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sanity check: hunt for v1 35 summicron
Old 06-01-2017   #1
bucs
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sanity check: hunt for v1 35 summicron

Ok, so I've been chasing after a 35mm V1 Summicron for quite some time (> 2 yrs!!!!)

I went through two samples but then eventually found out each had flaws (circular inner haze, glass chipped on the front element) so I had to return them. Prices were in the vicinity of ~1,600 to ~2,000

I eventually bought a 35mm summicron V3 which served me well... but I just can't stop thinking about the v1 summicron.

I am considering the goggled version but I'm intending to use it on M2/4. I've read that it darkens the vf and rf patch. Also, more importantly, I've read that it's HUGE and I really want a small lens. And the price tag on these are already at least ~1,300 nowadays.

For the price I could already buy a 35mm f/2 Biogon AND a 35mm f/1.2 Nokton which are stellar performers in their own right. But alas, size matters for me.

Methinks I should just keep the v3. I realized after spending several months using the lens, the images that come out of it are as good as it gets.
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Old 06-01-2017   #2
Erik van Straten
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Don't think the v1 is a perfect lens. The lens is very susceptible to flare. There are cheaper alternatives. If you want a really small lens, take a Summaron 35mm f/3.5, much better than the f/2.8. The chrome M version is one of the most beautiful lenses made.

If you want a faster lens, take a late (German) version of the Summilux 35 pre asph.

Erik.
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Old 06-01-2017   #3
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Erik beat me to it. I own both the V1 and a Goggled Summaron, as well as a LTM Summaron 3.5. I would say V1 is nice, but no $1,600-2000 nice, unless you want it as a collector item.

I would more often take either of the Summarons, because they will give me equal (or depending on circumstances, perhaps better) performance than the Summicron.

I would say go for the V1 only if you want a collector item.

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Marcelo
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Old 06-01-2017   #4
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I agree with Erik, my Goggled Summaron is a much sharper and better lens than my Goggled-Summicron.
I bought the Summaron lens because it was less expensive as "goggles" have faults, as did my Summicron.
The original 35mm Summilux rendered images that i hated.
I have only rid my self of very few Leica lenses.
The 135mm Hektor, 35mmSummilux and 90mm Elmar.
The Summaron stays, warts and all.

Last edited by leicapixie : 06-01-2017 at 07:51. Reason: spelling errors.
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Old 06-01-2017   #5
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You have great enough lenses for photography. You need nothing else. However, if you are one of those people (and many of us are at times) that cannot get something off their mind until they find a one and try it for awhile, you might just have to buy one to get it out of your system.
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Old 06-01-2017   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
If you want a really small lens, take a Summaron 35mm f/3.5, much better than the f/2.8.

Erik.
Interesting Erik, would you care to expand?
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Old 06-01-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
You have great enough lenses for photography. You need nothing else. However, if you are one of those people (and many of us are at times) that cannot get something off their mind until they find a one and try it for awhile, you might just have to buy one to get it out of your system.
And, like myself, most likely end up selling it

I would sell the Summicron really, but keep it for sentimental reasons (a heirloom from my late father).

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Old 06-01-2017   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
You have great enough lenses for photography. You need nothing else. However, if you are one of those people (and many of us are at times) that cannot get something off their mind until they find a one and try it for awhile, you might just have to buy one to get it out of your system.
Just need to go out and shoot, really

Thanks guys. Sorry for the long rant
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Old 06-01-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Don't think the v1 is a perfect lens. The lens is very susceptible to flare. There are cheaper alternatives. If you want a really small lens, take a Summaron 35mm f/3.5, much better than the f/2.8. The chrome M version is one of the most beautiful lenses made.

If you want a faster lens, take a late (German) version of the Summilux 35 pre asph.

Erik.
Summaron M isn't very small lens. Summaron LTM is smaller.

I owned Summaron M twice. To me, it was nowhere near by 35mm lenses Leitz made after it. Not even J-12. Image wise. But I have seen one really good example. Just one... Boris Kireev street photographer owns it. https://www.flickr.com/photos/rodinabob/tags/summaron/
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Old 06-01-2017   #10
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I was interested in getting a 35 Cron V1 years ago. At that time I decided to go with a 35/1.8 Nikkor in LTM instead for the single coated retro look for B&W.

Anyways the price for the Nikkor was less than the going rate for the Cron V.1, and the lens is kinda rare in LTM (only about 1700 made in LTM).

