LTM options for a budget conscious Sonnarholic?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by steve_gallimore|1, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. SCL


    Certain models of the Niccas were originally sold with the Nikon 50/2 attached. About 2 years ago I came across a spanking clean Nicca sold under the Sears Tower label and decided to give it a try, and I like it almost as much as my Leica IIf...easier to load the film as the rear is fashioned like the Leica M3, and it has a lever rewind instead of a knob. I've mostly used my Nikon 50/2 on a mirrorless digital body, however, and can attest that it shines there as well as on film. So keep your eyes open for a good clean copy and you'll be well rewarded.
    steve_gallimore|1 likes this.
  2. Nooo... Therin lies the path to mariticide...

    And there's a tiny risk that I actually might like and use it, I've always fancied a 'Barnack Camera' and the Nicca looks to be one of the ultimate examples of the breed. I love my Zorki 3m, but with a collapsible lens, it fits comfortably in a coat pocket.
    ] likes this.
  3. Leica - Jupiter-3+, Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.4, Canon 50/1.5 Visit Udvar Hazy

    The Canon 50/1.5, compared with the Nikkor 5cm F1.4 and Jupiter-3+.

    I've had three of the Canons. I'm convinced it was optimized for F2.8 on a Rangefinder.
    Mine- I optimized it for F1.5, increased the shim thickness by ~0.05mm or so.

    I picked up a rare 1940s Canon 5cm F2 Serenar, needed some work- for $60 at a camera show. It is a classic 1-2-2-1 double-Gauss. The Canon and Nikkor 5cm f2 compared:

    Leica - Canon 5cm F2 Serenar and Nikkor-HC 5cm F2 on the M9, at the Marine Museum.

    The Canon lens was quickly replaced, one good source states 1400 made.
    ] and steve_gallimore|1 like this.
  4. There's not a lot between them, is there?

    Looking at your Marine Museum shots, I feel that the Nikkor is slightly warmer and more contrasty.
    I certainly prefer the Nikkor (Sonnar) to the Canon Serenar (double-gauss).

    Looks like I'd honestly be happy with any of the Sonnars. For the time being, I'm going to save up the necessary funds and watch eBay. I'm also going to put a few rolls of film through my Kiev and try the J-8 ltm on my Fuji digitals again.

    I'm getting the impression that there are fewer age related problems with the Nikkor?
  5. The Nikkors are just amazing with respect to the quality of the coating and glass. I have a set of 1940s Nikkors- all perfect glass. The Group Portrait. Nikkor_1940s_2.jpg

    Took me a long time to assemble this collection. The Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.5, ~300 made. 13.5cm F4, ~600 made. The collapsible Nikkor 5cm F2: inner haze cleaned off perfectly, 15 minute job- coating and glass, perfect. The 5cm F1.5 and 13.5cm F4 are from the same batch of lenses that DDD used in Korea.
  6. The Nicca 3-F I have (with the f/2 Nikkor-HC) is one of the smoothest Barnacks I have the pleasure to work with.
    ] likes this.
  7. What is the verdict on the Tanaka Kogaku Tanar 50/2?
  8. It is very close to the Nikkor, but much less common. I picked up one at a Camera Show on a Tanack 4S. If you run across one at the same price as the Nikkor, grab it. It tends to sale for more due to the low number made.
  9. SCL


    My earlier investigations on the Tanar 50/2 indicated it was a close match for the Nikkor, and was a Sonnar design, unlike the 50/3.5 HC close focusing rigid which I have, which is said to be a Tessar design - and exhibits typical Tessar rendering...very sharp center, softer edges, very good contrast due to fewer element surfaces. The 50/2 was much more expensive due to its desirability for greater light gathering capability.
  10. You must have had to pry them out of the hands of collectors, mostly in Japan I would imagine. Well done. I don't collect, all for users, but I appreciate the passion. do you shoot them much?
  11. A Tanar 50/2 is on it's way to me, from Japan...
  12. I should have added its really a handsome set.
  13. All of these were bought from within the US- The Nikkor 5cm F1.5 with early Canon III from a woman that fell into it at an estate sale, had a photography store check it, and posted images on Ebay with a horrible flare. It looked like the glass was bad. She offered money back, I took a chance. Took 30 seconds to send her a response that the lens was gorgeous, and she let me know she would pay off her car loan. The 3.5cm F3.5, 13.5cm F4- camera stores. The 8.5cm F2- Bob Rotoloni. The collapsible Nikkor 5cm F2- another one that looked dead, the US seller picked up at an estate sale, came with a Nicca III "MIOJ" that I sent to Youxin for new curtains. I believe these were probably all bought by US Serviceman when they were made, sales receipt with the Nikkor 5cm F1.5.

    Leica - "Keep your Fingers crossed", "Ebay Gambling"... Nikkor 5cm F1.5

    I have shot with all of these on the M9 and M Monochrom.

    Leica - Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.5, the lens that got the attention of the World

    Leica Showcase - Nikkor 3.5cm F3.5, Leica Mount.

    Leica Showcase - Nikkor 8.5cm F2, early Leica Mount "903" series

    Leica Showcase - Nikon 8.5cm F2 Nikkor-PC LTM

    Leica Showcase - Nikkor 13.5cm F4 Leica Mount, on the M9.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
  14. Wow, love the way you went after it. It makes sense that U.S. service men brought these over. Pretty cool.
  15. The Tanar arrived last week and very nice it is.

    No results to show yet as work and rain got in the way, so I haven't finished the first roll of film, but a few quick test shots on digital show it to have noticeably more contrast than my Jupiter and typical Sonnar rendering.

    Any thoughts on lens hoods? Currently I have a cheapy 40.5mm vented hood, the effectiveness of which I greatly doubt and it doesn't play well with lens caps. I've always assumed that the rule for lens hoods is 'the deepest you can go without vignetting'.


    Sensible price (say, 10-20€) and ability to use a lens cap are priorities.
  16. AJG


    I've had good luck with cheap lens hood/cap combinations found on eBay from Chinese sellers. I've never paid more than $5 or 6 for any of them and they do the job. The vented hoods obviously can't keep all of the dust out but they do prevent most errant fingerprints.
  17. ]


    How do you like your Jupiter 8? How does it compare to the Industar lens? I am about to own my first FSU camera, a Fed 5v. Thanks, Kent.
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  18. SG, hopefully the choice you've made works for you first time. The numerous comments regarding the f2 50 Nikkor also match my thoughts on the subject. Like you, I do not have it in LTM, only in the Kiev mount. Love the lens results, especially in low light. The Kiev came with an f2 50 Carl Zeiss lens which has better contrast, but I like the Nikkor better. I've never seen the Carl Zeiss f2 50 in LTM, but would try it if it exists as it would be a nice size on an LTM body. The Nikkor is really well built. The Nikkor f1.4 50 is entirely a different look. Good luck with your choice.
  19. All I use with my Canon VI are Nikkor lenses; 3.5cm f/2.5, 5cm f/2, and 13.5cm f/3.5.

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