7Artisans 50/1.1 and Zeiss 50/1.5 C-Sonnar visit Gunston Hall

Discussion in 'Leica M and LTM Lenses' started by Brian, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    I’m a big fan of the Sonnar lens- compact, fast, and full of character. I have most implementations of the 5cm/50mm Sonnar, from a 1934 5cm F1.5 and 5cm F2 through to the C-Sonnar 50mm F1.5 and the Jupiter-3+. 5cm/50mm Sonnars made by Carl Zeiss Jena, Zeiss Opton, Nikon, Canon, Tanack, KMZ, ZOMZ, and Valdai. German, Japanese, and Russian Sonnars. When the 7Artisans 50mm F1.1 lens was announced, I could see from the diagram on the box that it was a modern incarnation of the Zunow 5cm F1.1 V2. The “filler” elements were eliminated as modern multi-coated optics makes them unnecessary. Zeiss did this with the C-Sonnar, replacing the original 1-3-3 configuration with 1-1-1-3 6 elements in 4 group design. The layout of the rear section is different, but functionally similar to the Zunow. “I’m guessing” that one of the elements is for “field correction” to reduce curvature of field. Carl Zeiss Jena added such an element to a prototype 5cm F1.5 Sonnar in the 1940s, but it was not produced. At $369, “pulled the trigger” on a chrome 7Artisans 50/1.1 from a Hong Kong Ebay dealer with 100% feedback rating and good return policy. This is the fourth 50/1.1 Sonnar formula lens that I am aware of: The 1950s Zunow V1 was a 9-element design, replaced by the 8-element V2; the 5-element in 4-group 50mm F1.1 Sonnetar; and this lens. I’ve never used the Zunow or Sonnetar. The Zunow is rare, has some construction “quirks”, and goes in the $4000+ range. The Sonnetar is the ultimate stretch of the 5cm F2 6-element in 3-group 1-3-2 design, the filler element of the front triplet made unnecessary with modern coatings.

    My 7Artisans 50/1.1 arrived in the middle of July, just in time for my 60th birthday- my present to me. Calibration was perfect out of the box on my M9 and M Monochrom. Right away I found that using the lens with a 55mm thread filter and hood caused vignetting at the far corners, so switched to a 55->58 step up ring, filters, and hood. I use a UV/IR cut filter with the M9 and a Y2 (medium yellow) with the M Monochrom. Got tired of switching filters between the two, sold a vintage converted Sonnar, and bought a second Black lens from the Hong Kong dealer. The first lens would not mount on my M3DS, and read that the mount was being revised. I took delivery of the second lens in early September. The new lens “needs a little more revising”, mounts on the M3DS but pushing against the side of the lens release button which prevents it from locking into place. I know where to file- but am leaving it alone for now. The second lens was way-off on the M9 and M Monochrom, included the screwdriver to make the adjustment. I suggest marking the starting point of the RF Cam and rim of the lens mount before starting this procedure, make sure both screws are tight –BUT NOT OVERTIGTHENED- before shooting a test shot. It's too easy to break the head off of these tiny set screws. Been there, done that, have spares from parts lenses. This procedure is easily done with cameras with Liveview, a little slower with the CCD M-Series cameras, and would be a pain with a film camera. I adjusted my black lens for the M Monochrom to be best with a Y2 filter and at F1.1. This was an easy adjustment. (My Voigtlander 50/1.1 Nokton required a strip of copper tape on the RF cam to focus properly on my M Monochrom.) The 7Artisans lens has less focus shift than I expected, and the flatness of field is better than expected. Field curvature of the Sonnar design tends to run through the image like a dampened sine wave.

    21142500073_f1a8858999_o.

    The lens is well constructed, but an “older and simpler” approach is taken to some of the components. The focus ring is held to the mechanism with three HEX screws. Find a HEX driver to tighten them as if required, I’ve had to tighten one screw on the chrome lens. It’s been fine ever since, and this was not required on the newer Black lens. The original Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnars and Jupiters are similar, use three flat-head set screws to secure the focus ring to the mechanism underneath. I’ve tightened a lot of those. The Aperture ring does not use Click-Stops, and is the older style “geometric progression” where rotation between stops is reduced as you close down. By contrast, the C-Sonnar and Zeiss Opton Sonnars use “Linear Progression” with equal spacing between stops, and the C-Sonnar adds click-stops. “Conservation of Inconvenience” principle, the mechanisms for click-stops and linear progression require more space, resulting in a wider body for the lens.

