35mm: Used Summilux FLE vs. New Cron asph
Old 01-15-2020   #1
jacobjuul
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35mm: Used Summilux FLE vs. New Cron asph

Hi,

I have a dilemma. I have been offered to buy a 9 year old summilux FLE in pretty good condition for exactly the same price as a new summicron 35mm asph.

I shoot mainly film, so in indoor settings, the 1.4 would be useful, but other than that I would be perfectly happy with an F2.

This is going to be my daily carry lens which means size is a consideration, but I tried out both in my local Leica store, and the size difference (with hoods attached), seemed very small.

So should I go for the newer summicron or take the summilux FLE?
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Old 01-15-2020   #2
Rayt
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I have owned and used several 35mm Summicron Asph since it came out 20 years ago and could never get along with it due to the high contrast and clinical look. I shoot b/w and prefer a lower contrast lens. The FLE is my current user and it is just about perfect. If they are priced the same then go for the Summilux. I think if you change your mind in the future you can sell it and buy a Summicron and maybe make some money.
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Old 01-15-2020   #3
jonmanjiro
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I have both, though my Cron Asph is the previous version with clip-on rather than screw-on hood.

Much prefer the FLE over the Cron.

But... if F2 is fast enough for your max. aperture, just buy a Voigtlander Ultron 35/2 and save yourself a heap of cash. Its optically every bit as good as a Cron Asph, and actually a better lens if you don't like the Cron Asph's pincushion distortion (the Ultron has very minor barrel distortion like the FLE).
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Old 01-15-2020   #4
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I own neither lens, but I would pick the FLE here.
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Old 01-15-2020   #5
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I have the Cron Asph and the lens flare is absolutely awful so I would get the FLE in a heart beat.
Also being a film shooter the extra stop is really handy.
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Old 01-15-2020   #6
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Thanks, everyone for your replies.

I went to the seller 1 hour ago ready to buy the lens. However, when I saw the lens I noticed it had cleaning marks (don't know if that's the right term) on the front element. It looked like it was dirty around the outer edge of the front-element and I couldn't clean it with a lens cloth.
I am sure this won't affect image quality, but still, I left without the lens and have to think about it.
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Old 01-15-2020   #7
Ko.Fe.
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I don't bother with any of those two on film.
Summarit-M 35 2.5 (ASPH). 2.4 version of it still available as new.
If I ever feel limited by it on film, I'll add 35 1.4 II Nokton.

FLE makes sense on digital where focus shift is more dominant, IMO.

One note, "mainly film" is wide term. It could be expensive kodak porta of slow ISO or it could be Kentmere 400 @1600... I don't use slow ISO films.
So, if it is color film, slow ISO and indoors, get 1.2 lens.
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Old 01-15-2020   #8
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I'm surprised the Summicron ASPH isn't getting any love. It's one of my favorites of all time. I feel like the size is just about perfect, and ergonomics are great. I had an earlier 35 Lux ASPH (not FLE) and just felt like it was too big and not that great for my daily use. Sounds like I need an FLE and try again...
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Old 01-15-2020   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slantface View Post
I'm surprised the Summicron ASPH isn't getting any love. It's one of my favorites of all time. I feel like the size is just about perfect, and ergonomics are great. I had an earlier 35 Lux ASPH (not FLE) and just felt like it was too big and not that great for my daily use. Sounds like I need an FLE and try again...
I agree with Slantface here the Summicron Asph renders very nicely, and wide open, I recall enjoying a bit more contrast than my current v4. The v4 is fine and I do prefer it ergonomically (size). The 1st version Summicron Asph was a lens I had when still shooting my M2/M6 and found it to render really well....more contrast but not objectionably so. I also found wonderful results shooting it with the RD-1 and then M8.



M6 35mm Summicron Asph
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Old 01-15-2020   #10
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My only beef w the Summicron Asph is lens flare.
Everything else is great.
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Old 01-15-2020   #11
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Ya gotta learn to use the flare to your advantage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
My only beef w the Summicron Asph is lens flare.
Everything else is great.

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Old 01-15-2020   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmtwit View Post
Ya gotta learn to use the flare to your advantage.
How much did you play with the curves to pull that out?

The problem with the lens is the overall veiling flare that can kill the entire image. Turns it into an overall hazy low contrast mess.
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Old 01-15-2020   #13
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I sold my Cron ASPH (first version) not long after I got it because of the flare - traded it on a brand new silver ASPH Lux (pre FLE) and never regretted it (also I have never seen any focus shift with my Lux on either M8 or M9). The Lux is fantastic with B&W film where you will never regret having F1.4 - where images are always very sharp.
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Old 01-15-2020   #14
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Not allot, I mostly played with the contrast a whole.

I didn't find the image that muddy either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
How much did you play with the curves to pull that out?

