leica old glass favourite (pre 1970)

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by jean_marie_dederen, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Trying to decide on my first leica lens (nikon user). If you could select your favourite lens from the following list and motivate your answer, this would make my choice easier:
    • elmar 50/3.5
    • summitar 50/2
    • summar 50/2
    • summicron coll. 50/2
    • hektor 28
    • elmarit 28
    • super angulon 21/4/3.4
    • elmar 35/3.5
    • summaron 35/3.5
    • summaron 35/2.8
    • elmar 90/4/2.8
    • elmar or hektor 135
    • summarex 85
    • summaron 28
    • summicron 35/2
    • summicron 90/2
    Thank you!
     
  2. I enjoy using wide angle lenses on my Leicas. Favorites are
    21 mm Super Angulon on M cameras and 3.5 cm
    Summaron on Barnacks.
     
  3. Summitar 50/2
     
  4. Glenn: any reason for NOT wanting the 28mm?
    Martin: why not Elmar or Summar 50mm lengths?
     
  5. 21 to 90 is a wide range for a first lens. Perhaps a 35 or 50 is your best first choice? The Elmar 50mm f2.8 (1950s through early 1970s) is a very good lens, although outdistanced for fine detail rendition by the later (1995?) Elmar-M redesign and the even better Summicron (versions IV or V). However, I had very good experience with my original f2.8 and have some nicely detailed B&W prints using it at moderate apertures, and it had an excellent 15 bladed diaphragm, compared to the 6 element one of the modern Elmar-M.
     
  6. Whole books have been written on this subject! This one
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leica-Lens-...1_fkmr2_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330956648&sr=8-1-fkmr2
    is cheap and would be an excellent investment if you are moving into Leica. The obvious answer would be "The same focal length as you like using on your Nikon". If you want the classic photojournalistic look, a collapsible Summicron would probably have the edge - some of the lenses you list are poor performers by today's standards (like the 28 mm Hektor), others like the Summarex are super-expensive collector's items which live in glass cases! By and large "Summicron" is Leica-speak for "best", but it is impossible to comment on all the lenses you list here.
     
  7. 35 Summaron 1:2.8--one of the best Leitz lenses ever! A not-so-well kept secret anymore. Attached to a M2 -- the classic Leica combo. IMHO.
     
  8. ARTHUR: I forgot about the 50/2.8, thanks.
    DAVID: I had a look at this book; wish there was a similar one covering the older lenses
    PAUL: 35mm, closest to the view angle of the human eye; my favourite lenstype in nikon; ever compared it with the elmarit 35/2.8 for the old flex? So much cheaper, but not compatible with the rangefinder camera I believe.
     
  9. What focal length do you normally shoot with?
     
  10. Michael: I love landscape; last year I tried out all of the older nikkor zooms (testing the common opinion that zoom lenses are inferior to their fixed counterparts). I found myself taking images within the 28-80mm range (partly because the zoom nikkors are limited to 28mm I suppose; with the exception of the bulky but admirable 25-50mm lens). In fact most of my shots are taken around the 35mm length. With my hasselblad I used 50mm and 120mm lenses; again 35mm and 80mm...
     
  11. I often used a 50mm collapsing Summicron because it was compact. A 50mm f.2.8 Elmar tested much better, but I never owned one.
     
  12. Apologies Jean-Marie, there is a book with the info you need, it's called the Leica Pocket Book:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leica-Camer...7267/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1330962814&sr=8-7
    The 7th or8th edition has the best lens info, unfortunately they're out of print and people are asking stupid money for them. I recommended the wrong book before, I thought it was the same as the one above, but as you say it concentrates on new lenses. If you invest £7.98 in this older edition of the Pocket Book, I don't think you'll regret it!
     
  13. JIM Isn't the 50/2.8 collapsible too? And cheaper?
    DAVID Thanks, that's more like it!Love the looks of it, looking for one right now. It is nice to get user opinion too, though.
     
  14. SCL

    SCL

    Over the years I've owned 6 from your list -- so it really comes down to what fl you want for your first lens, what price are you willing to pay, and what rendering do you want. I loved the Summaron 35/2.8 and used it for about 20 years...lovely rendering slightly soft in the corners. I then moved to the Summicron 35/2.0 ASPH which was razor sharp across the field and had significantly increased contrast...but I haven't used it for 3 years now, and just sold it to a buyer in HK. I still have my collapsible Summicron 50/2 as it has that older lower contrast rendering, while still sharp. I prefer the 135 Tele-Elmar over the Elmar in this focal length, and have owned 3 of them over the years. The Elmar 50/2.8 IMHO does a better job to my taste than the 3.5...but both are good lenses in this fl. I've owned several 90s including the old Summicron 90/2.0 with the removable head for use on bellows or slr bodies, the 90 Elmarit and a recent Summicron 90 APO ASPH. The later is incredibly sharp and contrasty, but too big and heavy for my situation, as was the old Summicron 90. I much prefer (and continually use) the 90 Elmarit, it is sharp, medium contrast, and the head is removable for use on my bellows and other slr bodies. I think Leica lenses are really overpriced - new or used. I generally prefer used lenses if the condition is good and they are selling for 75% or less than new. Good luck with your choice.
     
  15. STEPHEN For landscape in black and white the summaron would do I suppose; doubt if the 3,5 is much different from the 2,8.? I try to avoid razorsharp, clinical looking pics so the modern lenses are out for me. The 35/2 pre asph is probably already too sharp? The 90mm lenses seem to have very little DOF (judging from the dof scale), were they designed with a portrait lefunction in mind? Did you use any of your lenses for B/W landscape? I agree on the price issue, seems like I am going to eat a lot of bread and sardines in the foreseeable future!
     
  16. I particularly enjoyed using my 35mm f/3.5 Summaron with my screw mount Leicas. Sharp and compact.
     
  17. I try to avoid razorsharp, clinical looking pics so the modern lenses are out for me.
    Looks as if you're heading towards a 1950s 35mm lens! The 35mm Elmar is just too old, performance nothing special, very hard to find one in good condition, uncoated only. The 3.5 and 2.8 Summarons are roughly equal in performance, 3.5 easier to find, you might as well go for the later version that takes the screw-in (E39) filters - 2.8 version is very nice (I've owned both) but hard to find and expensive. 2 points that might save you money - the 2.8 50 mm Elmar is highly rated, regarded as almost equal to the Summicron, BUT if stored pointing straight up the Elmar will suffer oil vaporising from the iris diaphragm and depositing on the back of the front element - quite messy! The f2 Summar was Leitz's first f2 lens, uncoated (except for very rare exceptions) BUT made of soft glass which if cleaned carelessly scratches easily (most examples these days are wrecked). You might find a 35mm Canon Serenar for less money than a Summaron - optically they are fairly similar.
     
