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Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread

  
 
rscheffler
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


Edit 1:

Now that the Light Lens Lab 35 Cron v1 8-element lens is in the wild, if you have it and wish to share images or your thoughts about it, please feel free to do so in this thread.

Images start around page 4.

Edit 2 (Jan. 2023): Given the growing number of Light Lens Lab replica lenses (Leica and others) in the pipeline, I've renamed this thread to encourage discussion and image sharing for any of their products.

----------

Hi all,

For those who have been tempted by the 35 Cron v1 (8 element) lens but considered it unobtainium due to high prices dictated by the Leica collectors' market, there is a replica project nearing completion out of China that looks extremely promising.

Some may have already seen this on RFF (and it may also have been posted on LUF):

https://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=169081

Ordering information is sprinkled throughout posts in the latter half of the 20+ pages. This is a link to one of those posts. The first batch of 500 will sell for USD 499. Apparently 200-300 will be available to international buyers. There may be additional batches produced. This is unclear but will likely depend on demand. Apparently supply of the true-to-original lead/flint glass used in the replica is limited and may be exhausted by the first batch. Therefore, future batches may have slightly different optical characteristics... FWIW.

Image examples from the replica and some comparisons against the original Cron V1 can be found in this Flickr album.

I can appreciate the potential initial skepticism the combination of "replica" and "made in China" might arouse. Having read through most of the RFF thread, it appears construction of the lens will be very, very close to the original: all brass. Finish will be available as silver chrome, black paint and even coated bare brass. Based on the Flickr album, it appears the manufacturer will also allow white paint and safari green options, though likely at a later time. And a future batch may be available in stainless steel. The lens will initially be available in M-mount and single coated but multi-coating is available as an added cost option. Apparently an LTM version with M-Mount adapter will be available later.

Initial user reviews of prototypes have been extremely positive about fit & finish as well as optical performance, which appears to be a very, very close match to the original.

As I'm just passing this along without any affiliation, please refer to the RFF thread for information updates and delivery timelines.

BTW, here's a tip if filling out the waitlist form: after submitting it, the confirmation page has a link to edit the form you sent. Copy and save this link somewhere because it's not included in the confirmation email you'll also receive. This allows you to revisit the form and change the information, like the custom engraving, etc. If you didn't do this, you can contact Kevin via his Gmail or on RFF to change something.

Edited on Jan 12, 2023 at 05:48 PM · View previous versions



Dec 09, 2019 at 03:03 PM
realVivek
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


V1 was superseded by the V2, 3 and the”bokeh king” 4. All got replaced by the Asph versions with the latest being suitable for the digital Ms.

Is the copy optimized for the Sony cams?



Dec 09, 2019 at 03:29 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


I posted this to Alt and cross-posted to Sony since many former Alt members reside there now and might have some interest in this.

Given this is a replica of the original, it is as originally designed in the 50s - for Leica with all the inherent caveats that brings for use on digital, whether Leica, Sony, etc. Of course it can be used on Sony with the relevant adapter, but it has not been optically optimized to compensate for the thick Sony sensor cover glass.

In the link to the Flickr album, a handful of those images have been shot on an a7Rxx, though may not provide sufficient variety to form a conclusive opinion about how the lens performs on Sony.

Yes, this is the original version of the Cron and as such will have some optical 'flaws' relative to modern designs. IMO, this is exactly what makes this lens interesting. For those looking for a modern interpretation of the 35 Cron v1, the recent Voigtlander 35/2 was apparently inspired by it, but with modern refinements.



Dec 09, 2019 at 03:39 PM
joakim
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


This lens on a Leica M Monochrom could be very interesting.


Dec 09, 2019 at 04:32 PM
alphanumeric
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


It looks like the biggest difference is how well it handles flaring.





Dec 09, 2019 at 08:35 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


Yes, this caught my eye and nearly dissuaded me from committing to the project, but it's helpful to read all of the posts in the RFF thread. From my understanding the above photos were done with a first-batch prototype lens. Based on his testing and feedback to the manufacturer, they have made changes that are supposed to suppress the major flare differences seen above. The lens will still flare, but should be much more like the Leica original. I guess if the remaining flare is a significant concern, ordering the multi-coating option for an additional $100 would be the way to go.


Dec 09, 2019 at 08:42 PM
realVivek
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


Both have character with the golden replica showing even more of it!


Dec 10, 2019 at 01:09 AM
rscheffler
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


Regarding flare concerns: one of the prototype lens testers posted on this page of the RFF thread a few nighttime photos shot wide open with streetlights in the frame, without signs of flare.



Dec 10, 2019 at 01:13 AM
mikeciv
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


A very cool project, thanks for sharing!


Dec 10, 2019 at 07:04 AM
gyoung143
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread




realVivek wrote:
V1 was superseded by the V2, 3 and the”bokeh king” 4. All got replaced by the Asph versions with the latest being suitable for the digital Ms.

