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Leitz Summar 2/50mm from 1937
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:33 pm    Post subject: Leitz Summar 2/50mm from 1937 Reply with quote

This is pre-war lens in M39 mount, the first fast Leica lens. The lens is completely uncoated and has continuous aperture with a weird numbering sequence. I'm very impressed how smooth the focusing and aperture is: better than the average lens from 70-80. First some pictures of the lens.





And now the pictures that it takes. Aperture in these varies in f2.0-f3.2 range, #1 is shot through a thick glass.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovely shoots, lack of coating makes it even more 'charmy'


PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it's a low contrast lens and you have to baby it due to lack of coating, but with a right light and a subject it really shines and provides a delicate rendering that more modern lenses don't give.


PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fermy wrote:
Yes, it's a low contrast lens and you have to baby it due to lack of coating, but with a right light and a subject it really shines and provides a delicate rendering that more modern lenses don't give.


Yes, give special look , on sunshine in opposite light they can render glory, I love them much.


PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All very nice and the last wowww

The shade will help something, I guess.


PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DR.JUAN wrote:
All very nice and the last wowww

The shade will help something, I guess.


Yes, people usually suggest hood to improve contrast, honestly I never used Embarassed if low in contrast fine at least to me.


PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not only for the contrast, the low contrast image has something artistic.

The shade should be useful to avoid the parasit light, the flare, that affect the resolution power. Low contrast, yes. Details not clear because the flare, no.


PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice lens, I like uncoated lenses, especially for shooting BW film. This one doesn't draw like the contemporary Sonnar 2/50, quite different, so useful to have indeed.


PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be interesting indeed to compare it to uncoated Zeiss Sonnar. Summar is a classical 6 element/4groups double Gauss design v 3 groups for Sonnar, so I would think that without coatings Sonnar should be contrastier and by this virtue superior on film.

IMHO the lens such as Summar has a much better potential on digital, where it's easy to set the contrast exactly as you like it. That way the biggest downside vanishes, while the charming retro rendering is there to enjoy. IMHO Summar does not have a great reputation precisely because in the film era the low contrast was too much of a handicap to overcome.

Normally I don't use hoods, but here it might be a good idea. It's quite difficult to shield the poor thing from all home lights otherwise. Those Leica hoods are clunky, not to mention that sellers want $100-200 for them. Good luck with that Laughing Has anyone seen collapsible rubber hoods with a small thread?


PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that in the past and now, the medium to low contrast lenses let us obtain the contrast needed for the image looked for.

In the film time, the different movements (for instance, dodging) whe we printed the picture, let us obtain the contrast needed.

Today, obviuosly, the pp does almost everything.

One thing they dont obtain: the image or the detail where don't be one.


PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coated copies of the 50mm F 2.0 Summar can be found, as Leitz offered a service after the war where customers could send in their lenses and have them coated (for a fee of course). Probably not a lot to find of the Summar with coating, but pre-war 50mm F 3.5 Elmars that have been coated after the war are not too scarce.Smile

The uncoated lens would have worked great with ASA 10 Kodachrome in the late 30's-the high contrast of the slide film, coupled with the low contrast of the lens would have canceled each other out:)

I would guess most owners of the 50mm F 2.0 Summar would have opted to upgrade to a 50mm F2.0 Summitar, which had coating from the beginning in the mid to late 1940's.

BTW, my avatar (the first time I have used one on this site), is a photo of me, anscochrome, taken on ASA 32 Anscochrome slide film in 1961. So it is anscochrome on Anscochrome:)

I am working on a project where Michael Gray and I are going to try to make a preset to simulate Anscochrome in Lightroom 4. I am in charge of scanning a bunch of old Anscochrome slides my brother had rescued a few days back. Now I am waiting for a new scanner to arrive tomorrow, as my 5 year old HP 8300 went bellyup just as I was starting the scanning:)


PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably coating Summars and Elmars made them more useful back then, but for me in this day and technology there is no point in tracking down one. I have plenty of optics with relatively recent coatings, I am sure that whatever coating Leitz had in 1949 will not match them. It's much more interesting to see what these lenses can do in their original form.


PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's hazier than mine, which is uncoated, but in perfect optical condition. Are there cleaning scratches on the front surface? Is there any haze inside? Is the black edge painting on the innermost elements intact? A little fault goes a long way in such a small lens.


PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The lens is far from perfect shape (see here for more http://forum.mflenses.com/a-fix-for-scratched-lenses-t57399.html ), however what I think you think is haze is just IS0 1000 on a noisy EPL-1 sensor Wink . Only the last shot is ISO 200, and honestly, I don't see any technical issues with it. #4 and #5 are ISO 1000 and those do look hazy.


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like a great lens for overcast days, last pic is great, has a nice silky feel to it.


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that is pretty much pornographic!

What a lovely artifact! Smile


PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My love affair with this lens continues. It occurred to me that one of the reason why I keep coming back to it is that it forces me to respect the light. I don't mean it primitively as in avoiding to shoot into the sun and shielding the front element of impinging light. There is very little shadow detail, the shadows are blocked, so I must light the subject or there is no picture.

As an upside, it's very difficult to blow highlights with this lens, the highlight range is compressed due to low contrast, but all the information is there.

Anyway, here are the fresh pictures. I mostly use it for portraits and flowers, but even though I haven't got any great landscapes, it's not bad near infinity either.
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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lens has nice character indeed, I love this pre-war feeling. Great shoots also helps of course!


PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:24 am    Post subject: Summar on film Reply with quote

Here's a torture test of my totally clean, scratch-free, and properly edge-blackened Summar. New York at night. Film is Portra 800, in a Leica IIIa.



Yeah, there are some reflections. But there still isn't really a lot of flare. The Summar's reputation is often based on bad samples, which is most of them by now.


PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:24 am    Post subject: Re: Summar on film Reply with quote

John Shriver wrote:
Here's a torture test of my totally clean, scratch-free, and properly edge-blackened Summar. New York at night. Film is Portra 800, in a Leica IIIa.



Yeah, there are some reflections. But there still isn't really a lot of flare. The Summar's reputation is often based on bad samples, which is most of them by now.


Shame pics have gone from this thread -- i just got a 1937 Summar -- with its metal front-cap

factory coated, not-much haze inside, minor scratches on the front, no separation tho

so i hope it goes well with my 1933 Elmar 35mm f3.5


PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't see any pic, where are they uploaded ?


PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

StyxD wrote:
I can't see any pic, where are they uploaded ?


Some photos disappeared last year when the server had a problem. Images stored on external servers still show. The OP would have to re-upload them. A pity really I'm interested too.


PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will reupload them once I get internet access at home. UK is the first country in my life where 2 month is not enough for that Laughing


PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fermy wrote:
I will reupload them once I get internet access at home. UK is the first country in my life where 2 month is not enough for that Laughing


thats excellent, cheers

i will try to get some good results with mine, unfortunately the aperture ring i is pretty froz, i keep unscrewing the whole lens nearly [ha ha]

focussing is sticky but fairly tolerable