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Thread: HELP -- 50mm Summilux pre-asph or Asph?

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    HELP -- 50mm Summilux pre-asph or Asph?

    i spent years shooting the 35 Lux (both pre-asph and then the Asph) on my R-D1 and then the M8, moaning that i wished i could go wider... enter the M8, problem solved, right?

    wrong. i'm beginning to think i may be more of a 50mm shooter after all

    so i decided to look at the 50 Lux glass... normally i prefer the more classic draw of the older Mandler lenses but, i must admit, i was truly impressed when i looked back on some photos i'd taken using Jono's Asph one night (he's an expensive man to know).

    i'm not sure if it was the draw of the lens and/or my ability to get closer (.7m hallelujah!) that wowed me so much, but all of a sudden ISO 2500 images were photographs again, not just impressions (like i can sometimes get from my E58 Noctilux).

    my indecision is further compounded by the fact that i hate using the tab on the 50 Lux, much preferring the old knurled ridges of the v.2 Lux (i sill have issues using that hand/arm) -- which means i'm seriously looking at the BP version of the pre-asph and/or the LHSA version of the Asph

    if i'm honest, i guess i wouldn't even be tempted by the LHSA version if it wasn't such a sweet size -- how big a difference in weight and handling between the E43 and E46 is there really?

    so i'm asking if anybody has used either of these two special edition lenses and, the usual, which lens would you get if you could get only one: the last version pre-asph or the Asph?

    if you have images, etc., to support your decision, i would love that too.

    i am looking at this as a walk-around lens, yes, but also one that will take me into the basement bars etc. where there is very little light but i want to get closer... i will be shooting mostly people.

    TIA!

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    Re: HELP -- 50mm Summilux pre-asph or Asph?

    I had them all, the 50 'Lux pre ASPH and ASPH, that is,
    black, silver chrome, titanium, black paint, LHSA black paint and LHSA silver chrome. IMO the best lens for handling, balance of weight and size,
    not to mention the fantastic quality of images, is the silver chrome LHSA version. No tab, knurled focussing ring, beautiful looking 60's style lens.
    Black paint LHSA ASPH and standard silver ASPH seem a tad too heavy, standard black ASPH is lighter but not as beautiful, black paint pre ASPH nice but not "as" nice as the LHSA. Pre ASPH draws beautifully but the ASPH version has that extra "something"...

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    Re: HELP -- 50mm Summilux pre-asph or Asph?

    I only had the pre-asph long time ago on film but now use the 50asph Lux and can not see anything to clinical for my taste.
    I like to be able to focus sharp at every f-stop and sold my 35asph and Noctilux because I didnt get it under control.
    So for me the newer lenses, even if they are maybe a little less smooth (or should we say sharpber and with a little more contrast when used wide open?) are for my use the better lenses.

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    Re: HELP -- 50mm Summilux pre-asph or Asph?

    I have had the black ASPH for a year plus. It is a wonderful lens, but it's rendering may be a bit modern for my tastes. I say "may" because I use it on an M8, which makes it a 67mm, and that focal length isn't very useful for me. I guess I need to save it until I have FF to give it a fair try. I think you need to decide whether you like the Mandler rendering of the non-asph or the Karbe rendering of the asph. Do a search via flickriver if you want to see more images from each. (I find that quite useful.)

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: HELP -- 50mm Summilux pre-asph or Asph?

    I have both the pre asph and the asph versions of the 50 summilux. Rending and IQ is as you would expect . The pre asph retains the mandler look and is similar to the 75/1.4 summilux . It is soft (comparatively ) wide open but gradually adds image contrast and resolution until at 5.6 it has the punch of a typical leica lens . It offers great creative flexibility because the aperture selected affects the look (in this case glow) . I liked this lens better on my M8 where it seemed to match the cropped 10MP file size perfectly. On the M9 I can better see the stronger IQ of the asph version.

    The newer 50 summilux asph is a world class optic and has strong performance from 1.4 . You can shoot wide open and get superb IQ if you are looking for contrast and resolution. The bokeh is excellent although for some subjects you may prefer the pre asph as it has a softer roll off from sharp to unsharp . Sometimes the asph will render out of focus elements with distracting contrast although it is hard to fault this lens . It is my preferred lens on one of my M9 s and I find it all around better than the pre asph.