Is the copy optimized for the Sony cams?

My v1 8 element which I've owned from new did better than my asph on the A7 I had in regard of curvature of field problems, but as it's an M3 lens with goggles it looks rather ridiculous!

Gerry



Dec 10, 2019 at 07:48 AM
 


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retrofocus
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


realVivek wrote:
V1 was superseded by the V2, 3 and the”bokeh king” 4. All got replaced by the Asph versions with the latest being suitable for the digital Ms.

Is the copy optimized for the Sony cams?


I am using the version IV lens simply for the reason that it works both well on my Leica film M cameras AND on my Sony A7R. The newer 35/2 ASPH version does not work with the Sony sensor! I tested this myself and the result on my A7R camera with the 35/2 ASPH was very disappointing - focus shifts all over the place and blurry corners at all apertures (and the lens itself was fine!).The nickname bokeh-king is false - the version IV exhibits a standard Summicron bokeh but nothing out of the ordinary. If I want better bokeh (or faster speed), I grab my CV 35/1.2 II instead.



Dec 10, 2019 at 07:54 AM
realVivek
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


V1or theV2?

retrofocus wrote:
The newer 35/2 ASPH version does not work with the Sony sensor!





Dec 10, 2019 at 12:23 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


For sure v1. I haven't read much user feedback about the v2 on non-M cameras...

mikeciv wrote:
A very cool project, thanks for sharing!


Yes, it is! It's also reassuring it's not some superficial knock-off but appears to very closely reproduce the original Cron's optical characteristics. As someone who has wanted one to use, rather than collect, this is what I really care about.

The potentially even cooler aspect of this project is whoever this "Lens Light Lab" is in China, their next project is a 50/1.2 Noctilux AA replica.... If the Cron replica is anything to go by so far, it should be a faithful reproduction. Granted, it won't be in the $500 range. Speculation is more around $2000...

I'd love to eventually see a replica 35 Lux pre-ASPH, early 50 Lux pre-ASPH, Hexanon 60/1.2... maybe also the 75/80 Lux.



Dec 10, 2019 at 12:28 PM
retrofocus
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


realVivek wrote:
V1or theV2?



I have only experience with the ASPH version I, but I suspect the same accounts for version II even I haven't tried this one myself.



Dec 10, 2019 at 12:34 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


Version 2 is supposed to work better on non-M sensors. I.e. on the SL, but as I mentioned, I haven't read anything conclusive.


Dec 10, 2019 at 12:50 PM
realVivek
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


There are reasons why it got upgraded to V2. One is the coatings on the rear element. It is not always about the sensor stack thickness.

retrofocus wrote:
I have only experience with the ASPH version I, but I suspect the same accounts for version II even I haven't tried this one myself.





Dec 10, 2019 at 03:02 PM
Desmolicious
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


rscheffler wrote:
Regarding flare concerns: one of the prototype lens testers posted on this page of the RFF thread a few nighttime photos shot wide open with streetlights in the frame, without signs of flare.


Yep that flare was from an early prototype and the mfg made changes. The streetlight shots look great. I’ve been following the thread and my order is already in for a brass version.



Dec 10, 2019 at 03:11 PM
gyoung143
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread




rscheffler wrote:
Version 2 is supposed to work better on non-M sensors. I.e. on the SL, but as I mentioned, I haven't read anything conclusive.

I was under the impression it was merely a cosmetic 'upgrade'.
It would take more than minor tweaking to solve the problems mine showed on the A7, it wasn't even that good on my Xpro2, absolutely outclassed by the Fuji 35 f/2 for all it's software correction.

Gerry



Dec 10, 2019 at 04:17 PM
retrofocus
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


realVivek wrote:
There are reasons why it got upgraded to V2. One is the coatings on the rear element. It is not always about the sensor stack thickness.



I doubt that coatings make a difference here. Reason why ASPH elements with a smaller f/2 rear lens diameter cause an issue on a A7 based sensor is that the aspherical glass element has been optimized by Leica to bend the incoming light at the sides of the lens just in the right way to optimize corner/border sharpness on a M camera sensor. The thicker sensor stack of Sony cameras (and likely other branded MLCs, too) leads to an additional light refraction overruling the optimized ASPH lens element effect. The latter refraction effect is less visible and nearly not existent with regular lens elements like in the pre-ASPH lens versions. The ASPH element in faster lenses with wider rear lens diameter like in the 35/1.4 Summilux ASPH causes no issues with A7 sensors since the steep angle of refraction isn't present there with the larger rear lens element. I tested the Summilux ASPH in a Leica store on my A7R, and the photo came out extremely well.



Dec 10, 2019 at 05:44 PM
realVivek
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Light Lens Lab (LLL) replica lenses discussion & image thread


Well, you go with your assumptions and then expound on it. Oh, well.


Dec 10, 2019 at 05:59 PM
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