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Thread: Mandler or Karbe?

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    Mandler or Karbe?

    So, on this whole Mandler-look thing, I happen to be a bit waylaid on the rendering issue. Clinical / non-clinical etc makes no difference to me (crosses heart: I am a physician !!) unless I see hard evidence, but I am interested in some intentional spherical aberration if I can get it at a reasonable price..... So what would be your definitive desert-island-Mandler-aberrated lenses?

    Does any one know of any comparative reviews of something like say a 35v4 cron vs 35asph on same subjects ? or say a 75 cron vs 75 lux at f2? or any asph vs pre-asph?
    Ashwin Rao seems convinced in one earlier thread, citing a few beautifully captured photos.. Are there any more nice examples in this regard to guide a newbie's eye? i.e., IS THERE AN EVIDENCE BASE?
    Or is it all a hype and fad?
    Cheers,
    Saty

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Evidence for what? The whole stuff is based on beliefs. Either you do or you do not.

    I posted a few shots on the Sony forum saying that they were from a "Mandler Magic" lens. They look the part. Only it was not even a Leica lens.
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Saty,

    It's very subjective...like a large group of people looking at a piece of artwork.....some love it, some think its OK and some dislike it. It can't be measured or even quantitated. Similary, many of the Mandler designed era lenses have varing degrees of SA and other optical anomolies which often lend a to a captured image , certain characteristics or a signature. It differers between both the various lenses he designed as well between samples of the same lens in some cases. They are of course mostly caused by optical aberations in design, the very thing modern lenses designers try to eliminate. Like other forms of art, some prefer perfection with as few of these artifacts as possible, whereas others prefer their lenses to introduce a healthy dose of an optical fingerprint.

    Of course its not restricted to Mandler designs only but many of his lenses have a good balance of performance along with these recognizable charateristics...some of which is referred to as the Leica glow.

    Not sure if there is a definitive list, but much has been written about each one of these Mandler era lenses. The only way for you to know what you prefer in the look of your inages, is to actually try out some of these lenses and compare to their more modern counterparts, which are far more optically corrected.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 20th May 2015 at 10:50.
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Mandler designed many lenses. The idea they all have some "look" or rendering is hysterical. But there are some nice ones

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    I one time had a 50 Summilux-asph go wonky on me.. It was still sharp, contrasty, vivid and there were minimal CA/issues as per a usual ASPH-Lux. The funny thing is though, the whites started to bloom. Almost as if I were using a cinema filter. Like some kind of black magic pearl fog nonsense.

    I think with that said, there is "something" to the look of older Mandler glass. But it's not something that's evident throughout the whole range. Not something that's reproducible in all situations, and not really something that's always useful/wanted in every image.

    Honestly I gravitate towards newer lenses. As I don't like gimmicks, I just like clean moments in time (if I can help it). Besides, I've already had enough drama with my 50APO. Four times to Germany, it's there right now, and I'm having withdrawal symptoms. I definitely don't need lenses sporadically acting up, or should I say, giving me the "Mandler magic"..

    EDIT: I will add, I am a fan of a few Mandler designs.

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    I have used lenses from Mandler and from Karbe and agree with others: it is highly subjective. It also depends if you use them on M9 or M type 240 (or maybe film).
    The problem I see with the older Summiluxes (35/50/75) is that they can suffer from focus shift and hard to focus accurate.
    I now mainly use the more modern designs/lenses. Specially on the "new" M I find they work very well.
    Its a matter of taste. Frienkly I find it more important to be able to focus a lens accurate vs small differences in rendering. Its not night and day difference.