    Obviously if you are working in soft light ...a stronger rendering is a benefit and if in high contrast lighting the softer rendering of the pre asph . For where you live the asph is a perfect balance .

    Handling is always a consideration . I much prefer the brass mounts used in the chrome and black paint versions . They are heavier and in my experience have a smoother feel. The pre asph 46mm with the pull out hood is just sweet . I have
    chrome and black paint versions of this lens which feel identical .

    The 50 asph I have in chrome and black chrome but not the black paint version (LHSA) so they both have the tab. The tab doesn t bother me ..I just forget about it when shooting . I like the weight of the chrome version and the smoother mount but I use the black chrome version most .

    I really like the classic leica hoods but when I am working its hard to beat a small pull out hood . or as an alternative the old small contax hoods are 46mm ...a CG1 works and protects the built in hood .

    Cost of course is always a factor and finding a LHSA lens that makes sense isn t easy .

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    Re: HELP -- 50mm Summilux pre-asph or Asph?

    I have 50 Lux Black paint Pre ASPH, it is one of my favorite 50mm. May be because it my liking of Dr. Mandler design lens

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    Re: HELP -- 50mm Summilux pre-asph or Asph?

    Quote Originally Posted by cam View Post
    <snip> ... which means i'm seriously looking at the BP version of the pre-asph and/or the LHSA version of the Asph

    if i'm honest, i guess i wouldn't even be tempted by the LHSA version if it wasn't such a sweet size -- how big a difference in weight and handling between the E43 and E46 is there really?

    so i'm asking if anybody has used either of these two special edition lenses and, the usual, which lens would you get if you could get only one: the last version pre-asph or the Asph?

    TIA!
    SO I guess the feedback is EITHER. And if you find both / either at a decent price and then want to get rid of them later, let me know.
    Last edited by gplatt; 21st November 2011 at 20:47. Reason: Corrected grammar

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    Re: HELP -- 50mm Summilux pre-asph or Asph?

    Great post, Roger.

    I don't think you can go wrong with any of the 50 'Luxes. I've been mulling over which version to get myself and I'm leaning towards either the E46 pre-ASPH or the latest. Really comes down to the rendering you prefer.

    The latest version is a remarkable lens. Aspherical and floating elements, a dash of APO in the design, built-in hood, etc. Sharp from f/1.4 onwards. But yes, "modern."

    I have a bead on a Noctilux ASPH for when I travel to Germany next month, but if it doesn't pan out - I'm getting a Summilux.

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    Re: HELP -- 50mm Summilux pre-asph or Asph?

    thank you all for your thoughts and, please keep them coming! i really need to stop this dithering and make a decision!

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    Senior Member Peter Klein's Avatar
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    Re: HELP -- 50mm Summilux pre-asph or Asph?

    Cam: This might be a useful exercise. Borrow a Voigtlander 50/1.5 Nokton and shoot with it for a week or two. Then look at your pictures. If you like what you see, but would like smoother bokeh and wouldn't mind the edges being even a tiny bit more razor-sharp, then you want the 50 ASPH.

    On the other hand, if the Nokton's pictures seem a bit too clinical, and you'd prefer a little more "glow" around sharp contrasts between light and dark, then you probably want the pre-ASPH.

    You could get the same idea using the current formula 50 Summicron--meaning any 50 Summicron made in the 1980s or later. But then you wouldn't have f/1.4 to compare.

    My solution on the M8, where a 35 is an almost-50, is to have both a Mandler lens and an ASPH lens. I use both the 35 'Lux ASPH and the v.4 Summicron--I kept the former after I got the latter. The Summicron is for outdoors, and the Summilux ASPH is for available light. And if I'm going to travel and need to take just one 35, I take the Summilux. Of course, I bought these lenses before the current price insanity.

    But back to the 50mm lenses. I honestly think that either would work for you. It's a matter of the fine points, not the basis. Knowing you, if I had to bet, I'd say you'll like the pre-ASPH better. But I also know that the perfection of the ASPH lenses can be very seductive.

    Hope this helps.
    --Peter

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    Super Duper
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    Re: HELP -- 50mm Summilux pre-asph or Asph?

    some time ago I read a suggestion that the famous glow comes from slight "out of focus" caused by focus shift

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