Canon 50 mm f1.4 in Leica thread - any views?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by David H. Bebbington, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I have been trying to find a 50 mm lens for my Leica M which is "interestingly different" (already have a Summicron Mark III and a 50 mm f1.5 Nokton). I thought I had bought a Mark I Summicron but it turned out to be scratched too much to use (seller is refunding), so my gaze turned to a Canon f1.4. Someone called D. Colucci has a website on Canon lenses and seems to rate this lens very highly - anyone have experience and/or an opinion (preferably both!)?

    Regards,

    David
     
  2. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I had the 50 1.4 with a Cannon 7S, I liked it better than the Summicron that I used with a IIIG, even wide open the Cannon 1.4 was very sharp. Other then the 28mm I felt the Cannon (35, 50, and 135) Ms were equal to Litz. I also had a Minolta 90 which was excellent. But for it is worth I liked the 7s better than the IIIG.
     
  3. lens_hacker

    lens_hacker Member

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    It's an excellent lens, well balanced on a Canon 7 so it should be fine on a Leica M. It is too big for the Barnack cameras and blocks much of the viewfinder.

    It uses a 48mm filter, which takes a little more looking to come up with filters.

    Not as sharp wide-open as a modern lens, but at F4 will give any lens a run for its money.

    Watch out for haze build up on the surface just behind the aperture blades. This is from oil deposits, and can destroy the coating and glass if not removed in time.
     
  4. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Through necessity I used the Canon 50mm f/1.4 from a Canon 7 wide open for indoor sports back when Tri-X was the preferred fast film (aside from the awful RE-2475). Exposure in small-town gyms was f1.4 at 1/125 second for decent shadow detail. Then Kodak produced T-Max 3200, and a Summicron at twice the shutter speed gave much sharper photos, despite larger grain. The shutter speed helped, although not as much as the superior lens. Probably my Canon would have been more competitive at smaller apertures, but certainly not wide open.
     
  5. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Thanks for info - as regards filters, there seem to be plenty of stepping rings around!

    Regards,

    David
     
  6. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I don't know about the 50mm 1.4 for the 7S David, but I have used the FDn version for about twenty years, and it's a better lens than I'm a photographer.
     
  7. lens_hacker

    lens_hacker Member

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    If you want a lens that is "interestingly different", you might look for a Sonnar formula lens rather than the Canon 50/1.4. The Canon 50/1.4 is a 6 element in 4 group "planar" formula lens. Most modern "fast' lenses follow this design.

    As an alternative, look at the Canon 50/1.5 and Nikkor 50/1.4 in LTM. These are 7 element in 3 group lenses. Zeiss recently resurrected a modern interpretation of this design. The Canon 50/1.5 renders the smoothest out-of-focus areas, the Nikkor is a bit sharper. The Canon 50/1.5 uses 40mm filters, which require some searching. It is a small lens, but works on a Leica M. It's so small that you can leave the hood on it and close the Leica ever-ready case. The Nikkor uses 43mm filters.
     
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear David,

    50/1.5 Sonnar (current). Stunning. I have asked Zeiss how much they want to let me keep it. Sorry we now live more than 5 miles apart or I'd let you try it (despite the Zeiss injunction never to let anyone else use a loaner lens).

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  9. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    On the topic of the above Canon and Nikkor, here's a little comparison I found on the web:

    http://dantestella.com/technical/nikoleic.html
     
  10. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Thanks for the thought, Roger. The Canon lens went on e-bay for close to £400, I dropped out a little short of this, couldn't quite bring myself to spend this kind of money on an antique lens when a new Zeiss Planar would have been within reach, with a Sonnar just a few $$$ more, although ideally I like lenses in screw mounts so that I can used them on my elderly Leicas as well.

    Regards,

    David
     
  11. lens_hacker

    lens_hacker Member

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    > The Canon lens went on e-bay for close to £400

    That is insane! With a little patience, it should be available for well under $300US. I picked up a Canon IIf with the Canon 50/1.5 for $350. Same with the Nikkor lens, should go under $300US. I also use a Zeiss-Opton Sonnar 5cm F1.5 in Contax mount with an adapter for M-Mount. I have an LTM adapter for this lens waiting at the Post Office. Lens+adapter was under $300. I will test this adapter and post results on this forum.

    I shimmed the Zeiss lens so that it is in sharp focus wide-open and close-up. Sonnar formula lenses have more of a focus shift than Planar lenses, and the new Zeiss Sonnar is no exception. At F4, you don't need to worry about it. At F1.5, you want to check it. Interesting Different.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2007
  12. lens_hacker

    lens_hacker Member

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    Got my test roll back of 5 lenses.

    1950's Zeiss Sonnar using a Contax to LTM adapter on my Canon 7, wide-open at F1.5:

    [​IMG]

    And a Zeiss 50/2.8 Tessar, formerly M42 mount preset, now RF coupled for the Leica using an Industar 61 lens mount, @F4:

    [​IMG]

    (Not bad for a $10 lens)

    My Flickr stream, more photos with these lenses, and will add other lenses adapted for the Leica mount:

    http://flickr.com/photos/oldcamerapictures/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2007