Reviews

Angenieux M1 50mm F0.95 Lens

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Angenieux is a French cinematic optics manufacturer founded in 1936. It has made lenses for still and movie cameras, and for military applications.

The ultra fast Angenieux 50mm F0.95 movie camera lens has increasing popularity in the past decade through the adaptability of cine lenses onto new digital camera systems including conversion to use on Leica M.

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Comparable Lenses

Canon 50mm F0.95 (1961)

Schneider Xenon 50mm F0.95 (1970)

Leica Noctilux 50mm F1 (1975)

Leica Noctilux 50mm F0.95 (2008)


Rendering

The Angenieux 50mm F0.95 was originally designed as a Cine lens and it does not fully cover the 35mm full frame. It offers signature Angenieux colour and bokeh, which is vividly romantic with a strong movie mood. It is sharp wide open as all other pre-aspherical ultra fast lenses without visible glow or prone to flares. The lens produces medium contrast with high cinematic rendering.

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Modification

The Angenieux 50mm F0.95 can be adapted to be used on modern digital camera systems such as Micro Four Third and Sony NEX. It can also be physically converted to Leica M Mount through the additions of an aperture ring, diaphragm blades to control apertures, focusing barrel and a new heilcoid to allow full functionality on Leica Rangefinders.

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Leica M Modifications can be done by the following skilled technicians:

-Miyazaki San (Japan)

-Traditional Master (Hong Kong)

-Hawks Factory (Taiwan)

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Kinoptik Apochromat 75mm F2 Lens

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Kinoptik is a French cinematic optics manufacturer founded by Georges Grosset and Gerozes Perthuis in 1932. The Kinoptik Apochromat lens series has excellent apochromatic optical design and also benefits from the symmetrical Double Guass lens construction, which results extreme high resolution with rich colour saturation and unique bokeh.

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Versions:

  1. FOYER
  2. FOCALE
  3. APO

 

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Specifications


Production Year: 1944 onwards


Construction: 6 Elements / 4 Groups


Diaphragm: 16 Blades


Design Features

  • Double Gauss


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F2 - F16


Closet Focusing Distance: 1m


Weight: 490g

 

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Alpa Kern Macro Switar 50mm F1.8/F1.9 Lens

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Introduction

The Alpa Kern Macro Switar 50mm was exclusively made for Alpa cameras by Kern Aurau in Switzerland. Alpa is a precision Swiss watchmaker combined forces with Kern who was famous for making optical glass at the time to produce this legendary lens. The Kern Switar 50mm F1.8 was firstly introduced in 1951 and replaced by Macro Switar in 1958 with close focusing capability of 28cm for macro photography. The Kern Macro Switar 50mm F1.9 was introduced in 1968 with revised lens design and newer coatings for improved optical performance.

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Build Quality

Alpa is known as the precision watchmaker thus no surprise that the Alpa Kern Switar 50mm lenses were extremely well engineered. The build quality is excellent and on par with well-known cinematic lens makers such as Angenieux or Schneider at the time. The Kern Switar 50mm lenses were hand assembled and finished in either chrome, black paint or combination of both. 

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Image Quality

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Image quality from the Alpa Kern Switar 50mm lenses are exceptional and the lens excels at macro photography. Images produced are extremely sharp with high contrast and vivid colour saturations. Alpa claimed that this is an apochromatically corrected lens of unequalled quality, which is found to be true in most situations.

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The Kern Macro Switar 50mm Lenses have close focusing capability when used with liveview for macro photography. The details retained by this lens is incredible with extreme sharpness and pleasant rendering, which is an amazing achievement on modern rangefinders.

 

Practical Use

Unlike Modern lens design, when the aperture ring is turned that the yellow dots appeared indicating the visifocus depth-of-field scale for the selected aperture stops. The focus ring has an extremely long throw and takes several turns to reach the minimum focusing distance of 28cm equivalents to 1.8x magnification, which is extremely useful for close-up work.

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Modern photography technological aids such as live-view or high resolution electronic viewfinder, which allows to maximise the ability of the Kern Macro Switar 50mm Lenses to reach its full potential for macro photography.  

 

Alpa Kern Macro Switar 50mm F1.8

VS

Alpa Kern Macro Switar 50mm F1.9

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The Kern Switar 50mm F1.9 Lens was introduced later with revised lens design and newer optical coatings compared to the Kern Switar 50mm F1.8 Lens for improved performance. The Kern Switar 50mm F1.8 has golden yellow colour coating whereas the Kern Switar 50mm F1.9 has golden yellow with purple coloured coatings.

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The Kern Switar 50mm F1.9 has updated lens design with an additional element with 8 elements in 5 groups compared to 7 elements in 5 groups of the Kern Switar 50mm F1.8 Lens. The Diaphragm blades also have been moved forward in position. The improved lens design resulted better optical performance for the newer Kern Switar 50mm F1.9 Lens.


Lens Versions

   Nekogahora Camera Collection  (Clockwise)

 Nekogahora Camera Collection (Clockwise)

  1. Macro Switar 50/1.9 (Surgical 81)
  2. Macro Switar 50/1.9
  3. Macro Switar 50/1.9 (Gold Plated)
  4. Kern Aarau Switar (Automatic Diaphragm)
  5. Macro Switar 50/1.8 (Black Paint)
  6. Macro Switar 50/1.8

 

Adapters

There are three popular Alpa to Leica M adapter options on the current market and the price is reflected in it’s materials & build quality. The finish of the adapters are mostly in either Chrome or Black and most adapters are Rangefinder Coupled. However, during actual use might require manual calibration to work perfectly on Rangefinders.

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I will rank the adapter brands from most to the least expensive:

  1. Shogun
  2. Metabones
  3. Kipon
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Specifications

Lens Mount: Alpa


Production Year:  1951 (F1.8) | 1968 (F1.9)


Construction:

7 Elements / 5 Groups (F1.8) 

8 Elements / 5 Groups (F1.9)


Diaphragm:  9 Blades


Maximum Aperture:  F1.8 | F1.9


Minimum Aperture:  F22


Closet Focusing Distance:  0.28m


Filter Size:  48mm


Weight:  280g

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Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.5 Aspherical VM Lens

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50mm is my favourite focal length as it best represents human eye perspective for street photography. The Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH Lens is my favourite out of them all and I have tried similar fast 50mm lenses offered in Leica M mount, which includes the Zeiss 50mm F1.5 Sonnar ZM and Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.5 Aspherical VM Lens.

