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Struggling to find "My" 50mm.


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I do appreciate your thoughts everyone, I was being intentionally a little vague with my post in that I was trying to see what kind of responses I would get. I know I am over-thinking it and in the end I'll just pick one and be done with it, but I like seeing the opinions you all have. When I shot with Canon's EOS system for many years my favorite 50mm was the 50mm f/1.2L as it gave me the perfect combination of light-gathering, pleasant rendering and detail. I think I've been trying to find something similar to that aesthetic. I absolutely DO NOT CARE about bokeh quality. As long as it doesn't look absolutely terrible, it is completely fine in my book.

 

Another reason the list of 50s is so long is because I have had issues with various ergonomic concerns or build quality. For instance my 50mm Summilux ASPH required two separate rounds of focus adjustment just to get it to be accurate, had oil on the aperture blades from day one and ultimately fell apart into two pieces. Great lens or not, when you spend north of $2000 on a piece of equipment you kind of expect something better than that. I've had multiple such experiences with Leica equipment and I don't directly wish to bash them as their tools are all that I use, it does create a certain level of mistrust and doubt in ones toolkit (which is what causes me to sell things off and start over so frequently because I have so many problems and I've spent so much money on repairs). 

 

I'll just chalk it up to bad luck, ha, still hasn't been enough to drive me away from the brand.

 

Anyways, here are some links to some of my work, there's a diverse list of equipment used throughout but I always seem to come back to the 21mm through 50mm range of focal lengths. 

 

http://www.abramgoglanian.com/california-1/

http://www.abramgoglanian.com/iceland/

https://www.instagram.com/abramg/

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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

One more of Santana - can't resist showing how good this lens really is! Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

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For instance my 50mm Summilux ASPH required two separate rounds of focus adjustment just to get it to be accurate, had oil on the aperture blades from day one and ultimately fell apart into two pieces. Great lens or not, when you spend north of $2000 on a piece of equipment you kind of expect something better than that. 

 

Been there done that with the 50lux asph, especially the really heavy silver version, front came loose twice in a year. It's a great lens but it does not hold up to pro use that well in my 14 year experience of using Leica for work. I use a non-apo version of the 50 Summicron and a Nokton 1.5 Asph. I know you don't care for the ergonomics on the Nokt but I find it is a really dynamite lens that balances well and won't fall apart under it's own weight like the Leica one does. 

 

I have yet to see an image from the stupidly expensive 50 APO that says you should shell out that much for a 50mm F2, I would just get a nice clean regular flavored one and get jiggy with it.

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I hadn't realised the 50mm Summilux was known for falling apart with heavy use. My 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE has done that with light use, and my 28mm Summicron ASPH suffered from the loose front, but Leica fixed that for me. I now use it very gingerly, in the hope it holds up. Conversely, my 1960 35mm Summaron F2.8 is built like a tank, and operates very precisely.

 

Is it just accepted that the 1950's and 60's lenses were built to a higher standard, and that the current crop are more likely to fall to bits? 

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Been there done that with the 50lux asph, especially the really heavy silver version, front came loose twice in a year. It's a great lens but it does not hold up to pro use that well in my 14 year experience of using Leica for work. I use a non-apo version of the 50 Summicron and a Nokton 1.5 Asph. I know you don't care for the ergonomics on the Nokt but I find it is a really dynamite lens that balances well and won't fall apart under it's own weight like the Leica one does. 

 

I have yet to see an image from the stupidly expensive 50 APO that says you should shell out that much for a 50mm F2, I would just get a nice clean regular flavored one and get jiggy with it.

 

I may have to just give in because the Voigtlander absolutely had my favorite rendering so far. Loved how it looked and it definitely was well made I just really hate that focusing ring lol.

 

 

I hadn't realised the 50mm Summilux was known for falling apart with heavy use. My 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE has done that with light use, and my 28mm Summicron ASPH suffered from the loose front, but Leica fixed that for me. I now use it very gingerly, in the hope it holds up. Conversely, my 1960 35mm Summaron F2.8 is built like a tank, and operates very precisely.

 

Is it just accepted that the 1950's and 60's lenses were built to a higher standard, and that the current crop are more likely to fall to bits? 

 

 

Yep my 28mm Summicron fell apart too. It took Leica 4 separate trips to fix it because they kept breaking something else on the lens. My 35mm Summilux has something rattling inside of it (as do so many others) and the aperture ring is super loose but it focuses smoothly and accurately and doesn't feel loose or wobbly so I just live with its quirks. It's a shame their newer equipment isn't built anywhere as good as the old stuff despite the incredible cost.

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50L in EF mount was my most used (but never neglected) lens and as result it became flimsy. It was also trigger to quit from Canon FF, because even official Canon service didn't bring it back to normal. This lens has entire front from plastic and it is holded on lens, AF block by .... the gummy glue. And Canon FF body I updated to... appears to have known AF issues with 50L. It was just stopping AF...

