I have an M3 but no Summicron, am I missing out?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by msbarnes, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    So I have an M3 and a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 LTM. I like the combination a lot but since I've only acquired this combination this summer, but I haven't had a chance to try any other lenses....

    I've often thought about getting a 50mm f2.0 Summicron because that's the more "classic" combination, but is it noticeably "better"? Or offer a more distinctive look to make it worthwhile?

    I shoot at f2-f4 mostly as I feel that the DOF is just too shallow at f1.4, so I don't really need the speed per se.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2012
  2. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    If your M3 body makes you feel better than Nikon body , why not ? But LTM Nikkors are the exact copies of German designs and they are EXCELLENT. I dont give a dam to plastic or 70s Nikons but LTMs are super. Summicron is very expensive and it pays you back unless if you have money to pay back to bank.
    Or you will forced to sell it and be an enemy of it. This is frequently observed at this forum.
     
  3. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Only you can really answer that question since "missing out" and "better" is completely subjective based on what you like and what you want out of your photography. My favorite Leica lens is the 50/2 Summicron DR. I bought and used a 50/1.4 Summilux but frankly it just did not give me what I was after and the satisfaction of the images I got from it was not what I expected so I sold it. Of course that Summilux is an AWESOME lens and many people love it and I certainly liked it but it was not exactly what I wanted. I know you're asking about the Summicron but that's just an example for you. Good thing about many or most Leica lenses is you can buy, use, and then re-sell for as much if not more than you paid.
     
  4. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I had a similar situation....I had/have a Canon 50mm f1.4 and found a DR SUmmicron without goggles and in need of cleaning for a bargain price so I tried it. I like it a lot more to the point that I don't use the Canon anymore. The DR isn't the prettiest lens, but it takes nice, sharp images down to f2. The only bad thing about the DR is that it weighs a ton....lots of brass and glass.
     
  5. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Thank you for your responses. I feel that my question is rather useless in a sense. It's easiest (but not always financially feasible) for me to just own and both lenses and sell the one that doesn't really work. (Although I feel that I wouldn't sell either!).
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    How about a Summitar? Wonderful wonderful lens.
     
  7. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Thomas , you cant enough tell the people how old Leica lenses are better than the new ones. I tried once and it turned to an lynch action here.
     
  8. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Did not say better. Did not say worse. Just offering the OP an option that is far less expensive, that's all.
    I have used a Summicron, a Summarit, and a Summitar. I could live happily everafter with either lens without ever wondering what I'm missing. Seriously. If you can't make good photographs with either of those lenses, then it's not the camera that's the problem, but rather the photographer.

     
  10. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Thomas the same could be said for pretty much any halfway decent lens, which includes the above mentioned Nikon.
    Mustafa imho the old lenses aren't necessaraly better but they have more presence and a more balanced look than the new übersharp Leica lenses. I love the Summar btw.

    The Summitar looks a lot like an early Summicron, so Thomas' advice is a very good one.

    Dominik
     
  11. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    I would perhaps try a Summitar. I've been shying away from Leica LTM lenses because they're more problamatic in regards to haze/fungus and most agree that Japanese LTM's are usually safer in this regard.

    The Nikon lens that I own is more than decent for me; I just have this this curiosity in trying out a Leica lens. I will, eventually, just not now unless I get an incredible deal. Leica LTMs still interest me so I may go that route, and from a reputable seller.
     
  12. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    That's a good idea. Most of my Leica glass was patiently obtained at good prices but with moderate issues. i.e. my Summitar has a tiny amount of coating separation on the edge, no affect on performance that I can see and I got it for a song. My 'cron DR some boob crossed the threads in screwing the front on. It made the preivous owner create a new mark for where the f/stop is but it has zero affect on performance. As mentioned it's one of my all-time favorite lenses and I got it for about 40% less than most Summicron DR's go for.

    Sit tight and watch and good bargains will come along if you're not looking for collector's peices.
     
  13. M. Lointain

    M. Lointain Member

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    If the Nikkor is clean, keep it. You really aren't missing out on anything. I used to have a Summicron with my M3 but I moved on and I don't miss it. Frankly between the two i would rather have the Nikkor. I have several 50's now but I use two old Contax Sonnars, one coated and one uncoated, with an adapter. Basically the same as the Nikkor. The Summitar that Thomas mentioned is a nice lens too.

    Remember that the limitation lies within not without.
     
  14. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    I think a Summicron is something everybody should try if they have an M Leica. The point is you will never know for sure if you don't. I would recommend a newer rather than older lens, so you can at least experience the maximum available from a great lens at all apertures. Older Summicrons are less contrasty and not so well corrected, which can be good, but for that sort of look I would say a Summitar is king.

