Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/11/10

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Subject: Re: [Leica] summarit 50/1.5
From: "Dan Post" <>
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2001 07:56:10 -0500
References: <000b01c16973$06dd3380$c40f0b3f@pcname>

I too like the Summarit- having sold my Summilux in favor of a clean copy of
the Summarit that I had Sherry do a CLA on- and a lot of the 'softness'
disappeared, but the bokeh is magnificent! Since I shoot Tri-x a lot and use
either Diafine or Rodinal both which have a tendency to render rather high
contrast negs, the Summarit seems to balance the act! I use a Summicron for
a lot of stuff, but low light, portraits where the 1932 Elmar 90/4 doesn't
seem appropriate, the Summarit is king!
I think the rising price is due to the demand because of people like you and
I who keep touting the virtues of this lens!! :o)
Perhaps we should bad-mouth it more!
The coating is a worry, but if you get one with just 'cleaning marks'- that
is, scuffed coating without any actual digs or scratches in the glass- a
trip to John Van Stelten might be the ticket. He can completely take off the
old coating, and apply a new one that is much harder, it doesn't change the
character of the lens, or the 'fingerprint' as it were and the result is an
optic that performs like new. He has done a few lenses for me, including a
Summitar that seemed to perform almost as good as a Summicron once recoated
and cleaned!!!
My ole Daddy once said, with regards to a girlfriend of mine that was a few
years older than I, that I should remember that 'The older the fiddle, the
finer the tune....'. This can apply to some Leica glass as well! I can
appreciate a sharp, contrasty lens- the 75 Summilux is the quintessential
Leica lens for that look, to me, but I also admire the look of the old films
from the 30's with the even, smooth look, almost impossible to describe, but
pleasing to my eye.
Some of what I do is for a painterly look, you could call it 'eye candy' for
my walls and the walls of friends who want copies, and the old Leica glass
is great for that! I keep three SM to M adapter rings just for the two M3s
and the M6 so I can use the old stuff interchangably!!
Dan ( Officially an Old Fart in two months!) Post
- ----- Original Message -----
From: "wlmacintire" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, November 09, 2001 6:05 PM
Subject: [Leica] summarit 50/1.5

> Jon Hiben wrote:
> >Hi,
> >Does any one have any comments on pros and cons of this lense. I would be
> putting it on a >Bessa-r body.
> >Or would i just be better getting the Voightlander 50/1.5 Nokton?
> There were few replies to your recent question about this lens - I suggest
> you search the archive for "summarit"- you'll find a lot of discussion
> it.  The consensus is that it's a soft lens, especially wide open, but it
> has its fans.  I am one.  Actually, it's pretty sharp closed down, the
> was designed more to be an all-purpose lens with fast f-stop capability
> needed, rather than optimized for use wide open. I use one on a Bessa R
> myself, where it tends to reside more than any other lens. My experience
> that it is soft wide open, quite sharp around f 5.6, and tends to be low
> contrast.   I find I like it best at around f 2.8.  It has nice bokeh,
> If you want critical sharpness, especially wide open, go with the Nokton.
> Erwin Puts rates the Nokton better than a Summilux (see:
>  I may get one myself
> someday, but I would not give up the Summarit even so.
> Here's a story of some personal success with this lens.  My boss needed a
> potrait taken for publicity use.  We did a session with one of the work
> cameras, a Pentax K-1000, 50 f2 lens, shot a whole roll outside.  He hated
> all the pictures, and asked me to reshoot.  There was nothing wrong with
> pictures exposure or focus wise, but he had this "I hate getting my
> taken" expression in every shot.  So, for the second session, I used the
> Bessa R and the Summarit inside, in his office.  I also got a colleague to
> join in and distract him with jokes.  The pictures from this sesssion were
> very different, he seemed relaxed and informal, and 3-4 shots from the
> were definite keepers.  Much of that success can be attributed to the
> of the session rather than the camera and lens, but I was comfortable
> shooting in available light at around 1/30 f2-f4 with the rangefinder, and
> would not have been with an slr.  Also, the quiet nature of the camera,
> fact that he could not tell exactly when I was taking the picture,
> definitely made it easier to capture him at the best moments.  And the
> Summarit performed very well - its tendency toward some softness opened up
> was flattering for potraiture.
> If you can get a good deal on a Summarit in good condition, go for it.
> seem to have gotten expensive of late on ebay, like $400 or so.  At that
> price, I'd probably go for a Nokton.  Hoods are also hard to find for the
> Summarit - I found one made by Walz at a pretty good price on ebay,
> with a set of colored filters amd a case.  The Summarit has an odd filter
> size, 41mm.
> Bill Macintire
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