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Replace P20/1.7 with CV25/0.95?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by dre_tech, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    I'm considering getting the Nokton 25/0.95 and selling the Panasonic 20 1.7. I rarely use the P20 after getting the 12-35, as it's only a little over a stop faster, but the 3 stop faster CV25 might be interesting. It would be a specialty lens for me, I don't do video.

    How did others do with the CV25 focusing going from AF? I fully expect to have to do a little focus bracketing on the shallow DoF shots and to use the focus scale for when I stop down.

    I've never used a manual focus lens on :43: or other systems, I'm young enough to have always had AF available, and not wealthy enough for Leica M...

    As a background, I started with the GX1 & 14-42PZ (sold now), then added 45, 7-14, 20, E-M5, 45-175, 12-35 & 12-50. I liked having a pancake lens on the GX1, but now I carry everything in a bag, so size isn't really important...
     
  2. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    As someone who's used the Nokton 25mm almost exclusively for the last 12 months, I've got a few questions and bits of advice.

    First, what do you want it for? The Nokton is not a lens for everyone and it's not cheap, so I'd seriously think about why you need/want it before purchasing.

    Second, expect a fairly steep learning curve... It's a very capable lens but as I've said before, it's takes time to learn it's characteristics and get the best out of it - it does a whole bunch of things which can either add or subtract from it's charm, depending in how it's used. If you have no experience with manual aperture and focus, then expect this process to take time. It does not render images with the clinical efficiency that you get with something like the Lumix 20mm or m.ZD 45mm.

    Third, factor into your budget a 4-stop ND filter if you plan to use f0.95 in daylight.

    In response to your question on focussing, no, I never found it particulat difficult. It's slower than AF of course, but the focussing mechanism is beautifully tactile, very accurate and a joy to use - a massive change from the focus-by-wire mechanisms of other native lenses. It's fairly easy to nail focus unmagnified with the GH2 EVF, and I've heard the OMD is even better in this respect. It will pay to learn zone-focussing and hyperfocal distances if you plan to use the lens for street-shooting.

    Finally, don't underestimate the Nokton as a general walkaround lens. In the right hands it's very, very capable and definitely doesn't have to be just a 'specialty' lens :smile:
     
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  3. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I also started with m4/3 with the GF2 and 14-42mm m.Zuiko and 20mm f/1.7 pancake, so I have come along a similar path to you. Going to MF on the CV 25mm was totally fine for me... I have no trouble with focusing on my G3 (not shooting action, obviously) and the beautifully damped focus ring and build quality are so pleasant that I enjoy it immensely. Likewise using the aperture ring is actually something I found I prefer over the Panasonic click-wheel method. I also like that I think more about my shots with a manual lens. At the end of the day, if I had to sell every lens I have tomorrow and only keep one, I think the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 would be the one left standing.

    I rarely if ever shoot with mine at f/0.95 simply because it's such a shallow DOF that I can't get enough in focus. There is a noticeable amount of vignetting wide open as well. Mine tends to sit at f/1.4 - f/2.8 most of the time unless I really need the extra light. In that respect I think the lens really hits its prime at f/1.4 and above, so I find it similar to the PL 25mm f/1.4 but with a totally different aesthetic to using it. If you want/need crazy thin depth of field or light gathering, the Voigtlander will do that for you. But if you're using it as a general use lens, I wouldn't focus as much on the f/0.95 capability. Think of it as really sharp, really well built fast manual lens and ask yourself if that's something you'll get use out of.

    One last recommendation - consider renting before you buy. Before I bought mine, I rented the CV 25mm and 17.5mm f/0.95 lenses from lensrentals.com and tried them both out for a week. It was worth it to me to make sure it was something I wanted before I spent that kind of money, and also to determine which of the two focal lengths/lenses I liked better.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    Thanks, I appreciate the advice and I understand your reservations. I found a nice deal on this lens which I've been thinking about for a while. Oh, and I've got a 3-stop ND Kenko Zeta in 52mm, quite handy? :wink: I also have a 6-stop ND in 58mm, between these two I'm covered.