Anyways now about 7-8 years later the 35/1.8 Nikkor is difficult to find, and the rendering I still love.

Love for old glass is not that crazy.

Cal
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Old 06-01-2017   #11
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I lucked out and got the v1 of this lens when I first got my M6 a decade ago.

It's the only lens I have, so I've not much to compare it to, in Leica. A nice lens for sure, but I got one that was spotless. Some flare in direct sunlight but that's present in most lenses.
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Old 06-01-2017   #12
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If you are looking for resolution performance, I believe you can find a 35mm ASPH Cron for the price of the V I.
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Old 06-01-2017   #13
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For small, I'd say the ubiquitious v4 summicron. The v3 is just as small (slightly smaller?) and still an awesome lens. I let one slip through my hands a couple months ago (a v3 at a great price and I hesitated). Dumb.

I have the 2.8 summaron, goggled and un-goggled. I don't know what Erik meant by the 3.5 being a better lens, but I can say the 2.8 is pure gold. It is the perfect incarnation of that classic lens look with only the desirable bits and none of the undesirable characteristics of old lenses. Even flare is tolerable, and hoods are cool anyway .

I also have the 3.5 summaron in LTM and that's a super tiny lens. Mine seems to have some haze, even though its hard to see with the flashlight test. Or more specifically, my 3.5 summaron is a flare machine! That thing will flare if I accidentally use foul language in its presence. I don't use it much. Use the J-12 on Barnack bodies instead. I would note that the late 3.5 summarons with e39 filter threads and ergonomic aperture rings are nice to use. I think there were LTM versions like this (M for sure).

Having said all of the above. I too want a v1 summicron but I'm not actively searching, nor is the budget prepared. It's all "fluff" anyway. I clearly have plenty of 35mm lenses (didn't mention the CV or Biogon).
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Old 06-01-2017   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bucs View Post
Methinks I should just keep the v3. I realized after spending several months using the lens, the images that come out of it are as good as it gets.
You think of it right. I have used a Summicron V1 in the '80s on a M2. It was spotless but I didn't find it was a superlative lens - just one of the very good 35/2 around. But back then the V1 didn't sell for the insane prices you notice nowadays on the 2nd hand market so at least you could afford one.

Just spotted one at a local photo fair recently. €2,500.- : total nonsense IMO.

The V3 is a better lens in every respect. Just keep it and go out to take pictures.
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Old 06-01-2017   #15
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Quote:
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The V3 is a better lens in every respect. Just keep it and go out to take pictures.
In my long-winded post earlier, I say this ^ although the v3 isn't necessarily "better".
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Old 06-01-2017   #16
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I've lusted after a V1 summicron for quite some time, but the performance to price ratio makes less and less sense.

The V2 is probably the best deal in 35 summicrons right now. The build quality puts the V4 to shame, and the optical signature is the perfect blend of classic and modern (for me at least). The images i've made with mine have totally blown me away.

If you don't need speed, the Summaron 2.8 and 3.5 are also fantastic. I really like what my 2.8 does on color negatives. I'm currently on the hunt for an LTM 35/3.5 to put on my If.
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Old 06-01-2017   #17
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I have a v.1 Summicron, bought new in 1967 along with a used M2. Both are so smooth, a joy to use. It went to DAG for 6-bit coding for use on the M8, so it's now an unusual one.

I also have a goggled f/2.8 Summaron which seems very similar except for the presence of the goggles. Goggles make the M2 viewfinder slightly less bright but being able to see the full coverage area *plus* some around the outside is worth the tradeoff. There is no advantage to using this goggled lens on an M8 however, and on an M9 the Summaron has smeared corners, unlike the Summicron.
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Old 06-01-2017   #18
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megido View Post
Interesting Erik, would you care to expand?
This is with the M2 version of the Summaron 35mm f/3.5. This lens is made in the same style as the first model of the Summicron 50mm f/2 rigid.
There are many versions of the Summaron 35mm f/3.5. The most beautiful IMO is this version (the last M2 version).

The Summaron 35mm f/2.8 is at the larger apertures not sharp across the whole frame (the corners stay back). The Summaron 35mm f/3.5 is.

Leica M5, Summaron 35mm f/3.5, 400-2TMY. (Sharp across the whole frame. No flare whatsoever. No distortion.)

