The MS Optical Sonnetar 50mm f/1.1 MC


by Bellamy /

3 min read

The MS Optical Sonnetar 50mm f1.1 MC
Finally it is here, after all of the rumours and the talk of release. I am very proud to announce the latest model in the Miyazaki Optical line-up…The 50mm Sonnetar f/1.1 MC M-mount lens. Pre-orders SOLD OUT!

Mr. Miyazaki from MS Optical has been tucked away for a while now brewing up something very special in his little workshop. Over the past 6 months or so he has been dropping hints about a possible fast 50mm lens. The thing is with Miyazaki san is that he talks about many lenses that he wants to build, so I always take things with a pinch of salt until I actually see something.
Well, now I have something for you all, the latest lens in Miyazaki sans range, the 50mm Sonnetar type f/1.1 Multi Coated M-mount lens.

Here are the first pictures of the lens. It has a 2 layer multicoating on Tantalum glass. The German made iris is smooth with no click stops. It is a circular centre 14 blade iris, which should make for some very interesting and soft effects. The lens itself feels solid and has a nice weight of 190g on its own, or 220g as the set (hood and caps). The powder coated hood looks great on the lens too.

On the rear element of the lens there is a coma adjustment ring. With settings for infinity, 4m, 2m, and 1m. This is designed to assist with aberration issues which were faced with early Sonnar tyoes when wide open. With the coma selection you can select the focal length you will be using by twisting the rear element inside the lens. When selected the system will help to reduce spherical aberration.
Minimum focal length on the lens is 0.8m and the throw is very short, so you will not have to be searching around for the focus point. The actual focal length of the lens is 51.7mm. The lens itself is very compact and much smaller than I would expect from such a fast lens. It is certainly a lot smaller than the Noctilux or the Canon ‘dream lens’. This lens is actually very well balanced and does not tip over the camera or feel unduly heavy.

The front element is quite large, as you would expect from such a high speed lens, taking a 55mm filter. The glass has a delightful cast to it thanks to the multicoating. Not only is this looking to be a very capable lens, but a very pretty lens too.

The lens is based on a Sonnar design, which was originally produced by Zeiss in the 1920’s. It was famed for its contrast and for having less flare than planar type lenses. It also suffers less from chromatic aberration than other design from this period. The Miyazaki lens is 5 elements in 4 groups.
The optimum performance on this lens is looking to be around f/1.6 to f/2. Miyazaki san states that there is extremely good colour balance throughout the lens, but especially when stopped open. The lens looks to be a real performer and I am hoping to have some results of shooting the lens in the next few days.

As usual the lens is being produced in extremely limited batches and they will be available on a first come first served basis. The lenses are being manufactured now, but there will be a waiting time of anything up to 3 months for the lenses.

Pre-orders have now sold out until I can guarantee another batch of lenses. Thanks for your interest. 

The lenses are on pre-order now! Click here to make your pre-order!

There is a deposit required for pre-order, please read the order page for more details.

If you have any questions about the lens or would like to register your interest for a lens you can mail me by clicking here.

Many thanks

26 comments on “The MS Optical Sonnetar 50mm f/1.1 MC”

    Loren Tayerle September 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm / Reply

    Oh my – this could solve my Noctilux lust. I sure am loving my new 35mm perar.

    Sean O'Brien September 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm / Reply

    Wow! Wow!! Wow!!!

    ZDP-189 September 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm / Reply

    I’d like to see it tested against the CV Nokton 1.1, but it would have to be pretty special to justify selling my CV and adding a bunch more money to buy this. This is lens 40% more than the Nokton which produces reasonably good images and the Nokton is put together better than typical MS-O standards.

    Olivier Sylvestre September 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm / Reply

    Beautiful lens! Might make me buy a bessa for it…

    Hugh September 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm / Reply

    At first glance I suppose this lens could be compared to a CV Nokton 1.1, but in reality I think they are two very different beasts. The CV Nokton is a decent enough lens, well built but it can produce some average bokeh. You know what you are going to get because you can see what that lens does on Flickr until your eyes bleed. MS-O’s lenses are hand built quirks, interesting adventures in optical design, curiosities. They make you stand out and say that you’re not part of the crowd.

