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Quick little 35mm shootout: Leica / Canon / Nikon

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Jefenator, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Less to choose from here than my "nifty fifty" lineup. While not super exotic, moderately fast 35mm lenses are a lot less plentiful and a lot more expensive than the 50mm ones!

    35mmf2lenses.

    The AF-Nikkor I bought used for $200 in 1993. It's held up pretty well, considering the comparatively flimsy plastic construction. I like how small and light it is and the close focus ability (about 10") is a cool bonus. (Actually, the other two get almost as close - about 1 foot.)

    The Canon FD I got last year on eBay for about $250. I couldn't resist the novelty of the concave front element. There is some radioactive Thorium glass inside that required quite a bit of UV treatment to get rid of the yellow tint. As with my other Canon FD lens, the extra-stiff action on the aperture and focus rings is irritating.

    The Leitz I got in a package deal on Craigslist, along with my treasured 60mm macro. (I'd say I'm into it for roughly the same as the other two 35mm lenses combined.) The handling and focus action is just amazing. On the down side, it's the heaviest and biggest of the bunch.

    Enough chit-chat - let's get to the crops. Here's infinity:

    35mm-shootout-infiniti.

    (The Canon may have had a disadvantage - I think the adapter is a hair too thick so the lens can't quite reach infinity, wide open - absolutely not Canon's fault, but it seems to have caught up just fine by the optimal aperture.)

    Center wide open:

    35mm-shootout-f2.

    Center f/5.6:

    35mm-shootout-f56.

    Best corners:

    35mm-shootout-corners.

    Findings:

    The Leica absolutely kicks butt for wide open performance (previous tests corroborate this). The Canon isn't too far off, but the difference is definitely there. The AF-Nikkor lags far behind. Even at 2.8, there is a clear difference. The gap closes quite a bit by f/4 and by f/5.6 it's pretty hard to tell the three apart...

    ... at least in the center. The best corner crops again show the AF-Nikkor a distant third and the Canon a close second.

    It appears the older Canon and Leica lenses both have a slight yellowish tint - I believe the AF-Nikkor has the truer color response.

    So there it is. The AF-Nikkor didn't fare so well head to head under the microscope, but I will definitely be hanging on to it for sentimental and practical reasons. I find even now on the super-demanding NEX-7, it serves nicely on wider product shots. I've done some direct A/B comparisons against the Leitz and stopped down, I can't spot any difference. (Except the colors with the AF-Nikkor are more inviting and match my other product lenses better.)

    8861596544_64b199fdcb_c.
    Leica or Nikon? I'll never tell...

    Fun as this was to do, I'd love to give these lenses a rematch in a year or two... on a full-frame sensor! :cool:
     
  2. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Thanks again! The moment I'll succumb to a Leica lens is coming closer and closer...
     
  3. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    I can certainly vouch that the defunct R-series lenses are a lot more obtainable than the M-series (rangefinder) lenses. I'd love to try the 50/2 and 100/4 macro (the 100/2.8 would be nifty as well, except those still go for well over $2K).
     
  4. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    And the R-series lenses don't have colour shifts like the M-lenses do, right?
     
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Being SLR lenses they should be fine. ;)