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The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.5 Aspherical has a classic barrel design  with all metal construction finished in either black aluminium or chrome brass. The lens is inspired by the original LTM version made in the 1950s and specifically manufactured the modern version with classic looks. It uses the same basic lens design as the classic version with modern performance by incorporating an aspherical element into the optical design to reduce aberration and distortion with improved sharpness. When shooting the lens wide open at its maximum aperture allows it to generate shallow depth of field with pleasant smooth bokeh. It is the best combination of modern and classic world.

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Specifications

Lens Mount: VM | Leica M Mount


Construction: 6 Elements / 5 Groups


Diaphragm: 10 Blades


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.5 - F16


Closet Focusing Distance: 0.7m


Filter Size: 49mm


Weight: 220g / 293g (Black | Silver)

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Leica Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH Lens Review (Compared with 50mm F0.95 Noctilux)

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Leica is known to make some of the best lenses in the world with Noctilux been their flagship lens. The Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH Lens is a significant milestone for Leica Camera AG, as it is Leica’s first attempt to produce the Noctilux for another focal length apart from the world renowned Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH Lens. The Noctilux has always been the King of all Leica lenses and it symbolises an object of desire that will remains a dream for most photographers.

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First Impressions

The Leica Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH Lens is the most expensive on-going production lens by Leica with a staggering price of $12,795. I am lucky to be the first customer delivered with this amazing lens in Australia.

The Leica Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH Lens is not as large or heavy as I would expect. It shares the same lens design as the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH M Lens, it is basically the taller and bigger version of the 50mm Noctilux.

The 75mm Noctilux has similar black anodised finish but is larger in diameter and longer in length in comparison. It is only when you put the lenses together side by side that you can see the size and weight differences. The build quality is impeccable just like the 50mm Noctilux, which represents one of the most well made lens by Leica. The built in hood design is different, it has the twisting hood on the 50mm Summicron APO rather than the sliding hood on the 50mm Noctilux, which allows it to lock in position better.

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Lens Design

The Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH Lens incorporates the latest optical design elements to maximise image performance. The complicated optical composition involves two aspherical elements to ensure maximum sharpness and low dispersion. The use of low dispersion glass along with anomalous partial dispersion helps with the reduction of chromatic aberration (CA), which has been a common issue with the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux Lens. The floating lens element system also assists with maintaining consistent high image quality throughout the entire focus range. Lastly, the optical design consists of 11 diaphragm blades allows smooth and pleasant bokeh to be produced.

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Build Quality  

The Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH Lens is an enlarged version of the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH Lens with similar build quality. Both lenses are probably the best lenses ever made by Leica, with The 75mm Noctilux been the larger and heavier lens. The lens is longer in length and wider in diameter, which weights in at just over one kilogram that is exceptionally heavy for a rangefinder lens.

The Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH Lens is finished in black anodized with integrated hood that can be retracted or extended by twisting the hood. There is inner thread for a non rotating 67mm screw mount filter that can be applied.

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Image Quality 

The Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH Lens has Modern Rendering similar to the The Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH Lens but with slightly less Contrast and Colour Saturation. Both lenses are Clinical Sharp but the the Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH has the edge in Sharpness when shooting wide open. The Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH produces shallower depth of field with exceptionally smooth and creamy bokeh, resulting stunning performance for portraits. 

There are less Optical issues with the Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH lens due to the Newer lens design. Chromatic aberration or Purple fringing is non existent and Vignetting is non visible when shot wide open, which is a significant optical improvement over the previous generations of Noctilux.

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Rendering

After extensive use of this lens, it can be notice that the rendering is dependent on a combination of factors including the subject, the background and lighting conditions.

Dual Character: The Leica 75mm Noctilux can produce natural, smooth and pleasant renderings similar to fast 75mm lenses such as 75mm Summilux or 75mm Summicron APO. The lens can also produce three dimensional high contrast and colour saturated renderings similar to 50mm Noctilux ASPH or even 50mm Summicron APO. The only way to achieve the photographers “desired look” is by keep shooting under different variations or conditions whether it is for portraiture or street photography.

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Practical Use 

The Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH Lens is an ultra fast telephoto lens with ability to produce shallow depth of field and unique rendering to isolate the subject even in low light conditions. The short telephoto focal length is perfect for portraiture and allows to take street photography without disturbing the subject.

Focusing with this lens is relatively easy with modern camera technology aids such as live view with focus peaking and high resolution electronic viewfinder. Traditional method of focusing through the rangefinder is also precise with a highly calibrated lens copy. The focus ring is exceptionally smooth with short focus throw and the aperture ring clicks in place half or full stops.

The Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH Lens is too heavy to be handheld for prolonged use, as it is extremely front heavy when mounted on Leica M Rangefinders. For the first time, there is a tripod mount on the lens body and it comes with a tripod adapter for mounting the lens directly onto tripods for maximum stability.

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Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux-M

VS

Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux-M

Physical

The physical differences is obvious with the Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH been the larger and heavier lens of the two. The Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH measured at H91mm x W74mm, which is taller and slightly wider than the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH measured at H75mm x W73mm. The 75mm Noctilux is about 300 grams heavier at 1055g compared to 700g weight of the 50mm Noctilux. The build finish for both lenses is black anodized but the retractable hood design is different, as the 75mm Noctilux has twisting out hood compared to the 50mm Noctilux with sliding out hood design. 

Imaging

The Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH has a maximum aperture of F1.25 whereas the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH has a maximum aperture of F0.95. However, due to the longer focal length of the Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH and shorter minimum focusing distance at 0.85m resulting both lenses with similar shallow depth of field. Bokeh produced by both lenses are exceptionally smooth and pleasant with the 75mm Noctilux offers even smoother bokeh due to the design with 11 diaphragm blades, as the number of diaphragm blades is not specified for the 50mm Noctilux.

The Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH Lens released in 2018 has the benefit of the latest optical technology compared to the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH designed almost a decade ago back in 2008. The Lens design is very similar for both Noctilux incorporating complicated optical composition with two aspherical elements to ensure maximum sharpness and optimal performance. As a result, the sharpness is equivalent but the chromatic aberration is significantly reduced on the 75mm Noctilux. Chromatic aberration or purple fringing was a common issue for the 50mm Noctilux and this has been solved with the newer lens design consisting of low dispersion glass and anomalous partial dispersion.

Justification 

Since I have been a long time user of the Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH Lens that shared many similarities with it’s bigger brother, the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH Lens. Whereas the Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux ASPH Lens is an entirely different focal length with improved lens design.

