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Thread: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

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    Subscriber Member KurtKamka's Avatar
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    Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    I have a few samples of the Nokton/M9 combination posted over on flickr if anyone is interested. Here's the link:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mequon/...7622393534817/

    Kurt

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Nice photos. It looks like a nice lens, which tends a little to double-line/ring boke. Probably from over-corrected spherical aberration. The Noctilux f/1 has this a bit too, perhaps a little less, but the price is also several times higher.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Hi Kurt
    these look fine to me .
    But how do you feel about it? My nocti was sold two years ago for a silly price, and I'm certainly not going to buy another one, but the CV is tempting.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    This lens looks great on the M9! I really like the signature. Thank you for posting these!

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Jono you ask a great question ... and probably the only question that matters after all of the quibbling about this and that. Bottom line is that I like lenses that I can't wait to put on the camera again and again ... lenses that surprise me over and over again because they reveal subtle nuances that make me smile (extremely unscientific and unmeasurable for sure).

    I felt it as soon as I looked at my first images from the 75lux/combination ... but, am uncertain as to whether or not I feel it with the CV50. The lens is a fantastic bargain, sharp as can be wide open and stopped down. But, in some respects, I feel rather take-it-or-leave-it about the lens. I like my lenses to have a little more micro-contrast and saturation and the CV50 just leaves me a little cold.

    Perhaps I have to spend more time with it, bump up the contrast and saturation to suit my taste in post processing ... or forget how my Noctilux images made me feel before I sold it several years ago.
    Last edited by KurtKamka; 6th October 2009 at 05:47.

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    If you decide to sell the 50/1.1 let me know. :-)

    I'm sure if I owned a Nocti I would feel the same way. But for now, ignorance the desire to increase my savings account are my best friends. :-)

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post
    I felt it as soon as I looked at my first images from the 75lux/combination ... but, am uncertain as to whether or not I feel it with the CV50. The lens is a fantastic bargain, sharp as can be wide open and stopped down. But, in some respects, I feel rather take-it-or-leave-it about the lens. I like my lenses to have a little more micro-contrast and saturation and the CV50 just leaves me a little cold.

    Perhaps I have to spend more time with it, bump up the contrast and saturation to suit my taste in post processing ... or forget how my Noctilux images made me feel before I sold it several years ago.
    A brain imaging study has shown that people who believe they're drinking an expensive wine find it tastes better. It's not just that they rate it as tasting better, or believe it tastes better -- their brains actually respond in a way that corresponds to tasting better.

    And that happens even when the expensive-wine test group and the cheap-wine test group sampled exactly the same wine, the only difference being what they were told it cost.

    I'm not saying you're responding to the same phenomenon in regard to your CV vs. your memories of your Noctilux, or that your reactions aren't legitimate. Lens-design firms, like car-design firms, furniture-design firms, fashion-design firms, etc., have a "house style" that reflects their shared beliefs about what's good, and one optical "house style" may be more to your taste than another -- even among lenses that are objectively similar in quality.

    But it sure would be interesting if someone could devise a way to do a double-blind test, in which photographers would take pictures with different lenses without any way of knowing which was used (hockey gloves, maybe?) then rate the resulting pictures.

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    i doubt any sort of objective testing would be conclusive; photograpy evaluation is almost entirely subjective so who cares what you bring to the table that might influence your opinion, the end result is...your opinion.

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    From reading many, many posts about the 50/1.1, I've concluded that most users feel that the Nokton 50/1.1 has more DOF than the Noctilux, meaning, F1.1 feels more like F1.4 than F1.0. If true, then perhaps what Kurt is looking for is a narrower DOF? And there are probably differences in how the Nokton renders the bokeh compared to the Leica's. I've also read some comments here and there about focus shift with the Nokton, but have not come across anything definitive.

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Ranger, interesting article. As others on this board that I've been hanging around with over the past several years will attest, I've bought and sold enough lenses to formulate some sort of impressions about what I'm seeing. They are nothing more than my impressions, however, and others are free to form their own contrasting impressions. Jono asked how I felt ... and I responded.

