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Sean Reid on 35mm lenses for M8

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I can't see another thread on this so here goes: Sean's anticipated review is up in draft form and it makes extremely interesting reading.

 

I won't blow his franchise by repeating too much (pay if you haven't: it's worth ten times the price - make that twice for me, Sean) but all I can say is that I currently have a 35 cron recently returned from being fixed in Solms (it works now and what seemed to be truly excessive focus shift was in fact mild focus shift exacerbated by a general strong tendency to backfocus, now fixed) and a CV35 Skopar with Milich mount.

 

I drew my own rapid conclusions after several weeks with the 'old' 35 cron and about a day with the Skopar: the Skopar was a no-brainer. But with the new (fixed) 35 cron it has become clear, if I want to sell one of them (and I may,) which one it will be. And Sean's findings exactly match my own.

 

With one minor exception:

 

I was possibly (and unluckily) about the first one here to notice focus shift in everyday use with my original and replacement 35 Luxes. I quizzed Solms and they fessed up that this behaviour is characteristic of some asph lenses, especially the 35 lux and less so the 35 cron. So I got a 35 cron and had... issues. Now that lens is fixed I can see how much less significant focus shift is than it seems when the lens is also a chronic back-focus monster.

 

However... and back to my point of minor difference with Sean, neither of my 35 luxes were backfocussers, just focus shifters. As confirmed by Solms. And yet I noticed the backfocus behaviour in everyday use and before I knew even to look for it when I did a shoot in Venice earlier this year. I would get back to my hotel, look at the shots at 100% on screen, and most of my 50 lux shots were crispy sharp but a lot of the 35 lux shots were not quite there.

 

After much painful experimentation with tripods and rulers and so on (never previously my field of interest) I confirmed my suspicions about what I thought was happening.

 

My conclusion: some of the behaviour we see is due to badly calibrated lenses, or rangefinders, or both. But when you ex-out all that it is nonetheless my experience that the backfocus characteristic of some of these lenses is not just a 'lab thing': it makes real differences to real images shot by hand and printed to A3 size. Hell, sometimes you can even spot it with a sharp eye when you see a large JPEG on screen at normal (not 100%) size.

 

However, there are other reasons why you might not want to abandon the guilty pieces of glass. But you'll have to Reid Sean (pun) to find out what they are!

 

Best

 

Tim

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I can't see another thread on this so here goes: Sean's anticipated review is up in draft form and it makes extremely interesting reading.

 

I won't blow his franchise by repeating too much (pay if you haven't: it's worth ten times the price - make that twice for me, Sean) but all I can say is that I currently have a 35 cron recently returned from being fixed in Solms (it works now and what seemed to be truly excessive focus shift was in fact mild focus shift exacerbated by a general strong tendency to backfocus, now fixed) and a CV35 Skopar with Milich mount.

 

I drew my own rapid conclusions after several weeks with the 'old' 35 cron and about a day with the Skopar: the Skopar was a no-brainer. But with the new (fixed) 35 cron it has become clear, if I want to sell one of them (and I may,) which one it will be. And Sean's findings exactly match my own.

 

However, there are other reasons why you might not want to abandon the guilty pieces of glass. But you'll have to Reid Sean (pun) to find out what they are!

 

Best

 

Tim

 

 

I am a Sean Reid subscriber and have read the interesting 35mm lens article. I agree with his conclusions. I would love to afford Leica glass but the CV lenses are fine until then, even exceptional lenses considering their cost. I would like to think that a $3500 lens comes calibrated from the factory, but apparently in some cases, not.

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I've been waiting for this article, will subscribe now. I bought a 35 Skopar for my M2 partly because Sean referred to it in another thread gave me some advice. I also use a 25 Skopar on my lllf which is superb.

 

So far I've not been disappointed with the 35. I'd love a new Summicron of course but needs must. I'm interested to see exactly what he's found in comparison....

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No complaints here about the 35 asph lux. Mine's killer. I even tried a 35asph cron to see if I'd prefer the look of the cron as a different look to be combined with 50 asph lux. The cron's currently on the big auction site as I decided I prefer the look of the lux. It's my favorite all-everything lens on the M8.

