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questions regd canon 50mm f/1.5 ltm
Old 04-24-2006   #1
nihraguk
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questions regd canon 50mm f/1.5 ltm

I just finished reading Dante Stella's article on Canon LTM lenses and now I'm experiencing mad lust for the Canon 50mm f/1.5. A couple of eBay searches seem to reveal that the lens is pretty uncommon on the auction site, except for the kevincameras listing which is quite beyond my budget.

I have a few questions about the lens which I'm hoping other more experienced members might be able to help me with:

1. I understand that the f/1.4 and f/1.5 Canon 50mm lenses have different optical formulas, and that the f/1.5 formula (7 elements, 3 groups) is the copy of the Zeiss Sonnar. I really like the results from the Sonnar design, but I've also come across several rave reviews of the f/1.4. My question is: in your experience, what is the difference between the f/1.4 and f/1.5? Which one do you prefer, and why?

2. I understand that the Canon 50mm f/1.5 sometimes comes labeled as 'Canon' and sometimes as 'Serenar'. According to the Canon lens guide here, the 'Canon' version tends to fetch higher prices. My question is: Are there any important, 'user'-relevant differences between the two subspecies of this lens? Or are the differences the stuff of collector trivia?

I'd appreciate any other general comments anyone might have on this lens. Thanks.
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Old 04-24-2006   #2
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afa i know there are not usually differences between lenses labeled serenar and canon.

the 1.4 and the 1.5 are very different, the 1.4 has a modern look, good contrast and sharpness.
the 1.5 has the softer edges when wide open and i don't think the same sharpness/contrast levels, though it is a sharp lens.

clear like mud?

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Old 04-24-2006   #3
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The 50/1.4 will look like your typical 50/1.4 SLR lens, since it is same basic double-Gauss design that most of them are. That's a compliment, by the way, since a lot of those SLR lenses are quite fine. Reaonably sharp all the way into the corners, flat field.

The 50/1.5 has a characteristic blur to the corners wide open. Pleasant. Sharpens up in a few stops. Very small, but dense, so it weighs more than the 50/1.4.
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Old 04-25-2006   #4
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Both very good. If I was going to use one wide open I would go with the more modern 1.4, but for general purpose photography I like the character of the 1.5.
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Old 04-25-2006   #5
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And a couple from the 1.4
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Old 04-25-2006   #6
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The early 1.5/50 Serenars have blue coating which is typical for the 1950-1952 Canon lenses, the later - and all Canon - yellow/brown. You should expect quite warm color tones from the blue lenses (like some of the early Zeiss T coated) My 1.5/50 is a later type, and in my feeling, color tone is quite warm compared to my (i.e.) 2.0/35, but not to the extend of the 1954's blue coated Zeiss Jena Biotar SLR lens. Reports states that the 1.4/50 shows colder colors. There was a comparison recently done here by Kim Coxon who compared the 1.4 and the 1.5 as well as some others at middle distance - where from my experience the 1.5/50 is very strong - wide open and at middle apertures. The results were quite good for the 1.5/50.

If you do not landscapes or architecture with it, the 1.5/50 can be a very good all-day standard lens. A hood is unsefull in many, if not most situations, because with the big glass in a sleek barrel you cannot expect too much in terms of resistence against flare. Although in my experience, flare isn't a big concern when compared to some other highspeed lenses of this era.

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Old 04-25-2006   #7
Kim Coxon
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There are some comparative shots from both lenses here http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=16784

Kim
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Old 04-24-2018   #8
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Theme up!
after 12 years, day in the day - 24 April

Today I finished something like review about Canon Serenar 50mm F1.5 and just want to share it
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Old 04-24-2018   #9
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I have both a Canon 50mm f1.4 and the f1.5 (and an early and late version of the 50mm f1.8). The f1.4 and f1.5 are quite different in their rendering and although this is sometimes somewhat subtle it's definitely there if you know what you are looking for. The f1.5 has a very well defined "Sonnar look" to images. I do not feel I need to explain this - if you like it as you say, then I am sure you understand what it means. Like you, I also like results from Sonnar lenses.

As someone else points out the f1.4 generally produces a more "modern" look to its images and is often referred to as the Japanese Summilux. I think the look it produces in its images is quite similar to the look produced by the Canon LTM 50mm f1.8 lens, which is not surprising since as far as I know they both have similar Double Gauss / Planar type optical designs. In some respects some people will prefer this look as it is the look they are more used to with modern lenses. It is a more "crisp" look especially wide open. Which is why however, I prefer the other lens, the Sonnar option - many lenses from major manufacturers produce more or less the Planar look today. But that Sonnar look of the f1.5 is unique to classic Sonnar lenses and I like "character" lenses.

I don't know that there is any reason to prefer "Canon" labelled lenses over the same lens labelled "Serenar" in most cases. In other words comparing like with like (chrome lens with chrome lens) and being a cheap SOB, my inclination is always to go for the cheaper one if that option exists. There is one aspect that might have changed though between early lenses generally (which in Canon's case were all chrome on brass) and later black and chrome ones in some cases. Coatings get better over time and there may be some reason to prefer the late black and chrome lenses where both early and late models are available for what is otherwise the same lens if the coatings were improved.

