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My grail Leica lens at last - Leitz 5cm f2 Summicron L39.
Old 03-10-2016   #1
dougdarter
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My grail Leica lens at last - Leitz 5cm f2 Summicron L39.

This little beauty arrived bright and early in the post this morning. I have been looking for a good one for years, but never been lucky enough to find one at the right price. Good ones can fetch up to 700, because most are badly scratched due to the soft 'soda' glass used on the front element. This one is exceptional, with most of the fragile coating intact, with NO SCRATCHES! There are light cleaning marks in the coating, but that's it. It's also in near mint condition, with most of the wax filled engraving perfect. No internal dust or fungus, no oil on blades, or scratches on the barrel either, so overall, I'd rate it at Exc +, or 95%.

This was the absolute to lens of its era in 1953 when it was built, and will still hold its own today, and will outperform many expensive SLR lenses. Leica didn't use the LAK9 Lanthanum 'radioactive' glass in 1953, so it's not going to go yellow either.

It has a 10 bladed aperture, which is circular at all f numbers, so bokeh will be excellent.











Here are a few pics taken using this lens this morning, on my digital Olympus EP5 M 4/3 camera. Weather was overcast outside, and raining hard, so these shots were taken indoors. Not bad for a 62 year old lens!!





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Old 03-10-2016   #2
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To me every Leica lens with focus scale in meters is beautiful!
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Old 03-10-2016   #3
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Yes, the collapsible Summicron is one of my favorites. It's the only lens I have in both M mount and LTM. Not that I don't use my DRS and my 11817 (the one made from 1969 to 1979) but I like the soft-sharpness of the collapsible at its wider apertures!
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Old 03-10-2016   #4
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Wide open this lens is little usable, for the rest it is very nice.
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Old 03-10-2016   #5
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Very nice little friend, very nice indeed. Congrats on your find!

B2 (;->
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Old 03-10-2016   #6
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Agree with Marek, soft wide open and never really get sharp enough to match later Summicrons.
I have two, one in ltm and one in M mount. A painterly lens when that is needed.
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Old 03-10-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
Wide open this lens is little usable, for the rest it is very nice.
Is it specific to LTM? I've had M collapsible and it was giving me printable results for 8x10 wide open.
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Old 03-10-2016   #8
dougdarter
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It is a sharp lens, if care is taken. I've a Summar, a Summarit and an Elmar, and it's looking to be as sharp as any of these.

I
Sharpness is bound to fall off at the edges, but in the centre, it's excellent.
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Old 03-10-2016   #9
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Congratulations on finding a really nice looking copy of the Summicron LTM. Looks great on the camera!
I realise this lens is faster than an Elmar 3.5, but that aside how does this Summicron compare with the coated Elmar in terms of sharpness, contrast, rendering? Is this Summicron the best "native" LTM lens for a Barnack?
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Old 03-10-2016   #10
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Congratulations on a very nice lens - good find for one in such condition!
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Old 03-10-2016   #11
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I use one constantly, on my M3.
I always use a filter, for protection.
It is reasonably sharp at full aperture but center only.
I make prints not huge magnifications on monitor.
I made 20" x 30" pro prints.
A great portrait lens.
Stopped down almost no difference to more modern Summicron.
Contrast is lower, a positive with scanning and digital.
Oh! It flares like the newest 50mm APO-Summicron.:-)
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Old 03-11-2016   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveler_101 View Post
Congratulations on finding a really nice looking copy of the Summicron LTM. Looks great on the camera!
I realise this lens is faster than an Elmar 3.5, but that aside how does this Summicron compare with the coated Elmar in terms of sharpness, contrast, rendering? Is this Summicron the best "native" LTM lens for a Barnack?
I think 'sharp' is subjective. It can be affected by so many factors, not always under the control of the photographer.

If I was able to give my objective opinion of sharpness, I'd say yes, sharper than the Elmar, but so are my Summars, which are uncoated. I can however, only comment on the results from an uncoated Elmar, because I don't have a coated one.

Best 'native' lens?? Again very subjective, but being dogmatic, I'd say yes. I do honestly believe that the Summicron is the sharpest LTM 50, but my belief is backed up by that of many peer reviewed reports available on the net.
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Old 03-11-2016   #13
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
Wide open this lens is little usable, for the rest it is very nice.
This one is with the collapsible Summicron wide open. Usable enough for me.

