Another frustrating Summarit/Summicron conundrum
Old 02-24-2019   #1
kchoquette
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Another frustrating Summarit/Summicron conundrum

Hey all,

I'm coming to you folks with a couple questions since I'm in need of some swaying between the Summicron 35 v2-3 or the Summarit 35 2.4 for my M6 Classic.

I have done some research on both, and since they're about the same price point, I'm pretty torn between the pros and cons of both.

On one hand, I'm into the fact that the older Summicron (is a cron, haha) has some more character and is 1/6th of a stop faster, despite the fact I *never* use f/2 on my 50 (an M-Hexanon I got from Japan that I am absolutely in love with.)

But the modern corrections (distortion, etc) of the Summarit, as well as the potential sharpness bump. However, I'm not crazy about the bump in contrast and the 'dynamic range' suffering as a result.

I'm curious about the difference in the OOF areas and how they compare. I'd prefer a smoother, less swirly/bloomy look to it, but I've seen examples of both lenses performing this way.

If anyone has some hand on experience with both of these lenses exclusively on film, I'd really appreciate some swaying in either direction.

Thanks folks!
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Old 02-24-2019   #2
xayraa33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kchoquette View Post
Hey all,

I'm coming to you folks with a couple questions since I'm in need of some swaying between the Summicron 35 v2-3 or the Summarit 35 2.4 for my M6 Classic.

I have done some research on both, and since they're about the same price point, I'm pretty torn between the pros and cons of both.

On one hand, I'm into the fact that the older Summicron (is a cron, haha) has some more character and is 1/6th of a stop faster, despite the fact I *never* use f/2 on my 50 (an M-Hexanon I got from Japan that I am absolutely in love with.)

But the modern corrections (distortion, etc) of the Summarit, as well as the potential sharpness bump. However, I'm not crazy about the bump in contrast and the 'dynamic range' suffering as a result.

I'm curious about the difference in the OOF areas and how they compare. I'd prefer a smoother, less swirly/bloomy look to it, but I've seen examples of both lenses performing this way.

If anyone has some hand on experience with both of these lenses exclusively on film, I'd really appreciate some swaying in either direction.

Thanks folks!
I have both lenses and prefer the Summicron.

The f 1.5 Summarit produces OOF areas that are loved by some and loathed by others, I am in the latter camp, so it all boils down to personal taste.

I prefer the OOF areas of a good example of a fast Sonnar, ie: the Canon 50mm f1.5 lens or a pick of the litter example of a shimmed LTM Jupiter 3 lens.
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Old 02-24-2019   #3
KismetSky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xayraa33 View Post
I have both lenses and prefer the Summicron.

The f 1.5 Summarit produces OOF areas that are loved by some and loathed by others, I am in the latter camp, so it all boils down to personal taste.

I prefer the OOF areas of a good example of a fast Sonnar, ie: the Canon 50mm f1.5 lens or a pick of the litter example of a shimmed LTM Jupiter 3 lens.
I believe he’s referring to the modern f2.4 summarit lenses.

To the OP, why not consider an older Summaron instead?
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Old 02-24-2019   #4
HHPhoto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kchoquette View Post
On one hand, I'm into the fact that the older Summicron (is a cron, haha) has some more character and is 1/6th of a stop faster, despite the fact I *never* use f/2 on my 50 (an M-Hexanon I got from Japan that I am absolutely in love with.)

But the modern corrections (distortion, etc) of the Summarit, as well as the potential sharpness bump. However, I'm not crazy about the bump in contrast and the 'dynamic range' suffering as a result.
You won't have any 'dynamic range' suffering by using a (modern) lens with excellent (higher) MTF (Modulation Transfer Function; contrast).
Just the opposite:
The better the MTF, the more of your original scene can be transferred to the film/sensor. The better the MTF, the higher the information transfer, including dynamic range.

I've used dozens of different lenses in the last decades - old designs and new designs (with better MTF). The designs with better MTFs always surpassed the lower MTF lenses in overall image quality. Especially on film (in digital lower contrast of lenses can be enhanced by software). And the dynamic range has always been significantly better with the higher MTF lenses.

In the last years there has been quite a lot of "lens esoteric".
But you cannot fool physics. And lens design is physics.

