I've made a photoset of the first pix with this lens:
Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35/1.4
Well, I think the color, contrast, controlled DOF, and detail this lens and you capture seem to be working quite nicely. I am a tad biased, as I have the CV 35/1.2 Nokton and enjoy the softness wide open. Your new 35/1.4 looks to retain some of that on the more open shots, and then gets nicely crisp when you start to stop it down. This, to me, is a really nice combination. There appears to be a tad less micro contrast compared to what I have seen from the Leica 35/1.4, but I think this "classic" is exactly that....good at creating a very "classic" look. Thanks for sharing these.
I haven't paid Steve the rest yet (was hoping to see shots). Was also thinking about the hood etc. What have you done about coding? Filter?
Can't actually look closely at the pictures till I get home on a big screen.
That's a nice collection and looks relevant to my questions as well. Does Flickr have a way for me to see the EXIF? It's hard to judge these without knowing aperture and shutter speed (Oh, I forgot, aperture in the EXIF, what's that?)
To rephrase the question, what aperture were you using for the indoor, store interior and outdoor shots? Which shots were taken wide open?
edit: I see, down on the lower right in individual picture mode, there is "additional information" and the EXIF comes up. It seems the outdoor shots were 1/1000 sec at ISO 320 and cropped to 2500 x 1600 before uploading. Sounds like f/8 or f/5.6. Right?
Last edited by scott kirkpatrick; 27th February 2008 at 09:56. Reason: partial answer to my own question
Just bought an M8 and thinking of getting this lens only for the 1.4 as portrait specific lens.
How does the lens perform wide open? I don't expect it to compare to the Leica lens. Looking really for a feeling rather than pure optical performance.
I got the standard, multiple coating version.
Most of the inside stuff was taken at either 1.4, 2 or 2.8. The landscape shots were at either f11 or f16. The shot of the sign was at f2. The cattails were at either f2 or f5.6.
I just shot a focus test of some soup cans and will be posting that later.
The current files are as-is out of the camera, no cornerfix applied. Vignetting doesn't seem too bad, but I'm not shooting against snow or anything where it'd really show.
The reason for wanting to know the f/stop is that the Zeiss "classic" lenses change their character very dramatically from wide open to one or two stops down, going from soft to sharp and contrasty. If this lens exhibits such a cross over it would be nice to know it, and know where it occurs.
The shot of Domino, the dog, has that soft characteristic swirl in the OOF areas, not unlike the CV 35/1.2 Nokton, and even the Leica 50/1.0 Noctilux. However, the Nocti does not have that extra bit of contrast/bite wide open that this Nokti has. The cattails at f2.0 may be the breaking point, as the bokeh starts to shift a bit there to something a bit more angular. (Check the OOF bent reed on the left side of the image....it has a bit more pronounced OOF look, rather than the more blurry look at f1.4) The background at f2.0 on the cattails still has just a bit of the softness to make it pleasing. Just an observation. Looking like a very nice little lens.
I'd say that this lens, unlike, for instance, my CV 35mm Ultron f1.7, stays sharp and contrasty in the in-focus areas and retains its contrast in the OOF areas, too, whereas the Ultron is medium contrast and very sharp in-focus and rapidly becomes softer and less contrasty in the OOF areas.
Here's a pair of photos for comparison, both lenses 35mm, both wide open.
Nokton Classic MC 35/1.4:
An additional 25 photos have been added to my Nokton Classic Set at Flickr. (Or will be shortly, depending on when you read this.)
Thank you Maggie and Nick.
Another bokeh pic here:
Not clear if it comes from an MC or SC lens though.
Last edited by LCT; 27th February 2008 at 22:35.
Can one of you lucky folks with new CV 35/1.4's shoot a flat textured surface at 1.4 and a high shutter speed, so that we can see how sharp and contrasty the center and corners are when the lens is wide open? A brick wall would do just fine,but I am sure you can find something even more visually appealing.
