for general photography matters very little in my experience. The point is that you need to know the lens and understand how it behaves.

The test that was posted earlier in the thread gives some idea about Nokton performance. Still, I suppose anyone shooting brick walls should probably focus bracket a lens that is known to exhibit significant focus shift. Anyone else should just know their lens. Depending on the aperture and focus distance, you may want to compensate for the shift. It's hardly an exact science, but it is a workable solution.
I have to disagree, even after carefully establishing the correction for my C Sonnar 50 I still lost key shots in several cases that were impossible to reshoot. In considering how I need to work, fast and accurate, focus shift is a deal breaker, I can't print, sell or publish photos in which the subject is out of focus.

I had forgot about the reports of focus shift with this lens, I won't be buying it solely because of that, can't afford to take the risk.
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Old 04-09-2014   #12
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I had the LTM Skopar. Sharp enough for my needs in street photography, but this test looks like the Nokton beats it in corner sharpness.

I ended up with the Ultron, which I got for dirt cheap, and had bokeh I liked better wide open (needed something faster than 2.5). Downside is that it's much bigger.

I still have the Skopar, if you want me to shoot a quick test.
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Old 04-09-2014   #13
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I currently have the Skopar, no test needed, it does exactly what I need it to do when I need it to. I can't concentrate on what matters any other way...
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Old 04-09-2014   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KM-25 View Post
I currently have the Skopar, no test needed, it does exactly what I need it to do when I need it to. I can't concentrate on what matters any other way...
Haha, no worries. I forgot about that detail when I respondedů
Focus shift was another reason I shied away from the Nokton. There had to be a compromise from something that fast and small, along with the bokeh.
If you're looking for something faster, my vote's for the Ulton.
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Old 04-09-2014   #15
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Originally Posted by Lss View Post
Which for general photography matters very little in my experience. The point is that you need to know the lens and understand how it behaves.
I like my lenses to be in agreement with my RF. Why would I want to lean in two inches if I want to use a certain f stop? Seems ridiculous to me.

Quote:
The test that was posted earlier in the thread gives some idea about Nokton performance. Still, I suppose anyone shooting brick walls should probably focus bracket a lens that is known to exhibit significant focus shift.
It has nothing to do with brick walls... out of focus subjects can ruin a photo quickly. Sometimes you just cannot bracket... you only get one chance sometimes. Not everyone photographs the same way.

Quote:
Anyone else should just know their lens. Depending on the aperture and focus distance, you may want to compensate for the shift. It's hardly an exact science, but it is a workable solution.
Or just buy a lens that doesn't have focus shift and rely on your RF patch for focusing. I'm not sure why people get so offended by those of us that don't want to use a lens that has focus shift.
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Old 04-09-2014   #16
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Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I like my lenses to be in agreement with my RF. Why would I want to lean in two inches if I want to use a certain f stop? Seems ridiculous to me. It has nothing to do with brick walls... out of focus subjects can ruin a photo quickly. Sometimes you just cannot bracket... you only get one chance sometimes. Not everyone photographs the same way. Or just buy a lens that doesn't have focus shift and rely on your RF patch for focusing. I'm not sure why people get so offended by those of us that don't want to use a lens that has focus shift.
Focus shift? Lost shots? if this is the price that must be paid, no thanks, no Nokton.
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Old 04-09-2014   #17
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Not sure which one is sharper, I no longer have the 2.5 pancake but both are excellent.

Colors skopar had too much bite for my taste at the time, but maybe it was the high sun environment I shot it in.

I now have a 35 Nokton s.c 1.4 which is my go-to nighttime lens. With a wide base rangefinder, it really makes a difference, and I have yet to notice or lose a shot because of any optical characteristics of the lens. If I lose a shot, I like to think it was my fault. I shoot it on film though, so on a digital body, try it out.

I also never bought into the sample variation ordeal, especially on new high end Japanese lenses. Get one with a warranty and don't worry yourself.

The Nokton is a phenomenal lens, handles beautifully, and I'm glad I gave it a proper chance. I'm happy with my sunny day 35s, so the Nokton stays in the bag. I consider it a low light lens.

Here are a couple of samples on arista premium 400



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Old 04-09-2014   #18
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wow,

Nice lens comparison.

Teh color skopar is a areputed sharp lesn, but in his test i failed completely...

