Leica Jupiter-3 Plus Compared with Three Rare Sonnar lenses

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
Probably the last of semi-controlled comparisons of the Lomography Jupiter-3 Plus, just going to use it from here on in.

I took the Jupiter-3+, 1943 Carl Zeiss Jena 5cm F1.5 Sonnar T in LTM, the 1949 Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.5, and 1949 ZK 5cm F1.5 Sonnar back to Gunston Hall today. I used a tripod for the comparison shots, F1.5 and F4 for each setting. Changing 4 lenses is a bit much, so most comparisons are between the J-3+, 1943 Sonnar, and Nikkor. A couple with the ZK: which is nearly identical to the Sonnar. The internal serial numbers of the ZK show it to be a 1945 CZJ Sonnar.

We'll start with the ZK Sonnar at F1.5, for the 4-way comparison shots.

25219062951_553f38385c_b.jpg Gunston Hall 2, ZK Sonnar by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

The 1943 Sonnar at F1.5,

25285802756_7e6bd584eb_b.jpg Gunston Hall 2, 1943 Sonnar 5cm F1.5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr


The Nikkor at F1.5,

24681493794_d840646f07_b.jpg Gunston Hall 2, Nikkor 5cm F1.5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

And the J-3 Plus At F1.5,

25285769896_afe8f4b304_b.jpg Gunston Hall by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Schneider UV filters and Hoods used on all lenses.
 
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BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
The ZK at F4,

Gunston Hall 2, ZK Sonnar by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

1943 Sonnar at F4,

Gunston Hall 2, 1943 Sonnar 5cm F1.5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

The Nikkor at F4,

Gunston Hall 2, Nikkor 5cm F1.5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flick


and the Jupiter-3 Plus,

Gunston Hall by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Good think I jiggled the tripod a little when changing lenses. The 1943 Sonnar and the J-3 Plus are amazingly similar. That's a good thing- a wartime Sonnar in original Leica mount is likely to cost more than the J3Plus in the condition that mine is in.
 

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
Closer in:

The 1943 Sonnar at F1.5,

Gunston Hall 2, 1943 Sonnar 5cm F1.5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

The Nikkor at F1.5,

Gunston Hall 2, Nikkor 5cm F1.5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

And the Jupiter-3+ at F1.5,

Gunston Hall by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Of course lighting coming through the trees and with some clouds in the sky has an effect, but I tried to wait for the sun to pop out from behind scattered clouds. I think the 1943 Sonnar produced the best image in this wide-open and close-up set. This is a spectacular lens, the middle triplet was loose when I got it. Drove me nuts trying to shim the lens until figuring out it was loose.
 

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
The new Amedeo Contax-Leica adapter for Internal mount lenses arrived today, so i will be testing a 1950s Carl Zeiss 50mm F1.5 Sonnar "T" with the J3+. I spent some time "zeroing" the Zeiss on the adapter for best use on the M9 at F1.5. The Zeiss lenses are not optimized for F1.5 perhaps, this one front-focused on the M9. I also zeroed a second Zeiss Opton 50/1.5 Sonnar T for the M Monochrom used with a deep yellow filter. I have three of these Sonnars, bought when they were ~$100 each- and one was free in a trade. The new adapter uses an Indexed Cam and provides good agreement from 0.7m to infinity. The focal length of the Sonnars varies slightly, even 0.5mm difference in focal length makes a difference on the indexing. I got the one lens free because the focal length was so far off originally. I brought it back to decent agreement.
 

Hap

Top Veteran
Jan 9, 2016
Nice work.... The amadeo adaptor does expand the options for M users given now Contax and Nikon RF compatible. there are a lot of sonnars (and other zeiss) out there in contax mount. Frankly, I was looking at some scanned photos from my M4 P using pretty decent lenses and those from my G2 with it's autofocus lenses. Images from the G2 were extremely good. These modern Zeiss T star lenses in the G2 system are fantastic and I will bet you that they are very inexpensive even relative to vintage Contax Sonnar. Can't be used on M but can be adapted, autofocus and all to a Sony A7II. I have thought about this....a used A7II, three Contax prime autofocus G2 lenses, Techart Adapter........?2K total. That kills an M9.....theoretically. And techart now with M autofocus adapter. What is this world coming to?

