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View Full Version : Why doesn't E.Leitz reissue GREAT lenses?


Arthur
08-08-2017, 04:37
I am thinking, particularly, of the Elcan 66/2 which was manufactured for the US Navy during the Cold War.

It is an amazing lens!

Michiel Fokkema
08-08-2017, 04:44
But which framelines would we use then?

Roger Hicks
08-08-2017, 04:44
But who would actually buy it? A lens with no corresponding frame is likely to be of limited interest to anyone except a collector. The Thambar is another matter...

Cheers,

R.

Arthur
08-08-2017, 05:09
I do suspect that the area around the 50 frame on my M9 is pretty close to the view of a 66...

The Elcan 66/2 is simply amazing... a more than competent friend thinks it is even better than the Summicron Apo-ASPH 50/2!?

Vickko
08-08-2017, 05:32
hmmm. Hard to imagine, considering how few 66/2 exist and are in shooters' hands.

Have you seen photos from that lens?

I've only seen a few photos "of that lens" in books.

Apparently one sold in Ottawa years (decades?) ago.

Arthur
08-08-2017, 05:54
Have you seen photos from that lens?

*****

Yes.

The MTF is remarkable.

*****

Arthur

Richard G
08-08-2017, 05:56
Have you seen photos from the DR Summicron? Like a simple rose? Extraordinary. Use it on my digitals even.

Arthur
08-08-2017, 05:59
Have you seen photos from the DR Summicron? Like a simple rose? Extraordinary. Use it on my digitals even.

I have one.

Great lens!

Even so, I do wish I had an Elcan 66/2!

Rob-F
08-08-2017, 06:28
I do suspect that the area around the 50 frame on my M9 is pretty close to the view of a 66...

The Elcan 66/2 is simply amazing... a more than competent friend thinks it is even better than the Summicron Apo-ASPH 50/2!?

Arthur, I found that at a distance of around 12 to 15 feet, the 50mm frameline on my M6 matched the field of view of the 60mm Macro-Elmar on the R6 I had at the time. So it covers only 0.833 of the width or height covered by the lens. And area-wise, that translates to .833 x .833, or 69.44% of the area! That's a big enough error to make me avoid using a 50 on my M6, M7, and MP. I might bring my M2 along just for that focal length. For fans of the 50mm lens, that is enough to justify having an M2, M3, or M4; or if a meter is needed, an M5.

Rob

benmacphoto
08-08-2017, 06:45
I'd like to see Leica re issue the 35mm pre ASPH Summilux.
Or another classic lens with some character.

kiemchacsu
08-08-2017, 06:54
Simple, then what else the current optical designers in Leica can do?
We all know that old lenses of Leica are amazing but someone have to make something new.

xayraa33
08-08-2017, 07:22
The 66mm f2 Elcan lens would be a great lens to a a well heeled Asian collector of all things Leitz, but other than its rarity it does not have anything of great interest, unlike the Thambar lens.

splitimageview
08-08-2017, 08:46
Why doesn't E.Leitz reissue GREAT lenses?

E. Leitz no longer exists. :)

But Leica Camera AG did release a Summaron-M 28/5.6.

zuiko85
08-08-2017, 08:49
Do you mean like that 28mm f5.6 Summaron they announced a year ago that's perpetually "new item, coming soon" at B&H and "out of stock" at the Leica store?

If they ever had any interest in that lens from Leica users I'm sure they have killed it by now.

bayernfan
08-08-2017, 09:35
reissues mean special production line, new tooling, and so on. if they could mass market it, i'd be willing to bet the price would be roughly in line with current leica offerings. unique vintage designs are not mass-marketable, and we can therefore expect the price to be exorbitant for what the lens really offers.

splitimageview
08-08-2017, 09:36
Do you mean like that 28mm f5.6 Summaron they announced a year ago that's perpetually "new item, coming soon" at B&H



Yes! It's a lens that dealers will happily back order for you along with your M10. :)

james.liam
08-08-2017, 11:17
Do you mean like that 28mm f5.6 Summaron they announced a year ago that's perpetually "new item, coming soon" at B&H and "out of stock" at the Leica store?

If they ever had any interest in that lens from Leica users I'm sure they have killed it by now.

IIRC, it has to be ordered through the dealer. Not generally available otherwise.

In re: 66/2, does it resolve better than the 50/2 APO?
They are separated by 50 years of tech evolution.

