Leica Cheap Chinese-made M-mount 50mm f1.1 "Sonnar" Lens

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I commented on the Leicarumors.com site: the index of the RF cam is very high for a 50mm lens. I would like to see a professional review of the lens, although at under $400 it is tempting. I've seen some shots which show a lot of vignetting- almost like the lens was made for a smaller format sensor. It "might be" a Sonnar type lens, would need to measure the focal length of the front section and rear section to determine that. A Double Gauss: front and rear sections are close to each other in focal length; a Sonnar formula lens: the front section is a telephoto design with focal length much greater (2.5x~3.5x) that of the rear section. The rear group is close to the image plane on this lens.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I bought one off of Ebay, a Hong Kong based seller with 100% feedback rating. $370 total with shipping.

I suspect this lens is an asymmetric Sonnar type design, like the Zunow 5cm F1.1 with some of the "filler" elements left out, like the C-Sonnar- technically, an Ernostar. The Sonnar is the Ernostar with low-index of refraction glass used to fill the space of the 2nd and 3rd elements to reduce air/glass surfaces, which increased transmission. The advent of multi-coatings basically got rid of the 4% per air/glass reflection, and allowed the elimination of the filler. This 7Artisans lens- well, I'll do a write-up after I get it in hand. I have most of the Sonnars to compare it with. The 50/1.1 Sonnetar is a 5 element in 4 group lens- basically the 5cm F2 Sonnar without the filler of the front triplet. This lens is 1/3rd the price of the Sonnetar. I have the 50/1.1 Nokton, 50/0.95 Canon, 50/1.2 Nikkor Ais, and 55/1.2 Nikkor Ai for Super-Speed 50s. I've had a couple of 50/1.2 Canons in LTM, sold them.
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Aug 9, 2013
123
Bakersfield, CA
Andrew
I
I bought one off of Ebay, a Hong Kong based seller with 100% feedback rating. $370 total with shipping.

I suspect this lens is an asymmetric Sonnar type design, like the Zunow 5cm F1.1 with some of the "filler" elements left out, like the C-Sonnar- technically, an Ernostar. The Sonnar is the Ernostar with low-index of refraction glass used to fill the space of the 2nd and 3rd elements to reduce air/glass surfaces, which increased transmission. The advent of multi-coatings basically got rid of the 4% per air/glass reflection, and allowed the elimination of the filler. This 7Artisans lens- well, I'll do a write-up after I get it in hand. I have most of the Sonnars to compare it with. The 50/1.1 Sonnetar is a 5 element in 4 group lens- basically the 5cm F2 Sonnar without the filler of the front triplet. This lens is 1/3rd the price of the Sonnetar. I have the 50/1.1 Nokton, 50/0.95 Canon, 50/1.2 Nikkor Ais, and 55/1.2 Nikkor Ai for Super-Speed 50s. I've had a couple of 50/1.2 Canons in LTM, sold them.
I've really enjoyed the last few weeks with "only" my Df and 50/1.2 AIS. Super-speed 50s are A LOT of fun, and even in bright daylight have characteristics that I really enjoy.

Here are my favorite recent shots with the 50mm f/1.2 AIS on the Df and with the 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux ASPH on my Leica M-D. Both great in their own way.

Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS Nikkor

DSC_1106
by Andrew F, on Flickr

DSC_1051
by Andrew F, on Flickr

DSC_1045
by Andrew F, on Flickr


And the 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux ASPH

L1002374
by Andrew F, on Flickr

L1004802
by Andrew F, on Flickr

L1003070
by Andrew F, on Flickr

L1003168
by Andrew F, on Flickr
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
"I feel the need for Speed"- much less expensive referring to lenses than cars! And the lenses retain more relative value than most cars.
 

Raid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
123
Brian: Let us here know how you assess the overall quality and value of this lens.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I will do so!

I'm very curious, hope the best for this manufacturer. I believe it is a Sonnar design, similar to the Zunow 5cm F1.1. Only one way to find out! The 5cm F1.1 Sonnetar is based on the Zeiss 5cm F2 lens, only uses 5 elements in 4 groups- which is what you get with the "Filler" left out of the front triplet. This new lens uses 7 elements in 6 groups, which is what I expect with the filler glass left out of the Zunow lens.
 

M. Valdemar

Veteran
Aug 5, 2013
104
New York City
I broke down and ordered a black one. I paid $369 from an eBay seller with 99.6% feedback who promised free DHL shipping and 8 day delivery to NYC.

We shall she what we shall see.
 