During practical use, the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux Lens provides marginal improvement in optical performance over the amazing Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux Lens but at a significant increase in size and weight. In contrast, the Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux Lens not only provides a different focal length to the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux Lens but with improved sharpness and bokeh quality especially when shooting wide open. 

 

Sample Testing

(Bokeh vs Sharpness) 

  

Summary 

Extremely fast maximum aperture of F1.25 with incredible control over shallow depth of field and benefit using in extreme low light conditions.

The short telephoto focal length of 75mm is suitable for people images and portraiture with the manipulation of extreme depth of field when shooting wide open.  

The lens design features allow extreme sharpness with minimum chromatic aberration or purple fringing. Rare design incorporating two large aspherical elements for improved sharpness and reduce distortion. The diaphragm with 11 blades allows smooth and pleasant bokeh to be produced.

Practical design with twisting extendable lens hood to reduce lens flares. A tripod mount is inclusive within the lens to compensate for the heavy weight and stability when shooting from a tripod.

 

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Specifications  

Lens Mount:  Leica M

 

Production Year:  2018


Construction:  9 Elements / 6 Groups

 

Diaphragm:  11 Blades


Design Features

  • Two Aspherical Elements
  • Anomalous Partial / Low Dispersion Glass
  • Floating Elements System


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:   F1.25 - F16


Closet Focusing Distance:  0.85m


Filter Size:  67mm


Dimensions (Length x Width):

91mm x 74mm


Weight:  1055g

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Gallery 

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

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B&W PHOTOGRAPHY

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NATURE

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PORTRAIT

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Zeiss 50mm F1.5 C-Sonnar T* ZM Lens

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The Carl Zeiss 50mm F1.5 C-Sonnar T* ZM Lens is inspired by its predecessor from the 1930s with the Classic Sonnar lens design. It’s fast maximum aperture at F1.5 makes it suitable for portraiture and people especially in low light conditions. The C designation in the lens stands for compact lens design and classic optical performance with signature Zeiss colour rendering. The Classic Sonnar optical design produces high sharpness combined with modern Carl Zeiss T* anti-reflective coating to reduce flare and provides high contrast and clarity.

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Build Quality

The Zeiss 50mm F1.5 Sonnar ZM has classic design that makes the lens compact in size. The Sonnar lens is relatively small and lightweight for its fast maximum aperture. The focus ring turns smoothly and the aperture clicks in place nicely. However, there presents focus shift with this lens design and it can be countered by keep the issue in mind when adjusting the focus or find a better lens copy less prone to focus shift.

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Image Quality

The Zeiss 50mm F1.5 Sonnar ZM lens produces signature Zeiss colours with classic rendering. The separation between the subject and background manufactures that 3 dimensional pop effect to its rendering. In addition, the vintage sonnar lens design also offers unique soft glow and smooth creamy bokeh, which makes it perfect for portraits.

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Comparison

The Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH is bigger, heavier and more expensive than the Zeiss 50mm F1.5 Sonnar Lens. Both lenses produces amazing bokeh with shallow depth of field but the rendering is very different. The Leica 50mm Summilux is clinical sharp with modern rendering and the Zeiss 50mm Sonnar produces pleasant images with classic rendering. The Zeiss 50mm Sonnar is convenient to carry due to its compact size and weight with less viewfinder blockage than the Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH.

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Specifications


Lens Mount: ZM | Leica M Mount


Production Year: 2004 - Present


Construction: 6 Elements / 4 Groups


Diaphragm: 10 Blades


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.5 - F16


Closet Focusing Distance: 0.9m


Filter Size: 46mm


Weight: 240g (Black | Silver)

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Conclusion

The Zeiss 50mm F1.5 C-Sonnar T* ZM Lens is a great alternative to Leica 50mm lenses. It’s price to performance ratio is exceptional compared to similar lenses. The lens compact design and unique rendering is perfect for people portraits.

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Leica 50mm F2.0 Summicron M Lens

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This will be a summary review on the Leica 50mm F2.0 Summicron M lens as I have done extensive reviews on its bigger brothers, the Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux M Lens and the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux M Lens.

I have only had the 50mm Summicron for a short period before decided to upgrade to the faster 50mm Summilux lens. However, if you are on a budget and do not require very fast aperture to shoot wide open all the time, then the Leica 50mm F2.0 Summicron M lens will be sufficient 95% at all times. 


Build Quality 

The Leica 50mm F2.0 Summicron Lens has standard Leica build quality but not as well made or solid as the more expensive Summilux or Noctilux lenses.

The built in sliding hood is similar style to the 50mm Summilux lens but smaller and shorter in dimensions, which makes it more practical and convenient

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Image Quality 

The Leica 50mm F2.0 Summicron lens is the sharpest lens out all Leica’s current lineup only inferior to the newer Leica 50mm F2 Summicron APO lens. It is arguably sharper than the faster Summilux lens with similar clinical sharpness. However, the rendering of the Summicron is more towards the classic side compared to the more modern rendering of the Summilux lens. The 50mm Summicron produces classic colours combined with lower contrast defines the character of this lens.

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Practical Use 

The Leica 50mm F2.0 Summicron lens is probably the easiest and most convenient Leica 50mm lens to carry around for all purposes. It is relatively small and light weight lens with a fast enough maximum aperture at F2 also with great ergonomics in practical use. Overall, it is probably the best all-round 50mm lens for Leica M Rangefinders. 

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Specifications


Production Year: 1979 - Present


Construction: 6 Elements / 4 Groups


Diaphragm: 8 Blades


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F2.0 - F16


Closet Focusing Distance: 0.7m


Filter Size: 39mm


Weight: 240g (Black)  |  335g (Chrome)

 

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Conclusion 

The Leica 50mm F2 Summicron is a versatile all-purpose lens, which offers a relatively fast maximum aperture of F2 to benefit working in lower-light conditions with great control over depth of field.

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Leica M10 Camera Review

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The Leica M10 is an evolutionary camera for long time Leica users. It is getting back to basics shooting with similar style to Leica film cameras with integration of modern technology.

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Comparison  

The Leica M9 was the landmark for Leica’s transition into digital photography and it was so intuitive to use like all Leica film cameras. However, with the introduction of the Leica M Typ240 as a revolutionary approach to fully embrace photography technology, it felt like Leica has lost its soul and essence during the process. The Leica M Typ240 with those extra technological features was an interference to pure shooting and the camera became inconvenient to carry, as it feels bulky and heavy compared to all previous Leica M. The Leica M10 improves on the practicality and physical aspects of the Leica M Typ240 significantly.

