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Voigtlander Nokton 50mm 1.5 or 1.1?
Old 09-13-2015   #1
William Temple
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Voigtlander Nokton 50mm 1.5 or 1.1?

Good evening all,

I have the option of purchasing either of these lenses for around the same price. I used to own the 1.5 years ago and loved it but I wondered if the 1.1, as it is a newer design, is optically superior when stopped down?

If you have experience of these two lenses I'd love to hear what you think about the 1.1's handling, rendering and sharpness compared to the 1.5.

Thanks in advance,

William
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Old 09-13-2015   #2
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I have owned both. And both are excellent lenses. Build is sturdy on both. Stayed with the 50/1.5 as it is smaller and suited my needs. Can't go wrong with either IMHO.
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Old 09-13-2015   #3
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The Nokton-M 50mm f/1.5 in silver handles nicely and will look like new for many years.

The Nokton 50mm f/1.1 is a stop faster, but is very big.

Optically both are state of the art, but the f/1.5 is smoother. On the other hand the f/1.1 is very sharp for such a fast lens. In fact one needs both.

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Old 09-13-2015   #4
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I owned both. Sold the 1.1, kept the 1.5 ASPH. The IQ on the 1.5 ASPH (in my opinion) was much better. Plus, it's smaller.
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Old 09-13-2015   #5
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Thanks for the quick replies!

I'm leaning towards the 1.5, I know what to expect and look forward to. I have seen some lovely examples with the 1.1 though...

I've read in a few places that the OOF background can be hit and miss depending on what it is, has anyone experienced this?
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Old 09-13-2015   #6
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I like my 1.1, but man, is it a load, so I don't carry it around much. It's one of those times when I wonder how much weight you can put on strap lugs, and often put on a grip so I can carry it in a hand, instead. Results are fine, though.

You want background and flare characteristics, here's some of both; dimmish streetlight, 1/30 @ 1.1, Tri-X:



Annie on Halsted

by Michael Darnton, on Flickr
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Old 09-13-2015   #7
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Great shot, Michael! What a wonderful example of a shot with the F/1.1.

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Old 09-13-2015   #8
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If you just look for optical superiority, I would get the 1.5, mainly for simplicity and portability reasons. Also, it focusses down to 0.7m. You did not mention the camera, but on a rangefinder the focus shift of the 1.1 can get in the way.
On the other hand, the Nokton 1.1 gives you fascinating shallow depth of field combined with very good sharpness wide open. It may also depend on what else you have got. If 50mm is your thing and this is the only lens, go with the 1.5 now and maybe add the 1.1 later.
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Old 09-13-2015   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
I like my 1.1, but man, is it a load, so I don't carry it around much. It's one of those times when I wonder how much weight you can put on strap lugs, and often put on a grip so I can carry it in a hand, instead. Results are fine, though.

You want background and flare characteristics, here's some of both; dimmish streetlight, 1/30 @ 1.1, Tri-X:



Annie on Halsted

by Michael Darnton, on Flickr
Starting to sway to 1.1 now... it's just the size and weight that's putting me off. When you acquired the 1.1 were you surprised at how big it was?
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Old 09-13-2015   #10
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To be complete, here's a shot with the f/1.5.

Leica M2, Nokton-M 50mm f/1.5, Tmax400.

Erik.

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Old 09-13-2015   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photon42 View Post
If you just look for optical superiority, I would get the 1.5, mainly for simplicity and portability reasons. Also, it focusses down to 0.7m. You did not mention the camera, but on a rangefinder the focus shift of the 1.1 can get in the way.
On the other hand, the Nokton 1.1 gives you fascinating shallow depth of field combined with very good sharpness wide open. It may also depend on what else you have got. If 50mm is your thing and this is the only lens, go with the 1.5 now and maybe add the 1.1 later.
I use an R2 with a 50mm all the time and have an L with a 25mm f4 for anything wider.

I the more people mention the size of the 1.1 the more I think the 1.5 would be more suitable for me. I don't think the 1.1 looks that big, am I totally wrong?
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Old 09-13-2015   #12
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I don't think the rangefinder of an R2 is as precise as that of an M2 or M3. A very precise rangefinder (with a large base) is essential for fast lenses like these. Their dept of field is very small.