    Perhaps it’s not really a case of comparing price and build quality, it’s a case of asking yourself if this lens suits who you are.

    Godzilla P.I. September 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm / Reply

    I want one, time to go begging.
    Could you possibly post a photo of a side view with lens on the camera, just want to see size comparison.

      Bellamy September 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm /

      Will do shortly.

      Mike September 11, 2012 at 3:48 am /

      Yes. Pls provide a pic side-view preferably with an M camera. The first picture would do but side-view with camera lens facing up and camera lens facing left or right.

    Carl September 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm / Reply

    Can anyone please tell me if the Sonnetar will be rangefinder coupled on Leica M bodies?

      Bellamy September 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm /

      Er, yes, this is an M-mount lens for M-mount bodies.

    Victor Cho September 11, 2012 at 2:34 am / Reply

    Do you expect severe focus shift when the lens is stopped down. Can we order one to be optimized at say f1.4 (versus f1.1)?

      Bellamy September 11, 2012 at 6:22 am /

      There are no reports of focus shift so far, as this is something that Miyazaki san was keen to address.

      Victor Cho September 11, 2012 at 11:36 am /

      No focus shift? Wow, this is incredible!!!!

    Darren Rowse September 11, 2012 at 7:37 am / Reply

    can’t wait to see some testing of this one – looks to be an interesting lens.

      Sam Merrens September 11, 2012 at 9:44 am /

      can’t wait to see some testing? i can’t wait to see some photographs. real ones. not just bedside table lamps in the dark.

    Jon September 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm / Reply

    The coma adjustment ring is a very interesting and unusual feature! I know of no other M-mount lens that has this. It will be very interesting to see how much difference the various settings have in real world shooting.

    Keren Wang September 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm / Reply

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Already sold out? ;(

      Bellamy September 11, 2012 at 7:52 pm /

      I am afraid so. For now. There may be a few more coming.

      Olivier Sylvestre September 12, 2012 at 7:37 am /

      I frankly hope there will, this is a market people are ready to pay for… ;)

    Ned bojic September 11, 2012 at 9:57 pm / Reply

    Hello, I want to be on the list. Where do I send the payment/deposit?



      Bellamy September 11, 2012 at 10:04 pm /

      I am afraid that the lenses have currently sold out on pre-order. I am hoping to have more, but I don’t know when that will be.

    jack September 11, 2012 at 11:39 pm / Reply

    any idea of when the first orders will ship? And any clues on the number of lenses in the first run? Also greatly looking forward to seeing your test images: please let us know as soon as they are available. thanks

    frglme September 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm / Reply

    On it says :

    “Lastly, a new lens by Mr Miyazaki is on the horizon, the MS Optical 50/1.13 Sonnetar. The lens offers a very wide aperture and is a Sonnar design. Ten copies will be assembled in early September and details published at that time. These are not prototypes, and to use Mr Miyazaki’s own words “I do not make enough mistakes to justify building that many prototypes” — these are full production spec lenses. After that more lenses are made to produce 300 in total.”

    Thomas November 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm / Reply

    Very interesting lens. I just love these simple designs with so few lens elements. BTW, does anyone know what happened to the 25mm Sonnetar that was announced some time ago for MFT cameras?

    Ebb Bayarsaikhan March 31, 2013 at 12:15 am / Reply

    Is the smooth aperture ring problematic at all? I would imagine no click stops would be…

    klehmann April 20, 2013 at 12:27 am / Reply

    is there any difference beside the color when choosing between chrome/black samples? i mean compared to leica’s versions where the chrome are heavier due to solid brass-construction vs the blacks aluminum-made.

    thanx in advance – btw any idea/news when a possible new batch would be due?


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