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Build Quality and Ergonomics

The Leica M10 is build with similar dimensions to Leica M film cameras. Both the size and weight of the Leica M10 is astonishing close to the Leica MP and this is difficult to achieve for a modern digital rangefinder. The build quality is extremely solid and well made like all other Leica M cameras but it feels more compact and lighter than previous Leica digital rangefinders.

The ergonomics of the Leica M10 is excellent, it feels intuitive in the hands and makes the photographer wants to hold it. The relocation of the iso dial onto top of the camera similar to the film rewind knob is a nostalgic touch for traditional Leica users. The reduction of dials and buttons to only essentials combined with the removal of movie function brings back the essence of pure shooting.

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Image Quality and Practicality

The Leica M10 uses the latest 24MP CMOS sensor developed especially for Leica. The transitioning from full frame CCD sensor in the Leica M9 to the CMOS sensor in the Leica M Typ240 has been controversial and it wasn’t until arrival of the Leica M10 that rectify it. The sensor in the Leica M10 retained similar rendering of the CCD sensor and provided high iso capability of the CMOS sensor. The new sensor produces great colours and contrast that has the ability to shoot up to 10,000 iso without any visible noise.

Everything you need to adjust in order to take a proper photograph is at the reach of fingertips. Once the settings are preset within the menu, there is no need to touch them again as all essential adjustments (aperture, focus and iso) can be selected externally and independently. This makes the Leica M10 the most functional and practical digital rangefinder until now.

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Key Highlights

  • 24MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • Leica Maestro II Image Processor
  • Optical 0.73x-Magnification Viewfinder
  • 3.0" 1.04m-Dot LCD with Gorilla Glass
  • ISO 100-50000, Up to 5 fps Shooting
  • Built-In Wi-Fi
  • Slimmer Body Profile
  • Stills-Only Operation
  • Built-In ISO Dial & Frame Line Selector
  • Weather-Resistant Brass Construction
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Specifications

Physical

Dimensions (W x H x D):  

139.0 x 80.0 x 38.5 mm

Weight:  660 g with battery

 

Imaging
Lens Mount:  Leica M

Camera Format:  Full-Frame  

Max Resolution:  5976 x 3992

Sensor Type / Size:  

24 Megapixel CMOS, 24 x 36 mm

File Formats:  DNG, JPEG


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Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH M Lens

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Leica 75mm F1.25 Noctilux ASPH M 

Lens Review

The Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH is one of the legendary Leica M lenses, which is an ultra fast lens with unique rendering and the ability to isolate the subject with exceptional low light performance. 

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Comparison

The Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH is best described as the Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH on steroids. Everything about the Noctilux is enhanced from the Summilux including size, weight, bokeh and rendering. When shot wide open at F0.95, the lens produces amazing Leica pop and insanely shallow depth of field, which isolates the subject completely and provides almost three dimensional effect.

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Build Quality

The build quality of the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH lens is second to none. It is probably the most well made Leica lens of all time. The Noctilux is a large and heavy lens but it is so solid and densely constructed that sometimes make you forget its size or weight.

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Image Quality

The Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux maintains the same rendering signature as the Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux lens and if you are a fan of the Summilux then you will love the Noctilux as well. The rendering of the Noctilux is very modern with great colours and high contrast. When shooting wide open, the Noctilux lens offers shallower depth of field and enhanced bokeh than the Summilux lens, this will increase the image pop effect to achieve that desired Leica look.

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Practical Use

The Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux is a big and heavy lens for Leica M Rangefinders. When mounted on camera, it tends to be front heavy and there is certain viewfinder blockage as well. During practical use, it will be difficult to carry the Noctilux for a prolong time due to its size and weight.

There is a built-in sliding lens hood which is convenient and practical. The aperture ring clicks in place nicely when selecting the aperture and the focus ring is exceptionally smooth. The Noctilux has a short focus throw which will be perfect for street photography.

 

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Specifications


Production Year: 2008 - Present


Construction: 8 Elements / 5 Groups


Design Features

  • Two Aspherical Elements
  • Five Partial Dispersion Glass Elements
  • Three High Refractive Index Elements
  • Floating Elements System


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F0.95 - F16


Closet Focusing Distance: 1m


Filter Size: 60mm


Weight: 700g

 

Conclusion

The Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH offers extremely fast maximum aperture with shallow depth of field for selective focus shooting and allows to be handheld in low light conditions. If you don’t mind the size or weight of the lens and desire that maximum aperture of F0.95 then this will be the perfect lens for you.

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Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH M Lens

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The Leica 50mm Summilux is my favourite lens of all time. It offers amazing image rendering and that signature Leica look. The optical performance on this lens is simply stunning and the physical design of the lens is almost perfection.

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Image Quality

The Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH produces my favourite image renderings out of all Leica lenses. The images are sharp and contrasty with that signature Leica look. The rendering is very modern and dramatic as the lens offers high contrast and extreme sharpness. When shot wide open, the shallow depth of field and smooth bokeh making the subject stands out. The Aspherical element design resolves all the issues normally associate with lenses, which in turn made the optical performance of this Leica 50mm Summilux almost flawless.

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Build Quality

The Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH Lens is built to last. It is constructed solidly and designed to be used on daily basis. The build quality is what you would expect from top of the Leica range with stunning German craftsmanship. The Lens is offered in either black anodised or silver chrome version, with the chrome made from brass been slightly heavier. There is also a built-in sliding hood which making this lens convenient and practical. The hand build workmanship with all metal solid construction making this lens among one of the best lenses ever built.

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Practical Use

The Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH Lens is designed to be used on daily basis. The size is compact for a fast lens and the weight is perfectly balanced on Leica M Rangefinders. Everything is convenient hands on including the built in lens hood making it without any external interferences.

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The aperture clicks in place solidly when selecting the aperture and the focus ring is exceptionally smooth when turning. Every design on this lens is very intuitive to use and once you get familiar with it, the Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH will become an extension of your eye.

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Specifications


Production Year: 2004 - Present


Construction: 8 Elements / 5 Groups


Diaphragm: 9 Blades


Design Features:  One Aspheric Element and One Floating Group


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.4 - F16


Closet Focusing Distance: 0.7m


Filter Size: 46mm


Weight: 335g (Black)  |  460g (Chrome)

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Conclusion

If you want a faster lens than the Leica 50mm F2 Summicron and a smaller lens than the Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH then the Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH is the perfect lens in between offers nothing short of breathtaking performance yet practical for daily usage.