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    I have used lenses from Mandler and from Karbe and agree with others: it is highly subjective. It also depends if you use them on M9 or M type 240 (or maybe film).
    The problem I see with the older Summiluxes (35/50/75) is that they can suffer from focus shift and hard to focus accurate.
    I now mainly use the more modern designs/lenses. Specially on the "new" M I find they work very well.
    Its a matter of taste. Frienkly I find it more important to be able to focus a lens accurate vs small differences in rendering. Its not night and day difference.
    The one area I would respectfully disagree with is that its not a night and day differenxe. In many instances it is regardless of M9 or 240 platform. Just one of many examples is the f1.0 Noct vs the 0.95 Noct. Another are the some of the early 35mm Lux vs the asph counterparts. Even the difference betwee. The 35mm Lux asph pre FLE renedered very differently than the latest FLE. I'm not refering only to Mandler designed lenses but more sell correxted lenses vs. Their less corrected predisessors. No right or worng...everyone has their optical objectives or in other words favorite flavor of ice cream.

    Dave (D&A)
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    The one area I would respectfully disagree with is that its not a night and day differenxe. In many instances it is regardless of M9 or 240 platform. Just one of many examples is the f1.0 Noct vs the 0.95 Noct. Another are the some of the early 35mm Lux vs the asph counterparts. Even the difference betwee. The 35mm Lux asph pre FLE renedered very differently than the latest FLE. I'm not refering only to Mandler designed lenses but more sell correxted lenses vs. Their less corrected predisessors. No right or worng...everyone has their optical objectives or in other words favorite flavor of ice cream.

    Dave (D&A)
    Yes, there are differences. I still wonder if one would shoot images with the different lenses who could tell which image which lens. The Noctilux 1.0 vs 0.95 might be easy, but old 50/1.4 vs 50/1.4asph? The 35 pre asph had a little smoother bokeh but I dont find my images look that different since using the FLE version.
    Beside I would guess the slightly out of focus images to the older lenses

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    You could say the same thing about taking the same subject (same lens) with a M9 and M240. Many times one might not be able to tell one image from another...other times the differences are obvious. Same thing with the various pairs of lenses we are discussing. Often times its the subtleties that make the difference amd thats why people often pay big $$ for a particular lens that often draws an image in a certain way.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?



    Mandler or Karbe or Lee?

    Untitled by Vivek Iyer, on Flickr
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    You could say the same thing about taking the same subject (same lens) with a M9 and M240. Many times one might not be able to tell one image from another...other times the differences are obvious. Same thing with the various pairs of lenses we are discussing. Often times its the subtleties that make the difference amd thats why people often pay big $$ for a particular lens that often draws an image in a certain way.

    Dave (D&A)
    I agree... I still think sometimes the subtiles are overrated. Even though I might be one of those who overrates them .)

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Saty,

    I would suggest you buy a Mandler lens in whatever is your preferred focal length, try it out, and sell it if it's not what you expected. You can't lose much and you'll have the only sort of evidence that counts, from the experience of your own work.

    On the Wikipedia under his name, you'll find a list of lenses he designed. The only one I'd avoid is the 35mm Summilux, which is a beautiful lens with one drawback of unpredictable performance: if there's a light source just outside the frame, you can get a big arc of flare that ruins the shot.

    Kirk
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    A fantastic Mandler to begin with is the last 50 summilux pre-asph E46 with builtin hood. Not as bitingly sharp wide open as the new Asph version, but sufficiently sharp still. Great for portraits and gets sharp enough for everything else stopped down. I liked the lens especially on M9.

    75 Summilux draws nicely as well, but is far more expensive and the size of a small baseball bat. Also has some focus shift to deal with..

    90 elmarit-m last version is a personal favorite as well. I loved that lens! And it's the cheapest by far & easiest to find out of these 3 lenses.

    //Juha
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by jlindstrom View Post
    A fantastic Mandler to begin with is the last 50 summilux pre-asph E46 with builtin hood. Not as bitingly sharp wide open as the new Asph version, but sufficiently sharp still. Great for portraits and gets sharp enough for everything else stopped down. I liked the lens especially on M9.

    75 Summilux draws nicely as well, but is far more expensive and the size of a small baseball bat. Also has some focus shift to deal with..

    90 elmarit-m last version is a personal favorite as well. I loved that lens! And it's the cheapest by far & easiest to find out of these 3 lenses.

