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Which non-Leica Ultra Fast 50 is your favorite?


Laharrier
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I am on a bit of a quest to play with some character lenses in the 50mm focal length. I am very interested in the new Voigtlander 50mm f/1 with its multiple aspherical elements, however it looks like it may be awhile before these become available. 
 

The Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 seems quite interesting and can be had for a very reasonable price. Thoughts on this one? 
 

also curious about the 50 1.5 Heliar but that one is probably a bit closer in character to some lenses I already own. 
 

I own some Zeiss M mount glass and the build quality and optics are incredible for the money - so I presume Voigtlander is very similar. 
 

Thoughts? The TT Artisan stuff also seems like hard to beat for what it costs. 

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1 minute ago, frame-it said:

not M mount, but the canon 50mm F1.4 LTM's rendering is very nice

Thanks! Definitely one I’m interested in. Hard to find with clean coatings though it seems 

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I own the CV 50/1.2, and it is a fantastic lens. I reviewed it for the LHSA Viewfinder and liked it so much I bought it.

I also did an article on the LTM Canon 50/1.4. Fantastic lens. I call it the Japanese Summilux.

Both of these articles can be found in the LHSA Viewfinder archive

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17 minutes ago, mzbe said:

I love the Zeiss Otus 55mm/1.4 - with adapter. Similar quality of rendering as the Leica Summilux 90mm f/1.5 ...

Used price getting pretty affordable ...

Very interesting choice! 

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1 hour ago, frame-it said:

not M mount, but the canon 50mm F1.4 LTM's rendering is very nice

+1
Have shot it with Canon 7s, Fuji x-pro2 and now with M10-P.
Although it has long focus throw, it still is very nice to shoot with. And like @frame-it said, rendering is very nice.

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Posted (edited)

My advice would be to wait for the VC 50 1.0. It will always be in stock. I've had it for a few weeks and I love it.
In my presentation here in the forum I have shown some photos.

But my favorite lens is the Canon 50 0.95 TV from the 1960s. This is also available with an M Mount connection, but it is very expensive.
But it has an unmistakable and unique character. Unfortunately, it cannot be adapted to Leica M Mount, so please pay attention to the bayonet. Alternatively, they can have it converted to Leica M Mount from  Canon L, in Japan.

Edited by M Street Photographer
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5 hours ago, frame-it said:

not M mount, but the canon 50mm F1.4 LTM's rendering is very nice

I do agree, this 1.4 is another lens to explore.

At some point, I added the Canon 1.2/50 LTM another "character lens", how this can be so different with 1/2 stop from that period, meaning

in those days, the Canon 50mm offering (1.8/1.4/1.2 + ...0.95/50) was logic and does continue now with Leica M (and LTM) offerings, Elmar, Summarit-M, Summicron, Summilux, Noctilux.

We are lucky to have those choices in 50mm lenses.

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I'm Canon fan since long,

sometimes I use Canon lens with Leica M "creatively" 😉

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

 

seaking for experiences, now with liveview, it's much easier to use zoom lenses

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Laharrier said:

I am on a bit of a quest to play with some character lenses in the 50mm focal length. I am very interested in the new Voigtlander 50mm f/1 with its multiple aspherical elements

 

Seems to me you’re contradicting  yourself. 

The more ASPH elements and the more you correct a lens, the more character you take out of it. 

Unless you want to get a workout while shooting with an enormous lens, I don’t see why I would choose this over the 50f1.2 Nokton. That has more character, it’s smaller and lighter and will be better to use on an M body. 

The Heliar 50f1.5 has a lot of character, and may be too much character for some. it’s extremely soft (on purpose) at big apertures and starts getting more of a modern look after f4. 

I had the VL 50f1.5 Nokton II. This lens is small and great but it’s not your “character” lens. It has a modern rendering. 

Seems like by “character” you mean very blurry backgrounds? 

The 50 summicron v3 has a lot of character too. 

if you like Zeiss, then the 50f1.5 Sonnar is the one you want. I don’t like Zeiss lenses myself but people love this Sonnar. Personally Instead if going the Sonnar route I would get the Nokton II version from Voigtlander and avoid the focus shift. This would drive me crazy.

It depends what sort of “character” you’re looking for.

For instance my 50 Summicron  (aka “v5”) I think has a lot of character too. It gives you different rendering at different apertures and it’s gorgeous after ISO2500. Looks like a painting. 

Otherwise, get vintage lenses. Those also have a lot of character. 

