LEICA Summicron 40 or 50?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Donald Boyd, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. Donald Boyd

    Donald Boyd Member

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    Another lens I want to get is either a used Summicron 40 f2 or 50 f2. Any ideas to which of these is better in terms of picture quality?
     
  2. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    I have used the current Summicron M 50 for several years. Apart from a tendency to flare in backlit situations, with a strong light source just outside the scene, it is a stellar performer. I have not used the Summicron 40 myself, but judging from other peoples work it is also a very good lens. The last statement concern B&W photography; I have no idea how good the 40 is with colour film, but the 50mm’s colour rendition is quite neutral to my eyes.

    I believe that you should focus on the difference in focal length instead. If you like 50 mm lenses, or if you already own a good 35 – buy a Summicron 50. If you like slightly wider lenses – by all means, buy a 40 in good condition.
     
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  3. Donald Boyd

    Donald Boyd Member

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    Thank you sir. 40 and 50 mm is not much of a difference for me. I just want to know if picture qualities are the same. A used 50 costs a lot more but if it is a better lens than I won't bother with the 40. If the quality is the same than I won't bother with the 50 and save myself a lot of money.
     
  4. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    Well, I don’t know. In technical terms I do believe that the last generation 50 is better than the 40. But that might not be true when it comes to individual used examples.
     
  5. nicolai

    nicolai Member

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    I'm sure lots of people will answer this in their own ways, but I think that you need to define "better in terms of picture quality" means to you to get a useful answer as everyone's got different tastes and priorities.

    For example, if sharpness is important to you and you don't particularly care about field of view, your best bet is probably to buy the cheaper one and put the leftover money into a sturdy tripod and a cable release. If you're willing to use a lens hood, flare becomes less relevant. If you're shooting slides, contrast will be more relevant because there's no room for tweaking in post. Etc.
     
  6. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    IIRC correctly, the 40 was made by Minolta for the Leica CL.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
     
  7. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    The 40mm Summicron-C was made by Leitz in Wetzlar, probably with some parts from Minolta, but I've never seen a breakdown on that. The 40mm f:2 M-Rokkor was made in Japan by Minolta.

    To answer the original question about a 40 Summicron vs a 50 Summicron, you'd have to take into account different generations of 50 Summicrons. The 40 Summicron-C was considered a bit of a 'sleeper' by many when it appeared. I've been very happy with the performance of mine for the last 25 years. You can't really go wrong with any good condition Summicron of any focal length. Others with more experience across the different models will be more qualified than I to make those comparisons.

    Here's a place to find one opinion based on wide experience: http://www.cameraquest.com/mlenses.htm

    Lee
     
  8. EmilGil

    EmilGil Member

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    The 40mm 'cron is to me a nearly perfect match with the 35mm frames in my M6 at distances over a couple of meters. I'm very happy with mine except for a slightly sticky focus ring.

    I've seen a number of people compare the 40mm to the 35mm Summicron IV ('King of bokeh') in terms of sharpness and bokeh but I haven't compared myself as I don't have the 35mm. Biggest drawback of the 40mm 'cron is the filter size, the now non-existing Series 5.5 (but you can use 39mm most of the time).

    The 40mm is exceptionally good value and your decision should be based on whether you want 35/40mm or 50mm FOV, not which lens is better. They are both very good.

    Here is more information re 40mm Summicrons:
    http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00KDUs
    http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=004X9y
     
  9. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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  10. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I own both. They are both terrific performers and to me 40 and 50 are different enough. They handle quite differently though. You can't go wrong with either. If you buy the 40 you'll always wonder if the 50 is better. Get it and if you do not click with it sell it and get a 50.
     
  11. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    The 40 has always been the most bang for the buck. The 40 is different enough from the 50 and is a perfect one lens outfit. The 40 will not have the testing values of a late model 50 Cron. You may never notice the difference between optics. I like the 40 because it is a match for the 35mm frame on a m6 .72 finder at several meters.
     
  12. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    I have the 40/2 Minolta CLE. It is a terrific size; smaller than a 50mm Cron. The CLE optic has a easier to find 40.5 thread and has modern coatings. Minolta made no bones about trying to imitate the German optics in OOF rendering while have more even performance from center to edge.

    I have a perfect collapsible Cron which draws the image differently than the 40 or a newer Summicron. The 50 at f/4, upclose, makes wonderful portraits. You get creamy/dreamy background bokeh, sharp outlines/details, and a circular iris. If the OOF picture area is important and the lighting bright, I often take the Cron.
     
  13. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Hi

    The op started this thread in prehistoric times, we e.g. have the new asph/apo cron to consider as well.

    But the choice is unlimited in 5cm lenses it should include the Cosina f/2.5 and /1.5 lenses, as well as Nikon LTM, Canon LTM and many other manufacturers.

    In 40mm the Leica CL, Minolta CLE, and Cosnina are all you have.

