Comparison of the super fast 50s – 50mm f1.2

The followig article is a guest post by Murok Marci

The following lenses will be shown

Canon FD SSC 55mm f1,2

Canon FD SSC ASPH 55mm f1,2

Fuji EBC 50mm f1,2

Konica Hexanon 57mm f1,2

Minolta Rokkor X 50mm f1,2

Olympus OM 55mm f1,2

Pentax 50mm f1,2

PO109 50mm f1,2

Porst Color Reflex PK 50mm f1,2

Porst Color Reflex 50mm f1,2

Revuenon PK 55mm f1,2

Canon FD SSC 55mm f1,2
Canon FD SSC ASPH 55mm f1,2
Fuji EBC 50mm f1,2
Konica Hexanon 57mm f1,2
Minolta Rokkor X 50mm f1,2
Olympus OM 55mm f1,2
Pentax 50mm f1,2
PO109 50mm f1,2
Porst Color Reflex PK 50mm f1,2
Porst Color Reflex 50mm f1,2
Revuenon PK 55mm f1,2

Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Summar f=5cm 1:2

On monday I took my chance and had a nice camera walk in the sunshine of Heidelberg. To challenge myself I took a lens with me that I barely use. The Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Summar f=5cm 1:2 (Leica Summar 50mm f2).

The lens

The little Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Summar was built between 1932 and 1939 and is still yet a really sharp and superb lens. Its made out of six elements and has six aperture blades.

Optical Quality

Even on modern 42 megapixel camera the lens is really usable. When its open at f2 its sharp in the middle with a slight vignetting and really soft corners. When you stop it down it becomes a really really sharp lens.

The bokeh is bubbly and swirly really similar to the Helios 44 lenses.

Photos at F2

My M42 Lenses on the Fotodiox Pronto Autofocus Adapter

In this article its all about the compability of my M42 lenses to the Fotodiox Pronto (Techart PRO AF) adapter.

As the autofocus works with all lenses, better when its brigt worse when its darker, this article is about if the 4,5mm focusway is enough. (More Info about the adapter)

The test was done with this setup:

Sony Alpha 7RII + Fotodiox Pronto + Fotodiox M42 auf Leica M + M42 Lens


Needs manual prefocus?
prefocus steps
additional info

Carl Zeiss Flektogon
20mm f2,8



Helios 44-2
58mm f2
yes 2 Only works with the center AF spot
Carl Zeiss Flektogon
35mm f2,8
yes 3 Only works with the center AF spot
Zenitar Fisheye
16mm f2,8
no 0 none
Meyer Optik Görlitz
58mm f1,9
yes 2 none
55mm f1,4
yes 2 none
Meyer Optik Görlitz
100mm f2,8
yes 4 none

Life as an Equipment Junkie

The following article is a guest post by Jim Headley.

Sleeper 135mm f:3.5 Lens Test

Battle Between Two Cult Classics, the Kyoei Super-Acall and the Soligor

A few years ago, I was rather bored and went onto the Internet for some entertainment.

I often type Leica in the auction website and just browse the closing auctions for a bargain.

I quickly located a Leica IIIC stepper and bought it for under $400, with a clean 50mm collapsible Elmar. During my browsing I also located two 135mm lenses for sale. Both were in 39mm Leica Thread Mount and the auction was about to end with no bidders. I slapped down a $27 bid, only to find out in a few minutes that I was now the proud owner of these two 135mm lenses for a paltry $19.99. I quickly paid for them ($24.99 with shipping).

I really didn’t care about these lenses as my big prize of the day was my fourth IIIC stepper to add to my collection.

The lenses showed up the same day as the coveted IIIC, so they didn’t get much attention until later that evening. I searched the Internet only to find that both the Kyoei Super-Acall and the Soligor lenses are very loved by their owners. Many call them “sleeper lenses.”

Okay, I did become excited at this point and even found one reference calling the lenses, “better than the Hektor 135.”

