Leica IIIa - which lens to buy? Jupiter-8?
Old 01-19-2020   #1
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Leica IIIa - which lens to buy? Jupiter-8?

I bought a IIIa with a Summar a few years ago. The Summar was heavily scratched so I sold it. Now I am looking for a replacement. I had a Nokton 1.5/50 but the finder blockage was annoying. A Color Skopar 2.5 50 would be nice but I cannot find one. What lens would you recommend? How is the finder blockage with a Jupiter-8?
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Old 01-19-2020   #2
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How much speed do you need? The obvious choice here is an Elmar 50/3.5, which is a perfect fit and makes the camera that much more pocketable, but it is slow. Anything larger is going to have some sort of finder blockage. The other question is whether or not you have considered an external finder. A SBOOI (or equivalent) makes these cameras much easier to use quickly, and eliminates the finder blockage issue.
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Old 01-19-2020   #3
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If you can get one, another Summar would be great. Check the Summar thread to see what that lens can do. There's no significant finder blockage and, if you like funky, there's a special lens hood. A Summar would also be age-appropriate for that camera.
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Old 01-19-2020   #4
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A SBOOI will now cost as much as a useable lens...
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Old 01-19-2020   #5
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Get the 50mm Elmer, or a Nikon or Canon period correct lens.
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Old 01-19-2020   #6
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Originally Posted by Dralowid View Post
A SBOOI will now cost as much as a useable lens...
+1.

And protective filter, plus hood. To avoid to have another lens for sale due to scratches.

And then add Jupiter-8 black, it is easier to re-shim and could be one from nineties.
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Old 01-19-2020   #7
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Get the 50mm Elmer, or a Nikon or Canon period correct lens.
IIIa period correct Nikon or Canon lens?
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Old 01-19-2020   #8
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Depends on what the definition of 'usable' is. Sure, there are cheap LTM lenses, but there is a reason they are cheap...

SBOOI are not all that expensive, but they are so nice to use.
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Old 01-19-2020   #9
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Depends on what the definition of 'usable' is. Sure, there are cheap LTM lenses, but there is a reason they are cheap...

SBOOI are not all that expensive, but they are so nice to use.
I went from Summar, Summarit, Summitar to all 50 Crons including current formula.
I also re-shimmed and used many FSU 50mm ltm lenses.
The only reason FSU lenses are cheap is because people lazy or incapable.
My re-shimmed, re-lubed, optically still clear from day one J-3 is just as good as huge and heavy Summarit with chalk soft glass which is welcoming fungus.
Here is absolutely nothing wrong with J-8. It has glass which doesn't fogs, separate, fungus and else which all Canon, Leitz ltms are famous for.
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Old 01-19-2020   #10
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I can't compare it to any Leica lenses but my J-8 from the 70s is clear like a new lens, too. Shimming it wasn't very hard and it makes nice pictures with that Sonnar look.
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Old 01-19-2020   #11
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Nice lens the Jupiter 8 and considerably cheaper than any Leica glass for like quality.
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Old 01-19-2020   #12
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A collapsible I-22 or I-50 lens would be my choice.

I got a nice preforming I -22 on my Leica III right now and it is as good as my 50mm Elmar on my other Leica.
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Old 01-19-2020   #13
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"A collapsible I-22 or I-50 lens would be my choice."

For testing purposes, I mounted my late model I-50 on my A7II and was really surprised/pleased with the image quality. It is now mounted on my IIIf.
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Old 01-19-2020   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry M View Post
"A collapsible I-22 or I-50 lens would be my choice."

For testing purposes, I mounted my late model I-50 on my A7II and was really surprised/pleased with the image quality. It is now mounted on my IIIf.
If you get a good FSU lens...the quality of photos it produces is equal to the best of the best from Germany or Japan.

The bonus of the collapseable I-22 or I-50 lens is that they are as quality made mechanically as any 50mm Elmar lens.
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Old 01-19-2020   #15
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Canon LTM 1.8/50 - small, good optical reputation, affordable
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Old 01-19-2020   #16
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Originally Posted by xayraa33 View Post
If you get a good FSU lens...the quality of photos it produces is equal to the best of the best from Germany or Japan.