For the obsessed pixel-peepers, could you upload one or two raw files to Yousendit and share the links? You're posting resized jpegs on Flickr, so a lot has already happened to the file before we see it. Cases of most interest would be:
f/5.6 outdoors with objects at various distances;
the classic brick wall, bulletin board or wall of books at f/1.4 and tripod;
and pictures somewhat like your cattails in which there are fine details backlit such as tree branches against a medium tone sky. (at f/5.6, not at f/11, so that there is no possibility of diffraction limiting the sharpness or obscuring any CA)
If you share the raw file, it is possible, thanks to Cornerfix, to know the aperture used. Flickr's exif reading is a mixed bag. I can see your firmware level, ISO, number of shutter activations, and software used to create the Jpeg, but the shutter readout is not convincing, and the aperture and focal length are a complete mystery.
Sean is off to Florida and motorcycles, so we are probably a month away from seeing his detailed test of this lens. In the mean time, you are the expert.
Last edited by scott kirkpatrick; 28th February 2008 at 05:40.
Oh lordy, Yousendit is evil. Luckily, I've got webspace galore. I'm uploading two of the cattail .DNGs, one at f2 and one at f5.6., right now to my Dot Mac Public Folder.
I'll see if I can squeeze in a boffin shot or two during the day here and I'll put it in the same place when I can.
Also, I uploaded one of my soup can focus test shots.
More test shots of the CV 35 Nokton 1.4 MC - shot on Leica M8, handheld, DNG, ISO160, -1/3EV, AWB, Aperture priority, apertures as indicated on test sheets. Converted with Adobe Camera Raw, no sharpening.
(As an aside, doing this test emphasized the handling differences between the lenses in terms of aperture and focusing rings - the 1.2 has the smoothest focus and "solid" feeling aperture stops - not sure how to describe it, when it clicks into place it feels well damped while the 1.4 feels lighter - maybe it's just the difference in mass of the lenses. The 1.4's focusing is tighter than the 1.2, but it's a brand new lens. The Hexanon's aperture ring feels rough compared to the Noktons)
From the can shot it looks like it back focuses a bit wide open. That is assuming you focused on the middle can.
The sharpness at f1.4 looks to be about the same as the Noctilux at f1.
One thing I noticed is there seems to be a lot of DOF compared to other f1.4 shots I have seen from other lenses.
On the shot I posted, I focused on the middle can. Camera on tripod, used self-timer to release the shutter.
Here is a .zip archive file with brick wall shots. Four .DNGs, file names ascending in this order of f-stop: f 1.4, 5.6, 8, 11, (L1011193 being the f1.4 and L1011196 being the f11).
Now for the bricks.
I'm looking at the bricks. I see why Sean insists on focus bracketing when he tests wide open. It looks to me as if the 1.4 is a little out of focus, and shows some vignetting. The 5.6 and the 8 seem sharp and evenly illuminated, but I would have guessed that there is diffraction at f/11 reducing the sharpness and contrast of the image. From the cans, it looks like there is a focus shift of as much as an inch at f/1.4, so try pulling the focus forward in tiny amounts and I bet that one will sharpen up and brighten as well. How does the best result with your brick wall work out at f/2? The can trick to check for focus shift at f/2.0 would also help to determine if you will have to focus bracket here as well.
If you want to get it to really work for you at f/1.4 it may take some really careful technique. Your f/5.6 exposure (L1011194) is the sharpest but the image plane is a little curved. I cropped out the corners, which are nicely in focus (in order they are upperleft, upperright, lowerleftl, and lowerrright), but the last crop shown, from the center, is not:
OK, here's a thought- if the lens is backfocusing, wouldn't it make sense that the middle is mushy (that was the focus point) and the corners, being farther away, should be in focus? Though f5.6 should have enough DOF to cover that range, yes?
Is this something that can be adjusted? Do I send the lens back to Cameraquest? I'm kinda getting bummed out here. (Thankfully, I can go and shoot with my lovely 50/2 Heliar Classic and it cheers me up.)
