Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2007/12/11

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Subject: [Leica] ZM 50/2 planar ?
From: hoppyman at (G Hopkinson)
Date: Tue Dec 11 02:50:32 2007
References: <>

OK, of course I must join this discussion.
Firstly my experience with the current Summicron is the same as Marty's. I 
got occasional and unpredictable flare. I would add that
I regard it as a lens that delivers truly superb colour and distortion 
accuracy. For a time my motto was "in Summicron veritas".
This very occasional flare for me was the biggest driver causing me to 
change to the Summilux asph. Having got it I actually use the
1.4 advantage regularly, which I did not anticipate. I'm sure that the Nocti 
users might have something similar to say.
I understand also what Marty has said re a theoretical advantage for the 
Summicron at minimum distances (and add that the little
current Elmar 2.8 50 is king here). I can only say that I have never 
identified this in my photographs. I am completely at a loss
regarding Marty's comment on more remaining aberrations in the 1.4. Again I 
have never seen this and I would expect the 1.4 to be
superior to the Summicron, when BOTH at f2. It may be that Marty is 
referring to wide open performance. I do not believe that any
1.4 lens at 1.4 will ever equal an f2 at f2. That is optical reality. Erwin 
Puts acknowledges this , while qualifying the statement
in this comparison by saying that in fact the 1.4 asph is very very close.  
That is a formidable optical achievement (for which you
pay a formidable price).
On the Planar, I think it looks to be superb value. I don't have one though. 
I have no experience with other M 50's except for the
CV 2.5 50. Great value for money, visibly not Leica performance to me (or 
price) Leap in here 50mm users


-----Original Message-----

Subject: [Leica] ZM 50/2 planar ?

I've been conducting some tests on the Zeiss 50/2, a couple of six-element 
Summicrons of varying vintages and a Konica Hexanon-M
50/2 over the last few months (the tests are ongoing).  These lenses are 
mostly the same basic symmetrical six-element double Gauss
design, as is the Zuiko 50/1.8 for the Olympus OM SLR cameras (I threw a few 
of these in for comparison).  The first six-element
Summicron (Type II) is the exception; it differs slightly and is a six 
elements in five groups design.

In good conditions all the RF lenses perform equally.  All are very well 
corrected for spherical abberration (the Zuiko less than
the others), which means that the issue of optimisation for contrast or 
resolution is not an issue - the designers can optimise for
both.  Nonetheless, the designers of each of these lenses have made some 
choices - the Konica appears to have slightly more
spherical abberration and is slightly lower contrast but equivalent in 
resolution.  Handheld monochrome images from the Zeiss and
Summicrons using 400 speed film were indistinguishable.  These lenses all 
have slightly different colour rendition.  If you use
colour a lot and are very sensitive to colour rendition from lenses you may 
prefer one lens over the others; in digital capture it's
easy to fix and doesn't matter.  If I'd shot a target, I don't doubt I'd 
have got the same results as Erwin Puts, who found that the
Zeiss was slightly better in most respects than the latest Summicron.

The Zeiss is really outstanding in contrasty light, on back-lit subjects and 
with oblique light that may fall on the front element;
the Summicrons are very flare-prone in this latter circumstance and the 
Hexanon moderately so.  The Summicrons I tested and also the
one I used to own also flared a lot when taking a picture directly into a 
bright light.  The Zeiss is very flare-resistant.  At
least part of this is due to the Zeiss T* coatings; they are 
standard-setting.  The Zuikos I tested (3) are also flare prone, but I
think this can be put down to poorer collimation, cheaper glass types, 
single-coated internal surfaces and other measures that were
taken to make this a budget lens.  Olympus were never very good at coating - 
hough they seem to have improved immensely recently.
It is also easier to tell when a lens on an SLR is going to flare - you can 
see it.  The Zuiko is still a bargain since you can get
very nice ones for $US30-50.

I sold a nice latest type Summicron because the flare issue bothered me - I 
just seemed to have the knack of finding conditions
where it would flare and as a result I lost 2-4 pictures per roll.  I 
replaced it with a Hexanon because one turned up at the right
time at the right price and I like the look it gives very much.  If I hadn't 
found the Hexanon I'd have bought a Zeiss.  If you have
a modern Summicron you are happy with, you're unlikely to gain much by 
buying the Zeiss.  If you are plagued by flare, you main gain
something by getting a Zeiss.  I know you have a Nocti, a DR and a pre-asph 
Summilux Steve (have you been spending time with
Jeffrey?) - so if you're looking for a modern 50 to complement those the 
Zeiss is probably the best.  If you already have a
six-element Summicron and you like it, there's not much to gain.

The Summilux ASPH is another question altogether . . . these f2 lenses are 
still better performers inside 1.5m and the Summilux ASPH
still has visible aberrations.  I have always figured that if you can see 
them, it doesn't matter how well corrected they are,
you'll still know they are there.  But if you had to choose just one 50 mm 
lens . . . 


In reply to: Message from freakscene at (Marty Deveney) ([Leica] ZM 50/2 planar ?)