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Recommendations for a 50f1.4 or faster


ktmrider2
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I own the latest version of the 50 Summicron and looking for a faster 50.  I know this is a Leica lens forum but frankly I think most new Leica lenses are way over priced.  I can afford them but I really don't like wearing jewelry.  And I do not want to offend anyone with this comment.  If you think the latest offerings from Leitz are worth the money, then by all means go for it.

 

I recently sold my Leica M and returned to film with M2 and M5 bodies.  I am leaning toward the 50f1.1 Nokton or the 50f1.5 from Zeiss or the pre ASPH Summilux.   I have been told that focus shift is not an issue using the 50f1.5 Zeiss on film.  Can anyone comment on this?  I would also like to hear from users of the 50 f1.5 ASPH Nokton and the 50 f1.1 Nokton.

 

Thanks in advance.

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I think the ZM depends on it's optimization. I used a f/1.5 optimized one for a short while, and it was sharp at f/1.5, and then not again till f/8. That was on Fomapan 400 film so pretty grainy, but still very noticeable. I think if it's f/2.8 optimized it should be better through the middle, but then out at f/1.5. I wouldn't get it as my only 50. I'd get a pre-asph summilux instead - I've no experience with the Noktons. 

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Depends if you need sharpness at f/1.4 or not. If so, the "jewel" 50/1.4 ash is the way to go. If you prefer more softness there the ZM 50/1.5 has a lot of character but suffers from focus shift as explained above. Less so on film than digital though. Otherwise, the "legacy jewel" 50/1.4 offers perhaps the best compromise. It is a bit soft at f/1.4, but less so than the ZM 50/1.5, and is plenty sharp at f:2 and on in the center of the frame at least. It has also no focus shift contrary to the ZM. I have no experience with CV 50/1.1 or 50/1.5 sorry. 

Edited by lct
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Leica ASPH 50/1.4 Summilux

Hunt it used for around $2400

 

Just bite the bullet and be done with it.

Theres nothing better. Sharp, fast, nice bokeh, no focus shift issues, no resolution issues, its a good size and a good weight.

 

Anything else you buy will ultimately be a step on the road to just getting what you really want - this lens.

If 50mm is an important focal lenght for you, this is the lens you need.

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The latest voigtlander 1.5/50 is worth a try. It also looks very cool, I case that matters. Even in black

If you swallow it, however, get the latest Summilux, if 50mm is your thing and sell all other 50s for it. The Nokton 1.1 is a bit more tricky. Much larger, focus shift, etc. Would not be my only 50.
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The Voigtlander 1.5 is a good cost / performance / quality mix, but there still can be some variation sample to sample. I returned one for focus calibration, and the replacement isn't quite as good as the older LTM version I have, which is very nice, and stays on my M5. Another good performer is the Canon 1.4 in LTM mount. The older Canon 1.5 is a Sonar design, and has obvious focus shift like the Zeiss. The older non-ASPH Summilux is also very nice, especially on film

Overall I still prefer my Summicron images.

It is true that most complaints of focus shift are on digital, as the sensor is less forgiving, and people look at much higher magnification.

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Go with the latest asph. I fully respect your opinion about jewelry and normally I would agree with the overpriced comment, I also was also very sceptic before, but, trust me, the latest lux asph is extremely good. Far better than anything I have tested. I just can't say anything negative on it. It's small, balances good on the M and just renders absolutely gorgeous! It's not that hard to find used for around 2000eur, and if that is within your budget, go for it, it will be the last 50 you ever need to buy!

 

The question you need to ask yourself is if you are buying a faster lens where you will use f1.4 regularly or if you are just buying a faster lens where you occasionally will use f1.4. If you will use f1.4 there is nothing better (or in my opinion priceworth) than the Lux asph 1.4.

Edited by mmx_2
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One of the lens factors that is important to me is viewfinder blockage.  In reviews of lenses for the M cameras - the Leica lenses almost universally have the least finder blockage among  lenses with the same maximum aperture.  I suspect that building a good small lens is more expensive than a comparable larger one.

