Lens for M3

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by shicks5319, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

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    I have recently purchased a Leica M3 with the hope of finding a small unobtrusive camera for candid and general street photos. This one is SN 854238 one of the last double stroke versions.

    The camera is beautiful and a real pleasure to work with (although I am having to get used to the smaller negative size). The problem is the Summicron f2 50mm lens that came with the camera has a lot of scratching on the front element; so much so that obtaining a sharp image is compromised.

    I am hoping you rangefinder folks could help steer me on what strategies I should pursue.

    1. Are there reasonable alternatives for finding a replacement front element for an older lens such as this?

    2. What make/model lens would you folks recommend should I replace the entire lens? I am hoping to stay within a budget of $500 - $750 per lens.


    I really appreciate you taking the time to consider this question.
     
  2. fpjohn

    fpjohn Member

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    Hello:

    May I ask if you are using a sunshade? An older Summicron in good shape has a tendency to flare. The other option is to have it CLA'd. See The Rangefinder Forum for references, and opinions, on polishing and recoating services.

    Cosina Voightlander LTM lenses are great bargins and fine optics. See the Camerquest site.

    yours
    Frank.
     
  3. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

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    M3 Lens

    Thanks for the reply, Frank.

    I do NOT currently have a sunshade on this lens, and therefore have been careful with light direction. My problem is that the scratching on the front element is really visible when you open up the lens to f2 and look through it.

    I will check out the Rangefinder Forum.


    thanks.
     
  4. fpjohn

    fpjohn Member

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    Hello:

    I have ugly lenses, visible coating marks, scratches, etc. that perform well.

    Yours may be ok. Are you satisfied with prints from negs taken in open shade?

    yours
    Frank
     
  5. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Even the current Summicron 50mm/2 can be had used but realy Minted at your highest limit of 750$. They usually go for 750-820$ in tha condition, but some patience will pay off finding it for about 750$.
    Here on APUG I saw very rarely Leica stuff being sold, however on RFF (ranegfinderforum.com) often godo quality RF stuff is selling, and the 50mm'Cron isn't that rarity there for quite reasonable pricing.
    I picked my Summicron 50mm/2 (current version) there for 775$ which I consider very reasonable given its nealry Like New condition.
    Photo.net Leica board may also have thing to offer, but prices there are usually somewhat higher..
     
  6. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    An often overlooked 50mm for the Leica is the Elmar f/2.8. I believe it outperforms the Summicron at comparable apertures, and is quite compact when collapsed. Unfortunately, enough people do appreciate this little gem to keep the price up.
     
  7. elekm

    elekm Member

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    With some lenses, the elements are part of matched sets, so simply swapping out the front element will cause more problems than it corrects, because the lens will no longer focus at indicated distances. However, I don't know if this is the case with the Summicron. You might want to contact Leica.

    You could try to re-polish the front element. In theory, it slightly alters the shape of the element, but it might be your best best.

    Your other option is to simply replace the lens.

    My own experience with cleaning marks is that they tend to lower the contrast -- often noticeably -- in the center of the image. If the cleaning marks are really bad, they can degrade sharpness, which seems to be the case with your lens.

    ADDED: I also agree that the Cosina Voigtlander lenses are incredible bargains, if cost is a concern.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2007
  8. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    You also might talk to John Van Stelton at Focal Point- http://www.focalpointlens.com/fp_intro.html. If the scratches aren't too deep he can polish and coat the front element and clean the lens. It would cost less than what you are thinking of spending and could solve the problems you're having. He did a Dual Range Summicron for me and it's now a jewel.

    Richard Wasserman
     
  9. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

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    Reply to Frank

    I am NOT happy with the lens performance as yet. It has a "soft" look on the negatives which I have attributed to the scratched front element.

    The scatches appear to be much deeper than what I would call cleaning marks.
     
  10. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

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    Thanks for great comments.

    I really appreciate the great comments from all. You have given me a lot to go on.
     
  11. willie_901

    willie_901 Member

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    In your price range the CV Nokton 50/1.5 with the LTM to M adapter would be a good choice. Take the money you save, add it to your budget for a second lens, and get the Zeiss ZM Biogon 35/3. This is a wonderful lens.

    If you prefer the older M lens look, try http://www.kevincameras.com/ or KEH. These firms enjoy reasonable reputations.
     