Leica MP, Summicron 50mm f/2 collapsible, Tmax400.

Erik.

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Old 03-11-2016   #14
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I used to have a collapsible Summicron and although a bit cloudy it was a very nice lens.

These days I think the 'best' thing to stick on the front of you ltm Leica is a late f3.5 Elmar, the f2.8 version of the same lens may be 'better' in terms of ergonomics but I have never had one.

The question, of course, is how you define 'best' or 'better'.
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Old 03-11-2016   #15
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Imagine, I was somehow under the impression for these last 40 years that this photo was fine, and didn't need more sharpness than it has. Now I find out that the lens is unusable wide open!

Collapsible Summicron, wide open; pretty much my favorite lens, ever, and I can't imagine this picture done better with any other lens. The lens that shot this is long gone, but last year I, also, was able to pick up a perfect example that I now very happily use.


B
by Michael Darnton, on Flickr
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Old 03-11-2016   #16
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I don't own it anymore... but enjoyed using this on digital Ms as well. Nice copy OP>
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Old 03-11-2016   #17
David Hughes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dralowid View Post
I used to have a collapsible Summicron and although a bit cloudy it was a very nice lens.

These days I think the 'best' thing to stick on the front of you ltm Leica is a late f3.5 Elmar, the f2.8 version of the same lens may be 'better' in terms of ergonomics but I have never had one.

The question, of course, is how you define 'best' or 'better'.
Simples, mine is best, always....

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Old 03-11-2016   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dralowid View Post
I used to have a collapsible Summicron and although a bit cloudy it was a very nice lens.

These days I think the 'best' thing to stick on the front of you ltm Leica is a late f3.5 Elmar, the f2.8 version of the same lens may be 'better' in terms of ergonomics but I have never had one.

The question, of course, is how you define 'best' or 'better'.
Well I like my 1946 coated Elmar 3.5, and of course it makes an incredibly compact kit. But one is always given to winder whether this lens or that, a Summicron or a Summitar, would produce more pleasing results. I suppose at some point I might try, though I certainly wouldn't drop 700 to acquire the lens.
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Old 03-11-2016   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveler_101 View Post
Well I like my 1946 coated Elmar 3.5, and of course it makes an incredibly compact kit. But one is always given to winder whether this lens or that, a Summicron or a Summitar, would produce more pleasing results. I suppose at some point I might try, though I certainly wouldn't drop 700 to acquire the lens.
I wouldn't drop 700 to acquire one either!! I said in the OP, that I was able to acquire one at the right price, which in this case was the paltry sum of 150, or roughly $220. I've paid more than this for an avverage f2 Summar.

I actually couldn't believe the price when I first saw it. I was suspicious about the condition, and after a few conversations, and lots of photographs of the lens, and it's glass, I bought it. When it arrived, I was so happy that I had bought a good 'un!!
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Old 03-11-2016   #20
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Old 03-14-2016   #21
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Hmmm.

This thread has started me thinking. Bad habit I know. I wonder whether I should trade my Summarit for a Summicron?

Hmmm. Dunno. Summicron is handier and results more consistent (from memory) but the Summarit can do rather special odd things at f1.5.
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Old 07-01-2017   #22
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Just got my first ever Summicron, the 50 ltm
to use on my Leica II with SBIOO 50mm finder.
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Old 07-01-2017   #23
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I bought a 1955 double stroke M3 yesterday with a 5cm Summicron. The serial number is NR1217448. I haven't yet researched the date and the likely glass.

I need to get a suitable filter for protective purposes and a lense hood. Is the IR00A bayonet hood correct for the collapsible 5cm?

I've seen several IR00A hoods advertised for rigid 50mm Summicrons but no reference to the 5cm

Thanks in advance for any help on this. Pictures to follow.

Chris
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Old 07-01-2017   #24
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i stumbled on an LTM summicron for cheap as well. Mine has perfect glass, not a scratch or mark on it. A rare thing apparently.
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Old 07-02-2017   #25
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My copy is in excellent condition and performs very well IMO. See samples here - my judgment is through comparison with Summitar, Summar, J8, I-61 and Nikkor 5cm f2; and with more modern Nikon/Canon lenses.

