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Paul Hart

CV 35/1,4 Nokton - Sean Reid review, Part 1

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Sean Reid has posted part 1 of his review of this lens, using both the SC and MC versions. As ever, it is a perceptive analysis and makes for interesting reading.

 

When it was announced, I thought this would be an obvious lens to buy for my M8, but decided to hold back until Sean had reviewed it. All the images on Flickr (etc) taken with this lens wide open had what to my eyes was weird and distracting bokeh.

 

Sean's review raises other, more objective issues with the lens and his review ought to be compulsory reading for anyone contemplating a purchase.

 

The big surprise to me was how astonishingly good the CV 35/1.7 Ultron is - a lens I had barely considered before reading this.

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I agree, a surprising read! I'd also agree that my hesitation from the pics I've seen was the distracting bokeh, looks "blotchy" to me. I keep hoping, however, the 1st run of these lenses is somehow slightly defective, and the next batch will be better, as I love the idea of a 35-1.4 in a tiny package, at CV prices.

 

As for me, I'll stick with my 1.7 Ultron for now. I also like the 35 skopar, which has more contrast than the Ultron, except it is a little slow for my needs.

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From what I understand, Sean tested two lenses (the MC and the SC), and both performed equally. I know that some lenses may have variations from sample to sample, but I don't think anyone would expect *this*.

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I was surprised at how the 35/1.4 seemed like a pebble compared to the Ultron in his first tests. Not very impressive imho.

 

However, I did also see the Chris Weeks 'review' and his POV as a street/event shooter was interesting because the obvious technical limitations were not a significant worry when the final real pictures of real people and events were considered. His feedback was so what if it's not perfect, it draws a decent image and is great value for money. Definitely not going to be worrying Leica anytime soon or likely to eat into the 35 'lux business too much.

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I have this lens and Seans results agree with what I've found.

The lens has a pronounced focus shift when stopping down and a fair bit of curvature of the focus plane.

 

However:

If I compensate by moving the focus ring an extra mm after focusing when stopped down to 2.8 or smaller (1/2 mm at f2), the lens is quite acceptable at f1.4, sharp at f2 and very sharp from f2.8.

 

It wouldn't be my first choice for landscapes or architecture but it is small, handles very nicely and it has become my favourite .

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Sean Reid has posted part 1 of his review of this lens, using both the SC and MC versions. As ever, it is a perceptive analysis and makes for interesting reading.

 

When it was announced, I thought this would be an obvious lens to buy for my M8, but decided to hold back until Sean had reviewed it. All the images on Flickr (etc) taken with this lens wide open had what to my eyes was weird and distracting bokeh.

 

Sean's review raises other, more objective issues with the lens and his review ought to be compulsory reading for anyone contemplating a purchase.

 

The big surprise to me was how astonishingly good the CV 35/1.7 Ultron is - a lens I had barely considered before reading this.

 

While you are at it at Sean's website, look at the 35mm Summarit review. The CV 35mm f/2.5 out-resolved both Leica lenses in the center and corners to f/5.6- very impressive. If you can stand the slow lens or shoot between f/2.5 and f/5.6, that seems to be the lens to have.

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Chris Weeks review something? I figure besides him saying it is F'ing great or F'ing junk I can't imagine what else he'd say. The guy has some opinions.

 

Still......got a link to that? Gotta be funny just to read it.

 

Neil

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Chris Weeks review something? I figure besides him saying it is F'ing great or F'ing junk I can't imagine what else he'd say. The guy has some opinions.

 

Still......got a link to that? Gotta be funny just to read it.

 

Neil

 

 

Am I missing something? The thread discusses the lens review by Sean Reid. Who is Chris Weeks? He is not mentioned in this thread?

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Am I missing something? The thread discusses the lens review by Sean Reid. Who is Chris Weeks? He is not mentioned in this thread?

 

gwelland mentions him a few posts up.

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Who is Chris Weeks? He is not mentioned in this thread?

 

Yes he is - message number 4. If it's any consolation I've never heard of him either.

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Frankly, I was quite dissapointed by both versions of this lens...surprisingly so. There's a chance that later production versions will be better but I suspect this may partly reflect the limitiations of designing a very compact 35/1.4 with no aspherical elements, etc. That's a big challenge to pull off and, frankly, they didn't pull it off in the two samples I tested.

 

With the 50/1.5 Nokton, by contrast, they created a lens that compares extremely well to the 50/1.4 Lux ASPH.

