A minimally wobbly Summicron
Old 12-11-2013   #1
mszargar
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A minimally wobbly Summicron

Hi RFers,

A local dealer has a Summicron 50 v4 in exceptional glass condition (shot it on a7r, just flawless), and I would like to buy it before leaving for holidays. The price he is suggesting is 1250 CAD (1180 USD), which is not outrageous. The lens comes with its hood and cap. It has some minimal wear on the body. It has visibly been opened for service (I can see the marks on the spinner holes and on the screws). Whoever has opened it, though, has done an exceptional job collimating the lens, as it is really perfect. But there is one issue: The lens barrel has a minimal wobble. This is very slight, but still one can feel it sometimes when moving the focusing tab.

I just want to know how normal this is for a Summicron 50. Will the play eventually deteriorate? And how bad is this for the resale value? (not that I am really planning to sell it...).

Thanks for your help in advance, and sorry for taking your time with this unrewarding gear-talk!
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Old 12-11-2013   #2
nobbylon
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It probably just needs the focus threads relubed.
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Old 12-11-2013   #3
swoop
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Mine has developed a wobble as well, it's still very sharp. I dropped it about two years ago and sent it in to Leica for repair, the wobble only started about three months ago.
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Old 12-14-2013   #4
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Hmm. No. That is not normal. Personally I would not purchase a lens knowing that it was already having problems unless the price is very, very good.

Leica lenses with wobbles? When did this kind of stuff start happening? No matter how well the lens may be working at this moment it is a fault and should be repaired as something is wrong inside. Send it to Leica, or your favorite Leica repair tech.

I have two Elmar 50/3.5s, a Summicron 50.2 Collapsible, an Elmar 50/2.8 (very fine lens), and a Summilux 50/1.4. Everyone of these lenses are years and years from being new, and not one of them wobble.

As for the lens that Leica was supposed to have repaired a couple years ago? I would have been on the line the minute it started happening. I am no star eyed Leica fanboy but my experience is that they stand by their equipment and their work.

But, to each his own.
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Last edited by Pioneer : 12-14-2013 at 23:48. Reason: clarification
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Old 12-15-2013   #5
thegman
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I had a Summicron DR which had some wobble in it, did not seem to affect anything adversely.
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Old 12-15-2013   #6
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I saw several 50mm v4 Summicrons with wobble that I rejected before buying the one I have now. It was solid when I got it several years ago, but has developed a very slight wobble too. I'll get it serviced if it gets worse. I would not pay the price you mentioned for one that had this issue; having these lenses worked on is not cheap.
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Old 12-15-2013   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegman View Post
I had a Summicron DR which had some wobble in it, did not seem to affect anything adversely.
same with my summicron rigid. some wobble i don“t like, but sharp results.
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Old 12-15-2013   #8
Boris Stupak
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At the age of most of the posters here, it is probably them that is wobbling and not the lens.
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Old 12-15-2013   #9
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It's the 'wobbling photographer system' or simply WPS.
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Old 12-15-2013   #10
arseniii
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I have two of v.4s. One is a later production model that was made in germany, never had an issues with it for the past 7 years. The other one is an earlier model (made in Canada) and has a slight wobble of the aperture ring. Never heard if any focus wobble on these models. 1200CAD is what I would expect to pay for a cron here in Toronto
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Old 12-15-2013   #11
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I've had 35 Summicrons and Summiluxes that I bought cheap, thinking I made a good deal on user lenses because I didn't care about cosmetics. Macho tough photographer attitude and all that ;-p

Both develop wobbles and when sent them for service I was told they were too worn out to be economical to repair. I sold both at a substantial loss because I described them accurately.

I had a similar experience with a user M2 body and finally learned my lesson the expensive way... that Leicas can wear out. Especially the old 35 Lux that uses a lot of Aluminum but remember that Brass is a pretty soft metal too.

One repair person told me that he could pack the lens with grease so I could resell it, figuring that a few months later when the wobble returned it would be past the point of responsibility. In fact I think I was a victim of this myself.

If I were to get back into Leica, I would only buy nicer looking gear from hobby photographers who only shoot a few rolls per year or I would simply buy new Voightlander lenses and recycle them with honest bargain descriptions in the classifieds when they need cleaning or wear out.

Leicas, at least the film ones and their lenses, are worth their premium price and they probably will last longer than most other brands but they still wear out. Since a lot of serious photographers used them, or they were in newspaper pools for 20 years, etc. some have literally seen 100,000 rolls through them.
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Old 12-15-2013   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wouter View Post
It's the 'wobbling photographer system' or simply WPS.
I have been known to wobble a bit at time myself. Usually following a few shots of JD on ice.

But I personally try to stay away from wobbly lenses. As Frank Petronio was kind enough to mention, everything wears out. If it is already wobbling it is probably at the end of that wonderful life it has had. Great for memories but perhaps not so great for photography.

There are lenses out there without wobble. Go look for it. And when you find it, don't sell it.
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Old 12-15-2013   #13
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Originally Posted by nobbylon View Post
It probably just needs the focus threads relubed.
Could you elaborate how to do it? Is it just simple to drop few watchmakers' oil on the focusing helical from the rear?
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Old 12-15-2013   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiemchacsu View Post

Could you elaborate how to do it? Is it just simple to drop few watchmakers' oil on the focusing helical from the rear?
No, that would make it worse. The helical needs special heavy grease that fills the space in the threads. Over time this thins out from use or dries out, and if it doesn't fill the space as well, you will get a wobble. It requires dismantling the lens, preferably by an experienced repair person.

I have a v4 with a wobble, made in germany. It has been like this for years. I eventually took it to Nippon photo clinic in NYC. They said that it wasn't really a problem, and even if they would re-lube it, it wouldn't make much difference (i.e. they wouldn't take my money).
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Old 12-15-2013   #15
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No, that would make it worse. The helical needs special heavy grease that fills the space in the threads. Over time this thins out from use or dries out, and if it doesn't fill the space as well, you will get a wobble. It requires dismantling the lens, preferably by an experienced repair person.

I have a v4 with a wobble, made in germany. It has been like this for years. I eventually took it to Nippon photo clinic in NYC. They said that it wasn't really a problem, and even if they would re-lube it, it wouldn't make much difference (i.e. they wouldn't take my money).
Thanks for the guide. Actually I posted a question how to lubricate a Rigid here but as you explained it would be a job by an expert. I rather keep using the lens like that even focusing is a bit stiff.
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Old 12-16-2013   #16
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Some lenses are easy to work on, others are more complicated. I have re-lubed several sub-$100 lenses. I think it isn't worth the risk to start experimenting on a pricy lens.
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