Sharpest Manual lens for 35mm

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by mathjeff0, Dec 31, 2017.

System with the sharpest lens

  1. Leica

    14 vote(s)
    43.8%
  2. Canon FD

    1 vote(s)
    3.1%
  3. Pentax K

    4 vote(s)
    12.5%
  4. Nikon F

    8 vote(s)
    25.0%
  5. Minolta SR

    1 vote(s)
    3.1%
  6. Olympus

    4 vote(s)
    12.5%
  1. OP
    OP
    mathjeff0

    mathjeff0 Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Awsome! Seems like macros are good! Ill give it a look :happy:
     
  2. OP
    OP
    mathjeff0

    mathjeff0 Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Interesting.
    I've shot medium format for a little over a year and the results are fantastic, but it's come down to a point where portability is number one to me. Just one camera body and one lens is my aim. Contax G's are so expensive though :sad:
     
  3. OP
    OP
    mathjeff0

    mathjeff0 Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Very cool! Never really looked into contax cause they are so expensive!
    Exactly! Its such a good budget lens and its been the most talked about lens here. I'm about to pull the trigger on one :D
     
  4. Jon Buffington

    Jon Buffington Subscriber

    Messages:
    179
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2014
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I concur. Bought mine beat to hell and back with a big old gash in the front element, paid usd $8 for it. That big, yellowed, radioactive, concave lens with the chrome nose. With that said, it is still the sharpest in the lot and that includes my micro nikkor 55/2.8, leica 40/2 summicron (though very nice), host of Minolta, canon fd and ef L lenses (plus others). The 50/1.4 ssc is growing on me though. Wide open, the 30/2 is sharp.

    With all this micro nikkor talk, need to break mine out of the bag and shoot some rolls again.

    Someone mentioned the 50 summitar...that lens renders beautifully. Not very contrasty but extremely sharp. I prefer the low contrast/pastel colors at or near wide open however contrast improves greatly stopped down and it is a blistering sharp image.
     
  5. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,199
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Location:
    Calgary AB,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I can't wait for this "shoot everything wide open" fad to run it's course. It's become so cliche and tedious IMHO. In video work you very often have to shoot wide open or near to it so I can see the exercise being worthwhile for that application.

    For stills I'm a Leica and Nikon shooter so can't comment on the others you asked about. I don't think I have ever run into a lens that is tack sharp from centre to edge wide open in either brand. It's just a matter of what you can live with for the application you have. In the Nikon system I have found some of their moderate fast teles to be pretty outstanding.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    mathjeff0

    mathjeff0 Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I was just curious what you meant. I posted this thread because I find absolutely nothing when I do research and I love hearing what people have to say given their experiences. And as for leica, I just cant justify purchasing it right now. They are a quality that is currently unattainable for me :cry:
     
  7. Chuckwade87

    Chuckwade87 Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Location:
    Parts Unknown
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Bingo

    Worst lens as far as sharpness, (that I've had experience with), is the Nikkor 43-86,
     
  8. FujiLove

    FujiLove Subscriber

    Messages:
    324
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The G1 is a bargain right now, and you can pick up a 28mm or 45mm G lens for a lot less than a summicron. I own both G1 and G2 bodies and would recommend a G1 to you for its smaller size and weight. They are all beautifully built cameras and lenses.
     
  9. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

    Messages:
    453
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    One hour sou
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As for Canon FD, the 35/2.0 concave is very sharp. The FD 55/1.2 is soft wide-open, but shapes up nicely as you stop down. The much more expensive FD 55/1.2 Aspherical is sharp at all apertures, as is the FDn 50/1.2 L.

    Jim B.
     
  10. FujiLove

    FujiLove Subscriber

    Messages:
    324
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I forgot to ask: which MF system have you been using? My Mamiya 6 is very portable with its 75mm attached and mount collapsed. Another option for you could be a Plaubel Makina 67. A bit bigger than the Mamiya, but very flat when collapsed.

    Obviously neither are budget options, but would be a great long term purchase.
     
