Leica Showcase MS-Optical 50/1.1 Sonnetar M mount

uhoh7

Regular
May 31, 2011
MS-Optical 50/1.1 Sonnetar M mount

Sonnetar and fast friends by unoh7, on Flickr

At 190 grams, the smallest lightest superspeed ever made. Modeled directly on the CZJ 50/1.5.

L1027393 by unoh7, on Flickr

L1027359 by unoh7, on Flickr

L1027406 by unoh7, on Flickr

Olive Looks by unoh7, on Flickr

all shots above at f/1.1 on the M9

The lens can take filters three ways, with exterior threads, interior threads and threads at the front of the hood. The M9 can only go to 4000, so for some of these shots there is a new 3 stop ND filter, reversed and screwed to the exterior threads, then the hood screws to the exposed threads of the 55 filter.

Caps are unusual: both screw over the elements. Rear cap is tiny and covers element only. Front cap came screwed to reversed hood, which was screwed to from of lens.

Stopless aperture is reverse of normal direction. Many blades, very smooth and heavy to turn. Focus is a bit lighter but well dampened. There is a small knob like the CV skopars. The entire lens turns with focus. Coma adjustment, which moves the rear element in and out with fingertip rotation, I left as it came. This is also very dampened. Overall this is a very compact lens.

It arrived new today at a cost of 1064USD.
 

ChrisBail

Regular
Dec 24, 2014
These look great to me. I'm really excited to receive mine now. It looks like you got a great deal as well. I paid $100 more for mine, with the hood and caps, that's still making it's way to me from Japan.

The size difference between this lens and the CV 50/1.1 looks shocking. I'm eager to compare it in person with my own CV 50/1.1 and Canon 50/1.2.
 

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
That's a great price that you got it for, a very unique lens.Optically- it looks closer to the 5cm F2 Sonnar, with an "air gap" between the 2nd and 3rd element. The original Sonnar filled in the gap with low-index of refraction glass to eliminate those 2 air/glass interfaces.

I thought about making one of my custom J-3's with the adjustment for the rear group, need to play with that and see what it does. Would appreciate it if you post some examples with the "Coma control" set.
 

uhoh7

Regular
May 31, 2011
TY guys.

It's a handful, but can produce some cool stuff. I was trying the various coma settings today, but focus was not always as I expected on M9. The "default" focus does work pretty well though, which is supposedly at 4m, but in fact is better closer than the 2 and 1m setting which bring the element closer to the sensor.

My A7 has been out getting a new thin sensor cover, and it will be easier to test this lens on that body with the live view.

Brian, what effect should I see as the rear element moves "out" (towards sensor) or 'in" (towards front element)?

I'm trying to figure what will give me best edges at f/8 when I want to do some landscapes etc.

TY so much

Flare test, F/16:
L1027429 by unoh7, on Flickr

It seems optimized for this distance WO: (default coma)

L1027347 by unoh7, on Flickr

and at 5.6:
L1027369 by unoh7, on Flickr
but I can't get edges like this at infinity yet.

here are instructions:

Sonnetar Coma Ring by unoh7, on Flickr
 

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
reading these instructions....

I would experiment with it, and have some Christmas lights across the frame to measure Coma...
 

uhoh7

Regular
May 31, 2011
The instructions are way off for M9, Focus wise.

It has a very special, always round aperture, from germany.

Here it is at f/1.6:

L1027479 by unoh7, on Flickr

No mistaking the Sonnar Bokeh, but it seems very rich with the color, more modern in that respect. ;)
 

Raid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
How do you compare the optical qualities of this lens with those of the CV 50/1.1?
They are priced similarly.

Thanks.
 

uhoh7

Regular
May 31, 2011
Hi Raid
Very early to really tell, but:
For good technical 1.1 you must have a large lens with more elements and APSH if possible. The best superspeed is obviously the .95, and we see what a monster it is.

The CV 50/1.1 has been a really good lens for me, and for an event i would take it over the Sonnetar, because it is reliable and predictable. It focuses very well at 1.1 on the M9 and makes really nice color. Bokeh is good, but not great, but not terrible. It's also quite good stopped down.

The Sonnetar I'm beginning to think is really a super-color CZJ 1.5 with the option to go all the way to 1.1. Unlike the CV, which is not going anywhere I don't really need it, the Sonnetar can be dropped in pocket and never noticed. As we can see the look is sonnar on steroids, but without the nikkor tendency to completely explode wide open, in close. So perhaps I would say it's an art lens, that will be unpredictable, make more misses, but then deliver some very very special shots, which no other lens can do.

It seems to me an expert lens on the M9, which will take some serious practice to get really good at using. But I have high hopes for my new A7M which returns with a thin sensor cover Monday, and then I won't be fighting the calibration and can really test the coma adjustment.

In short the CV 50/1.1 is far easier (if you have good calibration) and more predictable, and very effective at 1.1 (underrated) but a real pain to carry.

The best f/1.1 lens is the one you actually have in the bag LOL
 

uhoh7

Regular
May 31, 2011
Gorgeous shot Brian :)

Hopefully everyone realizes it's very easy to get to the Full size image from these :)

F/1.6:

L1027392 by unoh7, on Flickr

f/4 or faster:

Stopped Table by unoh7, on Flickr

wide open:

L1027353 by unoh7, on Flickrlowl

The lens gets very glowy wide open, which masks somewhat, the possible fact it's not all that soft when you find something in the POF. Soft/Sharp has an entirely different meaning for me at 1.2 and faster. By 1.1 it is a relative matter.

I would say this lens can bring details into striking relief wide open, as evidenced by the last shot, so 1.1 is a real option, albeit with considerable aberration :) The designer of course is totally up front about this, and we would all expect a 1.1 sonnar to be well......quite interesting :)

But at 1.6 it is really firing on all cylinders and the glow is way down.


Untitled by unoh7, on Flickr
 

ChrisBail

Regular
Dec 24, 2014
My Sonnetar arrived today. I'm still testing out the focus adjustment. I think I have it pretty much worked out for indoors at the distances I usually shoot at. I have my coma adjustment just a little past the red dot toward infinity.

I shot several of our son taking his first bites of food, but I don't like to post those shots online for public viewing, so here are a couple other wide open samples:

Click on the photos to make them larger.

Focus was on the text on the lens.


Focus was on Ellie's right (my left) eye.
 

ChrisBail

Regular
Dec 24, 2014
Thanks! I'm happy to report that the lens did just fine with the baby food pictures as well. :)

I'm going to give the lens a try on my MP as well, once I get a little more used to the focus and do some more testing outside of the house.
 

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