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Comparison between 7 different 50mm lenses with original Leica M mount, Leica R mount adapted or LTM adapted to M


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Hi Friends. This is my first post after just say hello. For a long time I wanted to make a comparison between my different 50mm M or M adapted lenses. I have several but the ones I use the most are the ones I tried (except for my Summaron 3.5 which is in CLA right now). The lenses compared are 7. 3 Summicron, an R only, an R 3Cam and an M v3, a 7 artisan 1.1 a TTartisan 0.95, a Jupiter 8 f2 and a collapsible Fed f 3.5. In order to make a fair comparison, I used my Sony A7 R2 with the photodiox autofocus adapter that, as you should know, auto focuses any M lens. Use a Tripod so as not to vary the position of the camera much, Natural light of noon. All photos were taken in a span of about 15 minutes or less. All lenses were left with a 2.0 focus for comparison except the fed which was left at its maximum aperture of f3.5. The subject is a toy robot with many colors to test the color rendering. A garden with green plants behind to appreciate the blur and bokeh. Anyway, this was longer than I anticipated. I will not say anything (for now) about the result, I would only know about your opinions. Ahh.. I applied the automatic correction mode of Lightroom for all the images. Not any other adjustment. In this images are just 6 of the seven images, but here the link to the 7 RAW files adobe.ly/36PdOWM

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Posted (edited)

The auto correction from LR is the uncertain factor here, the contrast in Artisan 2.0 is beyond credibility given what I’ve seen of this lens thus far. Can you see in LR what it does specifically with this auto correction?

Edited by otto.f
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Posted (edited)

Interesting effort, but perhaps even more so for Sony users?

Worth observing is also the fact that the two Chinese lenses are stopped down a couple of stops from their maximum design aperture, which effectively hides most of any optical flaws they may otherwise display (I own the 7a 50/1.1, so I know what to expect...). Nice oof from both, though.

Confused as to why the Fed was included, if only because I also have a few of these and sample variability is huge.

And indeed, LR auto-adjust applied to each individual image doesn't allow for a very relevant comparison...

Edited by Ecar
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Posted (edited)

Thanks to all. Given the fact that I share the link to the Raw files I will eliminate the LR correction in every image and you will be able to compare the images just from the camera. If you going to the link in my original post is just done. 

 

Here the link again https://adobe.ly/36PdOWM

 

Edited by Rodrigo castillo
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And yes, because the stop down in the Artisans the comparison is not at maximum aperture, but this would be another comparison. Here the idea was compare at the same aperture. And you are right, if you prefer do not consider the FED.

And about Sony users don’t understand the comment.. if is related with why a sony user make this, well i am not a sony user … hahahah … i own maybe 30 cameras including 7 o 8 leikas, hasselblad, Fuji’s, sony, canon, Olympus … hahaha

thanks again

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And if you can’t access the file with the raw  images here again the jpg without any LR adjustment 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ecar said:

stopped down a couple of stops from their maximum design aperture, which effectively hides most of any optical flaws

While stopping down indeed hides some optical flaws, stopping down is not a "free boost" in performance compared to a slower lens.

In fact a faster lens, "all other things being equal" will be less sharp than the slower lens, at all apertures. Many examples exhibit such behaviour. So if a faster lens, when stopped down to a slower aperture is sharper/better than the slower lens, this is not *because* it was faster initially, but *despite* of it. It's a testament to a good optical design and good manufacturing tolerances, if the faster lens can match or best the slower one at equivalent apertures. 

There is this preconception that a faster lens is (by default) better stopped down than a slower lens wide open, at the same aperture. This is not the case in principle though. I believe this notion exists because of an assumption that "stopping down = boost in performance" and  hence "the faster the lens = more stops to stop down = better performance". However the lenses (the fast and slow one) don't start at the same *baseline* of performance at their wide open. It might very well be that the faster lens starts at a quite lower baseline at wide open, so even with the "boost" from stopping down, it doesn't reach the level of the "unboosted" wide open slower lens. There are no guarantees that the opposite will happen (i.e. outperform the slower lens), and if anything the chances are stacked against that scenario. What *usually* happens, historically, is that the faster lenses were considered more "upmarket" and "professional" so a more complex formula was utilised (sometimes also tighter tolerances), so they ended up performing better than slower lenses at equiv. apertures because of that better formula, despite their speed, and not because they were stopped down. 