  18. SCL

    SCL

    Jean-Marie ...I'm not sure about the history of the 90s, but I remember in the 1970-80s loving the family portraits' renditions with a collapsible 90/4.0 I owned...but it was just a little slow for me. Definitely as you progress toward longer focal lengths the DOF dramatically narrows. Most of my Leica landscape type shots were done over the years with the 35s and most were done with Kodachrome (shed a tear). About 10-11 years ago I added an M6 to my stable and did some B&W landscape shots in the winter when I tested it out...most of the shots, as I recall were with the newer 50/2.8 Elmar. High contrast between the trees and snow and that lens just nailed everything as it appeared....I was impressed, as my collapsible 50 Summicron on the same shots had much less contrast. Around 2006 I began trying to determine which lenses I was going to keep and which ones to sell, as I had 5 50mm lenses and I realized I wasn't using them to their potential. I ended up keeping 2, although I hated the redundancy...I kept a Summicron (Ver VI) from around 2003 and the old collapsible Summicron (Ver I) from 1954. It was tough to get rid of a 50 Summilux from 1959, but I wasn't using it enough to justify keeping it and the offered price for it was right, and a lot more than I originally paid. Honestly, I don't think you can go wrong with any of the 50s you mentioned...just be aware of the issues cited by others before you commit to buy.
     
  19. If it's a screwmount, you really ought to start with a 50mm lens, so you can use the finder. Of course, the brightline finders are so much better than the built-in finder, but then the camera isn't as small.
    I'm partial to a Summar as a jack-of-all-trades, since it's still small, you can use the cheap FIKUS hood, and you even get "emergency use only" f/2 speed. (Keep it at f/4 or smaller when you want sharpness.) If you have a really clean haze-free and scratch-free one, it is not flare-prone in my experience.
    Summitar is more general purpose, but no longer small.
    Problem with 50mm Summar, Summitar, and Summicron is finding a GOOD one. Front glass is flint glass, insanely soft. Coatings are soft, can be readily removed when lens cleaned with any pressure. Internal haze often present, unpredictable if you can get it out on a soft-coated lens.
    Extra challenge with Summicron is the thoriated element in early ones that turns brown. Has to be bleached every decade with UV light.
    That's one advantage of the 50/3.5 Elmar -- the front element isn't soft. Easier to find a good one.
     
  20. Hi Jean-Marie
    According to your said preferences I would say your natural choice should be the summicron 35/2.
    There are two versions pre-1970, the last produced from 1969, and it seems the latter version may outperform the first but according to the critics this one would be better than both the summarons.
    Depending on the camera, I would go for one with the "eye" or not (The TTL M6 will not accept this focusing piece).
     
  21. 35mm f/2.8 Summaron for me. Simply use it with the aux finder in the accessory shoe. Sure, it's bulkier, but far better than the built-in finder on an LTM (Barnack) model.
     
  22. DAVID: The 35/3.5 seems a messy performer if the comments in the threads are anything to go by. But then you discover the images of Ravilious and think: wow, where has the flare gone? Seemingly he doctors his images very creatively in the darkroom? Thanks for the tip on the 50/2.8. I know exactly how leaking lenses can frustrate from my micro-nikkor 55/2.8!
     
  23. JOHN SHRIVER I haven't found a summar advert as yet that does not mention 'cleaning marks' on front element. Do they come coated? And what's with that hideous boxy hood? The summar is for an outsider like myself an intriguing lens: there seems to be only those who love and those who loath it?
     
  24. You could also do a search here for favorite lens, there should be about 3 hundred threads if you don't get enough opinions on this one.
     
  25. STEPHEN Thanks. That's the kind of experience based advice I need. I mourn the demise of ektachrome, and even more the fact that I did not make more use of it when it was available. In Belgium we used Agfa-Gevaert film and it wasnt until my father bought me roll of kodak for a schooltrip to Italy that I knew that it existed! I remember all of us gazing at those lazure blue skies on the slidescreen after I returned.
    The collapsible 90/4: is it as prone to flare as the rigid one? I keep on reading that the rigid 90/4 and I suppose 90/2.8 as well does not handle heavy contrast at all, in spite of the front element being recessed so deeply and being coated? With our bright slies on this side of the equator I cant see it being of much use for landscape. And did you not find the perspective of the 50/2.8 limiting after being conditioned so long to the 35's?
     
  26. If you happen to have a 20mm Nikkor, it would work fine used with a conversion ring on a Leica RF. DOF is big enough to focus by estimate; I had some very good results with it. See some example shots on
    (link)
    You could also try a 24mm Nikkor
    Regards
    Peter
     
  27. Jean-Marie: The 2.8 Summaron is a later design, so one would expect some improvement - the last time I had one of these was 40 years ago (it was in fact Government property, I used it for my work), whereas I have a 3.5 now. The 2.8 is rarer and this is reflected drastically in prices:
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l2736&_nkw=35+mm+summaron
    Looks like the going rate for a 3.5 Summaron (and also a Canon Serenar) is about £300, whereas people are asking around £800 for a 2.8 - good as it is, I wouldn't say it was that good!
    Summar: As I and others have mentioned, the glass is soft and scratches easily - I finally acquired one a year or two ago almost without scratches. I would say not worth buying if in poor condition. The big lens hood is just to combat flare.
     
  28. DAVID Sorry I should have written ELMAR 35/3.5. It has a messy reputation; the summaron 35/3.5 seems a fine lens. I see Summars mainly on older (pre- IIIc type cameras), obviously, as the lens was probably not produced after 1939. I am not too keen on getting one of the early barnack's, although the lens intrigues me. Is your summar coated?
     
  29. PETER Thanks for the tip. Interesting. I knew about leica glass fitting on nikon's bellow set up (NikLei adapter ring). I didnt know the opoosite was possible. Unfortunately, i am trying to move away from nikon optics, and try out different, if not greener leica patures!
     
  30. I have no idea what you meant about your Micro 55mm Nikkor lens? i have never used a finer,sharper better made lens ever. Flare, what is flare. My Pentax lenses have no flare. My freaking M6 has flare in viewfinder!
    Leica lenses even fairly modern ones, but esp. the older ones, are way softer, less contrast and flare. I love my Leica for many things but don't think they are totally ahead of the competition except usually in construction. You are asking about lenses that are old! i think from my own usage, the Canon A series (AE-1, AE-1P, A-1) with their lenses were already ahead of Leica and Leitz. Yes there are plastic parts, so has Leica in some of it's lenses.
    See some of the comments here, about use of plastics, one from a top serviceman in Orange County, CA.
    A 50mmElmar of f2.8 a good choice. Nice contrast. The 35mmSummaron f2.8 also nice! Neither are spectacular.
    Knowing your equipment's possibilities are important.
     
  31. The Summicron 90 is a wonderful lens, though I have never used the R version. I have the 280/2.8 in R mount, and I have enjoyed it. The basic rule here is that rangefinders focus wide lenses better. SLRs focus long lenses better. Get a long lens.
     
