Summicron IV or Dual Range

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by eric_simonson|1, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Hi guys, I love my dual range summicron just not a huge fan of a shiny chrome lens hanging off my black paint MP. Wish a black version was made that was not so rare to fetch a $6000 price tag. Anyways I currently grabbed a version IV tabbed canadian summicron from B&H that I plan on running a few rolls through before I decide whether to keep it or not. Glass seems to be in tip top shape, physical condition is about a 7.
    What I'm wondering is if all this talk about high contrast on this modern version is really that huge of a difference from a DR. I shoot mainly tri-x b&w and love what I get from the DR and am often amazed at the results at times from a lens of such age. I had it CLA'd by DAG years ago and I would say it is in near mint condition.
    So is the IV really that much more contrasty? Does tonal seperation really mean anything more than shadow detail? If the IV is more contrasty can't I just over-expose and underdevelop a bit to get the same effect? Does the center sharpness of the DR at f2 really look different on a IV?
    The IV lens itself is nice and small and black so more discreet. Not nearly built to the same specs mechanically as the DR but smooth focusing and I like the hood.
    Will I kill myself if I get rid of the DR? Let me know what you guys think. I guess I can always get an M3 or a chrome MP and have the looks but I kind of prefer the black on black.
  2. I never found the contrast of the version IV any problem. In fact, I believe that good contrast is essential for high definition of fine details, textures and tones, which are areas in which the more modern lens is particularly strong, even though the Leica philosophy seems to balance resolution and contrast rather than seek highest possible resolution at the expense of low contrast. I don't know the DR, but it is likely a quite heavy lens, whereas the black anodised modern lens apparently uses some light metals and thus seems less mechanically "strong."
  3. I sold a Mark IV Summicron because of the contrast - of course it can be tamed by increasing exposure and reducing development with b+w negative film, but I didn't like the results. I had the impression that when this lens was designed. Leitz saw their target customers as mainly amateurs who would enjoy the fact that their pictures would stand out in camera club competitions when projected as slides, evincing compliments on their "sharpness". If I had a good older Summicron. I'd never sell it.
  4. SCL


