Distortion in cheap 50mm 1.4
Old 10-11-2013   #1
sanmich
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Distortion in cheap 50mm 1.4

Long story short, although I loved the lens for its quality/price ratio, a few years ago, I sold my canon 1.4 mainly because of its distortion. For its min focus of 1m and long throw too.
Lately, I have found myself pushing film with a 50mm f/2, and well...it's pushing.
So I wondered if keeping such a cheap 1.4 50mm for the occasional occasion would make sense.
The only contender in this price range would be the Nokton ltm.
Today I tested the two to see if the Nokton is better in terms of distortion. Here are the results. They are roughly equivalent, with a distortion that, given the right situation, can obviously get in the way.
The canon 1.8 is better in that regard.
Incidentally the Nokton seems a tiny bit sharper than the canon at full aperture in the corners, but this wasn't the goal of that test, and something finer than TX would be needed to show the differences.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 005 canon 1.4.jpg (37.4 KB, 84 views)
File Type: jpg 006 Nokton.jpg (38.5 KB, 66 views)
File Type: jpg 004 canon 1.8.jpg (38.5 KB, 62 views)
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Old 10-11-2013   #2
sojournerphoto
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I used to have the SLR canon EF 50/1.4 and always thought the distortion was just a part of its character. Still, if you're shooting straight lines it could be a problem.
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Old 10-11-2013   #3
peterm1
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I have almost never let distortion worry me too much - and I shoot a lot of buildings and the like. The thing is its relatively easy to fix in post processing with the right software. I use Corel Paintshop Pro 14 and its every bit as good as Photoshop - but is cheaper and has some great tools for photographers including pin-cushion and barrel distortion correction (plus stuff like straightening tools and perspective correction etc). Fixing lens distortion is mostly a matter of just using a slider in the filter - except in those more unusual cases where the lens produces a wavy kind of distortion. That's much harder to fix.

My rule of thumb is to pick a lens that is sharp (this cant be fixed in post) and preferably sharp wide open if at all possible. Second I look to fringing in high contrast areas as that's a little hard to fix as well. Third I will look at color and general rendering. Forth I will think about how sharp the edges are versus the centre. In practice having softer edges is seldom an issue. Vignetting does not bother me. And as stated above neither does distortion - its way down the list of my concerns as the other factors are jsut so much more important.
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Old 10-11-2013   #4
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It sounds like you're looking for 50mm f1.4 Nokkor-sc in ltm ?
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Old 10-11-2013   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmtwit View Post
It sounds like you're looking for 50mm f1.4 Nokkor-sc in ltm ?
Everything is compromise in life:

You're apparently right about Sonnars being distortion free.
trouble is, they bring with them focus shift and limited min focus.
it may sound like I'm looking for the summilux asph, but paying 2000$ (over the cron I have) for my very occasional use of 1.4 is way past silly.

The canon/Nokton may well be the best compromise for me. Haven't decided yet. I just wanted to check the Nokton in that regard, to see if it was distortion free, and unfortunately it's not.
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Old 10-11-2013   #6
Brian Legge
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I don't know about Sonnars in general but my Jupiter 3 certainly isn't distortion free.

Your comparison was very interesting by the way. I'm familiar with the behavior of the Canon but expected the Asph Voigtlander to have less distortion than it does.
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Old 10-11-2013   #7
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I think the distortion feeling is worsen by the vignetting in both the fast lenses.
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Old 10-20-2018   #8
ampguy
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Any suggestions on fast 50s with less distortion?
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Old 10-20-2018   #9
xayraa33
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I like a bit of distortion in fast lenses.

I also like a bit of distortion in vacuum tube guitar amp circuits too.
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Old 10-20-2018   #10
Paulbe
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What camera are you using? Nikon, Canon and Olympus 50/1.4s seem very cheap these days.
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Old 10-20-2018   #11
raid
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I often use the Zeiss Planar 50/1.4 in Rollei QBM mount with M 4/3 cameras. The Canon 50/1.4 LTM is a very nice lens, and so is the Nikkor 50/1.4 ltm or S. It depends on your camera body.
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Old 10-20-2018   #12
DanskDynamit
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I'm confused, which camera are you using? which "canon 50 1.4" are you using? sorry but I don't get it.
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Old 10-20-2018   #13
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I am guessing that he means the Canon RF lenses in LTM. The 1.4 Canon or the Nikon 50/1.4 are great lenses for not much money.
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Old 10-20-2018   #14
ampguy
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M4. I have a 50mm 1.4 Canon LTM on the way. But only can test with film, so results may take a few weeks. The summilux 50s were fine (vIIs, VIII pre-asphs). The 50 asph always had too much distortion for me. The Noctilux (F1 E60) was acceptable. Various Hexanons, and CVs. I don't mind going to a Leica 'lux pre-asph again, just want to try the lenses I haven't yet, which include the Canon 50s.
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Nikon 50mm 1.4 LTM
Old 10-20-2018   #15
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Nikon 50mm 1.4 LTM

I love the size of this lens, but never appreciated the bokeh of it. I plan to shoot wide open most of the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
I am guessing that he means the Canon RF lenses in LTM. The 1.4 Canon or the Nikon 50/1.4 are great lenses for not much money.
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Old 10-20-2018   #16
DanskDynamit
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can't be the 50 1.4 ltm! its a beautiful glass!!

when a photo has content, distortion does not really matters...
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