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Sean Reid on 35mm lenses for M8

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Sean, I agree with you - as I did in my previous message - on having the second lens tested; as well, I think your reviews are between the best I have ever seen on the net, and I do appreciate your sharing of information on the lenses tested; I haven't seen this done elsewhere. Maybe you misunderstood my message, but there is no need to get so defensive :biggrin: One more question, once you get a press lens that looks evidently worn out - why don't you immediately ask Leica or whichever manufacture for a (better) replacement? This would save you lot of time for repeated tests and free some time for other work :biggrin:

 

As far as the 85mm, I am very much looking to your opinion on it - I think that size, closest focus at only 1m, frame lines, would all be potential things to think about when putting it against Leica 75mm f2 or 90mm f2: I have the latter, am waiting for the former to arrive here, and I have been thinking about getting the Zeiss instead; I am really looking forward to see how the Zeiss will fare in IQ against these! :smile:

 

Best,

 

Vieri

 

Hi Vieri,

 

I'm glad it came up because I expected some people would wonder about this. If I sent back every worn looking press lens, alas, there would be far fewer lens articles. Companies don't always have multiple press copies of a given lens available and just getting all of the needed lenses in place at once can be a challenge.

 

This whole idea of "defensiveness" is partly a creation of the pop psychology/Dr.Phil era <G>. Debate is fine and each side should try to support his or her assertions. Plato, in the Dr. Phil world, would be seen as quite defensive.

 

I'll start testing the Zeiss against the 90s as soon as I can.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Interesting review Sean.

 

I too am waiting for my up-to-spec 35 Summilux ASPH as the first one was sadly below expectations.

 

And I will keep on buying Leica products because they have consistently satisfied me in the past and I am confident that they will get me a good one this time.

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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

 

I don't want to uncover too much of what Sean has said but from my own observations, I would keep the Skopar: it is beautifully sharp on centre and with no appreciable focus shift; it is smaller and lighter and less conspicuous; and though its edge sharpness and maximum aperture are not up to the Cron's standards I'd rather have the centre in focus than the edge, if I had to choose! Also, I just like the way images from it look. A touch more contrasty, possibly, but in a hard to define way. Maybe micro contrast is stronger. In any event the shots have great immediacy without looking overcooked or harsh.

 

TIm

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As many of you know I just returned from a trip to Leica with Guy Mancuso and others. We had a factory tour and got to see how the final QC is done which is something not usually covered on the tour. The lens under test is put into a custom jig where a test image containing hundreds of cross hairs is projected on to a scree at about 5x8 feet. The operator who is a very skilled technician then observes the cross hairs looking for focus and distortion issues which are fairly easy to spot. This is done with the lens wide open. Every single lens which leaves the factory undergoes this test. I grant that apparently bad lenses slip through now and then but it is hard to imagine how given what we saw. Anyway, probably just more useless information but we all found it a pretty remarkable outgoing QC test.

 

Woody Spedden

 

Hi Woody,

 

I've had two (one 35 cron and one 28 cron) that didn't focus correctly wide open on the M8 from new so either they got rushed and sloppy, or there is something in the test rig that does not accurately emulate the way the lenses perform on the M8? I also think that to set up a mid-wide ASPH correctly, you'd need to ensure that wide open, the point of focus was at the front of the narrow DOF otherwise focus shift will be worse... so it sounds like the wide open test is too simple for some glass?

 

Best

 

Tim

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Sean, I agree with you - as I did in my previous message - on having the second lens tested; as well, I think your reviews are between the best I have ever seen on the net, and I do appreciate your sharing of information on the lenses tested; I haven't seen this done elsewhere. Maybe you misunderstood my message, but there is no need to get so defensive :biggrin: One more question, once you get a press lens that looks evidently worn out - why don't you immediately ask Leica or whichever manufacture for a (better) replacement? This would save you lot of time for repeated tests and free some time for other work :biggrin:

 

As far as the 85mm, I am very much looking to your opinion on it - I think that size, closest focus at only 1m, frame lines, would all be potential things to think about when putting it against Leica 75mm f2 or 90mm f2: I have the latter, am waiting for the former to arrive here, and I have been thinking about getting the Zeiss instead; I am really looking forward to see how the Zeiss will fare in IQ against these! :smile:

 

Best,

 

Vieri

 

My personal feeling is that if Leica sends out a press lens then it's reasonable to assume that they stand behind the way it performs. I am glad that they don't 'groom' special lenses for the press but I do at least think they should send out kit that they have had a technician give the once-over. After all, they are sending it out to represent their product, to be tested and to be assessed and so you'd think that this was in their best interests??

