Need advice on Pre-ASPH 35/2 Summicron-M

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by mike_foster, Jun 11, 2001.

  1. Hi,

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    I need some advice, please, on the 35/2 Summicron-M (non-ASPH).

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    I have heard that this lens is the "King of Bokeh". Is this true?

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    What is a fair price for a mint example of this lens?

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    Where was this lens made? It isn't one of those darn Canadian ones is it? Just kidding .... I love Canadians!

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    Thanks!
     
  2. We Canadians got together and decided you cannot have one! If
    you do decide to get one; remember, "We Always Get Our Man!"

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    The "King of Bokeh" is the fourth version of the 35/2 Summicron
    produced from 1979 to 1997. Serial numbers range from 2 970
    00 (approx) to 3 731 200 (approx). Yes it is indeed one of those
    "darn" Canadian designed lenses (Mandler) and reknown for
    smoothness in the middle aperture ranges. The very last ones
    benefitted from improved manufacturing tolerances and
    improved coating technology to be also very good wide open as
    well(see Erwin). Prices range from $500US for an early one in
    user (ugly but good glass) condition to $1100US for a MIB late
    German production model.

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    I had a LGPM and was VERY happy with it except for the fact that
    the aperture ring stopped at f/2. I traded it in on a 35/1.4 Asph
    and have been grining like one ever since.

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    Cheers,
     
  3. I have one and is a joy to use, very small and ligth; image is
    amazing compared to my older summaron 35/2.8, summilux 35/1.4 nonasph
    is very similar in apertures from f/4, although weak wide open; wish
    I had the asph. one; but wouldn´t get rid of the summicron nonasph,
    price are reasonable like any leica product!!!
     
  4. As John said, the one you're referring to is the last pre-ASPH
    version. The late-production (made in Germany) ones in mint
    condition seem to be within $100 or so of an ASPH in like condition.
    I take it your main reason for wanting the pre-ASPH is the bokeh. I
    can't advise much about that. 99% of my shots, especially with the
    35mm, I'm trying to *avoid* any out-of-focus areas. I can say the
    pre-ASPH is significantly smaller and lighter than the ASPH. I had
    the ASPH-Cron and ASPH-Lux in my possession for a short time until
    the Cron sold, and I was surprised at how near they are in
    size/weight. I still have my 1973 (I believe that would technically
    be a pre-pre-ASPH) and from f/4 I can't tell it apart from the ASPH.
    Those are much less expensive than the German pre-ASPHs.
     
  5. John: Thanks for the info. You are spot on with those prices.

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    Jay: I agree with you about wanting more depth of field with a wide
    angle lens!

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    The reason for my interest in this lens is that I have read in so
    many places that if one wishes to learn what the "famous Leica bokeh"
    is, then just see a shot taken wide open with a 35/2 non-ASPH.

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    Since I am after a 35 lens anyway I thought why not try this lens and
    as a bonus, I will get to see the magical bokeh.

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    But after studying prices, I might as well get the APSH one! What's
    the deal here? Check out:-

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    http://www.donchatterton.com/html/leica-m.htm

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    It is $100 CHEAPER to get the newer ASPH! Weird!

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    Does this make ANY sense?

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    Thanks y'all!
     
  6. Chatterton's prices, which have always been high but fair, seem to
    have recently taken a jump into the stratosphere.
     
  7. The "King of Bokeh" is famous only for its mid range aperture
    performance. Around f/5.6 and f/8 is where it really shines. Wide
    open is another matter entirely!

    <p>

    Cheers,
     
  8. I picked up a 318xxxx (canadian) version of this lens for $650 - of
    course some genius had blacked out all the white lettering around the
    front element, which was a great excuse to argue the price down from
    $850, but really doen't bother me.

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    Definitely has distinctive bokeh - about which more to come in a post
    to be titled 'Bokeh-Shmokeh'. Anyway I find it both magical and
    attractive.
     
