Looking for an introduction to 50mm
Old 02-05-2020   #1
Henry
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Looking for an introduction to 50mm

I've been a 35mm shooter for the past 10 years or so, my only drift into 50 being a 1980s Nikon F mount f/2. I adored that lens, but I don't shoot much film anymore, and what film I do shoot I put through my m6 (built the same year I was born, I'm attached) and the summicron 35 f/2 asph.

That said, lately I've been looking through my Lightroom catalog at the last big set I shot in 50mm and I sort of want to try again. I don't MIND spending money, but for something I'm not sure about I don't know that I want to drop 2k right off the bat (a used Summicron 50 f/2, latest version, is what I've been glancing at) for something that might turn out to only be a fling.

I don't mind character in a lens, it's entirely acceptable to me.

I started looking at the 7artisans 50mm f/1.1 and wondering if was a sane lens to take as a second option when traveling. Then I thought, what else at that price point would be interesting: I don't really have a great sense of it.

So, my question: for around USD$400 what can I get in 50mm that will be both interesting and a good exemplar of what 50mm can do?

I use an m240, if that makes any difference for recommendations. I'm not a pixel peeper. You can tell me to stop waffling and just buy the summicron, if you want.
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Old 02-05-2020   #2
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I like the 7Artisans lens, but it's right on the borderline between “characterful” and “mushy”:

https://youtu.be/ZcFWedDkXVk

Fortunately, 50mm lenses have been around for a long time and there's no mystery about designing a good one. If you just want something that fits on an RF camera and makes reasonably sharp pictures, you might look around for a Canon 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8, either of which should be in your price bracket even after including the LTM-to-M adapter you'll need.

Or you can jump right down the Soviet-lens rabbit hole...
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Old 02-05-2020   #3
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You can't go wrong with a collapsible Summicron or a Summitar. they are in your budget range and if you don't like shooting with a 50 they hold their value.
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Old 02-05-2020   #4
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Quote:
Canon 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8, either of which should be in your price bracket even after including the LTM-to-M
I hadn't considered the LTM route, thoughts on the 1.4 vs 1.2?

Quote:
You can't go wrong with a collapsible Summicron or a Summitar. they are in your budget range and if you don't like shooting with a 50 they hold their value.
I've always been hesitant about the collapsible models with the digital M bodies, I think my manual specifically suggests against them, or am I being too paranoid?
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Old 02-05-2020   #5
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Nikkor-H.C 5cm f/2 LTM. One bonus feature is its close focus range, down to 1.5ft. Not rangefinder coupled in the close focus range, but I believe you can use Live View on your M240. There's an image sample thread here on the forum:
https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...ad.php?t=90034
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Old 02-05-2020   #6
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no survey of 50mm lenses would be complete with having a hard look at the zeiss zm 50mm C sonar. some might call it a "character lens" but i see it more as an everyday shooter with benefits [such as f1.5 and sublime bokeh].
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Old 02-05-2020   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry View Post
I hadn't considered the LTM route, thoughts on the 1.4 vs 1.2?
The f/1.2 looks great but is a crappy performer ó wide-aperture results are mushy without being interesting, and stopped down it's just average. If you want a Canon lens for picture-taking, the f/1.4 and f/1.8 are the best choices.
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Old 02-05-2020   #8
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no survey of 50mm lenses would be complete with having a hard look at the zeiss zm 50mm C sonar. some might call it a "character lens" but i see it more as an everyday shooter with benefits [such as f1.5 and sublime bokeh].
I had looked at that lens, but not at the used options, and it looks like I could get one for a sane amount of money.
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Old 02-05-2020   #9
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On the 240 if you want small but a bit slower, 50mm Color skopar. Cheap-ish, very well built, good all around IQ. There’s a large thread on here with it. I don’t like collapsing lenses into the 240, so I keep those on the M2 or M6. There’s many Japanese offerings as well from canon and nikon in LTM, but my other lens I like a lot is just a hair larger than the Skopar is a 50mm Chiyoda Kogaku Super Rokkor 1.8. I got a mint one from Japan for $300 a while ago and it is quite good.
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Old 02-05-2020   #10
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A few from the Chiyoda Kogaku Super Rokkor 50mm 1.8 at work.
Leica M2
Tri X @ 800 or 1600
FX15 Developer

