Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2007/05/13

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Subject: [Leica] Re: Lens comparison
From: don.dory at (Don Dory)
Date: Sun May 13 08:16:53 2007
References: <> <>

Old lenses suffer from several issues.  Most important is that multi-coating
really does work in increasing contrast with the concomitant improvement in
fine detail resolution.  Second, fifty years of atmospheric pollution has
left a coating of undesirable organics on the internal components: just
remember how much smoke was in most homes, offices, and public places
through the seventies.  Last, fifty years of being vibrated in bags,
airplanes, cars, and motorcycles has moved things around a bit.

So, in my experience, an old lens that has been completely stripped down,
properly cleaned, then reassembled with great care will be very good indeed
with the exception of flare reduction.  I have had a Sonnar, Summicron,
Summarit, and a Summitar worked on and the results are very good indeed.  Of
course the current 50 Summilux ASPH is still the best by any category you
care to choose except size, weight.

On 5/13/07, Lawrence Zeitlin <> wrote:
> On May 13, 2007, at 8:16 AM, Len wrote:
> >> I just made a composite photo of the same section of six photos
> >> taken with
> >> six different Leica M and LTM lenses on my M8.
> >>  From top to bottom the photo strips represent shots taken with the
> >> following lenses at f2 only. All of the lenses had their lens hoods
> >> attached.
> >>
> >> Leica Summilux ASPH (current)
> >>
> >> Leica Summicron (current)
> >>
> >> Konica Hexanon (last current)
> >>
> >> Leica Summitar (very slight haze at edges, coating very good)
> >>
> >> Leica Summicron ( slight haze, slight cleaning marks)
> >>
> >> Leica Summarit ( very slight haze, very slight cleaning marks)
> >>
> >> I rank the order of the lenses with best on top. The top 3 are much
> >> better
> >> then the bottom 3 for resolution. Of the bottom 3 the Summitar has
> >> the best
> >> contrast, the Summicron coll the best resolution.
> >>
> >> You can judge for yourself.
> >>
> >>
> Nice "experiment."
> But I guess the only definitive conclusion is that new lenses in
> apparently pristine condition are better than hazy, scratched old
> lenses.
> But on a related topic, does the image quality ranking of older Leica
> lenses differ because of the reduced area of the M8 sensor? For
> example, the 35 mm Elmar is regarded as having good central
> definition but vignetting and poorer resolution toward the edges of
> the 35 mm frame. Many critics believe the Summitar is better than the
> Summicron in the central area but poorer in the corners. Even the
> Summar and the Hektor have good center image quality.  But since the
> M8 crops the image circle of the film lenses so that only the central
> area is used, have these old lenses gained a new lease on life?
> How about it lens fans?
> Larry Z
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information


In reply to: Message from lrzeitlin at (Lawrence Zeitlin) ([Leica] Re: Lens comparison)