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Advice sought for LTM 50mm lens selection
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had some time out with my Canon 50mm f/1.5 LTM yesterday.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepowersthatbe/albums/72157657383653651

Pretty sure I've decided that this will be my main lens for some time to come.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
You had a bad copy of the J3. A good one is better than a J8.


There must be lots of those bad J3, because I have the same opinion as Pinhole.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
Oh dear. Yes, the Planar existed in the 1950s, you need to do some research!

You say the Summicron=R is just below the Planar/Ultron of that time.

Look at the graphs - the Planar completely outclasses the Summicron-R

Now you change it to being about RF lenses. The Summicron-M isn't better than the Contarex Planar 2/50 either.

Drop the bias about Leitz and Voigtlander and some sensible discussion may become possible.

Likely this is some stupid national pride thing with Voigtlander beginning as an Austrian company and Leitz being bought out by Austrians.


The graph you presented from Puts' site is dated 1969 for the 50mm planar. In the text it is noted that this are the original graphs from the development of the lenses: The graphs to be published here are unique as they are absolutely original drawings from the Zeiss optical department. Consequently this presented 50mm Planar lens was a later 1960's development. That goes in line with my source of information where Tronnier modified his Ultron for the Zeiss company which then was presented as the Zeiss Planar. The graphs from the Summicron R are not dated but the Summicron R in Canada was produced some time later if my memory serves me right (I don't want to search for exact dates now). I have some graphs from the Summicron-R and the Zeiss Planar from around 1980 and there the Planar outperforms the Summicron fully open, but not to a great extent. At F5.6 they are on more or less on par again. However, the Rollei/Voigtländer version is even slightly better on this comparison.

So I don't know why you are insisting with your previous version of argumentation. You are arguing about lenses from another time span for another type of camera and I was talking about the 1950's in reference to a posting from uhoh7 in a clear context for RF lenses only. I also mentioned that if it doesn't work with RF lenses, then a test with SLR lenses could be an option. That's the reason why I mentioned SLR lenses at all. But only in this context. Maybe he could also try the Zeiss Planar on his A7 for landscapes. Why not. I didn't recommend it because I don't have it. I only have the Ultron and the Minolta lens which are known already to perform. According to the graphs it shouldn't be worse. Also the SLR lenses from Canon/Nikon/Olympus/etc. of that period should do the trick to deliver sharp landscape pictures from edge to edge at F5.6.

Obviously we have here a communication problem and I didn't change anything as the whole discussion was about RF lenses only. But if it makes you happy it shall be.

However, the only argument which I would accept that my statement is totally wrong would be the presentation of graphs all dated in the 1950's comparing a "Zeiss Planar" 50mm RF lens from the 1950's with both the Ultron and Summicron 50mm RF-lenses from the 1950's as nothing else I have written above in the mentioned context.

Finally I find it always noteworthy to mention also some additional background information which is not commonly known. Especially because this is an international forum. Some people are interested, some not. It doesn't harm. For you this is stupid and for me it isn't. I leave it to the others to decide. In the end it's not important but maybe nice to know. Nevertheless, at least I try to keep an unbiased view and try to stick to trustworthy sources or own experience.
The picture changed completely anyway. Who thought let's say 20 years ago that e.g. Sigma would produce state of the art lenses nowadays? I certainly not.

Is it again a problem for you to accept that I was talking something different than what you have most probably understood, especially when "Zeiss" is involved?
Stephen (scsambrook) was obviously right with his ironic assessment above: The hunting started already...Wink


PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nordentro wrote:
iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
You had a bad copy of the J3. A good one is better than a J8.


There must be lots of those bad J3, because I have the same opinion as Pinhole.


Although I am only able to compare them on APS-C with my Ricoh GXR-M, I am really curious now to compare my both Jupiters directly. I haven't done that so far.
However, it's still possible that there are sample variations which is very often mentioned in different forums. So far I didn't consider my J3 as a bad copy but rather as a nice Sonnar with it's pro's and con's.

On the other hand in German Leica forums I've already read about huge sample variations of Canon RF lenses, which was never mentioned here in this forum. So maybe there are fairy tales around from rather biased folks. I don't know as I don't have any of those Canon lenses but I tend to believe that this is rather a story from the Leica fanboys.