  32. ... summar coated?
    No it isn't - all Summars left the factory uncoated, except possibly for a few produced on a one-off basis during the war for the military. Just after WWII it was fashionable for a while to get pre-war lenses coated - any coated Summar will have become so in this way. My advice - if you want the vintage look of an uncoated lens, get a 50 mm Elmar - much easier to find in good condition. I personally am also not a fan of the Summitar - it's got high resolution and quite good flatness of field but it's too low contrast and prone to flare for me. The classic postwar Leica lens for me is the Mark I Summicron - as with the 35 mm Summaron, a Canon Serenar can be a lower-priced but equal quality alternative. I did also a little while back buy 2 new Voigtlander Heliars (one f2, one f3.5) with the idea that these would allow me to keep my Barnack Leicas going for as long as I keep going - it is getting harder and harder to find older Leica lenses in good condition - the good ones are in the hands of people who wouldn't let them go for anything!
     
  33. Three years ago, when I bought my like-new M6, I asked two professional photogs which one-and-only lens I should buy. Each man owns and uses an M6, and both , independently of one another, recommended the Summicron 50mm f/2. I bought one, mint in box, listed in a Shutterbug magazine ad. Its lateral view, similar to that of the human eye, makes me feel as if I'm "shooting reality." For macro and telephoto, I shoot a Canon digital and ;Canon or Sigma lens.
    00a6Xa-447939584.jpg
     
  34. JASON Nothing wrong with the quality of the images of the micro-nikkor 55/2.8; I was rferring to the fact that stored in the wrong position it is known to drip oil on the blades (especially in hot conditions), as does one of the older leica lenses mentioned earlier on in the tread. Softness is, of course, not per se a bad quality.
     
  35. JOHN That kind of definition is great for still life. For landscape I would like something less chilled though. Softness does it for me if i want to turn a bunch of trees into something more interesting than...just a bunch of trees.
     
  36. SCL

    SCL

    JM- Yes the 90/4 collapsible was definitely subject to flare and I almost always (when I remembered) used the lens shade on it (making it look like a bazooka). Initially I didn't adjust very well to the 50, coming from a long love affair with a 35, but as I increasingly used it, I became more comfortable. I think I still prefer a 35 for landscape shots, but these days when I can scan and use PS, I can almost as easily use a 50 and do a panorama with more detail.
     
  37. Well I have no doubt which early lens I would choose and that would be a collapsible Summar. The only trouble is that there are very,very,few that have a clear front element as the glass was (relatively) soft . To find a perfect one is not very likely. I was lucky, as when I acquired mine in 1981 it had had one owner from new and had always had a lenscap.
     
  38. STEPHEN Pitty, I started liking the idea of the 90/4, they are ridiculously inexpensive (in leica currency terms). If Ken R. is anything to go by, the flaring is really annoying and the hood doesnt do much to improve on its handicap. He claims that the length of the lens/bazooka body is to blame (probablydesigned with the visoflex in mind). Any flareproblems with the summar? That lens really intrigues me; seems to be the most controversial of the 50mm lenths.
     
  39. ANTHONY Have you had the summar for a while now? What appeals to you most about its rendition? You sound quite passionate about it. And on what body do you use it? Any images to share?
     
  40. Jean-Marie, not to be contrary, but why do you not go for the best definition possible in landscapes (which are normally a big resolution challenge, in that many small details need to be perceived by the viewer)? If you then want to simulate the softness or less corrected imagery of the older optics, you can alternatively use a Zeiss Softar type filter (or a B+W wz 1 or wz 2 filter) when you want to provide more mood in the picture, or where details are judged to be less important than an atmosphere you may want to depict. You can also do post exposure blurring numerically if you treat your images by digital software, and thereby not sacrifice the precision of a more highly corrected optic.
     
  41. Focal length choices and condition issues aside, my clear choice would be the 50mm Summitar. It has a distinctly unique bokeh; some find "the swirl" unattractive, however for me it's a definite asset, giving the lens a signature all its own. One might not be able to tell what lens was used for any given photo just by looking at it, except those made by the wide-open Summitar.
     
  42. I also like the bokeh of the Summitar. It has a swirling, crystaline affect that I like. The ones with the circular diaphram render bright out of focus objects as full circles, not donuts or hexagons. It's deffinitely not the kind of lens that that delivers the lusty, silky-smooth bokeh that so many people chase after. It's neat though.
     
  43. "And what's with that hideous boxy hood?"
    I use the barndoor hood on my Summitar and like it quite a bit. It's tiny. Fold flat it flat and it fits in a hip pocket. Though ugly in one sense, it is a thing of beauty in another--this isn't jewlery but a serious tool. There is a slit at the top of the hood that allows you to see through it. I was concerned also by how it looks before I got one and used it. It's a great hood. Ta!
     
  44. For the price it's hard to go wrong with the 90/4 Elmar. You will need to get one without haze, though, as that can be a real problem. The only problems I've had with flare on this lens, albeit I do not shoot into the light, were:
    a) vignetting (which I kind of like on a very old lens)
    b) hotspots when shooting directly at brightly lit subjects. That particular lens was particularly hazy and it seemed that the light was refecting back out of the elements causing this hotspot.
    Both of my 90/4 Elmars are scratch free and both have more or less haze. There is an all chrome version that is more pricy than the more common one with leatherette. The chrome ones have Continental Scale stops and is in meters.
    Here are some photos I've taken with the 90/4 Elmars:
    http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=62496026@N03&q=elmar
    Cheers,
    Jim
     
  45. Seems like a Summar or Summitar all very popular! Personally i don't want softness in landscape,irritating, but in portraits. my collapsible Summicron 50mm f2.0 is soft in appearance in portraits.It is probably the haze of the deteriorating elements, internally. My outside elements pristine due to usage of UV or 1A filters, always. The filter may add to haze and certainly the flare problems. My 135mm Hektor f 4.5 definitely soft as in blur. Now and then, in the right light, quite sharp if stopped down.
    The problem of using a modern sharp lens on a Leica-M, with a soft filter, is that you cannot see the effects.. My usual route, professionally was the Nikon-F with 105mmf2,5 being very similar to a Zeiss Sonnar, a portrait lens and the softar, yielded spectacular results. Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar is almost same, wide open.
    The quest for a long ago, romantic look in photos, a true Don Quixote quest! With certain older Leica optics you have a good chance.
     
  46. ARTHUR I have seen some of your lovely pics. I also appreciate some detail in landscape especially on the far horizon. I certainly dislike a muddled representation. But most of all I enjoy the challenge of the old glass that makes you think about the process of obtaining a satisfying image rather than trying to get a fast and easy product. I avoid the difital scene: why people would like to simulate rather than create beats me.Digital IMHO stands for fast, cheap and easy: not exactly the features of quality.
     
  47. ALLAN JIM Does the shape of the diaphragm really affect the image that much? Somebody is trying to discourage me from getting the newer super angulon 21/3.4 saying that it produces less admirable pics that the older f4 version. He blames the 4blade diaphragm for causing the less appealing results.
     
  48. JIM Your photographs make me think the 90/4 could be a good choice after all.
     
  49. Jean-Marie, I have limited experience but I can say that hexagonal diaphram will render blurred bright points of light as larger hexagons of light. Circular diaphrams will render these as circles or donuts. Obviously, donuts are less pleasing. Generally speaking, more blades will result in a more circulular iris. There are exceptions: the Summitar uses more blades to create the hexagon version than it does to create the circle one. I could live with hexagons but donuts would drive me crazy.
     
