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Canon Serenar 50mm f/1.8 -- it's THAT good.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:18 am    Post subject: Canon Serenar 50mm f/1.8 -- it's THAT good. Reply with quote

A couple weeks ago, I ordered a 39mm to 42mm adapter from a Chinese seller on eBay. All it is is a threaded bushing -- a ring about 5mm wide with threads on the inside and outside.

I wasn't really sure why I wanted it, I just knew that I did. Well, it arrived today, so the first thing I did was thread it onto my 50 Serenar, then dig out an old Canon Lens Converter P I've owned for the past 20 years or so but never used. The LC-P is designed to mount M42 lenses onto Canon FD bodies, allowing infinity focus to be retained. So I then threaded the lens and adapter onto the LC-P. And just for grins, I mounted it onto my old Canon F-1.



Things looked pretty sharp looking through the F-1's viewfinder. In-focus distance from the subject to the front of the lens was about eight inches (200mm). Interestingly enough, this distance barely changes when racking the lens from near to far focus.

Next, I dug out my FD-EOS adapter, and attached the lens to my EOS DSLR.



The FD-EOS adapter has a correcting lens so that FD lenses will achieve ionfinity focus, which gave me a bit more focusing distance with this M39 lens, but not much. And since it didn't make much difference where I had the focusing ring set, I had to move the camera forwards and backwards to achieve focus. It was hit or miss when I was trying to get shots of foliage, but this one wasn't bad:

50mm Serenar wide open at f/1.8


When I tried stopping down, there was just enough breeze to ruin my photos because of the slower shutter speeds, so I gave up and looked for stationary subjects. Turns out there were many thousands of them at my feet. All photos were taken hand-held and no sharpening was done to any of them.

50mm Serenar wide open at f/1.8


50mm Serenar at f/8 (note the bug)


And a couple of 100% crops of the acorns. First one is wide open, second one is at f/8.

50 Serenar wide open


50 Serenar at f/8


Okay, I am very impressed with this lens. Not only does it do a great job with black and white images, as you can see, it handles color very well also. Sharpness and contrast are very impressive. Keep in mind that I was having to shoot through the glass element in the FD-EOS adapter also. Plus, there appears to be very little fall-off in sharpness at the corners (granted this is a 1.6 cropped image, but I've noticed similar sharpness with my Canon IIIa).

Back in a previous lifetime when I was a camera dealer, Serenars had just an okay reputation. They were considered "decent lenses for the money" and they were priced fairly cheaply back in those days. Now, I can see why they have risen in price so much since then. Guess I need to start saving my coins for a 35mm Serenar to add to this 50.


PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks great! I think this lens should be nice to use on a Sony NEX or FT camera.


PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So do I, unfortunately Sad Cool The prices are high now. But I suspect the new NEX crowd will drive them even higher.


PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I would rather also shoot some not so "brown in greenish grey" tone targets and check for high contrast situations and also have a look at color reproduction....


PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So would I, Klaus, but the biggest problem I have is that whatever I take a pic of with my EOS has to be about 8" to 9" away from the lens. Good point though. I'll look around for some yellows and reds and blues. If/when I find a good subject, I'll update this thread with the new photos.

As for contrast, I do have a separate thread about this lens and the Canon IIIa rangefinder, where I show some pretty contrasty photos in B&W. You can see that thread here:

http://forum.mflenses.com/canon-iiia-with-50mm-f-1-8-serenar-and-plus-x-pan-t35947.html


PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How does the serenar differ from the canon?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Canon-35mm-f1-8-Leica-screw-mount-Wide-angle-CLAd-/160532768834?pt=Film_Cameras&hash=item25607fa842

If you ever want to get rid of the serenar, PM me!


PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope, that old Serenar's a keeper. I'm not an expert on Canon lens nomenclature -- perhaps someone else can help out. About all I know is that Canon switched over from the Serenar name to just "Canon" rather late in the production of its LTM lenses. I believe also characteristic of the Canon lenses were first the black nose, and later black everything look:

Click here to see on Ebay

Perhaps in response to Leica's later M-series lenses?


PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't you use the lens with a regular m39 adapter (without the EF-FD adapter in between), or does the lens have a protruding rear element?


PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
So do I, unfortunately Sad Cool The prices are high now. But I suspect the new NEX crowd will drive them even higher.


Can you change the thread title then to say "Canon Serenar 50/1.8 it's THAT BAD"? Wink If you want the prices to stay reasonable, delete this thread. I noticed that GoKevincameras already bought basically all Serenar 50/1.9's that are offered on ebay... damnit.


PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonder what's the difference between yours and a f/1.9?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-50mm-f1-9-Canon-Serenar-Lens-39mm-LSM-/120672782363?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item1c18a8881b


PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AhamB wrote:
Can you change the thread title then to say "Canon Serenar 50/1.8 it's THAT BAD"? Wink If you want the prices to stay reasonable, delete this thread. I noticed that GoKevincameras already bought basically all Serenar 50/1.9's that are offered on ebay... damnit.


And here's their cheapest:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Canon-RF-50-1-8-Rigid-158978-/390148552546?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item5ad6aa7762

thank god it's a little heavy..
just checked my new industar 61 L/D 129g whew...


PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

uhoh7 wrote:
Wonder what's the difference between yours and a f/1.9?