On the other hand the vc 35mm f1.4 appears to be a good choice for street shooting,...
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Old 04-09-2014   #19
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Originally Posted by KM-25 View Post
I have to disagree, even after carefully establishing the correction for my C Sonnar 50 I still lost key shots in several cases that were impossible to reshoot.
I have been using the Nokton for years and have not lost a single shot with it due to focus shift. On the other hand, I got some very bad results the first time I tried a 75mm Summilux. This was due to the focus shift on the lens. There are differences in ways people work, the focal lengths, lens handling, etc. My point remains that one needs to know their lens for best results.

It's completely fine not to buy a Nokton based on the focus shift. What this thread started out with was considering its sharpness at 2.8. The lens is sharp at that aperture, and can be focused reliably at that aperture at long and middle distances. Very close focus is trickier, but can be done.
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Old 04-09-2014   #20
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another difference would be distortion.
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Old 04-09-2014   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonatto View Post
Not sure which one is sharper, I no longer have the 2.5 pancake but both are excellent. Colors skopar had too much bite for my taste at the time, but maybe it was the high sun environment I shot it in. I now have a 35 Nokton s.c 1.4 which is my go-to nighttime lens. With a wide base rangefinder, it really makes a difference, and I have yet to notice or lose a shot because of any optical characteristics of the lens. If I lose a shot, I like to think it was my fault. I shoot it on film though, so on a digital body, try it out. I also never bought into the sample variation ordeal, especially on new high end Japanese lenses. Get one with a warranty and don't worry yourself. The Nokton is a phenomenal lens, handles beautifully, and I'm glad I gave it a proper chance. I'm happy with my sunny day 35s, so the Nokton stays in the bag. I consider it a low light lens. Here are a couple of samples on arista premium 400
Why losing a shot due to shift focusing should be your fault? Lens such any other tool is a tool and primarily it should work well. Then we see sharpness, bokeh, character, etc
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Old 04-09-2014   #22
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I still might order one from Cameraquest and give it a spin, maybe over the weekend...
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Old 04-09-2014   #23
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I'm not sure why people get so offended by those of us that don't want to use a lens that has focus shift.
No one's getting offended. It is a fact that there are good lenses with significant focus shift. Anyone is free not to use any or all of them. It's just useful to understand the ways of working and lens characteristics. The term focus shift is sometimes used to scare people off nice lenses. I don't see the point in that.

Even in this discussion focus shift is made out to be a major concern that limits the speed of shooting. It can, depending on the lens. The thing is, most such lenses are anyway slow to shoot. The Nokton has a fairly short and effortless focus throw. It can be used to shoot fast. I shoot it fast all the time. And for me it's not the Nokton that loses shots, it's the RX1R.
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Old 04-09-2014   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortstop View Post
Why losing a shot due to shift focusing should be your fault? Lens such any other tool is a tool and primarily it should work well. Then we see sharpness, bokeh, character, etc
That's not what I said, but maybe It wasn't clear. A lens is indeed like any other tool, and I agree, it should work well, especially at the prices we pay for this gear. The 35 s.c. works well as a tool, and that's all I can really ask of it. If you want to try the lens, by all means give it a go. If not, that's ok too. It's all subjective anyways
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Old 04-10-2014   #25
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Why losing a shot due to shift focusing should be your fault? Lens such any other tool is a tool and primarily it should work well. Then we see sharpness, bokeh, character, etc
I had misunderstand. apologizes for the error. from what you say, so you are fully satisfied with your Nokton. I'm considering whether to buy one or wait for a summilux.😎
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Old 04-10-2014   #26
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I had read about the focus shift issues before I bought the 35 Nokton SC,
but I have never seen any evidence of this mythical focus shift in any of my pictures in these 3 years I had it.
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Old 04-10-2014   #27
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Quote:
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I had read about the focus shift issues before I bought the 35 Nokton SC, but I have never seen any evidence of this mythical focus shift in any of my pictures in these 3 years I had it.
this is good news.
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Old 04-10-2014   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KM-25 View Post
As the headline implies, I am wondering which is the sharper lens at 2.8. I have the Skopar and it is truly stellar even wide open. But given the Nokton Classic is only a tiny bit bigger I am wondering how it stacks up at 2.8?
I've directly compared both these lenses on film (several samples of both actually). At f/2.8 sharpness is much the same in the center, but the Nokton is definitely softer in the corners. I think that's intentional by the designers though, and probably partially why the Nokton got its "Classic" designation. So if you want sharp corners stick with your Skopar. If you don't mind sacrificing some corner sharpness for the extra speed, then the Nokton is a good choice.