 

 

Tim

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Sean, your conclusion of the Nokton seems very dependent on the size of it, and how much it blocks the viewfinder. Ignoring those two aspects, how do you find the results compare for portraits, for example? There aren't any comparative portraits in the review, which is a shame, really.

 

As an aside, you refer to the 35 Summilux ASPH. as the 35 Summilux Aspherical at least once, and I think more often. There is actually a lens with that very name, but it is not the same one, but an older, two-aspherical-element hand-built one which is very rare and expensive!

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Sean, your conclusion of the Nokton seems very dependent on the size of it, and how much it blocks the viewfinder. Ignoring those two aspects, how do you find the results compare for portraits, for example? There aren't any comparative portraits in the review, which is a shame, really.

 

As an aside, you refer to the 35 Summilux ASPH. as the 35 Summilux Aspherical at least once, and I think more often. There is actually a lens with that very name, but it is not the same one, but an older, two-aspherical-element hand-built one which is very rare and expensive!

 

Hi Carsten,

 

You must have missed the intro. This is a draft article with no general illustrations at all and some sections not yet finished. Anyone who doesn't want to read a draft (and I can understand that POV) should skip this and check in next week. I wish people would read more carefully.

 

Both of those lenses were referred to as the 35 Summilux Aspherical or (in shorter form) 35 Summilux ASPH. The abbreviation of the word "Aspherical" does not distinguish them. There was a version one and now the current version, which is the lens model tested.

 

Before anyone else finds fault with what is missing in the article, please wait for the final draft. This draft went up for those who wanted to see it before the 6/30 deadline. I could opt not to publish drafts (most people don't) but I had requests for this from people wanting to decide on 35 before 6/30.

 

Regarding the Nokton...it's quite sharp even wide open so as a portrait lens it will draw with a razor's edge at the plane of focus. OOF to be discussed once tests are done.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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My personal feeling is that if Leica sends out a press lens then it's reasonable to assume that they stand behind the way it performs. I am glad that they don't 'groom' special lenses for the press but I do at least think they should send out kit that they have had a technician give the once-over. After all, they are sending it out to represent their product, to be tested and to be assessed and so you'd think that this was in their best interests??

 

 

Tim

 

One would wish for that but its not necessarily the case for any of the manufacturers.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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My personal feeling is that if Leica sends out a press lens then it's reasonable to assume that they stand behind the way it performs. I am glad that they don't 'groom' special lenses for the press but I do at least think they should send out kit that they have had a technician give the once-over. After all, they are sending it out to represent their product, to be tested and to be assessed and so you'd think that this was in their best interests??

 

 

Tim

 

Tim,

 

In this case it would seem they have "groomed" the Lux by playing football with it. I suspect that the press lenses are dealt with by the PR department and having dealt with quite a few PR departments over the years, I would have to admit to being not wholly impressed by their level of technical knowledge. Column inches are about all they seem to understand or care about.

 

Wilson

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Sean - Thank you for an interesting review, I had been looking forward to it's publication.

 

I am curious about one thing though; you have a choice of lens for your own work, and whilst I understand your requirements for low light shooting, you concede that you use the Skopar 2.5 often. If it does not disclose too much information for this forum, are there subject types and conditions when you select the Skopar for it's imaging qualities rather than it's size and weight benefits?

 

.....................Chris

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Carsten--

As I use the Nokton more and more, I find that it compares well in its "look" to my 35mm v.4 pre-aspheric Summicron. Admittedly, the only Leica Aspheric lens I presently own is the 24, as I like, for B&W, the look of the last generation lenses.

 

Sean--

I actually based my purchase of the Nokton on your original review, which appeared in LL, combined with the price of the 35mm ASPH Summilux. As I tend to only use it when I need the extra speed, I'm pretty happy. Your review of the 28's was a significant factor in my decision to order the 28mm Summicron as my -30% lens. Thanks for the continued great reviews and useful information.

 

--Norm

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Hi Carsten,

 

You must have missed the intro. This is a draft article with no general illustrations at all and some sections not yet finished. Anyone who doesn't want to read a draft (and I can understand that POV) should skip this and check in next week. I wish people would read more carefully.

 

Sorry, I did skim a bit to get to the parts I was interested in, and I had missed that portraits were coming.

 

Both of those lenses were referred to as the 35 Summilux Aspherical or (in shorter form) 35 Summilux ASPH. The abbreviation of the word "Aspherical" does not distinguish them. There was a version one and now the current version, which is the lens model tested.

