Canon 50mm f/1.2 or Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by ilya_e, May 12, 2010.

  1. I've been using Canon 50mm f/1.4 until I started having problems with it last week. The lens does not want to focus closer than 0.6m (gets stuck). I was thinking about getting either Canon 50mm f/1.2 or Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2. The only thing that stops me from buying f/1.2 glass is its size. I use 50mm a lot and want to keep the weight to minimum. Leica is very small and produces superb images but I've never used M lenses on digital Canons. Is it too much of a pain? What issues should I be aware of if I decide to get Leica. Any input is appreciated.
  2. Why not get the 50/1.4 fixed?
  3. I am considering this option plus getting 1.8 as well. But I want to know what kind of difficulties I will encounter if I get a Leica. Its a possibility that I will get M9 in a future so if I get Summicron now I won't have to buy it when I get M9.
  4. You can't use an M lens on a Canon body as you will not attain infinity focus. This info at least can streamline your thinking...You could get a Leica R Summicron or Summilux (there are 2 versions of each): they will work on your EOS with a manual aperture and aperture priority, or manual metering. But no M lenses unless you want to do close-up photography only.
  5. Apples and tangerines I think. Stay with EF lenses. I don't think you can attach and use the M Leica lenses on your reflex camera. Maybe with an adapter you can use the R Leica lenses but it is very inconvenient without AF or automatic diaphragm. Occasionally I use one of my R Leica lenses on an EOS DSLR but I usually end up wondering why I bothered. Get your 50mm 1.4 fixed or get the 1.8 version or both. I use the 50mm 2.5 macro lens that is very good. Good luck!
  6. I am actually Ok with manual focusing and aperture so this would not be a huge issue for me. How about metering. I've hears that metering has to be adjusted as well. is that correct?
  7. You can in fact use a Nikkor-S 55mm f/1.2 or other manual-focus Nikkor f/1.2 lenses quite easily on any EOS camera with a circa $15 adapter and a willingness to focus manually and stop-down for TTL meter readings. I did a series of hand-held pictures inside a cave with some lights run off a portable generator (the generator outside the cave, I hasten to note). I would show you some, but they are covered by a non-disclosure agreement.
    The non-AI versions are often cheaper than many other f/1.2 lenses because they will not work on more modern Nikons.
    Of course, you have to be aware that any and all f/1.2 lenses are pushing design limits and something like your f/1.4 may actually be sharper at many, even most settings. These days the push to ever higher ISOs is also making f/1.2 lenses somewhat less necessary than they were in the days when the fastest film was ASA 500.
    For razor-thin depth of field there's still no beating them, unless maybe with a 500mm mirror lens. ;)
  8. Why not get either one of the Canon mounts that Zeiss offers? the 50 f/1.4 or 50 macro f/2. Both of those lenses out perform the Canon 50L in every way. I have the Zeiss Normal 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar T* and it's fantastic. You have control of everything from aperture to focus indication in camera. It's built like no other.
  9. If you want as good or better than Leica performance with ease of use and no adapters check out the Zeiss ZE lenses. They will out perform any Nikkor or Canon prime. They aren't inexpensive but they are superb.
  10. I actually considered 50mm ZE but according to reviews it's not any better than Canon 1.4 but cost twice as much. 21mm ZE Distagon is another story and it is on my to get list
    In any case I actually fixed the1.4 myself and it took me about 15 minutes. I took it apart ( and one of the screws inside was loose. After tightening it up the lens works as new. It does not looks like the lens was previously taken apart so not sure why the screw was loose.
    Thanks everybody for the input.
  11. Metering in my 400D gets dodgy at very large apertures using manual stop-down lenses, overexposing as you open up farther. At normal apertures (probably from about f/2.8 down, I haven't paid real close attention to just where it starts) the metering has been okay.
  12. I wonder if that is really true that Zeiss lenses (presumably all of them, since none is named) "out perform any Nikkor or Canon prime" ?
    Some reviews I see (e.g., link) don't show all that stellar performance in regard to vignetting, corner sharpness, and other objective variables.
    The Zeiss ZE lenses are not f/1.2 either, but the one thing they do have is a working auto diaphragm with the EOS cameras.