[IMG]41-33.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]41-32.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]41-27.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]41-19.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]41-16.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]41-14.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 02-05-2020   #11
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If you're looking for a regular lens to carry around and use for general photography of all subjects, I'd steer you away from the super speed lenses you are talking about. They are bigger, heavier, harder to focus, and generally have some optical compromises to achieve their speed. I'd stick to more modest maximum aperture lenses like the Summicron or various LTM lenses. F2 is still pretty fast and capable of very nice shallow depth of field (especially at closer focusing distances), but still smaller and easier to focus correctly. These slightly slower lenses will generally produce better results at all apertures, too. If you really like the focal length and want to have a couple of 50's for different uses, then the super speed versions are worth considering for very low light and/or very shallow D.O.F. shooting; but a good f2 or f2.8 lens will serve you better as an everyday lens. Not only will it produce better results at modest apertures you'll use much of the time, but it will be cheaper to buy and smaller and lighter weight, which might mean it's in your bag instead of left at home.

If you poke around you should be able to find a good M or LTM 50mm for well under $1000. Older Leitz/Leica lenses, from the f2.8 collapsible Elmar or f2 Summicron (any version) or LTM lenses from Canon, Nikkor, Zeiss, or even many very affordable Russian lenses should work very well. Any of these will be a good compliment to your 35mm lens, and will help you decide if you like the 50mm focal length enough to invest further. That experience should also help you decide if you want your next 50mm to be a really good all-around performer like the latest Summicron ASPH lens, or a super-speed 50 like a Noctilux or one of the cheaper fast lenses from Voigtlander or 7Artisans or others; or a lens like the Zeiss Sonnar-C f1.5 that is both fairly fast and a good performer stopped down, or just a really tiny old collapsible model or...
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Old 02-05-2020   #12
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I have..
Summicron 50 f2 v1
Summicron 50 DR
Summilux Asph
CV 50 2.5
CV 50 1.1
ZM Sonnar 50 1.5
ZM Planar 50 f2
7A 50 1.1
Jupiter 8 50 f2

and... out of those I'd recommend the ZM Planar 50 f2 to start with. Perfect match to the M240. Nice handling, easy focusing, sharp, smooth bokeh and much better flare protection than any of the other lenses.
It's a lens that becomes transparent and just gets out of your way. No wondering about focus shift, sharpness, flare, just shoot.

Also kinda cheap used.

I do not recommend old non Leica brand LTM lenses, because most I've seen are full of haze. Those will be fun to play with later.
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Old 02-05-2020   #13
maartenmoerman
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My 50ties, which i think are very interesting options:
- jupiter3 f1.5
- jupiter8 f2.0
- voigtlander nokton f1.1
- canon f1.4 ltm

all of them can be had below 500 used. If you look real hard, i think you can get a jupiter8 for about 10-20 bucks, which might be cheaper then an ltm-m adapter.
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Old 02-05-2020   #14
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I wouldn't recommend any of the post-Rigid 50mm Summicrons because of bokeh issues (and flare, of course), except for the APO ASPH.

If focal length is the only thing you care about, I'd recommend literally anything that meets your budget of $400. They're all good optically in their own ways. I'd base my decision on any personal preferences regarding speed, size/weight, ergonomics, design, condition, and optical signature (contrast, resolution, bokeh, color, etc.).

