Summicrom 50mm M - "glasses are bit foggy"

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by darkosaric, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    So,

    time has come - I am buying leica M6 :smile:. My friend is going in Berlin and he will do shopping for me. I have money for M6 but for new or relatively new lens not right now. I see one, two summicrons are around 200 euros - with remark: "glasses are bit foggy". What I can expect in final image because of this?

    I always wanted summicron 50mm. Should I go for this one and later (next year probably) buy newer version, or should I go for voigtlander first?

    Shop is:

    http://www.meister-camera.com/berlin/

    thanks,
     
  2. Depth

    Depth Member

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    Well, if a fungus is causing it then don't even bother with it.

    And you can expect the lens to suffer from things like less contrast.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    For 200 euro you should be able to get a very clean Summicron, optically.

    Probably not from a dealer, but unlike most lenses there's less to go mechanically wrong. I have an early M series Summicron and it's a wonderful lens, very sharp and superb in low light levels great for hand held work.

    Ian
     
  4. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Some older Leica lenses were prone to "fogging" (not necessarily fungus - aparently something to do with the glass sometimes degrading due to the lubricants used - still very bad).
    I'd definitely avoid them! Lower contrast and more flare would be expected, at the very least.

    While Meister Camera tends to rate conservatively, any mention of fog, even by them, would be a no no IMHO...

    As a stopgap: A Soviet lens with a M39-Leica M adapter ring?
    Yes, Russian roulette, but some of the Soviet lenses were very good (tweaked 1930's Zeiss & Leica designs). The 50mm lenses apparently have more keepers than some other FLs (easier to build?).
    Anyway, if a 'Cron is what you want, go for it, but fog-free!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2010
  5. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I've got to tell you, the Cosina-Voigtlander lenses are really good. A friend of mine has the 50 mm f/1.5 Nokton and it's really good. I don't think that you will see an appreciable difference between that lens and a comparable Leitz optic. Brand new they are around $390 US at B&H, and you can probably find one for less on the used market. If you're bound and determined to have a Leitz lens, this won't do. But if you're looking for a very good, fast lens and don't care who made it, it's worth a look. The f/2 Heliar is really good too and will likely cost even less.
     
  6. Depth

    Depth Member

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    I agree.

    I rented a Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 and was surprised by the optical quality. Sharp wide open and the contrast is wonderful. And it's a fraction of the cost of a Noctilux and slightly slower.

    Shot taken with the 50mm f/1.1

    A few more shots in this set.
     
  7. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    thanks for replays :smile:. I will avoid foggy ones. If I don't find summicron for good price - for start I will go with voigtlander :smile:
     
  8. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    ...and you just might find that the Cosina-Voigtlander stuff is plenty good enough too. Leitz optics are beautiful; but they're also seen as status items and, dare I say it, fashion accessories. At one time, Leitz products probably had it all over the rest. I don't think that's so much the case today. Good lens designs are not secrets.
     
  9. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    I thought the current ststus symbol was more along the lines of an AF camera mounting a huge white lens (Freud dixit)...

    There are differences between lenses and their signatures.
    Some may be matters of taste, others having more real impact (flare resistance being an important one).
    Designs are not secrets, but the commercial will to make a lens as good as it can be is often not there. Consumers will often throw their money at convenience and electronic gadgets rather than truly good optics.
     
  10. T42

    T42 Member

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    The longer the feature list the better, right? :wink:

    Several years ago I took a shot of an accident scene with my 1953 Summicron. I noticed that the red light from an emergency vehicle had flared a bit on the print. I had thought of the lens as clear, but on close inspection it did have a bit of haze.

    I sent it to Sherry Krauter at Golden Touch in New York. She took the lens apart and cleaned it. She also did some work on the helicals which made the focusing operation more like how it would have been when new. If I recall correctly, at that time the price for the service was USD $113. The flare went away, and the contrast came up.

    Having said that, I am wondering it the OP might benefit from having a Jupiter 8M in the interim. I am very pleased with the one on my Kiev 4a. I think it can be had in 39mm LTM, and then be adapted to M bayonet. My 1969 Jupiter is more contrasty than my 1953 Summicron. This gives the illusion of it being sharper, but it isn't. The Leitz optic seems to be a bit kinder for people images.

