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Ecar

MS-Optics Vario Prasma 50/1.5

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My love-hate affair with Miyazaki's lenses continues: I won't be buying the 50/1.0 (happy to be corrected, but CA seems unacceptable and oof rather ugly compared to the Sonnetar, at least on the sample pictures I have seen), but was sufficiently intrigued to order this 50/1.5 from Bellamy at JCH a few days ago.

The lens arrived today and I made some preliminary tests (nothing worth posting here) to confirm that everything was OK. These lead me to making a couple of observations that may benefit anyone who might consider getting one.

First: despite the fact that it's an M-mount lens, you really need a LV/EVF-enabled camera to use it. You could be forgiven for missing it from the cryptical online description, but the "Spherical Aberration adjustment ring" on the front of the lens has only one position where the RF and the sensor agree on where the focus is - and such position cannot be locked in. Well, I guess it could with tape or some mechanical modification, but it would somehow defeat the SA adjustment ring's purpose. In any event, LV/EVF is required IMO to be able to judge the effect of various SA adjustment settings.

Second: the lens may well be the quirkiest one that Miyazaki has ever designed. Unlike the relatively subtle effect of the coma adjustment on some of his recent products, the SA adjustment has a pronounced impact on the final image, so that playing with combinations of aperture and SA adjustments offers virtually unlimited possibilities for experimenting. The downside is that it requires a more deliberate approach. This is not a set-it-and-shoot-away lens. I wouldn't use it for street work.

Third: the lens seems to be well made, but at 1,200$, it's a b****y expensive toy. Buy only if you are prepared to invest the time and effort required - or if you have some cash available and like unusual (optical...) stuff.

I guess I fall primarily in the second category, so not sure when I'll be able to post some pictures (assuming someone's interested), but I will.

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That sounds like a whole lot of work for exactly what?

On Bellamy's website someone reviews the 50/1.0. Images were shot midday from what I see; it's a hazy mess until ƒ/2 from all that SA. 

For once I'd love to see Miyazaki san break tradition and create a slower, super-resolving lens instead of ones that don't seem capable of a clear image until ƒ/4. Horses for courses, I guess. At one time he produced a collapsible 50/3.5 albeit briefly. Shame

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1 hour ago, james.liam said:

That sounds like a whole lot of work for exactly what?

On Bellamy's website someone reviews the 50/1.0. Images were shot midday from what I see; it's a hazy mess until ƒ/2 from all that SA. 

For once I'd love to see Miyazaki san break tradition and create a slower, super-resolving lens instead of ones that don't seem capable of a clear image until ƒ/4. Horses for courses, I guess. At one time he produced a collapsible 50/3.5 albeit briefly. Shame

I agree, there was the Historio Prot 40/6.3 but that was based on a 19th century optical design.  He seems to favor vintage optical designs.

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1 hour ago, bayernfan said:

I agree, there was the Historio Prot 40/6.3 but that was based on a 19th century optical design.  He seems to favor vintage optical designs.

...to the exclusion of anything else.

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11 minutes ago, james.liam said:

...to the exclusion of anything else.

Yet, I am glad he does what he does.  It's easy enough to purchase a slow super-resolving lens (Voigtlander VM Heliar 50/3.5).  It's not so easy to find and adapt/mount optics from the 19th and early 20th century.

A little more variety would be welcome though.  Perhaps something a bit more Mandler?

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, james.liam said:

That sounds like a whole lot of work for exactly what?

I guess the iPhone and auto-everything crowds have the same view on rangefinder photography or manual lenses.😉
In this respect, I suppose you could call Miyazaki's lenses a niche within a niche.

1 hour ago, james.liam said:

...to the exclusion of anything else.

MS-Optics is essentially a one-man operation: I doubt he has the capabilities (and/or desire) to produce a lens with a more modern optical formula and compete with the bigger guys. Smart.

AFAIC, as I have stated a few times on this forum already, I find his lenses fun to use, if quirky - and I generally like the "different look" I get from them. But don't get me started on his abysmal QC...
 

1 hour ago, bayernfan said:

Yet, I am glad he does what he does.  It's easy enough to purchase a slow super-resolving lens (Voigtlander VM Heliar 50/3.5).  It's not so easy to find and adapt/mount optics from the 19th and early 20th century.

+1

Edited by Ecar

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Thanks for posting this Ecar, I'd be very interested in seeing your images.  This reminds me of the first 50mm Summilux from 1959, very low mtf curves wide open and progressively sharpening to f5.6, perhaps a bit of the Thambar look and glow.   I am wondering if the SA ring is not unlike the Nikon DC lens that appeared (to me) to move the focus plane either forward or backward.  Can you shed some light on this?