Erik.

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Old 06-01-2017   #19
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Condition is important, a clean Summaron at 1/4th the price is much nicer then a rough v1 Cron. I am guilty of doing the magic bullet hunt for older 35s and ended up with a Summaron 3.5 after owning and being around them all. The goggles are fine, they feel strange for a few days but don't stick out more then the lens itself... I did cover mine in fingerprints though. My biggest sellers remorse was getting rid of a Zuiko 4cm f/2.8 I sold it to pay for a v4 cleaning and wasn't any better off for x10 the price. If you have money, Get the v1 for the heft, then try all the rest... just don't get rid of the v3, you might miss it.
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Old 06-01-2017   #20
Erik van Straten
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This is with the M2 version of the Summaron 35mm f/2.8 at f/2.8. Just look at the corners.

Leica M2, Summaron 35mm f/2.8, Tmax400.

Erik.

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Old 06-01-2017   #21
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I'm on my second V1. I got my first in an unbelievable deal 22 years ago along with a like new IIIG and M2 and 9 more lenses. It was basically new as were the other items. I didn't have $100 in the 1st V1. I used it for a few years and traded it for a like new V4 thinking it would be better. This was in a time no one cared about Leica and prices were really cheap. The 1 vs the V4, in real picture making terms there wasn't any difference. Print for print you can't see any difference.

I kept the V4 for a long time and can't remember what I did with it. I think I sold it when I won a retro version asph 35 summicron in a drawing. It was the MP hammertone camera, Leicavit and lens set. I tried to love the asph but couldn't. It produced plastic over enhanced looking images. I'm more of a subtle classic guy.

Meanwhile I bought a f2 35 Biogon and a 1 Nokton 35. Both are excellent without being plastic and harsh looking. I sold the Nokton but still have the Biogon.

I had another chance to pick up another v1 for $200. It was cosmetically fine but the lube had dried up and there was heavy fog. I invested $90 and got it cleaned.

The V1 is a nice lens but does flare at times. I'm keeping this one as it belonged to a friend that passed away recently.

The crown jewel imo is the f2 Biogon. It's deadly sharp but not harsh or artificial looking like the asph Summicron. It has the best flare control I've ever seen in a 35. It amazing even wide open and very pleasant at all apertures.

If I could only own one 35 it would be the Biogon, and as far as I'm concerned the V1 and V4 are a toss up. I've never owned the v2 and 3 so no opinion.
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Old 06-01-2017   #22
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That is so funny with 35's. You can try and try, they're all different.

I very much like the Ultron 35mm f/1.7 LTM. It is aspheric, but not harsh looking. Very sharp and nice. No flare.

The Ultron 35mm f/1.7 M-mount is nice too, but quite big.

Leica M2, Ultron 35mm f/1.7 LTM, Tmax400.

Erik.

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Old 06-01-2017   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bucs View Post
Ok, so I've been chasing after a 35mm V1 Summicron for quite some time (> 2 yrs!!!!)
There's only one way to get the Summicron 35mm V1 monkey off your back, and its basically this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
However, if you are one of those people (and many of us are at times) that cannot get something off their mind until they find a one and try it for awhile, you might just have to buy one to get it out of your system.
I was underwhelmed by the Summicron 35mm V1, but I still had to try for myself. Luckily for me, instead of buying one, I was able to loan two different copies from generous friends.
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Old 06-01-2017   #24
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Bought a 35 v.1 and after a costly CLA, some permanent haze remained and forced to sell it a loss. Not going to go there again.

Have a Summaron ƒ/2.8. Jewel of an optic, mechanical masterpiece. Can't say i'm all that crazy about the rendering despite the hoopla. Can't point out a particular flaw; just the overall look doesn't agree. Probably will sell this as well.

Owned the ASPH, my first M lens. Beautiful rendering at ƒ/2, focus shift from ƒ/2.8-5.6 drove me nuts, ruined more than a few shoots. Sold it but I do miss the lens.