 

Cosina has new 50 1.2 ASPH now, BTW.

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50L in EF mount was my most used (but never neglected) lens and as result it became flimsy. It was also trigger to quit from Canon FF, because even official Canon service didn't bring it back to normal. This lens has entire front from plastic and it is holded on lens, AF block by .... the gummy glue. And Canon FF body I updated to... appears to have known AF issues with 50L. It was just stopping AF...

 

Cosina has new 50 1.2 ASPH now, BTW.

 

I had similar issues with a number of my Canon L lenses too, to Canon's credit though they were always able to fix my gear to good working order, and FAST too. But I haven't kept up with them since I left the system in 2014. I have my eye on the Voigtlander 50 1.2 but I definitely hope the specs that are out there aren't correct because that would make it physically larger than the already quite large 50mm f/1.1 that they offer. 

 

Have a look at the exif info of your existing photos and see which lens has taken the most of your favourites?

 

 

Actually, I do that annually to see where I tend to favor different focal lengths, but this has become progressively more difficult as I shoot more and more film each year and less and less digital. Regardless, it's a great way to learn about one's shooting habits

 

For the record, 50mm is consistently one of my most used focal lengths regardless of WHICH 50mm it has been. I'm primarily working with 35mm for the time being these days though (or at least making an effort to).

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...

Anyways, here are some links to some of my work, there's a diverse list of equipment used throughout but I always seem to come back to the 21mm through 50mm range of focal lengths. 

 

http://www.abramgoglanian.com/california-1/

http://www.abramgoglanian.com/iceland/

https://www.instagram.com/abramg/

 

Nice work for sure, but why is it I get the feeling you should use a Hasselblad or other square format camera. That may mean 80mm actually is your preferred focal length 

.

 

Cheers, Andy

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Nice work for sure, but why is it I get the feeling you should use a Hasselblad or other square format camera. That may mean 80mm actually is your preferred focal length 

.

 

Cheers, Andy

 

Haha thank you Andy! 

 

Funny you should mention that. I do use a Hasselblad 500CM with a 60 and 100mm.

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I may have to just give in because the Voigtlander absolutely had my favorite rendering so far. Loved how it looked and it definitely was well made I just really hate that focusing ring lol.

 

Yep my 28mm Summicron fell apart too. It took Leica 4 separate trips to fix it because they kept breaking something else on the lens. My 35mm Summilux has something rattling inside of it (as do so many others) and the aperture ring is super loose but it focuses smoothly and accurately and doesn't feel loose or wobbly so I just live with its quirks. It's a shame their newer equipment isn't built anywhere as good as the old stuff despite the incredible cost.

 

Personally, if I loved the way a lens rendered and found it gave me a tool that could consistently translate what I saw into what I imagined, I really wouldn't care about the rest of it. You seem to say as much in referencing the FLE.  Why the hesitation then? Aperture ring feel? Seriously? 

 

I HATE, HATE, HATE the infinity lock on my '60s 35mm Summilux; drives me absolutely bonkers. Every time I push the tab to get focus, before I can pull it back, click. Infuriating. To avoid losing the metal cap, which always seemed to have a desire to escape from service, I jailed the miscreant metal in the lens box and pressed a crappy, greasy plastic Oly one into service.  The only snap on cap in this quadrant of the universe that I could find which fit.  That item pops off if a nearby rabbit sneezes or the wind speed exceeds 2 MPH, but as it has an elevated sense of self worth having found itself guarding a Leica optic, it sadly never seems to roll away out of sight.  Series VII filters... need I say more?  From an physical interaction POV, it is undoubtedly one of the most irritating inanimate objects I've ever had the misfortune to cross paths with. And yet... I love this lens, for when I'm inclined to mount the bugger, it never fails to render a scene in just the way I wanted and expected it to.  Now I've never had the pleasure of getting pissed off at this particular CSV, but if its drew in the desired way...

 

If you're an artist, then dammit suffer like a first world one for God's sake. Get the optic that the speaks to your right brain, left brained, analytical logic, be damned.  Best of luck!

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[...] I HATE, HATE, HATE the infinity lock on my '60s 35mm Summilux; drives me absolutely bonkers. Every time I push the tab to get focus, before I can pull it back, click. Infuriating. To avoid losing the metal cap, which always seemed to have a desire to escape from service, I jailed the miscreant metal in the lens box and pressed a crappy, greasy plastic Oly one into service.  The only snap on cap in this quadrant of the universe that I could find which fit.  That item pops off if a nearby rabbit sneezes or the wind speed exceeds 2 MPH, but as it has an elevated sense of self worth having found itself guarding a Leica optic, it sadly never seems to roll away out of sight.  Series VII filters... need I say more?  From an physical interaction POV, it is undoubtedly one of the most irritating inanimate objects I've ever had the misfortune to cross paths with. [...]