    Unless you shoot wide open and tripod mounted you wont detect much difference in MTF.

    If you l9ike the single coated signature or multi coated oignature you have choices in 4cm, and 5c,m, e.g. many of the Cosina 4cm are in SC

    If you want small and light the CL, CLE, 4cm and Cosina /2.5 5cm and post '94 Elmar 5cm are all small and light, the Cosina /1.4 4cm is quite large amd heavy in comparison. The post 94 5cm Elmar is really good for MTF and high contrast

    But the mot critical thing if you do fast shooting is the ergonimics of the lens and your hand size, try before you buy, all the optical performance of the apo/asph is lost of you dont push the shutter release in time.

    Noel
     
  14. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Hi

    The op started this thread in prehistoric times, we e.g. have the new asph/apo cron to consider as well.

    But the choice is unlimited in 5cm lenses it should include the Cosina f/2.5 and /1.5 lenses, as well as Nikon LTM, Canon LTM and many other manufacturers.

    In 40mm the Leica CL, Minolta CLE, and Cosina are all you have.

    Unless you shoot wide open and tripod mounted you wont detect much difference in MTF.

    If you like the single coated signature or multi coated signature you have choices in 4cm, and 5c,m, e.g. many of the Cosina 4cm are in SC

    If you want small and light the CL, CLE, 4cm and Cosina /2.5 5cm and post '94 Elmar 5cm are all small and light, the Cosina /1.4 4cm is quite large amd heavy in comparison. The post 94 5cm Elmar is really good for MTF and high contrast

    But the most critical thing if you do fast shooting is the ergonimics of the lens and your hand size, try before you buy, all the optical performance of the apo/asph is lost of you dont push the shutter release in time.

    Noel
     
  15. Obskura

    Obskura Member

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    In my experience with a couple different 40mm Summicron examples, they have been excellent and very nice quality lenses. The great thing about them is they don't seem to go for as much as a better known lens like the 50mm. If you want something a little wider, and a better walk around lens (it's much lighter and smaller than the 50 cron), and are on a budget; buy it. It's a very good quality lens made in Germany by leica (probably at least designed by Minolta). It's single coated so it's a little soft for color stuff, but I personally like that look. If you shoot black and white more, don't even hesitate.
     
  16. rulnacco

    rulnacco Member

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    I've got both the M-Rokkor 40 for the CLE (the one with the easier-to-find 40.5 mm filters) and a Version IV 50 Summicron. On the M3, I prefer the 50, as that's a match made in heaven.

    But, overall, my most-used combination is the M6 with the M-Rokkor. The image quality is, in my opinion, every bit as good as the Leica 50. The 40 field of view is just about perfect for me--it's what I'd call my "normal" angle of view--and the lens is much smaller and more compact than the 50, while still being very well-constructed. You can easily slip an M camera with the M-Rokkor into a large coat pocket, which is more difficult to do with the longer 50. Finally, the 40 is a very good match for the M6's 35 frame lines, at distances over a few metres; it's trivial to remember to be a little more generous with framing when shooting at close distances.

    The one drawback is that the 40 Summicron-C/M-Rokkors bring up the 50 frame lines automatically on M cameras, rather than the 35s. The lenses can easily be modified, with a bit of filing, to bring up the 35 frame lines. But if you don't wish to make an irreversible change to your lens, I found out online about a kludge that works quite well for me: if you take a plastic film canister cap (the Ilford ones work particularly well, as they are about the perfect thickness and are black) and cut it into pie-shaped wedges, you can use one of these, with the rounded end braced against the lens mount, to hold the frame preview selector lever in the 35 position. Works great, requires no surgery to the lens, and is effectively free!
     
  17. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I read not good reports on Canada Mandler ELCAN designed Crons. They have least half the resolution of a Leitz Wetzlar older generation lenses and tend to lower the resolution at left and right. Its a worldwide discussion why is that. I used 50mm cron on Leicaflex and too hot colors at sunlight for my taste. And there was too much contrast at highlights. BUT BUT If you go to dim light , shadowy area , for example if you dont live at Florida but North , there is excellent , very very classy colors palette and degrades. Skin tones are excellent , I did not see an equivalent colors at any other 6 of my Leitz Wetzlar lens. In my opinion , Leitz lenses have a reputation because whereever whatever you go and do , they Works matchlessly. Newer Leica lenses have not this quality.
     
  18. schewct

    schewct Member

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    I would say it's 50mm Summicron.
     
  19. FotoFunfDreissig

    FotoFunfDreissig Member

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    In my opinion both great performers, and i have owned both, Really the 50 suffers from the least vignetting to my eyes, but only marginally.
    The 40 is great and has minimal distortion for the focal length, both really crisp, but the 50 i think is a little crisper wide open than the 40.

    Both are great, get one and be happy.

    Pedro