Zeiss Planar vs Summicron

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by mcraig, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. mcraig

    mcraig Member

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    i'm in the market for a 50/2 for my leica m6

    i shoot primarily street photography, urban portraits, and photojournalistic/editorial pieces.

    a new zeiss planar is 600 USD, a "bargain" condition 50/2 summicron is around 500.

    what should i do?
     
  2. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    Seems like a no-brainer. Buy a used zeiss planar.
     
  3. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    What is the Summicron's age and condition? Is it a solid mount or a collapsible mount. If it is a good, clean lens I'd buy it and save the $100. The solid mount 50mm f2 Summicrons are a bit better than the collapsible mount versions in my experience (I own 2 of each type).

    The 50mm f2 Planar is also a great lens (based on personal experience). It might perform a bit better than older Summicrons in high flare situations. In other picture taking situations, I doubt you could tell the difference.
     
  4. mcraig

    mcraig Member

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    im just a big enthusiast for using top quality glass, and would gladly spend 100 dollars more than a used leica lens, for a sealed, brand new lens.

    is there a considerable difference between build quality on the summi and the zeiss ikon planar t? thats all i'm asking.
     
  5. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    ...or a new CV Nokton 50/1.5 for USD 345, plus 60 for the adapter ring.
     
  6. mcraig

    mcraig Member

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  7. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    KEH "Bargain" 70-79% of original condition. Shows more than average wear. May have dents, dings and a goodly amount of brassing and finish loss. Glass may have marks that should not affect picture quality.

    $484.00??

    Forget it!

    Build quality of the Ikon/Planar? Haven't seen one taken apart and analyzed. I would expect it to be Excellent.
     
  8. mcraig

    mcraig Member

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    thats all i needed to hear.

    i'm quite curious about zeiss optics.. thanks for your help.
     
  9. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    For street shooting, I would also very seriously consider the 50/1.5 ASPH Nokton $329 (New) from Stephen Gandy. I would also look at the 40/1.4 Classic Nokton $349 (multicoated version) as well.
     
  10. mcraig

    mcraig Member

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    i'm definitely in the market for the zeiss..

    i really want those stops in thirds.
     
  11. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Stephen Gandy at cameraquest.com carries the new Zeiss Planar and the C/V Nokton, and is very familiar with the various Leica lenses as well. Since he has two horses in the race and a healthy respect for the third, ask him for a comparison.

    BTW, the Zeiss Planar is built by C/V to Zeiss designs and specs, and under Zeiss quality control.

    You could also find a used 40mm Summicron-C at a good price. Been using one for nearly 30 years and have had people claim 11x14s from it had to be MF with slow film and the right developer. The 40mm f:2 Rokkor M is the same lens, at KEH for $300 now in excellent condition. Looks like the 40 Summicrons have taken a big jump lately. Use to be about $250 in vg to excellent condition, now looks like closer to $350-$400 KEH bargain condition. But sometimes KEH bargains are in better condition than you bargained for. (Sorry 'bout that. :wink:)

    In practical terms, you probably couldn't go wrong with any of the lenses mentioned so far. I also like the 1/3 stops, especially for transparencies. Money, features, angle of view, prestige nameplate... Nice to have choices. Oh, and the Planar has a cute blue index button for mounting orientation, entirely different from the Leica red button.

    Lee

    BTW, if you find a 40.5mm Minolta lens cap for the 40mm Rokkor M out near Crested Butte, it's my wife's. PM me here. :wink:
     
  12. Trivette

    Trivette Member

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    The 40mm M-Rokkor is slightly more desirable than its optical twin, the 40mm Summicron-C, since it is multicoated and takes standard 40.5mm filters. The Summicron-C is a little weird in that respect.

    There seems to be such a kneejerk tendency to try to divert people away from Leica optics that I sometimes wonder whether there might be a tiny bit of non-objectivity involved. I happen to have a 50mm Summicron (latest version), and it is for all intents and purposes optically flawless. There certainly may be better lenses out there, but it would likely be a test bench superiority, not something which would be noticed in practical use.
     
  13. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    This is more about KEH than about your lenses, but I have purchased many items from KEH in bargain condition and feel that every one of them exceeds the above description. I understand that it is their description, but that is my experience.
     