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I had read about the focus shift issues before I bought the 35 Nokton SC,
but I have never seen any evidence of this mythical focus shift in any of my pictures in these 3 years I had it.
Ohh the focus shift is no myth... it's definitely there. But you probably wouldn't notice it on film unless you do a controlled test (tripod etc.) and then go pixel peeping (after scanning your film).
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Old 04-10-2014   #29
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Quote:
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...but I have never seen any evidence of this mythical focus shift in any of my pictures in these 3 years I had it.
It's not mythical... it's more apparent in digital.
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Old 04-10-2014   #30
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Originally Posted by shortstop View Post
I'm considering whether to buy one or wait for a summilux.��
When I was doing a project for about 6 years, I had the 28 Summicron, 35 Lux Asph, 50 Lux Asph and a TE 90 2.8. If you are at all considering ponying up for the 35 Lux, do it, the lens is simply in another league. I would get one again if I were not working with mostly a 50 Lux Asph on my M3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post
I've directly compared both these lenses on film (several samples of both actually). At f/2.8 sharpness is much the same in the center, but the Nokton is definitely softer in the corners. I think that's intentional by the designers though, and probably partially why the Nokton got its "Classic" designation. So if you want sharp corners stick with your Skopar. If you don't mind sacrificing some corner sharpness for the extra speed, then the Nokton is a good choice.

Ohh the focus shift is no myth... it's definitely there. But you probably wouldn't notice it on film unless you do a controlled test (tripod etc.) and then go pixel peeping (after scanning your film).
Thanks for this. I think what it basically boils down to is what one's specific needs or wants are from any gear. In my case, the 35 gets used on my M3 with a small piece of tape over the frame line window and I use it "Full Frame". So it only gets used about 10% of the time. So far the Skopar has been great in that mode due to how tiny it is and how it does not protrude into the viewfinder hardly at all. The Nokton will afford me the same unobstructed view, lenses like the Ultron or ZM F2 Biogon will start to be rather intrusive...

And as it stands right now, the 50 Lux Asph is the "low light" lens while the 35 is medium to bright light, even with 400 speed films. So hypothetically speaking, if I can put on the CV 35 1.4 and use it at EV 12-17 at F4 and up and it will pretty much do what the Skopar does, then it becomes a lot more versatile if I can go indoors and then I use it at 2.8 and wider for general documentary and people work. F2 is where I wish the Skopar was and 1.4 is pure gravy. All I ever use in this camera is 400 speed film, so I hardly ever use or need to use a meter anymore, I know that F2 gets to be right on the edge for lower light and 1.4 seals the deal...

Ideally a 35 Summicron Asph would be the ticket, but 2K for a lens I only use 10% of the time starts to look a bit excessive on the balance sheet, not that a new chrome 50 lux asph did not...

I guess I will just have to try it to make the final call....
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Old 04-10-2014   #31
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KM-25, you'll find that a wide a aperture 35 is a very versatile lens, and it might push your use above 10% of the time...heck, it might even prompt an M2/M4 purchase!

The 35 is a nice lens to use indoors where it's not always possible to take one step back to get the desired framing, and indoors, typically the light hovers around 1/30 2.8 at iso 400, so being able to get a couple stops extra speed, is very useful.
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Old 04-10-2014   #32
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KM-25, you'll find that a wide a aperture 35 is a very versatile lens, and it might push your use above 10% of the time...heck, it might even prompt an M2/M4 purchase!

The 35 is a nice lens to use indoors where it's not always possible to take one step back to get the desired framing, and indoors, typically the light hovers around 1/30 2.8 at iso 400, so being able to get a couple stops extra speed, is very useful.
Preaching to the choir mang, I used a 35 Lux Asph a ton when I had an M6 / MP3. I have and use a Nikon 35mm 1.4G on my D800/F100, fixed 35 on my X100S.

