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flashback to 50mm lens comparisons
Old 01-29-2009   #1
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flashback to 50mm lens comparisons

I took a look at an old thread in which I compared several 50mm lenses, and it occured to me that chosing photos taken at 2.0 could be interesting for new RFF members who have not seen the old thread.

1. Nikon 5cm 2.0 LTM @2.0:




2. Jupiter 3 50mm/1.5 @ 2.0:




3. Canon 50mm 1.8 @ 2.0:





4. Canon 50mm 1.5 @ 2.0:






5. Canon 50mm 1.2 @ 2.0:





6. Zeiss 5cm 2.0 LTM @ 2.0:




7. Summitar 50mm 2.0 @ 2.0:






8. Rigid Summicron 50mm 2.0 @ 2.0 [this lens got adjusted afterwards]:







9. Summarit 50mm 1.5 @ 2.0 [this lens is not optimized for sharpness]:





The lenses may or may not have been in optimal condition, but they are vintage, so this can be expected. I used a tripod and a cable release, but young models move around a lot. The Summarit that I own is "special" in that it is imperfect to he degree that it is close to a soft focs lens.

I feel that all lenses did well here. Imperfections may have been due factors that ary from vintage lens to vintage lens. As portraits, the results look good to my eyes.

Canon 50mm 1.2

Canon 50mm 1.5

Canon 50mm 1.8

Jupiter 3

Summarit

Summitar

Nikon 5cm2.0

Zeiss 5cm 2.0

Rigid Summicron
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Old 01-29-2009   #2
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Raid - a delightful comparison, you did well to keep your model relatively still. I wonder why the image controller did not like the Summitar image?
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Old 01-29-2009   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugivza View Post
Raid - a delightful comparison, you did well to keep your model relatively still. I wonder why the image controller did not like the Summitar image?

I like the Summitar image. The Summarit image is soft.
Do you know which image corresponds to which lens?
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Old 01-29-2009   #4
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Raid, your daughters have transcended posing for the camera to a state of bored indifference. "Here comes Daddy with another bunch of lenses to test!"

Kindergarten teacher: "I must admit that your daughter was the first 5 year old I ever had in my class that was able to explain Modulation Transfer Function in a way that actually made sense to me, but this Japanese concept of "bokeh"? I'm still not sure that I really understand it. Perhaps after she teaches me a bit more about the effects of undercorrected spherical abberation..."
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Old 01-29-2009   #5
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Al,

LOL... They both got use to their dad. It is a part of their lives to be photographed by me each weetend.
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Old 01-29-2009   #6
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I don't know. Snapshots served as tests is not very serious now, is it?
I am a new member and I certainly will not chose a lens based on those shots. Would you?
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Old 01-29-2009   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
I don't know. Snapshots served as tests is not very serious now, is it?
I am a new member and I certainly will not chose a lens based on those shots. Would you?
Go back and look at the entire original test he did. These shots at f/2 are not as conclusive as seeing the whole experiment. IMHO they do show how similar lenses can look in a given shot despite the very real and obvious differences across a spread of shots from each.
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Old 01-29-2009   #8
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Goldarak, you're blind.

My favourite? The Summitar. Flawless.
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Old 01-30-2009   #9
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It seems that we agreed at one time that these were not "tests" but illustrations how using a vintage lens wih possible flaws could behave. Take it easy. It is just a way to look at a few vintage lenses and in certain user condition.


I would not as much focus on which lens lokks better but more on how a lens could look. The Summicron was later on adjusted. The Canon 50/1.4 [not shown here] had to be adjusted I think [right Mark?]. The Summarit still is dreamy like this and I kept it accordingly as a dreamy focus lens. If such lens comparisons rub the wron way with you, don't get upset. Do you own reading of existing test results by others and test your own lenses.

I was blown away by the Canon 50/1.8 and 50 1.2.
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Old 01-30-2009   #10
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Originally Posted by hugivza View Post
Raid - a delightful comparison, you did well to keep your model relatively still. I wonder why the image controller did not like the Summitar image?
Please note that the images do not correspond to the listing of the lenses at the bottom. When you right click on any image, the name of the file will reveal the lens.
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Old 01-30-2009   #11
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Thanks for your time in doing these things Raid. My only gripe is that you don't own more Kiev mount lenses to test. Or better yet, Fujinons

Also, thanks to your daughters. Frankly, I think I enjoyed watching the change of expressions and poses as much or more than looking at the differences in the lenses. By the way, I do see differences and if Golderak can't well, he just can't. His loss.
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Old 01-30-2009   #12
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Thanks for your time in doing these things Raid. My only gripe is that you don't own more Kiev mount lenses to test. Or better yet, Fujinons

