Praise for 50 pre-asph summilux M

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by seb v., Feb 7, 2006.

  1. I am going through the last 2 years worth of prints I have, about 2000
    odd, and most of them were shot with a 50mm summilux pre asph. I have
    to say that I find the character of this lens very beautiful. It's
    plenty sharp enough but it also has an ethereal quality wide open.
    Colours are beautiful and the B&W has lovely tones, not really
    contasty but very pleasing to the eye - I have lots of stuff from
    Scotland where the light can be stunning and it is all captured
    perfectly. I have since got a Noctilux and was thinking of getting the
    ASPH 50 but sorry guys, I've seen the ASPH 50 shots and IMO they have
    bred any character right out of itヨa great scientific achievement,
    granted, but too clinical for my tastes. Anyway, just thought I'd
    mention it. After the ASPH came out the prices of these lenses have
    dropped so it's probably a bit of a bargain too.
  2. I never had any problem with the image quality from my old Summilux 50. I recall Jay being quite toxic about its performance. It's no Summicron in terms of contrast but I always found it produced sweet results.

    and I tend to agree with you re the ASPH, seb.

  3. I experienced white glares with it few times when I pictured people with Tri-X in the lighted indoor nearby slightly shiny objects such as window, or kitchen sink. Those objects are only things I can blame for the glare. I never had such problem with pre-asph summicron 35mm.
    Other than that, I love to use it for portrait for its smooth tonality and pleasing ambience
  4. I agree with you, seb. It's a great lens. I sold it a while ago to get a 75mm Summilux. I was
    happy with my 50 lux so I don't really know why I did it. I guess I like buying and selling (and
    buying back again) =).

    BTW, I like how my 75 lux perform too.

  5. Seb,

    When I was given a 50 pre-Asph Summilux, I was so impressed that it is now my ONLY 50mm lens! I have used every version of the 50 Summicron
    except the Aspheric (Is there one?) and have not been impressed at all.
  6. I agree with this being a great lens and in particular the lovely tones. I shot a roll of HP5 pushed to 3200 the other night taking some shots of my son's band. Mid roll I changed from the pre-Asph 50 'lux to a 21mm Elmarit Asph. The difference was stunning. The Asph lens really pushed up the already considerable contrast. It was like chalk and cheese. Contrast is all very well, but sometimes it's too much of a good thing. It seems to me that the Asph lenses, as a family, are more contrasty than the older non-Asph lenses as a family.


  7. Same here, I'm very fond of the pre-ASPH Lux. I have a fairly new one, which must have come from one of the last batches made, before the APSH model appeared. The Lux has a very classic signature, which is a lot smoother and richer than other 1.4 lenses I've shot. In the bokeh department it just can't be beat.

    Performance wise I place it between the Summircon DR and the current Cron, but it has far better flare resistance than either, yet it still manages to 'glow'.

    My only complaint is the collapsible hood, which can't be locked in to place. I solved this problem by using a hood from a Contax G2 lens.

    Great lens, a true classic in the Leica lineup.
  8. Ditto. I sold the lens, then bought another one later. f1.4 is a bit 'wiggy' at short distances,
    but other than that, I find it much more versatile than the Summicron. f1.7 to f4.0 is such a
    sweet spot, I often have an ND filter on the lens. Lower contrast than the Summicron, but a
    benefit to that is that you can shoot a punchier film and still get great skin tones. I can get
    away with Portra UC instead of NPH, and I would never do that with the Summicron.
  9. "After the ASPH came out the prices of these lenses have dropped so it's probably a bit of a bargain too"

    I've always used 35 and 90 with the Leica, never bothered with a 50, but I've been contemplating getting a 50 lately so as to carry one body and avoid lens changing. The different versions of the Summicron and their supporters and detractors have my head spinning, but Summilux prices (especially the 43mm model)are getting closer to Cron territory so I'm starting to think, why not have the extra stop? (My 35 and 90 are Crons). As for the new Summilux, well, maybe if I won the lottery!
  10. indeed - the 50lux for me is the mother of all current lenses - the other lenghts like 75, 24 and as well 35 are nice to experiment and use for special occasions...

    In my case, I use the 50lux black paint on a bp-MP which is a dream - the lens has a large bright eye but does not nerve with weight, size or anything else - ok the built in sun-blend does not really protect the lens when you bump into a door ...
  11. Thomas Pastorello wrote the below in 2004. I agree with him totally:

    "I believe the old non-ASPH Summilux-M 50 IS the best
    lens Leica (or for that matter anyone) ever made. In
    addition to its two main attributes of near absolute
    freedom from flare and a signature bokeh of subtle
    beauty, it is characterized by an artistic balance of
    high resolution and realistic contrast -- even wide
    open. It is perfectly balanced on the M body, such
    that hand-holding is easy at 1/4 -- which makes it
    very fast indeed at f1.4 (more so than the less well
    balanced and holdable Noctilux at f1.0)."

    And Feli (on the LUG) wrote:

    "I've had my 50 1/4 non-ASPH for almost a year now and it's really grown on me.

    Not as sharp as the current Cron, which I also have, but plenty sharp.
    By f8 the Lux is very sharp, all the way into the corners. I love the
    stop and the ability to focus as close as 70 cm. My biggest complaint is
    the collapsible hood, which can't be locked into place. I solved that
    with a metal screw-in hood from Contax.

    But what I really like about this lens is the fingerprint. It's magic
    in black
    and white. People talk about the Leica glow, and this one has it in
    Buttersmooth tones with the smoothest bokeh and actually quite sharp.
    It has a very classic look, hires and medium contrast, which isn't
    given it's lineage, the Xenon, Summarit and first gen. Lux.

    I've made some 11x14 prints on Agfa FB Classic from APX100 negs
    and there is something about the look that even laymen notice.

    The Lux gets knocked a lot because it was in production for about 40
    and remained unchanged, but it's much better than people think.
    Absolute sharpness
    isn't everything. Plenty of people made better shots than any of us
    could manage with
    the 1.5/50 Sonnar and the Lux blows that lens away. In any case, it's
    another brush
    in the shooters arsenal."
  12. there is nothing wrong with this lens.

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