Leica Bokeh Comparison - Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH FLE and Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton (MC)

Frank Starling

Veteran
Jul 22, 2010
43
Just for kicks I did a quick/informal (handheld, no tripod, boring household subjects) comparison between the Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH FLE and the Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton (MC), each shot on a Sony A7 and processed at default settings (no corner fix, color fringing correction, or distortion correction) in Lightroom 5.4. All crops are shown at ~50% when viewing with the default forum style (100% view in a high-res forum style).

Scene 1 at f/1.4 (in this and all subsequent examples: Voigtlander on left, Leica on right):




Bokeh crop #1:




Bokeh crop #2:




Subject sharpness crop:




Scene 1 at f/2:




Bokeh crop #1:




Bokeh crop #2:




Subject sharpness crop:




Scene #2 at f/2:




Bokeh crop #1:




Bokeh crop #2:




Subject sharpness crop:

 

ajramirez

Hall of Famer
Jul 9, 2010
124
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Antonio
Bokeh looks nice on both. Sharpness and contrast, the Summilux is miles ahead. I have the SC version of the Nokton and the non-FLE 35mm Summilux ASPH and my results are consistent with yours.

Cheers,

Antonio
 

trisberg

Regular
Jul 5, 2011
44
New Hampshire
I have the SC version as well and I never thought it was really sharp wide open on an M9 even when compensating for the focus shift. So this agrees with your results here. Stopped down it gets pretty sharp though. All around I far prefer the Zeiss Biogon 35/2 to the Nokton.

-Thomas
 

Frank Starling

Veteran
Jul 22, 2010
43
Given that the Nokton is often described as having a "classical" rendering like the pre-asph Summilux while the Summilux ASPH FLE is said to have a "modern" rendering, I was surprised by how similarly they render overall.

Sharpness is night and day different at f/1.4 and f2, though I find the Nokton sharp enough at all settings and like Thomas said sharpens up nicely stopped down.
 

funkydog

Rookie
May 6, 2014
3
First post.

One is 10% of the price and 90% of the performance of the other. I know what I'm buying if I didn't already have the CV40/1.4.
Thanks for doing the comparison.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I will never understand why Cosina replaced the 35/1.7 Ultron ASPH with a 35/1.4 Non-Asph, or did not use Aspheric optics in the 50/1.1. The 35/1.7 tests out at 90lp/mm stopped down a bit. The Bokeh is smooth on it, effective use of the aspheric formula.
 

funkydog

Rookie
May 6, 2014
3
I will never understand why Cosina replaced the 35/1.7 Ultron ASPH with a 35/1.4 Non-Asph
Perhaps it had something to do with people in Leica rf forums calling the CV lens a piece of garbage that falls apart in your hands, back when the price difference between a used 4th gen Summicron and a new CV 35/1.7 was less than a hundred and fifty bucks. The lens only got street cred much later after Leica prices skyrocketed.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I don't think that has any influence on Cosina's optical engineers deciding between Aspheric and Spherical optics. The CV 35/1.7 ran in the $400 range, when the 35/2.8 Summaron was in the $450 range- I picked up one at that price before the M8 came out. I don't remember the 35/2 Summicron much below $1,000 or so. The 50/1.5 Asph Nokton was in the same price range as the Ultron.
 

Frank Starling

Veteran
Jul 22, 2010
43
I will never understand why Cosina replaced the 35/1.7 Ultron ASPH with a 35/1.4 Non-Asph, or did not use Aspheric optics in the 50/1.1. The 35/1.7 tests out at 90lp/mm stopped down a bit. The Bokeh is smooth on it, effective use of the aspheric formula.
I have no idea why they discontinued the Ultron, but I can see why they made the 35/1.4 Nokton as I like it a lot! So small and light, lovely rendering, speeds there when you need it, and sharpness is there when you stop down.
 

Frank Starling

Veteran
Jul 22, 2010
43
Bokeh looks nice on both. Sharpness and contrast, the Summilux is miles ahead. I have the SC version of the Nokton and the non-FLE 35mm Summilux ASPH and my results are consistent with yours.

Cheers,

Antonio
This was my brother's copy of the Summilux FLE. I just ordered the non-FLE version from KEH for myself. It's the most I've ever paid for a lens but this test convinced me that the extra sharpness of the Summilux is worth it to me. Can't wait for it to arrive!
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I wonder why they did not make in an Aspheric formula to cut down on focus shift, would also smooth out the Bokeh a bit. F1.4- I can understand. I bought the 35/1.2 Asph V1 and 35/1.7 Asph. Which averages out to 1.4...
 

Frank Starling

Veteran
Jul 22, 2010
43
If I recall correctly, Tom A said they were making their version of the pre-asph Summilux because that look was sought after in Japan. I don't know if they could have accomplished this combination of speed, size, and pre-asph Summilux-like rendering while introducing aspherics to cut down focus shift. Could they have?
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
The lens is over-corrected for spherical aberration, which also produces focus shift. The donut shaped bokeh in the out of focus background is usually not considered desirable. Stopped down a bit, seems to smooth out. The Ultron is very smooth.

This is with the 35/1.7 Ultron wide-open on the M9:



Note how smooth the out of focus lights are in the background.

The Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.4, overcorrected for spherical aberration.

 

Frank Starling

Veteran
Jul 22, 2010
43
The donut shaped bokeh in the out of focus background is usually not considered desirable.
I know what is usually considered desirable, but I find that my tastes aren't always in line with that. For example, see the end of Tim Ashley's post here: http://tashley1.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/4/leica-m-240-with-35mm-f1-4-fle---some-observations

Like most people, Tim prefers the ultra smooth bokeh of the Sony RX1 lens to that of the Summilux and most other lenses, but I like the Summilux rendering more. The 35/1.4 Nokton wide open has (to me) some of the character of the 50/1.0 Noctilux wide open. Harsh but sometimes enjoyable (to me).

I do like the character of the Ultron wide open in the shot you posted - smooth but not too smooth. Reminds me of the 35/1.4 Nokton at f2.
 

ajramirez

Hall of Famer
Jul 9, 2010
124
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Antonio
This was my brother's copy of the Summilux FLE. I just ordered the non-FLE version from KEH for myself. It's the most I've ever paid for a lens but this test convinced me that the extra sharpness of the Summilux is worth it to me. Can't wait for it to arrive!
I guarantee you will LOVE this lens...

Cheers,

Antonio
 

funkydog

Rookie
May 6, 2014
3
There are reports of swirly bokeh and barrel distortion for the CV 35/1.4 altho this is not that evident in the OP's pictures. I wonder how the lens performs if used as a f2 or f/2.8 lens. Would the field curvature be flatter than that of the Color Skopar 35/2.8?
 

Frank Starling

Veteran
Jul 22, 2010
43
There are reports of swirly bokeh and barrel distortion for the CV 35/1.4 altho this is not that evident in the OP's pictures. I wonder how the lens performs if used as a f2 or f/2.8 lens. Would the field curvature be flatter than that of the Color Skopar 35/2.8?
I correct the distortion in post. Bokeh has a bit of swirl to it, which I like.

Sent from my VS980 4G using LeicaPlace mobile app
 

Latest threads

Top Bottom