I'm only mentioning this, because I think it's unfair to all those brilliant optical engineers that designed the lenses, to dismiss the performance of a faster lens just because it's stopped down more, as if it got a "free" performance boost. That boost was not free at all, and was built in the design of the lens, and the faster aperture was a negative factor - all things being equal - towards that purpose, that the optical engineers managed to overcome. So the praise is well deserved imo.

Edited by giannis
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13 minutes ago, giannis said:

While stopping down indeed hides some optical flaws, stopping down is not a "free boost" in performance compared to a slower lens.

In fact a faster lens, "all other things being equal" will be less sharp than the slower lens, at all apertures. Many examples exhibit such behaviour. So if a faster lens, when stopped down to a slower aperture is sharper/better than the slower lens, this is not *because* it was faster initially, but *despite* of it. It's a testament to a good optical design and good manufacturing tolerances, if the faster lens can match or best the slower one at equivalent apertures. 

There is this preconception that a faster lens is (by default) better stopped down than a slower lens wide open, at the same aperture. This is not the case in principle though. I believe this notion exists because of an assumption that "stopping down = boost in performance" and  hence "the faster the lens = more stops to stop down = better performance". However the lenses (the fast and slow one) don't start at the same *baseline* of performance at their wide open. It might very well be that the faster lens starts at a quite lower baseline at wide open, so even with the "boost" from stopping down, it doesn't reach the level of the "unboosted" wide open slower lens. There are no guarantees that the opposite will happen (i.e. outperform the slower lens), and if anything the chances are stacked against that scenario. What *usually* happens, historically, is that the faster lenses were considered more "upmarket" and "professional" so a more complex formula was utilised (sometimes also tighter tolerances), so they ended up performing better than slower lenses at equiv. apertures because of that better formula, despite their speed, and not because they were stopped down. 

I'm only mentioning this, because I think it's unfair to all those brilliant optical engineers that designed the lenses, to dismiss the performance of a faster lens just because it's stopped down more, as if it got a "free" performance boost. That boost was not free at all, and was built in the design of the lens, and the faster aperture was a negative factor - all things being equal - towards that purpose, that the optical engineers managed to overcome. So the praise is well deserved imo.

I am not an expert in lenses but I think that you are right. One think is that the same fast lens normally will be sharper at f 2 than at f1.1 in example, and other different is that will be sharper at the same aperture than an originally f2.0 maximum aperture that cost several times. That was the reason because I use all the lenses at the same aperture. 

 

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1 hour ago, giannis said:

While stopping down indeed hides some optical flaws

Thanks. This is the only point I was making.

1 hour ago, giannis said:

In fact a faster lens, "all other things being equal" will be less sharp than the slower lens, at all apertures. Many examples exhibit such behaviour. So if a faster lens, when stopped down to a slower aperture is sharper/better than the slower lens, this is not *because* it was faster initially, but *despite* of it. It's a testament to a good optical design and good manufacturing tolerances, if the faster lens can match or best the slower one at equivalent apertures. 

There is this preconception that a faster lens is (by default) better stopped down than a slower lens wide open, at the same aperture. This is not the case in principle though. I believe this notion exists because of an assumption that "stopping down = boost in performance" and  hence "the faster the lens = more stops to stop down = better performance". However the lenses (the fast and slow one) don't start at the same *baseline* of performance at their wide open. It might very well be that the faster lens starts at a quite lower baseline at wide open, so even with the "boost" from stopping down, it doesn't reach the level of the "unboosted" wide open slower lens. There are no guarantees that the opposite will happen (i.e. outperform the slower lens), and if anything the chances are stacked against that scenario. What *usually* happens, historically, is that the faster lenses were considered more "upmarket" and "professional" so a more complex formula was utilised (sometimes also tighter tolerances), so they ended up performing better than slower lenses at equiv. apertures because of that better formula, despite their speed, and not because they were stopped down.

Sharpness (and especially center sharpness) is only one element of a lens' performance.

1 hour ago, giannis said:

I'm only mentioning this, because I think it's unfair to all those brilliant optical engineers that designed the lenses, to dismiss the performance of a faster lens just because it's stopped down more, as if it got a "free" performance boost. That boost was not free at all, and was built in the design of the lens, and the faster aperture was a negative factor - all things being equal - towards that purpose, that the optical engineers managed to overcome. So the praise is well deserved imo.

Indeed, nothing is free in the world of optics. There's always a price to pay for a design's trade-offs. It is expressed in terms of all kinds of optical flaws, aberrations, etc. (usually most apparent at the widest apertures, hence my previous observation) and/or size and weight.

