Wetzlar vs. Made in Canada
Old 03-20-2018   #1
PaulCooper
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Wetzlar vs. Made in Canada

Besides collector value, is there any evidence that Wetzlar made lenses perform better than the ones made in Canada?
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Old 03-20-2018   #2
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No.

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Old 03-20-2018   #3
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I think, certain period of time associated with ELC was not so good. Not so much to do with Midland, but bad (economy) decisions were made in design.
Optic part was good and improved, but mechanical part in some of the lenses....
Dirt cheap plastic focus tabs. Plastic in aperture parts at both v4 Crons 35 and 50.
Ugly, huge for no reason lenses like Elmarit-M 28 2.8 III.

Also, to be very honest M CLE cameras are well working cameras, I'm only keeping M4-2 as film M, but pre-ELC made are the special ones.

After all they moved to Canada only for one reason. To make it cheaper.
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Old 03-20-2018   #4
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No difference. Some of the state of the art lenses at the time originally came out of Canada. I've owned both over the decades and the lenses and bodies I had problems with actually came out of Germany.
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Old 03-20-2018   #5
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The elves at Wetzlar were pure bred whereas the elves at Midland were genetically modified
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Old 03-20-2018   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I think, certain period of time associated with ELC was not so good. Not so much to do with Midland, but bad (economy) decisions were made in design.
Optic part was good and improved, but mechanical part in some of the lenses....
Dirt cheap plastic focus tabs. Plastic in aperture parts at both v4 Crons 35 and 50.
Ugly, huge for no reason lenses like Elmarit-M 28 2.8 III.

Also, to be very honest M CLE cameras are well working cameras, I'm only keeping M4-2 as film M, but pre-ELC made are the special ones.

After all they moved to Canada only for one reason. To make it cheaper.
Optics were not always improved in absolute terms, but they were improved in economical terms (the 1.2 -> 1.0 Noctilux is example where a very expensive lens design was replaced with a less expensive design).

Mechanically, decisions were made that might not have been the best in hindsight, but at the time made sense. For example, grease in the aperture mechanism outgassed and fogs the lenses, but there is this new plastic material that doesn't need as much grease and so won't outgas as much. Excellent choice. After all, why would the aperture assembly be under that much stress? It is only with ageing and hindsight that we can see the choice was not the best.

To the last point, there is no evidence that Leitz moved to Canada because it was cheaper. On the contrary, there is evidence that they moved because the company had been decimated in the second world war and wanted to spread out it's risk with the onset of the cold war. Of course being closer to the large north American market would not hurt, but it appears they researched many different regions before settling on north America.

A to choosing a Canadian part over a German part. Choose the newest you can, be it Canadian or German. There is no difference.
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Old 03-21-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelwj View Post
To the last point, there is no evidence that Leitz moved to Canada because it was cheaper. On the contrary, there is evidence that they moved because the company had been decimated in the second world war and wanted to spread out it's risk with the onset of the cold war. Of course being closer to the large north American market would not hurt, but it appears they researched many different regions before settling on north America.
Fascinating! This is a perspective I have not seen before. I had thought it was for more efficient or cost effective distribution to North America. Or possibly it avoided some import duties or VAT?

Apart from that, no difference in quality. The Midland plant was staffed by German Leica personnel, after all.
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Old 03-21-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
Fascinating! This is a perspective I have not seen before. I had thought it was for more efficient or cost effective distribution to North America. Or possibly it avoided some import duties or VAT?

Apart from that, no difference in quality. The Midland plant was staffed by German Leica personnel, after all.
Under the heading “Leica in Canada” there is some information; but it is elsewhere as well, and as you say, fascinating!

http://www.overgaard.dk/leica_history.html
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Old 03-21-2018   #9
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Some of the greatest lenses of all time were only made in Canada, and not in Wetzlar, such as the steel rim 35mm Summilux and the 90mm Summicron I and II.