Also, thanks to your daughters. Frankly, I think I enjoyed watching the change of expressions and poses as much or more than looking at the differences in the lenses. By the way, I do see differences and if Golderak can't well, he just can't. His loss.
Well, it takes some time to best understand what to do with such a posting of images. To me, it always was a very simple issue; what can a user of a vintage lens expect in average conditions and with lenses that are owned by many people here. If any of the lense sused shows results that appear as sub-par, we immediately get responses by individuals who own such a lens and who get better results. This is one of the strengths of such lens comparisons. Years ago, Roland [I think it was him] suggested not to use the term "tests" and to use "comparisons". Maybe it is ab "illustration".

Of course, later "comparisons" of the 35mm and 40mm lenses were more detailed, and people seem to have seen what they wanted to see. I never rank any lenses or even give orderings based on what I see in such comparisons since there are many subjective factors involved, inlcuding personal preferences.

Some people seem to feel angry, as if we were trying to put down their favorite lenses. All it takes is to post other images ...
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Old 01-30-2009   #13
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Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
I don't know. Snapshots served as tests is not very serious now, is it?
I am a new member and I certainly will not chose a lens based on those shots. Would you?
These were not snapshots. A heavy tripod was used, and a cable release was used too. One camera was used with one film and one developing. The goal was to see how a lens renders a person's face. There were maybe 10-14 rolls of film in the lens comparisons. Most importantly, RFF members added a lot of information as the images were viewed.
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Old 01-30-2009   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
RFF members added a lot of information as the images were viewed.
Okay. And I, as a rff member, added my grain of salt and I noticed I am not alone in thinking it's a useless test. But I think we both agree it's a useless test since you earlier said it wasn't a test
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Old 01-30-2009   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
I don't know. Snapshots served as tests is not very serious now, is it?
I am a new member and I certainly will not chose a lens based on those shots. Would you?
Raid's tests are of the actual photographing of real objects and people, much as we all experience. I would prefer this test over one executed with color charts, lines running vertically and horizontally and the like. Would you?

And since he's doing this out of the goodness of his own heart, I don't understand your griping. Don't bother looking. No need to be rude.
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Old 01-30-2009   #16
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I like the Canon 50/1.8 best.
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Old 01-30-2009   #17
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Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
Okay. And I, as a rff member, added my grain of salt and I noticed I am not alone in thinking it's a useless test. But I think we both agree it's a useless test since you earlier said it wasn't a test
You fall within the 35%-40% of RFF members who found such threads useless, so you are not alone in it. On the other hand, 60%-65% found it to be useful. This is more than enough.
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Old 01-30-2009   #18
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Thanks Raid, and a BIG thanks to your daughters.

These days people seem most concerned with sharpness and bokeh. There used to be an interest in so called diffusion filters or soft focus filters such as the Zeiss Softars for Hasselblad lenses. Spiratone made a pretty decent low price alternative. They had a random pattern pressed into the glass. Other brands used concentric circles. They were also available in different strengths. Some photographers used the material of womens' nylon stockings (usually black) stretched across the front of the lens. You could modify the effect by burning holes of various sizes in the center, or putting the material over the front of the hood rather than the lens itself. Have you considered doing some shots to see how these look?
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Old 01-30-2009   #19
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that was enjoyable, raid,
i was slowly scolling looking at them not seeing your text at the bottom and before many replies or the lens names added..so i found it interesting to look at them knowing that some things must not be thought of too criticaly/seriously but just a interesting real life comparison with some flaws....

anyway i kinda said to myself, first two hmm, number 3 i pick so far, then got to 5 and thought yeah that one too, 6 missed out because i saw some of 7 and thought it was v/nice, didnt really like 8 and 9 gave me a shock at first but figured a soft focus lens of some sort, so good for effect.

than i saw your text at the bottom and was trying to match up what i picked! and thought ah well, whatever, those are the ones i like at the moment...

anyway that was fun, thanks for showing

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Old 01-30-2009   #20
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Raid -- Thanks for re-posting these images. You can clearly see differences among the lenses here, and your comparison is carefully done under controlled conditions (same lighting, subject, use of tripod, same aperture, etc.). I find these comparisons useful, even if others do not, so count me among the 65%.

BTW, you referred to these photos as a "comparison." Others used the term "test" but you did not. It's unfortunate, and a little rude, for people to disparage this lens comparison because it did not meet their definition (whatever that is) of a lens "test."