  50. Jean-Marie, it is true that creation should be the objective in good photography. It is that elusive thing that I chase but only rarely embrace. The problem we have is that the camera wants to see the world exactly as it appears, at least in a two dimensional sense. We have to bend it to our way of seeing (as Freeman Patterson says better than I can in his book on "photography and tha art of seeing") and that is often a process that is not so straightforward.
    I find your OP valuablre in the sense it makes me think about the advantages of differing and older optics. What I would really like to see sometime (or undertake myself, if I wasn't so lazy) is a good and complete comparative study of various well regarded optics, in shots of the same subject and same lighting conditions. That is the type of quantitative/qualitative information that I have not enough of to make a good decision on older optics. While I tend to prefer a very well corrected lens (budget permitting) and then seek ways to modify what it gives me (various filters, intentional blur or out of focus adjustment, veiling of the lens or of the lens filter by condensation or an applied greasy film, etc.), I think that your search for lenses with specific qualities is good and I am no doubt missing something (although I do enjoy using on occasion an early 1930s Elmar). The problem is that it gets a bit like describing the subjective qualities of good quality audio speakers: There may be differences but it is hard to qualify them.
    I wouldn't be too hard on digital. I stil shoot both film and digital and find the latter valuable in trying to get what I am seeing in front of me, which is not usually a simulation of reality but a recreation of how we see the subject. I have about 20 B&W rolls to process this week and many days of enlarger work if the images are worthy. In the film only days there were many who were seeking simply a "simulation" of what they were looking at, as you appropriately call it. Film can slow us down and incite us to think more about what we are seeing, but then nothing prevents us from doing the same with digital equipment.
    Some of my lenses with 4 or 6 diaphragm blades give light ghosts that I dislike in backlit images, and provide out of focus highlights in other images that are also not very "nstuiral" looking. Apparently, most older lenses have 10 to 15 bladed diaphragms that provide more circular and pleaasing out of focus points. I guess this is also related to Bokeh OOF effects, but it seems to be related as much to lens design. My old 35mm Summicron (type 4), which I foolishly sold, had great OOF rendering, while my Nikon 50mm lens of the time, otherwise quite sharp and contrasty, led to double-line type OOF details that were not very attractive. Both had shortcomings in terms of optical corrections, but apparently of a different type.
     
  51. Jim Trahan, do you know with which lens your "donut" example was taken?
    To me this looks like a reflector type, or catadioptric, or "mirror lens" of at least 500mm focal length. None of the discussed lenses have anything in common with that astrophotography/supertele stuff.
    IMHO, this has nothing to do with this thread!
     
  52. It always pays to do a spelling check on even a hastily written text. I humbly admit to failure in my preceding text.
    Knut is right about the donut shape OOF bright points, the sign of a mirror or catadioptric lens, which is not related to LTM or M Leica lenses. Apart from lens aberrations, which can affect the bokeh quality, diaphragm blades that more closely approximate a circular opening lead to smoother and more pleasing bokeh, although the difference is often more pronounced at less than maximum apertures where a hexagonal opening becomes more visible in the OOF areas of the image. Modern Leica designs, by generally correcting more fully lens aberrations, seem to have a harder and less smooth bokeh, such as the difference between the 35mm Summicron of 1979 and the 1990s redesign with an aspherical element. Apparently the older 35mm Summilux had a wispy rendition near its full aperture, which was in part due to coma distortion.
     
  53. Knut, that was an extreme example found on the web and used only to demonstrate a bad circle of confusion with brightlines at the periphery. You are correct that this exact signature is found on large focal length mirror lenses, where the mirror mount has blocked the center of the circle. That's my fault for presenting an example that would overstate the obvious.
    Brightlines at the edge of the circle of confusion can be found on lenses with shorter focal lengths. I don't know that these have a name so I have always called them 'donuts'. Rick Denney's site does a good job demonstrating the different types of circles of confusion among different lenses incuding one at 85mm.
    http://www.rickdenney.com/bokeh_test.htm
    Here are examples of 'donuts' on 50mm and 80mm lenses, including a pentagonal and circular aperture:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/shutupyourface/907249880/
    My apologies for the confusion. It is only these brightlines that I wish to call out as something to look out for. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. :)
     
  54. Another interesting lens is the Hektor 73mm /f1.9. It was produced from 1931 to 1942. It is a “portrait” lens that produces pictures in a pleasant sort of 1930s softness and shallow DOF. Color saturation is lower than in modern lenses; there is a tendency to flare that has to be controlled. It is a challenging lens to use, especially wide open. 70 years after it was made, it is still interesting.

    At 6.3 or higher, it becomes sharper.

    Here a typical portrait: soft, low contrast, low color saturation.

    [​IMG]
     
  55. PETER I looked at this lens, it seems to be rare and the price is horrendous. Praise yourself lucky to have one!
     
  56. ARTHUR Sorry if I get a bit excited about not wanting to go digital. I get so worked up when I see kids 'photoshopping' their images, brainlessly hitting away on the keys until they see something that appeals to them. For me photography is like an artisanship: it cultivates love of labour, patience, in addition to pride and satisfaction.
    I really enjoyed the 'cat on the verandah' print which in the mean time has disappeared from the bottom of this page. It has all the qualities I am looking for: lovely luminance; natural setting; a sense of symmetry. Was that taken with a leica? The thumbnail is a little small and our outdated crippled server does not allow us to explore portfolios or galleries (the system cuts out most of the time). Would you display it in this thread, I think that would be highly appropriate and maybe invite some more 'old glass' style samples from members.
     
  57. I get so worked up when I see kids 'photoshopping' their images, brainlessly hitting away on the keys until they see something that appeals to them.
    Before digital, people used to show you whole packets (often several packets) of en-prints from the drugstore, totally unedited, or home movies where they'd simply spliced 10 4-minute reels together and left in all the out-of-focus overexposed wobbly footage. There's nothing specifically brainless about digital, if you want to be brainless,you can do it in any medium!
    PS: If you want a quirky LTM lens, don't ignore the Jupiter 3 (50 mm f1.5). Easy to find (from the Ukraine), essential to have even apparently good examples checked by a repairman for correct collimation (it may be necessary to move the whole lens assembly up and down the barrel to bring the optical focus and rangefinder into coincidence) but then a nice lens comparable to a Leitz f1.5 Summarit for 1/4 the price (£200 including servicing versus £700 to 800 for a Summarit that won't be perfect). Similarly, the f2 85 mm Jupiter 9 is worth a look for shallow-deoth portrait shots.
     
  58. Peter, have you got a 73mm shot at f8-f11? That one was quite interesting and descriptive of its qualities
     
  59. DAVID Thanks. I had forgotten about the russian lenses; my eastblok lomo enlarger served me well in the seventies. They also produced some fine binoculars and microscopes for give away prices. I would prefer to get leica glass though; I have waited far too long, getting all to complacent with my nikon and hassie. The prices are really stiff and dont make much sense from a quality perspective: the 50/2.8 elmar (fortunately) is cheaper that the 35/3.5 elmar, seemingly a less satisfying lens.
    And yes, you are right, I admit readily that many digital users are just as diligent and earnest about their work than their colleagues or predecessors in the traditional format. Not that we have much of an alternative in colour photography anyway. Still, I just love the looks and the feel (and the smell!) of a fine fibre paper print.
     
