Summilux question

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by david_clark|4, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. How does the Summilux compare to any other f 1.4 lens that you can attach to an
    M body? Is it any better than a Canon or Nikon LTM?
     
  2. The are three versions of the `lux and some subvariants of the middle one.

    The current one is the best 50 1.4 ever made if you like sharp contrasty pics.

    There are original 50 1.4 Nikkors from 1950 and later ones made for comerative Nikon RF bodies which are better. In fact ther might be two fairly current ones. These are not LTM.

    The Nikors made since 2000 are nice, but not the same as the Leica.
    The upcoming 50 1.4 Sonnar for the Zeiss M Mount could be very good. Nobody has commented yet as it is not yet available.
     
  3. David,

    The pre-asph lux is excellent, very smooth and pleasing signature. So too is the Canon 50/1.5 LTM (sonnar-design), excellent build quality, sharp from 1.5 up, compact, brass, also very pleasing signature.

    From what I've seen of the asph lux, it seems like a great lens (albeit, not such a friendly price).

    cheers
     
  4. David -

    You might want to rephrase your question, as pre-ASPH and ASPH 1.4 lenses (35,50mm) clearly have different characteristics.

    George (The Old Fud)
     
  5. "The upcoming 50 1.4 Sonnar for the Zeiss M Mount could be very good. Nobody has commented yet as it is not yet available."

    The specs of the new 50/1.5 ZM Sonnar have been published. The MTFs show that it is not in the same league as the 50/1.4 ASPH M. The ZM lens has last generation quality MTFs, not the current state of the art.
     
  6. Someone commented that f/1.5 is a bit of a stretch for the Sonnar formula. I think it may have been Erwin who said that.
     
  7. I meant to find out about older lenses. I just saw an advertisment for a Summilux from the 60s, and I wondered if it was a superior in terms of imaging - or if some of the other 1.4 lenses of that period were just as good. And a whole lot cheaper.
     
  8. There are four versions of the 1.4/50 mm Summilux, that came in THREE different optical
    formulas.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TYPE-1
    1959-1961 (#1,645,300 - 1,844,0000, circa 12,000 units)

    This is the original formula. It was produced for only a few years and while it is better than
    the Summarit, it is soft wide open and needs to be stopped down to at least f8 to really be
    sharp. There are people that shoot them, but it's mainly a collectors item.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TYPE-2
    1962-1994 (1,844,001-?)

    A greatly improved optical formula that remained in production for over 40 years.
    In my experience this lens performs identical to the 3rd generation 2/50 Summicon,
    except of course it is a stop faster. I also find the Summilux to be far more resistant to
    flare than any of the 50mm Summicrons. Bokeh is perfectly smooth and the lens produces
    silky smooth images, especially in black and white. This version has a clip on hood and
    focuses as close as 1 meter.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TYPE-3 (Summilux-M)
    1995-2006 (no serial numbers available)

    This version uses the IDENTICAL optical formula as the Type-2 that was introduced in
    1962. The only difference is the dreaded built in collapsible hood and a new focusing
    mount that lets you get as close as .7 meters (70cm) to your subject. The color of the
    coating on mine is different than on the Type two, but that's it.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TYPE-4
    2005 - present
    1.4/50 Summilux-M ASPH

    The most technically perfect 50mm ever made for 35mm photography?

    http://www.imx.nl/photosite/leica/mseries/SummiluxASPH/s14-50.html

    I shot some test frames with this lens and at f1.4 it's performance is an eye opener.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    As far as performance goes I would rank them like this:

    1) Summilux-ASPH

    2) Summilux-M (Type-2, Type-3)

    3) Nikkor 1.4/50

    4) Sonnar 1.5/50


    I'm not sure where to slot the Type-1 Lux, but it was made for such a short time that its
    relevance is questionable.)

    I have many 50mm lenses including the current verison of the 2/50 Summicron and
    Type-3 Summilux-M.

    Overall it is a very, very good lens. Many people knock it, because it was in production for
    more than 40 years, but the vast majority of these people have never shot one for an
    extended period of time. The pre-ASPH Lux is fast, sharp, very resistant to flare and has a
    short focus throw, which helps in fast moving situations.

    I also think the Type2/3 Lux is better than the Canon 1.4/50 for my EOS-1v.

    The Voigtlander Nokton 1.5/50 ASPH offers equal performance at a lower cost, but some
    people feel it draws with a 'harsher' signature and the bokeh isn't as smooth. Physically the
    Nokton is also bigger and heavier.

    The Lux ASPH is a whole different ballgame and it costs around $2500.
    You can get a clean Summilux Type-2 or 3 for less than half of that.
     
  9. I had a great version Hexanon 1.4 50mm lens. Lovely. I also had the early Hexanon 1.2 50mm lens and that was a beauty.
     
  10. .
    >I meant to find out about older lenses. I just saw an advertisment for a Summilux from
    the >60s, and I wondered if it was a superior in terms of imaging - or if some of the other
    1.4 :lenses of that period were just as good. And a whole lot cheaper.