For an "interesting" lens, I'd say a collapsible lens would be cool, or a Contax or Nikon 50mm rangefinder lens with an Amedeo adapter for that Sonnar look.
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Old 02-05-2020   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ccoppola82 View Post
On the 240 if you want small but a bit slower, 50mm Color skopar. Cheap-ish, very well built, good all around IQ. Thereís a large thread on here with it. I donít like collapsing lenses into the 240, so I keep those on the M2 or M6. Thereís many Japanese offerings as well from canon and nikon in LTM, but my other lens I like a lot is just a hair larger than the Skopar is a 50mm Chiyoda Kogaku Super Rokkor 1.8. I got a mint one from Japan for $300 a while ago and it is quite good.
Your subsequent images with the Rokkor 1.8 are really compelling, thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I have..
Summicron 50 f2 v1
Summicron 50 DR
Summilux Asph
CV 50 2.5
ZM Sonnar 50 1.5
ZM Planar 50 f2
7A 50 1.1
Jupiter 8 50 f2

and... out of those I'd recommend the ZM Planar 50 f2 to start with. Perfect match to the M240. Nice handling, easy focusing, sharp, smooth bokeh and much better flare protection than any of the other lenses.
It's a lens that becomes transparent and just gets out of your way. No wondering about focus shift, sharpness, flare, just shoot.

Also kinda cheap used.

I do not recommend old non Leica brand LTM lenses, because most I've seen are full of haze. Those will be fun to play with later.
The Planar f/2 had been on my radar. I liked that it retailed under 1000 for a new lens, and that it's a well tested design. Thanks.
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Old 02-05-2020   #16
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Originally Posted by aizan View Post
I wouldn't recommend any of the post-Rigid 50mm Summicrons because of bokeh issues (and flare, of course), except for the APO ASPH.

If focal length is the only thing you care about, I'd recommend literally anything that meets your budget of $400. They're all good optically in their own ways. I'd base my decision on any personal preferences regarding speed, size/weight, ergonomics, design, condition, and optical signature (contrast, resolution, bokeh, color, etc.).

For an "interesting" lens, I'd say a collapsible lens would be cool, or a Contax or Nikon 50mm rangefinder lens with an Amedeo adapter for that Sonnar look.
Amedeo adapter is $200.
Better to put that money to just buy a Sonnar lens w/o needing an adapter!
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Old 02-05-2020   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I have..
Summicron 50 f2 v1
Summicron 50 DR
Summilux Asph
CV 50 2.5
CV 50 1.1
ZM Sonnar 50 1.5
ZM Planar 50 f2
7A 50 1.1
Jupiter 8 50 f2

and... out of those I'd recommend the ZM Planar 50 f2 to start with. Perfect match to the M240. Nice handling, easy focusing, sharp, smooth bokeh and much better flare protection than any of the other lenses.
It's a lens that becomes transparent and just gets out of your way. No wondering about focus shift, sharpness, flare, just shoot.

Also kinda cheap used.

I do not recommend old non Leica brand LTM lenses, because most I've seen are full of haze. Those will be fun to play with later.
Iíve never shot a planar. Iíve read the distortion is quite a bit for a RF 50mm. Has this been something youíve noticed in real world use?
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Old 02-05-2020   #18
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If I had $400 to spend on an M-Mount 50mm, I think I would have to go for a Nikkor 50mm f/2 or f/1.4.
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Old 02-05-2020   #19
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Originally Posted by Ccoppola82 View Post
Iíve never shot a planar. Iíve read the distortion is quite a bit for a RF 50mm. Has this been something youíve noticed in real world use?
Never noticed it. I'm not saying it doesn't but I have never noticed it.
Nor from the other lenses on my list.

I guess I could spend an afternoon testing out my 50s to see which one is the best for distortion. But that sounds really boring!

As the OP is using a digicam, he'd just select the corresponding lens profile in LR etc
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Old 02-05-2020   #20
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Used Planars are at 500$ mark. Easy to sell, without loss, lens. 7Artisans might be bit large for travels. Even Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.5 Aspherical VM in black are at this price mark, used but not abused and not Nikkor, Canon vintage which isn't always good on digital M.