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Fujinon 5cm f/1.2 | Fujinon 50mm F1.2 LTM Lens

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The Fujinon 5cm f1.2 lens is an urban myth in the world of ultra fast lenses. It is seldomly seen and there is little information written on this highly collectible and ultra rare beauty.

This lens is commonly known as the Fujinon 50mm F1.2 LTM lens that is capable of competing against the Legendary Japanese ultra fast lenses such as the Canon 50mm F0.95, Zunow 50mm F1.1 or Nikkor 50mm F1.1 LTM lens.

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Production Versions

  • LTM Mount in Black & Chrome Version (Less than 800 units)
  • Nikon S Mount (Less than 50 units)
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Most of the Fujinon 5cm f/1.2 lens was offered in Leica Screw Mount in either Chrome or Black finishes. Fujinon also produced a few in Nikon S Mount for Nikon Rangefinders, which is reviewed here but they are never seen on the market and hidden away in cabinets by true collectors.

 

Build Quality 

The Fujinon 50mm F1.2 LTM is a compact lens for its fast aperture and the weight of the lens is relatively light. It is solid all metal construction but subpar compared to modern Leica lenses build quality. It balances well on Leica M Rangefinders due to its compact and solid lens body.

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Image Quality

The Fujinon 5cm f/1.2 offers spectacular image performance for a vintage ultra fast lens. When shooting at maximum aperture  of F1.2, the bokeh is exceptionally smooth and the rendering is very pleasant. The colour rendition of the Fujinon is towards the natural side with typical Fujifilm signature and the contrast produced is excellent as well.

There is no present chromatic aberration but the lens exhibits slight vignetting when shooting wide open due to been a vintage lens design. However, the sharpness increases significantly and vignetting goes completely away when reaching aperture of f4 or greater. Overall, the Fujinon 5cm f/1.2 provides stellar optical performance and produces eye-pleasing images. 

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Practical Use

The Fujinon 5cm f/1.2 lens reviewed here is in Nikon S Mount originally designed to be used on Nikon Rangefinders. However, through a custom made Nikon S to M Mount adapter by Amedeo, the lens will work flawlessly on Leica M Rangefinders. The Amedeo adapter is made with full brass and six bit coded with capability for rangefinder coupling.

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The focus ring is very smooth when turning during practical use. The aperture ring does not have clicks when selecting the aperture like modern Leica lenses and turning feels towards the loose end. 

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Specifications

Lens Mount: LTM | Nikon S


Production Year: 1954


Construction: 8 Elements / 4 Groups


Diaphragm: 12 Blades


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.2 - F16


Filter Size: 58mm


Weight: Nikon S / 305g | LTM / 403g

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Conclusion

The Fujinon 5cm f/1.2 lens is another legendary lens made in Japan by Fuji back in the 1950 to 1960s during the competition to produce world’s fastest lens along with Zunow, Canon and Nikon. It is even more rarer and seldom seen, which makes the lens most desirable among the world of ultra fast lenses.

 

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Zeiss Hologon 15mm F8 for Leica M

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The Zeiss Hologon 15mm F8 is a legendary wide angle lens. It is ultra rare as only 225 sets ever produced for Leica M Cameras. The Zeiss Hologon was released in the 1960s and the original 15mm F8 lens was made as a fixed ultra wide angle lens for the Hologon camera. Leica converted the remaining Hologon lenses to M-Mount in 1972, which was the widest angle lens available for Leica M Rangefinders.

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Build Quality

The Zeiss Hologon 15mm F8 for Leica M is an incredibly small and thin lens. The size of the Hologon lens is almost identical to a regular metal cap for Leica M Cameras. The lens is made of full metal and has hefty weight when held in hands. It is still solidly built and well constructed but you wouldn’t notice its weight when mounted on the camera.

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Image Quality

The Zeiss Hologon 15mm F8 was the widest angle lens at the time and obtained legendary status in the world of wide angles due to its amazing optical performance. The Hologon lens offers 110° diagonal angle of view and capable of handling strong glare. The lens delivers extremely high resolution across the field along with great contrast and colour rendition.

There is barely any visible distortion and the edge distortion is minimal. This is almost impossible to achieve for ultra wide angle lenses thatmade possible by a tight tolerance lens construction, which consists of a triplet lens design formula combining with an incredible minimal back focusing distance to ensure perfect optical performance.

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Practical Use

The Zeiss 15mm Hologon feels almost non-existent when mounted on Leica M Rangefinders. It is incredibly tiny and thin but you wouldn’t have issues turning the focus ring. There are two metal bars on the top and bottom of the lens, the top section is marked by a white central dot with white metric scale and the bottom section is marked by a red central dot with red distance scale measured in feet. The focus turns in both directions and the turning motion is exceptionally smooth.

The Hologon lens set comes with a Graduated Centre Filter and an Optical Viewfinder. The optical viewfinder provides the exact 15mm frame line required to compose accurately. The graduated centre filter is effective to reduce the vignetting and chromatic aberration of this ultra wide angle lens.

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Specifications


Lens Mount: Leica M


Production Years: 1960s - 70s


Construction: 3 Elements / 3 Groups


Fixed Aperture:  F8


Closet Focusing Distance: 0.2m (Non RF Coupled)


Filter: Graduated Centre Filter


Versions:

  1. Zeiss Hologon 15mm F8 Original Fixed Lens for Hologon Camera
  2. Zeiss Hologon 15mm F8 for Leica M
  3. Zeiss Hologon 16mm F8 for Contax G
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Comparison

The differences between the original 15mm f8 hologon and the hologon for Leica M remains cosmetic rather than optical. Both versions maintained the same optics but there are slight differences in the appearance. The Hologon for Leica M version uses red coloured scales and the distance scale is provided at the opposite end. The Hologon for Leica M also comes with accessories of separate optical viewfinder and graduated centre filter made by Leica as standard.

The 16mm F8 Hologon was reintroduced in the 1990s for Contax G series cameras. The focal length has been increased marginally from 15mm to 16mm and the aperture remained the same at fixed f8. The Lens was produced in both black and silver finishes, supplied with modern bubble optical viewfinder and a rectangular graduated centre filter as standard accessories. The optical construction for 16mm F8 hologon has been modified with 5 elements in 3 groups compared to the original lens design consisting of 3 elements. The lens coating on the 16mm f8 hologon has also been improved with modern T* coating by Zeiss.

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Conclusion

The Zeiss 15mm F8 Hologon for Leica M is a legendary lens in the world of wide angle lenses. Due to its rarity and astonishing optical performance, it remains as the most desirable and high collectible ultra wide angle lens among Leica users today.

