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Lens reviews
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Third version (last version)

This lens was introduced in 1979, as the final evolution of the reflex version of Summicron 50, probably the most successful Leica lens of modern times.
Compared to the first version of this lens, released in 1964, this third version features, just like the second version (introduced 1976) a completely recalculated optical scheme, and a completely different barrel design. The most important change is of course the optical redesign, which improves the performance of the lens wide open, and improves the sharpness too, perhaps (like someone says) a little at the expense of wide open bokeh. There is no optical difference between the second and third version of the lens, the latter one being compatible only with the R reflex cameras (thus not any more with Leicaflexes).
This Summicron-R 50 third version was ranked second in a poll between photojournalists who had to decide about the best 50mm reflex lens of all time (the winner was the Zeiss Planar 1.4/50 in the Contax version).
This Summicron-R 50 is a very useful lens that makes it possible for the amateur photographer to get a taste of Leica quality at an affordable price. The performance wide open suffers a slightly bit from vignetting, but already at f/2.8 it reaches top quality, that lasts throughout the whole aperture range.
The colours of this lens have that slight cool cast that is typical of Leica lenses. Some people love it (as it makes for more realistic skin rendering), some people don't, but the latter can easily fix the problem by adding a good skylight filter in front of the lens. Digital camera users don't even need to do that as most digital reflex today offer automatic white balance.
The images produced by this lens feature the remarkable detail and clarity that people usually associate with Leica lenses, and they are sure to never disappoint the demanding photography passionates.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cosina Wide-Angle 3.8/20 MC

My copy of this lens comes with the Nikon-F-mount and AI-functionality.
This lens is interesting since with its focal length of 20mm it provides wide angle photography even at a crop DSLR (at a Canon EOS 350D its FoV is similar to a 32mm lens at a full frame or film cam.)

The colours are nice and quite close to reality, contrast is fine but not too strong. The sharpness this lens produces is only mediocre and sometime leaves a bit to be wanted, especially when wide open. If you can shoot at f8, lack of sharpness is no issue any more.

Flaring is not a huge problem, either. In some difficult situations you can see some flares, but the coating seems to be a rather good one.

Some kind of drawback is the slight distortion. It is much better than you will find in most zoom lenses (even at 28mm) but it still is visible, also at a crop DSLR. So this Cosina is, as far as distortion is concerned, no match for the CZJ Flektogons which are much better corrected.

The best part of this lens is its price. You can get this lens for half the price of a Flek 4/20.

As a final verdict, I would say that the Cosina 3.8/20 will disappoint a pro but can be a very nice lens for somebody who looks for an affordable 20mm MF lens and is willing to accepts some faults that can be corrected with post-processing.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leica Elmarit-R 2.8/35 (first version)

I guess it is time to write about this lens that has amazed me from the first moment on I held it in my hands.

The Leica R Lens Price Guide (http://members.aol.com/dcolucci/b.htm) estimates this lens at about $150,-, whereas Kadlubek estimates it at about $296,- and in the 2007/08 FM list it is listed as approx. $220,-. If you watch this lens on ebay or ask sellers on a camera fair about this lens, you will see that a mint copy goes for between $200,- and $280,- in most cases.
I paid €100,- (ca. $140,-) for it, because it has not been cleaned beforehand. Kind of silly, really, but very good for me!

According to the serial number, my copy was built in 1964, in the first year this lens was produced. This might be another reason why I got it for such a "low" price. Furthermore it is, if Rarity Ratings is right, not a very rare lens. Well, as I said, good for me. I want to use it and not to find a collector's item.

Karen Nakamura (from Photoethnography) describes this lens like this: "The only wide-angle R lens that I have is the first generation 35mm f/2.8 Elmarit-R, which was originally released in 1964 for the Leicaflex. Mine is the first version 7-element in 5-group lens with 2-cams for the Leicaflex SL. The contrast on this is rather low and it flares out pretty easily. A hood is essential.
The 35mm Elmarit-R was recomputed in 1973, gaining a group (7 elements in 6 groups) and contrast is much higher. This version apparently has excellent close-up performance, even surpassing the 35mm Summicron-R.
" (See: http://www.photoethnography.com/ClassicCameras/index-frameset.html?Lens-R.html~mainFrame)

And the Japanese site "Play with lenses" (nice title) says: "This is the first Elmarit-R 35mm/f2.8 introduced in 1964. Very similar looking to Summicron-R 50mm/f2 (Type I). When you take this lens and you feel its density through its weight despite of its compactness. It suffers from flare, distortion and low contrast, however, thanks to the modern films which are too contrasty, would help this lens's defects turning into the advantages. Well stop-down is necessary if you require the best result ... With R7, you feel the dense force from it. And you can not resist against the temptation, better give it up!"[sic!] (See: http://rlfc.world.coocan.jp/PlaywLense/pwlensemenu.html)

Hmmm... these descriptions comply by no means to my experiences with the Elmarit (except the last sentence Wink).
If it "flares", I cannot really say, since I normally use a lens with a hood. In none of my frames so far I have realised some flare problems.
EDIT: After several test shots some in really demanding light conditions, I can say that "flares" are no problem at all if you use a hood! I don't know what these "reviewers" did. Shocked
"Distortion" must be a joke. But OK, this might be caused by me shooting with a crop-DSLR.
"Low contrast": I neither would call this a problem. Either I have fuzzy eyes, my lens provides more contrast than theirs or it again has to do with the fact that I shoot digitally. I cannot complain about the contrast behaviour of this Leica lens at all.
I will have to test the Elmarit on film, though.