Erik.
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Old 03-21-2018   #10
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Checked the bag I'm carrying today and found mostly Canadian lenses, mainly Mandler designs. Except for the 21, a Super Angulon, I find I prefer Canadian lenses. They have been all used professionally and held up well. The only mechanical issue was a loose element in a 75 Summilux some years ago and DAG fixed that easily.
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Old 03-21-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Some of the greatest lenses of all time were only made in Canada, and not in Wetzlar, such as the steel rim 35mm Summilux and the 90mm Summicron I and II.

Erik.
Agree, like my favorite 50mm Noctilux 1.0 perfect optical and mechanical canadian creation.

But I had some flaw with Canada Summicron 2/35 "light" (135g).
This is well know "too light" while the same Cron IV of later Canada or Wetzlar made are not much havier at 155g .
I must say that the IQ of the two type Cron IV are the same.
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Old 03-21-2018   #12
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the third type Canadian summicron (aka bokah king ) has a plastic part for the focus barrel mount that breaks or wears out . the later German lens has a metal part used . optically Canadian and German lenses are the same . the Canadian designers were looking for a ways to reduce weight or cost .
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Old 03-21-2018   #13
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My understanding was that when production move to Canada so did the machinery. Most of the German technicians went with the machinery to train the new staff. Was any actual design work done in Canada? I didn't think so but maybe much later.

Remember Leitz moved a lot of production (SLR) to Portugal also.
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Old 03-21-2018   #14
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It's common knowledge that Wetzlar-produced lenses are better in every measurable way than their Canadian equivalents: higher resolution, better contrast and flare control, and higher build quality.





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Old 03-21-2018   #15
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AFAIK were the Summicron 90mm versions I and II (the heavy ones with detachable lens heads) designed and produced in Canada, just like the Steel Rim 35mm f/1.4, also with a detachable head. These lenses are mechanically and optically masterpieces.

Later the Japanese competion forced Leitz to apply cheaper constructions.

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Old 03-21-2018   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
My understanding was that when production move to Canada so did the machinery. Most of the German technicians went with the machinery to train the new staff. Was any actual design work done in Canada? I didn't think so but maybe much later.

Remember Leitz moved a lot of production (SLR) to Portugal also.
Yes but a helluvalot of Leica lenses were designed and produced on Canada - courtesy of Herr Mandler - please see
http://www.phsc.ca/phsc_e-mail/Vol-5...Dr-Mandler.pdf
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Old 03-21-2018   #17
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Own both of them. No difference at all.

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Old 03-21-2018   #18
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I read that the Leitz Canada employed some truly top notch people. That's not surprising; Canada had/has an excellent educational system and technological industries. The decision to have a presence in Canada was supposedly to diversify Leica in a post-war world and make it easier to serve their largest and most important market -- North America. For some reason, Canada was a better location than the U.S. I don't remember why.

I also read that quality was as important at ELC as it was in Wetzlar. However, its true that Leica (in Canada, Wetzlar, Timbuktu, or wherever) had an eye on production costs, and was not averse to incorporating appropriate methods or materials in that context. But, Canada stuff (bodies, lenses, whatever) are excellent Leica and not different than Leica made elsewhere. Personally, I'm quite happy and impressed with my ELC stuff.

Now, I did hear or read something about the Elcan 50mm f/2.0 lens that was produced for the KE-7. Supposedly, that lens was intentionally made more cheaply at the request of the U.S. government who didn't want to pay for a more "highly specified" lens than necessary. Seems like that could be true. Anyone know for sure?
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Old 03-21-2018   #19
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Have used both .. Cameras & Lenses... No Issues from either
Proud to use, be it Canadian or Wetzlar .
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Old 03-21-2018   #20
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Canada saved Leica's corporate behind...

Those cameras and lenses should sell for a HUGE premium!
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Old 03-21-2018   #21
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Camera production was brought up to modern maching standard, i.e. make the parts to tighter tolerances so less adjustment points were required in assembly. Cost saving.