Phil_F_NM
08-08-2017, 11:59
The optical properties of old classic lenses won't likely be replicated in the near future or ever, for that matter. Lead, Lanthanum and Thorium glass production was halted as of 2001. For example, the 38mm Biogon in the SWC underwent a slight formulation change due to the new glass restrictions. Most of the heavy metal glasses were phased out in the late 70s and 80s due to environmental and workplace hazards.
So there's one reason.
But as far as Leica goes, they have staked their claim into the digital realm. They can't reissue older designs due to the restrictions of the digital sensors and the very short lens registration. 27.8mm. DSLRs don't have this problem nearly as much since their lens designs force their lenses shorter than about 55mm to be retrofocal, which is a completely new lens design. Leica is heading this direction these days because their superwides on the new digital bodies are no longer flag vignetting. Yes, this is partially a function of computer correction via lens coding but it is also due to Leica designing the nodal point of their new fleet of lenses farther forward so the light rays are more perpendicular to the sensor. Look at that new "21mm Super Elmar f/3.4." They even made the maximum aperture the same as the classic Super Angulon, probably just for nostalgia but the lens is in a completely different class with regard to design. The rear element doesn't project nearly as far and the formulation forces light to leave the lens very perpendicular, as opposed to how the corners of the superlative Super Angulon behave with light rays projecting at very sharp angles onto the film plane. That just doesn't work on digital very well. The same goes for all of Leica's past lenses shorter than 50mm. Without coding, you'll see flag vignetting. If you want the same excellent design, like the Mandler 28mm Elmarit. Version 1 has the same rear element problem, so you can't use that amazing lens on what Leica sees as their future, without workarounds and image compromise.
A 66mm ELCAN could certainly be done but it was a special, rare, niche lens which never was intended for use by the general population. Design, raytracing, tooling, sourcing glass, all would be very expensive and the sales wouldn't pay for the investment.

Phil Forrest

james.liam
08-08-2017, 12:46
They seem to have reformulated the 28 Summaron for digital without issue. Doesn't seem to be an impossible task. And Leica did imply they were going to release other historical lenses.

mpaniagua
08-08-2017, 12:58
In a statement, economic reasons.

Doable? yes

margin for profit?

Outside the collective items market, not really much profit to be expected.

Leica could probably do them, but as a collective, high price item, not intended for general public use, but for it to remain unused for generations just like the commemorative Leica M6 sets.

Just my thoughts.

Regards

Marcelo

rscheffler
08-08-2017, 14:22
They seem to have reformulated the 28 Summaron for digital without issue. Doesn't seem to be an impossible task. And Leica did imply they were going to release other historical lenses.

Considering how slow it is, it has fewer 'legacy' issues of incompatibility on digital than lenses from that era 2-3 stops faster in a similar focal length. I tried one at a Leica Store and was surprised at how decent it was across the frame. Maybe not quite up to modern designs, but nonetheless, it created appealing looking images.

Yes, a re-release of the 35 Lux pre-ASPH, un-tweaked, would be very cool! (And no, I'm not interested in the CV35/1.4 instead)

Rob-F
08-08-2017, 14:52
I've never owned an 85mm Summarex, but it has a reputation for being a special lens, and I don't think too many were made. Perhaps it might be a candidate for re-issue.

There are two old 50's I own and like, and might also be candidates: The Dual-Range Summicron and the Collapsible Summicron. The latter has some special painterly qualities that should be retained, and not lost to some "improved" version.

ptpdprinter
08-08-2017, 14:59
They seem to have reformulated the 28 Summaron for digital without issue. Doesn't seem to be an impossible task. And Leica did imply they were going to release other historical lenses.
If they reformulated it, it is not a classic lens. It just happens to have the same focal length and aperture.

Phil_F_NM
08-08-2017, 15:59
If they reformulated it, it is not a classic lens. It just happens to have the same focal length and aperture.

This.
As well as name.
Like Zeiss having Cosina make lenses named Biogon which, at this point, only implies they are wide angles, not that they have anything to do with the actual Biogon formulation.

Phil Forrest

james.liam
08-08-2017, 20:01
If they reformulated it, it is not a classic lens. It just happens to have the same focal length and aperture.

It performs very similar to the old one, in fact. IIRC, the optical formula in nearly identical.
As mentioned above, the immutable differences between film & digital sensors necessitates some compromise for the latter.

sebastel
08-08-2017, 23:45
on the topic:

https://www.dpreview.com/opinion/6810156214/marketing-isn-t-a-dirty-word-but-camera-companies-are-not-your-friends

Kent
08-09-2017, 00:21
Do you mean like that 28mm f5.6 Summaron they announced a year ago that's perpetually "new item, coming soon" at B&H and "out of stock" at the Leica store?



I guess he means that 28mm f5.6 Summaron which I have seen several copies of and which I have shot with on my M8 as well as on my Fujis.

