Sonnars and Leica's. Post your shots.

Discussion in 'Leica M Forum' started by Brian, May 22, 2011.

  1. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    Most of the time I keep a Sonnar on my Leica's. I am notorious for being a Sonnar fanatic. Today I took three 50/1.5 Sonnar lenses out to Gunston Hall in Virginia.

    This is the 1935 uncoated 5cm F1.5 on the M9, converted to Leica mount. Optimized for use wide-open.

    [​IMG]

    Anyone else use Sonnars? Any make. i'll post some with the Canon, KMZ, and Nikkor up as well.
     
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  2. defektive

    defektive SC Veteran

    375
    May 4, 2011
    Tasmania, Australia
    Sam
    I don't have one but have recently become interested so I'll keep a close on eye on this space.
     
  3. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    I have a Zeiss C Sonnar 50mm. Love it with B&W film.
     
  4. akulya

    akulya SC Veteran

    219
    Mar 1, 2011
    Just joined the club. :)
    Thank you Brian for sharing your enthusiam for the Sonnar with us, I am now also the proud owner of a ZM C Sonnar 1,5/50mm.
    It's all coming together.

    5789706539_6058114992_z.
    f4. ISO320. M8.

    5789707003_fdc96be33e_z.
    f2. ISO320. M8.

    I already feel as if I am going to really enjoy this lens.
     
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  5. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    I promise I'll post some Sonnar shots if someone sends me one! :)
     
  6. akulya

    akulya SC Veteran

    219
    Mar 1, 2011
    Well, since I'm feeling generous -
    I'll swap you my M8 + ZM C Sonnar for your M9 and any M mount lens of your choice.

    I'm here if you need me :grin:
     
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  7. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    :wink:

    On a more serious note, I find the M8 files to be sharper than the M9 files. Not that I would trade the 9 for the 8. :smile:
     
  8. akulya

    akulya SC Veteran

    219
    Mar 1, 2011
    I was serious!

    Anyway here's another Sonnar shot..
    5789706151_95aa1cd2cf_z.
    Can't remember the f stop, but probably less than 4.
     
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  9. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    You are killing me mate! :laugh1:

    Great capture of the juggler! Where's that at?
     
  10. akulya

    akulya SC Veteran

    219
    Mar 1, 2011
    Oh he's always in town when the weather's good, he's actually very good and draws quite a crowd at weekend.
     
  11. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    The 1937 Uncoated Sonnar 5cm f1.5 at F2, on the M8.

    [​IMG]

    Wide-Open at f1.5.

    [​IMG]

    I need to pick up a Sonnar-C. It would be fun to shoot it and the 1930s Sonnars side by side.
     
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  12. akulya

    akulya SC Veteran

    219
    Mar 1, 2011
    Just got back from a music festival, so here are a few more sonnar shots. All taken on an M8 with a ZM 1,5/50mm C Sonnar.
    This one was wide open and (due to the front focus, which i've not quite nailed yet) is slightly softer than it ought to be.
    5803723147_85cfcea416_b.

    This is also wide open, I remember because the bokeh caught my eye (I found it a bit grim) and I checked, but with compensation for front focus - dead sharp this time.
    5803736235_67016e392b_b.

    I sadly cannot recall any of the further apetures used whatsoever, so your guess is as good as mine (probably about f2.8, then 5.6. descending)
    5803709721_97dfc0d964_b.

    5803709467_d58ba6689b_z.

    5866153737_4bed27ab8a_b.


    I am going to keep this as a "one lens solution" for the forseable future. The front focus needs to be understood, but I've only been trying for a few days and think I'm close to it already, so it's not a problem. And in return the way the lens treats peoples' skin when wide open is just wonderful.
     
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  13. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Kal, it's very clear that a good time was had by all! Each image has its own merits for sure, however it's your fourth that makes its mark on me - love the two very different expressions!
     
  14. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    I really like the first B&W shot- and the Bokeh in the first is quite smooth.

    I am a Sonnar Fanatic. This C-Sonnar is a very distinct lens. Right now, I've been using a custom made Jupiter-3 on the M8. Made from three parts lenses including mostly German glass with a Russian front element, came out with a unique signature.

    For front focus: I optimized my Classic Sonnars myself for F1.5

    The Jupiter-3 is based on of the wartime coated Sonnar. The KMZ J-3's made up to ~1955 or so used German Glass.