  9. The "King of Bokeh" is sometimes the "King of Flare".

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    I much prefer the ASPH in difficult light and wide open.

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    Lucien
     
  10. Would someone care to post a suitably illustrative photograph taken with this "King of Bokeh" lens? Having just acquired a brand new ASPH model, I'm starting to feel like I missed the boat. Thanks!
     
  11. I don´t think you´ve missed any thing, the asph is for certain a
    great lens; what I feel is the basic diference, is (and please if I´m
    wrong, tell me the rigth) the new asph is a retrofocus design, wile
    the older nonasph is a double gauss, so the quality of out of focus
    images are diferent, the reason is something I would like to read
    about.
     
  12. The 35mm f2.8 Summaron also produces beautiful out of foucs
    highlights, and so does the super sharp, inexpensive 40mm
    Rokkor/Summicron. The performance of the 40mm lens is very similar to
    the pre-asph 35 f2.0 for less than 1/2 the price.
     
  13. Anybody know how the Canon 35/f2 LTM fits performance wise in the
    variations of 35 Summicrons made? I have been told it compares
    favorably with the 35 Summicron, but do not know which one. My guess
    is the Summicron made during the same time frame.
     
  14. Yes the 35/2.8 summaron is also a double gauss design if I´m rigth,
    can any one tell why is this diference from retrofocus design to
    simetrical design.Whish I knew how to post some picture from a 35
    summaron, showing this out of focus efect.
     
  15. I am a big fan of the last pre-aspheric lens. I'm sure that it can
    be proven on paper to be inferior to the newest aspheric model as far
    as things that can be quantified, but there are intangible things
    that don't show up on test graphs. I do use my lens wide open quite
    often, and given care with hood in place, I haven't suffered any
    problems with flare. Given the choice, I like to use the lens at
    f/2.0, and from there I jump to f/5.6 or beyond. Why? Because the
    effect of selective focus is more clear wide open. If I am at f/2.8
    or f/4.0, there is enough residual sharpening that the overall photo
    looks soft. I want my main subject to pop, so I shoot wide open. The
    older lens might not be super sharp, but when the central subject is
    contrasted with the cotton candy looking background, the overall
    effect makes the image look different than I have been able to create
    with any other lens. From f/5.6, normal shots are as sharp as can
    be. One last benefit, with hood removed this lens is about the same
    size as the 50mm Elmarit collapsible when the 50mm is collapsed,
    making a very portable Leica M package.

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    In case you are interested, the June 2001 issue of "Popular
    Photography" has a small article on the last page about Bokeh and has
    a shot taken with the 35mm pre-asph Summicron at f/2.0. To me, it is
    not the best image to show off the lens, but you can see the effect
    pretty clear.

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    I will replace any lens that is causing me to be limited. I will not
    replace my Summicron.
     
  16. What, exactly, is a 50mm Elmarit?
     
  17. Hey Mike,

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    I had the Canadian version of this lens and it is without a doubt a
    wonderful lens, easily as good as the ASPH version. I now own and use
    the ASPH version and as far as bokeh is concerned, I can't really see
    a difference. IMHO when using the lens the only difference I notice is
    that the ASPH version shows more contrast wide open and is
    significantly larger then the previous lens. Which ever one you decide
    to buy will be an outstanding performer.

    <p>

    T. Gallagher
     
  18. Probably means 50mm Elmar. With "Elmarit" these days meaning any
    Leica f/2.8,it's an easy mistake to make. I have, not the fourth
    pre=asph 35mm Summicron, but the first (216xxxx). Bought it around
    1968, in a shop in Tucson, for $168.00 My guide says it was made in
    1966. It's the eight element version. I've always been really happy
    with it, never had a reason to be dissatisfied. I use it for
    landscapes and architecture. All these comments about the fourth
    version and the ASPH make me wonder just how behind-the-times I
    really am. I've had my eye on a used ASPH for $1200 (mint) but I
    question whether I'll really see the difference in pictorial shots
    that depend on DOF anyway. I'm thinking of how long it took me to
    find the difference between my 50mm collapsible Summicron, and my
    tabbed version. Then again, once I saw it, it's really there; am I
    getting the most out of my Velvia and Delta Pro 100 with my old
    Cron? I don't think I could part with my old 35 Summicron, though,
    even if I bought the ASPH. And with my 35 Lux, I'd have three 35's.
    It's terrible to have such problems . . .
     
