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Struggling to find "My" 50mm.


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So I've been through quite a few 50mm lenses in my time with Leica, perhaps that's one of the downfalls of having so many options, but as such I seem to be struggling to find one that really suits me. I might be close with the Elmar-M but even with my second copy there's just something... missing, something intangible.

 

So far I've tried the following 50s out.

 

From Leica:

50mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH - 11891

50mm f/2 Summicron-M V - 11826
50mm f/2 Summicron-M IV - 11819
50mm f/2.4 Summarit-M - 11680
50mm f/2.8 Elmar-M - 11831 x2
 
From Zeiss:
50mm f/1.5 C-Sonnar T*
50mm f/2 Planar T* x2
 
From Voigtlander:
50mm f/1.1 Nokton
50mm f/1.5 Nokton (LTM + M)
50mm f/2.5 Color Skopar LTM x2
 
From Konica:
50mm f/2 M-Hexanon
 
From Nikon:
5cm f/2 Nikkor-HC LTM
 
I just can't seem to find one that really sings to me. Each one has its merits and perhaps I'm being too picky since there ARE so many options, but as I try to hone in my lenses around ones that really speak to me, I want to get them locked in. For instance: I've grown quite fond of the 21mm Super Angulon and it is essentially mated to my M4, I love the way it draws, particularly for my black and white work and on the total opposite spectrum I'm growing more and more fond of my 35mm Summilux FLE. 
 
It's entirely possible that maybe I'm just in a season of life as a photographer where 50mm isn't "MY" focal length anymore and I just work with 21 and 35 for a while, who knows. But I suppose I'm just looking for something that seems missing. 
 
I'm sorry to write such a long and seemingly pointless post, I think I just needed a place to write down my thoughts. To those of you that find yourselves in similar positions having tried a multitude of lenses looking for "the one", did you ever find what you were looking for?
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All those 50mm lenses, wow are you overthinking and over gear-heading it. Just get a 50mm Summicron and get to making photographs. If you find you are not producing with it, then I hate to say it but it is your headspace, not the lens.   The character is best portrayed in the actual photograph, not a magic bullet in the lens it self.

Wow Monochromatic, this is a "first world problem" of the highest order.   I have several 50mm M lenses.  A few Summicrons(V4 Midland is my fave) Summarit, Elmars, Nokton, a russian fake Elmar (very nice actually) ,and a Canon.  I love them all for their various charms.  I leave the intangible qualities to the content of the images.  A great picture isn't made by the lens, its apparent content,  what people see makes a great picture.  Most humans cant see the difference between an Elmar and a Su

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Well I think because 35mm is my main lens and it happens to be a 1.4 I don't necessarily NEED to have a fast 50, but I to ENJOY a fast 50, though I feel that having a fast 50mm leads me to use the wide aperture as a crutch for weak images that just look nice due to their shallow depth of field. 

 

...and that does absolutely nothing to help. I'm the worst!

 

Let me take a step back and say that I'm trying to use fast apertures purely for their light gathering capabilities rather than for a specific aesthetic. Which is why I have never looked seriously at a Noctilux.

Edited by Abram
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Please test these three lenses and let me know if they "sing to you."

Noctilux 50mm f/.95

Noctilux 50mm f/1

7Artisan 50mm f/1.1

 

 

I don't have the budget to try the noctilux options, nor do I necessarily need their speed. If money were no object, sure I'd give it a shot.

 

 

I suspect you are confused by too many 50mm lenses. It is difficult to isolate lens performance among thousands of different experiences of using the lenses.

 

Entirely possible good sir. In fact that is probably the case. I've dug myself into a 50mm hole.

 

Try and borrow an older version of the Summicron. My original from 1966 has in no way been eclipsed or replaced by the recent model, particularly for portraiture.

 

I did borrow a Dual-Range Summicron once before and I did actually quite like that one, but I was a little put off by not being able to use it on digital, though it's my understanding the Rigid version is identical optically.

 

I bet you're looking for the 60mm 1.2 Konica Hexanon

 

Haha I like the way you think!

 

The current version Voigtlaander 50mm f/1.5

 

Excellent lens.

 

You're not wrong there! I actually think that may have been my favorite rendering amongst all the 50s I tried, but the catch was that I hated the ergonomics of the new one and didn't care for the build quality or sloppy aperture ring of the old one.

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Abram,

 

That is the thing I'm searching for (not really, it's for pleasure of searching

).

And not only for 50mm but all of nice lenses out there.

 

In 50mm, for years I'm searching something to "replace" my first love Summicron 50mm III (lens that I always use till today).

With time, my collection grows even if I had sold great part of those lenses.

