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50mm CV Nokton 1.5 on M8?


thompsonkirk
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I'd like some advice from folks who've used the 50mm Nokton f1.5.

 

Background: I'm in the final stages of a 2-year back-to-Leica conversion. My lenses were vintage, from the M2-3-4 era, & I've had to add some newer lenses (21 Biogon, 28 Summicron). Most recently I acquired a 35mm Nokton 1.2, because my 35mm Summicron ver.1 isn't too sharp below f4. The 35mm Nokton does a great job at f1.2 & f1.4, but by f4 it loses its lead over the Summicron in sharpness, & the color & 'creaminess' don't measure up. So I now have 2 complementary 35s - Nokton for low light, Summicron for everyday.

 

Current questions: I'm thinking of doing the same thing for 50mm focal length. My 1956 M-mount collapsible Summicron is fine by f4 & suits me perfectly in terms of low contrast & lovely warm & gentle color. But I recently had to use it wide open at a no-flash event & was concerned about its softness. (A colleague who often shoots events says it did well enough, because the subjects were seniors who 'don't like sharp' anyway. But I don't hang out entirely with seniors.)

 

I'm wondering what to expect of the 50mm 1.5 Nokton, mainly at its larger apertures & in color. I've read Sean's review, which speaks well of it; but I have 2 remaining questions:

 

1. Bokeh: Sean's review has a blank spot where he said he'd fill in OOF behavior later, but he hasn't got around to it. And I found this quote on the Internet, in a Nocti-Summilux-Nokton blurb: "What does appear to upset some people however is that even if the Nokton is sharper and suffers from less vignetting when wide open, the image bokeh appears to be much 'harsher' than that of the Summilux." Is this a consensus & is it off-putting (especially in color, where harsh OOF blobs could be ugly)?

 

2. Color: Sean doesn't test for color, on grounds that people use different RAW converters & are subjective about color anyway. I'd argue to the contrary, that Leica says C1 is their norm, & it's easy to compare how far lenses diverge from the given RGB numbers on a ColorChecker. But I don't expect to persuade him.

 

So I wonder how the 50 1.5 Nokton handles color? My experience is that the CV 25 & 35mm lenses have a distinct color signature, particularly by mixing some blue in their reds. I wonder if there's anything special about the 50mm Nokton's color rendition?

 

Thanks in advance for any advice from folks who've had some experience with this lens!

 

Kirk

 

PS, please don't tell me how much I'd enjoy a Summilux, unless you want to give me one. I've just broken my piggy bank for 2 sets of upgrades & the 35mm 1.2 Nokton.

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I can't speak much to the color, because I never really noticed any issues, but after using the 50 Nokton for about a year, I abandoned it primarily because I didn't like the bokeh. There was a lot to like about that lens, and I'm usually pretty ho-hum about bokeh, but the Nokton was harsh enough for me to notice it. Still, it was sharp and cheap and I have a lot of keepers from when I used it.

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That lens was the first one I purchased to upgrade my M2, bought used in the 60s or 70s, once I was anticipating the M8. I still use it often when I need a little reach and the light is weak, mostly at f/1.5 or 2.0. Here is a shot from a few days ago:

 

108783698.jpg

 

The colors are also fine. It is sharp corner to corner in my experience (I shoot brick walls from time to time, but haven't with this lens). Here's a nice example with details that read across the field:

 

78941167.jpg

 

and I may be naive about bokeh, but it seems fine to me:

 

78261744.jpg

 

scott

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I'd like some advice from folks who've used the 50mm Nokton f1.5.

 

Background: I'm in the final stages of a 2-year back-to-Leica conversion. My lenses were vintage, from the M2-3-4 era, & I've had to add some newer lenses (21 Biogon, 28 Summicron). Most recently I acquired a 35mm Nokton 1.2, because my 35mm Summicron ver.1 isn't too sharp below f4. The 35mm Nokton does a great job at f1.2 & f1.4, but by f4 it loses its lead over the Summicron in sharpness, & the color & 'creaminess' don't measure up. So I now have 2 complementary 35s - Nokton for low light, Summicron for everyday.

 

Current questions: I'm thinking of doing the same thing for 50mm focal length. My 1956 M-mount collapsible Summicron is fine by f4 & suits me perfectly in terms of low contrast & lovely warm & gentle color. But I recently had to use it wide open at a no-flash event & was concerned about its softness. (A colleague who often shoots events says it did well enough, because the subjects were seniors who 'don't like sharp' anyway. But I don't hang out entirely with seniors.)

 

I'm wondering what to expect of the 50mm 1.5 Nokton, mainly at its larger apertures & in color. I've read Sean's review, which speaks well of it; but I have 2 remaining questions:

 

1. Bokeh: Sean's review has a blank spot where he said he'd fill in OOF behavior later, but he hasn't got around to it. And I found this quote on the Internet, in a Nocti-Summilux-Nokton blurb: "What does appear to upset some people however is that even if the Nokton is sharper and suffers from less vignetting when wide open, the image bokeh appears to be much 'harsher' than that of the Summilux." Is this a consensus & is it off-putting (especially in color, where harsh OOF blobs could be ugly)?

 

2. Color: Sean doesn't test for color, on grounds that people use different RAW converters & are subjective about color anyway. I'd argue to the contrary, that Leica says C1 is their norm, & it's easy to compare how far lenses diverge from the given RGB numbers on a ColorChecker. But I don't expect to persuade him.