    This shot is at F1.5 with the "made from parts" J-3.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. akulya

    akulya SC Veteran

    219
    Mar 1, 2011
    Thanks BB & Brian,

    BB - Yeah that photo is one of my favourites, the sky was an almost completely uniform blue, a great backdrop for those faces. I was quite pleased to see a sunstar in the sunglasses too, I'm very new to this M rangfinder business, so feel like i'm fighting the equipment at the moment; albiet a rather enjoyable struggle, and have had as many abject failures as happy accidents. But i'm giving it a few weeks to decide, and at the moment I'm certain it will all feel second nature failry soon.

    Brian - your interest in Sonnars is infectious! Yes I have thought about getting my lens optimised 1.5, but since I highly value the two distinct behaviours equally; I am going to leave it optimised at 2.8 and try to "learn to lean", leaning forward further with closer focus distances. The fist picture in my set was at the minimum focus distance (0.9m), and I ought to have "leaned in" by about another 5cm. And yes, the bokeh in that shot is as smooth as I have ever seen bokeh (granted, the background is not even remotely difficult :smile:).

    I'm pretty sure this is wide open (bright centre bokeh, exif deduction) taken at a range of about three meters, the front focus is still evident, but only if you really look for it. The colours are just lovely.
    5808229772_50e91bc65b_b.

    Here's another in B&W prob. at f2.8ish. (Neville Staple from The Specials was on, for any Ska lovers out there, it was awesome.)
    5808230040_1653c978e7_b.
     
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  16. defektive

    defektive SC Veteran

    375
    May 4, 2011
    Tasmania, Australia
    Sam
    Brian,
    I have an M8 and am interested in entering the 50mm Sonnar world in the future but would like to start with a cheap version to see if it is for me. I know you have had quite a bit to do with modifying and using them so I have a few questions for you to answer when you get a chance:

    1) Jupiter-3. You have mentioned elsewhere that 1953 was a good vintage, are there other eras that you would suggest or avoid? For a Leica M mount camera do you need to buy the J-3 with a Contax or LTM mount, I read that the LTM ones don't work well with M mount cameras. Are there cheap Contax adapters that allow rangefinder coupling or do I need to spend the $250 people have mentioned?

    2) Canon 50/1.5. Do you have any thoughts on this lens? With a cheap LTM-M adapter it is probably a similar cost to the J-3 with the expensive Contax adapter.

    3) Any other versions you would suggest that are obtainable for under $500 (including adapter if necessary)?

    4) Can you modify lenses to focus closer than they are specified to?

    Look forward to your insight,
    Sam
     
  17. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    Sam: I did not revisit this thread until now- sorry I am late answering this post.

    >1) Jupiter-3. You have mentioned elsewhere that 1953 was a good vintage, are there other eras that you would suggest or avoid? For a Leica M mount camera do you need to buy the J-3 with a Contax or LTM
    >mount, I read that the LTM ones don't work well with M mount cameras. Are there cheap Contax adapters that allow rangefinder coupling or do I need to spend the $250 people have mentioned?

    The KMZ lenses from 1952~1956 have been the best for me, I've shot with ~15 of these. I would avoid 1950 KMZ's- Both that I used were not quite right, as in transition from the German made lens took a little time. Same is true of the 1956 and 1957 ZOMZ/GOMZ (Triplet Logo) J-3's. Several that I used had issues. By 1958- seems to have hit their mark. Go with the LTM version. It is easy to shim for use on a Leica.

    >2) Canon 50/1.5. Do you have any thoughts on this lens? With a cheap LTM-M adapter it is probably a similar cost to the J-3 with the expensive Contax adapter.
    I have one now, and have used 3. Very good, faithful Sonnar copy. Also about 2x to 3x the cost of a J-3. These are in the $400~$500 range.

    >3) Any other versions you would suggest that are obtainable for under $500 (including adapter if necessary)?

    The Nikkor 5cm F1.4 is sharper, but has more harsh Out of Focus areas.

    >4) Can you modify lenses to focus closer than they are specified to?

    I have modified Two J-3's to focus to about 0.8m. Not hard to do, there is a set screw that limits the close and infinity stop. Remove it, and then file the threads down for the RF follower of the camera to move in. The Nikkor 5cm F1.4, Nikkor 5cm F2 (rigid only), and Tanar 5cm F2 (rare) all focus to 18". BUT- you must file down the threads for the RF follower to move with the cam of the lens.
     
  18. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
  19. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    And my reason for checking back here....

    I have a new Zeiss Sonnar-C 50/1.5 on the way in from Popflash. So it looks like I do do the 1935 Sonnar compared with the 21st century namesake.

    The things I do for lens comparisons....
     
  20. defektive

    defektive SC Veteran

    375
    May 4, 2011
    Tasmania, Australia
    Sam
    Thanks a lot Brian. I am looking forward to the comparison with the new version.