Dual Range 50mm f/2 Summicron

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by fredonian, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. I've come to notice that when I am shooting black and white with my Leica M2 and 50mm DR Summicron that my negatives appear far different than from what I get from my other cameras with similar lenses and exposure. The Leica of course is a joy to shoot hand down in comparison. The sharpness and details rendered by the DR Summicron are amazing, but I notice that it is harder to overexpose my negatives. I rarely get bright whites from caucasian skin without intense overdevelopment of the film. I don't consider this a down side, I am just wondering if its a quality associated with this lens? I have shot a dozen rolls without ever really over or under exposing any frames.I never loose any of the highlights or shadow details. On the negative they all seem to fall between zones 4-6. I have to print with the high end of filters to bring out contrast in the printed images which turn out superb. I can count the hairs on subjects. With my other cameras, either a shadow or highlight comes closer to being lost under regular development. Here are a few samples below with normal development. Any thoughts or comments?
    00MdTa-38641784.jpg
     
  2. Same image but with contrast and brightness adjustment.
     
  3. You mention "with this camera" several times. It can't be a function of the camera. It has to be the lens, film, or developing process. Have you used this exact lens on other cameras and gotten the same results?
     
  4. I find when I use the older (40-50yrs) lenses compared with todays versions eg. 50mm
    Summicron, 90mm Elmarit-M, there is lot of difference in contrast with the newer versions
    being much snappier. But the lower contrast negs from the older lenses always seem to
    have a great tonal range when printed up in contrast and high contrast scenes favour the
    older lenses. The lower contrast of the older versions may be due to the cruder coatings
    and even deterioration of those coating over time. Flare is much worse in the older lenses
    in my experience, however. But flare aside, as long as you can get the acceptable results
    from adjusting contrast on the enlarger or scanner, enjoy the classic glass. They also look
    better on the older bodies!
     
  5. In the "with regular scanning" image, it seems to me that the entire negative is low in contrast, not just the image (take a look at the black border around the image--it isn't black).
    The Contrast adjustment doesn't bring just the image up to "normal," it brings the entire strip of film.

    I think this is just a problem of scanning the Leica strips differently than you are other films, if you understand what I mean.
     
  6. One part of a lens's signature is how it renders the tonal range. Many older lenses seem to have this flat look. It's not necessarily a bad thing. You might enjoy this post on auspiciousdragon.net: http://www.auspiciousdragon.net/siliceous/?p=65
     
  7. Early Summicrons were high-resolution low-constrast lenses. (Nikon favored contrast.) Also, Leica didn't have access to the best lens coating technology in that era due to Zeiss' patents. Also, there could be issues with this lens lowering the contrast -- it could have needed an internal cleaning that removed some of the coating from the elements -- or it may have some haze internally that needs cleaning. (The whale oil lubricants cause haze as they break down.)

    See the Kodak B&W Dataguide of the 1970's, it gives development time corrections for many classes of lenses (fixed versus zoom, uncoated, single-coated, and multi-coated). The percentage changes can be surprisingly large.
     
  8. Looks good to me. As long as you can get prints you like, don't bitch. (I seem to recall that DRS images on Kodachrome II were always particularly easy to print on Cibachrome, without requiring contrast/highlight masking).
     
  9. I have never noticed any significant difference between the results of using the DR on separate cameras unless the cameras themselves were not consistently the same. On my M6 my collapsible Summicron renders substantially the same negative quality (disregarding sharpness) as does my newer DR! I don't possess any more modern lenses for comparison. Eliminate as many variables as possible and then try the DR at the same settings on separate cameras. I would suggest that your DR might have some undetected internal haze.
     
  10. Hi Bill- I fail to notice where I am bitching *smiles* in my post, I'm just merely commenting on it. I did forget to mention that my DR lens has had a CLA done (By Golden Touch) due to internal haze. It is now very clear and tact sharp. I'm just amazed about the differences with this lens compared to the ones of my SLR's. The best images I made with this camera where overdeveloped by almost 3 stops. The above roll I developed last night, and was my first roll to develop in PMK Pyro. I did not overdevelop it due to lack of familiarity with Pyro. I think developing them another 20% would have increased the contrast and brought about brighter whites. Erik, you nailed me on the low contrast scanned image above. I had already ajusted the contrast with the original scan and tried to mimic what the original looked like. So, I am posting a new scan for you as is. (Sorry for my lazyness) Matt- That certainly looks like a DR Summicron image. I think one can almost tell DR images by just looking at them. That is just my opinion though.
     
  11. The same image with a little help from PS.
     
  12. Hi Charles - I totally agree with Dan's observations and suggestions of eliminating one variable at a time. - I have both the DR and a tabbed last version summicron - very little difference in contrast - certainly nothing like your example. First check with a flaskhlight for internal haze, then review your development procedures, etc.
    I had haze probs with my DR and John at Focal Point fixed it fine.
    Good luck
    David
     
  13. Charles, you didn't bitch. That's just good old Dr. Bill's semi-permanent attitude. A few roll-aids are in order, billy boy.
     
  14. I think the answer is in the scanning/processing. The edge of the film does not display maximum black as it should, after all, it has not been exposed (well it shouldn't have been,anyway) and so should be max black, with white lettering. The first example has very low contrast, leading me to think that the scan is not providing enough contrast(if you develop other films and they are all ok, it is reasonable to assume you did nothing different this time?)
     
  15. My apologies, Charles -- I didn't mean to imply that you were bitching, it were just a "suggestion" that if it works, just use it and don't look back. I think that my DRS was the 2nd finest 50mm lens I've ever owned, and have been kicking myself over 15 years for giving it to a friend. Again, I apologize, there was no intent to criticize you or your comments.
     
  16. Hi Bill, you were fine. Besides, my grandfather taught me to never let anyone laugh at you, only with you. Thank you for helping the many on here (such as I) who have questions in which you take time to answer.
     
  17. The cause is definitely the lens. I recently tested the DR against a Summicron collapsible, and
    a Canon FD 50 1.4. The results on the light box were like night and day. The DR really stood
    out--with same film and subject--as having significantly less constrast. Even my wife saw it
    on the table without a loupe.
    I'll post when I get the scans back.
     

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