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Old 09-13-2015   #13
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I mated my 50/1.1 with an M6 with a .85 VF. It was a dream to use.
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Old 09-13-2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Temple View Post
I use an R2 with a 50mm all the time and have an L with a 25mm f4 for anything wider.

I the more people mention the size of the 1.1 the more I think the 1.5 would be more suitable for me. I don't think the 1.1 looks that big, am I totally wrong?
It only looks big by comparison with the 1.5 or similar rangefinder lenses. The 1.1 Nokton has about the size of a SLR lens (but only focusses down to 90 cm). No actual problems in usage (as Akiva pointed out), really, other than the ones mentioned. Maybe another thought: you had the 1.5 already a while back - why not try the 1.1, as you seem to have a 50 already. You can always sell the 1.1 again and it is definitely a special lens in my eyes.
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Old 09-13-2015   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
I don't think the rangefinder of an R2 is as precise as that of an M2 or M3. A very precise rangefinder (with a large base) is essential for fast lenses like these. Their dept of field is very small.

Erik.
I've never had a problem with the R2 not being precise enough at 1.4, would it really not be up to focusing at 1.1?
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Old 09-13-2015   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photon42 View Post
It only looks big by comparison with the 1.5 or similar rangefinder lenses. The 1.1 Nokton has about the size of a SLR lens (but only focusses down to 90 cm). No actual problems in usage (as kshapiro pointed out), really, other than the ones mentioned. Maybe another thought: you had the 1.5 already a while back - why not try the 1.1, as you seem to have a 50 already. You can always sell the 1.1 again and it is definitely a special lens in my eyes.
I think your right, I feel I'll only know the answers to my questions fully if I actually get to use the 1.1. I think I'll go for the 1.1 to try it out, if it doesn't work for me it can go on to someone else. Thanks Photon
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Old 09-13-2015   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Temple View Post
I've never had a problem with the R2 not being precise enough at 1.4, would it really not be up to focusing at 1.1?
Is that a 35mm f/1.4 or a 50mm f/1.4? That makes a lot of difference. Fast 50mm lenses are (much) more difficult to focus. An 50mm f/1.1 is really demanding. It would be wise to try a 50mm f/1.1 on your R2 before you buy it.

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Old 09-13-2015   #18
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I never sold my 1.1, btw
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Old 09-13-2015   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Temple View Post
Starting to sway to 1.1 now... it's just the size and weight that's putting me off. When you acquired the 1.1 were you surprised at how big it was?
I was very surprised at the size, but moreso at the weight. You can't really compare it with a modern SLR lens--at least I can't, since any Nikon lens I have of similar size has a large percentage of plastic, and MUCH less weight. Ultimately, size just takes up more air; weight is what you feel.

By the way, that's a picture of my wife, who's an artist but not a photographer, so she has no particular bokeh opinions or even recognition that it's something people think about. When she saw that shot, the first thing she commented on was how much she liked the way the background looked. Some people have commented on other threads about how the lens seems to have more depth of field than it should, and I think that's due to aberrations similar to what many old lenses have that tend to spread the focus out in front and especially back, giving a bit of 'glow' in the process. But this lens is needle sharp stopped down, not a disappointment at all in that respect.
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Old 09-13-2015   #20
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CV 50/1.1 on SOny A7.mod:


Wading by unoh7, on Flickr


Be Prepared by unoh7, on Flickr

This is where the 1.1 shines: fast speeds. Stopping down (these are not the best shots overall, but should give a good idea of performance)


DSC00859 by unoh7, on Flickr


DSC00757-2 by unoh7, on Flickr

In short, the 1.1 is adequate stopped down, I suspect the 1.5 may be sharper on the edges at F/8, because the 1.1 def looses it a bit.

Both the 50 cron v4+ and ZM50/2, and of course the lux asph, are much better on the edges than either of these very nice lenses.

Much worse on the edges at all apertures is the Sonnetar, but it goes with me evenings more often than my 1.1. Why? Tiny and delightful My main daylight 50 is the cron v4.

Between these two as my only 50 I would take the 1.5, with biggest issue being size and weight.
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Old 09-13-2015   #21
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The 1.1 DOF is just too narrow. I stick with 1.5 or 1.4 at the most, and use sparingly.
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Old 09-13-2015   #22
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I tried to like the 1.1 a couple of times but it lacks the magic of other ultra fast lenses. Bokeh is nice close up, otherwise rather disappointing. So if it has to be Voigtländer, I´d go for the 1.5. Ultimately though, nothing beats a 50mm Summicron in my opinion. And they are priced reasonably used.
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Old 09-13-2015   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP Owens View Post
The 1.1 DOF is just too narrow. I stick with 1.5 or 1.4 at the most, and use sparingly.
Fair point. I've used the 1.1 quite a bit on the M9.


