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Fast Sonnar Clone Shootout - Canon, Jupiter, Nikkor
Old 02-12-2013   #1
goamules
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Fast Sonnar Clone Shootout - Canon, Jupiter, Nikkor

I don't have the original Zeiss Sonnar, but do have three clones or "Sonnar type" lenses. So I shot them close up and wide open, then F2.0. Next will be wide open at infinity, then finally stopped down a good ways. They are all in extremely good condition; an an early 50s Nikkor 50/1.4, a 1963 Jupiter-3 50/1.5, and an early 50s Canon 50/1.5.

Here they are wide open, in secret order to be disclosed later:





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Old 02-12-2013   #2
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I'm not going to even try and guess which is which! Of the three, I like the rendering of #2 best, followed closely by #1. Interested to see the results of your other tests (as well as find out which lens is which!)
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Old 02-12-2013   #3
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I'll guess N, C, J, but what do I know? I like 2,3,1 in that order, close between 2,3. 1 is a bit harsh for my taste. Look forward to the further tests -thanks.
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Old 02-12-2013   #4
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Nikkor, Canon & Jupitor
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Old 02-12-2013   #5
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I'm glad you are participating! Here are the same lenses in the same order, at F2.0. You'll notice things definitely changing (sharpness, spherical aberration) but some features are carrying through (color rendering, coma):





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Old 02-12-2013   #6
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I would have said N, J, C after the wide-open ones, but after F2, I would have said N, C, J. But I'll stick with N, J, C, just so as not to be seen as a ray*j*gun copier.
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Old 02-12-2013   #7
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canon, nikkor, jupiter-3
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Old 02-12-2013   #8
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Canon, J3, Nikkor, like the title says. And, I favor the Nikkor (just in case you didn't know ). Have the Canon, too.

What version is your Nikkor ? Also, on a crop sensor I assume ? Differences would be more visible full frame.

Thanks for the comparison.
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Old 02-12-2013   #9
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They all look really good but if I had to guess I would say Nikkor, Canon and J3.
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Old 02-12-2013   #10
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J3...Canon...Nikkor is my best guess.

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Old 02-12-2013   #11
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Are you sure that the Nikkor 50/1.4 is a Sonnar? I don't believe it is.

The Nikkor 1.5/50 was a Sonnar clone, but it costs a small fortune these days...
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Old 02-12-2013   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
Canon, J3, Nikkor, like the title says. And, I favor the Nikkor (just in case you didn't know ). Have the Canon, too.

What version is your Nikkor ? Also, on a crop sensor I assume ? Differences would be more visible full frame.

Thanks for the comparison.
DING...Ding...Ding! We have a winner. Good job, and I think the key is how the Nikkor changes from F1.4 to F2, eh? If you know them.... Mine is a 350xxx Nippon Kogaku Japan. And yeah, we'd be able to tell a lot more on 35mm, but I was using a G1 m4/3.

So the order is:

Canon
Jupiter 3
Nikkor
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Old 02-12-2013   #13
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I like to do these comparisons sometimes, because they're less subjective than when we try to describe a lens with words. What is "glow....smooth rendering....the way it draws...etc." Here, as close as I could, are three lenses shot the same way.

I used to not see the difference in 35mm lenses. I shot LF mostly where I can. When someone posts a great picture, then tags the lens used, it's hard to tell how the shot would have looked with a different lens.

What is amazing is that three lenses, ostensibly of the same Sonnar design, look so different. So, what could be different in 3 sonars? The coatings, the accuracy of the ground curves, the thickness of the elements, the types of glass, the type of balsam or cement to glue the elements, the internal reflectivity of the barrel, and more! Even 3 similar designs from 3 different makers are different.
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Old 02-12-2013   #14
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I'm leaning this way too. When I had the Canon 50 f1.4 it had more contast then my Nikon did. Just slightly more.

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canon, nikkor, jupiter-3
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Old 02-12-2013   #15
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Love that J-3. It doesn't surprize me much, as my Industar-26M is such a fine lens.

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Old 02-12-2013   #16
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i remember reading up somewhere that the canon is the sharpest among the Nikkors and Jupite. The first image is sharpest in my opinion.
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Old 02-12-2013   #17
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can we have one last image comparison at f2.8 ? the images should be quite sharpened at f2.8 / f4...
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Old 02-13-2013   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSU View Post
My one concern with my soon to arrive Canon 50/1.5 is whether it is optimal @ f1.5 or f2.8? I guess it is a matter of shims in front of the rear group.
How would we know then in case of the Canon? What shim thickness for f/1.5?