 

Kurt

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I was possibly (and unluckily) about the first one here to notice focus shift in everyday use with my original and replacement 35 Luxes.

 

I think the long thread you started did bring the problem to a head but I remember alluding to the issue a short while before in a couple of threads here and here (although I was wrong about my 50 ASPH - that lens simply back focusses:( ). My own 35/F1.4 showed a marked shift between F1.4 and F4. Solms examined it (and the M8 I used it with) and returned it as being within spec. They had adjusted the rangfinder but the lens still exhibited the shift. Rather than get into a long argument with them, I simply sold the lens and bought a 'cron (which has always been fine).

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MY 35mm LUX IS FINALLY FIXED!

You probably don't remember, but I posted on February 18:

 

"35mm Lenses ??? . . . Or is it just my luck?",

 

in which I detailed my problems with the 35 Cron and two 35 Luxes. Soon after, I sent the lens to Leica NJ to be coded and the focus problem fixed. Leica NJ sent the lens to Solms. 16 weeks later I got it back--still mis-focusing as always and not coded as I had requested (despite an instruction tag attached to the lens and Leica's work order clearly stating the work to be done). Later, I sent the other Lux to be shimmed and it was returned in the same miserable state.

 

Being somewhat annoyed, I carefully determined the amount the lens elements needed to be shimmed outward to eliminate the backfocus and place the plane of focus in the sweet spot. I was then fortunate enough to convince Leica to fix the lens by doing what *I* wanted, instead of what *they* wanted. Three weeks later the lens was returned, and guess what? The lens now focuses well at all distances and f stops. I HAVE YET TO GET AN OUT OF FOCUS PICTURE since its return. The lens does have its quirks but it is one sharp piece of glass. I wish all my lenses were as good as it is.

 

The 35 Cron and the other Lux are at Leica now for the same fix. If there is enough interest, I'll post a detailed account of the procedure used.

 

Dale

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Being somewhat annoyed, I carefully determined the amount the lens elements needed to be shimmed outward to eliminate the backfocus and place the plane of focus in the sweet spot. I was then fortunate enough to convince Leica to fix the lens by doing what *I* wanted, instead of what *they* wanted.

 

Interesting. I need to send my 50 ASPH back to Leica (for the second time) to get them to fix a consistent back focus (with two bodies - all other lenses fine). I'll certainly be interested to know what your procedure was for determining the exact nature of the problem (and the amount of shimming necessary).

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Thanks for mentioning the article Tim. A few comments:

 

1) The second copy of the 35/1.4 Asph is here now and I am currently processing a reshoot of the res. tests. This copy is fine, the other must have been damaged in press use.

 

2) I did see and discuss focus shift in the first 35/1.4 Asph (and it wasn't the only lens to show it) but the shift was not dramatic. Tim, I did also test at about 15-20 feet. Will test the 2nd 35/1.4 for focus shift shortly. The test pics for focus shift are in the article.

 

3) This is up in draft form because of the 6/30 order deadline (some people asked me to publish before then if possible). Look to see a fuller version by next week.

 

All six lenses, of course, were carefully tested for focus shift.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Tim--

I'm glad that after all your effort at defining the problem with the 35/2, Leica was able to solve it (finally).

 

I'm glad also that it arose from a combination of a design feature (focus shift) and an assembly error (backfocus)--but that leaves open the question why you needed to go through so much difficulty (not to mention so many lenses) before Leica could "get it."

 

I'm not trying to be ironic. I think we have all come out ahead because of your efforts and Leica's efforts in your behalf. With all the initial M8 problems they had, perhaps we can understand why it took so long to correct the difficulties you had unearthed.

 

In addition, you've probably seen the announcement in LFI 5/2007 that in the next issue they will indeed publish the previously promised article on focus shift with certain M lenses. Perhaps the gods of irony are finally demanding their due.

 

--HC

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Tim!!

 

I'm so glad you finally have a working Leica 35! Woohoo! Now we can drink beer and just compare the lux (razor sharp as it is) and cron at various apertures

 

On a related note, my most recent M lens--a used 75 Lux--is now in spec and no longer front focuses (well, perhaps the tiniest eeensy weensy bit at 1.4 close focused, but it's truly negligible),

 

I sent it to Kindermann Canada, and after an initial test they told me the lens was actually quite off and couldn't attain infinity focus

$75 later they gave it back to me, and on the M8 it's, well, wonderful!