    Historically the 1.5/50 Sonnar was the benchmark for 50mm lenses from the 1930's until
    the late 1940's.

    Then in 1948(?) Nikon introduced the Nikkor 1.5/50 (a Sonnar copy), which matched the
    performance of the Zeiss version for a fraction of the cost.

    In the 1950's Nikon then surpassed the Sonnar with the Nikkor 1.4/50.

    In turn the Leica Summilux (type-2) knocked the Nikkor from it's perch in 1962 and was
    the best RF 1.4/50 until the arrival of the Summilux ASPH which surpasses it and the
    Nokton 1.5/50, which equaled its performance.

    After that it gets messy, because everyone from Canon to who knows else joined the fray.
    But as far as rangefinder lenses go I think they can be ranked as such:

    1) 1.4/50 Summilux-ASPH

    2) 1.4/50 Summilux (Type2 and Type 3)

    2) Voigtlander Nokton 1.5/50 ASPH)

    3) Canon 1.4/50 (three versions)

    3) Nikkor 1.4/50
    (I would probably give the edge to the newer Canon design)

    4) 1.5/50 Sonnar
    (very, very sharp by f8, but the softest at f1.5)
     
  11. My 'lux is 1644XXX.
     
  12. Don't knock the 50/1.4 Nikkor! As a lens to actually shoot with it's very, very good, has extremely hard coatings, a well made and finished mount and doesn't flare badly. At today's used prices it's a real bargain.
     
  13. Don't get me wrong Al, the Nikkor 1.4/50 is a great lens that produces beautiful pictures
    and prices for clean examples are on the rise.

    Personally my workhorse us a vintage 2/50 Summicron DR, which I generally prefer to my
    more modern 50's.

    My explanation was meant in sheer technical terms.

    ;-)

    Feli
     
  14. TYPE-1 1959-1961 (#1,645,300 - 1,844,0000, circa 12,000 units)
    This is the original formula. It was produced for only a few years and while it is better than the Summarit, it is soft wide open and needs to be stopped down to at least f8 to really be sharp. There are people that shoot them, but it's mainly a collectors item.

    My experience is that the first-generation Summilux produces prints that look just as sharp as those from a Dual-Range Summicron by f2.8, and you'd be hard-pressed to see much difference at f2. Don't know how well it performs in copying test charts, but in real-world shooting at wide apertures, subject motion and camera shake are likely to be your limiting factors for sharpness, not the optical performance of the lens (of course, the same holds true for the Canon and Nikon offerings, as well).
     
  15. I have and use both the Type 2/3 and the Type 4 (Aspherical) as per Feli's classification above. I tend to classify by optical formala and prefer to think of the Type 2/3 as one class, but that's neither here nor there. They are very different in terms of signature and it's worth having both. If you are looking for a smooth, artistic look, the Type 2/3 produces wonderful results. Easily sharp enough, with superior rendition of out of focus areas. The Type 4 Aspherical is literally in a class of its own. Shoot black and white with it and you get unbelievable "pop", even wide open. That lens is so sharp it's not even funny. That's the amazing thing to me. Even wide open, the aspherical has at least as much pop as a latest formula Summicron at f2.
     
  16. David,

    I have only used the TYPE 1 , early production from 1958 (not 1959 as mentioned above).It is
    a bit soft and flat wide open but has some shockingly good Bokeh!

    Any distortion, coma or whatever it may have is the least of my worries, and the color
    rendition is great too...the build is second to none with a great 'throw' for
    focussing....certainly worth looking at...
     
  17. I figured that would get your attention, Mike Dixon.
    ;-)

    But as ususal the only thing that counts is how good a picture you take. Make a
    great shot and no one will care how sharp the corners are.

    FEli

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    My experience is that the first-generation Summilux produces prints that look just as
    sharp as those from a Dual-Range Summicron by f2.8, and you'd be hard-pressed to see
    much difference at f2. Don't know how well it performs in copying test charts, but in real-
    world shooting at wide apertures, subject motion and camera shake are likely to be your
    limiting factors for sharpness, not the optical performance of the lens (of course, the same
    holds true for the Canon and Nikon offerings, as well).
     
  18. I, also, have th 1958? ver. 1 (1644XXX). The 'lux was my first Leitz lens, version unknown (I suspect ver.2, as was the same chrome mount as the one I have today. I don't have the record) I had ever owned. I sold for some reason, then rebought from this forum a couple of years ago for ~$550.

    A keeper, IMHO.
     
  19. The Sonnar-formula 50/1.5 and 50/1.4 lenses are not "sharp to the corners" lenses wide opens. But they do it in a most pleasing way.

    This includes the real Zeiss Sonnar, the Russian Jupiter-8 copies, the Nikon copies, and the Canon copy. However, the rear triplet is a bear to produce accurately, so expect a lot of variation in the performance of the Jupiter-8. Also, there are continuing questions on whether the Jupiter-8 is built to focus accurately on a Leica.
     

Share This Page