Most of the reviews I am making in my blog are for two main purposes:
- For anyone out there that may have the same questions I do, I like to share my ideas to those that may not have the opportunity to test gear.
- My main question (is Leica gear worth its premium?)
Is the premium you pay for Leica gear really worth what you get? Yes, but don’t think you get 100% better image quality over your other gear.
I have been reviewing M mount Leica, Carl Zeiss, Canon and Voigtlander lenses lately and passing my findings to the online community. So, let me start now:
The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 is bigger, feels solid and looks nice but not heavier than my Summilux 50 Asph. I find the Nokton easier to focus than my Summilux, this is because the bigger barrel makes it easier to turn. The aperture ring is nice and solid and the focusing barrel smooth.
Here are some images that compare side by side of the two lenses.
One of the things you will notice (besides sharpness and color) is the type of blurred backgrounds you get from the Summilux. They are softer and more natural vs the bokeh found on the Nokton which seems to render harsher outer lines.
If you can’t acquire a Summilux or Noctilux, you have other alternatives like the Canon 1.2 LTM, this Nokton f/1.1 or the Nokton Aspherical f/1.5 which has more similar bokeh like the Summilux. There are many more 50mm lenses you can use on your Leica like the Summicron, Zeiss and even Contax adapted but I find these the most common in my area.
Some people like to shoot the Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 but dislike the focus shift. Its smaller and doesn’t weight as much. The Summicron 50mm is great, nice balance and great sharpness. Just be careful with other lenses that may experience focus shift (focus distance is changed when aperture is changed)
If you need a low light lens where you can shoot ISO 3200 + f/1.1 + 1/60sec. just by the light from a television at 3 meters and no additional light then I would definitely recommend this Voigtlander Nokton f/1.1 but if you are after the Leica look of sharp focus and smooth bokeh, save your pennies and get a new aspherical lens from Leica. In the meantime, you can make great images with any lens.
I recently purchased a Summicron 28mm Aspherical 6 Bit and will be comparing it to the Voigtlander 28mm Ultron M (I’ve had for a few months) On my reviews we like to compare sharpness, color and ergonomics. There are much more aspects like type of Bokeh, Flare Resistance, Color Cast, etc… But I usually compare the first mentioned. The Voigtlander 28mm Ultron M, specially at f/4 and beyond has been good to me. At f/2 it is soft, but a bit of sharpen mask usually renders good results. But after looking at what the Summicron can do at f/2 I may have gotten a new respect for the cron.
In the left section I add Sharpen Mask to both images from each lens. If I add it only to the Voigtlander then we get close to the unprocessed straight DNG file from the Summicron but as soon as we add a bit of sharpening to the Summicron file, you can see the clear winner.
The story started some months ago when I visited one of my favorite camera stores, I found a cool vintage looking lens, the guys gave me a great price and purchased a Summitar 50mm Leitz LTM, the little guy is collapsible and not safe to mount on your digital Leica but I added some gaff tape around the ring so it can collapse halfway and safely into my Leica M Typ 240. This little lens has a nice vintage look when photographing people between 1m and 3m.
This has become my favorite lenses for the month, I’m sure there are other lenses that may draw a similar look, so if you know of one let me know.
Just got 2 Cine lenses. From the reviews of some users, say they are pretty sharp. I’ve only had time to shoot one quick teaser for an upcoming video and that 85mm XEEN has a nice look to it. Both lenses feel solid, the focus rotation is smooth and very precise for my use. I may compare them to Canon L glass this weekend if I have enough time.