Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/08/07

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] Summarit questions
From: "Don Dory" <>
Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2001 00:07:38 -0400

In the States that would be a high price for a less than pristine Summarit.
If you do the flashlight through the lens trick  and there is no haze and
the front/rear elements are not too scratched then it is not a high price
either.  Unless the little old lady who only used it on Sunday owned it
previously then it will have scratches, it is that soft.  In Europe I
obviously don't have a clue what is a good price.

The Summarit is an interesting lens optically.  Wide open it is low contrast
and flares in the sense that shadows near light sources lose d-max.  It is
however not unsharp wide open.  What is missing vis a vis new glass is the
really fine detail.  Stop down past 4.0 and it is a very nice lens.  So for
portraits and special "effects" used wide open it has a unique signature
just as a Noctilux has a unique signature.  I believe though that any
Summarit that has not been professionally cleaned will just disappoint which
is one reason it has such a poor reputation.  So a thorough cleaning should
be budgeted.

If you are looking for a lens to produce "art" then the Summarit is a very
nice brush. It's B* err out of focus rendition is a lovely sight.  As an all
around lens I think you would be dancing around its character when wide open
so would instead recommend a 50 mm Sonnar 1.5(or a well inspected Russian
clone) in screw mount as a cheap lens that is quite good at all apertures:
again not up to current Summilux or even Nokton standards.  That is assuming
you want/need the faster aperture over a Summicron or even an Elmar.  For a
professional "money" lens I wouldn't give it a second thought.

Why would you convert it to bayonet mount when screw to bayonet adapters are
plentiful and available from many sources new and used?

I've owned one for about five years and had quit using it as the 3/4 stop
over a Summicron wasn't worth the softness.  Then I had it cleaned,
polished, and hard coated and am very very happy with this puppy now.  Next
time I post "funny" pictures I will post a one that demonstrates that a
Summarit can indeed show very fine detail by 2.8.

Help from Leica Anonymous to control those buying impulses cheerfully