Author Topic: Zeiss 50/2 (Milvus) vs. Summicron-R 50/2  (Read 697 times)

Airy

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Zeiss 50/2 (Milvus) vs. Summicron-R 50/2
« on: October 16, 2016, 12:19:24 »
The Summicron has a good reputation. A well-corrected lens, with no big flaws (except some flare when shooting against the light) , sharp wide open and quite homogeneously so. It can be found, or transformed, Nikon F-mount.

I had a check this morning, using D800 and performing a close range brickwall-type shooting. My reference lens would be the Zeiss Milvus.
Overall, there are few differences. The Zeiss is warmer (but less outrageously yellow than its predecessor, the 50/2 MP). Vignetting is similar; both display some low barrel distortion, Zeiss has the lesser one.

Well, wide open, the Zeiss has the better contrast and, doing some pixel-peeping, it shows better sharpness until the far edges. The surprize comes from the corners, where they are equal and, given that the Summicron has some forward field curvature (towards the photographer), it might even be a winner here if corners really mattered. As nobody places subjects in the corners, it does not.

It takes until f/4 to have both lenses levelling out, the Zeiss corners improving a lot, while the Summicron catches up in the center.

Further down, f/5.6 - f/8, the center sharpness of the Summicron seems to exceed the Zeiss. I'd have to re-test it in order to be sure, doing some focus bracketing etc. but at that level it does not really matter. On the other hand, the Zeiss has less CA and LoCA.

Overall, at this short distance, the Summicron is amazing, if you can stand fully-manual operation (no aperture coupling !). The Zeiss is more universal (MFD, flare resistance, smoother bokeh with 9 blades instead of 6, simpler handling) and is the king wide open, so for portraits of impatient or restless subjects, it is highly recommended. The Summicron does an excellent job for slow photography, fits in a pocket and won't empty your bank account as efficiently.
Airy Magnien