Just because a Lens is ultra fast doesn’t mean it has a lot of character. May be a bland lens with very blurry backgrounds. 

Edited by Cthulhu
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2 hours ago, Cthulhu said:

Seems to me you’re contradicting  yourself. 

The more ASPH elements and the more you correct a lens, the more character you take out of it. 

Unless you want to get a workout while shooting with an enormous lens, I don’t see why I would choose this over the 50f1.2 Nokton. That has more character, it’s smaller and lighter and will be better to use on an M body. 

The Heliar 50f1.5 has a lot of character, and may be too much character for some. it’s extremely soft (on purpose) at big apertures and starts getting more of a modern look after f4. 

I had the VL 50f1.5 Nokton II. This lens is small and great but it’s not your “character” lens. It has a modern rendering. 

Seems like by “character” you mean very blurry backgrounds? 

The 50 summicron v3 has a lot of character too. 

if you like Zeiss, then the 50f1.5 Sonnar is the one you want. I don’t like Zeiss lenses myself but people love this Sonnar. Personally Instead if going the Sonnar route I would get the Nokton II version from Voigtlander and avoid the focus shift. This would drive me crazy.

It depends what sort of “character” you’re looking for.

For instance my 50 Summicron  (aka “v5”) I think has a lot of character too. It gives you different rendering at different apertures and it’s gorgeous after ISO2500. Looks like a painting. 

Otherwise, get vintage lenses. Those also have a lot of character. 

Just because a Lens is ultra fast doesn’t mean it has a lot of character. May be a bland lens with very blurry backgrounds. 

Aspherical elements dont eliminate character in a lens. You mean to tell me the V1 Noct doesnt have character? I think there is a balance between interesting rendering and good performance, ie. the v2 Summilux or the current ASPH 50 Lux. I haven't used the new CV 50/1 but looking at images online it seems like its probably a great blend of these two factors. Reports on the 50 1/2 and f/1 side by side actually show the 1.2 a bit sharper with more contrast, so im not sure the newer lens is a more modern performer or not. I will need to try it. 

And no, I am not just looking for blurry backgrounds. I own V3 and V5 Summicrons and would not call these character lenses in any way. Both are excellent all around performers, the V5 being probably the best all around lens Ive ever used - but it is not a character lens. Great rendering? Yes. Character? Not so much. Gives me pretty neutral colors and great contrast and sharpness. The 50 1.5 Sonnar has always been a lens Ive considered but the focus shift seems rather annoying, however both of my Summilux's exhibit some focus shift, which is inherent to the lens design. Also owning a V1 Summilux I think this lens may be a bit redundant as both are pre-war optical designs with very similar renderings. Looking at images from the 50 Heliar, I dont really care for this lens. Im not a black and white shooter so I think the ultra low contrast would be less than Ideal for my color photography. 

I own several vintage 50's including the V3 Cron, V1 50 Lux, V2 50 Lux, Summitar 5cm f/2, 90 2.8 Elmarit, and some amazing R mount glass. Ive owned several Canon LTM lenses and shot with a lot of of the great Nikon and Olympus 50's from the 70's and 80's. You can see I have an affinity for 50's, hence my post. I suspect the Voigtlander 50 f/1.2 will scratch the itch the best, considering its cheap price and good performance and character. 

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10 hours ago, Laharrier said:

I am on a bit of a quest to play with some character lenses in the 50mm focal length. I am very interested in the new Voigtlander 50mm f/1 with its multiple aspherical elements, however it looks like it may be awhile before these become available. 
 

The Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 seems quite interesting and can be had for a very reasonable price. Thoughts on this one? 
 

also curious about the 50 1.5 Heliar but that one is probably a bit closer in character to some lenses I already own. 
 

I own some Zeiss M mount glass and the build quality and optics are incredible for the money - so I presume Voigtlander is very similar. 
 

Thoughts? The TT Artisan stuff also seems like hard to beat for what it costs. 

I own the Voigtlander Nokton f/1 asphere. I wouldn't describe it as a "character" lens, though. Certainly, you get narrow depth of field and control over subject isolation, so if that's what you mean it fits the bill.