However, only seeing is believing. Wink

I'll certainly give some feedback as soon as I've done my comparison between my J3 and J8 copies.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I certainly have not owned or used enough Canon rangefinder lenses to be able to speak to sample variation, the lenses I have used have been of a consistent high quality of workmanship and materials.

On the other hand I have seen for sale a high number of badly abused Canon RF lenses, described as EX++ or similar by the hundred or so Japanese sellers who all guaranteed that the lens in question was out of stock everywhere else. Shocked

Seriously, in the case of Canon lenses, I suspect the level of quality control during production was quite high and that any current sample variation would be the result of treatment/mistreatment during the subsequent half century since their production.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Seriously, in the case of Canon lenses, I suspect the level of quality control during production was quite high and that any current sample variation would be the result of treatment/mistreatment during the subsequent half century since their production


Perhaps there is less of a reverence for Canon glass, so it doesn't get the same level of TLC as Leica lenses do?


PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

newst wrote:

Seriously, in the case of Canon lenses, I suspect the level of quality control during production was quite high and that any current sample variation would be the result of treatment/mistreatment during the subsequent half century since their production.


That's also my believe today. However, in my part of the world those Canons have been as expensive as the Leitz ones from the same production period when I started to collect also RF lenses. Therefore I bought Leitz instead or even a less expensive brand. Nowadays I'm rather acquiring SLR lenses, if at all.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian wrote The Ultron and Summicron are very good, but so are the contemporary Nikkor 2/50, the Schneider Xenon 1.9/50 and a few others. However, the Contarex Planar 2/50 is something special.

Hi there Ian - yes, I agree that the old Contarex Planar was (is) a very fine lens, indeed, a 'special' one. When I had one on a 'Cyclops' Contarex back in the early 70s it produced Kodachromes that had similar vibrance to the contemporary rigid Summicron which I had at the same time. I would have been hard pressed to say one was better than the other, unlike the camera bodies where it was Leica 10 points and Contarex 4. Mmm, maybe 5.

But that was a long time ago, and from the strength of your comments it seems obvious you must have the advantage in having used the old Planar more recently with your mirrorless digital camera(s). Accepting that some lenses do indeed work differently on sensors than on film, I'd really love to see some images from your Planar.

I have the Summicron here but not the Planar . . . I wonder if there's any chance of borrowing yours when you're not using it? I'd need to buy an adapter, unless you have one for M4/3 or Fuji X, but it might be a justifiable investment. No doubt I could sell it (the adapter, not the lens) afterwards. And of course I'd be willing and happy to pay insured shipping both ways and take full responsibility for it while in my possession. Mmm, it's a big 'ask', I know. No offence taken if you say 'sorry'.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
Oh dear. Yes, the Planar existed in the 1950s, you need to do some research!

You say the Summicron=R is just below the Planar/Ultron of that time.

Look at the graphs - the Planar completely outclasses the Summicron-R

Now you change it to being about RF lenses. The Summicron-M isn't better than the Contarex Planar 2/50 either.

Drop the bias about Leitz and Voigtlander and some sensible discussion may become possible.

Likely this is some stupid national pride thing with Voigtlander beginning as an Austrian company and Leitz being bought out by Austrians.


Ian did you read the title of the thread?

What part of LTM is not clear?

Anyway, back to the topic.

Leitz did not really start to jump forward until the M system, and the 50 Lux v1, which was a fantastic lens for it's time. Leitz glass in the 50s can be soft, and coatings are all over the place. Canon lenses are right in there with everyone for the time, it seems to me.

Canon did take one unique tack, building lighter lens bodies than everyone else, which is clear with the 50/1.4 and the still unsurpassed 100/3.5. Their 50/1.2 was also relatively light. But Canon built over 50,000 copies of that lens! It will never be rare.

Nikon has the reputation for the hardest glass, and their LTMs demand a premium, but that was a sideline for them.

Copy variation is enormous for russian lenses, and the Leitz 35 Lux v1 was very famous for huge variations as were many other lenses. Really consistent builds I do not think appeared until the 1970s. In addition to the build issues, every lens has a history which also may effect performance. Smile

I'm still curious as to which LTM of the era was really best edge to edge at 5.6 or f/8.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

uhoh7 wrote:

I'm still curious as to which LTM of the era was really best edge to edge at 5.6 or f/8.