My two cents.
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Old 01-30-2009   #21
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Ha! I was just reflecting on this myself a short while ago. I used to use a gauze square, and open it up, using whatever number of layers I thought was called for... Or a skylight filter smeared with vaseline. Remember that? Or when I was out and about with absolutely nothing, I'd breathe on the lens to fog it up, hold the viewfinder of my SLR up to my eye and shoot when it looked right to me, as the fog dissipated to the proper amount.

Times have changed.

Maybe I need to try that again. Haven't picked up an SLR in ages.

Quote:
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Thanks Raid, and a BIG thanks to your daughters.

These days people seem most concerned with sharpness and bokeh. There used to be an interest in so called diffusion filters or soft focus filters such as the Zeiss Softars for Hasselblad lenses. Spiratone made a pretty decent low price alternative. They had a random pattern pressed into the glass. Other brands used concentric circles. They were also available in different strengths. Some photographers used the material of womens' nylon stockings (usually black) stretched across the front of the lens. You could modify the effect by burning holes of various sizes in the center, or putting the material over the front of the hood rather than the lens itself. Have you considered doing some shots to see how these look?
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Old 01-30-2009   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Kaplan View Post
Thanks Raid, and a BIG thanks to your daughters.

These days people seem most concerned with sharpness and bokeh. There used to be an interest in so called diffusion filters or soft focus filters such as the Zeiss Softars for Hasselblad lenses. Spiratone made a pretty decent low price alternative. They had a random pattern pressed into the glass. Other brands used concentric circles. They were also available in different strengths. Some photographers used the material of womens' nylon stockings (usually black) stretched across the front of the lens. You could modify the effect by burning holes of various sizes in the center, or putting the material over the front of the hood rather than the lens itself. Have you considered doing some shots to see how these look?
Al,
I actually have used in the past both see-through and black stockings as filters with portraits of adults, and I own a Softar for my Rolleiflex TLR. No clue how this looks on childrens' photos. It seems that these days people start out with sharp images and then use PS to soften when needed.
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Old 01-30-2009   #23
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You fall within the 35%-40% of RFF members who found such threads useless, so you are not alone in it. On the other hand, 60%-65% found it to be useful. This is more than enough.
1% or 99%, if you want to do any comparison please do Raid. You are right, some folks don't find value in them, but that is fine, it is just a post in a large forum which they have every right to ignore. Don't let someone else's opposite opinion influence you. They are just as wrong about their opinions as you and I are about ours.
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Old 01-30-2009   #24
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Raid -- Thanks for re-posting these images. You can clearly see differences among the lenses here, and your comparison is carefully done under controlled conditions (same lighting, subject, use of tripod, same aperture, etc.). I find these comparisons useful, even if others do not, so count me among the 65%.

BTW, you referred to these photos as a "comparison." Others used the term "test" but you did not. It's unfortunate, and a little rude, for people to disparage this lens comparison because it did not meet their definition (whatever that is) of a lens "test."

My two cents.
Steve,
I noted that some people take it personally for whatever reason. If someone owns a Canon 50/1.4 and another owns a Canon 50/1.5, then there will be someone who will complain if one lens appears somehow as rendering a nicer looking image here. I would just sit back and either ignore the thread or try to inspect the images.

Thanks.
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Old 01-30-2009   #25
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WHAT'S THAT YOU SAID ABOUT THE CANON 50/1.4? YOU WANNA STEP OUTSIDE, BUDDY????



(Originally I'm from New York. This is a typical response from the 1960s)

Quote:
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Steve,
I noted that some people take it personally for whatever reason. If someone owns a Canon 50/1.4 and another owns a Canon 50/1.5, then there will be someone who will complain if one lens appears somehow as rendering a nicer looking image here. I would just sit back and either ignore the thread or try to inspect the images.

Thanks.
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Old 01-30-2009   #26
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WHAT'S THAT YOU SAID ABOUT THE CANON 50/1.4? YOU WANNA STEP OUTSIDE, BUDDY????



(Originally I'm from New York. This is a typical response from the 1960s)
Jim,
I went and bought a Canon 50/1.4 after doing the lens comparisons. Now, I also want the 50/1.5. There is no need [for the time being!] to step outside!
I may have to see a side by side comparison of the Canon 50/1.5 with the Zeiss Sonnar 5cm 1.5 to see if thee two lenses differ a lot or not.
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Old 01-30-2009   #27
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Looks like I stepped into a country club.

I have a fundamental question for you, guys of the club: Is one allowed to express an honest opinion in here?