    My Summitar is a 1946 coated example with a coating mark on the front element that I don't believe makes any difference to the image. But it has an amazingly weird yet attractive bokeh wide open, and gives a really nice gentle look to modern contrasty colour film like Ektar. It may or may not be 'better' than the Nikkor (I think a later Summicron would be) but they are real character lenses. Get a cheap Summitar-to-39mm adapter from Ebay to use modern filters and lens hoods.

    Steve
     
  15. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    A collapsible 50/2.0 Summicron came with the M3 I bought back in the mid-1990's. It's like most fast lenses of that era, a tad soft wide-open sharpening up nicely as you stop down. I really don't consider it to be a "special" lens and it doesn't give my pictures a "special" look. Actually, I rarely use it now, much preferring my LTM Canon 50/1.4 or my 50/2.0 LTM Nikkor.

    Jim B.
     
  16. mhanc

    mhanc Member

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    I have a Summicron 50/2 and I can't say that it has changed my life... photographically speaking. It is just not the decisive factor in my creating a photographic print that I like. Don't get me wrong, it is a great lens and I really like how it renders low-light scenes. However, I wouldn't feel as if I were missing out on anything if I were to replace it with another lens.
     
  17. Double Negative

    Double Negative Member

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    You might also consider the Zeiss Planar T* 2/50 ZM lens - very comparable to the Summicron but much more affordable.
     
  18. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    It's been many decades since using a 50mm Nikkor LTM. It seemed good at the time. A five element 50mm f/2.8 Rokkor was better. My 50mm F/1.4 Canon isn't very sharp wide open. It's better to use faster film and a Summicron.
     
  19. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    i usually tell people that just about every lens made for the better cameras around are really really good, and that Nikon should be.

    Think of it this way: If Perfect is 100, then the lenses made by leica and nikon in the 1050s were probably 95 or 96.

    Modern computer generated optics are probably 98 or even 99, but that's still an awfully small difference. The difference between that Nikon and a Summicron might be less than you imagine since, if they were made at the same time, the Leica optic probably was assembled using Leica's famous tree-sap glue (really!) which may not have aged as well as whatever Nikon was using.

    When pondering the difference between a lens that rates 95 and 96, keep in mind that the quality of the glass is only about 5 perent of the deciding factor of whether your images are any good. You are the other 95 percent.

    So, go shoot, and be at peace.
     
  20. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I had a couple Leica M3s. I had, or had the chance to use, Summicrons, Summarits, Summitars, Elmars, Canon LTM via adapter, and a couple I've forgotten. They didn't make my pictures one bit better. Just put a lens on the thing and take pictures.
     
  21. sangetsu

    sangetsu Member

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    It is quite hard to choose a Leica M lens, partly because of the variety of lenses, and the variety in prices. The Summicron is the best all around choice, and is the one which I prefer to use on my M cameras. The Summitar is a great lens, but it is prone to separation in the front elements, has rather swirly bokeh, and is quite prone to flaring, even on overcast days. The less expensive Summar shares the flaring problem, but usually is good at delivering that Leica "glow" you often hear of. The Summicron seems to have the best balance of sharpness and contrast, and has the most modern design.

    When looking for a Summicron, be on the lookout for damage to the coating on the front element, and haze inside the rear element. Cleaning marks and scratches do not seem to affect the images much, unless they are severe. Haze on the inside of the lens increases "glow", and decreases contrast. The haze is almost impossible to remove without taking the internal lens coating with it.

    A good alternative to the Summicron is the 50/2 Heliar made by Voigtlander. This is a very nice lens which also has a classic look, and it will match an M3 nicely. I use a black Heliar on my black paint M3, the camera and lens look made for each other, and the photos are quite nice. The quality of the materials and workmanship on the Heliar lens are much better than what I have found on other Voigtlander lenses.
     
  22. davela

    davela Subscriber

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    There's nothing quite as nice as a good Summicron on an M3, but one pays dearly for that experience these days. The collapsible model is still relatively inexpensive compared to the rigids and it can still deliver first rate image quality (IMO), but one can still expect to pay at least $450 for a good user grade model. The vintage rigid Summicrons are now selling for a significant fraction of the cost of very late model versions. Expect to pay the better part of a $1000 for a very good rigid today (sad, but true!).
     
  23. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    For almost nothing I got a clean FED 52/2.8, and it has been a fantastic performer. You could try a Jupiter-8 (50 f2) - the older ones have a nice classic look to them, and they're quite cheap.

    I never really thought much about Russian lenses until I tried them. I have a photo done with a FED and recent Summicron, and to me they are equally beautiful.
     
  24. jazz

    jazz Member

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    Basically, u can choose any 50 LTM.
    The Summicron 50/2 collasible is good choice; price and result.

    regards