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Archive 2022 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)

  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


Juha Kannisto wrote:
I think that there can be more variance in MS-Optics lenses with regards to build quality overall when compared to factory-made lenses from established manufacturers, since MS-Optics lenses are all hand-made by Miyazaki-san. I've had both good and bad experiences with his lenses myself. I would say that this Apollon 36mm is among the topmost robust ones, together with Sonnetar 50mm f1.3. As far as I can see, this lens seems to be all metal and feels well made, everything moves smoothly.

Some of his other lenses have really quirky designs with controls that might not be very user-friendly, and
...Show more

---------------------------------------------

nehemiahphoto wrote:
I ordered a 28/2ii from JCH...took it out of the box and it didn't even mount appropriately on my Ikon--it rattled around, and wouldn't even lock, like the rear casing was the wrong size for the mount. When I returned it, he was less than pleased, which I thought was ridiculous.

@fredmiranda@ Build quality is horrible and not at all up to the price. I have owned 5 separate lenses. One 28mm, mentioned above, didn't even mount appropriately. The 73 Sonnetar was good, till about 2 years in when the whole thing started to come loosen--I tightened the screws in back
...Show more

That's unfortunate. Thanks for the report. I was looking at the 28/2 II (just for the extreme compactness) and this new 36/1.3 as I really like the rendering wide open but I'm not looking forward dealing with RF inconsistency and optical/build variation.



Dec 06, 2022 at 01:12 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


@Juha Kannisto,
I will be in Tokyo next year. Is there a store that sells most MS Optic lenses for a good price? I could test them on the spot and see if they work properly on the M10-R.



Dec 06, 2022 at 02:37 PM
Maknof
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


I bought years ago a 135mm Aporis.
I can confirm it was gimcrack. I passed the 2nd day after pack arrived to fix unscrewd thing, replacing/cleaning lube and machining chips.
It is not cause it is handcrafted, cause i had handmade japanese lenses with good finishes, and screw that stay at place.
It remember me some soviet lenses.
The pro is here in Europe, they have a good fame and are very rare and difficult to find, so i sold it in a flash without losing money, (time loss is not in balance).



Dec 06, 2022 at 06:38 PM
Juha Kannisto
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


Fred Miranda wrote:
@Juha Kannisto@,
I will be in Tokyo next year. Is there a store that sells most MS Optic lenses for a good price? I could test them on the spot and see if they work properly on the M10-R.


There are overall ~28 different lenses (referring to the list from MS Optics Lens2 booklet, exact count depends on whether different versions I/II/III of the lenses are counted as separate releases) released by MS-Optics since 2006 until now and all of them had only limited production of about 170-1000 units per lens, most typically around 200-400.

Most of them can't be found as new anymore and usually new supply has run out ~1-2 years after launch and then they can only be found as 2nd hand occasionally. Some are very hard to find even as used and asking prices can go way up. So basically the selection that can be found as new is limited to few of his more recent lenses, and even those that can be found are not widely available in physical stores. I'm also not sure if the stores will be supportive of testing on the spot but it can always be asked. Pricing of new ones is pretty much on the same level in all the physical stores that have some of those lenses (all at official Japan market prices).

Overall there isn't any physical store in Tokyo now that has a wide selection of those lenses and supply in physical stores seems to have been running dry from this year. The sales have moved more to online (esp. mkdirect for Japan market, JCH & Japan Exposures for supplying outside of Japan). The 2 latest models are now only listed via some of those online stores (Apollon 36/1.3, Xenomax 50/3.5). I think mkdirect is Miyazaki-san's own (or very closely associated with him) online store and it seems the available supply is getting directed more to that store now + JCH is still getting all the new releases. MS-Optics official Twitter and Instagram accounts are also linked to mkdirect store and they suggest buying from mkdirect.

Regarding physical stores that still have some supply:

Map Camera has new copies of Sonnetar 50/1.3 but everything else they have is used:
https://www.mapcamera.com/search?keyword=MS-Optics&igngkeyword=1

Lemonsha have physical stores in Ginza, Shinjuku, Akihabara and Ikebukuro and they have some new MS-Optics lenses split out in those stores. The last time I visited, I have seen Sonnetar 50/1.3, Apoqualia 35/1.3 II in Shinjuku, several variations of 40/6.3, 28/2 III, 135/2.4 Aporis at Ginza, 50/1.5 Vario Prasma and 73/1.5 Sonnetar at Akihabara. They probably have only 1-2 copies of these remaining in stores that carry them so they could run out anytime.