    The Summicron IV is a terrific lens, all said....I really enjoyed mine. Alas, I sold off most of my Leica gear last year (after 43 years of using Leicas)...with a few exceptions....I kept a 1954 Version I Summicron and sold the IV. The reason, for me, was simple...the IV was razor sharp and displayed excellent contrast, the Version I was almost as sharp, less contrasty, and to me, had more "character". I've used the DR and it was a bit bulky for me, but delivered on all counts. Personally, I'd forget the cosmetics of which looks best on your camera body...nobody but you cares, and it is the resultant pictures which count. Just shoot several rolls with each lens and stick with the one you like best and which best fulfills your shooting needs - or keep them both.
  5. Love mine. Why don't you take some pics, develop them and answer the question yourself? Since you have both. I personally prefer the more contrasty look. I had a Elmar 2.8 M mount that was relatively low contrast compared to the Cron and I like the look of the later ones better.
  6. I have a version II, optically the same as a DR and a version IV. I never got around to really working out clearly what film said about either. On an M9, both seem pretty much the same into the corners, but version IV can get crazy flare in the centre from bright light sources. My version II is very good, and I trust it.
    Now I bought neither new, and I actually prefer to use an old collapsible version I as I lug the camera around most places, so just a warning not to get rid of your DR until you are sure the IV will take you where you want to go.
  7. I owned both lenses for many years and finslly sold the version IV because I never used it. The version IV is a great lens, but the
    character ofthe DR always seemed to get my attention,. And thr ability to close focus, I could not live without.
  8. The DR is a much better built lens than the IV, which contains plastic (boo hiss). I like the visual character of the DR, the sharpness with the low contrast. Reminds me of the photography I used to love in LIFE and LOOK magazines from back in the late fifties and early sixties. Not a big fan of the higher contrast IV. I shoot Tri-X and process in Rodinal. I have a few newer Leica lenses and I can tone down the contrast with them in processing.
    And I do understand your point about the silver lens on the black camera. That bothers me as well.
    I would try not to get rid of the DR. Buy a IV and see if you like the look. Keep both if you do, or sell the IV if you don't. You never know what Leica M body may come your way in the future, and there's no regret as deep as the regret of having let a beautiful piece of antique glass go, that you end up wanting in the future.
  9. I prefer the Dual-Range for color, my IV for B&W.
  10. If DR is in mint condition, keep it. Get an M2 to put it on!
  11. Thanks guys. Yeah, I feel really lucky to have a DR in such amazing condition with matching goggles. I hear they're getting harder to come by in such good condition and I've already had DAG service it twice, once for a complete CLA and again for just the focus mount so I've put some $$ into it.
    I'm going to give the IV a good run for a couple of weeks. Shoot both on and off on a few rolls and see what I get. Maybe i'll post some pics so we can see them side by side. The black body silver lens thing bugs me but it's just personal. I feel like a DR is most at home on a chrome m3 and I like to be as inconspicuos as possible. Maybe I'll pick up an m3 sooner or later but I don't think I'll ever get rid of my black paint MP.
    Thanks for all the replies, I'll keep you all updated. Cheers
  12. For it's abilities to go close-up without need of the attachment/apparatus, the Dual-Range is extremely versatile on mirrorless digital cameras.
    Unlike some of the Leica offerings (Film or Digital), no compatibility issues...
  13. I don't understand why everyone keeps pushing the M2. Looking through M2 viewfinder is like looking through a blue filter (intended to increase the contrast with the pink RF image). The M4/5/6 viewfinder is clear, without a color cast.
  14. My M2 viewfinder kicks my M6's backside. The only Leica viewfinder that works better in my eyes is the M3. But the M2 is a very close second.
  15. When hearing of the too soft DR optic versus the too contrasty Summicron IV, I'm reminded of the quarrels between those using the more contrasty light of condenser or point light source enlargers and those using the softer light of diffusion light source enlargers. Each camp professed the right approach. Ilford used to publish variable developing curves for films based upon which of the two you were using, in order to normalize the resulting print. They still do, I think.
    In other words, the performance of any lens has to reconcile various steps of downstream processing and/or post exposure manipulation with software. It doesn't really matter a whole lot whether the lens is softer or contrastier, provided high resolution is obtained, as what happens after the exposure can easily bring all that into balance or, as quite often happens, worsen the situation. So many gear related discussions as this one forget that the lens, or whatever, is only one part of the overall chain and that the other elements in the chain can provide different and often countering effects.
  16. My M2 viewfinder kicks my M6's backside.​
    That's why I replaced my M6 with M2. By the way I can't see any colour cast in my M2 view/range finder?
  17. I tried to buy a DR when I got an M6 but I could never find one that wasn't foggy. I gave up and bought a type IV. It was good but after a couple of years I sold lens and camera to go back to SLR's. To my eye the DR images I shot did have a better look. I was shooting color film and slides.
  18. I don't feel that the 'Cron IV contrast is an issue unless it is used with a high contrast slide film, or if the subject is especially contrasty. In most other cases I can usually handle contrast quite well in the development, or printing, or digital processing stages. (I haven't had any experience with the DR; I use other cameras for close focus subjects).
    Also, I have two M2 cameras here - no hint of blue in the finder, although one is a smidgin duller than the other (only noticeable side-by-side).
  19. I had an m2 and never saw a blue cast. But the silly loading system and the sucky film counter convinced me to move on.
  20. Hey guys, haven't had the color roll developed yet but here's a couple examples of the DR vs. IV. I tried to shoot the whole roll as close to f2 as possible. I wasn't very technical about the whole thing but you can pick out which ones are the DR pretty easily. Already returned the IV, not that I wouldn't be happy with it but because I really don't want to get rid of my DR and the lower contrast and smoother out of focus areas are more pleasing to my eye although the difference is not all that drastic.

  21. Bigger Pics
  22. Eric, whether it is due to the particular lens or difference in focus, the image on the left seems to be sharper in both the centre and edges (and distance), with an apparent slightly higher contrast, but I also find it hard to read screen images and at small sizes like these. My guess is that these A1, B1 images are of the more recent Summicron.
  23. I don't know which is which but my eyes prefer A1/B1. They are sharper and more vivid. :-/

    Thanks for putting up the larger images for comparison, Eric.
  24. I prefer A2 and B2.
    I'm guessing A1 and B1 are IV, and A2 and B2 are DR.
    I've had them both and just sold IV because it wasn't getting used. It all depends on the condition of DR. Mine is the latest version (1960) and without any blemishes or scratches etc.
    I've tested them on M8, M9 and Sony Nex 7 (I no longer have digital M)
    I've found Summicron IV is more contrastier through out the apertures and corner is sharper at f2 but in the center, DR has a lot more details and sharper just as in your sample shots.
    DR has more 3-d character in the photos, center is sharper and edges are softer.
    I can easily bump up the contrast in PS or use filters in wet darkroom.
    For me DR wins. I've sold M8 and M9 because I couldn't use DR without chopping/modifying. I love using it on nex 7 albeit a cropped view. I love DR for B&W films on M bodies.
    DR is beautiful on M3 and also beautiful on black M2 I have especially with black metal lens hood on.
    DR has so much micro details and it even beat 35 cron asph in the mid apertures on my quick tests.
    Enjoy whichever lens you use, each lens has a different characteristics. Whichever look you're after. It's a personal preferences.

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