Poor Brian, your labor of love hobby is going to expand into a business before you know it.
Hap
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Aug 9, 2013
Bakersfield, CA
Andrew
Nice work.... The amadeo adaptor does expand the options for M users given now Contax and Nikon RF compatible. there are a lot of sonnars (and other zeiss) out there in contax mount. Frankly, I was looking at some scanned photos from my M4 P using pretty decent lenses and those from my G2 with it's autofocus lenses. Images from the G2 were extremely good. These modern Zeiss T star lenses in the G2 system are fantastic and I will bet you that they are very inexpensive even relative to vintage Contax Sonnar. Can't be used on M but can be adapted, autofocus and all to a Sony A7II. I have thought about this....a used A7II, three Contax prime autofocus G2 lenses, Techart Adapter........?2K total. That kills an M9.....theoretically. And techart now with M autofocus adapter. What is this world coming to?

Poor Brian, your labor of love hobby is going to expand into a business before you know it.
Hap
Autofocus, nah, I Like my M-E and M Monochrom (CCD) rangefinder. Even on my Canon 6D my good lenses are all manual focus Zeiss.
 

Hap

Top Veteran
Jan 9, 2016
Asiafish......I understand for the purist, which tends to be those of us older and familiar with film (and not cell phone cameras), the ideal is MF. I can barely use my Galaxy S5 cam. OLder, however, gives way to infirmity and declining vision. All of a sudden AF looks good even while sounding heretical.....another disadvantage of old age, hearing problems but typically in the sonic spectrum of female voice. This is why I would love to have a fantastic EVF and other focusing aids...not because I want to but I have need.

the lens that get's the most use on my Nikon 7100 is a 50mm 1.2 AIS.....but I wish I could get a focus aid.

I think we might extend ourselves, those visually challenged who want to dabble in vintage lenses coupled to digital cameras, some slack with the autofocus. My other comment, which will get me hanged here....is the "relative" worth and difference between a digital M and a kick ass Sony A7RII. Sean Reid, no M hater at all did a comparison evaluation of Monochrome M and Sony. In fairness, miniscule difference. Price....well you know answer to that. Furthermore, the photographic world is expanded to 4K video and who knows what else. A question.......we will still have our vintage lenses to play with, even the manual modern lenses, in 10 years. Will we have our Sony A7 or digital M like we have our M3?
 

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
I am extremely near-sighted, have been since a Kid. That is why I can work on Russian lenses and use triple-zero drill bits and set screws.

I use a 1.25x magnifier on the M9 and M Monochrom for Fast-50s and Telephoto lenses. Although the images in this thread are done with the heavy tripod that I bought in 1970, it does not get too much use. I find the Rangefinder to by fast and easy, just wait until the two images overlap and "click". I've been using them since 1969, it's first-nature to me. I use mostly Manual Focus lenses on the Df, but have several AF lenses for it.
 

Hap

Top Veteran
Jan 9, 2016
Your near sightedness is a "blessing". I am now near and far sighted to some degree. Glad to hear you have adapted well to the necessities of your hobby.

Focus peaking, although I have not tried, could be welcome. Think...I could rapidly focus through the image, stopping wherever I wish...or don't. when I went out with the G2, it was a pleasure to use AF .....it does make a racket. I am told bysome that the A7II focus system can be fiddly and the menus maddening. the G2 finder is horrible.

To assuage my guilt, I did read Sean Reid's essays on zone focusing and I am better prepared to use that method as did past masters of Leica. However, the fast 50's just don't work that way. I was also alluding to the idea of the digital M.....it's benefits and issues. I am coming to the conclusion that a digital camera is just another computer and no work of art (unless you think a Mac is a big deal), like a mechanical camera. I fiddled with a Leica III not long ago and it felt even more solid (haptics) than my M3. Computers are planned obsolescence. computing power trumps (no pun intended) everything. A digital M for all it's heritage is still a classy computer.....a platform for the optics. Sony and now Fuji are adapting their strategy to capture users of M (and Contax/Zeiss) high grade optics to expand market share. We were recently graced by the Leica announcement to develop more cell phone optics. Could I forecast that in the future we will have extremely advanced cell phones and a nicecollection of film cameras.?
 