    My question to you is have you thought about how the brain imaging study you referenced might apply to internet experts who write so often about their opinions (with equal weight given to their own eloquent brand of relish and derision) that before too long they begin to see those opinions as blind truth?

    John, I think that you've hit the nail on the head with the thought that f1.1 feels more like f1.4. To me, the zone that is in-focus at f1.1 seems a bit wide for f1.1. The other thing that I think is different about the lens is that produces a lower level of micro contrast than what I'm used to seeing in Leica lenses. I've been trying to see if I can get a little more 3D-like separation between the subject and background in post-processing ... but so far haven't hit on quite the right formula.

    Kurt

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    And that happens even when the expensive-wine test group and the cheap-wine test group sampled exactly the same wine, the only difference being what they were told it cost.
    HI There
    I absolutely believe this - I understand a nice picture (and a nice bottle of wine). But I think that one's satisfaction is blend of lots of different things, some of them more rational than others.

    I think it's very telling that leica lenses like the little summarit 35 sell less than the more expensive 35's. . . whereas, as far as I can see, it's a lovely lens (but then, I bought it didn't I )

    I'm quite certain that having spent 6000 on a 0.95 nocti I'd find it excellent . . . whereas spending 1000 on a CV 1.1 would leave me feeling just a little lacking!

    Truth is, I really don't need one of these lenses, and of course, I KNOW that my 50 'lux asph is just the best lens there is

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post

    My question to you is have you thought about how the brain imaging study you referenced might apply to internet experts who write so often about their opinions (with equal weight given to their own eloquent brand of relish and derision) that before too long they begin to see those opinions as blind truth?
    Oh, I have. I think there are lots of lenses whose good reputation is fundamentally on the basis of hype from the photographic heroes (despite the fact that some of these heroes aren't very good photographers).

    I have favorite lenses, but I suspect that my liking is not based on very rational principles.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post

    I felt it as soon as I looked at my first images from the 75lux/combination ... but, am uncertain as to whether or not I feel it with the CV50. The lens is a fantastic bargain, sharp as can be wide open and stopped down. But, in some respects, I feel rather take-it-or-leave-it about the lens. I like my lenses to have a little more micro-contrast and saturation and the CV50 just leaves me a little cold.
    Interestingly, I feel the exact same way about my 40/1.4 Nokton on my M8.2. It's the 90/2 Summicron and Zeiss 25/2.8 ZM that puts a smile on my face whenever I use it. Good to know about the 50/1.1 Nokton, as I was considering getting one as an upgrade to my 50/2 Summicron. Cheers. -Norm

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Hi All,

    Maybe a different take on the Nokton 50mm f1.1 (especially vs. the last version of the Leica 50mm f1.0. I took extensive test shots (controlled, not random) of these two lenses at the same time, under the same shooting conditions. What I consistantly found is the Nokton put the subject focused on, more towards the front of the depth of field vs. the Noctilux 50mm f1.0. Thus a wide zone appears to be in focus behind the subject focused on, compared to the 50mm f1.0. Therefore the Nokton doesn't appear to isolate the subject as well as the Noctilux. As a consequence, the out-of-focus background is just a bit more diffuse with the Noctilux than the Nokton. I think that is why there is the illusion that the depth of field with the Nokton is greater. Actually it appears simply to be shifted more rearward than the Notilux. I found exactly the same things with the Nokton 35mm f1.2 vs. Leica's 35mm f1.4 ASPH. As far as center and corner sharpness, the Nokton 50mm f1.1 and Noctilux 50mm f1.1 were very very close, even how diffuse their bokeh was. Keep in mind, there were no pint light sorces, but the two lenses were tested at min focus distance, mid-distance and infinity and all major f-stops. The files are on my other desktop, quite some distance away from where I am at currently or I'd post a few representitive examples. Each lens has it's attributes and these have been my consistant observations with the two samples I tested.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Dave, your contribution is much appreciated, as I'm currently considering buying a Nokton 50/1.1.
    Thanks,
    Osman

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Since image magnification is less for objects behind the subject plane, DOF naturally will appear to be greater behind the subject plane than in front.

    Photo old-timers will recall being taught the rule of thumb that if you're trying to get as much DOF as possible -- for photograping a large group, for example -- you should focus about 1/3 of the way into the group, rather than right in the middle, to take advantage of this phenomenon.

