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  1. #1

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    Summicron 50mm Collapsible

    I have just bought a bargain ($160) Summi 50mm collapsible lens for my Leica M6.

    I have read that this particular lens is as sharp as the rigid summicron 50mm, but not as contrasty.

    So here are the questions:

    1. Is this true?

    2. If yes, is it the best way to compensate by pushing the film by one stop and/or print with a filter of 3 - 5 ?

    Thanks in advance for any answers.
    Athens 2004

  2. #2

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    Is there a need to compensate? If you shoot mono, then darkroom work will enable all the contrast control you could wish for. Tho I have no idea at all, I would suspect that whatever the differences between the rigid and collapsible, they would be swamped at the printing stage (perhaps apart from resolution, but even then, with a triX/Hp5 film hshot handheld, I bet this would diappear totally too).

    A light yellow filter on all lenses would slightly increase contrast and deepen skies a touch (as well as protect them) but it would seem strange to want to use a different filter on different lenses to match contrast. I think there are far bigger issues to worry about! Sounds like you got a bargain!

  3. #3
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    It has been a while since I used Leica M, but the lens you have will be the first of the three designs in which Leitz (now Leica) has offered the Summicron. Your lens has fairly normal contrast and I would start with the film manufacturer's rated speed and development time. This will not be far off. The contrast of the 3rd version of the Summicron (still current) is much higher, I found I had to downrate b+w film a full stop and cut development. I did a lot of press photography with a collapsible Summicron and a Leica IIIF about 35 years ago.

  4. #4

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    Thank you both for the replies.

    As I shoot only B/W film (Tri-X mainly), I will try compensating (if there is a need) while printing in the darkroom.

    I do not like filters as they reduce the ammount of light to the film, and in most cases I dislike the dramatic effect of yellow/orange/red filters have on the skies.

    Thanks once again.
    Athens 2004

  5. #5

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    Summicron is as Summicron does.

    I think that a Summicron 50mm of any vintage should be a very satisfactory lens. The only reservation I would have with the collaspible model would be to see that it is still accurately focussing. Although I have not experienced myself I have read that they can need maintenance to have correct focus. Try focussing on a near object and exposing at f2 to see if the point of focus on the negative agrees with the point chosen.

    Enjoy your new lens!

  6. #6
    geraldatwork's Avatar
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    In my opinion the modern Summicron is to contrasty. Too much of an edge to the look. In color it produces beautiful saturated colors. In black and white there is too much contrast for my taste. I had a modern Summicron and traded it for the Dual Range version which is the version just after the Collapsible. I like it better. I also picked a collapsible but have yet to develop the pictures.

    In the darkroom just adjust until you like the look whatever the final contrast setting turns out.
    "When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers"
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    IRAQNAM is Bush's legacy

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Claire Senft
    ... The only reservation I would have with the collaspible model would be to see that it is still accurately focussing. Although I have not experienced myself I have read that they can need maintenance to have correct focus. Try focussing on a near object and exposing at f2 to see if the point of focus on the negative agrees with the point chosen...
    Correct me if I am wrong, but I do not think that I need to check the negative to find out if the lens focuses correctly.

    Let's say I measure the distance between the camera and the object. If this is the same as the number indicated on the focusing ring of the lens, then I think that no maintenance is necessary.
    Athens 2004

  8. #8

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    Do both

    Use your tape measure and as long as you have the camera on a tripod in that position shoot a negative wide open. Not a great deal of expense involved. If thr negative is sharpest at the point focussed upon you have checked both your lens and rangefinder.

  9. #9
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Theoretically any collapsible lens has an extra point (the bayonet fitting which locks the collapsible tube to the focusing mount) at which wear can occur, in addition to the cam at the back of the lens tube which runs on the rangefinder arm. However, with all the collapsible lens/Leica combinations I have owned (IIIa with Summar, IIIc with 3.5 Elmar, IIIf with Summitar, IIIf with Summicron, M3 with 2.8 Elmar, Reid 3 with f2 TTH), I have never known this to be a problem. If by some remote chance the lens is not locking properly when you pull it out and twist it, this will be immediately obvious. If not, I wouldn't worry about it and would simply use the lens!



 

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