 

Now, I use some 50mm M or other mounts in different ways as I learn to know them with time and pleasure.

 

Look at these 50mm (or try them if you can/want):

Summar, Summarit original 1.5, why not the "new" 2.5 (my present time prefered lens), Summicron "yellow", Summicron DR, then version I/II/III ...

Summilux I , II, [ as you  the Lux asph. sold also years ago ] , etc.

 

In Canon LTM, I use 1.2 , 1.4 and 1.8 each with different rendering/holding.

 

And (too) much more ...

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So much opportunity, so little delight. I have owned four 50mm lenses:

 

Noctilux 0.95 which I hated because of its huge weight and blockage of the viewfinder.

Voigtlander which was OK but nothing special. At least it is light.

Summilux 1.4 which was good but large and heavy.

APO Summicron which is the best by a long chalk. Resolution, contrast, weight, and size are all perfect. Who could ask for anything more than a lens designed for people who aren't built to lump around 700 grams of lens on umpteen kms of a country walk.

 

Noctilux = ideal for studio

Voigtlander = OK for cheap

Summilux = Best for value and quality

APO Summicron = Best ever

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Wow Monochromatic, this is a "first world problem" of the highest order.   I have several 50mm M lenses.  A few Summicrons(V4 Midland is my fave) Summarit, Elmars, Nokton, a russian fake Elmar (very nice actually) ,and a Canon.  I love them all for their various charms.  I leave the intangible qualities to the content of the images.  A great picture isn't made by the lens, its apparent content,  what people see makes a great picture.  Most humans cant see the difference between an Elmar and a Summicron when looking at a picture.  Having said that, 50mm is my favorite focal length. I find that i can do more with it than any other lens, as iv stated before; its a wide, its a tele and its everything in between!  The specific qualities of different lenses are personality.  They wont change the content of an image.  I find that iv made the best pictures when Im limited to one lens and get out there and just take/make pictures, pictures and more pictures, then some more pictures.  Stop thinking and start shooting as a photo mentor once told me.  There will be stinkers and there will be gems.  A great thing about photography is that the mistakes are rarely fatal.  Have fun...  

Edited by JohnnySeven
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You're not wrong there! I actually think that may have been my favorite rendering amongst all the 50s I tried, but the catch was that I hated the ergonomics of the new one and didn't care for the build quality or sloppy aperture ring of the old one.

 

I originally thought the same thing but after a little use it became very desirable. That focus ring everybody quibbles about id found very easy with the camera up to your eye. No bumping the aperture ring by accident.

 

The rendering is clean clear and smooth.

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Wow Monochromatic, this is a "first world problem" of the highest order.   I have several 50mm M lenses.  A few Summicrons(V4 Midland is my fave) Summarit, Elmars, Nokton, a russian fake Elmar (very nice actually) ,and a Canon.  I love them all for their various charms.  I leave the intangible qualities to the content of the images.  A great picture isn't made by the lens, its apparent content,  what people see makes a great picture.  Most humans cant see the difference between an Elmar and a Summicron when looking at a picture.  Having said that, 50mm is my favorite focal length. I find that i can do more with it than any other lens, as iv stated before; its a wide, its a tele and its everything in between!  The specific qualities of different lenses are personality.  They wont change the content of an image.  I find that iv made the best pictures when Im limited to one lens and get out there and just take/make pictures, pictures and more pictures, then some more pictures.  Stop thinking and start shooting as a photo mentor once told me.  There will be stinkers and there will be gems.  A great thing about photography is that the mistakes are rarely fatal.  Have fun...  

You are absolutely right on multiple fronts. 

 

1 - I completely agree that to viewers of my images, the lens itself has NOTHING to do with the content, it's merely looking for a preferred aesthetic, but yes. First world problem of the highest order.

2 - I try not to keep a lot of equipment for the very reason you mention, creative limitations, I typically only work with one lens at a time unless I am carrying two bodies (but even then the second body is just to use my wide angle) and I don't want to be burdened with choice when I'm out shooting, I'd rather just be shooting

 

I appreciate your reply!

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I would love to try one eventually, but can't swing that price-point. 

 

Borrow, rent it ?

 

I had try once .... nothing really special from it with my type of photos.

 

At final,

 

just take it as pleasure to try them

.

 

Why for me Summarit-M 2.5/50 is as good as another more expensive/heavy/bigger that one is the winner for now.

Edited by a.noctilux
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IMHO, the 50mm Noctilux(es) are great for experimenting for those who can afford one.

Has anyone found an esteemed critic mentioning a Noctilux? Or any particular lens?

Edited by pico
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