Fotoborse (http://fotoborse.com/) used to have the best selection but now they seem to have no new MS-Optics lenses anymore, at least based on their website. The lenses on their website can be found at their physical stores as well. They have some used ones and many MS-Optics conversion lenses (not Miyazaki-san's original designs but converted by him to M-mount or LTM).

GT Camera in Ebisu (near my home) used to have some MS-Optics lenses and I bought 2 from them this year, but now they have none.

I used to buy my MS-Optics lenses from various physical stores only but now I've started buying from mkdirect (starting from Apollon) and I think I will make most of my future purchases from mkdirect as well. I've pretty much bought everything I wanted from the existing supply already though so I'll be mostly looking out for his future new lens releases going forward.



Dec 06, 2022 at 09:23 PM
rscheffler
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


Fred Miranda wrote:
@Juha Kannisto@,
I will be in Tokyo next year. Is there a store that sells most MS Optic lenses for a good price? I could test them on the spot and see if they work properly on the M10-R.


---------------------------------------------

Juha Kannisto wrote:
I'm also not sure if the stores will be supportive of testing on the spot but it can always be asked.


I have extremely limited experience with this, but when I was in Tokyo and bought a lens at Map Camera, they wouldn't let me open the box and even just look at the lens until I paid for it.

I suppose it will depend on the circumstances, and having a prior relationship with the store staff likely helps, but it's possible that cracking open several copies of a given lens and testing them in the store for the best one prior to paying, won't fly. Maybe they're a bit more lenient with used lenses? I never thought to try...



Dec 06, 2022 at 10:22 PM
Juha Kannisto
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


rscheffler wrote:
---------------------------------------------

I have extremely limited experience with this, but when I was in Tokyo and bought a lens at Map Camera, they wouldn't let me open the box and even just look at the lens until I paid for it.

I suppose it will depend on the circumstances, and having a prior relationship with the store staff likely helps, but it's possible that cracking open several copies of a given lens and testing them in the store for the best one prior to paying, won't fly. Maybe they're a bit more lenient with used lenses? I never thought to try...


I also think that most stores will not allow trying out even a single one or multiple new lenses before purchase commitment as after that it would be hard to sell them as new to other customers. Japanese customers expect any new product to be sold as unopened / untouched. Used lenses can typically be inspected by buyer at the counter and e.g. tried out on the spot on own camera before committing to buying decision though.

When buying a new lens at a physical store I usually say that I want to use it immediately after purchase and then I can put it on my camera and start using while completing the purchase and they will put the empty box in a shopping bag. If an obvious fault is found at this stage it could become a discussion of switching to another copy or canceling the purchase or such but it has not happened to me so far so not sure how it would go exactly. The stores usually allow returning an item within 1-2 weeks for obvious faults though.



Dec 06, 2022 at 11:57 PM
ctmfoobar
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


For those interested in buying from MK Direct, I'd like to add my experience here. I live in the US. I first emailed MK Direct but didn't hear back. A few days after sending the email, I tried using the leave a message box on lower right corner of the website. I heard back on the next day and subsequent communication was quick. I communicated with Kamii (owner of MK Direct) with emails in English. I was able to buy directly from MK Direct without proxy. While the website itself doesn't support addresses outside Japan, Kamii can setup a special page for oversee customers that includes the price of the lens and shipping in total. I was able to pay with my Chase credit card.

Another thing to note is that I found a small issue with the lens (the focusing scale was rotated from the normal position). Kamii was willing to work with me to reach a resolution and again the communication was quick.

The whole experience was smooth and I can recommend MK Direct. Personally I cannot justify spending the extra to buy the same MS Optics lenses from JCH.



Dec 08, 2022 at 11:52 AM
ctmfoobar
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


Thanks for sharing the photos Juha. It looks like the Apollon 36/1.3 is more of a true successor to the Apoqualia 35/1.4 than the 35/1.3. I like the rendering of this lens.


Dec 08, 2022 at 11:57 AM
nehemiahphoto
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


ctmfoobar wrote:
For those interested in buying from MK Direct, I'd like to add my experience here. I live in the US. I first emailed MK Direct but didn't hear back. A few days after sending the email, I tried using the leave a message box on lower right corner of the website. I heard back on the next day and subsequent communication was quick. I communicated with Kamii (owner of MK Direct) with emails in English. I was able to buy directly from MK Direct without proxy. While the website itself doesn't support addresses outside Japan, Kamii can setup a special
...Show more

Excellent info—thanks!