    Anyhow, it's not a true Zeiss lens if it isn't made in Jena. If you want the real thing, get one of the still-hard-to-surpass Zeiss Biotar 58mm f/2.0 lenses. Since when does a Planar (1896 design) outdo a Biotar? :)
  13. "according to reviews it's not any better than Canon 1.4"
    Ilya that is so far from the truth. It's MUCH better then the Canon version. Before you believe me or the reviews test it for yourself. You are going to see for yourself. Seeing is believing. Give it a try before you dismiss it. It's stunning.
    "The Zeiss ZE lenses are not f/1.2 either"
    The DOF and subject isolation I get from this lens wide open is like that of the 1.2
  14. JDM,
    by the way, how do you like that 55mm Nikkor-S.
  15. As for metering with MF, stop-down lenses, most of the time using aperture priority will do it spot on. Occasionally with a few lenses, a little compensation needs to be dialed in. The nice thing about digital is that you can see more-or-less right after you've shot by doing a little chimping. I have found it impossible to identify why some lenses need the adjustment. Maybe some internal reflection?
    This is my experience with almost a hundred lenses from Zeiss Jena, Nikon, Contax/Yashica, Exakta-mount, and many others starting with a 20D, also a XTi, and most recently a 5D.
  16. I love the Nikkor-S f/1.2. I've had it since it was a pup, originally (and still) used it on non-AI Nikon cameras. It is not the absolute sharpest lens in the world, but it can practically hum the national anthem when asked to do so politely.
    I always kept my Nikkor 50mm f/2.0 lens as well, and now have a whole range of various 50-58mm "normal" lenses.
    Did I mention that I like cameras and lenses and such things a lot?
  17. Leo, can you post a few images taken with 50mm ZE?
  18. I haven't seen the part where people ask what you need/want to shoot.
    As pointed out above, you can't use M-mount lenses on the canon. The R-50mm Summicron is a nice lens, but it's not small or light like the M-50 Summicron, and:
    1. The only appreciable difference between it and the Canon 50/1.4 is with bokeh. And, that difference is just that - a difference. It's not better or worse than the Canon. What you do get with the Summicron is MUCH better feel. It's a solidly constructed lens. The Canon 1.4 is just an 'okay' consumer-grade lens.
    2. If you're not concerned with bokeh differences and are shooting it at smaller apertures, you're not going to see any difference because they perform at similar levels when stopped down. If you notice any difference in color or contrast, those variables are too easily adjusted in your RAW developer.
    3. You lose a LOT by not being able to both focus and control aperture without the clumsiness of stop-down metering>exposure. If you're dealing with people, it's a pain. If you're shooting landscapes and static stuff, again, chances are you're stopped down and you're dealing with the nuisances without much/any benefit.
    The Zeiss ZE 50/1.4 may be sharp, but every example i've seen from it or the ZF version shows absolutely fugly out of focus rendering. Even when the owners say, "hey, look at this beautiful bokeh." They're just wrong. It's bad. Sadly. I wanted that lens before it was even announced. I've had Zeiss 50/1.4s for a Contax N1 (AF), and Contax RX and Arias (MF) and loved them. I have 80/2.8 Planars for Hasselblad and Rolleiflex, and the 45/2 Planar for Contax G2. But, whatever they're doing with the new SLR lenses is a travesty.
    The Sigma 50/1.4 is a decent alternative. It's bigger/heavier than the Canon 50/1.4, but it does bokeh even better. And, the Canon is already very good in that regard. I wouldn't recommend the Sigma unless you have a body that has micro-focus adjustment. Same with the Canon 50/1.2L. They just don't focus accurately without that feature. Both the Canon L and Sigma feel much better than the Canon 50/1.4, but again, at the sacrifice of size/weight.
    Which camera are you using? I'm assuming it's full-frame. Best option, if size/weight really is the concern, and you aren't shooting consistently for max DOF, is probably a new Canon 50/1.4. You didn't indicate any issues with the images from yours before it tanked. Is there a reason why you want something else? I'd only get the Summicron if you've searched for images (try flickr) and can easily identify a Summicron's 'signature.' I really only believe it's even possible to see that in images with a lot of bokeh. Also, try not to project too much of a lens' signature on the accompanying processing. Dudes that shoot Leica-R tend not to be complete hacks, and if they are, they still take their photography seriously. So, you might see a higher percentage of 'nice' R-50 Summicron pictures than Canon EF 50/1.4 pictures, but the reasons why may have little to do with the lens' characteristics.
