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Thread: Was this a good deal? (35mm Lux ASPH)

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    Was this a good deal? (35mm Lux ASPH)

    My local camera store was selling a used titanium 35mm Lus ASPH. I was able to bargain down the price to ~$2650 after tax and everything. The lens didn't come with anything except for caps (no hood, case, etc), and there are some noticeable rubs/scratches on the body. I'm going to run through some focusing tests to see if this version has the focus shift or not.

    This lens was more of an impulse buy because it looked like a really good deal - I really wasn't looking to buy a 35mm Lux right now (although it doesn't hurt because my other 35mm is f/2, and I'm always looking for more speed). Since I haven't done any real research on the pricing of this lens before, I probably thought it was a great deal probably because I've seen new versions of the 35mm Lux ASPH is about $4500. However, now looking at some recent sales of used copies in online forums, it doesn't seem to be as great of a deal anymore. Plus, I'm not a fan of the titanium finish, would much rather prefer chrome or black over it (in that order).

    Anyway, I have a 5 day grace period to try out the lens before returning it for a 100% refund. Since this was partly an impulse buy, I would only want to keep it if it doesn't have any noticeable focus shift and if it really was a great deal. Obviously only I can answer the first part with my own testing, but would you guys be able to share your thoughts on what you think about the price?

    Thanks!
    Jerry
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Was this a good deal? (35mm Lux ASPH)

    Jerry

    That price looks good. The chrome and titanium versions of the 35 lux are popular because of the heavier brass mount and a perceived (?) advantage in calibration .

    The key to understanding the focus shift is to nail your focus point wide open. I have found to do this well you need a target thats parallel to the camera angle or a alignment tool. Take 4-5 images and look for a cluster of images around the focus point . Then (this is whats missed) check the area in front and in back of your focus point. They should be close at 1.4 with a little favoring the backside.

    This is important because if your camera /lens front focuses just a little at 1.4 and you think its dead on...you will perceive less focus shift. If its a hair back..then you will perceive more focus shift. You can see this easy if you look at the hash marks in front and in back of your target.

    The other calibration consideration (since you will be hitting the splitting hair zone) is that your M bodies (which were just great with the summicron) may not be accurate enough .

    When buying used I always build in a small budget for DAG to code and calibrate. (about $200 plus shipping). Takes a month. Now I just send the lens immediately as the lens will sell quickly if you change your mind. 6bit and DAG is worth $200.

    But you should do a few quick checks and return the lens if its way off.

    I think its a pretty great lens .

    Roger

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    Member markowich's Avatar
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    Re: Was this a good deal? (35mm Lux ASPH)

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Jerry

    That price looks good. The chrome and titanium versions of the 35 lux are popular because of the heavier brass mount and a perceived (?) advantage in calibration .

    The key to understanding the focus shift is to nail your focus point wide open. I have found to do this well you need a target thats parallel to the camera angle or a alignment tool. Take 4-5 images and look for a cluster of images around the focus point . Then (this is whats missed) check the area in front and in back of your focus point. They should be close at 1.4 with a little favoring the backside.

    This is important because if your camera /lens front focuses just a little at 1.4 and you think its dead on...you will perceive less focus shift. If its a hair back..then you will perceive more focus shift. You can see this easy if you look at the hash marks in front and in back of your target.

    The other calibration consideration (since you will be hitting the splitting hair zone) is that your M bodies (which were just great with the summicron) may not be accurate enough .

    When buying used I always build in a small budget for DAG to code and calibrate. (about $200 plus shipping). Takes a month. Now I just send the lens immediately as the lens will sell quickly if you change your mind. 6bit and DAG is worth $200.

    But you should do a few quick checks and return the lens if its way off.

    I think its a pretty great lens .

    Roger
    i recently bought a used titanium 35mm summilux (from a dealer) for about 2500 euros. i tried two new black luxes, both had a clear focus shift just as the 35mm cron (black) which i also tried. my titanium version is spot on, i could not find focus shift. curious about yours....
    peter

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    Re: Was this a good deal? (35mm Lux ASPH)

    thanks for the input you guys

    wide open, the focus seems to be spot on. it's so exciting to shoot at f/1.4 with a 35mm lens...love the selective focus! i'll still need to shoot through all apertures to check out focus shift though, hopefully will do that later today.
    Jerry
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    Re: Was this a good deal? (35mm Lux ASPH)

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post

    This is important because if your camera /lens front focuses just a little at 1.4 and you think its dead on...you will perceive less focus shift. If its a hair back..then you will perceive more focus shift. You can see this easy if you look at the hash marks in front and in back of your target.
    You predicted it spot on, Roger It turns out the lens front focuses very slightly. It's enough so that when I view "real world" shots at 100% crop, I can see it front focuses by maybe 1/2 inch at 1m distance. I actually never noticed it the front focus in my "real world" shots at f/1.4, but that may partly be because I don't know how sharp it really is supposed to be. Another thing to consider is that I rarely print above 8x12, so the slight front focus at f/1.4 may not be as noticeable in print. However, I probably would use the apertures between f/1.4 - f/2.8 about 80% of the time, so DOF may not always cover up the front focusing.

    Considering the situation, what would you guys do? Would you just send it to DAG for calibration (extra $200) or not bother at all? Would you just return the lens because it was kind of a spontaneous buy and possibly not as good of a deal anymore if I have to pay for the calibration?

    Tomorrow (Wed) may be the last day I can return it, so don't be shy about your opinions
    Jerry
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    Re: Was this a good deal? (35mm Lux ASPH)

    here are examples of what i mean:

    "real world shot" at f/1.4 - i didn't see front focus here until i noticed it in the 100% crop



    full size photo here http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4139/...24b20835_o.jpg

    and here is a 100% crop of front focus i mentioned previously - focus was supposed to be on the R of "photogRapher" (shot around 1m or less distance)

    Jerry
    Flickr

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Was this a good deal? (35mm Lux ASPH)

    Jerry

    Unless you plan to use the lenses almost exclusively wide open ,you maybe happy with it as it is. The question is what calibration will give you the highest % of captures that match where you wanted to focus.

    My lens is spot on a F2 which requires just a touch of FF ..most would say its on at 1.4 but the DOF is greater in front than in back (thats the "tell" ). As the focus shifts 2.8 is very close but now a little back and at f4 I would have to be careful. At 5.6 DOF covers the shift . So for practical purposes the shift is much less than my focus error.

    Try a target at 2M at eye level and shoot a half dozen images as you would normally shoot..on a really good day and really paying attention 5 out of 6 . Normal 4 out of 6. I did this with the Leica technician in NJ ...the "Calibrator" . He missed a few ..then he got serious . The point being you are very close and would probably benefit more by working on technique than calibration.

    But...if you want it perfect at 1.4 send it to DAG but be sure to ask him how he sees the focus point. He will nail it and its only about $100. If you don t have it coded then it would be off to DAG for both otherwise I would use it as is.

    Jerry I looked at the detail of your image and this looks to be more severe FF than you quoted . The plane of focus is on his chest and thats 4-5 inches in front of his eyes . Too much . But test some more .
    Last edited by glenerrolrd; 29th June 2010 at 18:26.

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