Zuck by unoh7, on Flickr

With practice it's doable WO, and for the poor ISO performing M9, 1.4 is often not getting you into the DIM under 800, so I need superspeed. The trick with 1.1 RF is not to be too close.


L1025421 by unoh7, on Flickr

The lowlight money lens on the M9 is the CV 35/1.2. Then you have some DOF WO.
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Old 09-13-2015   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Is that a 35mm f/1.4 or a 50mm f/1.4? That makes a lot of difference. Fast 50mm lenses are (much) more difficult to focus. An 50mm f/1.1 is really demanding. It would be wise to try a 50mm f/1.1 on your R2 before you buy it.

Erik.
It was a Nokton 40mm 1.4, a friends that I borrowed, but yes I can see what you mean. Thanks Erik
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Old 09-13-2015   #25
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I never sold my 1.1, btw
That says something! But do you still use it as much?
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Old 09-13-2015   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
CV 50/1.1 on SOny A7.mod:


Wading by unoh7, on Flickr


Be Prepared by unoh7, on Flickr

This is where the 1.1 shines: fast speeds. Stopping down (these are not the best shots overall, but should give a good idea of performance)


DSC00859 by unoh7, on Flickr


DSC00757-2 by unoh7, on Flickr

In short, the 1.1 is adequate stopped down, I suspect the 1.5 may be sharper on the edges at F/8, because the 1.1 def looses it a bit.

Both the 50 cron v4+ and ZM50/2, and of course the lux asph, are much better on the edges than either of these very nice lenses.

Much worse on the edges at all apertures is the Sonnetar, but it goes with me evenings more often than my 1.1. Why? Tiny and delightful My main daylight 50 is the cron v4.

Between these two as my only 50 I would take the 1.5, with biggest issue being size and weight.
Thank you for all of these samples, it's really helpful to see what images from the lens stopped down.
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Old 09-13-2015   #27
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I have never used a CV 50/1.1, but from what I have seen posted online, I am staying with my CV 50/1.5 ltm and I do not think about buying a CV 50/1.1. Instead, I bought a Zeiss Biogon 35/2 to complement my CV 50/1.5. Having a larger max aperture is not always the decisive factor.

Food for thought.
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Old 09-13-2015   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
I was very surprised at the size, but moreso at the weight. You can't really compare it with a modern SLR lens--at least I can't, since any Nikon lens I have of similar size has a large percentage of plastic, and MUCH less weight. Ultimately, size just takes up more air; weight is what you feel.

By the way, that's a picture of my wife, who's an artist but not a photographer, so she has no particular bokeh opinions or even recognition that it's something people think about. When she saw that shot, the first thing she commented on was how much she liked the way the background looked. Some people have commented on other threads about how the lens seems to have more depth of field than it should, and I think that's due to aberrations similar to what many old lenses have that tend to spread the focus out in front and especially back, giving a bit of 'glow' in the process. But this lens is needle sharp stopped down, not a disappointment at all in that respect.
I see, I find it so hard to gauge the size of lenses without ever having seen them, I think I've been underestimating the 1.1!

The 'glow' you mention is really appealing to me, especially in your photograph. Here is an image of my wife from when I had the 1.5:

[IMG]. by william temple, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 09-13-2015   #29
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Quote:
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I have never used a CV 50/1.1, but from what I have seen posted online, I am staying with my CV 50/1.5 ltm and I do not think about buying a CV 50/1.1. Instead, I bought a Zeiss Biogon 35/2 to complement my CV 50/1.5. Having a larger max aperture is not always the decisive factor.

