Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/07/17

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Subject: Re: Looking for an M-4P and Summicron.
From: "Charles E. Love, Jr." <>
Date: Thu, 18 Jul 1996 02:28:19 -0400 (EDT)

At 12:58 AM 7/18/96 -0400, you wrote:
>Dear Mr Love
>Well, I did get a tad snippy in my response last evening (maybe I shouldn't
>do E-Mail late at night!) but the long and the short is that it becomes a
>bit tiresome to hear old tales beaten about which beggar the imagination --
>and anyone who worked for Leitz would, I suspect, know that the 1.4/35
>Summilux was, in large part, computer-designed.
The person I was quoting was there for at least 20 years in technical
services and taught in the Leica school when they had it in Rockleigh--we
met when I took the last class they ever gave in the US (1983,I think), and
had the conversation about the Summilux a few years later.  As for the
computer design business, that may be a dead horse, given all the postings!

>I find your three-out-of-three results most interesting -- what is the s/n
>on these lenses?  were they shot with hoods on and, if so, which ones?  What
>film was used?  and so forth -- something is most screwy here.  I don't
>doubt the reality of your experience, but I find the results quite baffling.
I cannot speak for my brother as to how he tested his, but it was a
relatively late black one.  I spoke with him today, as it happens, and he
said he thought the Summicron was better wide open (f2) than the Summilux at
the same aperture (f2, one stop in from wide open).   As for me, one of them
was the sort with "eyes" for the M3, and the other a later black one, but
they are long gone (early '80s) and I don't have records regarding s/n.  In
those days I shot Kodachrome 64 and 25 almost exclusively. I always use the
"correct" hood, the official one, whatever lens I shoot--even the latest
with million-layer coating--so I expect I owned a 12586 for the M3 one and
the usual 12504 for the other.  I didn't feel that the Summilux was a
horrible lens, but one that was good in its day, but the day may have passed
(see my comments on my IIIg and its lenses in another recent post). 

In any case, as I say, I have found the late Summicron much superior (never
tried the older 8 element one).  My brother claims it is the best 35 he's
ever seen, including all SLR ones--and he spent many years as a used camera
dealer, and knows an enormous amount about old and exotic equipment.  The
reason I didn't talk about all this in my first post  is, I think, that one
can find people who love or hate most any lens, based upon their own
experience.  The one-person anecdotes may not be as generalizable as an
unofficial, but authoritative, pronouncement from someone at Leitz.  I felt
that Claude was likely to get lots of different stories, and that my special
information might be helpful in that context.

Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to try either of the aspheric 1.4's--I
guess it's either forego that or take out an extra mortgage!

>I own a mid-production 1.4/35 and find it superb -- no flare whatsoever,
>even when I was shooting snow fields at high noon into the sun on slide
>film.  I always use the 12504 hood and a Leitz Serie VII UVa filter.  Yes,
>at 1.4 it IS a bit softer than any of the several 35mm Summicrons I've owned
>were at f/2.0 -- but the additional stop is one I'll cheerfully pay for in
>slightly reduced edge sharpness.

That's great--we all have our preferences, and in addition, of course, even
Leica the magnificent can, I suppose, provide better and worse specimens
upon occasion!  In addition, as you say, hood use is terribly important--I
used to take some decent pictures with uncoated lenses in my collecting days!

>My signature block is Scots Gaelic, 'never did a man die without someone
>being grateful'.
Wow!  Have you got any other such sayings?

>  FAX:  +540/343-7315
>Cha robh bas fir gun ghras fir!
Charles E. Love, Jr.
517 Warren Place
Ithaca, New York

Replied: Forwarded 18 Jul 96 08:12