As for Nikkor, I assume they're all optimized for f/1.4, that's the way it is designed for. Right?
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Old 02-13-2013   #19
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Very interesting.

I prefer the Nikkor at f/1.4 and the Jupiter at f/2. All 3 lenses seen very sharp in the foreground. My preference is primarily the attributes of the background (though the color cast of the Canon does hurt its appeal slightly).
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Old 02-13-2013   #20
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Thank You for curing my GAS for the Nikkor 50/1.4.
I'll stick with my Jup3, nicest in this test, imho.

What year is the used Jup3?
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Old 02-13-2013   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haempe View Post
What year is the used Jup3?
From the OP... "They are all in extremely good condition; an an early 50s Nikkor 50/1.4, a 1963 Jupiter-3 50/1.5, and an early 50s Canon 50/1.5."
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Old 02-13-2013   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brbo View Post
From the OP... "They are all in extremely good condition; an an early 50s Nikkor 50/1.4, a 1963 Jupiter-3 50/1.5, and an early 50s Canon 50/1.5."
oops, overread this. thanks.
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Old 02-13-2013   #23
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These are all great comments and questions. On film, which these were designed for, I've shot the Canon and J-3 a lot, and like them both. The J-3 is naturally warm in colors (all of the 3 I've had are) and smooth in out of focus areas. Mine shoots fine on LTM Canon and Leica cameras, I've never shimmed anything. It is the lens I use the most mostly because it's fairly cheap to replace if stolen or damaged in use. The build quality is not close to German or Japanese lenses, but the aluminum is light weight which is nice. The lack of click stops on the iris is a pain.

The Canon has cooler colors. Also, wide open it's Bokeh is harsher than the J-3 or Nikkor. But it's such a sharp lens, with less field curvature and coma that I love it's quality. If you'd like to see more of the Canon at F2.8 and F5.6, here is where I compared it to the other Canon RFs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/garrett...481717/detail/

The Nikkor 1.4 is too new for me to say much about. For sure it's soft wide open. But coming from the LF world, a lot of fast portrait lenses are. The spherical aberration (glow) does go away right before you are at F2. So to me, this will give me the option of shooting a soft, dreamy portrait at F1.4, or a sharp one at F2. I also see that it swirls, and I know that can be controlled and eliminated by choosing your background. So again, the Nikkor give you options for different artistic choices.
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Old 02-13-2013   #24
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It's not a clone like the 5cm/1.5 or 5cm/2, but the original 5cm/1.4 Nikkor (for Nikon RF & LTM) is a modified Sonnar (I'm sure someone can find or post a link to a diagram to show the similarities). I believe they pushed or stretched the design to get to f/1.4.

In my experience, for some reason, the LTM version is a bit sharper wide open than the Nikon RF version (I've had 2 of the 1st & 3 of the 2nd).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lime View Post
Are you sure that the Nikkor 50/1.4 is a Sonnar? I don't believe it is.

The Nikkor 1.5/50 was a Sonnar clone, but it costs a small fortune these days...
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Old 02-13-2013   #25
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The Nikkor 1.4 is a Sonnar formula, as are quite a few others in LTM:
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=69170

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Old 02-13-2013   #26
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All LTM Nikkor 50/1.4 copies are Sonnars.

Nikkor 50/1.5:



Nikkor 50/1.4:



The Olympic RF Nikkor 50/1.4 (all black, S mount only) was a double Gauss (as is the modern S-mount re-incarnation).

Nikon stretched the Sonnar design in 1950 to open it up to 1.4 and claim the fastest RF 50 record ....

Which I believe is where the flare comes from Garrett. If you close the Nikkor down less than half a stop, the veiling flare disappears (vignetting at infinity on full frame, too), and contrast and resolution pick up dramatically.

When you zoom in, say, f1.7 and up, you should see that the Nikkor has noticeably higher center resolution than the other two lenses.

Also, regarding a previous question, the Canon is typically optimized for middle apertures (f5.6 or so), while the Nikkor is optimized for f1.4. Of course, on an M body, you can control this via the use of a different LTM adapter. Then again the contrast changes so much when opening up further than f2, that focus shift is hardly noticeable for any of those lenses.

Cheers,

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Old 02-13-2013   #27
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Thanks, Garrett & Roland. I knew someone would come through w/the diagrams!
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Old 02-13-2013   #28
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'Type' and 'clone' are not quite the same thing.