I could not sleep that night as visions of the two lenses danced in my head.

The weekend came around, so I decided to put the two “sleepers” to the test. I’ve always hunted for the perfect M-mount 135mm lens – even to go as far as cutting off the eyes of a Leica 135mm f:2.8 Elmarit. The eyes were scratched beyond use, so please don’t gasp.

My Elmarit performs well but it doesn’t focus accurately on the rangefinder patch of my M8. It’s great at infinity but difficult to focus on anything very close. I was using it on a Micro 4/3 camera and it was splendid.

I have always struggled to find a great 135mm lens and with the 1.3x crop of my Leica M8 chip, the 135 effectively becomes a 175mm. That is a “nice” focal length to use.

I took the two sleeper lenses down to the local dam on the Little Blue River as well as performing a test on the top of the local courthouse.

WOW! I am amazed by both the Kyoei Super-Acall and the Soligor. They are indeed sleeper lenses and better that all the 135mm Hektors that I have owned.

I first gravitated to the larger and heavier Kyoei Super-Acall but I finally relented and picked the less-impressive Soligor. I mean come-on with a name like Soligor it can’t be that great.

To my surprise the Soligor rated and tested as the best of the two when I went through a series of detailed head-to-head quality tests from wide open at f:3.5 to f:22.

The Soligor was tack sharp at f:11 while the Super-Acall was a little softer. Both lenses had fantastic color retention but I found the little Soligor was a little warmer while the Super-Acall had nicer blues and cooler tones. At f:16 and 22 both lenses were sharp with great color retention but the Soligor was just a little better.

So if you have been hunting for a reasonably priced 135mm lens to snap onto your digital (or film) Leica, please take a look at the Kyoei Super-Acall and the Soligor 135mm f:3.5 lenses. They are sleepers and many are discovering their unique charm and quality, so they are beginning to rise in price a little.

I was incredibly lucky to find them together in one auction for $19.99. The Kyoei Super-Acall normally is in the $200 to $400 range while the “better” Soligor is $200 to $300 if you can find them on the used market.

They both make a great telephoto on an M-mount Leica with a good adapter.


Fotodiox Pronto – Autofocus with old lenses

Fotodiox Pronto

As I came home from the office today [22.12.2017] there was a parcel waiting for me. Mr. Schmitz from the german Lumiere-Shop borrowed me one of his Fotodiox Pronto adapters untill February 2018. By then I will do several testing with this adapter to check out how it performs and which lenses it works good with.

Next to the Pronto adapter iitself there was an additional Fotodiox M42 to Leica M Adapter in the parcel. This adapter allows me to use my M42 lenses with autofocus.

First impression

I can’t tell anything about the box as my adapter was already unboxed and came in a plastic bag.

The housing of the adapter is made from metal. No plastic. The inner moving part is brass-coloured and looks really cool. I really have to say that the adapter feel really well finished . No wiggling, no sharp edges and no strange uneven joints.

The adapter sticks out at the bottom of the camera, when there is no L-Bracket mounted to the camera. If you want to place the camera on the ground it will not be balanced well and fall over. If you use an L-Bracket the adapter and the bracket are on the same plain. It stands rock solid.


The Fotodiox adapter works the same way as you would when focusing a avintage lens. It shifts the lens forth and back to get the subject in focus. The maximum shifted distance is 4,5mm.

The adapter uses the sony Phase-Detection-Points to see if there is something in focus or not. Cameras which only have Contrast-AF-Points,like the A6000, will not be able to use this system.

Following posts

In the next post i will test all my M42 lenses. I’ll test if the focus works, if the 4,5mm are enough or if you have to pre-focus yourself and i will try to test the speed of focus with different apertures.

If you have any questions about the adapter feel free to leave them in a comment.