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Konica Hexanon 50mm F1.2 M Lens

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Konica released a limited edition set consisting of a Konica Hexar Rangefinder Camera with the Konica Hexanon 50mm F1.2 M lens back in 2001 to celebrate the new millennium with a total limited number of 2001 sets produced. It is a rare occasion to see the lens separated from the set hence few information dedicated to the Konica 50mm F1.2 lens.

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Build Quality

The Konica Hexanon 50mm F1.2 M Lens has excellent build quality. It is made from all solid metal construction with a bronze brass finish. It feels nice in the hands for a lens made in Japan but not as well as some lenses made by Leica Germany. The lens feels more compact and lighter than similar ultra fast lenses for Leica M.

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Image Quality

The Konica Hexanon 50mm F1.2 M is an amazing ultra fast lens, it’s bokeh is very smooth for out of focus areas and extremely creamy when shooting wide open at its maximum aperture of f1.2. The lens sharpens up at f2.8 and beyond, which reaches maximum sharpness at f8.

The rendering has the best of Japanese lenses that produce natural and eye-pleasing images. The colour rendition and contrast are excellent, which is not too heavy with tendency to the natural side. The Konica 50mm F1.2 has the best qualities of modern lenses.

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Practical Use

Konica 50mm F1.2 lens balances exceptionally well on Leica M Rangefinders. The aperture ring clicks in place nicely and the focusing ring is very smooth, even turns faster than most Leica lenses during practical use.

There is no viewfinder blockage with the lens alone. However, there is certain intrusive blockage with the large lens hood installed and quite intimidating to subjects during actual shooting.

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Specifications


Lens Mount: Leica M


Production Year: 2001


Construction: 7 Elements / 6 Groups


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.2 - F16


Closet Focusing Distance: 0.9m


Filter Size: 62mm


Weight: 390g

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Conclusion

The Konica Hexanon 50mm F1.2 is a modern ultra fast prime for rangefinders that provides exceptional image rendering qualities as an alternative to similar Leica lenses.

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Canon 85mm F1.8 LTM Lens

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The Canon 85mm F1.8 LTM is arguably the best Canon 85mm RF lens made. It is relatively hard to find and has very high reputation as a portrait lens without the softness associated with most vintage lenses. It has similar resemblance to the older Canon 100mm F2 LTM lens but with improved ergonomics and optical performance.

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Build Quality

The Canon 85mm F1.8 is a solid and compact lens for its focal length. It’s compact dimensions and solid build quality is perfect balance on Leica M Rangefinders. The lens is all metal construction with design consisting of focusing and aperture ring turning simultaneously.

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Image Quality

The Canon 85mm F1.8 LTM is a vintage lens that offers relatively modern rendering with typical Fuji signature colours. The lens produces sharp contrasty images and renders like newer modern glass. There isn’t noticeable flare or vignetting with this lens and it renders image beautifully for 1970’s Lens.

The Lens offers a relatively fast maximum aperture at F1.8. When shot wide open, it produces pleasant bokeh and smooth out of focus area. The image rendering is classic with natural and vibrant colours.

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Practical Use

The Canon 85mm F1.8 LTM is in original Leica Thread Mount hence requires a LTM-to-M adapter to work properly on Leica M Cameras.

The focusing throw on this lens is very long but very smooth at the same time. When adjusting for aperture, since the lens has no dual helicoil mount and the aperture ring turns with focusing throw. This can be confusing during practical use as both aperture and focus turn at the same time.

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Canon 85mm F1.8 vs Canon 85mm F1.9

The main difference in terms of image quality is when shooting both lenses wide open. The Canon 85mm F1.8 LTM is definitely sharper and more contrasty than the Canon 85mm F1.9 LTM at their respective maximum aperture, this is partially due to their optical design. When shooting wide open, the bokeh of the Canon 85mm F1.8 is more smooth and pleasant in comparison to the Canon 85mm F1.9 lens.

The size and weight of the Canon 85mm F1.8 is bigger and heavier than the Canon 85mm F1.9 lens. It is slightly larger in dimensions and around 100 grams more in weight. There is also a difference in applicable filter size for both lenses with 58mm for the Canon 85mm F1.8 lens and 48mm for the thinner Canon 85mm F1.9 lens.

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Specifications

 

Lens Mount: Leica Thread Mount (LTM)


Production Year: 1960 - 70s


Construction: 7 Elements / 6 Groups


Diaphragm: 13 Blades


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.8 - F22


Closet Focusing Distance: 1m


Dimensions: 75mm x 60mm


Filter Size: 58mm


Weight: 470g

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Conclusion

The Canon 85mm F1.8 LTM is an excellent short telephoto lens, it has plenty of character and shoots eye-pleasing portraits. The lens has great colour rendition and produces contrasty images. It is an amazing lens for Leica M you won’t regret buying, that is if you can find one.

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Fujinon 5cm f/2 | Fujinon 50mm F2 LTM Lens

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The Fujinon 5cm f/2 is a rare lens released in Japan, nowadays commonly known as Fujifilm or Fuji 50mm F2 lens offered in original Leica L39 screw mount with rangefinder coupling capability. This lens was supplied as a standard lens of Leotax from 1957 to 1985.

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Build Quality

The Fujinon 50mm F2 LTM is a relatively large lens for its maximum aperture of f2 and it is equivalent to some f1.4 vintage lenses in terms of size. There are two production types with later models offered with a focusing lever. The lens had a black paint barrel design along with a chrome ring on top.

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Image Quality

The Fujinon 5cm f/2 lens is a stellar performer, it offers high image resolution and great optical performance. There is a tendency to flare wide open at f2 but when steps down to f4 and beyond, the sharpness increases significantly and image rendering is equally pleasant.

It is uncommon for a lens produced in 1950s to flare at f2. However, when narrow down f2.8 the flare suddenly disappears and the resolution is very high. The out of focus area rendering is both natural and eye-pleasing. In addition, the contrast and colour rendition is towards the lower side with signature Fuji colours.

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Fujinon 5cm F2 vs Fujinon 5cm F2.8

The Fujinon 5cm F2.8 is much smaller and lighter than the bigger brother Fujinon 5cm F2 LTM lens. It is still well constructed yet feels incredibly small in the hands, as it’s relatively compact compared to the Fujinon 5cm F2 lens.

