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thrid

New Summarits - Puts review part II

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thrid,

 

thanks for the link! I've been looking forward to this information.

 

Last week I had to decide between the Summarit 75 and the Apo-Summicron 75.

 

After seeing Erwin's test-results, I for one am happy I chose the Apo-Summicron 75. (though the Summarit 75 is certainly not a bad lens, of course, just my personal opinion)

 

Peter

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WIth all respect - over the last two years I am getting the feeling that Put´s reviews are very very theoretical and do not really have much to do with real life.

This becomes more obvious over the last month since we have seen many comparisons with real images. Also he wrote some stuff about digital cameras (like the rd1) which just didnt fit my own experience from using the equipent.

Cheers, Tom

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Thomas--

If you don't care for Puts's reviews and find them overly theoretical, that's fine. You don't have to read them.

 

Please, let's not turn this post into another "I hate Erwin" thread!

 

I find his reviews quite readable and very interesting. Pictures are also fine, but about all I can say about them is "I like this one more than that," while Puts's points explain to me what the differences are that I see.

 

Puts is an excellent technician, whose output is interesting to people like me who have a technical bent. He's not to everyone's taste.

 

I'm not to everyone's taste either, nor are some presidents, nor some cameras. So please don't blame the messenger who brings a message that you're not interested in.

 

BTW, Thomas, I'm not saying you are guilty of all these things; I am just greatly annoyed by reading again and again that "this author stinks" and "that author can do no wrong." No one gets it right all the time.

 

Both of the authors you're thinking about are pleased to correct their errors when they are pointed out. One of them changes the bad text, the other both changes the text and sends you an e-mail saying 'thanks for the heads-up.'

 

Respectfully,

 

--HC

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WIth all respect - over the last two years I am getting the feeling that Put´s reviews are very very theoretical and do not really have much to do with real life.

This becomes more obvious over the last month since we have seen many comparisons with real images. Also he wrote some stuff about digital cameras (like the rd1) which just didnt fit my own experience from using the equipent.

Cheers, Tom

 

 

Here we go again.

 

If you want a accurate, technical analysis of a lens that was executed in a scientific manner with the proper equipment that gives you the cold, hard facts, read Puts.

 

If you want an opinion, read else where.

 

If you want my opinion, read both and draw your own conclusions.

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I don't understand the energy that the Puts debate calls out. He looks at test chart shots on both film and digital imagers and says (in somewhat loose terms) what he sees. There are differences, and I am inclined to trust his reporting of the differences. He gives some pictures, so you can see them, too. The differences are for the most part not very large, and whether they will matter to any particular photographer depends on output size (Flickr, A4, poster) and the degree of post processing that the particular photographer intends to use.

 

To turn his observations into a prediction of how different lenses will "draw" their shadows, midtones, or highlights is quite a black art. This gives an opportunity for reviewers like Sean Reid to try to show differences directly by choosing subjects which exhibit difficult passages in the shadows, midtones, and highlights, shooting them with different lenses under conditions as controlled as possible, and presenting the results in 100% crops from center and corners of the frame. Flare and bokeh studies, such as are found in Reid's reviews, lie outside what the test charts can predict.

 

Erwin Puts is often willing to say what's "best" based on his results, and he seems to be cheering for the most virtuoso management of the tradeoffs required in lens design. Sean Reid tends to end by saying that his reader now has some idea of how different lenses will "draw" the subjects of interest to that reader and can choose what he likes best. I am not that interested in which lenses either reviewer would choose for his personal work, but I am happy to have and use the facts they present. Each of them is entertaining, sometimes unintentionally.

 

scott

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... If you want a accurate, technical analysis of a lens that was executed in a scientific manner with the proper equipment that gives you the cold, hard facts, read Puts...

Agreed.

 

... If you want an opinion, read else where. ...

That's unfair. S/b "If you want a talented practicing professional photographer's knowledgeable opinion, read Reid."

 

Many of the best photographers are not technically minded. Many people just want to see what the lens produces, not read graphs. Steven K Lee is quoted (was it last year?) in LFI as saying that in his opinion, photographers seldom care whether the lens hits 60% contrast at 40 ll/mm or not; they/we just want good pictures.

 

... If you want my opinion, read both and draw your own conclusions.

Amen. And I'll add: Please don't waste our time telling us you're not going to read someone's articles. Most of us really don't care how you spend your time.

 

 

Would it be okay if we got back to the simple point P.G made? The first two installments of Puts's three-part Summarit review are now on line.

 

His intermediate conclusions seem to coincide with what most of us expected: The Summarits are very good lenses.