Another fundamental question: How can you really make up an idea from these rather poor scans, tiny jpegs/Quality 8 shot in mixed lighting? I even question the use of a heavy tripod since all the pictures are tilted from left to right to a different degree.

Yes, I understand it is not a test. And I understand Raid has a big heart as some of you suggest, but the fact is that this Post was meant for new members and I simply expressed my opinion, as a new member.

Raid, I encourage you to post more summitar shots. JJKapsberger and you seem to love that lens. You seem to have many things in common. Make me fall in love with that lens! Yu have more?
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Old 01-30-2009   #28
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L
I have a fundamental question for you, guys of the club: Is one allowed to express an honest opinion in here?

Another fundamental question: How can you really make up an idea from these rather poor scans, tiny jpegs/Quality 8 shot in mixed lighting? I even question the use of a heavy tripod since all the pictures are tilted from left to right to a different degree.
Yes of course. Especially if one is reasonably polite when doing so.

As to your second point, Raids comparisons are very good at showing the overall character of a series of lenses, and taken in that context they are typically fairly accurate. But they are not meant to be a definitive measure of a lenses capabilities.

That is to say, they are enough to say, I like a glowy, portrait lens with interesting bokeh... okey dokey, not a summicron then... but maybe a old uncoated sonnar.. etc.
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Old 01-30-2009   #29
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If anybody is planning on using something over the lens to soften the image remember that any kind of diffuser over the taking lens causes the high lights to spread into the shadows. When diffusing from a negative you're spreading the shadows into the brighter areas of the photo. The two effects don't look the same!

As for P-shop, you probably can come close to duplicating "the look", but first you have to know what "the look" looks like.
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Old 01-30-2009   #30
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Quote:
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WHAT'S THAT YOU SAID ABOUT THE CANON 50/1.4? YOU WANNA STEP OUTSIDE, BUDDY????



(Originally I'm from New York. This is a typical response from the 1960s)
Jim's just upset that he hasn't been able to find a Canon 50/1.5 to buy. Lens envy, I think.
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Old 01-30-2009   #31
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rogue_designer - eloquently put answer to someone with attitude who accuses others of being ... what's the word? "Elitist." People in glass houses and all that, yes?

Steve - stop waving that damn Canon 50/1.5 in front of me just to taunt me!

Al - You sent be a message, but your private email is kicking back - to others, forgive the direct reply to Al, please. I sent you an email saying this:
"Holy Crap! Believe it or not, my wife was a big fan of his. I even bought her one of his photo books as a present!

I still recall his using Minolta cameras. At least I THINK I remember that. I loved the dreamy look of the photos, but never really tried to emulate them. Personally, thinking back, it probably would be categorized as child porn in today's world. Maybe even back then, I guess. I have not heard that name in decades! What a rush.

Cheers

Jim"

Maybe I'm not meant to HAVE a Canon 50/1.5... there's always that possibility.
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only for country club member goldorak
Old 01-30-2009   #32
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only for country club member goldorak

Quote:
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Raid, I encourage you to post more summitar shots.
Summitar at 4.0:http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=5288243

By the way, the full lens comparison may have included over 100 images in B&W and color. Roland [Ferider] would then post process images on his website for finer details.
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Old 01-30-2009   #33
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By Les at Nelsonfoto:
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Top 12 Images;

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http://raid.smugmug.com/
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Old 01-30-2009   #34
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Raid I agree the Canon 1.8 is outstanding, but I like the Nikkor shot too. With "real tests" of detailed flat subjects like the proverbial brick wall I'm always wary of real-world effects like field curvature blurring the corners, while in the real world the corners just come to focus at a slightly different distance. So I like to see "average" type results like this with a group of lenses.
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Old 01-30-2009   #35
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Thank for the test, comparison, pictures, eh whatever they are.
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Old 01-31-2009   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiyawaan View Post
Thank for the test, comparison, pictures, eh whatever they are.
It gets awkward after a while, doesn't it.
I type the word "test" and then immediately I remind myself "NO! This is forbidden. Use politically correct terms."

Still, the "forbidden tests" are interesting to quite a few people. They may never change buying preferences, but they were not designed for such a goal anyways.

Let me tell you how I got reminded of this earlier lens comparison.
I got back a roll of film with the Summitar, and I did not like the results. I then recalled that I had tried out the Summitar only in a lens comparison [not test!], and I looked up the old thread. It is quite useful to have access to hundreds of images that were taken under controlled conditions. The test images was sharp, so I knew that my Summitar is OK.

End of story.
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http://raid.smugmug.com/

Last edited by raid : 01-31-2009 at 16:32.
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