  19. Derek,
    I will have to disagree with you. I did own an M6 with Summicron-M 50mm and it is not even in the same category with Canon 1.4. Don't get me wrong, Canon is a very good lens and I've been using 1.4 for quite a while but IMO Leica was much much better. I've never owned 50mm 1.2 so I don't know how Leica would compare to it. But I do own Canon 85mm 1.2 II and still I liked Leica better. Even though I consider 85 1.2 to be one of the best lenses I've ever owned. After mastering 85mm 1.2 I have no problems operating with large apertures. But yes, when I first bought it I was disappointed because I could not focus correctly for quite some time.
    And even though I fixed my 1.4, I've decided to give Zeiss a try. In the worst case I'll sell it on eBay and loose $50.
  20. I hope someone from Canon is reading this.
  21. you could also try the contax 50 f1.7 or 50 f1.4 on an EOS adaptor. I have used the F1.7 lens and it is superb. I believe they make a new one in their T series but I think it will only mount on Nikon it is the 50 f1.4.
  22. I actually came across a nice thread on Zeiss at POTN (here) with a lot of examples. After seeing this thread I ordered one from B&H. Should be here on Friday. I will post some samples as soon as I get it.
  23. The DOF and subject isolation I get from this lens wide open is like that of the 1.2
    That has to be the best, and most ridiculous, Zeiss elitist comment I have ever seen! So if you buy Ziess they are so good they defy the laws of physics? Do they really give you narrower DOF? Why do people write such rubbish?
  24. Scott Ferris nailed it. I always thought that narrow DOF was dictated by natural law. That's why I use a variety of camera formats to suit a variety of shooting needs. I had no idea that a brand name can modify the physical nature of light, even though I have been studying that very nature for nearly 50 years. Good call, Scott....
  25. I can't believe the level of brand loyalty some members of this community has. Statements like "Zeiss is better than anything else on the planet" reminds me of kids saying their father is the strongest person in the world.
    I don't give a f*** if the lens is a sigma, canon or tamron as long as it does the job it is supposed to.
  26. Leo C [​IMG], May 12, 2010; 07:05 p.m.
    "The Zeiss ZE lenses are not f/1.2 either"
    The DOF and subject isolation I get from this lens wide open is like that of the 1.2
    Wow. That turns what I thought I knew about DoF all topsy-turvy. I thought, unless lenses are miscalibrated, two lenses of the same focal length, at the same aperture and the same distance would produce identical DoF. The 50mm f/1.2 lens at f/1.4 would produce identical DoF as the 50mm f/1.4 lens at f/1.4. If the DoF at f/1.4 matches the DoF at f/1.2 at the same distance and focal length, now then, I too would buy into the supernatural abilities of that lens.
    Edit: Ha, Ha, I just read what Scott Ferris and Jim Krupnik wrote. Exactly!
  27. My understanding from published tests is that the 50 f1.4. is disappointing. Likewise the 85 f1.4 - and I am not even talking about bokeh (which is somewhat subjective), but good, old-fashioned, resolution. The 25mm is also disappointing and discontinued. The 35mm is very fine, and maybe the 28mm is too (great curvature of field which is a shame). The 21mm is superb and the 18mm pretty good. I think the macro 100mm is good too. Canon have great 35mm L and 100mm/135mm L lenses too and they are AF. So I think that taken as a whole the ZE line is slightly disappointing - although we can all agree they have beautiful build quality. Personally, I also consider the 50mm f1.2L a bit of a miss, performance-wise.
    The latest Summilux f1.4 50mm Leica-R (60mm thread) is certainly a stellar performer on film, although I have not read any accounts of it on digital.
  28. I thought about responding to the Zeiss fanboy repeal of the laws of physics, but glad I wasn't the only one to wonder a little about it.
  29. "The DOF and subject isolation I get from this lens wide open is like that of the 1.2"
    Let me clarify. I said "like that" meaning reminiscent of. I never said exactly the same or identical to. But I will say this clearly, the Zeiss lenses BLOW away the Canon, Nikon and Sigma 50mm lenses in every way!
  30. Ilya, I get the idea that nobody read your description of dismantling and reassembling the Canon lens. Doing that job in about 15 min is nothing short of amazing and the you didn't tell us which screw was loose, preventing close focus.