  60. I had a Summicron-M 35/2, type 11309, second version. If one is wanting to shoot color this is a great lens. Nothing bad to say about it or the 35mm focal length which goes well with a M camera and its viewfinder.
    I currently have a Summicron-M, 50/2, Type 11116, collapsible. The lens is in perfect condition. It's my favorite for B&W and portraits. The lens is not very usable wide open in flat light due to low contrast. But between f/2.8 to f/4.0 it's fabulous. Circular highlights. Incredible detail in cross light. Smooth B&W tonal range and out of focus rendering. It's small size goes hand-in-hand with what a M camera is all about. The last reason the lens is a favorite is the focal length is flexible and the build quality and physical look of the lens interesting.
    I have a Minolta 40/2. I'll use it as a modern reference when discussing the collapsible. The 40mm is great with the 35mm frame on the M-4P and later cameras. Its FOV fits into the 35mm rangefinder frame more accurately than a 35mm cron. But if you trying to blur the backgrounds and shoot people the older collapsible is better. The lens is also great for landscapes. It and the rigid have very high resolution. With strong side light the lower contrast helps record tones while the high resolution records details. Later optic designs backed off the resolution and biased the lens towards higher contrast. At f/ 5.6 and to f/11 there should not be much difference in a 1956 lens and a 1980 designed lens. The magic is at f/2.8 to f/4.
     
  61. the 50/2.8 elmar (fortunately) is cheaper that the 35/3.5 elmar, seemingly a less satisfying lens.
    This is another aspect of Leicaphilia - anything that is rare and in good condition is worth big bucks (totally without regard to whether it produces good pictures). Stuff like the Leica IIIg "Three Crowns" (made for the Swedish military), Leica IIIa "Monte en Sarre" (ordinary Leica IIIa quite cheap, this version just the same apart from the 3 words stamped on it), Luftwaffe IIIc, etc. I say again - if you can't find the Leica Summaron 35mm or Elmar 5cm, you want, Canon lenses are well worth a look - and the Jupiter 3!
     
  62. Jean-Marie, here is the link to the cat and balcony photo which is a low-resolution copy of my original B&W print. The negative was a 1980s shot in late afternoon of an abandoned farmhouse in Ste-Hénédine (Beauce region, near Quebec City) where the cat seemed to be the master of the house (the uncropped image shows the earth and rubble underneath the gallery, which was more likely the cat's favourite haunt). I used a Leica M4-2 and very probably a 1980 Summicron 35mm (although I also had a 28mm Rokkor-M) that has a nice quality, although it may not be typical of somewhat earlier Leica lenses. I am trying to relocate that negative for further printing. It was likely Plus X or FP4. The print was made on Ilford Galerie mat paper. Late afternoon light and Leica optics seem to go well together, for whatever reason.
    http://www.photo.net/photo/11472737
    Attached is a test photo made with a 1933 (approx.) uncoated Elmar 50mm. it doesn’t show perferctly crisp detail in the tree branches (not noticeable in this low resolution image) and thereby gives a moderately soft rendition (it came with a Leitz enlarger I bought a few years ago).
    00a78O-448525584.jpg
     
  63. Donut shapes! Typical of the collapsible Summicron 50mm f2.0. A friend was convinced either my lens was really faulty, or else i had a mirror lens! The lens is fine, sharp but not contrasty some haze but the"DONUT" shapes is seen in this series.
     
  64. If you want that vintage look, and not have to eat sardines for months, take a look at the LTM Canon (black)35mm f/2.8. At wider apertures it has a wonderful vintage "glow" and stopped down it sharpens up nicely with a slightly desaturated, lower contrast appearance. It's one of a handful of lenses I keep simply for it's unique look.
    00a7GO-448647584.jpg
     
  65. ARTHUR Thanks for the ctalink, much appreciated. The elmar 50/3.5 shot is right up my alley as well. I will try and download some of the nikkor work that illustrataes what I am looking for. Yours is a perfect example of a landscape 'proportioned' image with a 50mm lens: perhaps it was ceopped a little?
     
  66. LOUIS Right out of 1930's magazine! Great! There is chrome 28mm canon (2.8) for sale here, but I read somewhere that the chrome version (earlier I suppose that the black one) is not nearly as satisfactory as the black one (not sure if that means even softer or just plainly not worth buying!?). How does yours perform at long distance/hyperfocal setting (landscape)?
     
  67. Trying my lick with some samples:
     
  68. Trying my luck with some samples:
    [​IMG]
     
  69. hopefully this time
    00a7JA-448721584.jpeg
     
  70. The above print was scanned on a cheap colour printer and although the scan is a bit less contrasty than the original, the image gives an idea of what I have in mind with a 'softer rendition' of reality. I used the zoom nikkor 25-50, manual focus, on an F2, the widest of the pre 1980 nikon zoom lenses. The lens is pretty sharp and contrasty when focused on nearby scenes, but on infinity focus and pointed towards (but not into) the brightest part of the sky, the 72mm front element did flare a bit.
    00a7L5-448759684.jpeg
     
  71. Jeam-Marie Here is one
    00a7Og-448799584.jpg
     
  72. ANTHONY Like the details in the shade and the soft but clear seascape and grainy clouds in the background. This lens can handle light. Which one is it?
     
  73. Jean-Marie. Re Boatbuilder, I used the 50mm Collapsible Summar at F5.6 with Ilford XP2 film
     
  74. Jean-Marie
    Here's another picture taken with the Summar at F2 1/100th using XP2 film (no flash)
     
  75. Jean-Marie
    Here's another picture taken with the Summar at F2 1/100th using XP2 film (no flash)
     
  76. I dont know hat happened there. Here is the pic
    00a7gu-449217584.jpg
     
  77. Peter Werner
    I also like the Hektor but the 135mm version. It is a little soft but I have taken some acceptably sharp pictures. Here's one from a few years back.
    00a7h3-449221584.jpg
     
  78. I currently own all the lenses that you mention other than 3: the 28 elmarit, the 28 hektor and the 35 f2.8 summaron. They have different applications. I like them all for different reasons. The summarex is quite rare and rather heavy. The 35 elmar is tiny. I do quite a lot of wide angle stuff and therefore love the super angulon. (The 28 summaron is also good but a little slow.) I have the 4th version 35 summicron which is excellent but I also love the signature of the 3.5 summaron. My favourite standard lens is not mentioned - the non collapsible summicron. The 50 elmars are excellent too if you get a clean one. I have both 135's mentioned and personally prefer the hektor. I too like the little f4 90 and prefer it to the faster elmarit. The f2 90 has been most useful to me, however, because of its speed.
     
  79. I ought to have mentioned that the f3.4 super angulon is considerably better than the f4. Vignetting is significantly reduced in the faster lens.
     
