1942 Coated Summitar Info help
Old 10-06-2012   #1
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1942 Coated Summitar Info help

Hi,
I purchased a very nice Summitar from a well-known Leica dealer. At the time, no comment was made about the lens. I bought it for a IIIG and love this combination. Anyway, the serial is 589783 indicating the lens is 1942. The coating is blue/purple in reflection. The distance scale is in meters and the f-stops are 2,2.2, 3.2, 4.5, 6.3, 8, 12.5 engraved. My research indicates this is probably a lens intended for military use. Would anyone care to comment on the history of this year and whether it was coated later, or at the time of manufacture. I assume this is a collector's item, I get some pleasure shooting it thinking it has seen so much history.
Thanks!
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Old 10-07-2012   #2
Ron (Netherlands)
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I had a very nice species 1940 Summitar nr. 551016. It had also the purple coating (and some very tiny bubbles in the glass). They are known to be meant for the military if they have a specific engraving / number. So most of these Summitars are 'civilian'.
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Old 10-07-2012   #3
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#589XXX is POST 1945 issue (about June 1946) the lens is a normal regular US Army PX issued era lens, with the bluish coating. (that online list for lenses is all wrong, original issued Summitars postwar start somewhere around the #582XXX series something in August 1945.)

Value about $250 with "mint" glass a good *shooting lens* pretty portraits!

Tom
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Old 10-07-2012   #4
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Tom, I always learn something new from your posts. I was going by the Leica lens serial numbers on Ken Rockwell's site (http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/len...al-numbers.htm) which dates a 589*** lens some time in 1942.

I am curious why you say this 589*** Summitar lens is POST 1945. The question of the blue-purple coating is a separate issue since coating early uncoated lenses was popular about 1945.

Ciao!
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Great info, citations welcome
Old 10-08-2012   #5
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Great info, citations welcome

Thanks, "Leica" Tom and Tony,
Interesting history. The usefulness is bolstered by a good citation of the information given. What are the sources?
Just trying to be a careful historian.
I'm now imagining a GI walking into the PX and seeing his lens. Wonder what photos He took!
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Old 10-08-2012   #6
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Hello Denton,

Yes, after years of research, also records from Leica and contact to the Museum, I did a extensive study of the Postwar Leica cameras and their association with the US Army.

The coated lenses were made as early as 1942, but they were very rarely used, or also many have NOT SURVIVED the war ~ (mostly German Luftwaffe/Air Force) were issued these types of lenses from original Leica records, the German Army used the Elmar 50 more than the Summitar.

The American PX cameras had coated lenses (special order) as early as September/October 1945 and coating as a whole was the norm after March 1946 on all Leica lenses, due to the *boom* of Kodachrome after the war.......

Really great lens, I love the Summitar, I have used both round and hex bladed aperture lenses to great success with little to no difference in the style/bokeh of both.

I hope this was of some help to you

Tom

P.S. The *online* Leica serial numbers for camera bodies and lenses made before 1950 are mostly done by guesswork, there's so many things wrong with the numbers listed, maybe someday it will be corrected, it can only be taken with a grain of salt and used only as a rough estimate the 1939 to 1945 produced lenses were issued with many *backlogged* numbers up till 1947..........
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Great research-do we need a historical forum?
Old 10-11-2012   #7
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Great research-do we need a historical forum?

Thanks Tom,
I think this sort of information will be useful to many others wanting to know about their vintage lenses. Too bad this sort of info cannot be captured in a new forum category! Moderators?
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Old 10-14-2012   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaTom View Post
#589XXX is POST 1945 issue (about June 1946) the lens is a normal regular US Army PX issued era lens, with the bluish coating. (that online list for lenses is all wrong, original issued Summitars postwar start somewhere around the #582XXX series something in August 1945.)
This is very doubtful information. Summitars that were originally issued with the grey IIIc and stamped Luftwaffen Eigentum had mostly 57xxxx and 58xxxx numbers. Most of these camera's were issued in 1942 and 1943.
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Old 10-14-2012   #9
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Hi,

It wasn't unknown in the late 40's for coating services to be offered by a few small firms. It's still possible today; look at the refurbishing and coating services available for Summars f'instance.