    //Juha
    Juha, I adore all three lenses mentioned and for various reasons sold two which of course there is always regrets. I will say though the Zeiss Sonnar 50mm f1.5 in many ways is a strong contender in 50mm lenses that have a wonderful look.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Yes – I compared my Mandler 50 (the version mentioned above) and my Sonnar. IMO the Sonnar has more attractive bokeh at largest aperture, because the Lux has a tendency at f1.4 to show parallel lines along straight edges. Both introduce some focus-shift.

    (And I still have both – never decided which to sell, and have also been using 1.4 LTM Nikkor.)

    Kirk

    PS, parallel lines disappear from Lux bokeh @ f2.
    Last edited by thompsonkirk; 21st May 2015 at 20:13.

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    I have the 75 Lux and 28 v3, and had the old 50/1.4, but really, as a masterpiece, I think the 50 cron v4 is his best.

    75lux:

    Trailer Bed Post by unoh7, on Flickr

    50 cron

    Gold Dust by unoh7, on Flickr

    both shots on A7.mod
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    I've been thinking along that line, too: with such high ISOs, who needs Summiluxes any more?

    Kirk

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by thompsonkirk View Post
    I've been thinking along that line, too: with such high ISOs, who needs Summiluxes any more?

    Kirk
    Hi Kirk
    I'd been thinking that as well . . . . . but that ability to limit the depth of field is hard to give up on (not so important at 75mm perhaps).

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Does not this make Summicrons more useful with high ISO capable cameras? I for one seem to seldom use my Summiluxes at 1.4. Sold my Nocti for the same reason especially after getting the APO50.

    I also much prefer the size of crons to luxes. Ever since getting the APO50 I have come to more appreciate the E39 lenses which epitomize Leica.

    Don't get me wrong, as there are definitely places/situations where a lux comes in handy, that is why the 35 FLE and 21/1.4 will stay around for a while.
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    You know this thread got me to thinking that next week when I am due to receive the M246 I will try my Summicron 40 and Summaron 35/2.8 early on. Maybe my little 226g Tele-Elmarit 90/2.8 will also finally get some meaningful use. My Hector went caput when the aperture blades gave out, but do not fear I now have an old E39 Elmar 135/4 to play with. I found an 46mm metal tele hood (generic) which I use on a step up ring 39-46 on this 135 and it looks quite handsome since the hood is about 35mm long. Perhap overkill, but I had DAG even 6 bit code it for lazy me.

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by algrove View Post
    My Hector went caput when the aperture blades gave out, but do not fear I now have an old E39 Elmar 135/4 to play with.
    Lou, That Hektor is still useful. You find another (where the glass is good) from the same era (important as there are a few versions) and swap the lens heads (they screw out).
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    On the topic of Summicron vs Summilux... I've been debating this myself as well. It's not just that I don't need the speed (It comes in handy, for the types of weddings that I shoot)... But it's more that I'm actually starting to like the look I get from the Summicron lenses over the Summilux lenses. Even stopping the Summilux lenses down, I don't get that look.

    I'm thinking of dropping my (almost every current Leica lens), for a select few tight work lenses.

    I think I could get away with 35cron (or FLE if I chicken out and decide I need the extra stop), 50APO (wouldn't keep the lux or noct), 90APO (or 90elmarit which I just ordered because I wanted to play with something smaller then the 90APO). Then I can get rid of my slow and fast wides, and totally drop the idea of keeping my 28s and 75s lengths.

    Who knows, but it's been on my mind for the past few months.

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Lou, That Hektor is still useful. You find another (where the glass is good) from the same era (important as there are a few versions) and swap the lens heads (they screw out).
    Thanks Vivek
    I will look into that since they are propbably about the cheapest Leica lens on the market today.

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Juha, I adore all three lenses mentioned and for various reasons sold two which of course there is always regrets. I will say though the Zeiss Sonnar 50mm f1.5 in many ways is a strong contender in 50mm lenses that have a wonderful look.