  • Obscures the viewfinder less than one would expect for an f/1 lens since it is short; the lens hood creates a fair amount of blockage
  • Balances and handles better than its weight would suggest since it is short.
  • Perfectly usable in terms of resolution and contrast wide open, though it does sharpen up considerably by f/2
  • Competitive with the 50mm APO from f/2.8 onwards in terms of image quality--all the way to the corners
  • Seems to have an almost perfectly flat field which is not what we are used to in lenses--most lenses have at least a little bit of field curvature with the edges of the field in focus closer to the camera than the center of the field (concave); this can make some subjects in some images look a little different than expected since depth of field towards the edges and corners will appear to extend more towards the background than the foreground. This isn't a defect per se, but it is definitely not typical, though you certainly won't notice an issue at f/1 or f/1.4 where the depth of field is so narrow
  • Minimal distortion
  • Bokeh is quite smooth--much less swirly than the Noctilux f/0.95
  • Build quality is excellent
  • Minimal chromatic aberration--much less purple fringing than the Noctilux f/0.95, for example
  • I haven't tested for it explicitly, but I haven't noticed issues with flare or ghosting
  • I haven't evaluated sun stars at smaller apertures
  • Close focus is only 0.9m which is a little underwhelming

Overall, I think it is a great lens to have as a second 50mm. I wouldn't want it as my only 50mm just because of the weight and bulk. Pair it with a Summicron, or Summicron APO though? You've got the best of both worlds. I actually prefer it to the Noctilux f/0.95 wide open. So, take a Summicron when you don't need subject isolation, and take the Voigtlander f/1 when you do and you are good to go.

I haven't used the Nokton f/1.2, but I suspect it would be the better choice for many, especially those who only want to own/carry a single 50mm. Less viewfinder blockage and less weight, and they are supposed to be about equal in technical performance at f/1.2. So, for a second 50mm I would highly recommend the f/1 Nokton, but as an only 50mm I would recommend a Sumilux ASPH or Summicron (or perhaps the f/1.2 Nokton, though I haven't owned one so am just basing this on reviews). 

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10 minutes ago, Jared said:

Close focus is only 0.9m which is

 

12 minutes ago, Jared said:

I own the Voigtlander Nokton f/1 asphere. I wouldn't describe it as a "character" lens, though. Certainly, you get narrow depth of field and control over subject isolation, so if that's what you mean it fits the bill.

  • Obscures the viewfinder less than one would expect for an f/1 lens since it is short; the lens hood creates a fair amount of blockage
  • Balances and handles better than its weight would suggest since it is short.
  • Perfectly usable in terms of resolution and contrast wide open, though it does sharpen up considerably by f/2
  • Competitive with the 50mm APO from f/2.8 onwards in terms of image quality--all the way to the corners
  • Seems to have an almost perfectly flat field which is not what we are used to in lenses--most lenses have at least a little bit of field curvature with the edges of the field in focus closer to the camera than the center of the field (concave); this can make some subjects in some images look a little different than expected since depth of field towards the edges and corners will appear to extend more towards the background than the foreground. This isn't a defect per se, but it is definitely not typical, though you certainly won't notice an issue at f/1 or f/1.4 where the depth of field is so narrow
  • Minimal distortion
  • Bokeh is quite smooth--much less swirly than the Noctilux f/0.95
  • Build quality is excellent
  • Minimal chromatic aberration--much less purple fringing than the Noctilux f/0.95, for example
  • I haven't tested for it explicitly, but I haven't noticed issues with flare or ghosting
  • I haven't evaluated sun stars at smaller apertures
  • Close focus is only 0.9m which is a little underwhelming

Overall, I think it is a great lens to have as a second 50mm. I wouldn't want it as my only 50mm just because of the weight and bulk. Pair it with a Summicron, or Summicron APO though? You've got the best of both worlds. I actually prefer it to the Noctilux f/0.95 wide open. So, take a Summicron when you don't need subject isolation, and take the Voigtlander f/1 when you do and you are good to go.

I haven't used the Nokton f/1.2, but I suspect it would be the better choice for many, especially those who only want to own/carry a single 50mm. Less viewfinder blockage and less weight, and they are supposed to be about equal in technical performance at f/1.2. So, for a second 50mm I would highly recommend the f/1 Nokton, but as an only 50mm I would recommend a Sumilux ASPH or Summicron (or perhaps the f/1.2 Nokton, though I haven't owned one so am just basing this on reviews). 

Great info! Thank you! Sounds like this lens is an excellent performer - assuming CV intends it to compete with the ASPH 50 Lux from Leica? Sounds like besides its size its just a great all around 50, with the added bonus of some great isolation at f/1. I have a V5 Cron that is my standard do anything lens, and a Zeiss 35 f/2 Biogon for sharp flat wider shots - then I have a bunch of vintage lenses for fun - exploring the idea of getting others, or perhaps new 3rd part stuff like CV/TTA. Thanks for your informative reply!

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