 

The older the design of the Summicron they are compared with, the better the Summarits fare. That is, the 35 and 50 Summarits are comparable in performance to the 35 and 50 Summicrons.

 

On the other hand, when compared with lenses of the most modern design, viz the 75 and 90 Summicrons, the Summarits come up a bit short.

 

Nothing wrong with the 75 and 90 Summarits; they are simply not mind-blowers as are the 75 and 90 Summicrons.

 

Nor do they cost as much. Now we have two price/performance ranges to look at. And most of us will never see a difference because in real-world photography there are so many variables that a lens can never produce at its maximum.

 

Now isn't that where we started? Pictures won't show much difference. Puts says it basically takes lab tests to discover the differences. And it's your choice and mine whether we read one reviewer or two to compare and contrast.

 

Thank goodness we've got a couple excellent reviewers, each extremely competent in his own area. And thank goodness we've got some Leica lenses to talk about.

 

--HC

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Let us not forget that most of these folks do it for the fun - and as a service to us. Certainly not for a living.

 

Like you suggest; I read them all - as much as I can stand - and make my own decisions.

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I find Erwin's articles informative, but only one part of the jigsaw in trying to evaluate a lens before purchase.

 

It is interesting to note his comments regarding the M8 and it's sensor not having the tolerance of film emulsions with regard to focus accuracy and the resulting depth of focus, something we've discussed here before. But more interesting is the shorter focus throw of the new lenses appears to be limiting the accuracy with which one can focus. An important point IMO.

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yes, a number of folks make a big issue out of the benefits of short focus throws for quicker focusing. I have been having increasing doubts about the merits of this, especially on the faster lenses when wide open.

M

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Guest stnami
Please, let's not turn this post into another "I hate Erwin" thread!

 

 

 

.

.

. lovers need only to apply..........

:D

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Concerning focus throw:

 

I guess if the 75 and 90 Summarits share the same mounts, it will take the different degrees of rotation that he lists to cover the same range?

 

Remember, the Summarits are not among Leica's fastest lenses. The 75 Summilux has a very long throw to focus from infinity down to closest focus, the Summicron noticeably less, and now the Summarit less again. That's one way to keep the cost in line.

 

But the other side is what Puts repeatedly emphasizes: These differences are all likely to be masked by the fact that in the real world, subjects have depth and movement. So even with a tripod to steady the camera, focus will only seldom be accurate to 1 cm.

 

All in all, these lenses sound like a good balance of performance and price.

 

Remember to boot that the M8 has less intrinsic focusing accuracy than the cameras most of us are used to.

 

--HC

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.

.

. lovers need only to apply..........

:D

Come on - the guy just does this because he likes to do it. Even his Lens Compendium was a loss - his publisher swindled him out of the royalties. Let's just appreciate that somebody takes the trouble.

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HC,

sorry if I sounded to negative.

I also like to read Put´s reviews. I just dont take everything 100% any more.

For example compare Put´s text with the comparison images we have seen from Guy and others. IMO It doesnt really fit together. I am sure the 75cron is "better" than the 75 Summarit - but I dont htink it is as much as we would think if we read Put´s review.

 

I have a technical background as well - however in case of lenses I feel its critical to judge a lens based on MTF-graphs a shooting a flat b&W test chart at 2 distances and maybe 2 f-stops.

 

So I like the technical analyses, I just miss some comments from Puts that state that he is looking only on few factors (MTF and some test charts) and that there is much more to look at when getting an idea about a lens.

 

As I said, thank you to him for doing the testing.

 

Regards, Tom

 

 

 

 

Thomas--

If you don't care for Puts's reviews and find them overly theoretical, that's fine. You don't have to read them.

 

Please, let's not turn this post into another "I hate Erwin" thread!

 

I find his reviews quite readable and very interesting. Pictures are also fine, but about all I can say about them is "I like this one more than that," while Puts's points explain to me what the differences are that I see.

 

Puts is an excellent technician, whose output is interesting to people like me who have a technical bent. He's not to everyone's taste.

 

I'm not to everyone's taste either, nor are some presidents, nor some cameras. So please don't blame the messenger who brings a message that you're not interested in.

 

BTW, Thomas, I'm not saying you are guilty of all these things; I am just greatly annoyed by reading again and again that "this author stinks" and "that author can do no wrong." No one gets it right all the time.

 

Both of the authors you're thinking about are pleased to correct their errors when they are pointed out. One of them changes the bad text, the other both changes the text and sends you an e-mail saying 'thanks for the heads-up.'

 

Respectfully,

 

--HC

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Agreed.