ZM 2,8/35 though slow, has a wonderful look and is appropriately compact. I like the higher contrast (dial it back if it is much). Sharp corner-to-corner and doesn't much improve stopping down. Has become my go-to 35.
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Old 06-01-2017   #25
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there was a soft-corner 35/2.8 thread a while back. i don't get it, mine is razor sharp in the corners from f/4 onwards. f/2.8 is still very good.
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Old 06-01-2017   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james.liam View Post

ZM 2,8/35 though slow, has a wonderful look and is appropriately compact. I like the higher contrast (dial it back if it is much). Sharp corner-to-corner and doesn't much improve stopping down. Has become my go-to 35.
AND for such a small amount of $ in comparison!
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Old 06-01-2017   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
However, if you are one of those people (and many of us are at times) that cannot get something off their mind until they find a one and try it for awhile, you might just have to buy one to get it out of your system.
I know that feeling all to well.
The 35mm Summicron V1 is a lens I've had on my mind for a while.
But the price of a V1 35mm Summicron keeps me away from getting one.
Not to mention I enjoy my 35mm Summilux, and now added a 35mm f1.8 LTM Nikkor.
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Old 06-01-2017   #28
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Not to mention I enjoy my 35mm Summilux, and now added a 35mm f1.8 LTM Nikkor.
I'd say you're pretty set with those two lenses. How much did you have to twist Cal's arm to get that LTM Nikkor?
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Old 06-01-2017   #29
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I have a 35 2.8 summaron also and I love it. Just need the extra stop for darker scenes.

Sometimes the desire for something can no longer be reasonably justified. The atmospheric prices of v1 summicrons serves as an example
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Old 06-01-2017   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post
I'd say you're pretty set with those two lenses. How much did you have to twist Cal's arm to get that LTM Nikkor?
Ha, didn't have to at all. It was a good trade and nice to see him in NYC today.
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Old 06-01-2017   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bucs View Post
I have a 35 2.8 summaron also and I love it. Just need the extra stop for darker scenes.

Sometimes the desire for something can no longer be reasonably justified. The atmospheric prices of v1 summicrons serves as an example
While it is a different lens with a different look, the 35mm Pre ASPH Summilux can be had for less then a V1 35mm Summicron.
You'd get an extra stop over the Summicron with unique character wide open, and I have found the 35mm pre ASPH Summilux at f2.0 is close to a Summicron in sharpness and contrast.
It's like having two lenses in one.
And why I've kept my Summilux but sold a few 35mm Summicrons.
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Old 06-01-2017   #32
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I had the Summaron 35mm f/3.5 in LTM. It flared like crazy. I sent it to DAG to get any haze cleared out. It came back slightly less flarey. I think the real culprit was an uncoated Leitz UV filter which I had on the front of the lens. Once I removed that, it was a decent performer.

However, by that time, I acquired a Summaron 2.8 in LTM. I still have it. It's a very decent lens that has nothing to draw attention to itself. That is, it gives a neutral, distortion-free rendition without any wierdness to draw attention to itself. I felt that it performed better than the 3.5 Summaron, so the 3.5 was sold.

Then came the Summicron v1 with goggles. It had been CLA'd in Japan. It was an excellent performer, but I didn't notice any major difference from the Summaron to be worth $1500 more. Furthermore, the goggles turned a petite lens into an ugly Frankenstein. I tolerate the goggles on the 135mm Elmarit 2.8, where they serve a very useful function. However, the bulk on a 35mm lens was a deal breaker for me. So, the 8-element lens was sold. I didn't lose any money on it. Neither did I gain any.

Then I got the Summicron ASPH. This lens is very modern, and with a lot of microcontrast visible. High resolution, high contrast. A different look from the Summaron / Summicron V1.
The Color Skopar 35mm f/2.5 in LTM, and the Voigtlander Ultron M 35mm have greater similarity to the rendition of the Summicron ASPH than to the older lenses
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Old 06-01-2017   #33
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The Nikkor 35mm f/2.5 is also an option. This is one of the better lenses from the 1950's, easily beats the Summaron f/2.8 and the Summicron v1. Sharp in the corners, no distortion. I wish I had an LTM-version of this lens. Beautiful rendering.

Contax v1, Nikkor 35mm f/2.5, 400-2TMY.

Erik.

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Old 06-01-2017   #34
Erik van Straten
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Another one with the Ultron 35mm f/1.7 LTM at full aperture.

Leica M2, Ultron 35mm f/1.7 LTM, Tmax400.

Erik.

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Old 06-01-2017   #35
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Mmm. Lots of different opinions, mostly around price. I got my v1 35/2 Summicron for about $1,500. I also have a Summaron 35/2.8. I bought them from Tamarkin Camera in Chicago. So...