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Old 10-15-2012   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron (Netherlands) View Post
This is very doubtful information. Summitars that were originally issued with the grey IIIc and stamped Luftwaffen Eigentum had mostly 57xxxx and 58xxxx numbers. Most of these camera's were issued in 1942 and 1943.
Ron,

After researching WW2 Leica cameras, with US Army documents and also ORIGINAL FACTORY DOCKETS for over 15 years now, I wouldn't be posting any incorrect information across the internet

I have owned Military Leica cameras made from 1939 to 1946 and the Summitar numbers issued from May 1945 onwards started as early as 539xxx in some instances, (I have seen US Army documents with the cameras and lens numbers issued lenses that were numbered that early).

You shouldn't go by any of the online posted serial numbers information, they are ALL WRONG! Or any of the current books published.

The #582xxx to #586xxx Summitar's were issued between April 1945 to September 1946, you will also see some very early 1946 "flattop" Leica IIIC's with GREY PAINTED vulcanite and they sometimes had the #585xxx and #587xxx series lenses on them.

The Leitz serial number series, stopped running in order, about August 1939, right as the War was about to start and many of the more expensive lenses, like the 35mm Elmar, the 50mm Summitar and the Xenon were left unsold and overstocked with 1939 serial numbers which were issued in some cases till late 1946.

The coating procedure started at Leitz as early as 1942, but these lenses sit in the #55xxxx to #57xxxx ranges and are also LISTED in the Factory dockets as such, (less than 2,000 lenses were coated during the war) and they are VERY RARE ITEMS, the lens that the OP has was one of the POSTWAR blue-purple coatings that the US Army PX cameras all had as standard equipment about June/July 1946.

Tom
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Old 10-16-2012   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAN F View Post
I have read that it is now widely thought from reseach by Horst Bredow (Leica Fotografie 1961:4,Page 179),and others since, that Leitz began coating lens production from October 1941.
It wasn't a full on production, the "wartime" coated lenses are very very rare and as I stated before less then 2,000 or so were ever made, mostly Summitar and Xenon 50mm's as color film research lenses for the German Airforce and Navy.

Some of these "wartime" coated lenses were issued as late as 1944, but then Leitz went back to issuing "uncoated" lenses, (with the overage of unsold normal "uncoated" 1942/43 lenses, still in stock, mostly all were Elmar 50mm's).
ALL of the remaining matching numbers issued US Army IIIC K Grey cameras I have on record in my files (from May to August 1945) had been issued "uncoated" lenses.

The first full on production of "coated" lenses started back (with a BETTER improved coating from the WW2 styled coating) in June 1946.

When Leitz started it's Export program again with Leitz New York in 1947, ALL the lenses being shipped to America were by then "coated" lenses.

Tom
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Old 10-26-2012   #12
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I have 589416 from that same batch, some lovely blue/purple coating, same meter focusing scale, in nigh-perfect condition. Very lovely lens to use.

Putz noted this batch to be factory coated, but apparently has the date wrong.

A bit curious that Leica would choose to make the focusing scale in meters for lenses to sell at a US PX.
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Old 12-11-2012   #13
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My Summitar has a 587*** serial, meter scale, and bluish-purple coating. I'm curious too about when, how and for whom this lens was made.
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Summitar
Old 12-12-2012   #14
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Summitar

The summitar was not issued in strict serial number sequence.
I have a coated lens 584xxx delivery in August 1945 , the lens just prior to it
Was b belag ( coated ) wartime delivery to luftwaffen . One number away .

The summitars that are wartime coated have a light lavender , magenta color
A luftwaffen eigentum summitar and the aug 1945 lens have the same coating , it is light lavender .
If there is blue or deep purple blue , it is postwar .

Many barrels and rims were left from wartime production ,
Leitz never threw anything away , any lens after 587xxx is late 1945 or later .
After German surrender there were apparently many parts used on cameras delivered post may 1945 , that were manufactured for wartime use .

