Which 50mm's would you keep?
Old 06-07-2012   #1
padraigm
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Which 50mm's would you keep?

Hi All,
I have been pretty fortunate is acquiring some fine 50mm glass over the years. But the reality is I could not possibly have the time needed to fully get to know intimately each lens of these lenses unique character and capabilities. All of them except for the VC, I purchased at good prices and believe I have decent equity in all of them. But I need to trim down to two. I would be interested in hearing others input as to which you would keep if faced with a similar decision. The lenses are as follows.

1. 50mm Summilux pre-ASPH BP
2. 50mm Summicron (newer pre APO with pop up hood)
2. 50mm Zeiss sonnar C f/1.5
4. VC 50mm Nokton f/1.1

I like all of them even the Nokton which has no real special character to my eye, but I have found the speed does come in handy at times. I am leaning towards keeping the summilux and summicron.

Thanks
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Old 06-07-2012   #2
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I would keep the cron.
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Old 06-07-2012   #3
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Keep the Summicron, sell the rest.
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Old 06-07-2012   #4
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I think that the Nokton is certainly redundant. Then you have two lenses, which are somewhat similar: the Summilux and C Sonnar. While C Sonnar is sharper when stopped down, and prettier when opened up, in the middle it has the focus shift, which makes it a bit awkward to use. If you like to have a great portrait lens, you should keep the C Sonnar, then, depending on how critical is sharpness to you, you might choose the Summicron (sharpest) or Summilux (more flexible). If a special portrait lens is not so important to you, then Summicron and Summilux should stay.
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Old 06-07-2012   #5
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I would keep the Summicron and Zeiss C Sonnar.

. . . . . today I'm in the mood for small footprint lenses.


On another day the answer may have been the Summicron and Summilux.

Whatever your decision, I think you are in a win/win situation.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 06-07-2012   #6
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Sonnar. No question. Bags more character opened up.
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Old 06-07-2012   #7
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I'm not fortunate enough to have used any of these lenses.

My way of making these calls has been based on:

- What is so differentiating about a lens that I'd take it out?
- What is exceptionally hard to find in its condition?

By default, I'd lean towards keeping one fast lens (which may be larger than I like for day to day use) and one smaller/daily carry lens.
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Old 06-07-2012   #8
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Some great reply's guys... Thank you so much. See now that is exactly the issue I am having the sonnar or the summilux? They are similiar and the BP goes with my MP BP, but there is just something about the Sonnar.... But a sonnar is more easily replaced than a summilux BP and long term might be the better investment.
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Old 06-07-2012   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padraigm View Post
1. 50mm Summilux pre-ASPH BP
2. 50mm Summicron (newer pre APO with pop up hood)
2. 50mm Zeiss sonnar C f/1.5
4. VC 50mm Nokton f/1.1
Out of that set, I'd keep the Summicron and either the Summilux or Sonnar for a faster option. The Summicron is the reference Leica 50mm lens IMO.

My current choice of 50mm lens is the older Nokton 50mm f/1.5 ASPH (LTM) ... which produces rendering so close to a Summilux 50 you have to work to tell the difference. And the tiny Skopar 50mm f/2.5, so nice and small when you want to go light, with excellent character of its own (similar to an Elmar 50 from the 1960s).
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Old 06-07-2012   #10
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I kept the Summicron and Sonnar, they complement each other.. replaced the Summilux with a Nokton 50/1.5 screw mount.
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Old 06-07-2012   #11
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You nailed it with this: the Sonnar can be replaced for under $500 (funny, the Canon goes for more than the Zeiss these days). The Summilux not. From what I've seen I like the pre-ASPH Summilux a lot, but that's all pictures on the web so who knows what's true. In any case on the financial front the Summilux will keep and gain value that the Sonnar won't. Me, I'd keep three, what the hell, why make rules. Shoot the Summicon mostly, switch it up with either of the other two when you're in the mood. The only faster-than-f1.4-lens I'd murder for is the Noctilux 0.95. And my Nikon AIS 1.2 is a great lens through the aperture settings. But otherwise the difference between 1.4 and 1.1 on film seems negligible to me. Anyway if you insist on losing two, I'd sell the Sonnar before the Summilux by a looong way.
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Old 06-07-2012   #12
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PS what does BP mean?
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Old 06-07-2012   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparrow6224 View Post
PS what does BP mean?
Black Paint. It doesn't effect image quality
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Old 06-07-2012   #14
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Keep the Summicron. After that keep either the Summilux or the Sonnar, depending on which one you like. In all reality, I'm with a few of the others and say sell the rest. I'd keep either the Summicron or Summilux then sell everything else. It would come down to a choice between those two.