You have to decide what factors are most important for you:
- Sharpness and resolution
- contrast
- distortion
- vignetting
- focus shift
- wide aperture really needed?
- size (compactness important for you?)
- cost.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-24-2019   #5
kchoquette
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@xayraa33
Makes sense, I've played with a Zeiss sonnar and it's a pretty lens.

@KismetSky
From my understanding, Summarons without goggles are somewhat difficult to locate and pricey, no doubt.

@HHPhoto
Well that seems to make sense. I feel like it's somewhat difficult to find accurate information about optics on forums and flickr like this. I think I've certainly fallen prey to the "lens esoteric" you're referring to when I was first getting into this. Regardless, thank you for bump in a more considered direction!
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Old 02-24-2019   #6
ka7197
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The Summicron 35 mm has less distortion. It's almost distortion-free while the 35 mm Summarits show some mild barrel-shaped distortion. But then, the Summarit-M 35 mm 1:2.5 and Summarit-M 35 mm 1:2.4 Asph (which actually are two names for the very same lens) is the most flare-free lens I ever encountered. My vote goes to the Summarits.
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Old 02-24-2019   #7
Larry H-L
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You would probably be happy with either, personally I'd probably go for the newer Summarit, as the condition is likely to be better. The 'cron is 1/2 a stop faster, but as you say, you rarely shoot at f2.

Since you love your 50mm M-Hex, have you considered the 35mm f2 M-Hex?
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Old 02-24-2019   #8
DominikDUK
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Red face

"But the modern corrections (distortion, etc) of the Summarit, as well as the potential sharpness bump. However, I'm not crazy about the bump in contrast and the 'dynamic range' suffering as a result. "
Jan is right but you're also correct one is physics but the other one is perception lenses with higher contrast often look harsher despite the fact that they have more in between tones than an older lens with flatter contrast. It's a psychological thing.
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Old 02-24-2019   #9
Ko.Fe.
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I had similar choice to make.
Can't stand speculative prices for old lenses. V2 and V3 are nicely made, glass and metal, but price makes no sense at all, especially for their condition these days.

I went with new Summarit 35 2.5 (unopened package, have it registered with Leica under my name) for less price than 35 f2 oldies. No regrets.
Best manual focus lens I ever owned. It is aspherical, just as f2.4 and it takes 39mm filters. Renders like nothing else on bw film.

Many in this link are darkroom prints from negatives taken with this lens. Some C-41 scans as well.

https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_...mmarit%2035%20
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Old 02-24-2019   #10
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I have a v3 cron and I've really enjoyed it on my m6. I DO like the Summaron better for BW though. I've needed shot a summarit as I've never had any desire for modern lenses. I think I paid 1k for an excellent condition cron + hood. The Summaron is going for right around there as well.
Build quality hands down goes to the Summaron. That and the rigid 50 are my best built lenses. I think the v3 cron is known to be better built than the v4 though.
I find the Summaron to have very rich mid tones and lower contrast, while the v3 cron has higher contrast. I don't think you would go wrong with either. Lately with our overcast winter light, I've enjoyed the speed and contrast boost from the v3 cron
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Old 02-24-2019   #11
Freakscene
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If you love the 50 Hexanan why not get the 35 Hexanon? It’s also a lovely lens with very similar characateristics to the 50.

With all lenses, out of focus areas appear different with aperture, focus distance, and character of the background. It is possible to make all lenses look good, bad and inbetween depending on this.

Marty

Last edited by Freakscene : 02-24-2019 at 22:15. Reason: Spelling, as usual
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Old 02-24-2019   #12
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Not an answer to your question bu I‘d get a Biogon.
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Old 02-24-2019   #13
Ccoppola82
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Or the new cv 35 f2
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Old 02-25-2019   #14
kchoquette
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@Larry H-L, Freakscene
So I've used a 35 M-Hex myself and was honestly let down, compared to the 50. I took a look at their respective charts and from what I can tell, the 35 has eight elements and the 50 has six elements. All I know is that I much prefer the 50 and gotta get my wider kicks elsewhere. And for the price, I could just buy a 'cron!

@DominikDUK
Yes, this 'dynamic range' problem is what I assume was a result of a higher contrast lens. Still, the true explanation makes sense.

@santino
That was (nearly) my secret choice, as my first 35mm lens for my first Leica was the C-Biogon. Pretty crazy performer.

@Ccoppola82
Haven't really seen enough examples of this thing to be able to judge whether or not I'm into it. Time will tell!
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