 

I have no experience with the Summilux 35/1.4 v1 but if this can be of any help, there is no infinity lock on v2 and there are several metal (14003, 14031, 14122, 14285, 14321) and plastic (14143) A42 push-on front caps for it and other 39mm lenses. Also classical E39 filters would vignette on this lens due to its tiny size and E49 filters can be used in reverse position into the 12504 lens hood instead of Series VII ones. FWIW.

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Personally, if I loved the way a lens rendered and found it gave me a tool that could consistently translate what I saw into what I imagined, I really wouldn't care about the rest of it. You seem to say as much in referencing the FLE.  Why the hesitation then? Aperture ring feel? Seriously? 

...

If you're an artist, then dammit suffer like a first world one for God's sake. Get the optic that the speaks to your right brain, left brained, analytical logic, be damned.  Best of luck!

Yes the aperture ring felt quite sharp on my fingers and it was really quite irritating, it also always felt heavier to focus than it should in my opinion. But I sure did enjoy the results from it. Ergonomics play a big role for me with Leica equipment. There are options that are spot on, and others that I find infuriating. My early 60s Super Angulon has an infinity lock as well, I don’t particularly mind it as the focusing tab itself is quite nice to use!

 

I like how you put it though. Suffer like a first world artist lol. Well said.

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You're looking for a 50 to wow you, but the problem is that 50mm is not the focal length where sexy lenses are found. It's the focal length where a plethora of affordable options can get the job done.

 

This is the case for the same reason 50 is an attractive focal length in general: It's the place where the lens, in terms of aberrations and distortion, gets out of your way. A 50mm photo isn't characterized by how well it performs an optical feat. It's generally characterized by the fact that no feat was required to begin with.

 

If you're accustomed to shooting on a very good, very compact 35 1.4 (as you say you are), then it can be very underwhelming to go back to a 50, since the 35 is giving you pretty comparable control over your DOF, allowing you to get more of the environment, and if it's a damn good, damn small lens like the FLE, you're really not losing very much in the process.

 

The great thing about 50 is not that it's going to do something your 35 can't (although it will render facial proportions just a touch more gently for portraiture), it's the fact that you can get a 50 that looks every bit as good at 50mm as your FLE looks at 35 for a fraction of the price, and with an abundance of options.

 

So it's no wonder you can't find a 50 that wows you. That's not what the focal length is there for, especially if you've grown accustomed to a 35 that is so brilliantly constructed that it can do 90-95 percent of what a good 50 can.

 

I love 50, but Ferrari doesn't build a 50, so to speak.

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You're looking for a 50 to wow you, but the problem is that 50mm is not the focal length where sexy lenses are found. It's the focal length where a plethora of affordable options can get the job done.

 

This is the case for the same reason 50 is an attractive focal length in general: It's the place where the lens, in terms of aberrations and distortion, gets out of your way. A 50mm photo isn't characterized by how well it performs an optical feat. It's generally characterized by the fact that no feat was required to begin with.

 

If you're accustomed to shooting on a very good, very compact 35 1.4 (as you say you are), then it can be very underwhelming to go back to a 50, since the 35 is giving you pretty comparable control over your DOF, allowing you to get more of the environment, and if it's a damn good, damn small lens like the FLE, you're really not losing very much in the process.

 

The great thing about 50 is not that it's going to do something your 35 can't (although it will render facial proportions just a touch more gently for portraiture), it's the fact that you can get a 50 that looks every bit as good at 50mm as your FLE looks at 35 for a fraction of the price, and with an abundance of options.

 

So it's no wonder you can't find a 50 that wows you. That's not what the focal length is there for, especially if you've grown accustomed to a 35 that is so brilliantly constructed that it can do 90-95 percent of what a good 50 can.

 

I love 50, but Ferrari doesn't build a 50, so to speak.

Thank you for the great response! You bring up a very good point. I don't think I'm trying to find something that "matches" the 35 Summilux (I'm still not convinced I'm going to keep that lens anyways) and with the exception of the Noctilux and its ultra fast aperture. But you're right a 50mm doesn't have to be "special" I think I was just trying to find one that had the perfect balance of ergonomics, size, speed, build quality (for me).

 

Try a Voigtlander 50/2 Heliar Classic.....

 

I tried to buy one recently but I got a dud unfortunately and had to return it. It seemed like it might be nice though!

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I like how you put it though. Suffer like a first world artist lol. Well said.

 

Forgive my taking the opportunity to poke a bit of fun at your expense; from the thread you seemed the sort to appreciate a bit of over the top ranting. To be honest, I'm trying to avoid buying a X1D at the moment, so I was using your gas to vent my a little of my own, so to speak. Truly hope you find your 5 centimeter muse.

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I have no experience with the Summilux 35/1.4 v1 but if this can be of any help, there is no infinity lock on v2

 

A mild correction: there was a V2 35mm Summilux with infinity lock. I have one.

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Mine has none. Is yours silver? Just curious.

 

The locking tab was originally black but has worn to mostly silver.

Lens serial number: 228997

I hope that helps

Edited by pico
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