What is wrong with my summar?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by darkosaric, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Hi all,

    I got myself old summar 50/f2 screw mount for my leica. Glases are clean from scraches and fungus, couple of dust inside, no big deal. But after testing it - I see that something is wrong. Please see attached pictures, they are shoot at f5.6-f8, 1/100s on M3 with adapter, focus on infinity.

    It is not development of camera problem because I shoot some frames on same film with elmar 5cm/3.5 and with industar 5cm/3.5 on same adapter and all is ok. Only summar has those not acceptable results. Same is on close focus, wide open, all settings are giving bad results.

    thanks,
     

    Attached Files:

  2. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Summar

    Yes they are not so good are they? I am going to make a guess at this. Some lenses and I include leitz ones in that when assembled are screwed together in sections. Now these screw threads have multistart points and my guess is the lens has been dismantled at some time and re-assembled with the lens in the wrong position and wound onto the wrong thread and the focussing scale/rangefinder coupling is well out of adjustment.. Only a camera repair specialist would be able to tell fer certain
     
  3. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Sorry to mention this, as you have one, but the Summar was probably the worst Leica lens ever made (in my opinion).
     
  4. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Is your adapter made by Leica or an import?
     
  5. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Import, but it working fine with 2 other M39 lenses, so I gues this is not a problem.
     
  6. Adrian D

    Adrian D Member

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    All is not lost! I had a similar problem with an old 9cm Elmar, and tend to agree with BMbikerider, its probably been reassembled incorrectly at some point. I had my lens fully serviced, cleaned (and coated!!!) and reassembled correctly and its given great results ever since. Its whether or not you want to go to the extra expense to put it right I suppose.
     
  7. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I agree with the others about disassembly and incorrect reassembly. And the lens should be recollimated. I don't know how that's done with the Summar, but I would:

    1) Make sure that all elements are seated correctly and firmly, and

    2) Recalibrate the lens for infinity focus.
     
  8. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    First, find out if the lens, itself, is bad or the mount is simply out of alignment. Do this, Darkosaric:

    Hold the lens, wide open, in front of the mount of an SLR that you have, adjusting it back and forth and close enough to the mount, in order to see if there really is a very well focused image that appears in your viewfinder. If there is, there is a problem with the distance that the lens is to the film plane. I wonder if the cam that guides the focus mechanism on the camera is off. Or, I wonder if one of the elements is either reversed or not put on properly. But, again, first you have to determine that the lens, as it is, is really capable of sharp images but only off in its focus.

    Sorry, but to brush this off as "Summars are not good" is rather ridiculous to say. Certainly what the OP has posted is worse than the cheapest box camera ever made and while the Summars might not come up to computerized formula standards at the far sides of the image, the lens is reputable and decent for the era.

    Yes, elekm, "infinity" is the key to get right first, Then all other distances should follow. - David Lyga
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Is it looking properly when opened ?
    y usewd
    The Summars aren't bad lenses, but they are eraly fast lenses so lter lenses are better. Summars and some Zeiss lenses suffer because newer optical glasses introduced the early 30's which make the glass quite soft, they scratch easily and are also prone to slight atmospheric attack. It affects Summars, Novars and some Tessars. So a lot depends on where the lenses have been used/stored as you'll find excellent examples and also poor ones and the effect is a soft diffused low contrast image.

    So you can have a lens that's scratch free and looks optically perfect at first glance but has aged badly so is next to useless. My own Summar is fine but I have a Novar that's junk on an Ikonta, and another similar Novar that came with a shutter and a Tessar.

    Ian
     
  10. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    I have done this: no focused image at all.

    I have summicron and elmar, I am not looking perfection from summar. I got summar because I wanted the look that it gives, I just got a bad copy. But that is life, I will see how much is repair, probably cheaper would be to buy another example and sell this one as broken. Good thing is that here in Hamburg there is a Leica Meister camera shop - they give warranty for their second hand lenses.
     
  11. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    If you place the lens immediately in front of the SLR mount and, moving it back and forth, still see no focused image there is either an element missing, or one that is reversed, or a different element in the place of another. This is a shame, and possibly a sham as well, Darkosaric. If the lens were good you WOULD see a sharp image fleet into and out of focus, depending upon how closely you are holding it to the SLR. Even if it were heavily scratched you would see a sharp (but very uncontrasty) image. I wish I could cry with you. - David Lyga
     
  12. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

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    Not sure using a SLR does the trick as a screw mount Leica has a shorter register (28.80mm), unless you can bury the lens inside the SLR camera body...
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I'd try it in on a 35mm enlarger, see if it will focus. If it won't then start looking to see if someones tampered with the elements.

