50 mm Summicron for B&W

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by david_sasley, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. I'm looking to purchase my first Leica M camera and lens. I do a lot of B&W
    photography. Is the most current version of the 50mm cron pre asph a good
    choice for B&W photography? I've read that it may be too contrasty for B&W.
    What are your opinions. If not the currnet version, what other standard lenses
    would you recommend?

  2. SCL


    Any version is good for B&W photography. In fact virtually any Leica rangefinder lens produced in the last 50 years ((provided it is a clean lens) (I've never tried earlier versions so I can't comment on them)is good for B&W photography. The more important question is what focal length lens is the best choice for the type of work you intend to do. If you are on a budget, the 50mm Elmar, but for the smaller aperture, gives outstanding results with only a slightly different signature from the Summicron (I currently use both).
  3. Just my experience, but when I was doing wet B&W and just getting into Leica, I went through most of the generations of the Summicrons from the 1950s up to the current optical formula.

    I personally found the earlier pre-1969 chrome models to have a bit less contrast than the newer black lenses. The resolution was pretty good from any Summicron, but the contrast was different enough that I adjusted my developmenmt times, and often had to use different contrast filters when printing. This can work for you if you like shadow detail.

    These days, I mostly shoot color, and I like contrast, so I use the most current Summicrons.
  4. All Leica lens are capable of standing up at the plate and shooting B&W par excellance.

    Some have unique characteristics and leave what we term "footprints."

    The newer lenses are good modern era choices.
  5. Don?t we term it "fingerprints"?

  6. [​IMG]
    50 'cron pre-asph
  7. Nice photo. Definatly not too contrasty. Was that shot wide open?
  8. I am not recommending anything but I do have a very nice 50mm elmar-m for sale. gusa1@comcast.net
  9. Thanks David and yes, wide open. The 'cron is a killer lens for b&w.
  10. Lutz's photo is credited to the 50 'cron pre-asph, and David's post mentions this lens version also. I have the latest 50mm f/2.0 Summicron which is a conventional design.
    Did I sleep through the release of an aspheric Summicron? Even if they did produce this lens as an aspheric version, I am not good enough to get the most out of the conventional Summicron.
  11. Just some slight confusion, I think. There is no ASPH Summicron.

    This is a great choice for b/w. Also, unlike most current M lenses, they routinely pop up for sale here, very lightly used, for less than half of retail.
  12. Thank you all for your responses. Now if anyone is selling one of these lenses, please contact me. Thanks for the offer Gus but I would like to stick with the summicron.
  13. Abso-freaking-lutely right: there's just the non-asph variety of the 50 'cron around! (As opposed to the 35 'cron, the 35 'lux and the 50 'lux...) The only choice is among the collapsible, the early "rigid", the later multicoated and the built-in-hood, tabbed one, AFAIK.
  14. David, In my experience for black and white the "rigid" summicron in good condition is the best, followed by a good collapsible. The collapsible is hard to find in good condtion. My first Leica lens was a "rigid" and because it was my first I did not know how good it was compared to the others (for B&W). I traded it a couple of years ago for a much newer "tabbed" version which was a very fine lens but, for me, too contrasty. I've been kicking myself for losing my rigid. I print negatives today that I made in the 70s and they astonish me in their quality. I now have a collapsible that I had re-coated and it is just as good, but not as nice ergonomicaly. If you have any questions please feel free to email me. Robbie Bedell
  15. Collapsible is the best. Why? Because it collapses. That extra 1cm is sometimes all it takes to get the camera into a large pocket. And that means you more likely to take it with you and also take photos. From that sense the old Elmar is the best but then again it is a bit slow...

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