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meerec

50 APO vs 50 // can’t see any difference

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Guys and Gals ... please help as I’m going a bit insane. I’m just back from the Leica Store Sydney where I shot a few test images (candid ad hoc portraits) with the summicron 50 APO and then similar ones with the current summicron 50. All shots were taken on my SL at f/2

i can’t see any noticeable difference between these two lenses in those test snaps. What is wrong with me? What is wrong with that 50 APO. Is my copy of summicron 50 so good? What should I be looking at? What am I missing? 😪

Edited by meerec

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51 minutes ago, stephengv said:

Can you show the pictures?

Here is the link to a collection of shots in Dropbox 

Link

cheers ...

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What shutter speed did you use?  If you hand held less than 125 or 250th of a second you likely won’t see a difference.  In a controlled environment the APO should be noticeably better.

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vor 1 Stunde schrieb lct:

At f/2? Clear difference re sharpness at edges and corners, less field curvature, less CA.

Well so clear it is maybe not. In the pictures published in Dropbox we can not see any of the issues you mention. Hmmm, why is this then?

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I indeed do not recognize the APO50 as presented here on the forum; should be much clearer difference with the normal summicron, especially in the structure of the skin; the APO50 should go into the pores.  Perhaps you should compare them with a monochrome if your dealer has one

Edited by otto.f

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14 minutes ago, Alex U. said:

Well so clear it is maybe not. In the pictures published in Dropbox we can not see any of the issues you mention. Hmmm, why is this then?

Not easy to do comparos. I used to do a couple of them in the past. Needed a tripod, same subject matter, same light, same FoV, same focus point... same everything but lenses. Better get some edges and corners in focus as well since it is there that differences are the more obvious.

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Maybe your plain Summicron has APO optical cell fitted by mistake 😎

Joking aside, APO is reasonably flare resistant, at least my copy is, no experience using plain Summi which has reputation for being prone to flaring. 

I can see difference compared with Summilux M 50mm ASPH at any F stop - clear advantage to APO.

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Why would a simple lens comparison make you go insane. What were you expecting to see? There are loads of credible lens tests around that show the differences - which is not just about sharpness across the frame. Are you now comfortable  that you have satisfied yourself that any claimed benefit is a myth? http://www.lenscore.org

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I've had this happen with lenses in the past.  A 180mm R Apo performed worse than a non apo, this drove me insane, sent it to Leica who said it was in spec.  Tried it on different bodies and eventually determined it was a bad sample.   Roger Cicala at Lens Rentals said in a blog post that a poor sample can be improved to average performance at best.  

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8 hours ago, meerec said:

i can’t see any noticeable difference between these two lenses in those test snaps. What is wrong with me? What is wrong with that 50 APO. Is my copy of summicron 50 so good? What should I be looking at? What am I missing? 😪

Ah, a pixel-peeping exercise appears! :) Looking specifically at P1000116 vs P1000118 on my 27in screen I see the following differences: 

  1. APO renders hair with much more resolution, the hair texture on the non-APO is mush if you zoom in 
  2. Even in this non-challenging light condition, the non-APO provokes chromatic aberration (green) on the hair on bottom left, the APO has none
  3. More subtly, the APO has a greater drop in contrast as you move away from the focus point than the non-APO so the subject seems more "3D", the non-APO looks comparatively "flatter" here - though this is not an entirely rigorous description, it is a feature of the APO

So for me (or the scientist in me), the differences are clear and consistent with Leica's mtf graphs. Whether or not this is important is of course another matter entirely.

Edited by Panda2
added a sentence

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The 50 Summicron is already such a great lens, I guess 50 APO can only give marginal improvements (extreme corner sharpness when shot wide open, shooting right into the sun, etc.) I didn't like the out-of-focus areas personally so I ended up with the Summilux.

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Hi @Panda2 ... appreciate your advice and time you spent on it. I'm not very good at pixel peeking. You've pointed out a few good things to pay attention to and I do see it now. I see more 3D rendering now as well. Thank you.

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3 minutes ago, stephengv said:

I can't see a significant difference unless you zoom in. Given the significant price difference, is it worth it to get the APO? 

@stephengv yes exactly the question I was asking myself after the test session. Physically, the two lenses are almost identical, like the size, form factor and weight -- only the hood is slightly different, as you turn it to lock it in. Rendering wise, it is not that obvious, and as I stated, my sumicron 50 is a very good lens it appears.

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2 minutes ago, stephengv said:

I can't see a significant difference unless you zoom in. Given the significant price difference, is it worth it to get the APO? 

If you don't need to zoom in or print large i don't think so unless you want edge to edge sharpness at f/2 or if you are bothered by the 50/2 v5's weaknesses like CA, flare or slight focus shift around f/4. Not to say that the 50/2 apo is immune from CA or flare though. It just has less problems there than the 50/2 v5.

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