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2 hours ago, Rodrigo castillo said:

And about Sony users don’t understand the comment.. if is related with why a sony user make this, well i am not a sony user … hahahah … i own maybe 30 cameras including 7 o 8 leikas, hasselblad, Fuji’s, sony, canon, Olympus … hahaha

thanks again

Nothing to do with you or the gear that you own. Just observing that comparing the performance of non-native lenses on a Sony sensor would be even more relevant for someone who owns a Sony camera.

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, Ecar said:

Nothing to do with you or the gear that you own. Just observing that comparing the performance of non-native lenses on a Sony sensor would be even more relevant for someone who owns a Sony camera.

Ok, just got it. Thank you ! My only FF Digital M Mount is M9 so I can’t use R lenses in it, and Sony A7R2 have a good sensor to appreciate the differences. 

Edited by Rodrigo castillo
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6 hours ago, otto.f said:

The auto correction from LR is the uncertain factor here, the contrast in Artisan 2.0 is beyond credibility given what I’ve seen of this lens thus far. Can you see in LR what it does specifically with this auto correction?

Thank you for your comment. I changed all the images and raws to the original ones without any adjustment. Very interested in knowing if you note too much difference between adjusted vs non adjusted images. 

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3 hours ago, Rodrigo castillo said:

And about Sony users don’t understand the comment.. if is related with why a sony user make this, well i am not a sony user … hahahah … i own maybe 30 cameras including 7 o 8 leikas, hasselblad, Fuji’s, sony, canon, Olympus … hahaha

Actually I do understand. Sony cameras are not optimized for the use of lenses designed for rangefinder cameras - Leica sensors are by special microlenses and extra thin filter stacks. So a comparison on a Sony is certainly not optimal. 

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In my experiences, Sony A7R is not M ( really ? ) with M lenses !

I was happy user (still use it for some works) of Sony Alpha7R, 36Mpixels files from the camera with same M lens have less details than the plain

and 'lesser' digital M of 18M or 24Mpixels.

...

Then I notice also that the files out of A7R are natively 'harsher' than Leica M files, so M lenses are used on M and SLR lenses used on Sony, for me.

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10 minutes ago, jaapv said:

Actually I do understand. Sony cameras are not optimized for the use of lenses designed for rangefinder cameras - Leica sensors are by special microlenses and extra tin filter stacks. So a comparison on a Sony is certainly not optimal. 

Thank you so much … is a different interpretation than the original author of the comments, so, maybe in your case i a new a different comment more than an interpretation of the original one, but that is something that just Ecar could say… hahah … yes, there are performance differences between lenses optimized for different sensors.  I will make a comparison of only the lenses with M or LTM mount that allows to compare them all in my leica M. Perhaps this way you can comment on the results rather than the reasons for not commenting on the results.  hahahaha ... thank you very much everyone for your comments ...

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Hi!  I made the comparison using the sony A7R2 precisely in addition to allowing me to use all the lenses and auto focus, so that that was not a factor, it has a great resolution of 42 Million pixels, but since I have been told that it is not comparable without using an M telemetric camera the only digital one I have is the M9.  In any case my intention was to compare the images at first glance, which is how most of us appreciate a photo, and I would have liked to hear some comment about what each one can see and will appreciate, but the discussion about whether the experiment what I have done is valid or not is also interesting.

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Thanks for the effort. I appreciate that all were compared at the same aperture. It is interesting to see how crappy the oof areas are on some of these - especially compared to the less expensive Chinese lenses.

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9 minutes ago, BradS said:

Thanks for the effort. I appreciate that all were compared at the same aperture. It is interesting to see how crappy the oof areas are on some of these - especially compared to the less expensive Chinese lenses.

Thank you so much, My personal opinion after having tried many lenses (not only the ones tested here) is that the new lenses of Chinese origin have a higher quality than the old Leica lenses, only if we take into account sharpness, especially from corner to corner.  Does it mean they are better?  no, in fact I personally prefer how my photos look with old or semi old Leica lenses, I don't care so much about perfect sharpness.  However, I also find impressive the quality of these Chinese lenses for such low prices ... as I have commented there, I recognize that I am more of an equipment experimenter than a photographer, I love to compare cameras (new digital, old digital, analog cameras 35 mm, medium format, telemetric, reflex, point and shot etc etc) so I will continue to share with you comparisons and experiments to share experiences.

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