Personally, I'm satisfied with serviced by me Jupiter-3 on M-E, but it is not straight out from parcel lens on M.
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Old 02-05-2020   #21
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post

Personally, I'm satisfied with serviced by me Jupiter-3 on M-E, but it is not straight out from parcel lens on M.
It's the same thing with the J-8. I like the lens but it needs to be shimmed to focus correctly. I never did with mine, I just paid attention to how far it back focuses and accommodate for that.
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Old 02-05-2020   #22
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It's the same thing with the J-8. I like the lens but it needs to be shimmed to focus correctly. I never did with mine, I just paid attention to how far it back focuses and accommodate for that.
Silver versions of both Jupiters are same, not easy to re-shim. But black one is not so, it is simplified due to collapsing manufacturing base. Yet, with more fresh coatings.
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Old 02-05-2020   #23
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Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Never noticed it. I'm not saying it doesn't but I have never noticed it.
Nor from the other lenses on my list.

I guess I could spend an afternoon testing out my 50s to see which one is the best for distortion. But that sounds really boring!

As the OP is using a digicam, he'd just select the corresponding lens profile in LR etc
I don't usually mind distortion as long as it's not ugly anyway. I rarely use profile corrections unless they are force-baked into my images (looking at you iPhone).


Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
I wouldn't recommend any of the post-Rigid 50mm Summicrons because of bokeh issues (and flare, of course), except for the APO ASPH.

If focal length is the only thing you care about, I'd recommend literally anything that meets your budget of $400. They're all good optically in their own ways. I'd base my decision on any personal preferences regarding speed, size/weight, ergonomics, design, condition, and optical signature (contrast, resolution, bokeh, color, etc.).

For an "interesting" lens, I'd say a collapsible lens would be cool, or a Contax or Nikon 50mm rangefinder lens with an Amedeo adapter for that Sonnar look.
I see people mention the issues with the more recent Summicron variants, are there people here who really like them as is?
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Old 02-05-2020   #24
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Used Planars are at 500$ mark. Easy to sell, without loss, lens. 7Artisans might be bit large for travels. Even Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.5 Aspherical VM in black are at this price mark, used but not abused and not Nikkor, Canon vintage which isn't always good on digital M.

Personally, I'm satisfied with serviced by me Jupiter-3 on M-E, but it is not straight out from parcel lens on M.
I'll admit, the prospect of repairs/CLA with vintage lenses does make me nervous, and is one of the things that originally got me looking at the 7artisans. Considering a new-but-gently-used modern lens is appealing though.
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Old 02-05-2020   #25
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There exist many excellent 50mm RF lenses at prices of $400 or less. The J-8 50/2 is an excellent lens that usually does not require any shimming while the J-3 often does. The Canon 50/1.8 is a bargain lens, and the Canon 50/1.4 is faster and as good. The Nikon 50/2 ltm is an excellent choice too. The CV 50/1.5 is a great lens. There are too many excellent 50mm to list here. My favorite 50mm lens is most likely the Rigid Summicron, but it costs more than $400. The Elmar 50/2.8 is awesome too.
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Old 02-05-2020   #26
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The CV 50/2.5 LTM would be my recommendation. I still prefer it over the 50 mm Summicron (vs4 maybe, the one with tab but no intgrated hood) due to its size. This lens might be the best value for the money also.
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Old 02-05-2020   #27
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I'll admit, the prospect of repairs/CLA with vintage lenses does make me nervous, and is one of the things that originally got me looking at the 7artisans. Considering a new-but-gently-used modern lens is appealing though.
Even two 50 LTM Canon I get needed CLA and re-shimming. They are not as bad as FSU, if not better than Leitz for DIY CLA, but still takes time and effort.

Iím not sure if 50 1.1 gets evenly sharp across entire frame at some aperture.
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Old 02-05-2020   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry View Post
I hadn't considered the LTM route, thoughts on the 1.4 vs 1.2?



I've always been hesitant about the collapsible models with the digital M bodies, I think my manual specifically suggests against them, or am I being too paranoid?

I have used my Collapsible 50mm Summicron on a M240 with no issues.
IQ performance on digital for this old lens is amazing as well.
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Old 02-05-2020   #29
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I have and like the Canon S-Mount 50mm f/1.8 (on a IIIf)... since you are primarily a 35mm shooter, the size of any 50mm you choose could impact your experience. Too big and heavy might put you off before you get started.
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