Give Steve Gandy a call, and show him these pictures. It might be worth trying a second copy of the lens. There were reports of variations in performance with the CV21 and Cv25s. Ideally, the plane of sharpest focus should be a plane, not a sphere or other curved surface, but few lenses can really pull that off. Those that can are usually labeled macro lenses, and have been designed for flatness of field. When Sean shoots his resolution tests, he first checks very carefully to ensure that the back of the camera is parallel to the test wall, then focus brackets. I think he chooses the image which is sharpest in the center to study. If the image field is curved, then you will see that the corners are soft when the center is sharp.
Pixel-peeping at 100% with a f/1.4 lens on the M8 is an invitation to get very frustrated, as I've seen on the LUF with all the agony spent on the Leica Summilux 35/1.4-asph. That exhibits focus shift as you stop down, complaints of backfocus are common, all that hair-pulling stuff. Other people are quite satisfied, but I suspect it is because they shoot more tolerant subjects, or are more tolerant with their shots.
Man, I soooo do not want to be That Guy™, you know? I'm usually a pretty go-with-the-flow kind of gal.Pixel-peeping at 100% with a f/1.4 lens on the M8 is an invitation to get very frustrated, as I've seen on the LUF with all the agony spent on the Leica Summilux 35/1.4-asph. That exhibits focus shift as you stop down, complaints of backfocus are common, all that hair-pulling stuff.
Looking at my non-boffin shots, I have to say that I'm happy with most of them, and the ones that don't quite look right could be more due to my sloppy technique than the lens. I talked to my SO about this and he suggested that I shoot a bunch more with the lens- out and about, maybe go downtown and get all street with it and then see how I'm feeling and thinking about the lens and the images it produces.
Man, a new lens should not send me to the Xanax bottle!
And Maggie, I agree with you that for cattails and cat's fur with glossy eyes, the lens you have is already doing a fine job. I guess the test is whether you can learn to get satisfactory portraits with great detail rendering around the eyes. I think following up on the impression that the OOF handling gives more apparent depth of field is worth-while. I would still be curious to know if there is a lot of sample-to-sample variation, and to know how much field curvature there is at 1.4 and 2.0. My question is what i asked Rob -- since i have and like a 35/Summicron-asph, does this lens add a usable extra stop?
In regards to Maggie's lens, it probably just back focuses until stopped down and we all know where that went with the 35mm Summilux. She could try some other copies of the lens, but it may not be worth the time and effort if she is happy with the results.
In regards to the edges being sharper than the middle, the Noctilux does this too and may just be that fast lenses have curvature of field.
I posted a separate thread with the basketball shots. The first image in the thread links through to a full size/rez jpeg.
I was thinking about trying another sample- but Stephen Gandy is sold out of both the MC and the SC and over at RFF he said that the factory sold out the initial run, too. So, no one will be getting a 35/1.4 Nokton Classic until at least June, IIRC. I'll just try to remember to do the focus-->lean back a degree--->shoot thing when the lens is opened up, I guess.In regards to Maggie's lens, it probably just back focuses until stopped down and we all know where that went with the 35mm Summilux. She could try some other copies of the lens, but it may not be worth the time and effort if she is happy with the results.
Vignetting, of the M8 type seems to be very low to non-existent, so I'm leaning towards not having the mount milled. I'm afraid that the focusing problems (which are pretty darn small, when you get right down to it) would be made worse if I starting mucking around the lens with a screwdriver. Thoughts?