In LTM certainly the Summicron 50/2 rigid type 2 as from 1956 as described here:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/50mm-f2-dr.htm
I don't think that there will be any better choice in __L T M__ from that peroid of time.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:
uhoh7 wrote:

I'm still curious as to which LTM of the era was really best edge to edge at 5.6 or f/8.


In LTM certainly the Summicron 50/2 rigid type 2 as from 1956 as described here:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/50mm-f2-dr.htm
I don't think that there will be any better choice in __L T M__ from that peroid of time.


The DR/rigid? Don't expect corners. Things weaken on the edges also. At least that's what I'm reading from the more careful owners. Rockwell is totally unreliable for learning about any lens, since he swings from reasonable descriptions to utterly erroneous ones, and there is no way to tell which is which unless you already know LOL

The DR is very controversial. Huge fan base, but they are not caring about edges much. Quite a few are unimpressed with their own copies. Basically many shooters just look at the centers.

All that said, you may still be correct. And reviewing images today, I may need to find one and see for myself, someday Smile Looks like they are very prone to fogging. And I guess I better try the rigid version as the DR will not mount properly on the M9 Sad

Al Kaplan:
"The oldest 50 Summicrons, including both rigid and collapsible, had very soft coatings on them. You rarely find one with really clean glass. They mostly range from having "cleaning marks" to large areas of the front coating gone altogether. Missing the front coating is not as bad as missing coating between elements, though, unless you stick a filter on the front. The slightly radio active glass used in them also causes slight "yellowing" of the glass, resulting in a warm tone to color photos.

The 50/1.8 and 50/1.9 Canon lenses (originally called Serenar)of the same era had much harder coatings, came in both rigid and collapsible versions, and were as sharp as the Summicron. The only negative was the oddball 40mm filter size."


PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

uhoh7 wrote:


All that said, you may still be correct. And reviewing images today, I may need to find one and see for myself, someday Smile Looks like they are very prone to fogging. And I guess I better try the rigid version as the DR will not mount properly on the M9 Sad


Well, I've heard that several times already about the soft coatings. However, my type 1 Summicron from 1954 is really in a perfectly shape without any cleaning marks on it. The fogging issue is well known from the older Summitars because of the lubricant used for this type, but I've never learned about this issue from the later Summicrons. My lens is 100% clear and there is no yellowing issue as well. Also not if not used for a long time. I have it already several years, so I should know it. Maybe this affected only the older ones. I bought mine from the Leicashop in Vienna which is a trusted source with still somehow fair pricing. So I avoided any troubles to get a bad copy or a "dead duck" beforehand. Although those lenses are not really cheap nowadays if still in excellent shape.

You're right, that there are issues on the M9 with the DR versions. However the non-DR type 2 lens is 100% identical in terms of optical qualities.

Maybe I should also do a FF comparison on film. Somehow I am curios now as well to see whether the edges won't be sharp on any of my RF lenses on FF. On my Ricoh this is no issue at all.

Finally, the SLR lens option mentioned before would still be an reasonable alternative for your landscapes, at least for your A7.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Canon 1.8/50 is a stunning lens. I'm not as impressed with my collapsible Serenar 1.9/50.

A few shots with the 1.8, Sony A7II, hand held, OOC JPG.












My Canon 1.5/50 Sonnar just cleared customs in Chicago so I should have it in a few days.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice Canon Samples Smile

for Thomas, I happened to come across this today:

"The Rigid and DR are identical in performance (#1956284 and # 2116804). At full aperture the overall contrast is medium but the rendition of very fine details is a class better than the C. The outlines, fine detail and very fine detail are clearly visible with good sharp outlines and a fine micro contrast. Extremely fine detail is on the soft side. The outer zones still show astigmatism and in the extreme corners only fine detail is visible. At f/2,8 the contrast is better and at f/4,0 the optimum is almost reached with a center that has a sharp and contrasty rendition of extremely fine detail. The outer zones are noticeably softer (and show traces of astigmatism) and the corners are again lagging. At f/5,6 spherical aberration softens the center, but the outer zones now have a sharp representation of extremely fine detail. From f/8,0 the quality drops slightly and more so at f/16. Flare is well suppressed, as is chromatic aberration and curvature of field. Centering is OK."

Puts Smile


PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

uhoh7 wrote:

for Thomas, I happened to come across this today:

" At f/5,6 spherical aberration softens the center, but the outer zones now have a sharp representation of extremely fine detail."