 

 

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https://www.japancamerahunter.com/2019/05/camera-geekery-ms-optics-vario-plasma-1-5-50-m-mount/

 

My Jupiter-3 is sharper, more pleasing in rendering. And maybe smaller. If I need to make it Plasma, I'll add Vaseline on the clear filter.

But as collector item, sure, "everything ... OK".

As not collector, but active shooter with few lens to keep and use I missed his 21 lens. Why not to make more? 

I was frilled by his 28/2 as the single lens for travel with M-E, but few examples available shows it de-centered and very soft on edges.

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20 hours ago, bayernfan said:

Yet, I am glad he does what he does.  It's easy enough to purchase a slow super-resolving lens (Voigtlander VM Heliar 50/3.5).  It's not so easy to find and adapt/mount optics from the 19th and early 20th century.

A little more variety would be welcome though.  Perhaps something a bit more Mandler?

If he emulated the 50 Rigid or 35 8-element, don't think anyone would complain.

His QC has been notoriously unpredictable and gives me pause ordering his wares.

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Am 19.6.2019 um 18:28 schrieb Ecar:

My love-hate affair with Miyazaki's lenses continues...

Isn't life too short for such love hate affairs with rejected photo lenses, as long as you don't earn money as a professional commentator?

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36 minutes ago, james.liam said:

His QC has been notoriously unpredictable and gives me pause ordering his wares.

It causes me some concern as well.  I've made repairs to the Perar 35mm I own, fortunately the issues were easily remedied and have not reoccurred.  I do not see myself ordering a high-dollar lens from MS for this reason.

I suppose the lenses can be viewed as delicate oddities, to be handled with care.

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23 hours ago, hillavoider said:

thanks, post a few examples if ya can 

I'll try and post some pictures over the week-end when I'm back home.

 

7 hours ago, darylgo said:

Thanks for posting this Ecar, I'd be very interested in seeing your images.  This reminds me of the first 50mm Summilux from 1959, very low mtf curves wide open and progressively sharpening to f5.6, perhaps a bit of the Thambar look and glow.   I am wondering if the SA ring is not unlike the Nikon DC lens that appeared (to me) to move the focus plane either forward or backward.  Can you shed some light on this?

I have no experience with the Nikon DC, but yes, one of the effects of the SA adjustment appears to be shifting the focus plane.

 

5 hours ago, Ko.Fe. said:

https://www.japancamerahunter.com/2019/05/camera-geekery-ms-optics-vario-plasma-1-5-50-m-mount/

 

My Jupiter-3 is sharper, more pleasing in rendering. And maybe smaller. If I need to make it Plasma, I'll add Vaseline on the clear filter.

But as collector item, sure, "everything ... OK".

As not collector, but active shooter with few lens to keep and use I missed his 21 lens. Why not to make more? 

I was frilled by his 28/2 as the single lens for travel with M-E, but few examples available shows it de-centered and very soft on edges.

The Prasma is about the same length as a J-3, but thinner and lighter - and, unlike the J-3 and the majority of Miyazaki's designs, the Prasma is not a Sonnar formula. I have also kept a couple of J-3s: my ZOMZ copy is noticeably sharper than the KMZ one. You don't buy these lenses for sharpness anyway: there are plenty of better choices if that's what you want.
Never had the Perar 21/4.5, but IIRC it didn't sell very well. My Apoqualia 28/2 doesn't suffer from decentering or very soft edges, but shows a lot of field curvature. The Perar 28/4, on the other hand, makes for a good pancake travel lens - at the expense of speed.

3 hours ago, mnutzer said:

Isn't life too short for such love hate affairs with rejected photo lenses, as long as you don't earn money as a professional commentator?

😄

Probably. But passion has nothing to do with money. And life is too short for so many things that constitute it - including spending time on internet forums (as long as you don't earn money by selling gear).

 

3 hours ago, bayernfan said:

It causes me some concern as well.  I've made repairs to the Perar 35mm I own, fortunately the issues were easily remedied and have not reoccurred.  I do not see myself ordering a high-dollar lens from MS for this reason.

I suppose the lenses can be viewed as delicate oddities, to be handled with care.

Yes, my Perar 35/3.5 needed a repair too, after the barrel started spinning freely on the mount. Definitely "delicate oddities", some more than others.

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@Ko.Fe.: I stand corrected: I now have both lenses in front of me and the Prasma is thinner, but also longer than the J-3. It's about 20% (35g) lighter than the J-3.

 

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I managed to take a few (eminently boring) pictures earlier this evening. Focusing through EVF, but all handheld, so apologies for slight differences in framing. Default conversion in LR, with exposure slightly lifted to compensate for -1/3 EV set in camera.

These are wide open at f/1.5, with SA adjustment set to 6 (maximum level) above and 2 (minimum level) below.


 

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I don't understand why you have purchased it.  

Shorter is smaller, BTW. :)

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