Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/07/01

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Nikon LTM lens question
From: Peter Klein <>
Date: Tue, 01 Jul 2003 20:46:22 -0700

At 07:30 PM 7/1/03 -0700, Michael E. Berube queried about:
>  have a chance to buy a Nikkor -S.C 1:1.5  f=5cm lens in LTM mount.
Michael:  I used to own the 50/1.4 Nikkor, which was the updated version of 
the 1.5.  They are Zeiss Sonnar clones, tweaked a bit to be optimized for 
closer, wide aperture shooting.  You can find an informative article on 
Dante Stella's web site.  I can't speak to the collector value of the 
f/1.5, but it was only made for a year or so before it was replaced by the 
f/1.4, so it is rarer than the f/1.4 and will be worth more.  For 
reference, I sold my 50/1.4 for not quite $300.00.

I believe you used to own a Jupiter 50/1.5, which is basically a copy of 
the 50/1.5 Sonnar.  The Nikkor is similar, but it will focus correctly 
close-up, which many Jupiter's don't.

I sold the Nikkor when I bought a CV 50/1.5 Nokton.  The modern Nokton is 
sharper and contrastier, especially wide open.  But the Nikkor has a retro 
look that can be very pleasing.  Along with the ni-sen (double line) bokeh 
that some people can't stand, and others could care less about.

Closed down a bit, the Nikkor looks fine, but very close scrutiny will 
reveal some corner and far field softness even at optimum apertures.  This 
may or may not matter, depending on what you photograph.

Here's a couple of shots with the 50/1.4 Nikkor, wide open (they've been 
posted here before, but not recently):

If you like the Sonnar qualities and the 50/1.5 turns out to be too steep, 
scout the usual sources for a 50/1.5.  But you might also pick up a used CV 
Nokton for a similar price as the Nikkor.  It's a larger lens, with 
sometimes harsh bokeh and the look of a modern aspheric, but has much to 
recommend it.  Wide-open, it's a winner:  (f/1.8)

If you're more interested in shooting at medium apertures, why not dig just 
a little deeper and spring for a 50 Summicron?  One from the 1980s can 
often be had for around $450, and they are every bit as good as the one 
that was made yesterday.  If you don't need f/1.5, the Summicron is a 50 
you could be satisfied with for the rest of your life.  If I had to sell 
everything but one body and one lens, the 50 'cron is the lens I'd keep.

Here's the 50 'cron, wide open:

Hope this is helpful,
- --Peter

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