A few weeks ago I was blessed, having an Angénieux 50mm f/0,95-lens and a „Biotar 50mm f/1.4″, at the same time in the same place !
An Angénieux 50mm f/0,95-lens in perfect optical quality and with aperture-mechanism and rehoused into a perfect Sony-E-body, focusing to infinity and ready for measurement in my optical IMATEST-Lab…. this is really a „unicorn“!
The „Biotar 50mm f/1.4″, in great overall condition, which I even did no know about, before I saw it for the first time.
Photo-friend and co-nerd Thomas handed out both ultra-rare lenses to me for closer optical inspection. I am a happy man!
Fig. 3: Two very rare lenses at the same time in the same place … in my IMATEST-Lab! Sheer happiness! – Source: fotosaurier
- Angénieux 50mm f/0,95 (Type M1):
Thomas has proven, that it is possible to re-house the Angénieux-lens for general photographic use with infinity focus:
Fig. 4: The early super-fast Angénieux 50mm f/0.95 lens 0f 1954/55 here in a „Unikat„-version – the basic lens is directly fitted to E-Mount for Sony – source: fotosaurier
Starting in 1953 Pierre Angénieux brought out a series of lenses with f/0.95. In 1953 it was firstly the 25mm f/0.95 (which became the most famous Angénieux lens due to the use in NASA-spaceflights to the moon!) made for cine 16mm format and the 10mm f/0.95 for 8mm-cine.
A few months later he pushed out also a version for 35mm-cine: the 50mm f/0.95 – probably this was in in 1954 – originally in C-Mount. Hartmut Thiele dates this to 1955. It is important to understand, that this is not a lens made for still-photogray amateur use – but Pierre Angénieux showed here all his knowledge dedicated for professional cine-use. He went to the limits of everything, which was possible with glass-types and design- and production-methods at that time!
If you need more information on Pierre Angénieux, please look up my Blog article here!
Following my measurements on the IMATEST-target the picture-circle, that this lens covers is 37mm – so it is falling a bit short from the 43mm needed for covering the still-photo-35mm-full-format (24 x 36 mm).
This test-set-up generates the following resolution-measurement results:
Fig. 6: Resolution at center/part way/corner of Angénieux 50mm f/0.95 on Sony A7R4 (60,2 MP-sensor – 9.504 x 6.336 pixels!) at standard distance full-frame (24×36) – Source: fotosaurier
In spite of the heavy darkening in the corners, the system does still generate results, but these readings are not very reproducible … these corner-readings are located clearly outside the picture-circle for this lens!
So I made a second set-up with the camera set a little bit further away from the target, so that the individual measuring areas move somewhat towards the center of the picture and do not suffer too much from the dark areas out of the picture circle of the lens.
Fig. 7: Angénieux 50mm f/0.95 moved a bit backwards from the target – measurement-areas (marked magenta rectangles) moved somewhat further towards the picture center – avoiding overlap with the dark corners – this picture is at f/8, showing a sharper limit to the dark corner-areas! – source: fotosaurier
Now the furthest measurement locations are at 82% of the full-frame picture radius, clearly inside the bright circle which this lens covers at 86% of full-frame radius!
The result is seen in the following picture:
Fig. 8: Resolution with refocussed Angénieux lens 50mm f/0.95. The corner-resolution-values are still located outside the Cine35-picture-frame!!! The „peak“ at f/4 in the corner reading is real – no error – never seen anything like this with any other lens! – source: fotosaurier.
In Chapter 4 at the end of the article I will ad thwe measuremts at cine-format for all three lenses (Super 35: 18,66mm x 24,89mm). This will give more realistic resolution-readings. The Super35 crop-mode on the A7R4 is 6.240 x 4.160 pixels.
2. Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 50mm f/1.4:
About the same time, DDR-based Carl Zeiss Jena created a high-speed lens for its own Pentaxflex AK-16 cine-camera system in Pentaflex-16 mount.
It seemed logical to follow the already successfull BIOTAR-formula and it came out around 1955 or 1956 the Biotar 50mm f/1.4:
Looked at with the sensor of the Sony A7R4, the picture-circle is a bit larger than with the Angénieux … there are only minimal dark corners!
Of course, we have here the same situation, that the corner-measurements are quite a bit outside the cine-picture frame of typically 16mm x 22mm:
Fig. 11: Biotar 50mm f/1.4 in the same frame as Angénieux seen in Fig. 7 – source: fotosaurier
I will also with this lens repeat the measurement, restricting the resolution-target to the cine-picture frame – see section 4 at the end of the article.
The results show for both lenses, that the resolution in the center is extremely high – even wide-open! Both lenses are extraordinary lenses of their time – the mid-1950s!!!
Unique: „first-in-industry“ point of view for the Angénieux 50mm f/0.95 in its extreme speed, without sacrifycing to the center resolution!
3. Canon Lens 50mm f/0.95 for rangefinder (Canon7) cameras with LTM 39mm – of 1969
As we are just talking about early historical high-speed lenses, the step to the famous CANON 50mm f/0.95 (for rangefinder) is logical. It is a step of 15 years in time – and this time the lens is really dedicated to 35mm still-photo full-format 24mm x 36mm!
Here is my comparable resolution-measurement with two samples of (s.n.18924 and s.n.22372) of the Canon 50mm f/0.95 on Sony A7R4 for this lens at full 24×36-format:
Fig. 13a: Resolution-Graph of Canon 50mm f/0.95 on Sony A7R4 (60,2 MP) – Source: fotosaurier
To allow for the necessary rangefinder-coupling besides the huge rear lens, this lens is „cut free“ at the edge for this purpose.
However, the 50mm f/0.95 lens was also released in a version for video cameras, with an additional engravure „TV“ on the nameplate: consequently these lenses were delivered with C-mount. As these lenses do not need the rangefinder-coupling, the rear lens is not cut at the edge here.
Hopefully I wil be able to add a picture of the 50mm f/0.95 TV-lens rear section for comparison soon.
4. Finally: Resolution-Data of these Lenses, measured for the Cine Super35-format, which the Angénieux and CZJ Biotar Lenses are originally dedicated to – on all three lenses:
a) Angénieux 50mm f/0.95 – at Super35-format:
Fig. 16: Angénieux 50mm f/0.95 at Super35-frame on Sony A7R4 – absolutely phantastic for this „first-in-speed“ – source: fotosaurier
b) Biotar 50mm f/1.4 – at Super35-format:
c) Canon 50mm f/0.95 – at Super35-format on Sony A7R4:
All three lenses have very low chromatic aberrations in the center but the Canon peaks out in maximum CA, Biotar and Canon are close to zero in distortion, while the Angenieux has around -1% distortion, which is still excellent for such an early, extreme lens!
Here you see all properties of the three lenses in detail – for 24×36 (full frame) and Super 35 (cine-format).
5-a1. Angenieux M1 50mm f/0.95 – FullFormat 24×36.
5-a2. Angenieux M1 50mm f/0.95 – Super35.
5-b1. Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 50mm f/1.4 – FullFormat 24×36.
5-b2. Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 50mm f/1.4 – Cine35.
5-c1. Canon Rangefinder 50mm f/0.95 – FullFormat 24×36.
5-c2. Canon Rangefinder 50mm f/0.95 – Cine35.