Well, it is high time we did a lens test. So here is a good opener
For a while now I have wanted to do lens tests, but have not been able to for a number of reasons. Principally because I have not had access to a digital rangefinder that I could use. Well, now I do. The very kind people at Leica Japan have been nice enough to loan me an M9 for the duration of the workshop that I shall be presenting with Eric Kim.

As a little bonus I have managed to get the camera a few days early, so I have decided to run a little lens test that I have been wanting to do for some time now. As you may know I recently acquired a stunning Summarit 50mm f1.5 Screw mount lens and a Canon 50mm f1.5 screw mount lens, so I thought it might be nice to have a little comparison test to see how they match up against one another.

First up we have the Summarit at wide open 1.5:

As you can see this has a very soft and rich bokeh effect, yet still retains a nice amount of sharpness in the middle. The colour rendition is not so bad but it does fee a little bit washed out. I think this lens would have better tonality in B&W.
Following up we have the Canon 50mm at 1.5

As you can see, the colour rendition is very different, with a lot more blue and red highlights. The Bokeh is not as ‘creamy’ as it were, but the trade off seems to be the colour.
Now the Summarit at 2.8

As you can see the colour is starting to level out on this lens, but there is still a great deal of softness. This would be an excellent portrait lens if used to its full potential.
Canon at 2.8

The canon seems to be smoother at 2.8 and certainly still shows a nice balance of colour. This is a lovely lens to shoot with around the 2.8 mark.
Finally we have the Summarit at f4

The colour is starting to creep in on this lens now and we are seeing sharper background, but it is still a very low contrast lens.
And the Canon at f4

The Canon remains a lot more punchy with regards to colours and does have a smoother graduation from sharpness to background. A very interesting turn of events.

So, there you have it. I didn’t take them all the way to f16 as not only did I not have time, but I didn’t want to have a massive post about a mile long. Perhaps I can make that bit part 2 if people are interested.
I love the smoothness of the Summarit wide open, it has a dream-like effect and such character, but the colour and contrast are sadly lacking. The Canon has wonderful colour and balance. If I were to make a choice it would be the Summarit, as I shoot black and white and I think this lens would shine in mono. But for colour the Canon wins outright.

Let me know your thoughts or experiences with these lenses, and let me know what you would like to see more of. If you would like me to find one of these lenses for you drop me a line and we can do that too.