The bonus of the collapseable I-22 or I-50 lens is that they are as quality made mechanically as any 50mm Elmar lens.
I've run comparison tests with eight different I-22's and three different Elmars (all coated) shooting newspaper targets at one meter. The camera, a IIc, was on a tripod and the lenses were all at f3.5.

The I-22's were OK performers but none of the FSU lenses was a sharp as any of the Elmars. I agree that the mechanical construction of the FSU lenses was equal to that of the Elmars.

If you choose to go with a FSU collapsible, best to close it down a couple of stops.
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Old 01-19-2020   #17
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An interesting lens to consider is the Taylor Taylor Hobson T 2 (f2) 2” Amotal. This lens was made for the Bell and Howell Foton about 1948 but many remained unused after production of the Foton, and were converted to LTM mount. It’s a 6 element Coated lens built to Cine quality. To see How the images look from this lens check Mike Eckman’s review of my Foton. You’ll be highly impressed what the TTH Amotal does.
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Old 01-19-2020   #18
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I went from Summar, Summarit, Summitar to all 50 Crons including current formula.
I also re-shimmed and used many FSU 50mm ltm lenses.
The only reason FSU lenses are cheap is because people lazy or incapable.
My re-shimmed, re-lubed, optically still clear from day one J-3 is just as good as huge and heavy Summarit with chalk soft glass which is welcoming fungus.
Here is absolutely nothing wrong with J-8. It has glass which doesn't fogs, separate, fungus and else which all Canon, Leitz ltms are famous for.

It has been my experience (20 or so lenses, silver and black bodies both) that most J-8's don't require shimming; only ran into one that did.

Similarly, with four J-3's, three of the four required substantial shimming, the other one, the oldest, was spot on.

BTW, the J-8 makes a pretty good enlarger lens.
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Old 01-19-2020   #19
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I've run comparison tests with eight different I-22's and three different Elmars (all coated) shooting newspaper targets at one meter. The camera, a IIc, was on a tripod and the lenses were all at f3.5.

The I-22's were OK performers but none of the FSU lenses was a sharp as any of the Elmars. I agree that the mechanical construction of the FSU lenses was equal to that of the Elmars.

If you choose to go with a FSU collapsible, best to close it down a couple of stops.
With FSU lenses you have to pick the best of the litter.

I got plenty of J-8 and Kiev J8m and I-22 lenses and some J-3 lenses, most came on the camera bodies.

Some are fantastic, most are average and a few are plain dogs.

I got J-8 lenses from Zorki 4 cameras that are the equal of any f2 Zeiss Sonnar, one beat up J8 old style in Kiev mount that is so good it is almost unbelievable

The dog J-8 lenses are just too soft and simply just unuseable.

I had better luck with the I-22 lenses, some are as good as an Elmar... the I-10 lenses are junk in what I experienced and the J-3 lenses are all different, some even better than my Zeiss Opton 50mm f1.5 Sonnar.....but the last made J-3 lenses in black finish are too soft at full bore and cannot be adjusted properly to work on the Leica standard.. unlike the older aluminium finish J-3 lenses.
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Old 01-19-2020   #20
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I think the problem is that we are talking about lenses that are all secondhand and of varying ages and histories. F'instance a FED 10 could be nearly 85 years old and who knows what has happened to it in those years? Add in the problems caused by the cold war and the lenses come out of it well.

I don't know about the rest of you but I wouldn't expect a 10 year old car to be perfect and so on with anything else secondhand. I have even been quoted well over UKP 200 for a Leica lens to be sorted out...

No one has mentioned the Industar-61 (L/D) which I like and use from time to time on the M9, they are f/2.8 and that makes them a bit cheaper and so a bargain for what you get. I'm assuming bargains are being sought from the mention of the J-8 in the opening post. Here's a sample full frame and then a crop using the M9 and the Industar-61:-





If you want Leitz glass and to match a IIIa, then the bargain is the Summitar; they come coated and uncoated depending on their age and were fitted new to IIIa's from the late 30's.