  19. Bob:

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    Leica expert Bill Maxwell told me the 8 element Summicron is one of
    the best lenses Leica ever made. He suggested I look for one if I was
    a sharpness nut. Really folks, I doubt very much that any image taken
    with any of these lenses mentioned above (that was nicely composed,
    with correct exposure and accurate focus) is going to be
    significantly better with one version over another to the point that
    the photo will have more of an impact on the viewer because of what
    lens was used. We are splitting hairs here. I bet I could throw
    some 8 X 10's on a table taken with the 35mm 2.8 Summaron and no one
    would think anything if I said they were taken with the 4th version
    Summicron.
     
  20. Andrew, I think you are right. I used to have a 35mm Summaron. It
    was sharp and contrasty, and great for color. The only real
    difference I could see was that it didn't open up past f/2.8.
     
  21. I have worked with summaron from the 50´s and 50/2 D.R. from the 50´s
    too for years, lately I moved to the newest 50/2 and the fourth 35/2;
    now I have to remaster my developing technik because of higher
    contrast, shape of image hasn´t change, but contras has indeed
    changed.In color and b/w, up and down, and lefth to rigth.of course
    it doesn´t mean the first summicron is a jewel.
     
  22. Ooops! it should read
    >it doesn´t mean the first summicron is not a jewel>
     
  23. As far as I've found two examples on this page:
    http://home.planet.nl/~sanderva/SummiTest.htm
    I see no reason to consider this lens to be a "bokeh king". As for me, the
    bokeh of Asph. version is much more pleasant.
    Personally I own so-called 3-rd 6-element Canadian version of 35-th
    Summicron, and extremely satisfied with it (sharp!), except heavy flare
    problems. Bokeh is very pleasant too.
     
  24. I'm not sure what Sander van Hulsenbeek means by quiet vs. unquiet
    unsharpness, or by "busy." I thought it was hard to compare the two
    pictures, which are not equivalent because of the different season.
    One has a lot of foliage, and the other has snow, which I think makes
    it hard to compare them directly. I though the "inner circle with a
    different character" might be the reslut of some vignetting, causing
    an exposure difference near the edges. The central area might be
    showing less out-of-focus detail because the exposure is more blown
    out. Apart from these concerns, I think you could say that the ASPH
    shot looks softer in its out of focus character.
     
  25. I've written to Oren Grad, the one who called it "the King of bokeh"
    in Photo Techniques magazine. He replied that while it is really
    great at middle apertures, it's really not that good wider open than
    about f/4.
     
  26. I replaced an 35 RF Summicron with a new pre-ASPH Summicron. I wanted
    to replace the original for two reasons. One, I didn't like the
    distorted view through the *goggles* and two I found the original 35
    Summicron to be somewhat warmer than my other Leitz/Leica lenses. I
    had no complaints about it's magnificient resolution.

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    Anyway, I called both Jim Kuehl and Don Chatterton about getting a
    new ASPH Summicron. Both of them pushed the pre-ASPH lens even
    though the ASPH was only about $100 more at the time. I bought the
    pre-ASPH not because Jim and Don convinced me to do it but because
    the pre-ASPH has a more neutral color rendition.

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    Now I've got a German pre-ASPH that's worth almost as much as the
    ASPH.

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    I still wonder if Jim and Don were just trying to get rid of their
    stock of pre-ASPH's or were just being honest about their preference
    for the one I bought.
     

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