 

So I wonder how the 50 1.5 Nokton handles color? My experience is that the CV 25 & 35mm lenses have a distinct color signature, particularly by mixing some blue in their reds. I wonder if there's anything special about the 50mm Nokton's color rendition?

 

Thanks in advance for any advice from folks who've had some experience with this lens!

 

Kirk

 

PS, please don't tell me how much I'd enjoy a Summilux, unless you want to give me one. I've just broken my piggy bank for 2 sets of upgrades & the 35mm 1.2 Nokton.

 

Hi Kirk,

 

Yes, someday I'l get caught up enough to get back to the OOF testing for that section. Till then, I can say that I very much like the OOF rendering of the 50 Nokton.

 

About color - it's not so much that preferences are subjective but that different RAW converters and different profiles will affect the look of the color.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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I have the 50 Nokton and I find is a very good lens.

The cost is also very attractive.

You don't have to compare it to a Leica glass, though. It has its own character. The OOF is there, more Japanese style than German style. It is different, but it is a very nice lens.

As far as color is concerned, I bought a 40 Nokton also and the color rendition of the 40 I like very much. The 50 is very nice too but I must say, agreeing with Sean Reid in his testing of the 40, that the latter has a very particular and nice color rendition.

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Don't overthink this. The Nokton is a bargain; buy it. If you don't like its output, sell the beast!

 

I have only three 50mm lenses -- Summar 2.0; Heliar 2.0; Nokton 1.5 -- and like 'em all for different reasons. I use the Nokton only when I need the extra speed. Both CV lenses permanently wear UV/IR filters from B+W. (None of my fities are coded.)

 

That being said, I confess I don't use the 50mm focal length that much since moving to the M8. I mostly go wider or longer where I do have Leica glass at both ends of this immediate neighborhood: 35 & 75.

 

-g

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The Nokton is a complete no-brainer. I've had this picture reproduced in magazines several times up to A4 and it is nothing short of spectacular for print work. I find colours are warm but that suits me for portrait work. The oof areas, which in this example are not that extreme are lovely and smooth.

 

For the price of a Nokton, who cares how long it lasts or how you treat it. The biggest problem for me is that owning one makes it very, very difficult to justify purchasing a 50/1.4 Summilux or for that matter a 75/2 cron.

 

M8 Nokton 50/1.5 at f2 from memory

 

post-21151-14286840141578_thumb.jpg

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I just got a 1969 Summilux yesterday, there is no point in comparing the two lenses.

One speaks Spanish the other Russian. Just very different languages, each one with its own strengths and qualities.

My Nokton is much harsher in contrast and the going OOF is much steeper. Probably if I had a Summilux Asph the difference between the two would be less obvious.

If the choice is dictated by budget, be happy with it as it is a wonderful lens.

No point on comparing with something you can't afford at the moment.

Just learn its peculiarities and take great pictures with it.

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  • 2 months later...

The only real weakness in the Nokton from my point of view is the close-focus limit of .9 meters. But then most pre-ASPH Summiluxes are also limited to 1 meter, except for the very last version with the built-in lens shade (.7 meter). I tend to use the 50 focal length on the M8 in the range .7 meters to 1.5 meters, where the Summicron still reigns over even the 'lux ASPH in terms of fine resolution - so I stick with f/2.

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  • 3 years later...

I have recently bought a used Nokton 50mm 1.5 for my M8u.

 

The lens performance is fantastic for the money; Sharp, contrast, nice tones and Bokeh.

 

It is aparently a very nice modern design; Aspherical, coatings, floating front lens group, it is really well made all in all.

 

Some of the mechanical build quality is so so, the focus ring transfer the rotation via a thin long T-shaped tap, so care should be taken when; mounting the LTM - M-Mount ring and when mounting the lens use only the slim ring with the aperture scale as 'grip' and when mounting filters use the front part of the lens.

 

Minimum focus is now modified to 0.7m this can be done by removing additional 16mm of the focus cut out internally with a Dremel. Found the tip on RFF :)

This is possible due to the extra room made by the design to allow room for the fine tuning infinity adjustment of each lens, same as some MF Nikkor wide angle lenses. .

 

My sample had a little back focus as it was stopped down, but after a careful adjustment of the lens; the build in adjustment ring under the mount and the rear shims, at infinity and close up I have reached a compromise where f/2 to f/2.8 is the sweet spot, f/4 and f/5.6 is fully acceptable and f/1.5 now has a slight front focus of about 10-15mm at 0.7m

Infinity is spot on using the night lights in Malmö, Sweden as a target, they are about 16 km away from Copenhagen...

 

The aperture ring had very light aperture settings so was easily knocked out of position, so i used a round needle file to make them more distinct and I added a click-stop between f/1.5 and f/2.0.

 

The lens is now a pleasure to shoot on the M8u, very highly recommended! Especially with the DIY modifications!

Edited by Erik Gunst Lund
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I've had a 1.1 Nokton for quite some time. The price is very attractive and my sample is dead on, focus wise, when wide open. However, I find very few photos I've taken with it that I like - a fair number of rejects were slightly off focus. On the other hand my 1.5 Nokton yields many photos I like. I would go with either a rigid Summicron (much better than the collapsible ones) or the 1.5 Nokton . Perhaps the heavier 1.1 is harder to support? Please excuse the lack of scientific objectivity in the above. regards, ron

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  • 4 weeks later...

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