    :smile:
     
  11. budrichard

    budrichard Member

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    These lenses are getting old and some are past thier usable lifetime and some approaching thier lifetime which was not known when developed. Materials and methods have changed. I have all new Leica ASPH glass except for a few older lenses that apparently are holding thier own. I would go with new glass other then Leica if i could not afford new or relatively new, say last 15 years or so Leica glass. Bad glass is bad glass no matter whose name is on it.-Dick
     
  12. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Pray tell what is the "usable lifetime" of a lens?

    While more recent Leica (and Zeiss) lenses are arguably "better" than the older ones (very arguably - many people prefer the signatures of the older ones), that does not at all make the older lenses obsolete or unusable.
    For example, many people prefer the older 35mm Summicron version IV to the current Asph. one.

    With other manufacturers, recent (AF) prime lenses are often worse than the the equivalent lenses they were making several decades ago. Materials used are often cheapened compared to the past!

    That also brings up the question of lens generations: The Leica 50mm M Summicron probably has at least five generations (too lazy too look it up now) - each with different optical schemes and signatures and each with its admirers and detractors.

    So the O.P. wants a Summicron, but which Summicron?
    :wink:
     
  13. budrichard

    budrichard Member

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    A large cottage industry has evolved in the selling of old Leica glass which would have you believe that its the best thing since sliced bread. Monetary or intellectual interest in having one believe that this old glass is better than anything new is used to make subjective pronouncements about old glass. The real truth is that the glass is in some cases as good as some of the newer glass but in most cases its not as good, its just cheaper and one can feel comfortable in the assertion,
    "While more recent Leica (and Zeiss) lenses are arguably "better" than the older ones (very arguably - many people prefer the signatures of the older ones), that does not at all make the older lenses obsolete or unusable.
    For example, many people prefer the older 35mm Summicron version IV to the current Asph. one."
    Of course the other assertion is that in current manufacturing
    "Materials used are often cheapened compared to the past!"
    Of course the last absolutely useless thought, only of use to those that sit and think about lenses at thier keyboards is
    "That also brings up the question of lens generations: The Leica 50mm M Summicron probably has at least five generations (too lazy too look it up now) - each with different optical schemes and signatures and each with its admirers and detractors."
    I have an M3 with a set of RF lenses of that generation and in my direct side by side comparison using K64 under a 5x Leica magnifier on my Normlicht light table, I can't tell the difference between the 'old' RF and the 'new' ASPH glass. The build is the same except that the ASPH lenses are lighter because of the plastic barrels instead of chrome, often substantially lighter.
    As I stated "some approaching thier lifetime which was not known when developed. " Leica/Leitz had no idea of the lifetime of the materials being used at the time of manufacture, so your question "Pray tell what is the "usable lifetime" of a lens?" is non-sensical.
    I will always purchase the newest lens I can afford rather than using semantical arguements about qualitative lens factors that can't quantified.
    I have some theories about why some lenses degrade and under what conditions but they are just theories and I don't have the time to let a set of old lenses age under different conditions.
    I have no desire nor could I care less to discuss different lenses, I just purchase good equipment and use it.
    What is Posted was,
    "I would go with new glass other then Leica if i could not afford new or relatively new, say last 15 years or so Leica glass. Bad glass is bad glass no matter whose name is on it." and my Post still stands.--Dick
     
  14. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Well as a user of an early M-series 50mm Summicron all I can say is the the images shot with it are excellent whether colour or B&W and that is all that matters.

    Your theory of these Summicron (1950's -onwards) lenses degrading with age is absolute rubbish. However there is sometimes degradation with some 1930's fast lenses which used much softer glass which seems more prone to ageing and fogging, that glass was used by Zeiss and Leitz and I have two Zeiss lenses which have gone soft, although both my 30's Summar & Elmar are OK.

    Ian
     
  15. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    I won't spend too much time trying to find clear arguments in your post (Budrichard) to respond to.
    Just because *you* can't see a difference between different lenses doesn't mean no one else can or that they don't exist...

    I use the best lenses I can afford, usually after careful research and testing them myself when possible (I've tried hundreds by now).
    I don't use dogmatic criteria like brand, optical scheme or age in my choices.
     
  16. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    So finally I have it! Leica M6 is here :smile: :smile: ! Black, B condition ... I am in love.
    About lens: for start I got myself one cheap elmar 90/4 and later when time comes - nice non foggy summicron 50.