    Originally I considered this lens before I got the 7-14, but I decided on the UWA. I considered it again before I got the Panasonic 20mm in April. At that time I wanted something very sharp (didn't have the 12-35 at the time) and I was taking a big trip with no other fast 20-25mm lens.

    I understand zone focusing, I couldn't really practice it easily as I don't have a lens with a focus scale. I do plan on doing it a little better than Eric Kim describes it... I'm not going to buy a very fast lens to use it at F8 & ISO 3200. I have an iPhone for photos like that.

    I expect the most difficult/annoying thing at first will be not having my f-stop in my EXIF, so figuring out if I misfocused or had too little DoF might be a little frustrating. I'm ready to use the DoF calculator on my phone at first to figure out some things.

    Thank you for the detailed answer. I just want something that can go faster than 1.4, but I understand that for many shots it's just not desirable to have such a shallow DoF. I know the look close to wide open is more distinct, but I'm interested in something when I have very little available light. IBIS is good, but it doesn't stop your subject from moving.

    Rental is a good idea, although it would kind of take away from the price advantage aspect. I'd probably pay for the rental as much as I'd lose selling the lens in a few months. I'll probably try it out at the local camera store, more for the feel on the camera and controls. I can play with my current lenses in MF to see how I do with it.

    I guess with the CV25 I won't need to use my DoF preview shortcut (on REC button). :D

    Thanks, I have a pretty good idea that it takes dedication to get good results and not be frustrated. The way I see it, if others have a good experience using MF lenses on rangefinders and using manual legacy glass I don't see myself being frustrated and giving up on the lens. If I'm passionate about something I usually try to figure out how to do it well, so I'm prepared for the learning curve.

    Anyway, the idea is that I'd get the CV25 first and have both for a couple of months and then sell the P20. My only hesitation is that I would give up my most compact lens, so if I want something compact that will be gone. Oh, I'm also adding 1lbs to my bag... :43: was originally supposed to be lighter than my Canon + 17-50.
     
  5. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    +1

    I wouldn't worry about overly shallow depth of field. The DoF you get with this lens at f0.95 and normal working distances (say a few metres) is enough for very nice subject separation, but it's definitely quite usable. As you say, at this aperture it has a very 'distinct' look (especially vignetting and 'glow') but for many things, especially people, this can be used to great effect :smile:

    Here's a few examples...

    7575081258_92f1fb2f75_c.
    P1130721 by nickthetasmaniac, on Flickr

    7575089090_107a26f675_c.
    P1130627 by nickthetasmaniac, on Flickr

    6285506747_25409de26e_b.
    P1060504 by nickthetasmaniac, on Flickr

    6196862729_361fe4fc37_o.
    P1050881 by nickthetasmaniac, on Flickr

    Good plan. I had both for about 8 months and ended up selling the Lumix when I realised I hadn't used in in 6...

    (1000 posts. Yay :smile:)
     
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  6. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Saw those shots in your other thread, very nice!

    If those are wide open then I may have to start using my CV 25mm at f/0.95 more often :biggrin: I had mixed results using it at f/0.95 in the past but a lot depends on enough distance to your subject to make sure you have a large enough focus area.
     
  7. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    I like the 4th photo especially, I like how the person talking is in focus while the others looking just slightly out . The 2nd image has a crazy amount of overlapping bokeh circles...

    As you said, if you have good working distance dof is sufficient, you don't want to take photos 1 foot away wide open. I guess I was going on what I read about razor sharp dof...

    Actually I just compared it to the 45/1.8 and the dof of the 45 wide open is much shallower than the CV25 at the same distance. To get similar dof I'd have to stop down the 45 to 3.2. Myth busted?

    Congrats for the 1000 posts!
     