  12. matti

    matti Member

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    I have had some really really sharp pictures with my Jupiter 8 2/50 in a screw mount adaptor. It is a bit annoying that it lacks clicks for the aperture, though.

    /matti
     
  13. mrtoml

    mrtoml Member

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    I would second having a look at the CV Nokton 50.

    There is a group on flickr dedicated to this lens so you can get an idea of its look.
     
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  15. mike_j

    mike_j Member

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    For candid/street use it's hard to beat a slightly wider angle and the CV Color Skopar 35/2.5 is a cracking little lens. I use it as a standard on my M6
     
  16. Donald Boyd

    Donald Boyd Member

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    The Elmar 50 f/2.8 would be too slow for 400 film indoors. Even with an F2 lens you'll be shooting at 1/30 and 1/15 much of the time, unless you use faster film or push it, which kind of defeats the purpose of using a good lens.
     
  17. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    As with SLR, so with RF, I am a Nikonian so take what I say with a large grain of salt.

    Since in the RF world we Nikonians were "starved" for half a century - I am forever indebted to Mr. Kobayashi (sp) for using Cosina to revive the mid-20th Century RF world both generally, and specifically.

    In your price range I think you are much better off with a new CV lens lens.

    If you are willing to double your price range - then go for a ZM.
     
  18. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I think the prices of Kevin's Cameras -- at least on eBay -- on unreasonably high. You can find much better deals elsewhere -- such as here on the classifieds and on other boards as well.
     
  19. Donald Boyd

    Donald Boyd Member

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    In the USA Camera Quest is a good source for CV lenses such as the Nokton 50 / F1.5. The website is http://www.cameraquest.com. The owner is a good guy - honest, and goes the extra mile.
     
  20. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

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    Action taken

    Well, with all the great advice recieved from everybody (thanks to all), I have decided on a strategy:

    John Van Stelton at Focal Point came up with, what sounds to me, a very reasonable quote for cleaning up and servicing my Summicron 50mm lens - $250 including the repolish and recoat.

    So I have gone out a picked up a 90mm TELE-ELMARIT from KEH for just under $500. When it gets here, I send off the summicron to Focal Point.

    If the repair works, and the Tele-elmarit lives up to expectations, I will end up with two lenses for just a little more than I started off planning for.

    Once I have saved up some more pennies I'll look over the CV 35mm.

    I'll post a note on how this all turns out.
     
  21. dachs

    dachs Member

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    Dear Colleague from Mexico

    Look out for a modern collapsible 50mm F2.8 - get one in silver (brass) if possible to maintain your camera's period appeal.

    It is the cheapest £eica lens at about GBP 600 ( ~ $ 1000 US) when new, and is of stunning quality and a joy to play with. Also very compact, unobtrusive, not prone to flare with built on hood, convenient.

    I love mine!

    b0b
     
  22. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Member

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    The purpose of rangefinder camera is to work in available light usually at very low speed and wide open. It is very common to shoot between the second up to 1/8 hand held. So many great photographs have been made exactly this way.
    Having a Leica to use it on tripod defeats almost all his attributes and in that case it's better to use an slr or a large format camera...
    The compact Elmar (when closed) on a M body fits easily in a pocket, f/2.8 is a very acceptable trade off. This is an excellent all around lens. Now if you really need these extra stops the summilux is amazing wide open... even at one second hand held.
     
  23. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

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    If you are in the market I have a couple of 50mm Leica Summitars that are really pretty. Each could be had for rather a bit less than $500 to $750!

    Please PM if interested.

    Thanks,
    Jon
     
  24. luvcameras

    luvcameras Advertiser Advertiser

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  25. Steve Bellayr

    Steve Bellayr Member

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    You can also use 35 instead of a 50 and would be easier to focus under the conditions that you describe. The cv lenses at cameraquest are within you budget.
     
  26. slipkid

    slipkid Member

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    Softness can be the "Leica look"

    Many of the Leica/Leitz lenses have what is often described as a "glow." Many photogs use older period lenses to get that look. My collapsible Summitar and 50/1.5 Summarit both produce results that are softer looking than those produced by my Summicrons. Out of the Summicrons, the pre-asph version (with the built-in hood) is more "technical" looking than my ~50 year old collapsible, fixed or dual-range Summicrons...

    I also agree that the CV line is a great bargain for new lenses...Good luck!

    AJ