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Old 06-07-2012   #15
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I would keep the cron.

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Old 06-07-2012   #16
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Summicron and Summilux. If you have to choose 1 I think that model lux has a close focus distance of .7m, therefore I would keep that over the cron.
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Old 06-07-2012   #17
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I think you only need to keep one of those: BP Summilux, no question!

I have owned many really excellent 50's, including Nikon 1.4 in ltm, latest Summicron (3 copies, all flared), Konica Hexanon (2 copies), Elmar-M, Elmar older version, and Summilux Asph. I have kept the Summilux Asph. and the Elmar-M. I love them both, but would be just as happy returning to my pre-asph. Summilux.

(I don't have any experience w/ the Sonnar and the Nokton, but I've seen photos taken with them and have not seen anything that would make me choose them over the Summilux.)
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Old 06-07-2012   #18
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I go for the Cron.
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Old 06-07-2012   #19
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You guys are Puritans, man. One 50mm... C'est impossible! They're like children, a comfort in your old age. I have four RF 50s, two Sonnars and two Canons, the 1.4 and the 1.8 (that's a beautiful compact lens, btw), plus the Summicron-C 40mm. And then on the SLR shelves you don't want to know. But I'm telling you anyway. Pentax (2), Contax, Rokkor (3), Canon (2), Leica-R 60mm Macro, and then the Nikons, let's see, AIS f1.2, 1.4, 1.8, AI f2, pre-Ai 3.5 macro, AF f1.4D and 1.8D. And I want them G's too. I'd sell the D's if I got 'em. The rest, I'm keeping. My precious....... snort snort. So i say sell the Nokton and keep the rest. They are beautiful objects in the world. We get few enough of those anymore.
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Old 06-07-2012   #20
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I forgot the RF Nikon f1.4! Man that's like leaving your baby on the bus..... phew.
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Old 06-07-2012   #21
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I would keep the best lens. For many, it would be the Summicron.
For others, it would be the Zeiss, while fast lens freaks will go or the 1.1 lens.
Choose the lens you like to use most.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by padraigm View Post
Hi All,
I have been pretty fortunate is acquiring some fine 50mm glass over the years. But the reality is I could not possibly have the time needed to fully get to know intimately each lens of these lenses unique character and capabilities. All of them except for the VC, I purchased at good prices and believe I have decent equity in all of them. But I need to trim down to two. I would be interested in hearing others input as to which you would keep if faced with a similar decision. The lenses are as follows.

1. 50mm Summilux pre-ASPH BP
2. 50mm Summicron (newer pre APO with pop up hood)
2. 50mm Zeiss sonnar C f/1.5
4. VC 50mm Nokton f/1.1

I like all of them even the Nokton which has no real special character to my eye, but I have found the speed does come in handy at times. I am leaning towards keeping the summilux and summicron.

Thanks
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Old 06-07-2012   #22
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This may sound odd.
The Summicron is the most overpriced of the bunch as of late. I bought a latest model slide out hood copy in '08 used for $600 ( here on the forum classified). At that time they were new from Leica for $1300. Now they are around $2k +.
For an example...A Hexanon f2/50mm or Planar f2/50mm will give you near exact performance and character. The Hex even matches or exceeds build quality.
I only mention it as you suggest equity in your original post.
I would take the equity in that lens (summicron) as it is easiest to replicate it's quality in lesser priced lenses if you miss it later. If you are considering equity then you must be considering value is my assumption.
The Sonnar and Nokton are steady in their new price value so you could sell them now before they get older and lose value.

The BP Lux is the one I would keep as it is no longer made so... raising in value.
It gives the look I like most often but that's subjective for me and maybe different for you.
Good luck with your choice
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Old 06-07-2012   #23
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Sell everything but one, any one, and give the money to charity.

There are familes of four in Marks, Mississippi living on less per year than what you've spent on your 50mm lenses.
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Old 06-07-2012   #24
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I would not start such a guilt trip at RFF.
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Old 06-07-2012   #25
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I have owned all of these lenses spare the Nokton. I was quite excited about that one when it was announced, but for no particular reason my enthusiasm waned prior to its release.

My own conclusion was to keep the Black Paint Summilux. While I loved the rendering of the Sonnar especially coupled with the M8, I found the focus shift to be something of a distraction for practical photography. More importantly the Summilux won out in the fast 50 race due to its mostly uniform image quality across the aperture range. The Sonnar's split-personality of increased sharpness and contrast when stopped down made it more of a specialty lens for my taste.