  31. I cannot comment much on the new Zeiss lenses - I tested the T series 85 F1.4 and Canon 85 F1.2 II back to back and decided I would save some more for the Canon. the Zeiss was good but not as good as the Canon (and it lacked AF). I can say that the old Zeiss Contax 50 F1.7 is a really good lens and can be bought quite cheaply. it is probably 90% of the Leica for 25% of the price.
  32. I have both a Leica M-Summicron 50mm (curent version) and the Canon EF 50 f1.4. The USM locked up on the Canon. Sent it to Canon USA (they do an online repair estimate and you pre-pay) received it back in just over two weeks, the cost was under $100. I found this to be the most sensable approach... I have no regrets. Good luck.
  33. Leo C,
    You see the large shovel in your hand? Stop digging with it, you have made a big enough hole already!
    DOF is DOF, you can read into your images what you want but that won't change the physics of the thing. A Canon or Sigma 50mm f1.4 has exactly the same DOF as a Zeiss or Leica 50mm f1.4, but not a 50mm f1.2 when wide open, the backgrounds might be more pleasing to some people from one or the other lens but the DOF and "separation" is identical.
    " But I will say this clearly, it BLOWS away the Canon, Nikon and Sigma 50mm lenses in every way!"​
    Not according to various testers, about the only thing it consistently bests them all in is build quality. How's the AF performance? It doesn't blow the Canon away at that does it? Corner sharpness/field curvature is called into question regularly too. How about the focus shift at very narrow DOF's and close focusing? That is surely what the lens is supposed to be a specialist in. Now Cosina might make great lenses but they are not Zeiss or Leica and even if they were they would still have to obey the laws of physics.
    Your lens might have admirable contrast and colour (but these features are close to irrelevent in the digital age) but please try to keep some objectivity.
  34. "Ilya, I get the idea that nobody read your description of dismantling and reassembling the Canon lens. Doing that job in about 15 min is nothing short of amazing and the you didn't tell us which screw was loose, preventing close focus." It s the screw in picture # 8 that holds white plastic guides.
  35. "My understanding from published tests is that the 50 f1.4. is disappointing." I provided a link above to POTN thread on Zeiss 50mm including a lot of examples. Test is one thing and actual usage by photographers is another. I did not buy Zeiss before because of the tests. But now I started talking to people who actually own this lens and yet to find one who would say that it sucks. I am going to get it tomorrow and will post my findings.
  36. Scott,
    I know exactly what focus shift is, the 50L f/1.2 had it to the 10th degree. The only "L" I ever returned because it was a piece of cr@p. The Canon 50mm and the Sigma 50mm have such terrible focus issues why bother? My Zeiss does not demonstrate any focus shift or focus issues at all. It has manual focus that is extremely precise. Why are you so anti- Zeiss and MF focusing? AF is sh!t if doesn't work properly.
  37. I did not buy Zeiss before because of the tests. But now I started talking to people who actually own this lens and yet to find one who would say that it sucks​
    Well, unlike you, I like to see what I can expect when I am buying something, particularly when it is that expensive. There is nothing much more unscientific than a few snaps on the web and someone gushing that it's great. I am sure the Zeiss is fine in practice, but that is not really the point - is it actually any better than the much cheaper lens?
  38. I don't really care what you like and how you do it. I am buying lenses not because of some idiot "scientific" comments but rather after speaking with professionals and what they think about it. And they say that it is much better than Canon 50mm. Do you have any experience using this lens? If yes, please share it with us. Or you are condemning a lens just because its "expensive"? If you think that this is expensive try 50mm Summicron-M or other Leica lenses. I think its actually pretty cheap.