  80. ALASTAIR Happy you mentioned the super angulon; the 3.4's iris produces a square opening, doesn't that affect the bokeh negatively? Ken Youknowwho claims that the f4 is superior because of its rounder aperture. Also: how does the 3,4 handle shooting in the sun? And why would the R version of the super angulon start with a 3,4 and change into an f4 later (the opposite of its M counterpart!)?
     
  81. ANTHONY Nice sandwich effect! With the drummer in between the out of focus band members. Again, nice detail/rendering in the shadow; partlly explainable by the characteristcs of XP2 I suppose, handles terrible well in low light. And so does the Kodak C31 film. With their dense 400asa emulsions they allow you to be more than a stop out either way too. Hated these films until I discovered their low light userfriendliness. Now i use almost nothing else. The nikkor zoom landscapes are shot on XP2 too.
     
  82. ANTHONY I was too tired to realise that you wrote SUMMAR for the boatbuilder. I thought I read collapsible summicron (probably because the image is so clear and everybody complaining about the softness and flare proneness of old glass). ! You must have a very clean sample and probably it is coated as well to handle the contrast of the boat vs the sky so well.
     
  83. Jean-Marie Dederen - In fact my SUMMAR is not coated. It's a 1936 version but as I think I mentioned it was never without its lenscap and the previous one owner was fastidious. I also bought a 90mm Elmar and a 135 Hektor from the same widow. I was very fortunate and it started my Leica photography.
     
  84. ANTHONY I was too tired to realise that you wrote SUMMAR for the boatbuilder. I thought I read collapsible summicron (probably because the image is so clear and everybody complaining about the softness and flare proneness of old glass). ! You must have a very clean sample and probably it is coated as well to handle the contrast of the boat vs the sky so well.
    Just to be clear - this shot is an example of "good" flare - flare spots are usually ugly, whereas even flare all over a picture is not conspicuous and can help get a long tone scale onto a negative. In this shot the contrast between the area on the left side of the boat and the foreground in shadow is quite high, and probably would not have recorded well with. for example, the latest Summicron. whereas the Summar has done a great job - as I and others have said, a Summar is quite sharp when stopped down 3 stops or so and provided it is not badly scratched.
     
  85. Jean-Marie, I have both the f3.4 and the f4 super-angulons. Bokeh is not an issue for me because with this focal length I almost invariably want everthing in focus. My f3.4 s-a is like new whereas the f4 version is not. I find that the slower version has a lot more flare but this may simply be down to the fact that it is not completely clean. The only reason that I use it is because the faster lens has a bayonet mount and won't work on my screw mount cameras.
    The first R version of the super-angulon was optically identical to the rangefinder f3.4. If I'm not mistaken this version protruded too far into the body of the camera and required the mirror to be raised; you have to use an external finder. The f4 version works as a conventional SLR lens. By the way this latter lens has an excellent reputation.
     
  86. I think the f4 super angulon is inherently more prone to flare simply because it has more elements. Without checking up I think the f4 has 9 elements whereas the 3.4 only has 8 or perhaps it is 7. I think most people would agree that the f3.4 is a much better lens. I hadn't really thought about the aperture blades but I hardly think this is a significant issue.
     
  87. ALASTAIR The super angulons are really pricy an not all that available! Welcome to leica world I suppose, I have bought all sorts of nikkors (pre-1980) and I thought they were expensive. But in comparison to leica counterparts they all of a udden seem cheap! How does the 3,4 handle shooting against the sun?
     
  88. DAVID I didn't actually see the reflection on the white cabin wall on the left. I also didn't see the second builder inside, sticking his hand out of the window. The shadows are long and the boat is partly shaded. The cameralens obviously enjoys the benefit of being shaded as well. And the scene is sidelit. Not much chance for flare if Anthony used a hood. Maybe he used a yellow filter as well? Still, I find it amazing how the summar handles the contrast of the shaded area and the beach, sea and sky it faces.
     
  89. Jean-Marie Dederen - I always use a lenshood whatever camera I am using and my summar was always fitted with a FIKUS (adjustable) lenshood. There is a slight blanking out of the corner of the viewfinder with this hood but one soon gets used to it.
     
  90. Here is another picture taken the same day with the Summar but at F8 with FIKUS lenshood. No filter
     
  91. Oh dear that didn't work
     
  92. Not much chance for flare if Anthony used a hood.
    Just to repeat - with an uncoated lens, flare occurs with every shot. An uncoated lens loses around 4% of light at every glass/air surface - this means that with a 6-element lens total losses are 22% - this 22% does not form an image but essentially gets spread (scattered) evenly all over the picture. Single coating cuts losses to 1.3% per surface/5% total, while with multi-coating the figures are 0.25% per surface/1.5% total. Localised flare (spots) is usually displeasing, general flare isn't and is in fact an essential part of the vintage look of old lenses. A lens hood stops rays of light which are just outside the picture area and are most likely to cause localised flare.
     
  93. David Bebbington - so does that mean that the lens simply passes less light or is there some other adverse effect on the image ?
     
  94. David Bebbington - so does that mean that the lens simply passes less light or is there some other adverse effect on the image ?
    In the percentages stated, the light which enters the lens (of course this is the same for coated and uncoated lenses) goes on to form an image OR be scattered evenly over the image as flare (which means a given exposure with an uncoated lens will show more shadow density than one with a coated lens but the image will have lower contrast, so you may need to up the development time). Example: Uncoated lens - 78% of light going through the lens is image-forming, 22% is flare. Multi-coated lens - 98.5% image-forming, 1.5% flare.
     
  95. DAVID I think that my nikkor would have generated a much wider DOF at f8. Seems that leica lenses are designed for better DOFcontrol? The summaron 35/3.5 scale I checked had 30 mtrs printed next to the infinity symbol. On a similar nikkor the scale jumps from about 10 mtrs to infinity.
     
  96. ANTHONY/DAVID Would a yellow (light, medium or dk) filter have made any difference to the control of flare? In black and white that is. Some recommend that you could almost keep it permanently on your older lens types?
     
  97. I don't think depth of field varies with lens brand - of course the subjective appearance of out-of-focus parts of the image can do so! Filters will never reduce flare - a dirty or poor quality one can make flare worse. The big thing about filters especially with the Summar, with its soft glass, but of course with other lenses as well, is to protect the lens from scratches.
     
  98. DAVID Surely not every brand of say 35mm focal lenght lens displays the same DOF scale? With respect to the interesting flare data above, do these figures represent a 'worse case scenario' or rather an average. Phrased differently: how does the quality of light affect these numbers? Would say late afternoon light have a lesser effect on the drop in image forming light in uncoated lenses?
     
  99. Surely not every brand of say 35mm focal lenght lens displays the same DOF scale?
    Why wouldn't this be the case? This puts things as well as I can (probably better):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field
    'worse case scenario' or rather an average?
    This is proving difficult for you to grasp, isn't it? You're thinking of flare as localised light spots, and this kind of flare depends on the subject, its position in the picture and the lens design - it's most likely to occur with a light source within or JUST outside the picture area. BUT the figures I gave above are not either a worse case scenario or an average. They are a CONSTANT and depend ONLY on the number of lens elements and whether they are coated or not!
     