Elmars are different as wartime production numbers went into 59xxxx
So people assume the earlier numbers on the summitar must be early wartime .

Feel free to correct me , this is the information I have .
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Old 12-12-2012   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAN F View Post
I have read that it is now widely thought from reseach by Horst Bredow (Leica Fotografie 1961:4,Page 179),and others since, that Leitz began coating lens production from October 1941.
I very well known U.K Leica repairer with great knowledge of all Leica technology told me that from his experience with Summar lenses he has found that Leitz were experimenting with soft coatings on the internal elements only of very late pre-war Summars in 1939.

Zeiss had drip coating in 1936 , I think vacuum coating was 1938 .
Wartime Germany had all manufacturers cooperate on technilogical advances, to further the war efforts . Eastman Kodak in the us was experimenting with coating early on , as was in all probability leitz .
The elmar due to its low number of glass to air surfaces did not benefit much from coating . Lenses like the summitar and xenon with many glass to air surfaces excelled with the new coatings . The Zeiss sonnar has cemented groups and coating did not have the dramatic effect that the leitz fast lenses experienced .
Lens coating equalized fast lens designs.
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Old 12-12-2012   #16
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I have some doubts that the coating would have been contemporary. Leica offered a service whereby camera bodies and lenses could be returned to the factory to be upgraded to the latest standards. This included factory coating of the lens. I had an Elmar 50mm f3.5 on a pretty little Leica 111a body. The body dated to 1936 and the lens to 1935 or 34. Clearly it was not coated at that early stage but it looks very much as if the camera and lens had been sent back to the factory in Wetzlar in the 1950s to be upgraded. When I acquired it the body had a 111f type flash sync and shutter collar (which sets the delay on firing of the flash) and the lens had exactly the kind of blue / purple coating you describe. Many Leica cameras and lenses underwent this process. My guess is that this is more likely to explain your lenses coating because as mentioned below this colour coating is more typical of the post war period. My Summitar dates to 1950ish and is similarly coated - I assume it would have been done at the time of manufacture. It shoots nicely and they are a fine little lens falling not all that far short of the Summicron that took their place.
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Old 04-15-2013   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Shriver View Post

A bit curious that Leica would choose to make the focusing scale in meters for lenses to sell at a US PX.
Leica didn't have the whole "export" line of production down to (back to making) lenses in "feet" till April/May 1946 about the same time the WW2 style "stepper" IIIC camera bodies were also being sold out and the full blown deliveries to the US Army Post Exchanges were going into full force.

Almost 85% of all cameras made at Leica after late May 1945 till May/June 1947 went to the US Army in Germany, or overseas PX's like Tokyo etc.

in mid 1947 Leitz New York was reopening after all the legal problems and they started reselling their products with and without the LNYC stampings.

Naturally ALL the exported lenses (after 1946) were coated, the postwar Leitz coating has a totally different look from WW2 coatings, the early stuff was a creamy light purple/lavender, (very odd looking) and it's easy to tell that it's a WW2 lens, because the colors are so strange, (in all my years collecting I've seen less than 30 lenses that were original Leitz pre May 1945 coated style) ~ these lenses were mostly made for the German Navy and Air Force and were normally marked so, they are also marked in the original Leitz dockets as well.

The online Leica lens and body serial numbers are just a guide, they are totally incorrect for the post May 8th 1945 production and don't fall into correct numbers till after 1947, all my information comes from the Leica museum and archives and also help from renowned Leica historian Jim Lager.

Cheers,

Tom

P.S. Ohh, Jena, Germany's Carl Zeiss Russian Army based production of lenses after July 1945, also made/offered some SPECIAL ORDERED lenses in "feet" scale, (for US Army consumption) these lenses are BTW crazy rare........the Contax or Leica 35 Biogon's and all of the Sonnar's could be had this way.
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Old 04-15-2013   #18
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A Lavender-Pink Summitar on my Leica II from 1942 wold be nice...