  11. ciniframe

    ciniframe Member

    Messages:
    386
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Shooter:
    Sub 35mm
    I had an OM mount something or other 3rd party lens that one of the bayonet lugs was machined right to a sharp edge. I actually cut my finger on it. So that was the 'sharpest' lens I ever had.
    I gave it away to somebody, can't remember who, it was a $5 camera fair find.
     
  12. ciniframe

    ciniframe Member

    Messages:
    386
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Shooter:
    Sub 35mm
    Your photography will not suffer if you can't afford Leica. If you have talent and imagination that will show through in your photography regardless of using a "lesser" camera and lenses.
    If on the other hand you cannot take good pictures with a Nikkor, Canon, Zuiko, Hexanon, Rokkor, etc. then a Leica lens just ain't going to help. Look up the photographer 'David Burnett' and look at some of his work. He shoots with Canon gear, but also an old Speed Graphic 4X5 mounting an WW2 era Kodak Aero Ektar and he also uses a Holga. Photographs from all three cameras have been published and can be powerful images.
     
  13. Chuckwade87

    Chuckwade87 Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Location:
    Parts Unknown
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Leica 50mm summicron R is the sharpest I've seen.

    And what about Nikon lenses that were made for Leica M39 screw mount?
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    23,160
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    paswonquitte
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Groups:
    im probably not going to be much help but
    sharpest 35mm film lenses i have are pentax lenses, then leekka
    the electronic stuff are nikkon ED they are sharp.
    mine are pretty sharp wide open too.
    ( in case you require bigger than 35 down the trail a bit
    ... my shnyder, but the wollensack vitax i had was sharp as nails.)
    have fun !
    john
     
  16. bimmey

    bimmey Subscriber

    Messages:
    47
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  17. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

    Messages:
    4,926
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Location:
    Adirondacks
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I mentioned the Summitar, it's from '46 and came with some separation in the front pair, but flawless glass and coatings. "Blistering sharp" about sums it up, mine gives all the contrast I need at any aperture if I use the SOOPD hood. Cleaning out some almost invisible haze made a big difference wide open.
    The rendering is as you say beautiful. I wouldn't trade it for a Summicron.
     
  18. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,712
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Location:
    St. Louis, M
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    This is what I was told before I bought my Contax back in the 1980's. The German's strived to make a lens sharp all over. The Japanese strived to make the lenses sharper in the center. What this means is that the German lenses were sharper in the corners but the Japanese lenses were sharper in the center. I don't know if this is true or just what I was told. I was also told that the Zeiss lenses had more inherent contrast so that when a negative was printed it appeared sharper.

    From real world experience I will tell you this. I shot Zeiss lenses on my Contax camera. My 50mm f/1.7 lens was excellent. I owned a Canon before the Contax. I also sold and used other brands of 35mm cameras. All the 50mm lenses that I shot were plenty sharp for me. I never tested any to see which was sharper but I never felt I needed to either. I once bought a Minolta with 50mm lens to flip. I ran a roll through the camera to make sure it worked properly. I showed the 4x6 prints to a friend who was interested in the camera. He couldn't believe how sharp the photos were and thought that they were shot with my Zeiss. I told him that if he was unhappy with the camera that I would take it back. He bought it and loved the images he got.

    We used to have a saying back in the day. If the 35mm lenses you were using were not sharp enough then move up a format.

    Oh, I'm not saying that medium format lenses are any sharper. Just that you need to use the proper format for the amount of enlargement you need. That is, if you strive for ultimate sharpness.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  19. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,712
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Location:
    St. Louis, M
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Go back to post #64. Click on stuff for sale at the bottom of John's post to find out why sharpness can be overrated! :smile:
     
  20. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

    Messages:
    1,256
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tex
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For years I considered my 55mm f/3.5 pre-AI Micro-Nikkor to be tied with my Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 macro as the two sharpest lenses in my collection. I determined this through a rather extensive set of tests, which included a few other supposedly best of the best macro lenses. I maintained this conviction until I bought an AIs 55mm f/2.8. I had been using my 55/3.5 for duplicating slides. When I tried out my new-to-me 55/2.8 AIs, I was very surprised to see a noticeable difference in the resolution of the slide's image. So, with a bit of sadness because that old 55 had been a member of my kit for over 25 years, I replaced it with the AIs 55/2.8. Now I can say with all honesty that this AIs 55mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor is the sharpest lens I own. And that's pretty dang sharp, cuz I own some excellent macro lenses.
     