Some cost cutting like plastic sync contact holder which would break and elimination of condenser lens in RF thus allowing flare under some conditions.

Steel gears instead of brass were a bit rough, but last longer and hold up to motor drive.

Zinc cast top plate instead of machined brass cost reduction. however if pot metal was not pure, bubbles appeared under plating. Some cameras look like they have measles.
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Old 03-21-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
...
Remember Leitz moved a lot of production (SLR) to Portugal also.
Some data here (in spite of the promotional intention of the video)

http://leica.pt/multimedia?lang=en

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Old 03-21-2018   #23
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Some data here (in spite of the promotional intention of the video)

http://leica.pt/multimedia?lang=en
The website shows the assembly of digital M cameras in Portugal. I thought they were assembled in Germany. Aren't they stamped as such.
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Old 03-21-2018   #24
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Did they ever build lenses in the Portuguese factory? I know they did bodies
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Old 03-21-2018   #25
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Originally Posted by michaelwj View Post
Optics were not always improved in absolute terms, but they were improved in economical terms (the 1.2 -> 1.0 Noctilux is example where a very expensive lens design was replaced with a less expensive design).

Mechanically, decisions were made that might not have been the best in hindsight, but at the time made sense. For example, grease in the aperture mechanism outgassed and fogs the lenses, but there is this new plastic material that doesn't need as much grease and so won't outgas as much. Excellent choice. After all, why would the aperture assembly be under that much stress? It is only with ageing and hindsight that we can see the choice was not the best.

To the last point, there is no evidence that Leitz moved to Canada because it was cheaper. On the contrary, there is evidence that they moved because the company had been decimated in the second world war and wanted to spread out it's risk with the onset of the cold war. Of course being closer to the large north American market would not hurt, but it appears they researched many different regions before settling on north America.

A to choosing a Canadian part over a German part. Choose the newest you can, be it Canadian or German. There is no difference.
Absolutely correct, and remember some of the finest ever glass made here was because of the sand quality available there. I met Mandler a couple of times when he was on trips going through Thunder Bay, Ontario in the 1960's, and both of these subjects were talked about in detail.
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Old 03-21-2018   #26
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Another interesting article on Midland:

http://gmpphoto.blogspot.com/2017/09...a-history.html

I like the fact that they chose Midland because it had the same number of letters as Wetzlar!

I had the good fortune to visit the plant back in 1993. I had done a test comparison/analysis of Leica 50mm lenses in 3rd Year undergrad tech at Ryerson in Toronto, and I sent a copy of it to Midland. Conrad Stenton, the chief technologist there at the time (when it was Hughes Leitz Optical Technologies), was very appreciative of the report I sent him and he invited me up there for a personal tour. It was a rare treat indeed.
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Old 03-21-2018   #27
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Leica Canada saved Leica Germany by keeping the M system alive

\https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...ad.php?t=62799

something that is curiously missing from official Leica histories ....
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Old 03-21-2018   #28
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Thanks for provide more information about historical aspect of Leica.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
Another interesting article on Midland:

http://gmpphoto.blogspot.com/2017/09...a-history.html

I like the fact that they chose Midland because it had the same number of letters as Wetzlar!

I had the good fortune to visit the plant back in 1993. I had done a test comparison/analysis of Leica 50mm lenses in 3rd Year undergrad tech at Ryerson in Toronto, and I sent a copy of it to Midland. Conrad Stenton, the chief technologist there at the time (when it was Hughes Leitz Optical Technologies), was very appreciative of the report I sent him and he invited me up there for a personal tour. It was a rare treat indeed.
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Old 03-21-2018   #29
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Many thanks Vince for the link - very interesting read
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Old 03-21-2018   #30
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The reason for cost cutting during the time frame of moving to Canada had absolutely nothing to due with Canada itself. Leitz was in very poor economic straits due to the rise in popularity of the SLR and disaster that was the M5.
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Old 03-21-2018   #31
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Old 03-22-2018   #32
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interesting links and infos, thanks you all
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