Is the present mount on the lens flat and smooth where the coding would go? If it is, you can try the magic marker method just to see if it matters or not. Most of the CV LTM>M mounts did not handle this well, hence Johh's milling mounts that would accommodate things. (The CV M mount itself, usually had a screwhead in the way, but still can accommodate coding well.) If the magic marker works, and you like the correction, it may be worth having John mill it for the coding. As long as you do not have problem getting the screws out, you should not have too much issue with removing, milling and re-installing the mount. I swapped mounts completely on my Zeiss 25/2.8, so that it would bring up the Leica 24 framelines, and had absolutely no issues with focus doing the install myself. (Zeiss recommends the calibration, etc., just as Leica does, but honestly, the fit is so precise that it did not create any issues with focus at all.) Worth a try, and a worst case scenario is that you send the lens to DAG after you have the mount milled, but I really do not think it will be needed.
I hate to mention this, and it is something that some advocate and others do not, but here goes..... I was having awful backfocus problems with my coded Leica 50/1.0 Noctilux and a coded Leica 75/2.0 AA lens. I was about to send them to DAG for focus calibration. My thoughts were that all of my other lenses did not have any focus issues on my M8, so those two lenses were the problem. Just before packing things up to ship, I decided to attempt the RF adjustment on the M8. I made an absolutely teeny tiny adjustment (couterclockwise as you look at the front of the camera), and it completely cleared up the backfocus problem on both lenses, AND it did not effect the focus on my other lenses at all. I was amazed. I fully expected to throw everything out of whack, and was prepared to ship the body to DAG also if I did mess things up, but in the end, things worked out perfectly.
In your case, I was doing the exact same thing for both lenses.....get the focus and lean back a tad. The problem I kept running into is that this sort of user compensation is not consistent at all, unless everything is being shot at the same distance. Most of us are really good at making our own compensations and adjustments when we know there is an issue like this backfocus, but we just cannot be precise enough all the time for all the various distances when shooting wide open. As you say, stopping down a bit makes the problem disappear, more or less, but my humble suggestion is to get the focus dead on wide open at your most preferred working distances. Anything stopped down from there will be fine, but you need to have that wide open focus plane as close as you can possibly get it adjusted. That is where things matter most to achieve the impact of DOF and focus plane that you want. Just something to consider.
Last edited by LJL; 29th February 2008 at 09:00.
When you remove the lens, you will see the roller cam at the top of the lens mount opening. Behind this cam is a small screw with a 2mm allen head facing upwards toward the top of the camera. Turning that screw counterclockwise (toward the shutter release side of the camera) brings the focus adjustment of the rangefinder forward. Turning the other way places it further back. We are not talking about much adjustment here to make a fairly significant change. Remember, this rangefinder is a precision device, so a little turn goes a long way.
You may want to ask Guy about this, as I know he was carrying a wrench around with him when he first got his 75 Lux and other lenses until he got things to his liking. The story is if you can get the focus of a 75 or 90 Cron dead on wide open, you are set. It also helps to use an eyepiece magnifier for those lenses when focusing. (I have a Megaperls 1.35x magnifier that also allows diopter correction, and I leave it on all the time for all lenses. Makes things a bit harder with the 25, but for the 35 and up, it really helps me a lot.)
In the case of your lens, based on the images you took and Scott and others commented on, any adjustment may be very, very small, if the problem is not the lens itself. Again, I am offering this up as a potential fix, but first you need to determine if the lens is hitting the marks for everything else for you. This will not "fix" things if the lens is not in calibration, or if it has a slightly off-centered focal plane. This slight adjustment worked for me, even though the camera came back from Leica saying the rangefinder was checked and within spec. The backfocus issues were never really noticeable on my wider lenses, but were very obvious on my Noctilux and 75 Cron. Both of those are now dead on, as are my other lenses.
After you do a couple more tests to convince yourself either way, it may be something to consider. These sorts of adjustments should be made by a camera tech, but this one seems to be easy and effective for a number of folks that have done it, even after Leica has said their camera rangefinder was in spec. The other option is to leave the camera alone and hope you can get the lens adjusted for proper focus. This usually involves extremely thin shims under the lens mount, at least for things like the Noctilux and others. DAG does this work and it does not void any warranties, based on what he has told me himself.