Summarit, Summitar, Summicron, Zeiss, VC, Canon?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by paul_sharratt, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. 50mm - why, why not. Oh and throw in pre-ash versions of summilux too.
    I'd like to get a faster 50mm and not lose an arm or a leg in the process.
  2. Subscribe to Reid Reviews.
  3. Paul,
    50mm is more difficult than 35mm as it frames tighter and mostly as the depth of field is such that you really want to choose what you want to be in focus. Nevertheless including for landscape it's a must. You just nailed it the pre asph summilux is an excellent lens not cheap but not an arm+leg either. It is very good overall the field over f4 and excellent in th ecenter more open. The new asph is stunning for sharpness but the out of focus rendition is not very nice. I had both the cron and the lux 50 sold the lux and it really was a stupid move... Buy the Lux version 2 with as serial over 1 854 000. they were I think only two versions before asph the first being not so good and the second kept for a long time despite cosmetic changes of the barrel. All the best
  4. In a film Leica or an M9, the 50mm is considered a "normal" lens and I like it as a walking around lens. Leica's 50/2 Summicron is a reasonably priced, excellent lens (reasonable for Leica anyway). The Summitar is an older lens that was often the companion for earlier Leicas such as my Leica IIIf BD. In good condition, stopped down a little and with a good lens hood it can take quite good pictures.
  5. Best value if you want 1.4 is the Canon 50/1.4. Modern Japanese design, comparable to a typical 50/1.4 of a Japanese SLR in terms of quality and "look".
    Used Summicrons are also excellent value, but you get an f/2.0 lens. But it doesn't have the design compromises a 1.4 lens requires.
    Summarit 50/1.5 is high-risk to buy, so many are hopelessly damaged by cleaning or internal haze. Summitar can be the same, although more have survived than Summarits.
    Cheapest is probably the Canon 50/1.8, which is a better lens in many ways than the collapsible Summicron, but is bettered by the rigid Summicrons.
  6. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    The 50mm f1.8 Canon Black or Black and Chrome is an outstanding little lens. Every bit as sharp as much later SLR lenses. Only thing it lacks is modern coating., I have 2 love them.
  7. The why has to be only if y9u need one or want a 50. For me the the answer is either a DR Cron with eyes, or the Zeiss 50/2 or 50/1.5. Since I don'[t know what I want it for. the decision can wait.
  8. I've had good results with all three of the following 50's in this order: 1.4 Canon, 2.0 Rigid Summicron and 1.4 Summilux (at 2.0 and stopped down further). Shooting B&W, the 50 Nikon LTM 1.4 has a nice look and is very compact. I agree with John Shriver's analysis but I've never used a 1.8 Canon.
  9. I'd like to get a faster 50mm and not lose an arm or a leg in the process.​
    Can't beat the value of the Japanese Nokton f/1.5.
  10. A few weeks ago I asked Sherry Krauter which Leica M lenses in the 35mm to 135mm focal range she would consider as the best Leica produced strictly from the aspect of, "best bang for the buck", my exact words. With no hesitation at all, she specified all the lenses she felt were in this category.
    Amazingly to me. she distinguished the Leica Summitar 50mm f2 LTM as her choice for the 50mm lens. Of course this lens can only be used with an M adapter ring to be mounted on an M body. Sherry said she liked the Summitar because of the extraordinary three dimensional images the lens is capable of producing and also because of its contrast range. She likes the Summitar's ability to render detail over a very wide range from shadow to highlight. Sherry also noted that the build quality of this lens was one of of Leica's best, in her opinion. I only asked about Leica lenses.
    I have a Summicron 50mm f2 NF which is what I have been using on my M bodies and have been happy with its performance. However, I also have a 50mm Summitar f2 in pretty good condition which just languishes in my camera cabinet because I just don't shoot much with my Leica III and IIIg bodies. I have never used it since I bought it for an incredibly low price on eBay. It had some haze in it so I did get it CLA'd, but it has been sitting around ever since. I'm going to have to make the effort to get it out now and see what it can do
  11. If I were buying new, I'd get a Zeiss Planar and call it a day. Maybe the Sonnar if that fits your style. I've also heard good things about the CV 50/1.5.
    Used I'd look for a Planar, a Konica Hexanon, or a recent Leica Summicron. $400-600? I'm not as familiar with some of the older lenses, they are probably perfectly viable.
    If you want faster, you'll have to go older if you want to stay cheap. I got a Nikkor 50/1.4, which is a bit funky wide open, but sharpens up ok at f/2, and is very nice closed down a bit more than that. Can't beat the price either.
  12. If f/2 is adequate, you can't go wrong with a Zeiss planar. I've been using one quite a bit these past few months for portraits. It's a wonderful lens.
  13. I bought a used Planar for my M6 TTL. It's sharp wide open, has a very very nice out of focus bokeh and build quality is a notch above CV. Plus it has its own unique rendering, warm colors, nice greys in B&W.
  14. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    I've got some Summitar shots up on my gallery (unless I've turned off access to the Leica shots). I had mine cleaned by Sherry Krauter. I liked it but the one I had was older than I am and had some cleaning marks on the front element. They're generally available for a reasonable amount of money compared to some of the newer lenses, and Sherry or Focal Point may be able to do any work necessary on one. Lens recoating is rather expensive, (circa $350 in 2010 for a front element polish and recoat for a Zeiss 50mm Distagon), so if the lens has too many cleaning marks and doesn't appear to take sharp enough pictures, try another sample.
  15. Sherry has always loved the Summitar and so do I. I also have two screw mount summicrons, one of which where the thorium lens has become amber. I also managed to find the rat trap Summitar lens hood.
  16. I also love the Summitar, but it's often difficult to find a nice one. Many have scratched elements, and quite a few I've seen suffer from separation of the front elements. Summitars are also very flare-prone, and really need a good shade. I always used the "barn door" shade with mine and got good results with it.
    After reading reviews from others, and trying out a few lenses myself, I ended up getting a DR Summicron as my standard 50mm lens. I was lucky enough to find a very clean model, and I simply love it. I get better contrast and sharpness than my old Summitar, and I love to be able to use the lens close up with the eyes attached. Flare is less of an issue than with the old Summitar, but still a problem, so I never use it without a hood attached.

Share This Page