The VC 35s 1.4 v 1.2

Discussion in 'Leica M and LTM Lenses' started by NJH, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. NJH

    NJH Leica Place Regular

    Apr 29, 2013
    I would like to hear your opinions on these guys. Am I right in thinking the little 1.4 suffers from focus shift but the monster 1.2 II doesn't? Here in the UK there is also a huge price differential. I would like to get something for my M8 at some point for low light and indoors stuff.
  2. flash

    flash Leica Place Regular

    Mar 30, 2013
    I have owned both but currently own neither. I will need to get a 35 again, although it's not my favourite focal length and I will get the 1.2. However this is purely because I like the look of the 1.2, especially wide open.

    The 1.4 does have focus shift between f2 and f5.6. But you can account for it at f4 and tweak the focus apporopriately after a while. It really does have a distinct signature, that is very "classic" and can be quite beautiful. I really love the look of the 1.4 for gritty black and whites with deep blacks.

    The 1.2 is unique in its rendering. It doesn't look like anything else from any brand (unlike the 50mm 1.5 which can be mistaken for a pre-asph). I really like how this lens looks (the images). Unfortunately the two I tried both had focusing issues and I swapped the 35mm for a 21mm 1.8 (awesome lens btw, just awesome). It has no focus shift and is sharp as &*%$. Make sure your rangefiner is perfectly calibrated. The 1.2 is a big lens by Leica standards and also very heavy. That's it's only potential downside.

  3. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    I have the 35/1.2 Nokton and the 35/1.7 Ultron. Neither suffer from focus shift. The 35/1.7 focus is spot-on with my M9, the 35/1.2 had a very slight back-focus corrected with one layer of copper tape. It was optimized for film cameras, digital is slightly different.

    I've never used the 35/1.4: but it is all-spherical, the Nokton and Ultron are aspherical.
  4. Amin

    Amin Administrator

    Mar 28, 2013
    Neither version of the 35/1.2 has focus shift, and there is little difference between the original 35/1.2 and the 35/1.2 II in terms of image quality. There are some inexpensive used 35/1.2 first version used copies out there. The main downside to that lens is size and weight. The focus throw is also pretty long, which to me was a downside.

    The 35/1.4 by contrast is almost too small, and while it definitely exhibits focus shift and more barrel distortion, I didn't find either issue to be a big problem. In the end I kept neither because my Zeiss 35/2 gives me all that I want or need at that focal length, but I thought both CV lenses were very good.
  5. NJH

    NJH Leica Place Regular

    Apr 29, 2013
    Oooh. Interesting thought. I have the Planar 50 and its my favourite out of my 3 M mount lenses (25 color skopar, 50 Planar, 90 Lanthar) as its just the best lens optically out of that set. I also have the hood which is good for both the 35 and the 50.

    On paper the difference between f2 and f1.2 is substantial but I do wonder how substantial a difference that is for folks in practice.
  6. Amin

    Amin Administrator

    Mar 28, 2013
    For me it's a very noticeable difference in terms of low light and DOF control. However, it's also a big difference in terms of weight/handling. Also, the Biogon has more even sharpness across the frame and zero distortion. I've come to really love this lens.
  7. Armanius

    Armanius Leica Place Regular

    Mar 30, 2013
    Love my CV 35/1.4 SC!! Many of my favorite M9 photos are with that little lens. Best bang for the buck for M lenses.
  8. trisberg

    trisberg Leica Place Rookie

    Mar 30, 2013
    I have to agree with Amin here - the 35mm Biogon f2 is a great lens. I also have the 35 1.4 Nokton SC and while it's a pretty good lens, when I shoot it side by side with the Biogon I always prefer the Biogon shots. There is something about that lens that's very attractive. I think it is a very well balanced performer, sharp enough wide open, no distortion and really sharp stopped down a couple of steps. It's not a speed king though, so if you need 1.4 or 1.2, it's not a good fit.

  9. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Mar 30, 2013
    Biogon here... It suits me down to the ground.

    Sent from another Galaxy