Well, that sounds rather promising. Exactly what you are looking for.....

I will definitely check my copy also on film within the next future to see if it really lacks behind on FF.
It's worth a roll of Fujifilm Velvia 50. If scanned with my Minolta Dimage Scan 5400 it's an equivalent of an apprx. 50MP sensor.
So this combination definitely shows the very truth. Wink


PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

my RF normal lenses are: Canon LTM 1.4/50, Nikkor-S 1.4/5cm, CZJ ( most likely prewar ) f1.5/50, Serenar 1.5/50, Serenar 1.8/50, Canon f1.8/50, Helios 103 f1.8/53, Jupiter-8 f2/50mm and Topcor-S f2/5cm

bear with me that I don't upload all these files, I won't try to defend my ranking, just take this as my opinion, and mind that my Canon Serenar f1.5 and Canon f1.8 have minor inner haze
anyway from fast samples taken on Sony A7, mostly based on f2, also wide open and f5.6 pics, I'd roughly rank them:

center sharpness:
1. Canon f1.4
2. Nikkor-S 1.4/5cm, Serenar 1.8, Helios 103,
3. CZJ f1.5/50, Serenar 1.5/50, Canon f1.8/50, Topcor-S f2/5cm
4. Jupiter-8 f2/50mm

corner sharpness ( when focused there ):
1. Canon f1.4, Serenar f1.8
2: Nikkor f1.4, Helios 103, Canon f1.8, CZJ f1.5, Topcor f2
3: Serenar f1.5, Jupiter-8

contrast: ( more first )
1: Nikkor f1.4, Canon F1.4
2: Serenar f1.5, Serenar f1.8, Canon f1.8, Topcor f2, Helios f1.8
3: Jupiter-8
4. CZJ f1.5

CA / PF: ( less first )
1: Topcor f2, Serenar f1.8
2: Helios f1,8, Jupiter-8,
3: CZJ f1.5, Nikkor f1.4,
4: Canon f1.4, Serenar f1.5

bokeh a bit difficult to categorize, but here I go
1. smooth, not swirly: Canon f1.4, CZJ f1.5
2. somewhat swirley, more quiet: Serenar f1.5, Topcor f2, Jupiter-8
3. somewhat swirley, less quiet: Serenar f1.8, Canon f1.8,
4. harsh: Nikkor f1.4

( from my test I wonder if my copy of the J-8 isn't a very good one, with more experience I may later edit and change some rankings )


Last edited by kuuan on Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:33 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kuuan wrote:
my RF normal lenses are: Canon LTM 1.4/50, Nikkor-S 1.4/5cm, CZJ ( most likely prewar ) f1.5/50, Serenar 1.5/50, Serenar 1.8/50, Canon f1.8/50, Helios 103 f1.8/53, Jupiter-8 f2/50mm and Topcor-S f2/5cm


Andreas, that means that your Canon 1.4/50 appears to be your best lens for landscapes if maximum sharpness from edge to edge is the target.

Would be really great if you could eventually show a picture focused infinity towards some mountains, woods, houses, etc. or similar and show at least some 100% crops of the corners. Optimum would be F5.6 as this would be most probably the maximum achievable quality with this lens on your A7.

Something comparable to my recent test shot of my possibly best 50mm lens for FF as shown here from the A850 (actually the same sensor as yours):
http://forum.mflenses.com/voigtlnder-color-ultron-50mm-f1-8-in-m42-singapore-t72279.html#1447734
Unfortunately I don't have a FF camera without blurring filter, i.e. same situation as your A7. It seems that this filter is the limiting factor for this lens.
I think only the A7R doesn't have this filter, like our GXR's.