    It sounds from Dave's interesting results as if maybe Cosina is building the Noktons from the viewpoint that since there's very little DOF with a wide-aperture lens, the photographer will want to make the most of what little is available. Leica may be taking the view that the photographer is using a wide aperture to isolate the subject and will want the effective DOF shifted to minimize background distractions.

    This is an interesting "house style" difference, although it would take only a tiny change in assembly to switch any one lens from one philosophy to the other. If you're using coupled-rangefinder focusing (as opposed to, say, mounting the lens on a Micro Four Thirds camera) you'd need a very, very accurately calibrated rangefinder to take advantage of the difference.

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Hi All,

    Just a quick response to comments made after my inital post (above). Yes, the rule generally observed for most lenses (years ago) was DOF fell 1/3 in front of subject focued on and 2/3rds behind.With modern optics and different design and optical parameters being part of the lens manufacturers's objective, I have found this observation to be less and less true for many lenses (but not all)...especially when wide open. This is clearly not the case with "some" of VC fast glass nor with certain Leica lenses. Just look at the Lux 35mm f1.4 ASPH...a properly adjusted sample front focuses quite a bit wide open where the subject is placed at the very back of the depth of field.... to compensate for the backward focus shift observed when the lens is stopped down. As a consequence, the background is beatifully soft and difuse.


    Please keep in mind that my observations with the Nokton 50mm f1.1 vs. the Noctilux 50mm f1.0 was done on an M8, so the crop factor has to be taken into consideration when mentioning other optical differences that might be seen on full frame, especially in the corners. Still what struck me is the incredbale similarity of the two samples I had, as though VC was trying to emulate the Leica Noctilux...but at the same time address difficulty of focusing wide open by having the subject being focused on, put more squarely in the center of the depth of field rather than the Leica, which puts subject more towards the rear (of depth of field), therefore isolating the subject by having the zone of focus end just behind the subject.

    The same observations were made with VC's 35mm f1.2 vs. Leica's 35mm f1.4 ASPH.

    The Nokton is more of a neutral lens and as such, doesn't have what some would refer to as a "signature", which can be quite different than the Noctilux, especially under certain lighting. This is why for some, it is somewhat unexciting or doesn't move the viewer as much as say the Noctilux. My shots didn't incorporate bright front, side or back lighting and it's with these conditions that I suspect more of a optical "signature" will be observed between these two lenses....and the benifactor of this kind of lighting will most definitely be the Noctilux! Under fairly evenly lit subjects, where lighting is netural and of moderate contrast, it's here that these two lenses seem quite remarkably similar, not only as I described, but in resolution both center and corner. Even their bokeh under these netural lighting situations was remarkably similar. They though are no match, even resolving power wise, at f4.5-f5.6 for a lens like the current Summicron 50mm f2.0 or VC's own 50mm f1.5, where both those lenses wide open and stopped down far surpass the resolving powe in both the center of the image and especially the corners (all observed at 100% examination). It was the corners where the differences could really be seen. Keep in mind, as stated below, these observations were at 100%, so it depends how large one prints (or pixel peeps) that will be a factor whether these differences are important.

    Lastly as we all know, different samples of each can focus differently as well as the camera (such as an M8) might....so these observations have to take these facts into consideration too...although I did observe the same on a second M8 correctly focusing body.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 9th October 2009 at 09:46.

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Most of the thread has focused on DOF, but that's not the major difference I've noticed in Nokton 1.1 images on the Internet.

    Doesn't the Nokton generate some strange bokeh? Sometimes OOF objects form a double image or have a ring around them. And sometimes - am I hallucinating? - I see 'worms' or squiggly bokeh: arms & legs in the background, for example, don't just go out of focus, but seem to merge into patterns.

    I can't tell whether I've observed something the lens does by itself, or whether I'm seeing artifacts from post-processing. I know from using a 50 Lux that sharpening can do strange things to bokeh, so perhaps this is what I've seen?

    Kirk
    Last edited by thompsonkirk; 23rd October 2009 at 20:43.