  100. DAVID Does make perfect sense, just never really understood it correctly. Thanks for pointing that out. No wonder many photographers are reluctant to venture into old glass. Others probably just see it as just an extra challenge.
    Thanks for the dof reference. I'm still figuring that one out! When i look at Anthony's third summar picture, my first response was: 'how come would only that ship be in focus with an f stop of f8?' (does the summar even have f8? more probably f9?) The same picture taken with a nikkor 50/2 would at that aperture produce a much wider dof...I thought (but I dont have it nearby to check out the scale unfortunately).
    One last question, if I may, concerns the old 90/4 and 90/2.8. They sell relatively cheap and are plenty available. Both have a reputation for unusual flare, even the coated samples, and in spite of the front element being deeply recessed. The only explanation i have found so far is that the body of these lenses is rather long (has something to do with their design for visoflex, possibly) and that therefore light may bounce around inside the body more than what is the case with other lenses. Does that make any sense?
     
  101. Jean-Marie Dederen - I've just taken my Leica III and the SUMMAR out of its case and checked - it is F9 not F8 but I wrote f8 against the negative. It was taken in 2002 and I think I had all my marbles then ! p.s. I have just bought an adaptor so that I can use the SUMMAR on my M8. I'll post a picture when I recieve the adaptor.
     
  102. This is my SUMMAR on my 1936 Leica III
    00a8VM-450001584.jpg
     
  103. Another oldie but dreamy 50mm uncoated lens, the 1933 (circa) 50mm nickel Elmar serving an M camera 75 years younger.
    00a8Xj-450035584.jpg
     
  104. Jean-Marie,
    as far as I am concerned, nobody did make a reference to your yellow filter question...
    No, it does not cure flare, but as it adds contrast, it sort of compensates the low contrast situation introduced by flare prone lenses. And en passant you get a nicely darkened blue skys as a filter cuts the impact of complementary colors, and lightens up "yellowish" light greens, NYC cabs and skintones.
    This thread could work like a "How to get into vintage Leica photography" tutorial anyway!
    Don't remember the last with over 100 posts, well then, Jean-Marie, you are really wakin' 'em up!
    Best wishes, enjoy whatever gear you will finally decide for!
     
  105. Thanks for pointing that out. No wonder many photographers are reluctant to venture into old glass.
    Many do though, and simply enjoy the results. The only thing you really need to do is accept that certain types of shots, such as backlight with the light source in the picture, are not going to work ... unless you are very crafty. If you have some spare moments, check out a British photographer called Frank Meadow Sutcliffe:
    www.sutcliffe-gallery.co.uk/
    Try Gallery -> Whitby Harbor -> B42

    He took marine landscapes around the turn of the last century, often with backlight BUT always with the sun positioned behind a boat sail or a cloud - check out his work, it shows you what is possible with an uncoated lens and quite a lot of skill. Another type of shot that you can't do with uncoated lenses is the Richard Avedon type studio shot with a super clean white background (lit one stop brighter than the subject). This just bleeds into the subject. I worked at the V&A Museum in London for 2 years (1970 to 72). Just for fun and because it was lying around, I used an 8x10 Gandolfi camera with a Victorian Zeiss Protar lens, which was fine for almost everything except, as I say, white backgrounds!
    90 Elmar - I have owned 2 examples, both postwar 4-element coated types. The front element was not recessed on these (earlier types taking 36mm push-on filters), I can't say flare was a problem, I used the lenses on a rangefinder camera and also used the lens heads mounted on a bellows. Performance seemed to be typical Tessar, moderate contrast, sharpness good in center at full aperture and at the edges closed down 2 to 3 stops. I certainly wouldn't bother with a prewar uncoated 90 mm Elmar (or 135 Hektor). Finally, the Summar has a minimum stop of f12.5 for design reasons.
     
  106. ARTHUR/ANTHONY Your prize cameras make me really want to go back home (Belgium). You don't know how lucky you are having beautiful gear and photobooks at reaonable prices available and delivered on your doorstep two days later! On this side of the equator you just hope that whatever you ordered for double the price (insurance, mailing, vat, import taxes) arrives in one piece (or arrives at all!) a few months after you ordered it.
    Anthony: If I didnt know better I would think that you doctored that summar on the photograph: looks like it came out of the factory yesterday! I just found another one of your summar pics on the net: a big rock lying somewhere on a beach 2000km from here. With the camera pointing down you avoided the sky but...aimed straight into the sand. Judging from the shadow it was midday. The summar (and you!) handled the reflection on the beach amazingly well. The overall detail and contrast is great, considering that you probably had to underexpose a bit. Looking forward to the m8 pics. If you'ld open a separate 'summar photography' post you would probably get a lot of participants.
     
  107. DAVID Just visited the Sutcliffe gallery. Must have been a real challenge to minimize the blur caused by movement in those marine shots. Exquisite sepia toned prints. I didn't realize until last year how much manipulation went into the creation of pictorial effects.
    I have ordered a copy of Ravilious book; also worked with non coated objectives (as a deliberate choice); the elmar 35/3.5 being one of them. I doubt that there will be much on his technical knowledge in these books (most black and white photography books are disappointing in that they are rather minmal in terms of text; and the text usually being written by somebody other than the photographer).
     
  108. KNUT Thanks for the yellow filter advice. Seems like the light yellow (which could just as well be called 'hardly visible yellow'!) was used in the old days like we use UV filter today: more to protect the front element than anything else). I also found a nice yellow graduated clip on filter for the prewar objectives. Yellow filters are easy to find here, and reasonably priced (40 euros).
    I am looking for a usable summar with thread mount body. The cheapest locally are the 'standard' type (known as D in the states?) It might take some time to get one. I am also looking at a leicaflex: much cheaper with an r lens attached to it than any of the older lenses on its own!? Hope the r lenses are as good as their ltm counterparts.
     
  109. The Leica Reflex with R series but not the 6.2 etc are plain lousy cameras. Based on Minolta of same period. The Minolta at that point not a stellar product! The messing with electronics where Leica got an "F" in report card! The lenses are good, some great, some so-so. It is not about sharpness, clarity or that special look! I am about reliability. I'm sure many using these R3,R4 have never had problems. I write of experiences as a pro-photographer. Photojournalism.
    The R series also have all sorts of cams.. so getting a body and a lens to match..Hullo!
    I love my M system. Have very high regard for the Barnack system. Totally dis-regard the CL and CLE.
    Those if working OK, if problems, toss.
    Again you can achieve this romantic look with the latest cameras.. think!
     
  110. Jean-Marie You might also look for later Barnack Leicas than the D. According to some sites (for example, if you Google antiquecameras), the prices of later models (1940s, 1950s, excluding the expensive IIIg) are not much more and sometimes equivalent to the 1930s camera bodies.
    My IIIf/IIIc converted Leica body cost me about $450 at a trade show in the mid 2000s, but I probably paid more than I should have, had I looked around a bit more. The big auction site has European branches (France, England) that might be useful. These older cameras usually need a cleaning, lubrification and adjustment to get the best from them. I have not done that yet but probably should, and will soon do a film test to see how much better I might expect from the shutter speeds and RF operation after a CLA. I quite like the rendition of the old Elmar 50mm on my M8. It is not sharp, like modern V-C or Leica M lenses, but the slight veiling and lower contrast suits some subjects.
     