    I would have preferred that 7Artisans used the older concept of Long-Focus throw for their lens, but neither did Zeiss for the C-Sonnar nor Cosina for the Voigtlander 50/1.1 Nokton. The focus throw is ~90degrees from 0.7m to infinity. I use a 1.25x magnifier with the M9 and M Monochrom, and am able to focus accurately at F1.1. “It works”, you just learn to move the focus ring slowly. I prefer the long throw of the Jupiter-3+ and vintage LTM Sonnars and Jupiters. There is no play in the focus, and it is highly repeatable, feels as good as the 50/1.1 Nokton.

    I’ve used the original chrome lens for ~1000 shots now, and have the Black lens calibrated to my liking. Seemed like a good time to run some comparisons with the other Sonnar formula lenses. Of course this lens is a full stop faster than the F1.5 Sonnars, and that has to be taken into account. I’ll be comparing this new lens with several of the classics, but this first comparison is with the C-Sonnar 50/1.5, which can be considered the “Gold Standard” for Sonnars. The C-Sonnar bought used is easily twice the cost of the 7Artisans lens.

    The first “informal Comparison” is between the 7Artisans 50/1.1 and C-Sonnar 50/1.5 at Gunston Hall, home of George Mason, in Northern Virginia. Both lenses equipped with Y2 filters and vented hoods. 7Artisans used at F1.1, F1.5, and F4. C-Sonnar used at F1.5 and F4. Focus is with the Rangefinder, a slight “fudge factor” used to account for focus shift at F4 with the C-Sonnar. I “nudge” the Rangefinder image slightly to correct shift towards infinity.


    Scene 1:

    7Artisans at F1.1,

    37568268561_e2e5b5df97_b. 7Artisans1F1p1 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    7Artisans at F1.5,

    37568255771_38144b3088_b. 7Artisans1F1p5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    7Artisans at F4:

    37568268211_3ed1b64b60_b. 7Artisans1F4 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    C-Sonnar at F1.5,

    37520137956_c5f7ac2253_b. CSonnar1F1.5 by fiftyonepointsix, on FlickrC-Sonnar at F4,

    37520137756_3cff3df2b2_b. CSonnar1F4 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr
     
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  2. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Scene 2:

    7Artisans at F1.1,

    36898618103_b6333bb0ea_b. 7Artisans2F1p1 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr


    7Artisans at F1.5,

    37568267621_35d48c5452_b. 7Artisans2F1p5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    7Artisans at F4,

    37568267221_20fb7f0451_b. 7Artisans2F4 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr


    C-Sonnar at F1.5,

    37520137426_ac528a010b_b. CSonnar2f1p5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr


    C-Sonnar at F4,

    37520137086_c1727d23d5_b. CSonnar2f4 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    Scene 3

    7Artisans at F1.1,

    37568266851_d9f2a757f7_b. 7Artisans3f1p1 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    7Artisans at F1.5,

    36898617113_72cd0dedfb_b. 7Artisans3f1p5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    7Artisans at F4,

    37568266161_460ba07cb7_b. 7Artisans3f4 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    C-Sonnar at F1.5,

    37520136816_188d986832_b. CSonnar3F1p5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    C-Sonnar at F4,

    37520136576_3db4cb2a99_b. CSonnar3F4 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr
     
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  3. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Scene 4 (“Pull 160” used on F1.1 and F1.5 shots, sky is over-exposed)

    7Artisans at F1.1,

    37568264191_76b61147ab_b. 7artisans5_F1p1 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    7Artisans at F1.5,

    37568263351_7f5935197f_b. 7artisans5_F1p5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    7Artisans at F4,

    37568263781_faf4f605b2_b. 7artisans5_F4 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    C-Sonnar at F1.5,

    37520135216_b53d07bf25_b. CSonnar5_F1p5 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    C-Sonnar at F4,

    37568312471_467b3a35e4_b. CSonnar5_F4 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr


    Full-resolution images uploaded to Flickr. The C-Sonnar images show less light fall-off at the corners, and better edge-to-edge sharpness mostly due to better flatness-of-field. Of my many Sonnars, as stated –“The Gold Standard” of the line. The 7Artisans lens is about 1/3rd the price of a new C-Sonnar and twice as fast. I’ve seen Valdai Black Jupiter-3’s go for about the same price and the Nikkor 5cm F1.4 in LTM go for much more. Those comparisons will be coming up soon.




    And- just some walking around shots with the 7Artisans,

    Wide-Open,

    37568262091_ba081eba98_b. L1017494 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    At F2,

    37568261031_8db54b22d8_b. L1017499 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    Wide-Open,

    37568260691_f4399b7ced_b. L1017500 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    At F1.5,

    37568260391_5af1fbdcc4_b. L1017501 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    Wide-Open,

    37568256531_1ee9642ac7_b. L1017507 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    At F1.5,

    37568255231_27ae429b4f_b. L1017508 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr


    All shots with Y2 filter.
     
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