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Zeiss Sonnar 50mm 1.5 vs Voigtländer Nokton 1.5

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The form factor of the Zeiss is more adorable, but I heared so many stories about focus shift.

What about the Nokton? It costs almost half and I never heared stories about focus shifting. Does anyone compeared these two lenses on a M?

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The Nokton has noticeable focus shift as well. You'll find a considerable number of threads on the subject in the various forums, including this one. Basically any fast 50 mm lens will exhibit a certain amount of focus shift, unless it is compensated by floating elements.

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I have both - assuming what you have in mind is the latest Nokton 50/1.5 VM in M mount.

The Nokton does have a bit of focus shift, mostly visible around f/2.8 - my copy seems to be calibrated for being spot on wide open.

However, it's not nearly as pronounced as with the Zeiss, which requires a good understanding of its behaviour (and muscle memory) to compensate between f/1.5 and f/2.8.

Besides the form factor, these lenses render quite differently, so I'd also take that into account in the purchasing decision.

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Nah..

I had Nokton briefly and no focus shift in real world photography. It just has purple fringing on M-E wide open, but not really bad.

On film M and BW it was just awesome. Well, in BW on M-E as well.

Nice lens if you don't mind to work slow. It simply refuse to focus fast.

 

I have Jupiter-3 which is knock off of Sonar 50 1.5, which in ZM claimed to be improved.

And just today I checked this lens as update from my Cron 50 v4, which focus shifts.

Basically Sonar gives you more fancy things in background, Cron or Planar ZM gives it neutral overall.

 

Planar 50 ZM I also had briefly was less focus shift, but it was way to neutral lens for my taste, plus build.

ZM lenses have very specific build. Tiny pimple for focus, jawl breaking aperture ring. IMO...

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Significant focus shift on both lenses in my experience if you mean the Nokton 50/1.5 non asph. I have no experience with the Nokton asph though. 

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I tried three examples of Sonnar lens. All of them had a very severe focusshift. Especially at wideopen and at minimal focal distance. You have to focus to ears to get eyes in focus. Or you have to use evf.

And than I tried a Nokton 50 asph. Absolutely no focusshift at all. And I bought it.

There is a significant rendering difference between lenses. Nokton results have modern look like the last version of Summilux Asph. But sonnar have classical rendering may be similar to previous noctilux f1 with prominent glove at wideopen as well as focusshift.

Edited by autograph

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I tried three examples of Sonnar lens. All of them had a very severe focusshift...

 

One example is enough for testing, as this kind of focusshift is part of the Sonnar's lens design!

Edited by cp995

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Not that bad an idea to test several copies of the ZM 50/1.5 due to some of them being calibrated for f/1.5 vs f/2.8 on others. Focus shift doesn't behave the same way in both cases in that it is mostly compensated with DoF when the lens i calibrated for f/2.8. The same lens will give softer results at full aperture though. I mean on rangefinders since focus shift is not a problem on mirrorless cameras when focusing at working aperture. Now there are 50/1.4 lenses with no significant focus shift, namely the current Summilux 50/1.4 asph but also earlier pre-asph versions of the same lens (v2 and v3 at least, no experience with v1) despite the lack of floating element in their design.

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The form factor of the Zeiss is more adorable, but I heared so many stories about focus shift.

What about the Nokton? It costs almost half and I never heared stories about focus shifting. Does anyone compeared these two lenses on a M?

Had both

Voigtlander is far better and can be your only 50mm

1. Focus shift irrelevant on Voigt. On Zeiss a real pain. If Zeiss is 2.8 optimised then 1.5 can only be used with live view and isn’t sharp. If optimised at 1.5 you can’t use with RF until f8

2. I’d say the build quality on both is good but the Voigt is better

3. Voigt Sharp across range. Good contrast. No obvious faults

4 Voigt focus ring is unusual but I found it fine and also easy to find

5. Voigt is cheaper

 

If you want classic look at 1.5 then buy Lomo 50mm 1.5 and Voigt

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A source at Zeiss was quoted as saying the ideal compromise with calibration for the Sonnar is in fact f/2. See the following link and scroll down to What Zeiss told me.

 

https://www.35mmc.com/22/11/2015/zeiss-zm-f1-5-50mm-c-sonnar/

 

As I've said, mine was calibrated out of the box at f/2 (tested on two M240 bodies). Happily this is my most used aperture on this lens when shooting environmental portraiture. DOF at f/1.5 is too shallow for my applications and by f/2.8 the lens is loosing some of that character.

 

Plenty of examples shot with this lens on the following gallery. 

 

http://www.keithlaban.co.uk/lifeinrajasthanbundi.html

 

Love this lens.

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A source at Zeiss was quoted as saying the ideal compromise with calibration for the Sonnar is in fact f/2. [...]

 

Interesting indeed. First time i hear about this f/2 calibration. AFAIK ZM 50/1.5 lenses were calibrated for f/2.8 before 2008 and for f/1.5 since then but i may be wrong. Mine is calibrated for f/1.5 but i use it essentially with mirrorless cameras.

Edited by lct

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A recent shot with the 50mm Zeiss C Sonnar @ f/2.

 

/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=http://www.keithlaban.co.uk/Car_Corfu.jpg&key=2251b8cabf37f781bda4f57e07aab61ea11ee15ce1ffcb4edc3d2898ca4d48e5">

 

It's not the sharpest lens in my bag but it is the most characterful. Beautiful bokeh at f/2, plenty sharp enough when stopped down to f/8 - f/11.

 

Two lenses in one.

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Keith, Mine too is calibrated for f2.  I found this out after rigerous testing after purchasing a number of years ago.  I believe Zeiss made this decision to calibrate at f2 about 3+ years ago as prior to that, I found most leaving the factory were calibrated at f1.5 (and before that as pointed at, at f2.8).  I always wondered why they didn't calibrate at f2, as I suspected that doing so, would minimize the front and back focus at all f-stops neglegable and for all intent and purposes, non existent in real world shooting in most curcumstances.  I came to this relaization when years ago I had the Leica 35mm f1.4 asph (pre FLE) which also had notorious focus shift and had mine calibrated at f2.  That too took care of focus shift for all intended purposes.

 

This is doesn't have the highest resolution numbers, but how it draws is both unique and wonderful and its sharpness is not far off from the rigid Leica 50mm f2 Summicron. 

 

That link you provided is an excellent write up for the lens.  Nice!

 

Dave (D&A)

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