Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/01/23

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Subject: Re: [Leica] 50 mm M lens comparisons (long)
From: Five Senses Productions <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 19:19:12 -0800

Can we hear your ratings of the R lenses?


At 01:42 AM 1/24/98 +0100, you wrote:
>Erwin & others,
>I hardly understand all your arguments on Leitz's/ Leica's
>50 mmm M lenses, which take one aspect only into account most of
>the times.
>But, the stuff that really annoys me, is that the differences
>between Leitz's/Leica's 50 mm M lenses are almost as strong as 
>between different focal length - and hardly anyone cares for 
>the differences.
>In example:
>You will find no other 50 mm M lens which handles high contrasts
>like the old Summar, additionally exaggerating bright lights.
>Moreover, the Summar's over-pronounciation of bright lights -
>in common with its softness in the out-of-focus area - agrees to 
>old 1940 Hollywood portraits of movie-goddesses. 
>Different, the Summarit, which is soft, but has a mixture of
>flat, low-contrast and 3D out-of-focus rendition.
>The Summitar and coll Summicron agree - maybe at f 2 or f 2.8, 
>but not above. While the Summarit's rendiction compares to the 
>1.9/73 uncoated Hektor, the coll Summicrons rendition gets 
>close to the rigid chrome Summicron (=NF Summicron). 
>Different again, the chrome Summicron and the black Summicron.
>You will find no other 50 mm Summicron, which is a low contrast
>lens but shows so many grey tones as the rigid chrome Summicron. 
>The black Summicron is a middle to high contrast lens between f 2 
>and f 4, but a low contrast lens above.
>The current Summicron impresses with it's extreme sharpness, but
>has an unlucky out-of-focus rendition above f 4.0 (which is 
>easily surpassed by any other 50 mm M lens from Leitz/leica). 
>Further, I never found a middle to high contrast 50 mm M lens from
>Leitz/ Leica which could compare in the middle or high contrast
>rendition with the Summilux. 
>Additionally, we all know, that the Noctilux has a special fingerprint,
>reducing contrasts and showing a white-yellow neutral-warm rendition.
>And, all the Elmars, which show their "best" performance between
>f 5.6 and f 8. While the old Elmars create some kind of "glow" -
>at least in b/w photography - the current Elmar's rendition (at least
>it's sharpness) agrees to the current Summicron's rendition at these 
>All the 50 mm M lenses are so different as different focal length.
>To concentrate on one aspect only (e.g. sharpness or micro 
>contrast) comes - in my mind - close to ignorance.
>But, keep in mind also: if you are not honored by the Pulitzer with a 
>Disneyland-Leica, you won't get it with an M6 ESL either.

Francesco Sanfilippo,
Five Senses Productions