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Old 01-19-2020   #21
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I think the problem is that we are talking about lenses that are all secondhand and of varying ages and histories. F'instance a FED 10 could be nearly 85 years old and who knows what has happened to it in those years? Add in the problems caused by the cold war and the lenses come out of it well.

I don't know about the rest of you but I wouldn't expect a 10 year old car to be perfect and so on with anything else secondhand. I have even been quoted well over UKP 200 for a Leica lens to be sorted out...

No one has mentioned the Industar-61 (L/D) which I like and use from time to time on the M9, they are f/2.8 and that makes them a bit cheaper and so a bargain for what you get. I'm assuming bargains are being sought from the mention of the J-8 in the opening post. Here's a sample full frame and then a crop using the M9 and the Industar-61:-

If you want Leitz glass and to match a IIIa, then the bargain is the Summitar; they come coated and uncoated depending on their age and were fitted new to IIIa's from the late 30's.

Regards, David
The car analogy is a bit imperfect. The part of a lens that does the work, the optical element train, has no moving parts. Unless mechanical damage has been suffered, one might expect a clean old lens to perform as it did when new.

Your suggestion of the Industar 61 is a shrewd one. That lens seems to be held in high regard by those who have actually used it, myself included.
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Old 01-19-2020   #22
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You mentioned you couldn't find a Skopar 50mm F2.5 - here's one on eBay, not sure if this is in your price range.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/TOP-MINT-Vo...wAAOSwmgNeEd0U
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Old 01-19-2020   #23
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I'll leave the Russian experimentation to others, good luck to everyone who eventually gets a winner.
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Old 01-20-2020   #24
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A collapsible Summitar is on my IIIa. Look no further, I'd say.
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Old 01-20-2020   #25
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How much speed do you need? The obvious choice here is an Elmar 50/3.5, which is a perfect fit and makes the camera that much more pocketable, but it is slow.
It's hard to pass up a collapsible lens for a Leica screw-mount body. The 50/3.5 Elmar is the most compact! I prefer the f/2.8 Elmar for its easier to use aperture control, though it is a bit less compact. The 50mm lens I use on a Barnack (Leica screw-mount) is the collapsible Summicron. It's even less compact, but a great lens. Voigtlander also makes a collapsible 50.

Or, since you have waited this long, you could wait a little longer for that Color Skopar.
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Old 01-20-2020   #26
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Canon LTM 1.8/50 - small, good optical reputation, affordable
Not really small and not chrome versions are extreme prone to haze, which is not always removable.
I feel very thank full to Helen Hill for giving me clear one as the gift.


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I'll leave the Russian experimentation to others, good luck to everyone who eventually gets a winner.
Sorry, but it just not true.
You might be mixing FSU RF lenses and SLR lenses, two very different categories. I gave up on FSU SLR lenses quick due to huge quality fluctuation.
FSU RF lenses I went through dozens of all kinds. No lottery, just CLA. 90% of lenses needed no cleaning, even those I have from fifties. Comparing to Leitz, Canon LTM and even some Cosina LTM lenses with haze now, FSU have much stable optics.
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Old 01-20-2020   #27
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Lots of comments about 'shimming' in this thread, lenses originally built correctly wouldn't need this. If others want to do this work, including the necessary testing to confirm accurate focus, more power to them! I wish them luck, it's just not for me.
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Old 01-20-2020   #28
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FSU lenses were made correctly, most of them. The only reason why they need to be shimmed for Leica is because they used Contax focal distance standard instead of Leica.
Shimming is not damaging anything and reversible. It is totally DIY, I can't do most of home improvements, but did re-shimming. Testing is one, two short rolls of film.
Fogged, hazed and separated optics in Leitz, Canon and else are often not fixable.
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Old 01-20-2020   #29
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Just not my cup o' tea. Obtaining shims of various thicknesses, testing with film, trying another shim, shooting more film for when the first shim doesn't work out, repeat as necessary. Combine this time and effort with the vagaries of focus cams, no thanks.

On the other hand, if one doesn't want to mess with fogged optics, just don't buy fogged optics.
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Old 01-20-2020   #30
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Your choice is to play another lottery or just pay a lot more.

