Thursday, January 22, 2009

Leica 50mm f2 Summicron

Sorry that I have been a little delayed in updating my 50mm photo blog. Life has been a little hectic around here.Leica 50mm f2 summicron R has always been the dream lens for many old school photographers. Many 50mm lens design "look up" to this vey lens which is almost legendary according many lens critics.
However, I used to think of this statement..."This lens has an maximum aperture of f2. Patheticly dim for a prime."
Yet, this lens had been priced around 1300 US dollars brand new for some time. This lens is quoted to have the same otpical design of 50mm Rangefinder Leica M mount which is not only expensive around 1700 US dollars brand new and sharing its legendary claim by many experts.Til today, I discovered the joy of using this lens. Yet, it costs me very little. Walking in the city with lens brought me surprises. The green on his skin is stunning. The texture is quite detailed rendering the skin follicles so sharp and clear to naked eyes. The image just pops in terms of contrast and glow. No I had yet tested its bokeh yet. Still, the "leica glow" seems to be apparently when a photographer takes a shot at a scene and compares that particular image against what is photographed. You would be amazed...This image was taken on pentax k20d with Leitax adaptor. ISO was 800 and I underexposed the shot by 2 stops which is the tendacy to overexpose with k20d camera. The location was set in Melbourne Federation square with this guy so hyperactive on steroids probably.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 vs. Topcor 58mm f/1.4

The Voigtlander Nokton is one of the most respected of the 50-58s lenses bokeh wise.
Since I got my Nokton I was always happpy with it, but I kept asking myself how will the original Topcor 58mm f/1.4 do in comparison with the Cosina made copy.

The contenders:

Here is the test scene. With all the metallic objects the scene is really tough for these lenses:

Bokeh comparison at f/1.4:

Voigtlander Nokton


Full size center crops are here (click on the image to see full size crops):

I see the bokeh of the Topcor slightly softer. Also the Nokton appears slightly sharper (or is it just better contrast) than the Topcor at f/1.4.

If you look at the OOF highlight rings, the Topcor has complete circles while the Nokton shows coma aberration (see the viking with the arrows and the red flower).
Leaving this aside the bokeh of the Topcor appears a tiny bit more pleasant.

After I did some pixel peeping I notice the big difference in sharpnes and CA/PF between the two lenses at apertures f/2.8, f/4 and f/5.6. The Topcor seems to resolve better and there is almost no CA at f/2.8, while the Nokton has some even at f/4. At f/8 I am not able to distinguish between the two. But what I see is that some of the most used aperture range is actually better with Topcor.

These are 200% crops:







The only advantage in sharpness of the Nokton is at apertures f/1.4 and f/2. But then from f/2.8 the game changes and the Topcor resolves much better than the Nokton.