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  1. #1

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    LEICA Summicron 40 or 50?

    Another lens I want to get is either a used Summicron 40 f2 or 50 f2. Any ideas to which of these is better in terms of picture quality?

  2. #2

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    I have used the current Summicron M 50 for several years. Apart from a tendency to flare in backlit situations, with a strong light source just outside the scene, it is a stellar performer. I have not used the Summicron 40 myself, but judging from other peoples work it is also a very good lens. The last statement concern B&W photography; I have no idea how good the 40 is with colour film, but the 50mm’s colour rendition is quite neutral to my eyes.

    I believe that you should focus on the difference in focal length instead. If you like 50 mm lenses, or if you already own a good 35 – buy a Summicron 50. If you like slightly wider lenses – by all means, buy a 40 in good condition.
    Last edited by Uhner; 09-30-2007 at 04:32 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3

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    Thank you sir. 40 and 50 mm is not much of a difference for me. I just want to know if picture qualities are the same. A used 50 costs a lot more but if it is a better lens than I won't bother with the 40. If the quality is the same than I won't bother with the 50 and save myself a lot of money.

  4. #4

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    Well, I don’t know. In technical terms I do believe that the last generation 50 is better than the 40. But that might not be true when it comes to individual used examples.

  5. #5
    nicolai's Avatar
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    I'm sure lots of people will answer this in their own ways, but I think that you need to define "better in terms of picture quality" means to you to get a useful answer as everyone's got different tastes and priorities.

    For example, if sharpness is important to you and you don't particularly care about field of view, your best bet is probably to buy the cheaper one and put the leftover money into a sturdy tripod and a cable release. If you're willing to use a lens hood, flare becomes less relevant. If you're shooting slides, contrast will be more relevant because there's no room for tweaking in post. Etc.

  6. #6
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    IIRC correctly, the 40 was made by Minolta for the Leica CL.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  7. #7
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anscojohn View Post
    IIRC correctly, the 40 was made by Minolta for the Leica CL.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
    The 40mm Summicron-C was made by Leitz in Wetzlar, probably with some parts from Minolta, but I've never seen a breakdown on that. The 40mm f:2 M-Rokkor was made in Japan by Minolta.

    To answer the original question about a 40 Summicron vs a 50 Summicron, you'd have to take into account different generations of 50 Summicrons. The 40 Summicron-C was considered a bit of a 'sleeper' by many when it appeared. I've been very happy with the performance of mine for the last 25 years. You can't really go wrong with any good condition Summicron of any focal length. Others with more experience across the different models will be more qualified than I to make those comparisons.

    Here's a place to find one opinion based on wide experience: http://www.cameraquest.com/mlenses.htm

    Lee

  8. #8
    EmilGil's Avatar
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    The 40mm 'cron is to me a nearly perfect match with the 35mm frames in my M6 at distances over a couple of meters. I'm very happy with mine except for a slightly sticky focus ring.

    I've seen a number of people compare the 40mm to the 35mm Summicron IV ('King of bokeh') in terms of sharpness and bokeh but I haven't compared myself as I don't have the 35mm. Biggest drawback of the 40mm 'cron is the filter size, the now non-existing Series 5.5 (but you can use 39mm most of the time).

    The 40mm is exceptionally good value and your decision should be based on whether you want 35/40mm or 50mm FOV, not which lens is better. They are both very good.

    Here is more information re 40mm Summicrons:
    http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00KDUs
    http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=004X9y
    The camera is merely the means of capturing the image.

  9. #9
    vpwphoto's Avatar
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    Not exactly spot on for OP's question.
    But I found this and thought it worth passing around.
    The clubsnap poster went through a lot of trouble.
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/range...-using-m9.html

  10. #10
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    LEICA Summicron 40 or 50?

    I own both. They are both terrific performers and to me 40 and 50 are different enough. They handle quite differently though. You can't go wrong with either. If you buy the 40 you'll always wonder if the 50 is better. Get it and if you do not click with it sell it and get a 50.
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

    My Photography Website
    http://www.lightshadowandtone.com

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