Leica 50mm woes

Peter Klein

Regular
Location
Seattle
Real Name
Peter Klein
Matt, could you post a couple of photos that illustrate the pictorial differences you mention between the Voigtlander (older) 50/1.5 and the new 50/1.2? I too have them both. I bought the 1.2 when I saw that Voigtlander had solved the 1.5’s problem of very harsh, wiry background bokeh in close-in wide-open pictures. I did a little “shoot my bookcase” comparison and decided that the 1.2 was very close to the 1.5 at f/1.4, and quite sharp enough at other apertures. Since then, i’ve been too happy shooting the 1.2 to bother making more comparisons with the 1.5.

I’ve owned the LTM 50/1.5 for years. But I rarely shot it in good light, preferring my DR or tabbed 50 Summicrons for that. The 1.2, I feel like I can shoot in any conditions and be happy. The 50/1.2 has aspheric sharpness without as much of the aspheric harshness we often get in the bargain. It's like Walter Mandler and Peter Karbe each compromised a bit and worked together on designing a lens just for me.

—Peter
  • Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f/1.2: rather big and heavy for a rangefinder lens, though small for such a fast lens, decent wide open, very good stopped down; actually much better behaved than I dared hope; alas, nowhere near as charming as his f/1.5 stable mate: Its rendering is modern and contrasty, more bold than elegant.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
Matt, could you post a couple of photos that illustrate the pictorial differences you mention between the Voigtlander (older) 50/1.5 and the new 50/1.2? I too have them both. I bought the 1.2 when I saw that Voigtlander had solved the 1.5’s problem of very harsh, wiry background bokeh in close-in wide-open pictures. I did a little “shoot my bookcase” comparison and decided that the 1.2 was very close to the 1.5 at f/1.4, and quite sharp enough at other apertures. Since then, i’ve been too happy shooting the 1.2 to bother making more comparisons with the 1.5.

I’ve owned the LTM 50/1.5 for years. But I rarely shot it in good light, preferring my DR or tabbed 50 Summicrons for that. The 1.2, I feel like I can shoot in any conditions and be happy. The 50/1.2 has aspheric sharpness without as much of the aspheric harshness we often get in the bargain. It's like Walter Mandler and Peter Karbe each compromised a bit and worked together on designing a lens just for me.

—Peter
I'll try - but you'll have to wait a bit; with two challenges already running, I simply can't carry additional gear (i.e. another lens and/or combo), and if I do something like this (I'm usually not good at this kind of thing - I lack the patience for formal testing).

The short version of my impressions: The Nokton f/1.5 is less contrasty, but plenty sharp wide open and great stopped down with very natural representation and an overall smoothness I really love; I've never felt that its bokeh was overly nervous or "wiry", regardless of focusing distance. The Nokton f/1.2 is contrastier with punchier colours; of course, it's trickier to nail focus wide open, but it can be very sharp; stopped down, it's crisp and very reliable; bokeh's fine - just not what I'd call charming. So, yes, the Nokton f/1.2 is the better lens - just not the one I like better. That it's more universally useful is certainly true.

M.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
1.5’s problem of very harsh, wiry background bokeh in close-in wide-open pictures
I am not sure what that is but "wiry" sounds like one of the very reasons I chose to get this lens as my first fast fifty. :)

The lens' aspherical bokeh balls are the absolute worst. Luckily this is about the worsest case I have encountered.

2020-12-16 (Wed) 17-07-04.jpeg
 

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