  21. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,418
    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Location:
    Elko, Nevada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm with you. I like portable a lot. Means I have a camera with me when I want it.

    Over the years the lenses I have used the most don't make anybody's list for sharp so they probably won't ring your bell. But I'll post them anyway.

    My two favorite lenses for 35mm are the Leica Elmar 50/3.5 and the SMC Pentax M 50/2. With the Leica III and the Pentax K1000 they are pretty compact and portable.

    For medium format my favorite lenses by far are the Agfa Solinar 75/3.5 on the Super Isolette and the Tessar 75/3.5 on the Rolleiflex MX-EVS Automat. Very compact cameras that will give outstanding images. I will say though that the Agfa Solinar 85/4.5 on my old 1938 Agfa Jsolette is gaining fast on these other two.

    Right now my favorite two large format lenses are the Schneider Kreuznach Symmar 150/5.6 convertible on my Intrepid 4x5 and the Schneider Kreuznach Angulon 90/6.8 on my Wanderlust Travelwide 4x5. Again, for the format, very handy and portable cameras.

    But I have no idea where they fit in the sharpness competitions because I have never checked. But they do the job for me as long as I do the job for them.

    EDIT - Maybe I am a closet Pictorialist. :D
     
  22. Kodachromeguy

    Kodachromeguy Subscriber

    Messages:
    196
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2016
    Location:
    Vicksburg, Mississippi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Nikon-F3-070831.JPG
    I agree with Mr. cool. I used a 55 f/2.8 for 15 years, and tiny details, such as distant bare tree limbs, rendered more crisply on K25 film than any of my other 50 lenses (Type 2 and Type 4 Summicrons, Summitar, 50 f/2.8 Elmar, 50 f/3.5 red-scale Elmar (LTM thread), Nikkor AiS 50 f/1.8, Olympus 50 f/3.5 Auto-Macro). But, a 1971 Super-Takumar on my wife's Spotmatic is almost as good. I think the Spotmatic suffers a little because there is no manual mirror pre-release. The Nikkor 55 f/2.8 disappeared in the mail. I sold it via eBay and it never reached its destination. The USPS paid me the insured amount plus postage. This was the only item I ever sent by Priority Mail that was lost.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  23. rpavich

    rpavich Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,336
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Location:
    West virginia, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have never tested one lens against another but I will say that I'm in the camp of "why?" Who cares which is just "that much" sharper than another lens?

    I've owned Leicas, Minoltas, Pentax, Canon, Olympus and TONS of other cameras and lenses....some VERY expensive and do you know what I realized?

    Sharpness is the least of what I should be worried about when shooting images. I'll take a blurry awesome shot over a perfectly sharp one where nothing is happening any day of the week.

    I now shoot almost exclusively with an Olympus fixed 40mm lens point and shoot and it's the camera that's welded to my hand. I take it everywhere. Yes...I love shooting with it and love the results more than the Leica M that cost 100 times more.

    Are the results sometimes blurry? Yep.
    Do I care? Nope.

    I'm looking for moments...not pixels.
     
  24. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

    Messages:
    1,371
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Location:
    County Durham, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Come on Guys. Let us be really honest at the start of the new year. I recon almost any lens from the main manufacturers made today for 35mm will out perform their owners capabilities at any given time because a lens is a permanent object with no ability to change, whereas a human being can have a good day one day and a rubbish one the next. So whatever is the best, if used by an indifferent photographer may give only slightly better results than the simple lens fixed to a 1940's box camera.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  25. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,712
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Location:
    St. Louis, M
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Do some of you remember when you showed your 35mm 4x6 or smaller prints to friends and family? They would all say, "Wow, they look like postcards!".

    Do people still mail postcards?
     
  26. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,229
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2016
    Location:
    Nashville
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Nope. I guess my photos were not garish enough.