    Dave (D&A)
    Dave: I've had and sold all three of them, along with rest of my M kit to move to X series. But now I went and pulled the trigger on a film MP. Got my favorite focal 50mm Summilux first, but it's the asph version. I was looking for a nice Mandler pre-asph 50 onstead, but locally their cost was barely 200€ cheaper than the asph. So I just couldn't wrap my head around it..

    The 28 Mandler elmarit might be interesting to try.. but I've also been thinking about experimenting wider and going for a 24.

    For the others, I will definitely get the 90 elmarit-m back at some point rather soon.. wide end, not decided yet.

    Algrove: it's funny how opinions differ on ergonomics. I like the E46 sized ergonomics of the 50 summilux. For me the E39 sized smaller lenses were just too small.. perhaps I'm a bit hamfisted :-)

    //Juha

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by jlindstrom View Post
    Algrove: it's funny how opinions differ on ergonomics. I like the E46 sized ergonomics of the 50 summilux. For me the E39 sized smaller lenses were just too small.. perhaps I'm a bit hamfisted :-)

    //Juha
    Understand, however for me I very much like using the finger tabs on the smaller lenses. Keep in mind I am thinking mostly street here. Though my main go to street lens is the 35 FLE.


    http://blog.leica-camera.com/photogr...t-photography/

    For landscape I like to go wide, like 18 or 21 primes.


    http://blog.leica-camera.com/photogr...y-minute-count
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by thompsonkirk View Post
    I've been thinking along that line, too: with such high ISOs, who needs Summiluxes any more?
    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I'd been thinking that as well . . . . . but that ability to limit the depth of field is hard to give up on (not so important at 75mm perhaps).
    I have a few Walter Mandler designed lenses, I like his notions of how a lens ought to render.

    The reason I sought and love the Summilux 35mm v2 is that by turning the aperture ring I can change the entire look of the photo, and the nuance that changes is not just depth of field. Every stop, every position on the aperture ring changes things a little bit.


    Leica M9 + Summilux 35 v2
    ISO 160 @ f/1.4 @ 1/2000 sec



    Leica M9 + Summilux 35mm f/1.4 v2
    ISO 200 @ f/8 @ 1/125



    Leica M9 + Summilux 35mm v2
    ISO 640 @ f/2 @ 1/45 sec



    Leica M9 + Summilux 35mm v2
    ISO 200 @ f/1.7 @ 1/30

    I don't know how he managed that, but I'm not likely to give up this lens any time soon—even if my Color Skopar 35mm f/2.5 P does a superb job as well. :-)

    G
    Godfrey - GDGPhoto Flickr Stream
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by algrove View Post
    Understand, however for me I very much like using the finger tabs on the smaller lenses. Keep in mind I am thinking mostly street here. Though my main go to street lens is the 35 FLE.
    There's a second difference! I flat out dislike fingertabs.. enough so I'm considering sending my 50 slux asph to Leica to have it shaved off.

    I've just never got the hang of them.. constantly feeling they're in a wrong place and by using them I can't support the camera from the lens properly.

    But yeah, these are all very personal things. But what's not so much are your? photos in those Leica blog links. Very nice work!

    //Juha
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Lenses are designed on a real set of optical properties. Lens designers do not get to decide on the properties of light and glass. They have variables with which to work with, and yet lenses designs are relatively uniform with certain types. Optics and lens design is a science.

    When you take a photograph there are also variables in the environment that effect the image. Photographers make choices as well. The sensor/film and processing add another level to that. And then there is whether the image is simply captivating--while we all like to think we are above advertising, it is interesting how many people "need" the camera company to shoot a compelling image so they can understand camera performance.

    When you add it all up, it is actually really hard to find the correlation between a particular image with a particular lens designer.

    One thing is sure, good lenses help to create a good image--in a technical sense. And a photographer's skill, or lack of it, can completely negate any benefit to having those optics...

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by jlindstrom View Post
    There's a second difference! I flat out dislike fingertabs.. enough so I'm considering sending my 50 slux asph to Leica to have it shaved off.