I haven't tried it with colour film. For b&w I find the results very pleasing, lots of detail and lower contrast than newer designs.

I can't speak for the Elmar. I like what I see from the Elmar.
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Old 07-02-2017   #26
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Had mine repolish and recoated in Japan and it's a nice lens to have in the arsenal.

Works well with colour


Japan_AgfaCT100_Hakodate_03
by Eugene Ong, on Flickr


Japan_AgfaCT100_Hakodate_01
by Eugene Ong, on Flickr
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Old 07-26-2017   #27
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How much coating wear is considered acceptable for these? Impossible to find one perfect sub $800+
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Old 07-26-2017   #28
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This is interesting. I have a very nice LTM Summicron 50 and the glass appears to be almost new. I am pretty astounded since I had no idea that nice examples were so rare.

Now I'm nervous to use it.
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Old 07-26-2017   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
This is interesting. I have a very nice LTM Summicron 50 and the glass appears to be almost new. I am pretty astounded since I had no idea that nice examples were so rare.

Now I'm nervous to use it.
Why be nervous? It's meant to be used - go out and enjoy!
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Old 07-26-2017   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
This is interesting. I have a very nice LTM Summicron 50 and the glass appears to be almost new. I am pretty astounded since I had no idea that nice examples were so rare.

Now I'm nervous to use it.
I don't think they are THAT rare, maybe you haver read too many tales of lenses bought over the internet.
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Old 07-27-2017   #31
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Why be nervous? It's meant to be used - go out and enjoy!
Certainly. Mine came to me with a very nice Leitz Skylight Filter on it which may have been the reason the glass was in such nice shape.
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Old 07-27-2017   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooktaw View Post
I bought a 1955 double stroke M3 yesterday with a 5cm Summicron. The serial number is NR1217448. I haven't yet researched the date and the likely glass.

I need to get a suitable filter for protective purposes and a lense hood. Is the IR00A bayonet hood correct for the collapsible 5cm?

I've seen several IR00A hoods advertised for rigid 50mm Summicrons but no reference to the 5cm

Thanks in advance for any help on this. Pictures to follow.

Chris
Got pretty much the same setup for my M3 kit. I normally use the Leica 12585 on it. Same hood that my other Summicrons (50 rigid V2 and 35 V1 no googles).

I haven't had any issues with that hood on the collapsible, except that I need to remove it when I collapse it because infinity lock gets on the way.

Very pretty setup. Enjoy.

Marcelo.
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Old 07-27-2017   #33
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How much coating wear is considered acceptable for these? Impossible to find one perfect sub $800+

Not impossible, mine was much less than half of that and is flawless, and bonus radioactivity
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Old 07-27-2017   #34
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How much coating wear is considered acceptable for these? Impossible to find one perfect sub $800+
I'll sell you a clean one for $799
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Old 07-27-2017   #35
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There was one of these in the local classifieds for less than $500. What gives...
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Old 07-27-2017   #36
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The early ones have a yellowish coating wich is always scratched. Later ones (mine has number 1319235) have a purplish coating that seems to be much stronger.

Leica MP, Summicron 50mm f/2 collapsible, Tmax400.

Erik.

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Old 07-27-2017   #37
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Mine has the purple colored coating. Actually quite pretty. Serial number is 1115xxx.
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Old 07-28-2017   #38
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Left 1952 yellowish radioactive #1021748, right 1953 bluish non-radioactive #1105724

Both nice glass, no coating damage, scratches. Just a few cleaning marks.

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Old 07-28-2017   #39
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The Collapsible is safe to use on the M5. It can be collapsed without touching the light meter arm.

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Old 07-28-2017   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dralowid View Post
Hmmm.

This thread has started me thinking. Bad habit I know. I wonder whether I should trade my Summarit for a Summicron?

Hmmm. Dunno. Summicron is handier and results more consistent (from memory) but the Summarit can do rather special odd things at f1.5.

Well I sold the Summarit and don't miss it. Next question, do I get a Summicron again or stay with trusty Elmars and Summar (coated).

I think I know the answer.
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