Hap

Top Veteran
Jan 9, 2016
For anyone who might find my song kind of gloomy.....here is the report on camera sales for 2015, worldwide.

Rangefinderforum.com Portal - News - Collapse of digital camera sales continued in 2015

Many fewer cameras sold. Photography classes 90+ percent smartphones(I wish I knew how to use one to it's potential). Fuji made more money from Instant Film than digital cameras.

The pie doth not grow with DSLR's or P and S. I lurk at a very fine camera shop in Orange County California. The owner is beside himself. He brought Sony back into the store because Sony and Fuji are making inroads with Leica owners who want to go digital with their lenses, but do not spend on digital M. He went on a tirade with me about M8 which he thinks is horrible and a big mistake for Leica. It gave Sony time to figure things out.

This does not mean film is dead...it is not. I am using Cinestill at least for a while. Haven't tried the BW. Need a 85b for 800T. I am contemplating using New55 in my Graflex and possibly Cinestill 120 and 4x5. New stuff is coming out and there is a market. I am glad we are having fun here.

Saving my powder for a used A7II at some point. No point in an A6000 or a GXR with A12 m mount, although incredibily inexpensive. Cheaper by half than a J3+:)))))))
 

k fahlman

Regular
Jan 31, 2016
Vancouver, BC
Ken
New Film 55's great. Forget about the Sony's if you are planning to use Leica, or any retro-focus lenses...
I tried that route before I bought an M240, and eventually added an M246.
SL's the way to go if you're after an EVF.

cheers/ken.
 
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Hap

Top Veteran
Jan 9, 2016
Ken I still have frozen Polaroid 55. New Film 55 is supposed to be much better. Don't have to expose different for print v neg. I think the process of clearing the film is also easier and safer. There is no way at this point I am purchasing an M240 and the SL is completely out. I feel better about a Pentacon TL and saving 6K. It would be more fun to have a Hasselblad. Heck I just bought an M3.

Sean Reid seemed to like the Sony a lot. For years he pounded the deck with an Epson RD-1 and kind of raved about GXR. Even in late 2015 he was saying a good camera. NIce way to use Leica lenses but can't exploit the available resolution.

However I appreciate your input. Really.
 

k fahlman

Regular
Jan 31, 2016
Vancouver, BC
Ken
You'll be impressed with the 55 once you give it a go, beats the pants off the Polaroid, I used to use that as well.

I know it's a big ticket to entry into the Leica digital world, but to be honest, I'd be much happier shooting film than using an A7 series.
Anything other than pretty much dead center, just didn't cut it for me.

A nice way to use Leica lenses is on your M3! I love mine! :)

cheers/ken.
 

Hap

Top Veteran
Jan 9, 2016
That's my plan.....you hit it on the head. Thanks Ken

I will confess to using my M lenses on a Nikon 1 using the Fotodiox adapter. It is nice to seem images in near real time. Nikon one is a nice system, has incredible fast AF and 10-15 FPS burst speed, decent built in EVF (V1) and electronic completely silent shutter. It's pretty amazing but at the end of the day...it's 1 inch sensor Nikon 1 with a 2.33x crop factor. Have to use very wide angle M mount lenses.

There are some pretty useful digital technologies.....IBIS, electronic shutters, HDR, pixel shifting hi res, live view, great EVF, focus peaking, dual IBIS and OIS, in camera lens correction. the last one is kind of hard to swallow because it allows lens makers to sell dubious optical systems that are camera corrected....and for high prices. Yes, the put ED, super ED, super duper ED aspherical plastic in them.... But computers make construction cheap and therefore margins big when lens don't have to be very good on their own merit. Lens makers have a lot of ED.

All the best to you Ken
 

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