 

To be sure, one can work around the CV 35/1.4's weaknesses (and make excellent pictures with it) but I'm hard-pressed as to why one would want to do that when there are so many other excellent 35s to choose from. The 35 Ultron (which uses an aspherical element and is only 1/2 stop slower) is, to my mind, a much more impressive lens (except for its propensity to flare under some conditions, esp. with filters). The 35/1.2 Nokton is also an excellent lens (if one can deal with its size and weight) and it has much less of a problem with flare.

 

The CV 35/2.5 has been the lens I've used almost exclusively over the past month when I've been photographing intensively. *That's* the sleeper 35 if one doesn't mind the max aperture.

 

I was hoping that the CV 35/1.4 would be a great "lenscap" all-around lens for the M8 - a one-lens solution for some but it just isn't (based on these tested samples). The limitations came up not only in res. testing but also just in regular use.

 

I agree that the "idea"of this lens is really attractive: a quite fast 35 which is also compact and affordable. I suppose some may learn to work around the limitations simply because the lens is so attractive in certain respects.

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Sean, let me be the first to thank you for that test. I must say that this is either a case of

 

a) "something" gone horribly wrong, or

CV should go back to the drawing board, or fix their QA.

 

Actually, the test made me order one, on the ground that no lens with M mount could be that bad.

 

Oh, and here is one vote for Chris Weeks, smashing good photographer.

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Thanks. My best guess is that this isn't a question of quality control but, rather, one of design limitations. l I'll know more when I test other samples.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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For those of you Google challenged folks out there who asked about Chris Weeks and his "review" of the CV 35/1.4 here's a link to his blog entry WARNING: Don't blame me for the content!!

 

Chris Weeks is a celeb/hollywood photographer who's a self confessed Leicaphile. He also seems to have a black-belt in offensive language but if you can read through that, he actually is quite insightful. (IMHO). Not a bad photographer either!

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Looking at that article he's a far better photographer than writer - and I'm not talking about the swearing - mind you his photographs looked pretty poor IMHO. This guy gets paid for taking those?

 

"Houston, the ego has landed"

 

Thanks for the link.

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I disagree with Sean's points in his review. My experience of the 35f1,4 SC (with film, mind you - not digital) is different. It does not have the "bite" of a 35f1,4 Asph at 1.4 - but I do not expect that (or want it all the time). Performance is better than a late Pre-asph Summilux with considerably better flare control (and much better flare control than the 35f1,4 Asph!). The SC version is more "mellow" in contrast and as for sharpness or resolution, more than adequate.

Of course, Sean's could be a "dud" and maybe he should exchange it for an other sample or it could be that it is incompatible with the M8. That would surprise me as Cosina does have M8's to test stuff out with.

I have put through about 60 rolls of Tri X/Double X/Acros 100 with the 35/1,4 VC-SC and I have really not had anything to complain about. Maybe my standards are different (black/white and if a lens can give me a 16x20 print - I am happy) and I should use a digital (no thanks) or shot test charts (double no thanks). If I have the time (and the inclination) I will try to set up a focus test of various 35's faster than f2 and see what they look like. I suspect that shooting Pan F and souping it in Beutler will do it. Oh, hell - I might even drag out the tripod for that.

Rangefinderforum.com

Any comments folks?

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I think it's fair to say that Chris Weeks style of review is a little bit different to Erwin Puts.

 

I think he liked the CV 1.4.......

 

I have the 2.5, thought of trading for the 1.4 but now I'm not so sure. The 2.5 is a great little lens.

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Any comments folks?

 

Sure, I'll comment. Unless my two samples were not representative, Tom is going to discover that this lens shows a lot more focus shift than he's aware of. At F/2.8 and F/4.0, the lens will show excellent resolution at some point in the subject - but that point will be behind where it was focused.

 

My methodology for testing this stuff is pretty strict, even when I'm in the field. Other photographers are also discovering the focus shift in this lens.

 

Also, according to Tom's subscription records, he had not actually read the review in question.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Sure, I'll comment. Unless my two samples were not representative, Tom is going to discover that this lens shows a lot more focus shift than he's aware of. At F/2.8 and F/4.0, the lens will show excellent resolution at some point in the subject - but that point will be behind where it was focused.

 

My methodology for testing this stuff is pretty strict, even when I'm in the field. Other photographers are also discovering the focus shift in this lens.

 

Also, according to Tom's subscription records, he had not actually read the review in question.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

 

Two people who have used the lens that don't agree with your 'review' Sean, Chris Weeks and Tom A. Something seems to be broken.

 

As they say individual results may vary. I hope this is not about who is right with all due respect to all three opinions.

 

At any rate - I don't own the lens (I'll stick with the 40mm Nokton for the time being). I have read your review - looked at Tom's images on flickr and may even get a chance to try this lens someday. Like most until I have used it myself it is what it is.

 

Best to all. Terry.

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