1938 5cm Summar problem

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by jt99|1, May 24, 2016.

  1. Collapsing this lens (recently acquired - previous cla date unknown) has been progressively difficult since I've bought it (together with its 1938 cla'd llla) and started to use them a few weeks ago, so I've packed it off to Newton Ellis hoping the "collapsibility" action was not irreparably damaged by using it before having them check it out first.
    Anyone else with a Summar like this which survived similar misguided misuse/abuse and was restored to full working order ?
  2. I really can't understand that your lens would have issues with it's collapsibility. It is only 78 years old, probably suffered though use and abuse, hot and cold, damp and dry. Give it some tender loving care, cleaning and lubrication and maybe repair and it will probably keep schlepping along for some more years. Good luck!
  3. Mine is going a bit that way, but I'd be surprised if it's anything a CLA couldn't sort out. The main thing is that the glass is decent, which is much more of an issue with lenses that have soft front elements like this.
    Incidentally, does anyone know of a technician who can polish, coat and re-calibrate a Summar, preferably in the UK or EU? Peter at CRR Luton used to offer this service, but no longer does.
  4. Just something wrong with the plush/felt that provides the friction for sliding the lens in and out. It could just have dirt in it, or come unglued and tangled in the small space. Trivial to clean out and replace.
    What's normally fatal to Summars is inappropriate cleaning of the front glass element. It is soft flint glass, which is the optical term for "lead crystal" glass. Very very very soft, easy to scratch.
  5. Most likely the felt in the mount.

    I picked up a Summar at a show for $50, no blades but clean front element. Used it to replace the scratched front element on one picked up years ago. This is a good lens, far better than the reputation would have you believe.
  6. This is in response to Richard Williams's question about whether anyone knows of "a technician who can polish, coat and re-calibrate a Summar."
    There is a firm named Focal Point, Inc. which offers such services -- http://www.focalpointlens.com/ . Per the website, the services this firm offers include lens polishing and re-coating; lens cement separation repair; and fungus and haze removal. The firm is located in the U.S. State of Colorado; the e-mail address is john@focalpointlens.com , the U.S. telephone number is (303) 665-6640, and the firm's mailing address is 300 Center Drive, Suite G-177, Superior, CO 80027, USA.
    Please note that I have no connection with the firm, have never been a customer of the firm, and thus have no basis for commenting on the quality of its work. I am simply responding to Mr. Williams's inquiry.
  7. Focal Point doesn't conduct polish & re-coating to these Summar units.

    Not only is the front element "reamed" in to the metal bezel (must be machined out), but the soft material everyone has mentioned, allows scratches to be too deep and therefore can't hold it's IQ specs after polishing...
  8. Gus, I am sure that you know more about this than I do; and I hope I didn't mislead Richard Williams.
    For any who don't already know, Gus Lazzari is a highly skilled camera technician who runs his own camera repair business, located in the State of North Carolina in the US. As it happens, I've never had any of my cameras serviced by him, so I can't speak from personal experience, but he has an excellent reputation for the quality of his work. If anybody is interested, you can find more here: http://tlccamerarepair.homestead.com/
  9. Agree with Brian, the Summar is much better than it's reputation. If the front element is not scratched, and the interior is clean, it has decent contrast, is sharp stopped down, and has f/2 and f/2.8 as "emergency" apertures. I've used mine contra-jour without a lens hood without flare problems.
    Mine is uncoated (some went back to Leica for coating, those are rare), but I sure had to clean interior haze. It should look absolutely water clear inside.
    The poor reputation comes from most samples being ruined by poor cleaning of the front element, and also having internal haze.
    (Swapping elements between Leica lenses is something I'd only recommend to an expert like Brian. In general you can wind up with lenses whose focal length doesn't match their focusing mount. That results in focusing errors.)
  10. I can't speak to Summar lens repairs, but John Van Stelten rebuilt my f1.5 Summarit 50 LTM several years back. It was dirty inside with a slightly abraded/no deep scratches front lens element. Most of the coating was still on the lens, but clearly abraded. I contracted for a CLA with polishing and recoating of the front element. John informed me that he wouldn't guarantee the lens or recoating as it is a heating process and he had had lenses crack during the process. I took a chance and everything came out fine. At f1.5 and 2.0 the lens is low contrast and soft focus, but images sharpen and contrast improves at f4 and beyond. I was able to buy a Summarit cast lens hood for $6.50 at a bankruptcy sale and it does help reduce flare. Within the limits of the lens, I thought Focal Point did good work and I wouldn't hesitate to use them again. With reference to the f2 Summar I have an original Leica brochure describing the lens and it must have been exciting to have one back in the mid 1930's. Grandfather to the f2 50 collapsible Summicron of fame.
  11. Thanks for the replies about Summar coating. The service CRR used to offer looks pretty tricky, and I imagine not many technicians would attempt it:
    Sadly a note on the front page now says that 'We no longer offer the repolishing & coating of lenses as a service. This is due to unforeseen circumstances.'
  12. John Van Stelton polished and recoated the front element for my Hot-Glass Summicron collapsible. It's like new now.
  13. A clean Summar is a very sharp lens w/ classic Leica IQ. I love them. Maybe better to simply leave yours extended. I never saw much purpose in collapsible lenses anyway to tell the truth, and you can get into trouble on some cameras w/ this feature. By the time you took the camera out of your pocket, took your meter reading, set your aperture and speed and finally focused the thing, the shot would be long gone.
  14. People have been known to try and lubricate the sleeve with oil. This becomes viscous after time causing sticking. It can certainly be rectified and worth doing if the glass is in very good condition.

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