Dec 08, 2022 at 12:11 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


Juha Kannisto wrote:
There are overall ~28 different lenses (referring to the list from MS Optics Lens2 booklet, exact count depends on whether different versions I/II/III of the lenses are counted as separate releases) released by MS-Optics since 2006 until now and all of them had only limited production of about 170-1000 units per lens, most typically around 200-400.

Most of them can't be found as new anymore and usually new supply has run out ~1-2 years after launch and then they can only be found as 2nd hand occasionally. Some are very hard to find even as used and asking prices can
...Show more

Thanks for all this info Juha.

From your wide open samples, the 36/1.3 renders similarly to the Leica 35/1.4 pre-asph but it's a much cheaper and lighter alternative.



Dec 08, 2022 at 12:32 PM
rscheffler
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


Fred, my feeling from various sample photos you've posted recently, is if you want an inexpensive 35 Lux, then the VM35/1.4 is pretty close (but not quite the same). The 36/1.3, based on Juha's photos, offers additional optical qualities not found in either. What really caught my eye was how at f/2 (I think) it seems to have a central sweet spot, then from midfield kind of a smooth buildup of SA to the edges. Wide open, it appears to be more glowy than the Lux or VM.


Dec 08, 2022 at 07:42 PM
Planetwide
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


I had a 28mm F4, and it had to go back for repair.


Dec 08, 2022 at 09:45 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


rscheffler wrote:
Fred, my feeling from various sample photos you've posted recently, is if you want an inexpensive 35 Lux, then the VM35/1.4 is pretty close (but not quite the same). The 36/1.3, based on Juha's photos, offers additional optical qualities not found in either. What really caught my eye was how at f/2 (I think) it seems to have a central sweet spot, then from midfield kind of a smooth buildup of SA to the edges. Wide open, it appears to be more glowy than the Lux or VM.


Their rendering are not quite the same but both lenses share that glowy, low contrast rendering. Yes, it looks like the 36/1.3's glow is even more accentuated.

I think that both Voigtlander 35/1.4 II Nokton and Leica 35/1.4 pre-asph (recent versions) are close in rendering but the Voigtlander's glow is much better controlled (corrected), so it's only really noticeable under high contrast lighting.

I wanted to try a MS Optics lens and this one could be the ticket for me. @Juha Kannisto already posted incredible sample images with close-ups and great shots of the city under different light conditions.



Dec 08, 2022 at 10:25 PM
Juha Kannisto
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


I have one more new album of samples as well from last Sunday & and from this week's lunch breaks.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/b1hL3LMJU7m9rUUt5

Most of them were taken at f8 or at f1.3, and there is probably one building shot at f4 when the light was getting darker and one or two might have been at f2 (don't remember exactly).

I think this Apollon indeed a good point of entry to try an MS-Optics lens since it's got good usability and robustness characteristics among those lenses and it's overall a very nice general purpose shooter with many different characters in one lens depending on aperture + 0.3m focusing distance and very low weight.

The level of glow probably depends on shooting distance as well, I think the further distance shots are more glowy than close-up range. There are also lots of options for stopping down between wide open and f2 as well (which I haven't really explored myself yet) as the aperture ring is clickless and the travel on the aperture ring between f1.3 and f2 is quite long. There's one intermediate dot marking in-between those (perhaps f1.7 or f1.8).

Edited on Dec 09, 2022 at 03:17 AM · View previous versions



Dec 08, 2022 at 10:56 PM
Juha Kannisto
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


ctmfoobar wrote:
For those interested in buying from MK Direct, I'd like to add my experience here. I live in the US. I first emailed MK Direct but didn't hear back. A few days after sending the email, I tried using the leave a message box on lower right corner of the website. I heard back on the next day and subsequent communication was quick. I communicated with Kamii (owner of MK Direct) with emails in English. I was able to buy directly from MK Direct without proxy. While the website itself doesn't support addresses outside Japan, Kamii can setup a special
...Show more

Thanks for sharing your purchase experience! After my initial e-mail contact to mkdirect for Apollon, I also got response from Kamii i.e. 上井 -san whose name is also on their (Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mkdirect51/) and the whole e-mail communication was handled by the same person. The initial response came in a couple of minutes from my first e-mail so it was amazingly fast. All the further responses were also really fast and Kamii-san was also flexible in making the delivery date & time earlier than what was initially agreed, since I had requested earliest possible delivery and they were able to ship 3 days earlier than initially set delivery date. I was really happy with the responsiveness and service level so I'm going to order from them again in the future without any hesitation.

