Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/08/03

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Summilux 50 bo-ke?
From: "Terence and Patricia" <>
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2000 22:39:35 +0800


I'm not entirely sure CapsTeeth's comments on the 50'lux were based on a
1980's vintage lens. I don't have online pics published, but having used 3
different vintages of the 50'lux I find his comments sound like he has an
early lens, ser. no earlier than 1844000 which were very soft at the widest
apertures. Leica changed the optical formula after that and the second
version, which was produced up to 1995 I think, was much less 'flare-y' at
wide apertures. This second version performs very well indeed at f2, though
some feel that the Nokton is sharper when comparing both lenses at the
widest apertures. I don't have a Nokton so I can't comment. What I can
comment, though, is that the 2nd and latest 3rd version 50'lux lenses are
pretty good, definitely not soft everywhere at f2-2.8. A bonus is that
wonderful watery bokeh. I don't have a modern 50'cron to do direct
comparisons at f2 so CapsTeeth may very well be correct, but I personally
find that 1.4  pretty useful in difficult lighting.

One may argue that even the current 50'lux (with built-in shade) has an
optical formula from the 1960's and that the modern Nokton optics are indeed
decades ahead. I stand guilty as charged for enjoying the look of pictures
made by older Leica glass, namely the 5cm Elmars and the 50'cron DR as well
as the 50'lux for B&W. You might want to test this latest 50'lux for 2
reasons; that it is very similar optically to the 1980s version you were
thinking of (though I think wide open flare control is a touch better), and
that it focusses down to 0.7m (the 1st and 2nd versions focus down to 1m
only). The built-in hood is somewhat more robust than that irritating
50'cron hood and doesn't get knocked askew so easily. Also, it takes modern
E46 filters rather than those rare and expensive E43 ones.

Hope you find this useful.

Best wishes,
Terence H. M. Tan

- -----Original Message-----
From: Hans Pahlen <>
To: <>
Date: Thursday, August 03, 2000 5:38 AM
Subject: Re: [Leica] Summilux 50 bo-ke?

>Thanks CapsTeeth and Deadman for your answers (and images)!
>I think that CapsTeeth is right in his message below. Comparing the Nokton
and the Summilux, the Nokton seems to produce crispier images with a higher
contrast, factors that I personally value higher than a smooth bo-ke. I took
another look at my Nokton images (now completed with a slide shot) at and I like them better (from a
technical point of view, that is). The Summilux 50 reminds me of the
Summilux 35 non-asph at wide apertures.
>To sum up, I guess CapsTeeth also is right about the Summicron 50! The
Summicron 50 will perform better than any other lens at F/2.0, comparing
sharpness and contrast. Anyway, I will probably keep the Nokton as a fast
reserve lens when I use slow slide films.
>Johnny, do you still have any Nokton images on the web? It would be
interesting to compare the light conditions/backgrounds on Oxford Street
with your Summilux images.
>Sorry for my ramblings...
>> If you're referring to the M-mount, I had one of these lenses.  The
images at
>> large apertures (1.4-2.8) were nice and soft everywhere, with low
>> A wonderful lens for low-light portraits in harsh light (which I rarely
>> shot).  A disappointing lens for crisp tack-sharp images with lots of
>> which just happen to need large apertures for higher shutter speeds,
>> is what I usually shot).  I sold mine for a new 50 Summicron, now use
>> with faster film or a 1-stop push and get much better results at f/2 than
>> Summilux did at f/1.4 (or 2 or 2.8 for that matter).