The 35 Summicron type 1 is one of the sharpest lenses in the world. I've never had problems with flare unless you want it. My copy has no haze, then I looked and well - there was a minute tiny bit of haze. So, I took it to a Leica specialist and he cleaned it. Good. Now it looks mint. It is so sharp from corner to corner. I have it, and would never part with it. Plus, the Viewfinder Attachment helps because it allows closer focusing to .65mm. Bonus! Added to that - when I attach it to my M2, it lets me see the frame easier to see! Double bonus. And when I need f2, not always but when I need it - I can use f2. Fantastic. Save up, be patient and get one! Your hunt will be over.

Now the Summaron 35/2.8 - a special lens for black and white, possibly the most special. Ultra sharp - yet the Summicron is sharper in the corners. I use it more for black and white - but I have it. Cost me $550 US. It's in mint condition. It took me 4 years to find one - buy, sell, buy sell until I saved a enough to get it. Happy camper.

Patience! But, usually the tiniest bit of haze will do NOTHING at all. The problem is if the presence of haze will bug you. And if the thought becomes obsesive (i've been there), well - frankly - it's best to change ones thinking. The haze will have NO effect, unless it is moderatly heavy and you like shooting at the sun.

When you buy Leica, you buy an investment, and well if you don't like it after a year or two well - there's plenty of 35's to choose, but at least you've tried it! Amazingly, my wife tells me that!

Another point, I don't think the 35/2 Summicron type 3 is a bad choice. I've never had one, but from what I've seen - on film, it is stellar!

Summicron 35/2 Type 1 with Finder (1965)


Summaron 35/2.8 with Finder (1962)
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Old 06-02-2017   #36
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Way back in 72 I went from a Canon 35 2.0 to the V1 Summicron, it's just a wonderful lens. They were very cheap back then, a lot of people were getting out of Leica for Nikon and I switched all my Canon lenses and bodies for M stuff. In the digital age I use it on a Ricoh GXR and I still love it. The only other lens I like as much is the one on my RX-1.
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Old 06-03-2017   #37
ferider
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Originally Posted by teddy View Post
Mmm. Lots of different opinions, mostly around price. I got my v1 35/2 Summicron for about $1,500. I also have a Summaron 35/2.8. I bought them from Tamarkin Camera in Chicago. So...

The 35 Summicron type 1 is one of the sharpest lenses in the world. I've never had problems with flare unless you want it.
I have similar experience: got my M2 v1 for 1500 from Leicashop/Westlicht and the glass is clean. I tried the Summaron but never liked it. I have other 35s, including the VM Ultron, the v3, and the Nikkor 35/1.8.

But the v1 is my new favorite on the 240, it's truly amazing: very high resolution, rectangular, nice darktones (lower contrast), nice OOF rendering, etc. If you like the 5cm Rigid Summicron, the 35 v1 is the perfect match for it. Note that the v1 is a little longer than the v3, my guess is 37mm or so,

So to the OP: i can recommend the lens, keep looking and buy from a reputable dealer.

Roland.
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Old 06-03-2017   #38
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A picture says more than 1000 words (click for a bit larger size). Just taken (handheld):

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Old 06-03-2017   #39
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I can confirm Feriders statement that the v1 forms a nice pair with the 50mm rigid. Same type of rendering. However, sometimes it flares, even with very clean glass. (not in this shot)

Leica M2, Summicron 35mm f/2 v1, Tmax400.

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Old 06-04-2017   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
I have similar experience: got my M2 v1 for 1500 from Leicashop/Westlicht and the glass is clean. I tried the Summaron but never liked it. I have other 35s, including the VM Ultron, the v3, and the Nikkor 35/1.8.

But the v1 is my new favorite on the 240, it's truly amazing: very high resolution, rectangular, nice darktones (lower contrast), nice OOF rendering, etc. If you like the 5cm Rigid Summicron, the 35 v1 is the perfect match for it. Note that the v1 is a little longer than the v3, my guess is 37mm or so,

So to the OP: i can recommend the lens, keep looking and buy from a reputable dealer.

Roland.
I also bought my M2 from Westlicht, and my 50/2 DR Summicron - both super clean with no flaws. I live down under. I haven't had my Summicron 35 flare yet. And that scan - looks great. I bet you didn't even process or sharpen then image?! I also have an M3 and pair both the 35 and the 50 Summicron together when I need a different angle.
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