 

@ Sean,

 

I read the review and though it's a work in progress it's still great! I'm also glad to hear your experience with the 35 Lux on the M8 mirrors mine too--I didn't like having the only magic lens around here!

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Sean, What's the colour difference in the CA test shots between all other lenses and the Nokton?.

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Guest Olof

 

I rellay would like to get a subscription, but his subscription homepages is badly programmed and he is not really interested to give a better service or a clear instruction how it will be possible to get a subsciption

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Interesting review - thanks Sean. I have to admit to rarely having noticed the softness of my 35 Biogon in real life and I do use f2.0 a bit. I think the high contrast it has, tends to fool the eye into thinking that the sharpness is better than it actually is. A number of other reviewers have wondered if Zeiss pushed the lens beyond its 'natural' limits, when going from f2.8 to f2. You wonder if a wiser decision might have been to work on the 35mm f2.0 Planar G to improve its unpleasant bokeh and get a smoother transition from in focus to out of focus. The one thing it could never have been accused of was not being sharp at f2.0. It would also have been considerably more compact than the 9 element Biogon. Maybe they will bring out an f1.4/1.5 version of this lens - should be a good seller if they get it right.

 

Wilson

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Olof,

 

Whats the problem with either the registration or viewing reading the reviews? im not affiliated with reid, only a customer also "salesperson" and even for me his reviews/comparisons are priceless.

 

That one cant print them out i find not relevant, and then i guess his price would been higher, imagine the time it takes just to arrange all thoose test/cyandrift shots.

 

if i would dare to complain about anything there, it must be that it sometimes when you open an article it doesnt start at the top, but then again even i can scroll to the top.

 

if you find them poorly "designed/coded" i would ask, is that why you want to read them in the first place? and the link for ordering a subrscription is on the bottom of the front page.

 

just my two cents, and as a "fairly" new leica user but older rd1s user, i would say hes done quite alot of work on the important parts, the review.

 

 

moan..

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/images/smilies/smile.gif

are/marmelade

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The only very minor beef I have about the way the site works (and this may only apply to Mac users) is that it does not seem to support a cookie for sign on and I have to type my user name and password every time - otherwise one of my favourite sites.

 

Wilson

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Sean, the hood on the 35 Lux is the 28 Elmarit pre-Asph/28 Cron hood. You can even read the text 2.8/28 on your photo

Someone messed up. Interestingly, on the M8, the 35 Lux hood is meant to fit well on the 28 Cron, and is thus smaller, to match the crop factor.

 

What is the waiting list like for the 35 Lux for the 30% people?

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Interestingly, on the M8, the 35 Lux hood is meant to fit well on the 28 Cron, and is thus smaller, to match the crop factor.

 

Yes, this is true. I ditched the box-like hood that came with the 28 'cron in favour of the slightly more compact 35/F1.4 hood. The latter fits perfectly.

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The only very minor beef I have about the way the site works (and this may only apply to Mac users) is that it does not seem to support a cookie for sign on and I have to type my user name and password every time - otherwise one of my favourite sites.

 

Wilson

 

LIke the M8, Sean's site is quirky (esp for Mac users) and sometimes awkward but like the M8, its worth having IMO.

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I drew my own rapid conclusions after several weeks with the 'old' 35 cron and about a day with the Skopar: the Skopar was a no-brainer. But with the new (fixed) 35 cron it has become clear, if I want to sell one of them (and I may,) which one it will be. And Sean's findings exactly match my own.

 

Best

 

Tim

 

 

Tim,

Just for curiosity. Which one would you let go? I have the cron asph and the color skopar and the cron has become the body cap on my M8. The USD 200 Skopar is a surprisingly strong performer, but I think there is something special with shots taken with the cron. But then my eyes might see what I wish them to see (subconsciously I might doubt that something costing ten time less is almost as good as the premium product). However, I'll keep the Skopar, since as a backup it is of higher value to me than the tied-up money of some USD 150 a resale might bring.

 

Cheers

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