 

That's unfair. S/b "If you want a talented practicing professional photographer's knowledgeable opinion, read Reid."

 

You are either projecting or are clairvoyant. Sean Reid isn't the only person who reviews lenses, without the aid of an optical bench.

 

Puts runs his tests on the proper testing equipment needed to give a highly accurate technical analysis that is backed up by scientific method. Unless you don't believe in science, it's hard to argue with his results.

 

Sean Reid, Mike Johnston and others are very experienced, professional photographers, who evaluate gear based on their years of shooting experience and a series of informal tests that they conduct under field conditions.

 

Both methods produce results that are valid depending on how you interpret them.

 

Many of the best photographers are not technically minded. Many people just want to see what the lens produces, not read graphs. Steven K Lee is quoted (was it last year?) in LFI as saying that in his opinion, photographers seldom care whether the lens hits 60% contrast at 40 ll/mm or not; they/we just want good pictures.

 

I agree, but the graphs really aren't that hard to read, especially when the accompanying text spells out the findings for you.

 

 

Amen. And I'll add: Please don't waste our time telling us you're not going to read someone's articles. Most of us really don't care how you spend your time.

--HC

 

First off I don't think you are in any position to tell me weather I can express my opinion or not. Second, I think you need to re-read what I wrote. I recommended that you read both types of reviews and then form your own opinion. You may find this difficult to believe, but until my subscription ran out last week, I actually read Sean Reid's reviews. I get the cold hard facts from Puts and then look at Sean's test images to draw other conclusions. Combined they give me the information I need to make a purchasing decision. But my lens buying days are over, so I will probably not resubscribe.

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Concerning focus throw:.......The 75 Summilux has a very long throw to focus from infinity down to closest focus, the Summicron noticeably less, and now the Summarit less again. That's one way to keep the cost in line.......

 

Howard, I'd suggest the ratio gearing of the focus helli-coils has nothing to do with cost factors. Rather a design decision more in keeping with modern trends. The amount of extra brass required in the threads for finer gearing would hardly be a factor IMO.

 

For sure many people have commented less favorably about longer focus throw lenses which seem to slow down the focus process, I for one prefer the longer throw which seems to make the final rocking back and forth of the focus ring just that bit more precise with the longer focal lengths. YMMV

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But my lens buying days are over,......

 

This probably qualifies as the famous last words of the week.....

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But my lens buying days are over...

 

I had thought so too, but 2007 finished on a bad note, and 2008 hasn't had a great start, either. LOL.

 

I enjoyed Erwin's review and much prefer this approach that the doom-mongering he's indulged in in the past.

 

Good to see the Summarits set in context against the Summicrons and we can hope Leica will do more at the wide-angle end. With 3 35s, 5 50s, 2 75s, 4 90s, (at least for now) this end of the lens range is well covered. There's a few gaps below 35mm for faster or more affordable additions.

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Problem with subjective reviews is one need to know the tastes of the reviewer before deciding whether to trust him or not.

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Over the years I have been in the privileged position of having access to a wide range of lenses and have personally owned about 30 Leica lenses from both the R and M ranges. E. Puts’ comments and observations regarding these lenses correspond more closely with my personal experience of using them than that of any reviewer other than Geoffrey Crawley. When it comes to lenses he knows what he is talking about.

 

Two things seem to have caused him difficulties. Firstly the digital era which many of us with backgrounds steeped in the film era have found great difficulty in entering. He got confused about many things, just like the rest of us, but has in the end, I think, come to an accommodation that makes practical sense. The second is the increasingly small, but still very real, improvements that can be made to modern lens designs. Without superlative technique these are never going to be seen by the users. How to convey this and illustrate the differences that can be achieved has, I think, proved to be one of his problems. E. Puts has emphasised time and again in his articles that the requirements on technique have become formidable. It is now more difficult to get the optimum out of a system than it was only a few years ago. The M8 has made it much more difficult.

 

The Summarit article brings into question once again the capability of the rangefinder on the M8 and I think this is rapidly becoming identified as its principle weaknesses. It just is not good enough for the performance that the best lenses can deliver with the Kodak sensor. Too many pictures have become a matter of chance and I for one am frustrated that so many of the pictures I took over the Christmas / New Year period have a focus point that is not precisely where I wanted it. The exact focus point is so good with lenses like the 50mm and 75mm ASPH and so obvious in the prints that anything else looks slightly out of focus. Fabulous lenses and a barely capable rangefinder are not a happy combination and I wonder if some of the attraction of the older lenses, which is evident from so many posts on the forum, reflects the fact that people find them easier to use because they are not so demanding.

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