The impressions that I got of this lens reads like this: a very sharp and contrasty lens that renders colours neutrally if not a little cooler than reality - perfect for skin colour. It is extremely well built and handles excellently. The apertures "snap in" and the focus ring turns very smoothly with a perfect level of resistance, a feeling that I like to call "velvety". It generates images that are both usable directly from the cam and perfect material for post-production.

It might be that this lens has the above mentioned drawbacks, but at a crop-DSLR such as my EOS 350D, this lens seems to be almost perfect. Thus I rated it with 9 /10 points on my lens website, a result that only the Nikkor-S.C 1.2/55 and the Nikkor-H 1.8/85 also were able to achieve. I would even rate it slightly better than one of my favourite lenses: Nikkor-O 2.0/35 (8.5/10 pts.)
(Just for comparison reasons: Yashica ML 2.8/28 - 8/10; Pentacon auto 1.8/50 - 7.5/10; Jupiter-9 2.0/85 - 8/10; Jupiter 37-A 3.5/135 - 8.5/10)

Last edited by LucisPictor on Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:53 pm; edited 5 times in total

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice reviews! Thanks!

PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leica Elmarit R 28/2.8 ROM (latest version)

I was fortunate enough to find this len used.
This lens is known as the best 28mm lens ever....
However, the older version is not so good.
The difference between the old and new version is that the new one has a built-in sliding square hood. The key word is Built-IN.
I took few shots with this lens, and it truely is a wonderful lens.
You really need to stop down only to have more DOF. The lens is tak sharp wide open.
The huge plus for this lens is that it can be cloe-focus because it has floating element...
The negative side of this lens is that it comes at a very high price...
$1200-$1300 used...
But, I've never regretted paying for it.
I wanted something wider than Canon 35/1.4L, which I had.
I sold the 35L to buy this lens...it's that good.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! A dream lens! Thank you for your report!!

PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

huhging wrote:
Leica Elmarit R 28/2.8 ROM (latest version)
The negative side of this lens is that it comes at a very high price...
$1200-$1300 used...

Here's one much cheaper… for now.
Click here to see on Ebay

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will have to see the end of the bidding as far as the price is concerned, but it really looks nice on the pictures...

Seller says...
There are some spots on the rear element however, this may or may no affect quality.

This is the only thing that kinda bothers me, but who knows...

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bobby, I bet you will not find a better zoom than your Leica 70-180!

As far as price-performance-ratio / value is concerned, I am convinced that the Tamron SP 60-300 is on of the best lenses around.

Last edited by LucisPictor on Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the wonderful reviews. Very Happy

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good information, thanks to all.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:02 pm    Post subject: Carl Zeiss Jena MC Sonnar 135mm (M42) f/3.5 Lens Review Reply with quote

Here is a good test of this lens

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:21 pm    Post subject: Vivitar Series 1 200mm f/3 Reply with quote

I have revised this review since I have now gotten to know this lens quite well. It has become one of a few select favorites. After getting used to the preciseness of the focus, I'm now getting a good crisp image. CA remains a problem in typical situations, but I have learned to deal with that as well. I first thought that f/3 was unusable due to purple fringing and ghosting around whites, but after receiving a hint from Boomer Depp I now know how and when to use it. Common sense, maybe, but in low light and the resulting low contrast f/3 produces reasonably sharp images with yet a soft look excellent for portraits and such. The wonderful bokeh yhis lens is known for comes out well at fully open with a creamy diffused look.

It is a wonderful close focus lens with a minimum distance of 120cm or just under four feet. Honestly, I thought I was even closer than that, so I suspect the distance is from the film plane and not the end of the lens. The contrast isn't high, but is easily adjusted for taste in post processing. When the focus is spot on, the lens produces very sharp images.

The lens has much more CA than I had expected; in fact, more than any other lens I've used. This requires one to use the lens cautiously in high CA type environments. Stopping down helps, but the improvement is more gradual than I would like. In the most severe situations, it may take f/11 to fully escape CA.

Once finding this lens' strengths and understanding its weaknesses, it can be a great contributor and provide wonderful results. They say there are better lenses from the period, and I'd imagine there are, but I don't have any better.

At f/3 in low light without harsh contrast:

Here are a few more, cropped and undocumented aperture:

Last edited by woodrim on Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:52 am; edited 1 time in total

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please use built in picture upload , thanks!

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, Attila. I will revise the review and offer better pictures as well.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woodrim wrote:
Sorry, Attila. I will revise the review and offer better pictures as well.

That is great! Thanks!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:58 pm    Post subject: Super-Takumar 1:2.8/105 Reply with quote

Hi folks,

I've just bought one of these pearls. I'd like to read your opinios about this outstanding lens.


PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Super-Takumar 1:2.8/105 Reply with quote

plais wrote:
Hi folks,

I've just bought one of these pearls. I'd like to read your opinios about this outstanding lens.


Welcome! Nice to see you here!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:47 am    Post subject: Have anyone posted a review of Spectra Duo-Focus f=140mm 1:4 Reply with quote

Have anyone posted a review of Spectra Duo-Focus f=140mm 1:4 Happy Dog