 

I don't know what you mean with "does not distinguish them". As soon as you use aspherical, you are talking about version 1. The proper names of the two lenses are:

 

Leica Summilux-M 1:1.4/35mm Aspherical (1st version)

Leica Summilux-M 1:1.4/35mm ASPH. (2nd version)

 

The capitalisation of the Aspherical does vary a bit. On both lenses, it is written in all caps. I have seen the period left out of the second one. However, one is the full word, the other is the first four letters, almost invariably capitalised. The way I have written it above is the usual way of writing it, formally.

 

Have you seen any reference material which does not distinguish in this way? The documentation for the lenses does, as does Erwin Puts' "Leica Lens Compendium" and Lindemann's "The Leica Pocket Book"/"Leica Taschenbuch".

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Hi Carsten,

 

To the extent that it may be used, it is an odd distinction. ASPH, of course, is just an abbreviation for Aspherical. Note how the lens is described here:

leica 35 summilux

 

To me, it makes more sense to distinguish between the first and second generation of this lens. I have worked with both. If the convention is to spell things out for one lens and to abbreviate for the other, I think I must break from convention.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Carsten--

As I use the Nokton more and more, I find that it compares well in its "look" to my 35mm v.4 pre-aspheric Summicron. Admittedly, the only Leica Aspheric lens I presently own is the 24, as I like, for B&W, the look of the last generation lenses.

 

Sean--

I actually based my purchase of the Nokton on your original review, which appeared in LL, combined with the price of the 35mm ASPH Summilux. As I tend to only use it when I need the extra speed, I'm pretty happy. Your review of the 28's was a significant factor in my decision to order the 28mm Summicron as my -30% lens. Thanks for the continued great reviews and useful information.

 

--Norm

 

Thanks very much Norm. I'm glad those lenses have worked out well for you.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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To the extent that it may be used, it is an odd distinction. ASPH, of course, is just an abbreviation for Aspherical.

 

I'm not sure it is odd as such - it is simply the way that the lenses are engraved by Leica on the front. For whatever reason Leica decided to engrave ASPHERICAL on the first version.

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Sean, I am not trying to force you to switch

It is just that by convention, since the only distinction Leica made between the two was to spell aspherical out on the first one and abbreviate it on the second, this is the general convention. If you break that, you may confuse some people. That is all I mean.

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Sean, I am not trying to force you to switch It is just that by convention, since the only distinction Leica made between the two was to spell aspherical out on the first one and abbreviate it on the second, this is the general convention. If you break that, you may confuse some people. That is all I mean.

 

Hi Carsten,

 

OK, I'll try to remember that. Did you see the B+H link? That convention shows the same wild creativity that we see in cameras named the Digilux 2 and D-Lux 2. <G> BTW, I prefer the second version of the lens.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Sean - Thank you for an interesting review, I had been looking forward to it's publication.

 

I am curious about one thing though; you have a choice of lens for your own work, and whilst I understand your requirements for low light shooting, you concede that you use the Skopar 2.5 often. If it does not disclose too much information for this forum, are there subject types and conditions when you select the Skopar for it's imaging qualities rather than it's size and weight benefits?

 

.....................Chris

 

I like the Skopar for just about anything where F/2.5 is fast enough. So, that's most of my work outdoors. I like the way the lens draws, somewhere in between the modern high res. high contrast style and the older, softer, lower contrast style.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Hi Carsten,

 

OK, I'll try to remember that. Did you see the B+H link? That convention shows the same wild creativity that we see in cameras named the Digilux 2 and D-Lux 2. <G> BTW, I prefer the second version of the lens.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

 

You prefer the second version? Do you mean that you have tried an Aspherical *and* an ASPH version? The first one is very rare and goes for something like $5-6000. It is meant to be almost identical in performance.

 

I did see the B+H link, but as a quick search on Google will reveal, online is not very authoritative for correctness

My books all treat the nomenclature the same, as far as I can see, but online is all over the place.

 

The Leica order numbers are 11873 (Aspherical) and 11874 black (ASPH), 11883 chrome (ASPH), 11859 titanium (ASPH), btw.

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You prefer the second version? Do you mean that you have tried an Aspherical *and* an ASPH version? The first one is very rare and goes for something like $5-6000. It is meant to be almost identical in performance.

 

The Leica order numbers are 11873 (Aspherical) and 11874 black (ASPH), 11883 chrome (ASPH), 11859 titanium (ASPH), btw.

 

Carsten,

 

Sounds like one to sit in the display cabinet alongside your titanium bodied, iridium plated, dodo skin covered M6.

 

Wilson

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