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Ktmrider, I bought my Summilux 50/1.4 Asph. at less than 2000 euros. I think it's a lens worth buying and keep its value. 

I had the chance to try similar lenses from other producers and, even if the price is a little lower, the quality is not the same.

To me is the best lens I've ever had.

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I would agree with the consensus on here.

 

Of all the Leica lenses available, the one least like 'jewellery' and worth every penny is the Summilux 50 1.4 ASPH. The current one.

 

I bought mine used but boxed and mint for £2000 (about $2500 at current exchange rates) and it was the best £2000 I have ever spent on photography gear.

 

There are opportunities elsewhere to buy non Leica and getting a good result, but for a fast 50, the current Summilux should be a 'no brainier'.

 

If you can afford it, just buy it.

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I own the 50mm Nokton 1.5 VM and the Summilux ASPH. I have also owned the Nokton 1.1.

 

The 1.1 is a nice lens but the focus shift is substantial. I think you'd still need to adjust for it even on film. Like many ultra fast lenses (even my current Noctilux) it fringes terribly with backlight until about f4. It renders nicely. It's not as good as the CV 1.5 or Summilux at comparable apertures. I think of it as a speciality lens not an every day driver. I wouldn't buy it again on a rangefinder but it'd be fun on the SL.

 

The comparison between the Nokton 1.5 VM and Summilux is more difficult. Mostly I would say the CV is 95% of the Summilux. I like the styling and handing over the 'lux, but I realise I'm in the minority on that. It's not quite as sharp as the Summilux wide open but it's fantastic just a stop down and seem a bit more consistent across the frame (no mid zone dip) than the 'lux. It's made beautifully and it's lighter than the Leica.

 

Occasionally though, the Summilux does produces images that I can't quite get from the CV. Just a different transition from the focus to out of focused parts of the image.

 

I've said more than once that I'm going to sell my Summilux ASPH and keep the Nokton. But I still haven't. And probably won't. It's just hard to put my finger on exactly why. There's something to the 5% that makes me keep the Leica.

 

Gordon

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(...) Another good performer is the Canon 1.4 in LTM mount.

 

It depends.The lens is good for black and white photography, but I found it terrible on color and digital. It may be called the Japanese Summilux. but as far as my experience went, even the oldest Summilux lenses from Leica are much better than the Canon.

 

I sold mine because my Summicron was utterly superior and way smaller. But to be honest, I miss that lens from time to time. I really liked the bokeh and the character, maybe I will buy another copy one day.

 

Furthermore, I would chose any pre-asph Summilux over every Voigtländer, especially the Nokton 1.1.

Edited by vanGeist
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I would agree with the consensus on here.

 

Of all the Leica lenses available, the one least like 'jewellery' and worth every penny is the Summilux 50 1.4 ASPH. The current one.

 

I bought mine used but boxed and mint for £2000 (about $2500 at current exchange rates) and it was the best £2000 I have ever spent on photography gear.

 

There are opportunities elsewhere to buy non Leica and getting a good result, but for a fast 50, the current Summilux should be a 'no brainier'.

 

If you can afford it, just buy it.

 

 

I completely agree, and then paired with a 28 Summicron it is two-lens heaven.

 

The only reason I tend to use it less now is because I did buy some very nice 50mm jewellery - an APO-50 Summicron ;-)

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It depends.The lens is good for black and white photography, but I found it terrible on color and digital. It may be called the Japanese Summilux. but as far as my experience went, even the oldest Summilux lenses from Leica are much better than the Canon.

 

I sold mine because my Summicron was utterly superior and way smaller. But to be honest, I miss that lens from time to time. I really liked the bokeh and the character, maybe I will buy another copy one day.

 

Furthermore, I would chose any pre-asph Summilux over every Voigtländer, especially the Nokton 1.1.

Quite possible on the Canon: I've used mine almost always on B&W film, which I shoot more than digital.
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Well, I have not had a chance to handle most of these lenses and see how well they balance.  I live in a city of 1 million and no camera stores, much less a Leica dealer.  I have heard really good things about the 50 f1.5 Nokton.  Since I already have a 35f1.2 I am not sure I need the 50f1.1 and it is a big lens.

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