Cheers,

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Old 02-13-2013   #29
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I think it would be accurate to call these Sonnar type or "Sonnar Formula." I.E. they all have seven elements with the same number of groups. The elements have the same types of curves, positive or negative, and the strong/weak refractive indices of the glass are in the same positions.
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Old 02-13-2013   #30
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It's a Sonnar!
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Old 02-13-2013   #31
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Dear Garret,

Oh, sure, I'm not arguing -- though of course, a Sonnar is a triplet with (usually) two of the single lenses split into two or three cemented elements: a 50/2 Sonnar is not very like a 50/1.5 Sonnar, and the current C-Sonnar is different again. All I mean is that quite modest differences in actual curve radius, and glass refractive index, to say nothing of coating, can have quite significant effects. As you show.

The Sonnar was originally designed to favour contrast over resolution: Leica's fast lenses had better resolution, but lower contrast. When coating came in, the latter disadvantage diminished greatly -- and indeed, the current C-Sonnar splits one of the groups, which (to some purists) stops it being a Sonnar. It was only the term 'clone', implying 'identical', to which I was objecting.

The fascinating thing, again as implicit in your test, is that despite the inherently lower resolution and greater focus shift inherent in a fast Sonnar-type, it retains enough fans (including myself) to remain in production.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-13-2013   #32
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Good points, and I also like any of them!
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Old 02-13-2013   #33
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In this test i prefer J3, would not expect it to be quite so sharp vs Canon an Nikkor... Should I buy one???
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Old 02-13-2013   #34
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To add to what Roger said, the original Sonnar was also designed for flare resistance.

And keep in mind that the Canon and Nikkor 50/1.5 were built after the respective Zeiss patents were made public.

Also interesting that the modern C-Sonnar has only 6 elements, where Canon 1.5, J3 and Nikkor 50/1.4 have 7.

Roland.
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Old 02-13-2013   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
To add to what Roger said, the original Sonnar was also designed for flare resistance.

And keep in mind that the Canon and Nikkor 50/1.5 were built after the respective Zeiss patents were made public.

Also interesting that the modern C-Sonnar has only 6 elements, where Canon 1.5, J3 and Nikkor 50/1.4 have 7.

Roland.
Dear Roland,

You are of course right. I was conflating flare and contrast. Not entirely unreasonably, but as you say, the two concepts should normally be separated.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-13-2013   #36
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I knew the second one was the J3... but I was unsure about those other two. The J3 is such a great lens (when properly adjusted), I love mine. Compared to the other Sonnars it's still a bargain.


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In this test i prefer J3, would not expect it to be quite so sharp vs Canon an Nikkor... Should I buy one???
Go for it. They are still quite cheap. But be prepared to do some adjustment jobs (which really isn't difficult to do, it's a very easy lens to work on).



Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
Also interesting that the modern C-Sonnar has only 6 elements, where Canon 1.5, J3 and Nikkor 50/1.4 have 7.
As far as I understood the air space between the two elements (the front-triplet in other 1.5 Sonnars) is used as an element ("Luftlinse" in German, "air lens" or "air element").
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Old 02-13-2013   #37
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Sorry for OT, do all 1,5/50 Sonnars (J-3, Zeiss) in Contax mount come with stepless aperture ring?
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Old 02-13-2013   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filzkoeter View Post
As far as I understood the air space between the two elements (the front-triplet in other 1.5 Sonnars) is used as an element ("Luftlinse" in German, "air lens" or "air element").
Weiss schon, Miko. Das Nahsummicron hat zum Beispiel solche Luftlinsen. Im "Ur-Sonnar" fehlen sie aber.

Just find it interesting that in the 50s, glass was used in the middle of the front triplet, to avoid air/glass surfaces (and achieve the above mentioned flare resistance), while with today's coating technology, the C-Sonnar doesn't need this.

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Old 02-13-2013   #39
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Yes, none have click stops.

Quote:
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Sorry for OT, do all 1,5/50 Sonnars (J-3, Zeiss) in Contax mount come with stepless aperture ring?
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Old 02-13-2013   #40
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When the light goes down today I'm going to try to shoot my next phase; open aperture focused at infinity. I always hear this or that lens is "optimized for [close up, infinity]" and I need to see it.

Do people mean, simply, that the lens is calibrated to be most accurately in focus on a rangefinders mechanism either near, or far? I just don't get it.
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