  8. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    I'm interested how you came to that conclusion? I would have thought the two would have almost identical dof when used wide-open at the same working distance? (obviously the field of view will be completely different)
     
  9. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I tried the CV over a weekend trip (rented it) on an EPL2.

    It was just too heavily, and made the camera unbalanced. If they had a lighter version, and perhaps a little cheaper, I might be drawn to it again, but it was too heavy for me as a travel lens. Not sure if your uses would be different.
     
  10. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    I would have expected very shallow dof DOFmaster. Set GH2, 25mm, f/1, tried at 5meters & 10meters for example.

    You can then open another tab so you compare them in parallel. Set the 45, f/3.2, everything else the same.

    Yeah, I know it's heavier. I guess you can set the PL25 to MF if you want something light with a similar experience. :wink:

    My heaviest lenses so far are 300g & 305g, this is a 30% increase from one of those. I'm sure it'll be fine with the horizontal grip on the E-M5. I thought it wouldn't be ideal with my previous body (GX1 without EVF).
     
  11. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Interesting. The Nokton 25mm and m.ZD 45mm are my two main lenses and that hasn't been my experience in real world use (never tested it properly though...)
     
  12. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    Hmm, that's interesting. It wouldn't be that you don't notice because you'd normally use the 45 at a longer distance to your subject? I know that's fairly simplistic notion, just throwing it out there.

    You can give it a try with something a few yards away.
     
  13. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    I went to the store to see how the CV25 feels on the OM-D with the horizontal grip. I can definitely feel the weight of the lens.

    It may feel like it has razor thin DoF because the focus ring is very fast between 2m and infinity. Focus ring has a lot of travel between minimum and 2m, so it makes it easy to focus on close subjects.

    At first I only tried it out at 0.95 as it's obviously more difficult to focus like that. Then I stopped it down to f2 or 2.8 and then f4. It's clear how much sharper it is at f2 onwards...

    I also noticed something odd when I was in magnified view 14x, the IBIS was working but slightly shaky (like slight erratic jumping). Maybe it was the way I was holding it since it's heavier than what I normally use? It was hard to focus at 14x because of that, I went to 10 & 5x. It's definitely something that I've never experienced with AF lenses in magnified view.

    I've got some thinking to do...
     
  14. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    That's one thing I notice, a lot of people complain about the CV 25mm being soft at the largest apertures but that hasn't been my experience. I feel like it's plenty sharp even at f/0.95 - for the (small) in-focus area. I'm not really a pixel peeper so maybe I'm just not picky enough though :biggrin:
     
  15. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    I'm surprised to hear that, we both have the Oly 45 & the 7-14 which are as sharp as a 16MP 4/3 sensor could need, IMO. This copy that I tested at the store is not very sharp wide open. I have other photos that look like that, but this couple exemplifies it.

    I can't tell myself that it's sharp wide open when the photos look like this, first 0.95, first at f/2 or 2.8. Focus is somewhere on the Sigma 10-22 or on its label in the first image. Wherever focus is, something should be in focus as there's depth to the frame and it's at 1/1000, no motion blur excuses. These are crops from the center.

    At f0.95 - P7171752-2.jpg

    At f2 or 2.8 - P7171753-2.jpg

    It's sort of like using ISO 12800 or 25600 and then using a lot of NR... But the OOF areas look very nice.

    P.S.: I don't know what the variation between copies is like, but to me it looks somewhat soft if you'd need to use the 1:1 photo. Of course at 1/4 size it's perfectly fine. Gets a little tougher to justify it over the PL25 (that I usually advocate against when it's compared to the 20)
     
  16. parka

    parka Mu-43 Regular

    88
    May 12, 2012
    It is soft at wide open. But for posting online, it doesn't make any difference.

    I shoot mine at f1.4 usually.
     
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  17. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Softness wide open need not be a major issue; my Zeiss 50/1.4 is hardly the sharpest lens in the arsenal until about 2.8, but it renders so beautifully that it doesn't matter much to me.
     
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