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Return of the Heliar 50/3.5
Old 04-07-2004   #1
rover
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Return of the Heliar 50/3.5

I just visited the web page of Photo Village in NYC (www.photovillage.com) and saw their tease (More info to follow) about the return of the CV 50/3.5 Heliar. This is the lens sold as part of the the Bessa T 101 Kit that earned the highest ratings by Pop Photo in their SQF tests. It appears that it is coming back as a rigid lens. The original was LTM mount, I wonder if it will return in M mount as all of their recent introductions have been M mount.
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Old 04-07-2004   #2
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I seem to recall an announcement within the past month that the remaining 50 Heliar parts will be assembled as Nikon/Contax mount lenses. I have the impression there will be very few of them (100?).
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Re: Return of the Heliar 50/3.5
Old 04-08-2004   #3
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Re: Return of the Heliar 50/3.5

Quote:
Originally posted by rover
... and saw their tease ... about the return of the CV 50/3.5 Heliar. This is the lens sold as part of the the Bessa T 101 Kit that earned the highest ratings by Pop Photo in their SQF tests.
I wouldn't expect anything else than top ratings for a 50/3.5 regardless of brand. Or any other 50mm stopped down to that aperture for that matter. It makes me wonder from what it derives its market appeal, especially since 50/2.8 collapsibles of a well known brand go for reasonable prices on the 2nd hand market.
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Old 09-28-2004   #4
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The results were best at f3.5-16... as well as at Erwin Puts test.
ot's almost the 50's 5/3 elements design (like Tessar but dual front group) - prove that simple, old designs can compete against new...
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Old 10-25-2004   #5
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So has anyone here actually shot with the Voigtlander 50mm f/3.5? Just curious to hear if it lives up to the hype.
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Old 10-25-2004   #6
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I have only read good things about the performance of this lens from the few users there seems to be out there. The two common negatives brought up are that it is slow, and apparently not that compact, actually pretty long when extended.
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Old 10-25-2004   #7
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I used to have a Heliar 50mm/3.5 but I sold it to finance another R2 and the Ultron 35mm/1.7. Great lens! Solid brass construction and very sharp! Like what Rover has said, it is long when extended but compact without its hood. It has been months since the announcement of the return of the Heliar 50mm. I wonder what happened? I personally feel that Cosina should produce the Heliar as a standard production 50mm. I will definitely buy one!
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Old 11-18-2004   #8
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Take a look at the harmonic lens design of the Heliar and you get a clue why performance of this lens is excellent. Minimal glass curvatures = minimal optical aberrations. Very close to the *real* Heliar design from Voigtlander in the 1930-1950's. They never made it for 35mm cameras, only for medium format. A 5 element design was luxary these days. Nowadays one might think at least 8 elements for highest performance, but 5 are enough when speed isn't an issue...
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M mount not LTM
Old 05-30-2005   #9
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M mount not LTM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rover
I just visited the web page of Photo Village in NYC (www.photovillage.com) and saw their tease (More info to follow) about the return of the CV 50/3.5 Heliar. This is the lens sold as part of the the Bessa T 101 Kit that earned the highest ratings by Pop Photo in their SQF tests. It appears that it is coming back as a rigid lens. The original was LTM mount, I wonder if it will return in M mount as all of their recent introductions have been M mount.
I own an Heliar 3.5, it's a M-mount.
I love it on my dad's M6 or my R2!
People get crazy about fast lenses, myself included, but I think we've lost the tradition of travel lenses, super small, super sharp. My Heliar easily fits in the palm of my hand and so does the CV 28mm f/3.5.
Shooting outdoors with these guys is a delight.

Not often mentionned, but besides sharpness, I found the colour rendition of the Heliar incomparable to any of my other lenses. I never understood what people meant by "3D feel" when talking about some Leica lenses, until after seeing some pics taken with my own Heliar.
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Old 05-31-2005   #10
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The Heliar is an LTM lens that comes with a screw mount adapter in the T101 kit.

It is a lovely lens, and the RF lens I use most. My Hexanon 28 was a strong contender for a while, but now the Heliar has left it (further) behind.

It is so light and f3.5 is adequate even for indoor use in many situations when I have 400 film. It produces excellent results with smooth transitions from focus to out of focus and the bokeh is nice.

The down side is that the aperture turns too easily so it can accidently change if you have the camera dangling around, though in most situations the camera do not dangle around much, so it is not a big problem.
Another problem is that it has 27mm filters (and I have not bought any filter for it).

I would not part with it. If I lost it, I would get a Leica Elmar M which seems to be a very nice lens from reading people's opinions. But I have a feeling they are too close, so I see no reason to get an Elmar-M. However, I do plan to get a Planar 50/2 as a companion to the Heliar,
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Old 05-31-2005   #11
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Sounds like this lens will live on with a cult following. Obviously a great performer as judged by the absolute lack of them on the used market. If you have one you want to keep it. Seems to me that if priced the way CV has been able to price all their products that this lens can sell well.
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Old 04-14-2008   #12
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Does anyone else have any hands on experience with this lens to share?

Cheers,
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Old 04-14-2008   #13
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I had the Heliar 50/3.5 (together with the Bessa-T 101 kit). It is a sharp lens but I didn't like the handling at all. The aperture ring is very easy to rotate and I ruined some photos due to wrong aperture setting ...
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Old 04-14-2008   #14
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I have the CV 50/3.5 Heliar in both the original Leica screw (LTM) & Nikon S (Nikon RF) mounts.

Like others who have posted in the thread, I'm not a big fan of the ergonomics of the LTM version's aperture ring. The Nikon RF version handles better but lacks click-stops for the aperture ring & has a weird conical shape.

Can't complain about the performance of the optics, though. The only "bad" thing I've noticed is that it doesn't appear to be very flare-resistant when shooting directly into strong lighting (contre-jour) wide-open, but that could be said about many lenses.

Of course, per pvdhaar's comment, it's not exactly difficult to make a good slow 50mm lens nowadays.
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