Good site with diagrams of Canon RF lenses.

http://www.dantestella.com/technical/evolution.html


PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AhamB wrote:
Can't you use the lens with a regular m39 adapter (without the EF-FD adapter in between), or does the lens have a protruding rear element?


Oh sure, I could have used an M39 adapter. But I don't own one. So I just used what I had to get me to an EOS mount. Kinda awkward, I suppose, huh. M39 to M42 to Canon FD to EOS. Hehe.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AhamB wrote:
cooltouch wrote:
So do I, unfortunately Sad Cool The prices are high now. But I suspect the new NEX crowd will drive them even higher.


Can you change the thread title then to say "Canon Serenar 50/1.8 it's THAT BAD"? Wink If you want the prices to stay reasonable, delete this thread. I noticed that GoKevincameras already bought basically all Serenar 50/1.9's that are offered on ebay... damnit.


Yeah that's what I oughta do. No, that's what we all oughta do. It'll be like a code . . . yeah. When we say a lens is really bad, what we really mean is it's really good, eh?

Okay, from now on whenever we really like a camera or a lens, we gotta go on and on about how awful it is.

*sigh* But in the end, I don't think it'll make a damn bit of difference.

The GoKevinCameras disease will probably just have to run its course. He obviously thinks he's gonna corner the market on some items, or else why does he do what he does? What I wonder most is, who is crazy enough to pay his prices? Obviously somebody is, because he hasn't gone away yet.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

uhoh7 wrote:
And here's their cheapest:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Canon-RF-50-1-8-Rigid-158978-/390148552546?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item5ad6aa7762

thank god it's a little heavy..
just checked my new industar 61 L/D 129g whew...


That one looks essentially the same as mine, but mine just says "Serenar" where his says "Canon lens."

And you're right, it is heavy. That one little lens weighs as much as my lightweight entry-level EOS DSLR. Maybe even more. In fact, when mounted to my IIIa Canon rangefinder, the camera and lens weigh just as much as your average old mechanical SLR like a Nikkormat or an FTb. A solid chunk, it is.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you should that lens properly with its own canon p or 7 ... Cool


PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fish4570 wrote:
you should that lens properly with its own canon p or 7 ... Cool


Paul, I plan on scraping the funds together one of these days to buy a nice clean P. I owned one years ago and have always thought it was just about the best M39 camera I've ever used. But until then my old IIIa will just have to make do.



PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
uhoh7 wrote:
And here's their cheapest:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Canon-RF-50-1-8-Rigid-158978-/390148552546?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item5ad6aa7762

thank god it's a little heavy..
just checked my new industar 61 L/D 129g whew...


That one looks essentially the same as mine, but mine just says "Serenar" where his says "Canon lens."

And you're right, it is heavy. That one little lens weighs as much as my lightweight entry-level EOS DSLR. Maybe even more. In fact, when mounted to my IIIa Canon rangefinder, the camera and lens weigh just as much as your average old mechanical SLR like a Nikkormat or an FTb. A solid chunk, it is.


Well I did just find one of these and in the process I learned that like many canon RF lenses, the weight varies wildly between versions, even while optics remain the same.

for the 50 1.8

All chrome: 270 grams
v2 black focus ring 246 grams
v3 " 188 grams !!!

I managed to find a seemingly OK v3 this morning for market price:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rt=nc&nma=true&item=310294140842&si=qMtTkjvR3CbHigxahGnFrGYGh%252BY%253D&viewitem=&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT

you can v3 from v2 by the black nose, in v3 it has a little step down.


PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

look at this one go:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140508367380&ssPageName=STRK:MESINDXX:IT


Of course you never know, some auctions are hot.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This seems like a good deal if someone wants to grab it. I just bought from this seller and lens was good.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Canon-Rangefinder-50mm-f-1-8-Black-lens-Leica-M39-LTM-/200575234535?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item2eb33731e7


PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

uhoh7 wrote:
look at this one go:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140508367380&ssPageName=STRK:MESINDXX:IT


Of course you never know, some auctions are hot.


Like this one was. Guess the 35/1.8s are rare.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
uhoh7 wrote:
look at this one go:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140508367380&ssPageName=STRK:MESINDXX:IT


Of course you never know, some auctions are hot.


Like this one was. Guess the 35/1.8s are rare.


421, unbelievable. It must be the version somebody or 2 really want. The case is nice too, but I'd love to hear the back story on that bidding war.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bidding wars can get really interesting. When I first got started with eBay, I wound up in a few, and learned my lesson pretty quickly. Several years ago I sold off a basket-case 1975 Norton Commando Interstate motorcycle on eBay. Its left side cover, which is unique to the Interstate, and the one that gets lost, was the object of a bidding war between a guy in Corpus Christi, Texas and another guy in Hanover, Germany. By the time the dust had settled, the Hanover guy had won it for $500. For a side cover! Amazing.

As the seller, I was afraid the German would have buyer's remorse, but nope, he was glad to get it. And I sure didn't mind.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ha ha, great story

bit of smut:



PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

uhoh7 wrote:
ha ha, great story

bit of smut:



Smut indeed! Sorry, I just had to quote that photo because it looked so nice.

Now, I ask you, doesn't the NEX look as if it were made for that 1.8 Canon? What a match!