Fifties, a most wonderful

The following is a guest blog by Jorgen Guldmann:

Everyone needs at least one GOOD 50mm lens (I got a fair amount). In my opinion a good 50mm lens must be versatile, with a nice bokeh, fast to accommodate for less available light, and sharp when stopped down to aperture below f2. There are a lot of 50mm prime lenses on the market, both old and new. In this little blog i am comparing 6 different pieces.. I hope you enjoy their attributes and expressions.



Christmas Markets – Giant photographic playgrounds

Why Christmas Markets?

Actually im not a huge fan of Christmas Markets. Expensive food, headache causing glogg and masses of people walking between either more or less beautiful little shacks. Nevertheless I really enjoy going to Christmas Markets. Equiped with my camera, a gorillapod tripod and several lenses which I wanna do some experiments with.

For me Christmas Markets with all their colourful lights, the hats filled up with candles and twinkling odds and ends are the perfect oportunity to live out my imagination. Taking photos on a Christmas Market is really varying and wont get boring. Besides all the light sources there are aswell some moving objects like carousels and christmas pyramids.

Long exposures, Flektogon 20mm f2.8
Bokeh Tests
“Exploding Bokeh”

In the end I want to show you my latest experiment. The exploding bokeh of a slightly modified Carl Zeiss Flektogon 35mm f2.8 lens. I love it.

Feel free to comment and tell me your opinion about taking photos on a christmas market. Maybe even share some examples.


What is bokeh?

What is bokeh?

This question splits up the photographic community in several groups. Overall you can say that bokeh is the not sharp area of a photo. For some photographers “good” bokeh is when the unsharp area is smooth and calm. Others love it when the bokeh is swirly (Helios 50mm f2) or bubbly (Meyer Optik Görlitz Trioplan 50).

Bokeh is created when light sources are out of the focus area of the lens. These light sources dont create a sharp spot on the sensor plane. They create a blurry spot shaped like the blur circle of the lens.

As you can see in this illustration the light from source A creates a huge spot because its in the out of focus area.  Source C has the same phenomenom. Only light source B creates a sharp spot on the sensor.

If you open the aperture of your lens as wide as you can, the sharp area gets smaller and its easier to get bokeh in the background.

The shape of the bokeh is dependent to the shape of the lenses aperture. Lenses with a huge number of aperture blades like the Meyer Optik Görlitz Trioplan 50 create almost round bokeh bubbles.

Lenses with five blades in the aperture create a pentagonal like bokeh.

Thank you Ian Chattam for the example.

A different bokeh effect is the swirly bokeh of the Helios 44-M4 lens. It swirls the out of focus area around the center of the image.

In the end you cant say what bokeh is the best or perfect. It depends on what you want to create and what you personally like. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


Meyer Optik Görlitz Trioplan 50mm f2,9

The little bokeh wonder

The Meyer Optik Görlitz Trioplan 50mm f2.9 was the first ever soapbubble bokeh lens I discovered and I like to call it a gateway drug. With its price about 150$ its not that expensive and way cheaper than the newly released version. The most common mount is the EXA Mount. It is easy to adapt to digital cameras without a mirror (Sony E, Panasonic, Olympus, Fuji, Canon EOS EF-Mm […]) . To use it on a digital mirror reflex camera you either have to accept loss of quality or infinty focus or buy a more expensive M42 version of the Trioplan 50mm f2.9.

Optical performance

The Trioplan 50mm f2.9 is for sure neither the sharpest nor the most colorful lens but with its characteristic bokeh bubbles its definetly awesome. Everyone should have a copy of this lens in the cupboard.


Because of my instagram posts of photos I shot with the trioplan 50mm several of my followers asked me about it. After I had some requests i decided to buy the Trioplan in Germany and ship it to friends all over the world.

All of my friends who received a copy of the Trioplan became vintage lens addicts and bought many more lenses.

