ULTRON - a superlative, the best... born in the late 60th with one target: to be the best!
50mm lenses are standard lenses and every manufacture has a really good one. The challenge for speed leads the F - Stops down to F1.2 or 0.95. But this was more a race for theory and paper, the real challenge was to create a lens with a useable sharpness and contrast at open aperture and add some pleasant bokeh to it.
1968 the Ultron was constructed by Albrecht Tronnier some internet sources add a bet to its origin. The bet to use a convex front element.
Maybe this construction or the selection of glass types or the fact that this calculation was the first computer added calculation of the R&D department of Carl Zeiss leads to an outcome that was a clear statement for the best 50mm lens in its time.
Today some 50 years later the technology has changed, an computer calculation is standard and 50mm f1.8 use aspherical elements to elementar every possible aberration.
But are the results different?
Let‘s have a deep dive and have a look of different lens designs and the characters of the legacy lenses vs modern constructions.
I will compare the Carl Zeiss Ultron 50 1.8 M42 vs Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm 1.4 CY vs Zeiss Makro Planar 50 2.0 .
In Addition we will have a Look at the constructions from Midland of Leica. The 50mm Summicron and Summilux for Leica R.
And finally we will go to Russia and Japan and take a look to an Ultron inspired lens the KMZ...50 1.9 and the master of light from Japan the Minolta MD 50mm 1.2 and the TAKUMAR legend of the 8-element Super-Takumar 50mm f1.4 with a cemented Triplet as part of the 6 groups. To put these collection of 50mm glass together was a search for many years. This is definitly not a complete 50mm comparison, there are so many more great lenses from different countries and manufacturers.
Please note this work is still in progress....