In your case though, that consideration could not possibly apply in the sense that the Canon 50mm f1.5 (which was chrome on brass) in the early style, was replaced by the later style (black and chrome) 50mm f1.4. That is I think it is entirely valid to think of the 50mm f1.4 as Canon's redesign of their fast 50. Some other lenses also had similar design changes or at least, tweaks (the 85mm is one example I can think of - and the maximum aperture change slightly too in that case). Actually on thinking about it the move from Sonnar to Double Gauss style lens was not uncommon at that time - here I am thinking of Nikon which redesigned both its 105mm lens and its 135mm lens from Sonnar to Double Gauss.

If you are serious about buying a 50mm f1.5 may I suggest trying Japanese sellers on EBay. When I was buying (within the last 12 months) I found there were more available in Japan and the prices tended to be more competitive too if I recall correctly. It is where I bought mine - a lens I had lusted after for a long time to add to my stable of Canon LTM 50's.
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Old 04-24-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foox View Post
Theme up!
after 12 years, day in the day - 24 April

Today I finished something like review about Canon Serenar 50mm F1.5 and just want to share it
Thanks for this review and test.

I especially like the part of your summation which matches my experience and expectations of the 50mm f1.5 and reads........" Outstanding lens that has a poor technical result with an excellent artistic abilities."

I do not much expect any classic Sonnar to perform flawlessly in a technical sense and in fact most pixel peepers would be very disappointed. But I love the way they render their images.
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Old 04-24-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
Thanks for this review and test.
Thank you for evaluation
I was surprised when I found out that you are the author of 'Style and Mood in Photography'. I've read first two, and going to read 3rd today evening. Thank you for these articles
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Old 04-24-2018   #12
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I had the Canon 50mm 1.5 LTM and Voigtlander 50mm 1.5 ASPH on the M240 and kept the Nokton more as it was more versatile as an all-arounder.

the Canon has the nice Sonnar look which I don't really care for, and it flares easily
M240 + Canon 50mm 1.5 LTM by Earl Dieta, on Flickr

overall, buy it if you want a Sonnar look without having to spend the money for the Zeiss version.
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Old 04-24-2018   #13
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Anyone know how the big difference in resolution (sharpness around the frame) and contrast between this Canon 50 1.5 and modern Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 Sonnar T* ZM ? What I'm loosing if use Canon instead of Zeiss ZM?
May be it's strange question, but to my regret, I've never had experience with modern Leica or Zeiss lenses, and can't find a comparisons with rf-lenses from 1950-60.
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Old 04-24-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
Thanks for this review and test.

I especially like the part of your summation which matches my experience and expectations of the 50mm f1.5 and reads........" Outstanding lens that has a poor technical result with an excellent artistic abilities."

I do not much expect any classic Sonnar to perform flawlessly in a technical sense and in fact most pixel peepers would be very disappointed. But I love the way they render their images.
Exactly. This is why I use several 50mm lenses. Each lens is somehow special.
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Old 04-24-2018   #15
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I've had the f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.5, f/1.8 Canon lenses and the f/1.4 is probably the "best" or highest performing out of those but it was the first one sold as I prefer a bit of character/flaws for what I use an RF 50mm for.

The 1.8 is smaller and lighter so gets used when I am planning on stopping down a bunch.
The 1.5 is more interesting, and smaller.
The 1.2 has the crazy bokeh thing and does pastel colors in a great way.

I haven't used the newer Zeiss glass so can't compare but with the capabilities of my flatbed scanner (Canoscan 9000F) I don't see any issues with the 1.5. I haven't put any of my 35mm negs on my drum scanner but I'd assume to see the differences mainly in the corners and at wide apertures. The coatings on the newer lens would likely increase overall contrast and resistance to flaring with light sources in the frame. I doubt you'd see a huge increase in sharpness for things that are actually in focus.
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Old 04-24-2018   #16
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The only reason why I have been using the Canon 50/1.5 very rarely is the fact that I enjoy using the original Zeiss 5cm/1.5 so much. I added at one point a "modern" CV 50/1.5 ASPH and a CV 50/1.1 to try out newer lenses. I don't see any real need for using my Canon 50mm lenses (1.2-1.4-1.5-1.8) given the other 50mm lenses that I own and use.
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Old 04-24-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foox View Post
Thank you for evaluation
I was surprised when I found out that you are the author of 'Style and Mood in Photography'. I've read first two, and going to read 3rd today evening. Thank you for these articles
And thank you. I hope you enjoyed the articles. I must get out and do more shooting to allow me to prepare another one in the series.
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Old 04-24-2018   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
Thanks for this review and test.

I especially like the part of your summation which matches my experience and expectations of the 50mm f1.5 and reads........" Outstanding lens that has a poor technical result with an excellent artistic abilities."

I do not much expect any classic Sonnar to perform flawlessly in a technical sense and in fact most pixel peepers would be very disappointed. But I love the way they render their images.
I agree with Peter. Thanks.
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