Greets,


PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:

Andreas, that means that your Canon 1.4/50 appears to be your best lens for landscapes if maximum sharpness from edge to edge is the target....
Would be really great if you could eventually show a picture focused infinity towards some mountains, woods, houses, etc. or similar and show at least some 100% crops of the corners. Optimum would be F5.6 as this would be most probably the maximum achievable quality with this lens on your A7. ...
I think only the A7R doesn't have this filter, like our GXR's.
Greets,


ok, I shall do that. So far pretty much any of these look sharp enough to me, but todays tests pics I founded my observation on had been focused to about 3 to 4 meter, not infinity. You should be right and the 1.4/50 should fare well for sharpness but then, at least my copy of the f1.4, also exhibits strong CA and that will be disturbing e.g. trees against a bright sky.
Right, the A7R doesn't have any anti alising filter, but as far as I understand all A7 series cameras have other sensor stacks which can be problematic with adapted, specially RF wide angle lenses, while the GXR M is optimized for them.
cheers, andreas


PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kuuan wrote:

ok, I shall do that. So far pretty much any of these look sharp enough to me, but todays tests pics I founded my observation on had been focused to about 3 to 4 meter, not infinity. You should be right and the 1.4/50 should fare well for sharpness but then, at least my copy of the f1.4, also exhibits strong CA and that will be disturbing e.g. trees against a bright sky.
Right, the A7R doesn't have any anti alising filter, but as far as I understand all A7 series cameras have other sensor stacks which can be problematic with adapted, specially RF wide angle lenses, while the GXR M is optimized for them.
cheers, andreas


Andreas, If only CA's are there they can be easily removed. No problem with this.
I am just curios to find out if there is any (older) 50mm lens in RF available capable for really nice and sharp landscapes from edge to edge. Obviously that's a extremely difficult task for lenses.
I suspect that most probably the old Summicron would be best but I can't test it on my FF digital camera. However, now I have the Ultron M42 SLR lens which is obviously capable.
Out of curiosity it would be great to see any other lens which possibly could come close. Uhoh7 is interested as well.
My main point is to find out if it's worth to consider either an upgrade for a RF capable FF camera or not. Still sometimes thinking about.

BTW, my comparisons of the Ultron for landscapes between the GXR APS-C filterless 12MP sensor with the A850 FF 24MP filtered sensor show nearly identical results, i.e. the FF sensor doesn't necessarily win but adds some additional criterias for the quality of the lens (corner sharpness). Actually the Ultron is a very nice lens to test the differences of the sensors because the lens itself is quality wise well above and in neither case the limiting factor. Will test it further on my other digital cameras and on film as well....

Sometimes I am a quality junkie... Wink


PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thomas I made a bit 'fast and dirty' infinity test today, made an extra thread, see: http://forum.mflenses.com/viewtopic,p,1447907.html#1447907


PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have close to thirty normal lenses in m39 screw mount, I like the Nikkor and Tanaka normal lenses most because of their close focus abilities Wink


PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nordentro wrote:
I have close to thirty normal lenses in m39 screw mount, I like the Nikkor and Tanaka normal lenses most because of their close focus abilities Wink


Different folks have different criterias. Wink

I usually have some distance rings in my pocket to be on the save side....

However, your collection of LTM's is rather impressive. No doubt about that.

I've tried to avoid that beforehand as I already have some other crazy collections and several good LTM's from 12 to 135mm and only 10 different ones in 50mm should be OK just to take some pictures. Wink


PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nordentro wrote:
I have close to thirty normal lenses in m39 screw mount, I like the Nikkor and Tanaka normal lenses most because of their close focus abilities Wink


Close focus ability sure is important, I agree Lars, but because an helicoid adapters, when used on a mirrorless, provides that I do not consider the lens' ability as an important criterium:
good enough for me, lives on my Sony: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Leica-M-Lens-to-Sony-NEX-E-Mount-Adapter-with-Macro-Tube-Ring-Helicoid-LMNEXFT-/391228713814?hash=item5b170c6b56
an expensive one: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1022002-REG/voigtlander_bd272a_vm_e_close_focus_adapter.html )

btw. I guess that one possibly can, whenever one doesn't focus far, use the helicoid adapter to 'somewhat' mitigate the known corner issues of RF wide angles by increasing the distance of the lens' rear glass to the sensor whenever that is possible, by first keeping the lens focused to infinity and using the helicoid to focus.


PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no need for distance rings with the close focus abilities of Nikkor and Tanaka ltm lenses together with the close focus adapter (I use one from Tinray). You can of course do pretty well with a Canon ltm lens too, but in some cases you want to go even closer. Wink


PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:
Nordentro wrote:
I have close to thirty normal lenses in m39 screw mount, I like the Nikkor and Tanaka normal lenses most because of their close focus abilities Wink

However, your collection of LTM's is rather impressive. No doubt about that.


Well, it is not that impressive really. more than half the bunch are inexpensive Braun and Communist lenses Smile