Yep, that’s it. I have tried a lot of lenses in my life, but I reach a pretty good level of satisfaction with those tiny ones. I have mounted those lenses on the X-Pro1, but it could be on Leica bodies, Oly M43 or Sony A7 series. This is where I am, where I’m standing with my gear early 2016. Ok, I definitively don’t care about the autofocus speed. This article is about GAS, my GAS and my healing of it. I’m probably going to sell some of the gear below, but in the meantime, let’s share some of this experience.
Let’s start with my widest angle, the Voigtlaender Ultron 21mm f1.8 Asph. You can see it here with the adapter I designed to mount the Lee filter series 100. It works with the big stopper, it works with the GNDs too.
This is not the best balanced body and lens couple, but the output is pretty gorgeous. It behaves like a 32mm.
The I have a bunch of 28mm, I hunted them for a long time.
The first, one of those I like the much is the Voigtlaender 28mm f2 Ultron. It’s not the Leica Summicron in terms of sharpness, I saying wide open, but so far I’m pretty impressed by the results. It works well, but my copy is perhaps good, or better that usual. Who knows.
The second one is something I’ll qualify very strange. The Minolta M-Rokkor 28mm f2.8. This is a lens made in the seventies by Minolta in Japan for the Minolta rangefinder CLE. It suffers of the whale shark disease, white dots inside the lens. But so far it doesn’t affect the image quality on a visible manner.
The fire one is the lens I chose instead of the Leica Elmarit version, the Zeiss ZM 28mm f2.8 Biogon. This is a lens I have for a short time now. I like it, it’s sharp, sometimes too much.
Then the 35mm, I also have a little collection of lenses I’m using in particular situations.
I had before a Leica Summicron 35mm f2 Asph. A very good lens. I had to sold it. Now I think, I’ll certainly chase one in the future. I replaced it by the Zeiss ZM 35mm f2 Biogon. They are very close in terms of sharpness. Not sure about the bokeh, but I think as far as I remember pretty close. A very good choice, except for Sony A7 series.
One of my favorite 35mm is the Voigtlaender 35mm f1.2 Nokton Asph. This is an amazing lens. Excellent at f1.4 and with a real creamy bokeh at f1.2. There’s no secret, I like the voigtlaenders.
The next 25mm is the latest Voigtlaender 35mm f1.7 Ultron in chrome version. I like this lens, it’s particularly sharp. I chose it certainly to try, and at the end of the test it worked simply good. A very good choice and a bargain in Europe (march 2016). It’s a bit long for a 35mm, I’ll certainly have to modify the lens hood to fix it directly on the lens instead of screwing it on a dedicated spacer. It might be then almost 8 mm shorter (a third of an inch)
My last 35mm is the Voigtlaender 35mm f1.4 Nokton Classic MC. I chose this one for its really special rendering. This is not the sharpest lens, but it has a special character and it works pretty well on Sony A7 even if it has field curvature issues in certain circonstances.
Now I have a alien, the Leica Summicron 40mm f2, made for the Leica CLE rangefinder camera. A very interesting lens with a very particular rendering. Tac sharp, but with something extra. A very good choice particularly on M8. It’s very compact. (1973)
Then www are reaching my preferred ones, the 0mm family.
I have to start with a very particular lens, the 1957 Leica Summicron Rigid 50mm f2. I found this one like new, like if somebody took it directly from the late fifties through a time tunnel. Impressive. The lens is providing absolutely gorgeous colors and the sharpens is totally amazing. You can chase some of the best modern lenses with it.
Then, I have another Leica Summicron 50mm f2, the type IV, made in Canada in 1983. This is also an absolute winner and maybe one of the best lens to pair with the Fuji X-Pro1. Amazing. Gorgeous for portrait, really close to the latest Fuji 56mm f1.2 in terms of sharpness. The bokeh is most probably better on the 56mm due to the 1.5 additional stops.
The next one is a legend, one of my favorite, the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 Asph. The latest one. One of the three four best lenses in the market. Not the one I have always on the Fuji, but the one I’m working with on a daily basis. Absolutely a dream lens, a must have if you can afford it. Crazy sharpness, uber creamy bokeh. Perfect in all ways.
A good choice if you are looking for something similar to the Summilux, you can check the Voigtlaender 50mm f1.5 Nokton Asph. A really really good lens for just a fraction of the price of the Leica one. Sharpness, good delicious bokeh. A real challenger. One of my favorite. It’s so good, that I’m usually unable to say if an image is coming from the Nokton or from the Lux.
The black version in aluminum is also very good. It’s awesome with the Sony A7 series.
Then in the Nokton family, there’s the ultra fast, ultra bulky Voigtlaender Nokton 50mm f1.1. I call it « the poor man Noctilux ». In fact it’s not a Noktilux, it’s doesn’t perform like the Leica dream lens. But I was recently very surprised by the results. Usually, the mechanical side of the rangefinder coupling must be perfect to work well with a Leica body. If the coupling is not perfect, then the results are not interesting. But, with an EVF, this is another story. It forks well, it works very well. Recently I have purchased a VM close-up adapter for the A7S. If you reduce the minimal focus distance and you use it with an electronic viewfinder, the the results are impressive, silly magic. This is not the sharpest lens, but it provide really decent results, with an excellent character.
To finish this review of some lenses you can pair with an X-Pro1, I have only one remaining telephoto lens. The Leica Summicron 90mm f2, made in 1987. I like this lens. I made a weeding recently with this lens on my Sony A7S. The light conditions were awful. But the results were sharp and really amazing. It’s maybe a little bit heavy, but this is also a good.
What I miss, I had the 35mm Color Skopar from Voigtlaender, a really good choice. An extremely small pancake, perfectly sharp. I had also the Leica Summarit 75mm f2.5. A good sharp lens. But I never called in lave with it. And this is important. The results were not upon my taste. I have also tried the Zeiss planar 50mm f2, the Zeiss Sonnar f1.5. Both are very interesting. Maybe some activities for the futur. I have also tried the Voigtlaender 75mm f1.8. This was interesting, but at the end pretty heavy, long and not really useful.
I also would like to try an old rangefinder Canon 50mm lens. The Japanese Summilux. I also would like to try the Russian Jupiter 3, another interesting thing I guess. Maybe the next version from Lomography. One of my dreams is to try the MS Optical Sonnetar, the 50mm f1.1 from Mr. Miyazaki san. That could be something interesting. It’s small, compact and very fast.
I’m obviously not shooting with these lenses all the time. But I’m changing often, and adding sometimes some challenges by using old lenses in modern conditions. It’s a way to progress. The X-Pro1 is very good on that.
PS: Some of this lenses will be on sale…