Ah, dream on...

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Old 04-20-2013   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
A Lavender-Pink Summitar on my Leica II from 1942 wold be nice...

Ah, dream on...

Yeah, I've been looking for a REAL 1942/43 coated Summitar for a long time myself........right now a US Army one would be ok.
Serial #583xxx or #584xxx (both July/August 1945) and *uncoated*.

Tom
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Old 04-25-2013   #20
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I may have found a real 1942/43 coated one, just waiting if Jim Lager can confirm it?

Tom
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Old 09-02-2013   #21
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I have just stumbled upon and purchased a similarly numbered kit consisting of a IIIc stepper, 588 Summitar, and the original case. I have only performed a quick look over, so will post a bit more later when I have time.
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Old 09-02-2013   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaTom View Post
Naturally ALL the exported lenses (after 1946) were coated, the postwar Leitz coating has a totally different look from WW2 coatings, the early stuff was a creamy light purple/lavender, (very odd looking) and it's easy to tell that it's a WW2 lens, because the colors are so strange, (in all my years collecting I've seen less than 30 lenses that were original Leitz pre May 1945 coated style) ~ these lenses were mostly made for the German Navy and Air Force and were normally marked so, they are also marked in the original Leitz dockets as well.
It may be that the coating started a bit earlier, or that some lenses were recoated during the war years. I have Summitar 526607, which conventional wisdom places as 1939 production, and it has a strange light blue coating rather than the darker purple coating I have seen on later lenses. The lens has the older F-stop sequence, and a distance scale calibrated in feet. Would this have been coated after the war, but with a different material than usual?

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Old 11-10-2013   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaTom View Post
Yeah, I've been looking for a REAL 1942/43 coated Summitar for a long time myself........right now a US Army one would be ok.
Serial #583xxx or #584xxx (both July/August 1945) and *uncoated*.

Tom
Tom a very interesting topic, and my 1st post. If I remember reading one of Jim's book's "correctly" were he stated that from around serial # 546,000 up they were all coated?
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Old 11-29-2013   #24
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The serial number puts it at 1935, but the Summitar didn't come out until 1939, so something doesn't line up.

Got a photo?
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Old 11-29-2013   #25
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Originally Posted by rivercityrocker View Post
I was wondering if anyone could help me with dating my Summitar? From everything I could find on the web, the Summitar SN's are from 487XXX to 993XXX. My lens has a WAY lower SN #246783.

It's definitely a Summitar. The front ring reads : Ernst Leitz Wetzlar / Summitar f = 5 cm 1:2 Nr. 246783
Looking forward to a pic ... Sounds like it may be a Summar, not Summitar?
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Old 11-29-2013   #26
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My Summar is 247897 -- don't know how large of a serial number 'range' they devoted to a specific model of lens, but yes, it sounds more like a Summar.

But if you say it's a Summitar, then I dunno.
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Old 11-29-2013   #27
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Hmmm...
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Old 11-29-2013   #28
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Well, I reviewed mine. Your example is physically similar to a true Summitar as you and the lens clearly state. The trim ring on a Summar is much flatter. Your text is more pronounced and has Nr. VS No. compared to my 588. Your serial number squarely falls in the Summar production range, circa 1935.

I wonder if it is possible that this was a Summar that may have been factory reworked later in life, and had the original serial placed on a replacement trim ring? (The lens base is Summitar, not Summar as well). It is tough to tell in your image -is there any semblance of a coating?
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Old 11-30-2013   #29
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This might be a question for Jim Lager.....
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Old 11-30-2013   #30
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This might be a question for Jim Lager.....
Will be interesting to see whats going on here. A Summitar that far out of the serial range really would be something! Jim Lager for sure?!
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Old 08-18-2015   #32
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try this

http://summilux.net/numeros/index.php
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Old 07-21-2016   #33
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great into, thanks all.

Tom,

I have a SN 668069, what year would that be?
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coated
Old 11-04-2016   #34
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coated

I own a Summitar of the series from 589 xxx also coated
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