Ian C. (@sackofsoul)

The Trioplan is the lens many people first fall in love with when they discover bubble bokeh. When my first one arrived I took it on holiday with me, and spent a day in the mountains photographing the sunlight through the leaves of trees, laughing to myself, gasping at the difference between what my eyes could see and what the Trioplan 50 could see, whilst getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Totally worth it.

Ricardo B. (@rbayon)

Ahhh, the Trioplan 50! Even if it isn’t the first vintage lens you buy, it is the first one you really, really want. You see all that wonderful bubble bokeh and you think to yourself “what sort of wizardry is that”. Often that bokeh is the result of a Trioplan —most of the best bubbles come from this Meyer Optik beauty. So you go on e-Bay, you look for the Trioplan. At first you look at the Trioplan 100, but that is too expensive for a first vintage lens (unless you have more money than sense), so you look around. You find out there is a Trioplan 50. You see that it gets you 95% of what you want (those bubbles!) so you take the plunge. If you are smart, you buy one from Daniel (like I did). And then it arrives: beautiful, silvery, with that solid mechanical feel like no lens you’ve ever seen. And it seems small at first… small that is until you take your first photos. Then you download them to your computer and you are blown away. You can’t stop giggling at all those bubbles. But what surprises you is that even those photos that don’t have bubbles. Even the shots of people, or buildings, or whatever, they are ALL magical. The way this thing captures light is like nothing you’ve ever seen. You are hooked. You want more. Your appetite for vintage lenses becomes insatiable. Truly a vintage lens photographer’s life can be defined in two eras: Before Trioplan (BT) and After Trioplan (AT). It is just that transformational. Like coming of age. Sure, after the Trioplan your budget takes a hit from buying every vintage lens you can get your hands on, but on the inside you can’t stop smiling, and your photographic world is the better for it.

Melissa L. (@petitcanard)

My first experience with vintage lenses was the Trioplan 50 (bought from Daniel) and what an introduction! One look at the gorgeous bubble bokeh and I was hooked! The Trioplan takes the ordinary and transforms it to extraordinary There’s no going back!

At the time I wrote this blog, I have three Trioplan in my cupboard which I would let go. Feel free to contact me if you want one.


Comparison Carl Zeiss Flektogon 20mm f2,8 and Carl Zeiss Flektogon 20mm f4


Today I took some test shots to compare the Zeiss Flektogon 20mm f2.8 and the Zeiss Flektogon 20mm f4.

Both of these old vintage lenses have the m42 mount and can be adapted to every modern camera (Sony, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Fuji etc.). The M42 mount is the best to adapt.

The design of both lenses is almost indestructible. They are completely made from metal and glas.

When it comes to the price, the f4 version (160€ at ebay.de) is about 100€ cheaper than the f2.8 version.

Optical Quality

When you compare the optical quality of the lenses, you soon realise that the Carl Zeiss Flektogon f2.8 is the better lens.

click the image to enlarge it

The Flektogon f2.8 is sharper even wide open at f2,8 compared to the f4 version at f4.

This better sharpness continues through all apertures.

The vignetting is almost the same when you compare f2.8 with f4. But when you stop down the f2.8 version to f4 its almsot gone.

The sharpness in the corners and with subjects far away, the Flektogon 20mm f2.8 is better wide open compared to the f4 version. From f8 there are no significant differences between the both. At f16 the f4 version is almost a little bit sharper.

click the image to enlarge it

Last but not least a comaprison of the “star” both lenses create.

Conclusive opinion

Its hard to tell which of these two lenses is the better one. In my opinion the Carl Zeiss Flektogon f4 is a really good lens for landscape and architecture photography for all Sony, Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Panasonioc (and all others) photographers. When you use a tripod and can stop it down to aperture 8 or 16 there is almost no difference to the f2.8 verison.

Because the f2.8 version is way way better wide open, i recommend this version for astro photography.

Final request

As this is my first “lens review” I would kindly ask you to leave a comment how you liked it. I’d love to read some lines of wishes, criticism and suggestions.