Food for thought.
Yes I agree, it's not the larger aperture I'm really bothered about, it's the lens's characteristics and performance. I've got the 1.5 and the 1.1 available to me at the moment at about the same price, but I cannot decide
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Old 09-13-2015   #30
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I see, I find it so hard to gauge the size of lenses without ever having seen them, I think I've been underestimating the 1.1!\
This is why you need to complete your personal profile info: for all we know, you live right next to me, and in five minutes you could be trying mine on your camera. Or maybe you live next to someone else with one, but you'll never know! :-)
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Old 09-13-2015   #31
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This is why you need to complete your personal profile info: for all we know, you live right next to me, and in five minutes you could be trying mine on your camera. Or maybe you live next to someone else with one, but you'll never know! :-)
I'll get updating now!
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Old 09-13-2015   #32
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I love the f1.1 for low light photography. And I only take it out for low light shooting. Its larger, heavier and slower to focus than I prefer for a general purpose lens.

If you occasionally need speed but want an every day user, I'd go with the f1.5

CV 50/1.1:


CV 50/1.5
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Old 09-13-2015   #33
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Yes I agree, it's not the larger aperture I'm really bothered about, it's the lens's characteristics and performance. I've got the 1.5 and the 1.1 available to me at the moment at about the same price, but I cannot decide
If the market values for both lenses are roughly equal, go with what your instinct tells you to do. If the 50/1.1 sells for more money, buy it. Use it. If you like it, keep it. If you do not like it, sell it and get the 50/1.5.

B&H new price for the 50/1.1 black: $899 ......................................... CV 50/1.5 black : $799

It is a $100 difference only.
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Old 09-13-2015   #34
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I love the f1.1 for low light photography. And I only take it out for low light shooting. Its larger, heavier and slower to focus than I prefer for a general purpose lens.

If you occasionally need speed but want an every day user, I'd go with the f1.5

CV 50/1.1:


CV 50/1.5
The size is playing on my mind quite a bit... They both look great though, thanks
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Old 09-13-2015   #35
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If the market values for both lenses are roughly equal, go with what your instinct tells you to do. If the 50/1.1 sells for more money, buy it. Use it. If you like it, keep it. If you do not like it, sell it and get the 50/1.5.

B&H new price for the 50/1.1 black: $899 ......................................... CV 50/1.5 black : $799

It is a $100 difference only.
Yes there is only £50 between the 1.5 and the 1.1. I think I'm headed towards the 1.5 now, just because I know the lens and I don't think I want the size of the 1.1. Thanks for your input!
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Old 09-13-2015   #36
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The cv 50/1.5 ltm costs much less than the newer 50/1.5M. Optics are identical. The M lens may have diferent coatings.
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Old 09-13-2015   #37
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Yes there is only £50 between the 1.5 and the 1.1. I think I'm headed towards the 1.5 now, just because I know the lens and I don't think I want the size of the 1.1. Thanks for your input!
What are your other 50's ?

That could swing the decision one way or the other
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Old 09-13-2015   #38
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From cameraquest.com:

"Rangefinder Base length of 37mm: This translates to an effective rangefinder base length of 37mm for the 1.0x magnification R3A, and 25.6 mm(37mm x .68 magnification) for the R2A. In other words, the R3A's rangefinder is 74% as long as the standard .72 Leica M finder, while the R2A's rangefinder is 51% as long as the standard .72 Leica M finder with EBL of 49.32."

it would be really difficult to hit focus at 1.1 with an R2a. As the specs above show, the R3a would be the Bessa to use for this. There is a big difference with dof between 40mm lens at 1.4, and a 50mm at 1.1.

Also, the 1.1 will block an awful lot of your VF.
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Old 09-13-2015   #39
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What are your other 50's ?

That could swing the decision one way or the other
I haven't had a 50 for the past 3 years, I've been using an XP1 with the 35mm 1.4. I'm returning to my old bessas after living abroad with no access to film/chemistry hence the need for a new 50
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Old 09-13-2015   #40
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Originally Posted by Huss View Post
From cameraquest.com:

"Rangefinder Base length of 37mm: This translates to an effective rangefinder base length of 37mm for the 1.0x magnification R3A, and 25.6 mm(37mm x .68 magnification) for the R2A. In other words, the R3A's rangefinder is 74% as long as the standard .72 Leica M finder, while the R2A's rangefinder is 51% as long as the standard .72 Leica M finder with EBL of 49.32."

it would be really difficult to hit focus at 1.1 with an R2a. As the specs above show, the R3a would be the Bessa to use for this. There is a big difference with dof between 40mm lens at 1.4, and a 50mm at 1.1.

Also, the 1.1 will block an awful lot of your VF.
I didn't realise there was such a difference between the rangefinders, thanks
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