    I've just never got the hang of them.. constantly feeling they're in a wrong place and by using them I can't support the camera from the lens properly.

    But yeah, these are all very personal things. But what's not so much are your? photos in those Leica blog links. Very nice work!

    //Juha
    You should leave the 50 lux the way it is, sell it and get the black chrome one which has no finger tab. As a matter of neither do the 24/1.4 and 21/1.4.

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by jlindstrom View Post
    There's a second difference! I flat out dislike fingertabs.. enough so I'm considering sending my 50 slux asph to Leica to have it shaved off.

    I've just never got the hang of them.. constantly feeling they're in a wrong place and by using them I can't support the camera from the lens properly. ...
    I used to dislike them too, felt they were in the way.

    But I changed the way I hold the camera,and how I focus when using an RF. Now I miss them when they're not there.

    Funny stuff! :-)

    G

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by algrove View Post
    You should leave the 50 lux the way it is, sell it and get the black chrome one which has no finger tab. As a matter of neither do the 24/1.4 and 21/1.4.
    Personally I like the finger tabs. But when playing with the new black chrom 50lux I fell in love with the feel of it in my hand. It just has a more solid feeling when focusing, and the matte finish is beautiful.

    Wish they made a Black Chrom 50APO

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    One thing is sure, good lenses help to create a good image--in a technical sense. And a photographer's skill, or lack of it, can completely negate any benefit to having those optics...
    From a purely rational point of view, all of what you said standa true. But there are a few variables...

    1) people are not 100% rational, we tend to get emotional and justify things. We have feelings. And usually people do better when something feels right to them. Feeling right tends to show in the pictures..

    2) Sometimes weaknesses or strengths of a lens support the style or vision of the photographer fex. the softer side of the Mandler lenses wide open might suite someones style better than the more modern & clinical sharpness of a Karbe's era lens.

    And I'm sure there are other aspects to this as well.. But as long as we're talking about art, it's highly subjective rather than rational.

    //Juha
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    I'm afraid I can't comment on who designed which lens without some more research, but I had a new 50 Lux asph and still own a 21 year old 35mm Lux Asph.

    The 50mm was definitely sharper and both lenses exhibited the same kind of look and colours, but I do prefer the way the 35mm displays the image even if it wasn't as 'perfect'. I found the 50 lux relatively boring.

    I realise these aren't similar focal lengths and the 50 Lux was certainly created a more appealing an image than my previous Nokton 1.5 Asph or more useful than a 50mm sonnar, but I did prefer the way the overall image from the 35mm was presented compared to a shot from that 50 lux.. even cropped, although i appreciate the compression is different.

    I presume it is designed in a different way, if so, there is another perspective, but as the numerous other posts agree on- It's all subjective. I'm refraining from using words like 'drawing' and 'rendering'.

    I hope you find a shop near you so you can play with all the lenses. All of these opinions mean sod all if you don't like it personally.
    I ended up selling the 50 and using the money to buy a DF and a 50mm Sigma Art- Of which i prefer its output compared to the 50 Lux.

    best of luck finding your ideal lens!
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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    Mandler kept things together and put out some great glass....

    But: SEM 21/24, 28 Cron, 35 Cron and Lux latest, 50 APO and Lux, 2 75s, 3 90s and well who did the 135/3.4?

    If Karbe has anything to do with these lenses, his name should live as long as Mandler's.

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    Re: Mandler or Karbe?

    One of the reasons I chose as my first lens for my Leica "re-entry" the 50 Lux pre-asph (1997 model) was that I knew that I liked the look especially when shooting people (well, girls, actually). That has not stopped me from acquiring a 50 lux asph for other use.
    Each looks different, the pre-asph a bit "rounder" and the asph a bit crisper.
    I reject the idea that one is objectively better than the other but I do have a preference based on the subject matter.
    The last thing that is needed on images of many women is crisper.
    -bob
    www.getdpi.com
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

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