The lens exists and it is in the hands of users. ;)

presspass
08-09-2017, 09:13
While Leica is at it, why not a few lenses for those of us who still shoot screw mount cameras? I know they have done a 35mm Asph Summicron and a couple of others, but how about smaller, lighter lenses with the Elmar or Hektor designs?

jaapv
08-09-2017, 09:44
Do you mean like that 28mm f5.6 Summaron they announced a year ago that's perpetually "new item, coming soon" at B&H and "out of stock" at the Leica store?

If they ever had any interest in that lens from Leica users I'm sure they have killed it by now.

Plenty of people using that lens and posting images on LUF.

Arthur
08-10-2017, 05:55
"A 66mm ELCAN could certainly be done but it was a special, rare, niche lens which never was intended for use by the general population. Design, raytracing, tooling, sourcing glass, all would be very expensive and the sales wouldn't pay for the investment."

A techie friend did an MTF study with it...

It was the sharpest lens he ever tested... 400 lpi!

We casually compared my Summicron Apo/Asph 50/2 with his Elcan 66/2 and...

...the Summicron Apo/Asph had "color fringing" that was absent in the Elcan 66/2.

?

willie_901
08-10-2017, 07:52
I found Phil_F_NM comments compelling.

Another issue could involve internal flare. The sensor-assembly cover glass is significantly more reflective than film. Contemporary lens coatings and internal baffle designs may suppress reflective internal flare.

It's also possible the M-mount flange focal distance is less susceptible to flare than other mirrorless systems where reflective flare is a known issue.

It's obvious people enjoy excellent digital images with M/LTM lenses designed before the digital imaging era. This doesn't necessarily mean there's a difference in flare levels between film and digital usage. Flare is difficult to evaluate because it depends on many variables. For instance, a very small difference in angle can make a large difference in internal reflective flare,

Bill Blackwell
08-28-2017, 16:31
"Why doesn't E. Leitz reissue GREAT lenses?"

Mainly because E. Leitz hasn't been in business in over 40 years!

mpaniagua
08-28-2017, 16:51
While Leica is at it, why not a few lenses for those of us who still shoot screw mount cameras? I know they have done a 35mm Asph Summicron and a couple of others, but how about smaller, lighter lenses with the Elmar or Hektor designs?

Mainly because there a lots of those on the used market. Not many (but some would do) would pay a premium to have a newly issued lens with same classic design than one you could have cheaper on the used market. Market no big enough to turn off a profit so they wont do (probably).

Marcelo

Ronald M
08-28-2017, 17:21
Elcan was a military lens & government will pay anything for what they want. I doubt
we can afford one.

Most classics were good only when compared with their contemporary lenses and can not compete with current offerings. 50 1.4 Lux being one example. I never could find one that would make anyone but a Leica stockholder happy.

splitimageview
08-30-2017, 09:27
"Why doesn't E. Leitz reissue GREAT lenses?"

Mainly because E. Leitz hasn't been in business in over 40 years!

E. Leitz no longer exists. :)



........ :D

jarski
08-30-2017, 10:03
I find it interesting Leica hasn't started re-make R-lenses for other cameras like Canon and Nikon. all those designs are ready and awaiting to be used, without big R&D costs.

splitimageview
08-30-2017, 10:06
Indeed, or even mirrorless versions.

Kent
08-30-2017, 11:07
Leica will only re-market lenses which are "real classics" and which do not have an equivalent, neither in the Leica line-up nor in any other one.

Why should they bring back a series IV Summicron 50 or a pre-Asph. Summicron 90 (which are my personal favourites, I seem to like Mandler desings a lot)? They would just canibalize their more modern versions.

The 5.6/28 fits a niche. So would an Elcan 2/66, yes, but this lens never really had any market relevance.

Perhaps a Summaron 3.5/35 would be pretty nice. That is far enough away from present 35mm lenses and it also had a special rendering.

ptpdprinter
08-30-2017, 12:05
They seem to have reformulated the 28 Summaron for digital without issue. Doesn't seem to be an impossible task. And Leica did imply they were going to release other historical lenses.
I am not a lens designer, but I would think designing a 28mm f5.6 lens would not be a Herculean task.

leicavidom
10-30-2017, 13:15
Been thinking about what lenses I would like to see reissued;top of my list would be
The amazing 21mm F3.4 Super Angulon - with a filter thread usable with currently available brands - 49mm sounds ideal. Unless Leica created a matching UV.,2x yellow and 4x orange in the original 48mm
This is an appeal for all you film users out there including moi.

sepiareverb
10-30-2017, 13:26
But the angulon is pretty much unusable on a digital body, unless one is after some LOMO film look.

leicavidom
10-30-2017, 13:27
Don't want to use it on a digital body......

leicavidom
10-30-2017, 13:36
Or....maybe this an opportunity for Leica;to make a digital friendly version of 21/3.4 S.A..
This would then give them a wide angle for a range of digital friendly character lenses which would then be ideal for use on the M11..(model no.for mono only M10 - I'm guessing
That we will eventually see.
It might persuade me to go digital.......

