The Leica 50mm f-2 Summitar (1939): Predecessor to the Summicron

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Nikanon, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. Nikanon

    Nikanon Member

    Messages:
    370
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    For anyone interested in how this lens performs:

    The first shot of the tracks is f-4, the second shot with the street light is f-2, the third shot with the three people is f-2, the fourth shot with the wet floor sign is f-2, the fifth shot with the smoking man is f-2.8.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

    Messages:
    3,879
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Location:
    Adirondacks
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Both the Summitar and Summicron are double Gauss types, and while it is correct to call it a predecessor to the Summicron, it is also important to note that the dG design did not originate with Leitz - just to keep the KoolAid from overflowing the cup.:wink: Is your example coated? Looks very nice.
     
  3. Nikanon

    Nikanon Member

    Messages:
    370
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    This is a postwar sample and therefore is coated, I wonder how different it would perform if it were not. This is I believe a seven element design in 6 groups, and therefore you have 12 air to glass surfaces that without coating would likely be very low contrast like that of the earlier 50mm f-2 Summar. I am aware that there is more complexities to it than simply calling it the predecessor, the double gauss design originated with Alvan Clark in 1888 and is only named as such because it uses the original gauss design which was duplicated and placed symmetrically about the aperture, identifying it as a symmetrical meniscus lens assembly to differentiate it from other lenses at the time which used symmetry. It was really Paul Rudolph with his Zeiss Planar who made the Double Gauss layout into what we know it today when he made his central negative elements larger to reduce the air space between them to reduce aberrations.
     
  4. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

    Messages:
    3,879
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Location:
    Adirondacks
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Uncoated lenses of this type can be nightmares, at best they're handfuls. In the '30s, the uncoated Zeiss 50/f:2 and 50/f:1.5 Sonnars (only four internal surfaces each) were the fast lenses to have for just this reason - I had an f:2 on a Contax II and while it would flare, a decent lens shade and a little care was all it took to make it into a very nice lens, I still sort of miss it. The Plasmat (large format, six internal surfaces, another Rudolph design) is another type which needed coatings to make it a success; one of the reasons the Dagor and Protar types were so popular was a grand total of two internal surfaces.
    The Summitar is seven elements (IIRC), but there are two cemented pairs for ten surfaces, eight internal - a veritable flare-engine when uncoated.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2014
  5. momus

    momus Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,309
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Location:
    Lower Earth
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Those shots look similar to the ones from my older, uncoated lens, but w/ color film yours look a little juicer. I liked mine, but the bokeh was not my cup of tea. A bit too swirly. Filters and hoods can be pricey too unless you just go w/ a push on adapter/hood and series filters.
     
  6. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,067
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    And what lens was sold by Leitz as the Summitar* prior to changing it's name to Summicron?

    Just something that makes me go Hmmmmm.

    BTW The answer's in the first sentence. It's a pretty rare lens.
     
  7. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

    Messages:
    3,879
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Location:
    Adirondacks
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Leitz had Schneider make uncoated f1.5 Xenons (another double Gauss) for them. Word is that the coated version of this lens was the Summarit. I had two 'rits, screw and M mount, they were quite good if a bit wierd wide open. Summarit = f:1.5. Summicron = f:2.

    Edit - nice stealth edit, so what's the answer?
     
  8. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

    Messages:
    4,521
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    İstanbul
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    First iron been made at Egypt but I dont give it credit when looking to an German Locomotive.
     
  9. 250swb

    250swb Member

    Messages:
    394
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Location:
    Peak Distric
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Leica SOOEY adapter allows you to use regular 39mm filters and hoods on the Summitar (and 1.5 Summarit)
    Even cheaper, a couple of £, are the copies of the SOOEY to be found on EBay sold by Heavystar.

    Steve
     
  10. jochen

    jochen Member

    Messages:
    352
    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hello,
    the first prototypes of the new 7-lens Summicron were marked as Summitar*. I have an uncoated Summitar example from 1939. In the centre it is very sharp, towards the corners the sharpness gets less, it has a softer contrast compared to modern lenses and is rather prone to flare if shooting against the sun but other than with more modern coated lenses I have the impression that you even get more details in the shadows. Sometimes the extensible barrel can be worn and the lens is not parallel to the film plane and you can get a slightly shifted position resulting in a sliding sharpness from left to right or up to down. The front lens is made of a very soft glas type and therefore most lenses have scratches from over-cleaning.