The Fujinon 5cm F2.8 LTM lens is a step down in terms of maximum aperture but still renders very similar to the Fujinon 5cm F2 lens. When shot wide open, it’s out of focus area isn’t as creamy but very pleasing to the eyes. At aperture beyond F4, both lens produces classic image with signature Fuji colours.

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Specifications


Lens Mount: Leica Thread Mount | LTM


Production Years: 1950s


Production Numbers: 5000+ units


Construction: 6 Elements / 5 Groups


Diaphragm: 10 Blades


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F2 - F22


Closet Focusing Distance: 1m


Filter Size: 43mm

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Conclusion

The Fujinon 5cm F2 LTM is a rare lens that produces high resolution images with classic rendering in a fast maximum aperture at F2. It is a vintage lens design from the 1950s that offers the complete package as a classic daily lens with stellar optical performance.

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Nikkor 5cm f/1.1 | Nikon 50mm F1.1 LTM Lens

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Nikkor 50mm f1.1 lens was the world’s second fastest production lens since the release of Zunow 50mm f1.1. Zunow began the development for ultra fast lenses in 1953 and Nikon joined the competition a few years later in 1956.

The Nikkor 50mm F1.1 is a rare and collectible lens. It is an impressive lens that offers ultra shallow depth of field at f1.1 in reasonable size and weight.

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Production Versions

  1. Internal Nikon Mount (1500 units)
  2. External Nikon Mount (1800 units)
  3. Leica Screw Mount / LTM (200 units)

The Lens also can be modified to Leica M Mount through a professional technician, which allows it to be used on Leica M Rangefinders without the need of adapters.

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Build Quality

The Nikkor 50mm F1.1 is a solidly constructed lens with different barrel design but same optics throughout its version variants. Normally, the barrel design is consisting of a black paint lens body with a chrome barrel ring on top. The lens reviewed here has been modified to Leica M mount, which displays an extra section of mount finished in matte black.

The size and weight of the lens is similar to the Voigtlander 50mm F1.1 or the Leica 50mm F1.2 Noctilux, which is not too heavy and well balanced on Leica Rangefinders. The lens is relatively compact considering it is an ultra fast lens with a maximum aperture of F1.1.

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Common Issues

A) Separated Lens Element

B) Damaged Diaphragm Blades

Both issues can be fixed by a skilled technician.

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Image Quality

The Nikkor 50mm F1.1 produces decent sharpness when shot wide open and offers a very shallow depth of field. At its maximum aperture of F1.1, It is sharp in the center but soft around the corners. However, the sharpness increases gradually when stepping down until it reaches peak sharpness at F8. The rendering of the lens is very similar to its little brother the Nikkor-SC 50mm F1.4  with classical Nikon rendering and signature vintage soft glow when shot wide open.

Nikon applied their lastest optical technology at the time by applying guass elements to three convex lenses. This results more glass to weaken each lens element in order to reduce the curvature of field and correct spherical aberration As a result of its symmetric optical design, the lens achieves low distortion, minimal lateral chromatic aberration and high resolving power.

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Nikkor 50mm F1.1 vs Canon 50mm F0.95

The Canon 50mm f0.95 is about twice the size of Nikkor 50mm f1.1 and the Nikkor 50mm f1.1 is about half of the weight of the Canon 50mm f0.95 lens.

The Canon 50mm f0.95 was produced in greater numbers hence is much less expensive. The Nikon lens design is 9 elements in 7 groups and the Canon design is 7 elements in 5 groups. Therefore, the Canon used a newer optical design in their lenses that requires less elements allowing extra light to be transmitted.

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Conclusion

The Nikkor 50mm F1.1 lens was designed more than 50 years ago and still remains a legend in the rangefinder world. As the second ultra fast lens ever produced in history and it continues to live up to modern imaging standards.

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Specifications

 

Production Year: 1956

 

Construction: 9 Elements / 7 Groups

 

Lens Design: Optics designed by Murakami Saburo. Gauss type elements with three rare-earth lanthanum convex lenses

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.1 - F16

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 1m

 

Filter Size: 62mm

 

Weight: 400g

 

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Nikkor-S.C. 5cm f/1.4 | Nikon 50mm F1.4 LTM Lens Review

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See comparison with the Legendary Lens

Nikkor 5cm f/1.1 | Nikon 50mm F1.1 LTM

If you are looking for a vintage lens with classic character and don’t mind the sharpness then look no further. The Nikkor-SC 5cm f1.4 or commonly known as the Nikon 50mm F1.4 LTM lens is the perfect choice. It is compact, solid, unique and affordable at the same time.

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Build Quality

The First Impression of the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens is that it feels incredibly solid and dense. The lens is small and compact but it is well constructed as the entire body is made of chrome brass. It is extremely high quality lens and feels balanced when mounting on Leica M rangefinders. Overall, It offers a compact and solid package.

 

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Image Quality

The Nikkor 50mm f1.4 provides great image quality with full of character. When shot wide open, the image sharpness isn’t clinically sharp like some Leica lenses but it produces a soft glow common only to certain vintage lenses. However, it also lacks contrast and clarify like on most modern lenses.

At its minimum aperture of f1.4, the point of focus is relatively sharp and the out of focus area provides the soft vintage glow. The sharpness increases dramatically when stepping down the aperture with its peak image performance between f5.6 - f8. The lens does suffer the common issues with older lenses such as chromatic aberration and vignetting. The image quality isn’t perfect but it is unique with classic characteristics, which makes it perfect for monochrome renderings.

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Specifications


Lens Mount: Leica Thread Mount | LTM


Production Years: 1950s


Construction: 7 Elements / 3 Groups


Diaphragm: 10 Blades


Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.4 - F16


Closet Focusing Distance: 1m


Filter Size: 43mm


Weight: 275g


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Practical Use

The Nikkor 50mm f1.4 LTM is a small, compact, lightweight and solidly built lens. It feels very balanced on Leica rangefinders and easy to carry around to everywhere. This lens is in Leica thread mount (LTM), therefore will require a LTM-to-M adapter to work properly on Leica M bodies.

The aperture ring provides a soft click when selecting the aperture unlike distinctive aperture clicks on most Leica lenses. The focusing ring does have a lock mechanism for infinity but once unlocked by pressing down the little lock button, the focusing ring feels very smooth with a long focus throw when turning.

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Overall, the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 LTM Lens is intuitive to use and simple to operate once familiar with practicality of the lens. It is a vintage fast lens from the 1950s with classical rendering and yet it works perfectly on modern Leica Rangefinders.