  111. ARTHUR I just love the basic but uncomprpmising look of the Standard. They seem readliy available in the market, and they look clean (haven't seen much action in the field I suppose). Apart from that I wonder if my poor eyes will manage those miniature finders! An external finder seems more user friendly to me. The lack of focusing device is more demanding on your skills. Apart from that the Standard looks like the closest you can come to the original 35mm camera.
    As for the flex SL2 I was looking at earlier on this week, it is mainly the price that is appealing. Seemed like the cheapest way of getting into leica (although it beats the initial purpose of getting a rangefinder).
     
  112. Jean-Marie I agree about the small finder on the standard. I guess that my Elmar 50 was made for that series although I am using it on the IIIc/f and my more recent bodies. Perhaps another option, unless you want to be historically correct, is to use a 35mm lens on a standard with a separate 35mm VF, thereby allowing scale focus with the better DOF. There were of course separate shoe mounted uncoupled Leica rangefinders (one vertical, the other horizontal in aspect).
    The Leicaflex SL2 has a reputation as a formidable SLR for its time, used by Ernest Hass and other professionals. Some of the Walter Mandler designed optics for it from Midland (50mm Summilux and 90mm f2.8) were better than equivalent M lenses of the time, and the 50mm Summicron was apparently as good as the later M version (IV), again a Mandler improved double Gauss design. I am going mainly on what I have read in those regards, but it is sure that the R optics and Leicaflexes can often be had at a bargain when compared to the M optics. The two cameras, the standard and the L'flex are of course of different eras and advancement, and quite different handling instruments.
     
  113. ARTHUR I just love the basic but uncomprpmising look of the Standard. They seem readliy available in the market, and they look clean (haven't seen much action in the field I suppose). Apart from that I wonder if my poor eyes will manage those miniature finders! An external finder seems more user friendly to me. The lack of focusing device is more demanding on your skills. Apart from that the Standard looks like the closest you can come to the original 35mm camera.
    If you want the "back to basics"approach, go for a Leica If - essentially the same as a Standard but 25 years younger and much easier to get serviced and obtain reliable operation.
     
  114. ... the cheapest way of getting into leica ...
    Just a couple of remarks. A few years ago I was attracted by the fact that it was possible to buy a "Leica" (R3) plus 50mm lens (Summicron or Summilux) for about £150 (particularly on German e-bay). I bought 3 of them - they were all cosmetically good and worked fine after having a tarnished commutator ring cleaned (made the meter inaccurate) and having the rear door light seal changed. I found the R3 was solid, reliable, relatively vibration-free, very heavy and unremarkable from the point of view of specification. I don't think it suffered from being a joint development with Minolta!
    I also bought an R8, which seems to need "chipped" lenses for all the functions to work - quite a nice camera, interest in it seems to have waned since I bought it, when I sell it I'm sure to lose about half what I paid. At the same time. there has been a big rise in demand for Leica R lenses to use with other bodies, so my investment in the R system just about broke even! In short, good glass and build, limited spec - I really wouldn't choose a Leica R over a Canon EOS.
     
  115. The flex i am looking at will be a bit more than 150 pounds, although it feels as if could easily weigh 150 pounds! Not very attractive either. Feels like a brick and looks like one. But I have just found three other reasons to buy it (in addition to being mint and cheap): 1. there is an adapter ring to fit the r lenses on the m system (useful should the brick pack up). 2. having an early r lens is probably the closest I will ever come to using 'modern' leica lenses (love the deep purple coating). Incidentally, amazing how small these objectives really are (I thought they would be bigger than on the barnacks). They dwarf away next to their nikkor counterparts and contemporaries. 3a. the viewfinder is simply brilliant (none of my nikons comes even close) and 3b. they are specs friendly, not sure why, but it feels as if my eye is closer to the image in the viewfinder than is the case with the nikon (totally unscientific description, admittedly, but that's the best i can describe it).
     
  116. Jean-Marie Dederen - May I add just a few comments. I used to use an R as my main camera for years - an R4S Mod 2. Beautifully built, solid as a brick but SMALL compared with other Rs. I could quite happily go out and use it now. A wonderful camera and a true Leica. Thoroughly recommend it.
    00a96t-450527584.jpeg
     
  117. ARTHUR those VF devices are rather pricy. And because I will use mainly wide angle lenses for landscape focusing I presume won t be much of an issue. I was disappointed when checking the prices of the external brightline viewfinders you mount on top of the Standard. They are almost as expensive as the camera! And you need one for each lens?
    ANTHONY Good looker, but more pricy than the old sl2 flex i am looking at. Were you happy with the lr lenses? Ever tried to mount them on the m camears?
    Looking forward to your SUMMAR m8 shots. Looks like leica really hit it off with that camera. Ever leica thread is swarmed with m8 users. Wonderful that they allow old glass to be used on them (apart from the fact that it must have had an effect on the second hand pricing). You may find that your images will be visibly sharper on digital.
     
  118. Jean-Marie Dederen The R lenses I have are all excellent - 35mm, 50mm, 90mm, and 200mm. As to the SUMMAR when I used that s my everyday camear I did all my own processing and enlarging on firstly a VALOY with a VAROB but later with a V35 (a marvellous piece of engineering) Now of course one can 'sharpen' digitally so I will post my pics with the SUMMAR on the M8, untouched.
     
  119. Anthony Just looked up valoy and varob and v35, all new to me. V35 looks a lot more convincing than my delapidated superchromega! Autofocus is something I really miss; I really battled with my bad eyes trying to focus in the dark, until I decided to put some fine parallel scratches on a piece of unexposed film and use it as a focusing device.
    Looks like i may have found a 35/3.5 elmar in Johannesburg for a reasonable $300. Have to go and look at it; the owner says it is free of haze and scratches (free of coating as well!), but I guess the best test is to hold it up against a strong light? Objective is so small when you're used to nikkors.
     
  120. those VF devices are rather pricy. And because I will use mainly wide angle lenses for landscape focusing I presume won t be much of an issue. I was disappointed when checking the prices of the external brightline viewfinders you mount on top of the Standard. They are almost as expensive as the camera! And you need one for each lens?
    Leica brightline viewfinders are good but very dear. Voigtlander ones are also good but cheaper. For the 35mm focal length there are quite usable Russian plastic VFs which are cheaper. There are also numerous multifocal VFs from Leitz, Russia, Tewe, Braun. Canon, Nikon etc. at reasonable prices.
     
  121. DAVID Thanks. I'll just have to sacrifice on aesthetics. I can see why the oldest finders (small and 'trumpet' like) are so small: to match the miniature proportions of the camera. The 'plasmascreen', bigger finders really stick out like a sore thumb. But if they do the job, fine with me. The oldest multifinders (torpedo like shape) seem to have no glass?! Just a frame that can be adjusted to fit the lenstype.
     

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