I do miss the Summicron, both for its image quality and small size. Of the lot, it's the one I might just buy again. All the best with your choice. It's a fine one to face!
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Old 06-07-2012   #26
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I'd keep the Summicron. Sharp, no distortion, and you save $7K over buying its improved replacement. For those times I might need a faster lens, I've found the Canon 50 1.4 in LTM to be adequate.
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Old 06-07-2012   #27
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OP, I will advise you whatever you want to hear and you can thank me with the BP 'Lux for petty cash


Really, that's the only one I would keep. I like the bit where 50mm lenses console one in ones old age like children, but I'd rather spend time with my precious (hehe) and know the others are doing fine on their own, than have all of them around all the time, begging for my attention.

the BP 'Lux will likely be gone forever when you sell it, all the others may be replaced at considerably less effort and you would be hard-pressed to be able to tell a difference between their quality. Non-connaisseurs will definitely not be able to tell.
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Old 06-07-2012   #28
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I'd keep the cron and the sonnar

With the money you get back selling the nokton and lux asph, you should buy the 75 lux and the 1.4x magnifier
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Old 06-07-2012   #29
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Cron V5 ...YES !! My current FAV
love that little pop out Hood
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Old 06-07-2012   #30
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I would keep the Lux, I have one and it's my most used lens. But I also have a Hex 50 and a couple of russian 50's a 2.0 and a old i-50 3.5 which I have a lot of fun with. But if it was only down to one lens the Lux wins......
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Old 06-07-2012   #31
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I'd would say to keep the summicron and the Nokton, then you would have THE 50 all others are juged against, and one that you could use at night.

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Old 06-07-2012   #32
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Wow, well I did not see one bad bit of advice thank you... There is certainly good sound reasons for any decision made. I agree with what buzzardkid said, if I sell the summilux BP it will be gone forever. The price for that lens is just crazy right now and unlikely to ever change. The rest are more easily acquired if needed. The nokton will be sold and sadly the sonnar too. The summilux and sonnar are just too close in performance and along with the focus shift and close focus limitations of the latter I have to go with the lux. I would love to keep them all but I purchased them knowing I was not going to keep them all(more of a try and decide) and in the end 4 lenses in the same focal length is a distraction. A good one , but nevertheless a distraction. Hell even more than one is probably too much, but I am not ready to go there just yet. The summicron I had owned previously, and always seemed to regret (especially with price increases) It took some memorable photos for me so I feel a certain attachment to it. I probably don't need it as much as i think, but I always felt it's absence. Perhaps it will be the last man standing in the end as so many of you suggested. Again everyone, I valued each and every opinion and boy did I begin to seriously question what decision I was leaning towards. But I think this is the way forward...
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Old 06-07-2012   #33
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If the Lux is in good shape... Speed is always useful, especially in the subway or when it's winter and the night comes real early. I would keep the Summilux. Personality and speed. Versatile. Anyway, all lenses look the same to me when stopped down, so keep the coolest wide open.
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Old 06-07-2012   #34
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One more vote for the cron. Size matters! speed matters less if you dont shoot too often at night time. Depends on your photography needs. I used to own a pre-asph lux too and didn't like the size. Cron is even sharper (to my eyes).
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Old 06-07-2012   #35
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I will keep the 50 cron.
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Old 06-07-2012   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teuthida View Post
Sell everything but one, any one, and give the money to charity.

There are familes of four in Marks, Mississippi living on less per year than what you've spent on your 50mm lenses.
Charity is not the solution. In fact, one reason that politicians don't do shxt about the poor is because they can (or they think they can) rely on charity to do the work for them.
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Old 06-07-2012   #37
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i'd not sell any of these, except maybe the summicron. but only maybe.
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Old 06-08-2012   #38
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I'm in a similar position - I have gradually acquired five lenses and now that I finally got a Summilux 50 ASPH I will have to let go of some, but having a hard time deciding which. I have the following:
Summicron 50 collapsible
Summicron 50 v3
Summarit 50 2.5
Nokton 50 1.5
and now Summilux 50 ASPH

I'm thinking of keeping the Summilux (amazing image quality), the old Summicron collapsible (like its classic drawing and due to its usual front glass deterioration it is hardly worth selling) and either the Summarit or the Summicron v3 as a compact alternative - both produce incredible quality and have a lovely rendering, although I am tempted by the Summarit as it is extremely compact and I find the v3 hood design rather clumsy.

The Nokton is really great, but doesn't reach the quality of the Summilux wide open or the Summicron/Summarit stopped down. Although I have a hard time letting go of it, as to my eyes it has a really interesting "hard" rendering, which is great for more of a reportage look.

Always hard to let go of such lovely lenses...
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Old 06-08-2012   #39
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canon 50 1.4 ltm, any reason to say no to it?
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Old 06-09-2012   #40
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