 

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Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 M Mount Lens

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Comparison with Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 is always compared to the Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux Lens. This was the first ever ultra-fast lens that I have owned. It is a bargain compared to similar Leica offerings and often referred to as “Poorman’s Noctilux.”

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Image Quality

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 produces sharper images in comparison to the Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux with similar heavy vignetting when shot wide open. However, it is not as clinical sharp as the latest Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux ASPH lens. The Sharpness improves dramatically when stepping down to f2.8 or greater and it sharpens up across the range until diffraction sets in.

The Lens optical design employs high refractive index glass to help control spherical aberrations and various distortions for a high degree of sharpness and clarity. Additionally, the 10-blade diaphragm helps to produce a smooth bokeh quality when shot wide open.

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Build Quality

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 is a well constructed lens and solidly built. It is a heavy lens for rangefinder cameras but it’s relatively compact dimensions for an ultra-fast prime lens. It does have certain viewfinder blockage due to its dimensions.

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Specifications

 

Lens Mount: Leica M

 

Production Year: 2010 - Present

 

Construction: 7 Elements / 6 Groups

 

Diaphragm: 10 Blades

 

Design Features:  High Refractive Index Glass

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F1.1 - F16

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 1m

 

Filter Size: 58mm

 

Weight: 428g

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Practical Use

Users often consider this lens due to its low-light capabilities and its bokeh renderings. Wide open at the maximum aperture of F1.1 is suited to working in difficult lighting conditions and also affords extensive control over depth of field with selective focus techniques.

Functionally, the aperture ring is not as smooth as similar Leica lenses as it has distinctively clicks when turning the aperture. However, the focus ring feels almost as smooth as Leica lenses during practical use.

 

Conclusion

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 is exceptionally fast at its maximum aperture, which helps control shallow depth of field during practical shooting and also benefits working in difficult lighting conditions. It is a bargain when compared to similar Leica alternatives and performs about 80% as well in most situations.

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Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar M ASPH Lens

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Leica 21mm has been the widest focal length that offered for M bodies until the 18mm came out, which is the first time in over 50 years that Leica has expanded its focal length range for their M Cameras. I have had the pleasure owning both the 18mm and Leica 21mm Super-Elmar ASPH lenses so that I can conclude both lenses feel similar yet very different in practical use.

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Image Quality

The Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar ASPH is a compact lens despite its very large angle of view. It offers stellar imaging quality, vignetting and distortion are invisible with the lens in practical use.

The Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar utilizes one double sided aspherical element to reduce spherical aberrations and distortion for improved sharpness and clarity throughout the aperture range.

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Build Quality

The Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar is a well built lens and feels solid in the hands. It is compact and easy to use in practice, as the aspherical element contributes to the compact form factor and the manual focusing design allows 0.7m minimum focusing distance close to the subject.

This lens is also equipped with a rectangular lens hood that contributes substantially to the compact dimensions.

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Specifications  

Lens Code: 11 649

 

Production Year: 2009 - Present

 

Construction: 8 Elements / 7 Groups

 

Diaphragm: 9 Blades

 

Design Features:  One Aspherical Element with Two Aspheric Surfaces

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F3.8 - F16

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 0.7m

 

Filter Size: Optional 77mm Filter Holder

 

Weight: 310g

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Practical Use

The Leica 18mm F3.8 Super-Elmar is a relatively small and compact wide angle lens. Although it isn't the fastest lens, its wide field of view means that it can be handheld at shutter speeds as low as 1/20 second with still subjects. Even shot wide open the lens offers an even depth of field from 0.7m to infinity, which makes it ideal for candid street photography and landscape photography.

On Leica film cameras, the 18mm can be used with outstanding results and the extremely short focal length offers fascinating new creativities in image composition.

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Conclusion

The Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar ASPH excels at candid street photography, landscape and architectural photography that can be used unrestrictedly wide open as image renderings are excellent. The lens is very sharp also light to carry for everyday use, which making it the perfect wide angle lens.

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Leica WATE 16-18-21mm F4 Tri-Elmar-M ASPHERICAL Lens

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The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M also known as WATE (Wide Angel Tri Elmar) is an unique lens with special capabilities. The WATE is one of the best wide angle lens and it is Leica’s best attempt at zoom lenses which includes both the 16-18-21mm “WATE” and 28-35-50mm “MATE” lens. Those lenses are not essentially a zoom but offers capacity for three focal lengths selection within a single lens.

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M has Two Aspherical Elements incorporated within the lens design which helps to reduce barrel distortion especially at the widest focal length of 16mm. The WATE lens is a stellar optical performer and can be used at close proximity with its subject due to its minimum focusing distance. The Lens performs exceedingly well in areas such as Architecture and Landscape.

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Image Quality

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M has amazing optical performance delivering stellar sharpness even wide open and sharpness increases arriving its peak at around f8. The lens offers superb colour rendition and excellent contrast.

There is noticeable distortion especially at its widest focal length of 16mm. However, the lens design with two aspherical elements has reduced this barrel distortion significantly to acceptable standards. The distortion reduces dramatically at selection of other two focal lengths of 18mm and 21mm. The lens exhibits minimal chromatic aberration and vignetting even at wide open. Overall, the WATE is a stellar wide angle lens at all focal lengths.

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Build Quality

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M is well designed and constructed.  The lens feels extremely well-built and solid in the hands. It is easy to use and has very smooth focusing and focal length adjustments. There is essentially no finder blockage from either the hood or the 67mm filter adapter when the Universal finder is used.

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Specifications

Lens Code: 11 642

 

Production Year: 2006 - Present

 

Construction: 10 Elements / 7 Groups

 

Design Features:  Two Aspherical Elements, Floating Elements System and Internal Focusing Design

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F4 - F22

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 50cm

 

Filter Size: Optional 67mm Filter Holder

 

Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 54mm x 62mm

 

Weight: 335g

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Practical Use

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M is a compact and lightweight lens. The lens is one of the sharpest Leica wide angle lens and stellar performer at all three focal lengths. During practical use, the lens feel very balanced when mounting on Leica M cameras. It can be used with the Leica universal finder which offers all tri-focal viewfinder coverage and there is essentially no viewfinder blockage. Alternatively, Leica electronic viewfinder or Liveview function can be utilised on newer Leica M digital cameras.

 

Conclusion

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M lens is configured for ultra-wide photography with an M-mount rangefinder camera. The lens is compact, sharp, contrasty, rangefinder-coupled and unique.

It is the perfect travel companion packing all three focal lengths into a single lens and with its unique application shines in Landscape, Architecture and B&W Photography.

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