I prefer to do what I understand and capable of doing by myself. And what is not a lottery.
I use easy to make with nails scissors shims and test without shims and with different number of shims added on the same test roll. One, maximum two fifteen frames rolls are needed. If it is tested on film.
With digital camera (like cheap used m4/3) no film needs to be used to re-shim.
I have lenses done this way and in use for years now.

On the opposite, finding old Leitz, Canon and else which has no scratches, fungus, separation or/and haze is the lottery indeed, which you are willing to pay and play.
Lottery to find without all of it and lottery to find it without outrageous price.
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Old 01-20-2020   #31
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To each their own. Testing focus on a mirrorless won't guarantee accurate focus on a rangefinder, due to the complicating factor of the RF cam. I don't have a mirrorless that uses an RF cam (and don't plan on getting one) so that's not an option for me.

On the other hand, I've had no problem acquiring nice glass without any of those issues at good prices, I suppose that's a skill too.
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Old 01-20-2020   #32
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To each their own. Testing focus on a mirrorless won't guarantee accurate focus on a rangefinder, due to the complicating factor of the RF cam. I don't have a mirrorless that uses an RF cam (and don't plan on getting one) so that's not an option for me.

On the other hand, I've had no problem acquiring nice glass without any of those issues at good prices, I suppose that's a skill too.
I have all kinds of lenses from many different manufacturers including the big Japanese and German makers plus the FSU stuff.

If you don't enjoy shimming FSU lenses that is fine...not all of them need it.

Buying the best example of an old lens that you can afford is always good advice...as a novice years ago it was easy to be bamboozled in buying less than quality pieces.. but I learned fast not to be taken in and in some cases that is the best way to learn a lesson.
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Old 01-20-2020   #33
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The car analogy is a bit imperfect. The part of a lens that does the work, the optical element train, has no moving parts. Unless mechanical damage has been suffered, one might expect a clean old lens to perform as it did when new.

Your suggestion of the Industar 61 is a shrewd one. That lens seems to be held in high regard by those who have actually used it, myself included.
I was talking about expectations; I've never noticed people talking about secondhand and elderly cars with no service history as though the maker was entirely to blame for the state the car is in.

Experience of buying and using lenses tells me I have to wait for the first test roll and then see the state it is in. I've had Leica lenses that were damaged externally that performed brilliantly and cost very ittle to repair. I've had others that looked good and performed well yet seemed to need a lot spent on them and another that was dropped and improved a lot. Plus the usual dirty, dusty and scratched (but very rare) that I knew about when I bought them.

As for lenses made in the USSR I've had just one dud and that was a very old f/2 50mm, say mid 1930's. Given its age and the time the internet has existed I'd blame amateurs thinking they can repair them. That is why I don't believe a lot I read on the www; especially people who shout about QC when they are talking about an elderly lens. As you say they are "to be held in high regard by those who have actually used" them but have they tried all the ones they condemn?

The other internet problem is that people report problems and other pick them up and spread the news. If I had my way people would quote the lens make and model and serial no but they very seldom do. Worse still a lot say they sold it immediately and so someone else rants about the same lens and so on.

If you want lenses or cameras to perform like Leicas then you have to treat them like Leicas and spend a lot of money getting them sorted out. And reading about the cold war might just help point the finger at who can be blamed for some of the problems. And then there's digital coming along and tempting people to abandon their old cameras to their fate and so and so on...

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Old 02-01-2020   #34
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An interesting lens to consider is the Taylor Taylor Hobson T 2 (f2) 2” Amotal. This lens was made for the Bell and Howell Foton about 1948 but many remained unused after production of the Foton, and were converted to LTM mount. It’s a 6 element Coated lens built to Cine quality. To see How the images look from this lens check Mike Eckman’s review of my Foton. You’ll be highly impressed what the TTH Amotal does.
I had one and they are fantastic but also rare and expensive. I guess compared to a Summicron DR, not too bad, but if you can find one under $1,000 you are doing good. They have aluminum mounts, no click detents on the iris, and basically feel like junk. The Amotal is an exotic that may not perform as well as a lens costing 1/4 of it's price, like a Canon 50/1.8.
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