  39. llya, I tested the Zeiss ZE 50mm f1.4 (from a local store) vs my Canon EF 50mm f1.4 on my Canon 5D MkII body, on a tripod with mirror lock set and using the remote switch. Central sharpness at f1.4 was slightly soft for both and indistinguishable between the two lenses (three of us looked at the images). The Zeiss had slightly better sharpness in the outer areas, but not by much. The Zeiss bokeh was terrible while the Canon lens had a dreamy look to the out of focus areas. This is what the Canon lens is noted for. By f2.8 both lenses were equivalent centrally and in the outer areas. In comparison, the Zeiss ZE 85mm f1.4 lens was noticeably better than either of the 50's. I use a 50mm f2 Summicron, c.2002, on my M8. This lens is better than either the Zeiss or Canon, but the comparison is unfair -all of the textbooks I read state that aberrations are much more readily controlled in a f2.0 lens than a f1.4 lens of equivalent focal length. Plus, there is no mirror shake to deal with and the Leica lens costs 2-4X the Zeiss or Canon. Try manual focusing on the Canon before you buy -even with the special Canon screen (EG-S?) for manual focus I found it imprecise. But then I am used to split image rangefinders. Hope that helps. Rick
  40. Rick, thanks for the input on sharpness. I've read that after 2.8 or 4 Zeiss is extremely sharp. How about saturation and contrast? I hear that both are much better than Canon's. Plus you can't go wrong with build. Canon is very unreliable. I can't afford for it to break when I am doing something important. Oh and I've already bought it. I was growing up using manual cameras so it definitely not new to me. I actually prefer to tell camera what to do and not other way around. :)
  41. Leo,
    Like all expensive lenses the Canon 50mm f1.2L has many adoring fans, and some disillusioned former owners/users. For sure, again, like all lenses it seems nowadays, there appears to be a fair bit of sample variation, also user expectations and inexperience along with the ability to enlarge pictures far greater than we ever normally did with film images can lead to disappointment and unrealistic criticism.
    I have owned probably fifteen to twenty 50mm prime lenses over the last 32 years of serious camera buying, all but one is manual focus. I have nothing against MF, indeed when it is the tool for the job I will still use it. But there in lies a point, a job, if it is results you want sensible people use the tool that gets them. I sell a lot of images I take with my 50mm f1.4, I have tried to justify getting the f1.2 but the performance from my 1.4 is too good, center sharpness to make your eyes bleed and after running several AF tests on it after reading about others "problems" I couldn't be happier. Given contrast it nails focus every time at 1.4, in one shot, in Servo, in bursts etc. My modest and much maligned 50mm f1.4 gets me the results I need. I happily accept that it might not get you the ones you want though.
    Now I am not anti Zeiss, I am not against camera equipment enthusiasts either, but you made some stupid claims. How can a piece of equipment that doesn't have all the features of another one "blow it out of the water in every way"? It makes you sound like a zealot or fanatic. That you like, and strongly prefer, your lens to others is admirable, for you to make the claims you do for it, however, is farcical. Do you really believe that people looking at your images and mine could tell the difference in lens quality? Try it some time with a mixed bag of your own images from different lenses, it can be a real eye opener.
    Whilst I have every respect for your personal choice, it seems to me slightly comical to buy a lens that doesn't have the feature set of another, is way more expensive than its competition and needs to be stopped down to match them! Colour and contrast are the least important features of a lens nowadays, if you are using digital, they are still as important as they always were if you are shooting slides to project though. But how many people do that? Reliability is something that would make me think twice, but as I almost always have a 24-70 in the bag my 50 dying is of no real concern.
    My take; if it takes mirror lockup, cable release and a tripod to tell any difference in IQ then it is of no interest to me, but then I am not a landscape shooter, but if I was they all perform the same at f8 anyway and FF digital would not be my medium.
    Let common sense and free choice prevail, Scott.
  42. "speaking with professionals.."
    I'm a "professional". What utter tosh is all I can say!
  43. Ilya, in my experience Zeiss (and Apo/ASPH Leica) lenses have always yielded higher contrast and saturation straight out of the camera (pre-manipulation) than anything else I've used. These days, with photoshop, this can be less of an issue. This sharp, crisp rendering is the hallmark of Zeiss glass and these design characteristics undoubtedly contribute to the sharp irregular nature of the out-of-focus areas, or lousy bokeh. But, if you want images that jump out of a print at you, it is the way to go. On the other hand, I prefer that Canon 50mm f1.4 for weddings, portraits, etc. Good luck! Rick
  44. Scott, what feature are you talking about? AF? Is that how you compare lenses? By comparing features?
    Robin, thank you very much for a constructive dialog. Your comments are invaluable to members of this forum.
    Rick, I like doing everything with the camera. Not spending time in front of the computer in post. I am not a professional so I want to enjoy my time away from the computer. I've never used 50mm for portraits. I only use 85mm 1.2 for that purpose. I use 50mm when I don't want to bring 24-70mm with me. A small walk around lens.
  45. " needs to be stopped down to match them!"