The difference between a 35 and 50 is huge so the overall style of a body of work can change a lot because of it, I am trying to mostly use a 50 for this reason.
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Old 04-10-2014   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post


Ohh the focus shift is no myth... it's definitely there. But you probably wouldn't notice it on film unless you do a controlled test (tripod etc.) and then go pixel peeping (after scanning your film).
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It's not mythical... it's more apparent in digital.
I only shoot film, I am not saying it is purely myth, just that I have never encountered it
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Old 04-10-2014   #34
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My first CS was LTM, black, no focus tab version, on Bessa R.
It was crazy sharp from wide open. And provided very high contrast.
But I couldn't get around the absence of focusing tab. Sold Bessa R, sold CS.
Was looking at Nokton, but bokeh sometimes is not pleasing.
Went with PII version of CS. Better in construction, but my M-mount copy doesn't seems to be so incredibly sharp as LTM version of same lens I sold.
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Old 04-10-2014   #35
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When I was doing a project for about 6 years, I had the 28 Summicron, 35 Lux Asph, 50 Lux Asph and a TE 90 2.8. If you are at all considering ponying up for the 35 Lux, do it, the lens is simply in another league. I would get one again if I were not working with mostly a 50 Lux Asph on my M3. Thanks for this. I think what it basically boils down to is what one's specific needs or wants are from any gear. In my case, the 35 gets used on my M3 with a small piece of tape over the frame line window and I use it "Full Frame". So it only gets used about 10% of the time. So far the Skopar has been great in that mode due to how tiny it is and how it does not protrude into the viewfinder hardly at all. The Nokton will afford me the same unobstructed view, lenses like the Ultron or ZM F2 Biogon will start to be rather intrusive... And as it stands right now, the 50 Lux Asph is the "low light" lens while the 35 is medium to bright light, even with 400 speed films. So hypothetically speaking, if I can put on the CV 35 1.4 and use it at EV 12-17 at F4 and up and it will pretty much do what the Skopar does, then it becomes a lot more versatile if I can go indoors and then I use it at 2.8 and wider for general documentary and people work. F2 is where I wish the Skopar was and 1.4 is pure gravy. All I ever use in this camera is 400 speed film, so I hardly ever use or need to use a meter anymore, I know that F2 gets to be right on the edge for lower light and 1.4 seals the deal... Ideally a 35 Summicron Asph would be the ticket, but 2K for a lens I only use 10% of the time starts to look a bit excessive on the balance sheet, not that a new chrome 50 lux asph did not... I guess I will just have to try it to make the final call....
I meant summilux 35 preasph. Obviously asph version is superior
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Old 04-10-2014   #36
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Lens ordered from Camerquest, I'll see how it does. Hopefully it hits the bullet points of the Skopar and gives me a little extra speed if needed, that's all I am really hoping for. I know it won't be no Lux Asph...:-)
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Old 04-10-2014   #37
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What camera will you be shooting it on?
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Old 04-10-2014   #38
Brian Legge
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My 35mm lens progression was:

Jupiter 12
Voigtlander 35mm 2.5
Voigtlander 35mm 1.4
Zeiss 35mm 2.0

The J12 was a flaring mess. It could take good photos but I lost way too many frames to flare where I didn't want it, even with a hood on the lens. It also caused problems with one my camera bodies.

I jumped on a CV 50mm 2.5 when I had the chance. Loved the lens but I had a difficult time with it during the winter here, particularly as I generally pull film.

I moved on the CV 35mm 1.4 for the speed. I love it and still use the lens. I was using it as a general lens for street work with a bit of architectural work thrown in. It didn't work for the latter due to the distortion. Evidently even in my street stuff I shoot a lot of straight lines in the background which I really wanted straight. That lead to the purchase of the Zeiss.

I go back and forth between the Zeiss and CV 35/1.4 now depending on the lighting conditions and what I expect to be shooting. I love the handling of the CV 35/1.4 and have no qualms with the image quality.
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Old 04-10-2014   #39
KM-25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
What camera will you be shooting it on?
I'll be using occasionally on my M3, here it is in 35 mode with the Skopar...
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Old 04-10-2014   #40
Mark C
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KM-25 View Post
Lens ordered from Camerquest, I'll see how it does. Hopefully it hits the bullet points of the Skopar and gives me a little extra speed if needed, that's all I am really hoping for. I know it won't be no Lux Asph...:-)
Please let us know how it goes. I've been struggling with some low light situations and just haven't been able to make a decision about the 35 Nokton. I'd like just a touch more sharpness than the 35 Summilux has at 1.4, and a lower price.

I also wonder if the Nokton is less susceptible to ring flare than the Summilux.

Good luck with the new lens.
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