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Hi Kirk,

    I can only speak for my observations, but I've seen nothing like you describe for the Nokton 50mm f1.1 bokeh. True it's not buttery smooth or swirly soft like the Leica 50mm f1.0 for the reasons I outlined in my two posts above.....but haven't seen the strange double images, rings around them etc. that you decribed. Maybe I haven't hit the right kind of lighting or subject matter that would bring out such observations...so not saying it doesn't occur. I do have a keen eye for such things and it may be too soon to tell.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post
    John, I think that you've hit the nail on the head with the thought that f1.1 feels more like f1.4. To me, the zone that is in-focus at f1.1 seems a bit wide for f1.1.
    Kurt
    Having played around with the Nokton 1.5 quite a bit, I would say that that's not really accurate, at least when comparing CV lenses... to me, the 1.1 clearly has shallower DOF than the 1.5.

    I think what we're seeing here is twofold... perhaps the slight difference in 0.95/1.0 vs 1.1 (especially if the CV lens' 1.1 claim is generous, if it performs say, closer to a 1.2), as well as comparing CV's optics to Leicas... obviously the Leica's OOF areas are known to be more desirable... a smoother bg rendering that leica would be known for could make it appear that the CV lens is trailing behind.

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Just a quick response to comments made after my inital post (above). Yes, the rule generally observed for most lenses (years ago) was DOF fell 1/3 in front of subject focued on and 2/3rds behind.With modern optics and different design and optical parameters being part of the lens manufacturers's objective, I have found this observation to be less and less true for many lenses (but not all)...especially when wide open. This is clearly not the case with "some" of VC fast glass nor with certain Leica lenses. Just look at the Lux 35mm f1.4 ASPH...a properly adjusted sample front focuses quite a bit wide open where the subject is placed at the very back of the depth of field.... to compensate for the backward focus shift observed when the lens is stopped down.
    Your observation of the 35 Lux ASPH is not due to a basic failure in physics, but rather due to your implicit assumption that the point focused on is chosen by the rangefinder. The *actual* point focused on (as opposed to where the rangefinder says it is, which is sometimes fudged by Leica, as you described, to minimize focus shift) should still follow the same basic laws of nature.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    Since image magnification is less for objects behind the subject plane, DOF naturally will appear to be greater behind the subject plane than in front.
    I need to read up on this to confirm, but I am pretty sure that the cause is not image magnification, but rather the distance-squared nature of depth of field. The square of the distance doesn't differ as much from the linear up close as it does in the distance, hence the rule of thumb.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Several Leica M9/CV50 f1.1 Nokton Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post
    Jono you ask a great question ... and probably the only question that matters after all of the quibbling about this and that. Bottom line is that I like lenses that I can't wait to put on the camera again and again ... lenses that surprise me over and over again because they reveal subtle nuances that make me smile (extremely unscientific and unmeasurable for sure).

    I felt it as soon as I looked at my first images from the 75lux/combination ... but, am uncertain as to whether or not I feel it with the CV50. The lens is a fantastic bargain, sharp as can be wide open and stopped down. But, in some respects, I feel rather take-it-or-leave-it about the lens. I like my lenses to have a little more micro-contrast and saturation and the CV50 just leaves me a little cold.

    Perhaps I have to spend more time with it, bump up the contrast and saturation to suit my taste in post processing ... or forget how my Noctilux images made me feel before I sold it several years ago.
    I think your observations are spot on Kurt. This is a great low light lens to extend usage of a M8 or M9 into lower ambient light situations ... and as such is a terrific bargain ... more than worth the money.

    Yet it feels like there is something missing ... and your micro contrast observation may well be it.

    When I look at shots done either with the Nocti 1.0, 0.95 or 75/1.4 the OOF areas have some subtile shaped character to them ... and this is also true for the front OOF areas that can be just as important as what's going on behind the subject.

    When I look at your VC shots (and those from the VC 35/1.2 I used to have), the OOF areas tend to feel a bit like Photoshop blur was used ... they appear a bit featureless. It's all quite subtile, but if subtlety is what shakes your tree, you'll instinctively know when it's missing. Personally, I doubt any processing technique is going to change that.

    -Marc

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