    I do respect/accept your experience with many lenses and you sharing your knowledge regarding them (the ones you used) but it doesn't sound to me that you have actually used any of the Zeiss 50mm's. Do you actually think I would buy a lens that is over double the cost of the Canon version and only used it stopped down? Of what use is the fast aperture to me if it has lousy IQ? The Zeiss lenses have all the features of the Canon EXCEPT auto focus. It's sounds like you have a great copy of the Canon version and that's good to hear. But for me, it was always hit or miss. I am just sharing my excitement. I am neither a Zealot or a Fanatic. I may be a "fan boy" of this one lens but I am also a "fan boy" of the Canon 35L, 85L, 70-200 f/2.8L IS....
  46. Ilya,
    I base my decisions on the tool that will get my job done, any features, speed, AF or not, full time MF if AF, thread size, flare resistance, IS etc are all very relevant. Be it a lens, a $20,000 body or a $20 coldshoe. I find AF invaluable, but as I said, do not use it, or AF lenses, exclusively, I have certainly found it to be far more accurate than I am at focusing most of the time and much much faster, even if it needs a tiny MF tweak to get exactly what I want sometimes. With regards the bottom line, I stated exactly what standards I judge a lens by, and why.........
    My take; if it takes mirror lockup, cable release and a tripod to tell any difference in IQ then it is of no interest to me, but then I am not a landscape shooter, but if I was they all perform the same at f8 anyway and FF digital would not be my medium.​
    If you are looking to not spend time in front of your computer then you must be shooting jpegs, if that is the case picture styles preferences give you far greater control over contrast and saturation etc than any lens choice, it also means you are losing way more image quality from the jpeg compression than you think you might gain by using what you think might be a "better" lens. If you are shooting RAW a custom profile takes an hour to fine tune to perfection and basically enables any lens/body combination of colour, contrast, saturation, sharpness, etc to be emulated by any other.
    But again, as I said, I respect your decision to choose whatever you want, even if it were as bizarre a reason as because it looks good. If you are happy then go for it, but don't kid yourself that you will see any measurable or practical difference in IQ, especially if you don't do the tripod, mirror lockup etc routine.
    I was quoting Ilya's words about the stopping down. My "legendary Leica" days ended years ago, to be honest I never really got the bug, I found any lens could be used when you pushed 400 and 800 asa film, the IQ was limited by the film never the lens, even wide open, and SLR's were always far more practical for my slow speed slide film work. I have certainly never owned or used one of the modern, non German, breed, but so what? They are certainly no better than the older ones and there are so many professional review sites out there that seem to agree that my opinion would add nothing of value. If they were that noticeably better though then I am surprised that more top end pros don't use them, indeed you would expect them to be standard fare, they are not. When you look at the Canon using pros (who buy their own gear) a surprising number of them use the 2.8 zooms.
    I am very glad you are so happy with your lens, I am glad it gets you the images you want, but I don't believe for one second your customers or friends could tell you which images were shot with which lens if you gave them a selection to look at.
    Take care, Scott.
  47. Scott, do you have real life experience using this particular lens? If yes, I need to know exactly what you did not like about it. Thanks
  48. Please understand that all I was asking from the start is to hear actual users of Leica and later Zeiss what they liked and disliked about the lens so later I could make my own decision. I don't care if I pay $400, $725 or $1000 for it. Canon is a non-remarkable lens and now it's proven to be unreliable as well. Without even seeing Zeiss I know that I will get a nicely built lens so it's already very positive sign for me. And manual focus sounds very attractive to me, even if somebody thinks that it's "slow". And in the worst case if I don't like it I will sell it for $50-$100 less.
  49. Ilya,
    I apologise, I thought I made it quite plain that I have not used the lens about which you ask. I only entered the thread when Leo made some fairly outlandish claims.

    My advice, for what it may be worth, get it, you will always be curious if it is the one for you, as you correctly point out, resale values are very high and you won't lose much money, certainly cheaper than renting. I recently went through a similar process with the 100mm L IS macro, when I compared it to my 70-200 there was not enough difference for me to keep the macro, I was really looking forward to that lens too :)
    Take care, Scott.
  50. Interesting. How about focusing distance? Isn't 100mm is much better in that regard?
  51. "Ilya E , May 12, 2010; 08:09 p.m.