    Ian
     
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  15. Kiev88user

    Kiev88user Member

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    Hi - looks like it is focussed well before infinity. Is your Leica one with an opening back panel? If so you can put a ground glass against the film rails, set the camera on 'B' with the shutter open and experiment with focussing on different objects at differing distances to see:
    1) Whether you can focus on anything at all,
    2) What point on the scale currently relates to infinity.

    If you can't focus on anything at all, it may be that someone has had the lens apart and lost a spacer or put one of the elements in back-to-front.

    If you can focus on something then previous posters suggestions about unscrewing the focus mount and moving on to another thread may be the answer.

    If you can't mount a glass screen on the camera, try cutting a card tube to 28.8mm (focal distance of the Leica screw thread body), placing the lens in the front and a ground glass on the back and doing the same experiment. This is a rough and ready way of checking the lens out :>)

    Cheers,

    Steve
     
  16. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Dali, the register does not matter: you are holding the lens and moving it back and forth from the empty mount. You would cover all bases here.

    Ian, the enlarger is also a good idea, especially because the Summar has a 39mm mount and would screw into the enlarger easily. - David Lyga
     
  17. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

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    The fact that the mount is empty does not change the fact that you have to place the Summar at the register distance to focus at infinity and some millimeters longer to focus at shorter distance. As a SLR is thicker than a Leica LTM, I doubt your the experiment would be useful.

    At the opposite, Kiev88user preconisation to use a ground glass at 28.80mm distance makes sense. Instead of using a cardbord, you can use some macro rings to achieve the 28.80mm distance (this is how I check the real working distance of my old and non-standard russian lenses).
     
  18. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Perhaps someone in the past worked on it and either swapped the elements with another lens (possibly not even a Summar). Or as someone else said, an element was reinstalled reverse -- don't know if that's possible with this lens, as I'm not familiar with the construction.
     
  19. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I agree with kiev88user. You cannot focus that lens through an SLR.
    We can see the lens will project an image from the posted scans. The best method is what kiev suggests, ground glass at the film plane & observe focus.
    The Summar and Elmar do not have a focusing helical. it's a continuous thread.
    It may be that the focus is off by being screwed in too far or not far enough. The infinity stop is a simple post screwed in place. Remove it and you can check on the GG as the lens is moved beyond it's normal limits.
    If it unscrews, no problem, just screw it back in again. If it won't get a sharp image within it's range it's time to consider mis-assembly.
     
  20. leicarfcam

    leicarfcam Member

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    As others have said the lens has most likely been disassembled and re-assembled wrong. To the person who claims the Summar is the worst lens...he is totally wrong. This is a fine lens still capable of producing excellent quality images. I still use 2 of them..

    tree.jpg
     
  21. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    To clarify: you CAN focus that lens through an SLR. Not for picture taking but you can focus merely to see if that lens is capable of sharpness. You hold the lens in front of the mount and look through the viewfinder. Then you slowly move the lens back and forth until you get a sharp image. This sharpness will be fleeting and transitory but it will be there. Register distance does not matter here as you are not affixing the lens to the mount, merely seeing if the lens is CAPABLE of sharpness. Yes, even with an enlarging lens you can do this. - David Lyga
     
  22. Kiev88user

    Kiev88user Member

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    Hi, you are right - the lens will of course be like a macro lens if the SLR camera register is > 28.8mm. I have used LTM thread lenses on a Canon EOS (with suitable adaptor) as macro lenses with some succcess :>) Focussing may be as close as half a meter at infinity but it will still suggest whether a sharp image is possible.
     
  23. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Hi,

    thank you all for feedback. I will try trick with enlarger - but not soon, I am new in Hamburg, did not had time to install darkroom yet.

    regards,
     
  24. AgX

    AgX Member

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    The flange/film distance is of impact in such a test-set, as you won't be able to focus to infinity. You would have to try to focus at something nearby. In the worst case no focussing would be possible at all or you would end up at a scale where other abberations might show up and hamper evaluation.
     
  25. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Also irrelevant, as the problem is so severe it's clearly not representative.
     
  26. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    AgX: one is not attaching the lens to the mount in this case so one can 'make' the flange distance any distance one wants. Again, the 'in focus' is fleeting due to the hand holding the lens. - David Lyga