Raid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
123
Congrats! I may also order such a lens before the cost goes up. They have it on amazon.com and on ebay. It may be safer to buy it from amazon than from ebay.

Why did you choose the black version? It seems that both silver and black lenses have same metals used (Copper and Aluminum). With CV modern lenses, the chrome versions are heavier and they cost more. They have brass in them.
 

Raid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
123
I will do so!

I'm very curious, hope the best for this manufacturer. I believe it is a Sonnar design, similar to the Zunow 5cm F1.1. Only one way to find out! The 5cm F1.1 Sonnetar is based on the Zeiss 5cm F2 lens, only uses 5 elements in 4 groups- which is what you get with the "Filler" left out of the front triplet. This new lens uses 7 elements in 6 groups, which is what I expect with the filler glass left out of the Zunow lens.
Hi Brian. Did you order also a black lens or silver?
 

Raid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
123
I checked out many posted images online that were taken with such a 50 1.1 lens. They look very good (as online images). I wonder why I need such a lens when I already have the 50 1.1 CV? Same applies to you! It must be our never-ending desire to explore lenses! :)
 

M. Valdemar

Veteran
Aug 5, 2013
104
New York City
No particular reason. I just like the black color better.

I'm not worried about ordering from eBay, the buyer protection there is excellent. In fact, as a seller, it might be too excellent since almost all cases are biased against sellers.

Now I think I might have been a little hasty. I bought my lens from a seller with free DHL shipping so I could get it faster, but after I ordered another seller responded to my "Make an Offer" to sell one for $340, but it was too late. I made a lowball offer of $275 and he responded with the $340.

On the other hand, that seller was going to send it regular post, which would be about 3 weeks, so the extra money was sort of worth it.

These f1.1 lenses seem to be in mass production with many sellers, so if I was really ultra-patient I might have waited 6 months until cheapo used ones appeared. That's how I got my Jupiter 3+, I bought it cheap as a used lens.

But I'm a nut, I like to indulge myself with photo items. It's one of the few vices I have left to me at my age. My wife views it as hoarding and insanity, although she will go to Japan and drop a couple of grand on a silly designer bag which infuriates me.

I'll probably get this lens, use it for a couple of weeks, then deposit in the vast pile of other expensive lenses that I haven't looked at for a decade.

But having this vast pile of lenses is a good thing. I'll occasionally pull out some long-forgotten lens I have and discover it is now worth a small fortune, after I paid almost nothing for it in, say, 2002.

eBay used to be a paradise for finding rare items for tiny prices if you knew what they were. But now the internet has made every bozo an expert and the prices of everything has skyrocketed to la-la land.
 
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Raid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
123
Could you msg me the name of that ebay seller? Thanks! Making an offer sounds good to me.
On the other hand, I still have not bought a J-3+. That lens sounds more useful.
I used to surf ebay to look for lens bargains, but I stopped for the reasons that you have mentioned above.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I went with chrome- my C-Sonnar is chrome, the 50/1.1 Nokton is black.

For $370- hard to resist. I believe this lens is a Sonnar, looking at the rear module and some of the online example shots. I never bought a Sonnetar, think that stretching the design to F1.1 was too much for the original 5cm F2 design. This lens is 1/3rd the price.
 

Raid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
123
I went with chrome- my C-Sonnar is chrome, the 50/1.1 Nokton is black.

For $370- hard to resist. I believe this lens is a Sonnar, looking at the rear module and some of the online example shots. I never bought a Sonnetar, think that stretching the design to F1.1 was too much for the original 5cm F2 design. This lens is 1/3rd the price.
But you already have a CV 50/1.1. What would this new lens add?
Will you (maybe) take the lens apart, and then improve it somehow?
 

serhan

All-Pro
May 7, 2011
124
NYC
I ordered mine from below link for $320:
[US$320.00]7artisans 50mm F1.1 Lens for Laica M-mount and Sony E-mount Cameras
It was shipped last Thu w/ free shipping. I got the tracking yesterday. I think the sale price in China is approx $285.

I have other 50mm lenses too but wanted to check this due to size. I have Sonnetar also and it is a tricky pony but gives a unique look with better WB & warmer colors then CV lenses. I am using the Sonnetar with af adapter on Sony A7R II (first shot) and A6300 (second & third shots) w/ 1.5 crop which makes it a nice portrait lens with its softer look:

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I have not received the Chinese lens. I'll post when I receive it.
 
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Raid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
123
Thanks for the posted examples! They look very nice. Thanks also for the link.
 

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