Testing various 50mm manual lenses on the GF1

Started Jan 13, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Nick De Marco
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Testing various 50mm manual lenses on the GF1
Jan 13, 2010

I am off the Asia at the end of the month so narrowing down on my gear. I am taking the Mamiya 7 MF rangefinder camera (with 43mm, 65mm and 150mm lenses) so for digital I am taking the GF1 which I shall use for street, some portraits and some landscape work.

I have the 20mm Panny f1.7 lens which, as everyone who has used it will affirm, is a wonderful lens and will be the main one to use. I splashed out on the 7-14mm lens which I am awaiting. I wanted one LTM/M type lens to take, and one I could use for telephoto work. So I have been testing various 50mm lenses I own on the GF1 to see which gives me the best results.

The original pool of lenses I tested on the GF1 are:

1. Canon 50mm f1.2 LTM
2. Canon 50mm f1.2 LTM
3. Leica 50mm Summilux f1.4 (first version) - M fit
4. Jupiter 3 50mm f1.5 (copy of the Zeiss 50/1.5)
5. Leica Summicron 50mm f2 (pre-asph new version, 1980s-1990s) - M fit
6. Leica Summicron 50mm f2 (pre-asph, chrome older version) - M fit
7. Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f2 (collapsable)
8. Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 (old M fit collapsable version).

This first test is shooting at 4 apertures, same subject indoors on a tripod. I have narrowed it down to three lenses on the basis of this. Just jpegs, no photoshop.

Click on the link to see the results: [url] http://www.pbase.com/nickdemarco/gf1__50s[/url] .

I hope to do 2 further tests before going to select which one I take. The next test shall be shooting at 400 iso handheld on different days with Raw converted to black and white, which in part will test which lens suits my style of street shooting the best. The final and most important test (for my purposes) between the three will be of an outside landscape, at infinity focus on tripod.

It should go without saying that these test are not done under laboratory conditions, reflect my own subjective view of the lenses and how I best use them, and the fact that I may have varying quality copies of lenses. However, instead of approaching the test with my own prejudices of what I thought would be best, or 'brand loyalty' I am trying to select the 50mm which does best on the GF1.

I shall post the results of the further tests when complete.

Nick

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