    I will have to disagree with you. I did own an M6 with Summicron-M 50mm and it is not even in the same category with Canon 1.4"
    Sorry, Ilya, but i suppose i don't know what we're discussing at this point. I have owned two different Leica M-Summicron 50mm lenses: the old Dual Range and a 'current' Summicron. But, comparing the M-mount line to the Canon EF in a discussion about which lens to buy for your Canon seems silly/moot. The M-50 Cron won't fit your lens, so you might consider keeping the comparisons to an appropriate 'league.' I did not assert that the M-50 Leica was no better than the Canon EF 50/1.4. In fact, i never compared the two. My comments were about the R-50 Summicron versus the Canon EF 50mm, and my personal tests back up what i tried to convey. Maybe you didn't have a 'good sample' with your Canon? There, apparently, is sample variation. I've read that some people aren't happy with their 50/1.4s until f2.8 or 4. Mine was excellent at f2, and usable in certain situations even at 1.4. Don't be fooled into thinking Leica doesn't have variation, as well. I had a NEW M-50mm Summilux-ASPH that performed worse than a 30+ year old Russian Jupiter-3, a $30 lens. That Summilux, probably the best 50mm lens of all 50mm lenses, was an absolute dog. Softer than a chocolate teapot. Leica eventually, after 6 months of wrangling, replaced it.
    So, back to actual SLR lenses..... If you compare both lenses WIDE OPEN, yes, the R-50 Summicron is a bit better than the Canon. But, the Summicron 'only' opens to f2. When both lenses are at f2 (the Canon is therefore stopped down a little), they are pretty much even—in fact, i thought my EF50/1.4 was a bit better, actually. But, with the Canon you also get a 'bonus' stop because the Leica doesn't do f1.4. If you want the best 50mm SLR lens, get the Leica R-50mm SUMMILUX with E60 filter size. But, again, you have to deal with stop down metering and trying to manually focus on a camera viewscreen designed for AF. Maybe your eyes are better than mine, but with an AF-purposed camera, at apertures larger than f2.8-4, i ALWAYS get better and more consistently accurate focus with an AF lens. And, that's with the EE-S viewscreen.
    I still haven't read where you say what you want to shoot. Which, still, seems to be a pretty important bit of information when helping to assess your needs. You can, of course, try the manual focus, 'other' brand route. I've tried it. Leica, Contax, Nikon, Pentax... all adapted to my Canon 5D/5DMkII. I gave all that up. That was my experience. If you have a different experience, i hope you are eventually and ultimately satisfied by it, and i hope, as well, that you'll come back in a year and tell us where you stand.
  52. Derek, I actually have decided to try out Zeiss. I won't need any adapters and stop-metering. Thanks
  53. Ilya,
    Interesting. How about focusing distance? Isn't 100mm is much better in that regard?​
    Obviously the reproduction ratio is much better with the macro, but I almost always carry tubes anyway so I mitigate the problem with the 70-200 and I get great results with my 50mm f1.4 with a 12mm tube too.
    This is a very quick example of what I mean by no practical difference in real world use. In all reviews the macro tests way sharper than the zoom, indeed on FF cameras it is effectively diffraction limited (that is as good as it can get), but even at 100% enlargements, that's 30"-40" inch prints, there is no useful IQ advantage when used hand held even at very high shutter speeds.
    Take care and enjoy the Zeiss, Scott.
  54. Ok thanks. I am going to test it out over the weekend and actually do some with Zeiss and Canon to see the differences. Will post the pictures here.
  55. I do not know about using it on a Canon, but that Leica f2 is a great lens. I have had one for 11 years and it is my most used small camera lens. Small & light, focuses close and if there is something sharper, I have not used it.
  56. Dare I say it? ...Ok, I will.
    Look at the Sigma 50mm f/1.4. In my opinion, it's much better than the Canon f/1.4.
    I'm just sayin'.
  57. jtk


    Are some of these comments confusing comparative contrast/micro-contrast of various lenses with "sharpness" ?
  58. I have to 50L. I like it, it's my most used lens by far. It's tough to get used to at first with the very shallow DOF but once I became reasonably competent I was very happy with the shots I got and get.
    I've recently purchased the 24L II, which is a much easier lens to use than the 50L but the bokeh is nowhere near as good or prevalent.