  14. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Paul, I was reacting to the price of the lens in combination with the description. My feeling is very strong the particular lens is overpriced by at least 2x given its described conditon. I'm just not willing to pay an inflated price for a "name" like Leica (or Hassleblad for that matter), particularly not for a well used normal focal length lens of modest speed.
     
  15. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    Makes sense. I just read that description and thought "that doesn't describe anything I have ever bought from them!" so I thought I would pass that observation along. I don't know Leica lenses, to me everything Leica is overpriced.
     
  16. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    For what it's worth, a few years back I was shooting a series on 35 mm which had a lot of backlit subjects in it. I started out with a Leica M3 with a new 50 mm Summicron, the flare of this lens in backlit situations drove me nuts, even with a correct Leica filter and the lens hood pulled out. Aside from that, this was a very sharp lens with excellent field flatness. I also tried a Nikon FM2n with a new 50 mm f1.8 AIS lens, bad flare again. I disposed of both of these cameras and went back to Pentax and a 43 mm f1.9 lens - excellent sharpness, admittedly not the high micro-contrast of the Summicron, but great flare suppression.

    I also have a new f1.5 Nokton - in terms of flare, this seems to behave like a Leica Summitar (immediate forerunner to the 1st version of the Summicron), although I have to say the lens hood supplied with the Nokton is ridiculously small. I now have a bigger hood but have not tested the lens for flare yet with this hood.

    Of the lenses mentioned so far, the Zeiss could be a good choice, although for less money an f2.5 Color-Skopar could be good. Being a wizened old photographer, I tend to select a 4-glass lens for better flare suppression - of all the lenses I own, the champ for flare suppression has to be a 360 mm f5.5 Tele-Xenar. Only 4 glasses and single coating, but it never flares even with the sun in the picture or more critically just outside the frame.
     
  17. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I certainly agree about 4 glass lenses and flare suppression. I do a lot of shooting towards and into the sun as well.

    The original Voigtlander Skopars and Color-Skopars were classic 4 glass Tessar designs. The current Color-Skopars in Leica mount are indeed excellent lenses, but I am not aware of any that are 4 glass designs. For example, my 21mm f4 Color-Skopar is an 8 element 6 group design.
     
  18. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    I haven't bought from KEH in years, but everyone I know who's bought "bargain" from KEH lately has been THRILLED. Often the item is in excellent or better condition, plus KEH is very good on returns if you're not satisfied.

    That said, I'd opt for the new Zeiss anyway.

    Earl
     
  19. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    The C/V 50mm f:2.5 Color Skopar is 7 elements in 6 groups, not 4 as your note might be read to imply. If you read online user reports and comments, such as on the CVUG list (Cosina Voigtlander Users Group), the impression you'll get is that this is not one of the finest in the C/V lineup. The 50 f:1.5 Nokton gets much better reports. I haven't used the 50mm Color Skopar myself, so this is secondhand information, but compiled from a number of owners' and users' reports. I haven't read a single report saying the 50mm Color Skopar is a great lens. I do love my 75mm f:2.5 Color Skopar, which Erwin Puts claims is based on the Elcan (that's E. Leitz Canada) 75mm f:2.5. But I liked it even before I read that claim. :wink:

    Also, I'm sure most people are aware that there are a few generations of 50mm Summicrons out there, not all of which perform exactly alike, so comments on one may not necessarily pertain to the other generations. I'm not enough of a collector or hardware nut to have memorized the exact details on this, but I'm sure you can find it online somewhere.

    Lee
     
  20. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I must admit I did not check the specification of the f2.5 Color Skopar but made this comment based on my recollection of the very good 50 mm f2.8 Color Skopar on the Vito C I owned 35 years ago. C/V must have been having a bad day if they went to all the trouble of re-computing the lens from 4 elements to 7 to gain only 1/3 of a stop in maximum aperture with worse optical performance.

    This is true. I did say that the lens in question was new a few years ago, in fact it was new in 1995 - I think (although I could be wrong) that this version is still the current one. In terms of choice of Summicrons, I think I like the first version best - I had one of these on a Leica IIIf which I used to use for press work. I recall good sharpness but without the fierce micro-contrast of the later lenses.