Corran
10-30-2017, 13:45
Or....maybe this an opportunity for Leica;to make a digital friendly version of 21/3.4 S.A...

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/798854-REG/Leica_11145_Super_Elmar_M_1_3_4_21mm_ASPH.html

Maybe the reason they don't "reissue GREAT lenses" is because they make new "GREAT" lenses already, optimized for usage on their newest cameras.

The Thambar is something totally different and not duplicated in their lineup. And as for a decades-old military lens, I doubt they couldn't best that with their modern designs, plus it's an awkward focal length.

I don't think there's any reason to reissue lenses that people have a mythical opinion of.

sepiareverb
10-30-2017, 13:45
They did make a digital friendly version it’s called the Super Elmar? Had they called it an Angulon they’d likely have been slaughtered for sacrilege.

The existing lens is plentiful and great on film as it is, what need for a reissue?

giganova
10-30-2017, 13:53
I'd like Leica to issue lenses that I can actually afford, not some obscure lenses that give blurred (thambo) images and cost and arm and a leg.

sepiareverb
10-30-2017, 13:59
won't happen for the reasons stated above - tooling alone for something they will only sell 2500 of is one reason.

The ‘affordable’ line of summarits was met with spit and hatred by many here, despite being very nice lenses. I shot the 50/2.4 for a while, lovely stuff.

Rob-F
10-30-2017, 14:51
I think they keep the tooling for their previous products. I'm thinking of the Leica "O" reissue of a few years back. They had the tooling, as I recall, to put it back into production. When they do have the tooling, I suppose the R&D work already having been done could make a re-issue cost effective. Of course, it would still take some time and money to set up and get back into production.

ptpdprinter
10-30-2017, 15:00
I'd like Leica to issue lenses that I can actually afford, not some obscure lenses that give blurred (thambo) images and cost and arm and a leg.
You may be waiting a long time.

michaelwj
10-30-2017, 15:09
Been thinking about what lenses I would like to see reissued;top of my list would be
The amazing 21mm F3.4 Super Angulon - with a filter thread usable with currently available brands - 49mm sounds ideal. Unless Leica created a matching UV.,2x yellow and 4x orange in the original 48mm
This is an appeal for all you film users out there including moi.

Just buy an original SA and use series 7 filters with the hood. Much more convenient to use and faster to change than screw in filters. B&W and others still make series 7 filters, and there are plenty of Leitz ones on the used market. But then the E48 are readily available used and new, I think B&W make them too.
The original SA is an amazing lens, don't let a simple thing like filters get in the way of using it.

coogee
10-30-2017, 17:15
^ 49mm filters also fit inside the hood, the same as Series VII ones.

It's a lens that really really needs that hood too, so popping a filter in there is no big deal to me.


FWIW I don't think 'Leitz' should reissue anything. Make new things. Then others can buy them, sell them shortly afterwards, then second buyer resells, then minor damage, then third buyer sells and fourth maybe loses the box and I might be #5..

Rob-F
10-30-2017, 19:21
"A 66mm ELCAN could certainly be done but it was a special, rare, niche lens which never was intended for use by the general population. Design, raytracing, tooling, sourcing glass, all would be very expensive and the sales wouldn't pay for the investment."

A techie friend did an MTF study with it...

It was the sharpest lens he ever tested... 400 lpi!

We casually compared my Summicron Apo/Asph 50/2 with his Elcan 66/2 and...

...the Summicron Apo/Asph had "color fringing" that was absent in the Elcan 66/2.

?

Sourcing glass! Yes, that is an important point. The same glasses may not be available now. So even if Leica has retained tooling--and they may have--the lens might still have to be redesigned. Apart from that, a question in my mind is whether there is a need for this focal length. It has never occurred to me that I need a 66mm lens. So the fact that a certain lens performs wonderfully may not be a sufficient reason for me to buy it. As to the lack of a finder frame, I guess one could split the difference between the 75mm frame and the 50mm (which is really a 60mm frame anyway).

Brian Legge
10-30-2017, 19:49
I love the idea of a Summicron 50/v1 collapsible with modern (hard) coating or a Summilux 35/v1 with modern coating and filter threads. The problem is, I wouldn't pay new Leica lens costs for them as I imagine they'd be in the $3-5k range. If someone put them out with a Zeiss price point, I'd pick them up for sure.

Daryl J.
10-30-2017, 21:11
5cm Summar!