For Japan market customers MKDirect seem to suggest contacting Miyazaki-san directly by his phone if there is any trouble with the product or any technical questions (at least that's what they wrote when my Apollon was shipped). My Apollon didn't have any issues but I have already been in contact with Miyzaki-san directly by phone (the conversation was in Japanese only) in context of one of my other MS-Optics lenses that needed servicing (new lens from old remaining stock ordered from another store) and Miyazaki-san handled it and I got the lens back already.



Dec 09, 2022 at 12:40 AM
rscheffler
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


Juha Kannisto wrote:
The level of glow probably depends on shooting distance as well, I think the further distance shots are more glowy than close-up range.


Sounds a bit like the 50/1.5 Heliar and maybe the Kistar 40/2.4? Though maybe the latter is just super glowy wide open at all distances?



Dec 09, 2022 at 02:35 AM
Juha Kannisto
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


rscheffler wrote:
Sounds a bit like the 50/1.5 Heliar and maybe the Kistar 40/2.4? Though maybe the latter is just super glowy wide open at all distances?


Yes, I think Apollon shares some of the 50/1.5 Heliar behavior in having less glow and more sharpness in the focused area at the closest focusing distances. I like to use Apollon wide open at close range especially for flowers and such, and when the distance grows a bit further I start reaching for f2 (unless I want that really glowy special effect).

I think Kistar at 40/f2.4 is indeed rather glowy and soft at all distances and there's never much sharp detail with it until stopping down a bit. At f4 it's a lot sharper already. I like that f2.4 effect on some shots too. The 3 other Kistars for C/Y are pretty nice and have wonderful rendering. I like their IQ more than the 40/2.4 but they are much bigger lenses especially when adding the adapter and there's just no comparison to MS-Optics lens sizes.



Dec 09, 2022 at 03:14 AM
Juha Kannisto
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


Apollon seems to be selling well at MK Direct as they posted this on their blog:

New product APOLLON1.3/36 arrival status​
The arrival of the new product APOLLON1.3/36 has started. ​Currently, it is very popular and we are unable to put it in stock on the online shop. For customers who wish to purchase, please contact us to make a reservation.



Dec 09, 2022 at 08:05 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


Juha Kannisto wrote:
I have one more new album of samples as well from last Sunday & and from this week's lunch breaks.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/b1hL3LMJU7m9rUUt5

Most of them were taken at f8 or at f1.3, and there is probably one building shot at f4 when the light was getting darker and one or two might have been at f2 (don't remember exactly).

I think this Apollon indeed a good point of entry to try an MS-Optics lens since it's got good usability and robustness characteristics among those lenses and it's overall a very nice general purpose shooter with many different characters in one lens depending on
...Show more

Very interesting info Juha. Indeed, the MS 36/1.3 seems to behave like the 50/1.5 Heliar showing less aberration at close distance. I saw that in your center sharp flower close-ups compared to the more glowy and lower contrast images at mid-distance.
Ghosting flare looks very unique here too:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMerLJNhkMGIjEpd6p3OARKwI9-aiy29bHO7qtEIEJVZxOYEMLMnRfO0XPukNIhow/photo/AF1QipNuW-pHIvJrzjH5fU0Dnzo20NfxHpgqHCMAJPb6?key=VE54ZUhFajJqa3FlbTBvQWVMRmZtY3JvcjlXcnRB



Dec 09, 2022 at 09:50 AM
Toothwalker
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · MS-Optics Apollon 36mm f1.3 (Leica M-mount)


thrice wrote:
This one and the discontinued Alpa Apo-Switar (which was actually a Schneider 35mm Apo-Digitar-XL). No others for rangefinder cameras that I know of


A focal length of 36 mm is not unusual. What is unusual is that a manufacturer states the true focal length, instead of rounding it to a number that photographers are more familiar with.

The Voigtländer Nokton 35 mm F/1.2 Aspherical has a focal length of 36 (35.8) mm. There are probably more examples.



Dec 09, 2022 at 10:58 AM
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