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  1. #1

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    CV Heliar 50mm f/2.0--is it a legend?

    The Heliar 50mm f/3.5 has been described by no less than Stephen Gandy as legendary. It is no longer available except in Nikon rangefinder mount (if someone has a screwmount they would care to part with, please contact me). The newly released Heliar 50mm f/2.0 in the M mount is now readily available. I would like to hear opinions from users as to the qualities of this lens, particularly when compared to the plentiful choices at this or similar focal lengths and both larger and smaller apertures. Will this lens acquire legendary status? Has CV hit the home run twice? Or is it perhaps a good but unexceptional entrant in a very crowded field?
    I am most anxious for feedback.
    Best regards for the day (and beyond),
    LJ Segil

  2. #2

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    'Legends' are always disputable. I've used the 50/3.5 Heliar and currently have a 50/2 Heliar. Both are very nice lenses and the f/2 is definitely one of the most distinctive 50mm lenses I've used -- but I'd not call either a 'legend' or even (my preferred term) 'magic'.

    A 'magic' lens is one where I can look at my own pictures and say, "I don't think I could have taken that with anything else". That's a small list and includes (for example) the 75/2 Summicron, 38/4.5 Biogon, 58/1.4 Nikkor and 150/6.3 Tessar.

    A lot depends on what subjects you shoot, and what film, and your personal preferences. The 50/2 Heliar might indeed be the perfect lens for some people, but I'd rather have (for example) a 50/1 Nokton or even the humble 50/2.5 Color-Skopar (and I have both of those upstairs too). Indeed I think I'd prefer my 50/1.2 Canon. The Heliar is a lot better at f/2; at f/5.6 they're both very good indeed; and at f/1.2, the Canon wins hands down...

    Cheers,

    R.

  3. #3

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    I had a 50mm f/2 Heliar for a while and was quite underwhelmed by it and sold it. Mine was quite soft wide open and I did not care for how it handled. I never saw any "magic" either. It did feel well made though. I think that what Roger said is very true in that it really boils down to subjects, film, and personal preferences. I much prefer my dual range Summicron, or 50mm Summilux from 1970 to the f/2 Heliar. Good luck in your search, I don't think there are really any bad 50mm lenses in Leica M mount, just different flavors-something for everyone!

    I know it's not what you are asking about, but I also agree wholeheartedly with Roger about the 75mm Summicron. I've had one for about 6 weeks and it keeps amazing me every time I use it, what a great lens.

    Richard Wasserman

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ljsegil View Post
    The Heliar 50mm f/3.5 has been described by no less than Stephen Gandy as legendary.
    Doesn't stephen gandy sell these lenses? I wouldn't take any comments about the lenses too seriously if thats true.

  5. #5
    resummerfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjas View Post
    Doesn't stephen gandy sell these lenses? I wouldn't take any comments about the lenses too seriously if thats true.
    Yeah....Good point!
    —Eric

  6. #6

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    Stephen Gandy Bashing

    Please do not use this thread to harm the good reputation of Mr. Gandy. His "legendary" description referred to the screwmount version of the f/3.5; long discontinued and not available for sale from him or anybody else that I am aware of (but would love to know if there are any out there). Stephen has probably done more for the success of the CV product line than any other person in this country, and to a significant extent one could even say that the existance of this forum is a tribute to his hard and honest work.
    LJ Segil

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljsegil View Post
    Please do not use this thread to harm the good reputation of Mr. Gandy. His "legendary" description referred to the screwmount version of the f/3.5; long discontinued and not available for sale from him or anybody else that I am aware of (but would love to know if there are any out there). Stephen has probably done more for the success of the CV product line than any other person in this country, and to a significant extent one could even say that the existance of this forum is a tribute to his hard and honest work.
    LJ Segil
    I'll second this sentiment.

    I've dealt extensively with Steve including purchasing two R2S bodies and several CV S-mount lenses (85s and 24s). I firmly believe that Steve has a high degree of integrity and would not "tout" a lens just to sell it. He has too much to lose doing that kind of thing.

    FWIW, I don't know this CV 50/2.0 lens in S-mount since I have several Nikkor 50/1.4's and so have no need of one. But if I lacked a 50mm S-mount for either my R2S's or my S2 and SP I would certainly try them on Steve's advice.

    Just my $0.02

  8. #8
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Stephen Gandy does "promote" his products, but I've never seen anything approaching a misrepresentation on his site. I certainly wouldn't call it "overhyping" given what I've seen elsewhere. I took the "legendary" moniker as a reference to the limited edition 50 f:3.5 collapsible Heliar having been touted by Pop Photo as the "best 50mm" they ever tested. And note that Gandy said "legendary", not best ever 50mm. He's a careful writer, and certainly aware that "legendary" can apply equally to Elvis, Bigfoot, and a dual range Summicron.

    If you read his site carefully, you'll find that you can get a generally accurate impression of a lens' performance from his descriptions once they've been out a few months and he's used them and had field reports.

    For the record, I'm a satisfied repeat customer of cameraquest.

    Lee

  9. #9

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    I'm another satisfied repeat customer of cameraquest and thus of Stephen Gandy. I've always found him to be a person of high integrity.

    BTW, I have severe case of GAS and I own one of the 50mm f2 collapsible CV Heliars, it's a nice lens, with nice bokeh. However, I have not yet done a shootout against any of my other 50mm f2 M mount lenses.
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
    The 50/2 Heliar might indeed be the perfect lens for some people, but I'd rather have (for example) a 50/1 Nokton or even the humble 50/2.5 Color-Skopar (and I have both of those upstairs too).
    R.
    Hi Roger,

    could you describe with some few words why you personally would prefer the 1,5/50 Nok or the Skopar ?

    Thanks !

    bertram
    A la recherche du temps perdu: www. bersac.de

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