    I have no clue about the alt lenses but I can say that don't be swayed by the naysayers on the 50L. If I'd listened to them I would have missed out on this lens and the skill set I gained from using it.
    The 50L is well built and gives results that I can't get with any other of my lenses.
    Sure it's a bit soft at 1.2-1.4 but at F2 it's well sharp and wide open it gets shots that most other lenses can't and at F1.2 it's a 50mm lens that can't be matched.
  59. OK here is a grab shot wide open with the 5D Mark II (focus on eye). Looks sharp to me.
  60. Got the Zeiss and had a chance to take a few. So far I can already tell that I like it more than lifeless Canon. Colors are incredible. And please don't give me that post crap comment. Focusing through a viewfinder is not advisable as the focus can be way off. LiveView 10x is the way to go and so far I did not get one out of focus image. Hand shake becomes a bit annoying at 10x but nothing major. And the build is exactly what a lens should be. I wish Canon made lenses like that. I did a few portraits wide open and liked the way they came out. They remind me of soft focus lenses which can be a very positive sign if you do portraits. Although it's nowhere near 85mm 1.2. And stoped down it is incredibly sharp. I think sharper than Canon. But maybe I am just too excited about Zeiss and not seeing clearly. LOL Ok, off to shoot some more.
  61. Congrats! I knew you would like it!
  62. Ok, I did few dozens of shots with f/2 and larger and I am quite sure that it is sharper than Canon. I did not do side-by-side yet. Will do that tomorrow. But from what I saw so far it is obvious that Zeiss is a much much better lens than Canon. I think all negative posts came from people who never owned this lens. Thanks Leo for pointing me in a right direction. Just another proof that one should never depend solely on reviews and to test it yourself.
  63. Focusing through a viewfinder is not advisable as the focus can be way off.​
    If your camera has replaceable focusing screen and you don't have one that is designed for manual focusing, consider getting it. For example, for EOS5D2 it would be the Eg-S type. These screens show more realistic preview of DOF and allow manual focusing with lenses faster than 2.8. If your manual focusing is still off, you can get special metal shims to adjust position of the screen and make the viewfinder focusing more precise.
    You can also confirm focus using the red AF rectangles, they will blink if in focus. I have 4 ZE lenses and I found that the focus confirmation is not perfectly calibrated, but I do not bother with micro adjust since what I see on the focusing screen seem to be good enough and if I need really precise focus, there is LV.
  64. Ilya,
    Very glad you are so happy.
    Take care, Scott.
  65. If you want the real thing, get one of the still-hard-to-surpass Zeiss Biotar 58mm f/2.0 lenses.​
    Isn't Biotar just a name for Planar made in Eastern Germany?
  66. Thanks Mirek, I will look into it. Looks like you are correct about focus confirm function as it is somewhat off. If you are totally dependent on the beep I'd say you could get plenty of out of focus images.
  67. If you are totally dependent on the beep I'd say you could get plenty of out of focus images.​
    Unless you use the microadjustment feature to fix it...
  68. NTIM
    The Planar was originally a symmetrical lens design of the late 19th c. The Biotar was also a double Gauss design that is related, but not quite the same since it was especially developed for 'fast' normal (and short tele) lenses where the basic design still reigns today. It is true that Zeiss Stuttgart did use the name Planar to distinguish their lenses from the Zeiss Jena lenses in the Cold War era, but I don't know if these later lenses are really Biotars in the Zeiss Jena (pre- and post-war) sense under the skin or not.
  69. Ilya,
    I am looking forward to these side by side sample images...............
  70. Scott, unfortunately I've sold my Canon within 2 hours after posting an ad on Craigslist. I just didn't want to take my chances and keep the lens plus the price was good. I wanted to see them by myself as well but it didn't work out. Otherwise I'd post them by now. But I am having a friend in a couple of weeks and he owns Canon 1.4 so I will do it then.
  71. Ilya,
    Despite your initial enthusiasm it seems you have returned both your Zeiss 50 (for the Canon 50 macro?) and the Zeiss 85 (as the Canon 85 f1.2 seems superior). A short love affair indeed. At least they still have Leo to fly the Zeiss banner :)
    Take care, Scott.
  72. I have a Zeiss 21 in M mount that I love for Tri-X, but it was a bit unforgiving with contrast on a digital Leica (M8).
    I wonder if the situation is similar with the Zeiss ZE mount lenses.

Share This Page