The problem with the lens is the overall veiling flare that can kill the entire image. Turns it into an overall hazy low contrast mess.
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Old 01-15-2020   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmtwit View Post
Not allot, I mostly played with the contrast a whole.

I didn't find the image that muddy either.
I could tell. Pumped up the contrast to burn through that veiling flare to get definition.
You have created a cool image, in-spite of the lenís inability to handle
flare.
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Old 01-15-2020   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
My only beef w the Summicron Asph is lens flare.
Everything else is great.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
If you look at the comparison I did with my Summicron Asph you will see that that lens also has some distortion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
The ugly barrel distortions that you claim, w/o having used one, is no less ugly than in the Summicron 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by maartenmoerman View Post
Shot the louvre in Abu Dhabi. 7artisans 35mm, LeicaM6, kodak ektrachome, scanned on hasselblad imacon.

images are 34mpixel, was a quick scan, might be some dust on it, quick conversion to jpeg with apple-preview from tiff format, no corrections done.

Sharpness is amazing, barrel distortion is present.


Flares like lomography lens and distortions just same as from 7A 35 f2 cheap lens.
Anyone still wants to pay for new Cron ASPH after seen, reading this?
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Old 01-15-2020   #17
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35mm 'cron ASPH flare. What's not to love?!

Yoyogi flare

Shinjuku backlight

Yuko
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Old 01-15-2020   #18
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I am curious if the flaring issues are there when using the hood?
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Old 01-15-2020   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobjuul View Post
I am curious if the flaring issues are there when using the hood?
Yes. I only use the hood. And w/o any filter to give it the best chance possible.
It really is disappointing to have flare resistance as bad as this for a lens as expensive as this.

The last shot posted above shows how bad it is, before you try to cook the image by boosting contrast and the curves to cut through that haze.
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Old 01-15-2020   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJJ3 View Post
35mm 'cron ASPH flare. What's not to love?!

Yoyogi flare

Shinjuku backlight

Yuko
The awful lens flare with veiling, haze and hot spots for $3700.
My 7A 35mm f2 at $200 does a better job.
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Old 01-15-2020   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobjuul View Post
I am curious if the flaring issues are there when using the hood?
Hood and filter on in all three of these. The filter is creating the ghost, and increasing the veiling flare. FWIW I don't think this lens has flare issues. Yes it will flare in certain situations. You have to have direct sun near the edge of the frame or just outside it for it to misbehave. For the top and bottom shots I posted, I was intending for the flare to happen. For the middle shot I wasn't, but the little flare that showed up doesn't detract from the composition.

Just have to learn how your lens behaves and use it accordingly.

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Originally Posted by Huss View Post
The awful lens flare with veiling, haze and hot spots for $3700.
My 7A 35mm f2 at $200 does a better job.
Not sure what you mean by hot spots, but the ghosts are from the filter. I paid 2KUSD for mine about 7 years ago and it has been great. And it's still worth 2KUSD. The 7A 35mm f2 looks like a fun lens. Chinese makers are really stepping it up it seems...
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Old 01-18-2020   #22
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Like I said, you just gotta work the flare to your advantage, mainly expose for the flare.

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Old 01-19-2020   #23
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I like that photo^^^^^as it is very striking, and would agree that you have done an admirable job working with the characteristics of the lens, something I never managed to that extent (just sold mine). But, I have a hard time believing that Leica themselves really believe that this is a good thing, or something that was designed into the lens intentionally. In my mind, owning the lens, even though there were obviously some positives, defending the flare behavior to myself always felt like The Emperor’s New Clothes. It’s just really difficult to see it as anything but an unfortunate flaw in the design or execution (coatings) of the lens. I had to admit to myself, that it was behavior I would never make excuses for had it been in an M42 Pentax lens.
50mm V5 ASPH Summicron, same thing, though I haven’t sold that one.
Original question, given the choice, I’d personally opt for the Summilux FLE for the same money, but they each have their virtues.
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Old 01-19-2020   #24
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I have/had few 35's over the years, including a Zeiss, Voitlander Konica Hex and an older Canon and Nikkor, all of em flare when you expose the lens straight to light. Some a little more than others (Voitlander and Nikkor). i tend to think that folks are over blowing the flare problems with cron here. Personally I like mine and I like it more then Voitlander, the Zeiss and in digital, the nikkor (I like the nikkor slightly more when I shoot film). The Canon wasn't that great to start with. The cron asph (for me) has been great, espeically once I learned what you can really do with it.

Lux vs Cron question: On the used market, the cron asph is 40%-50% the price of a used lux asph. I sdimply don't have the money for $3500-$4k lens. And having taken a few workshops with some fairly well known folsk, all of them had 35mm f2 cron asph as their prime lens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
I like that photo^^^^^as it is very striking, and would agree that you have done an admirable job working with the characteristics of the lens, something I never managed to that extent (just sold mine). But, I have a hard time believing that Leica themselves really believe that this is a good thing, or something that was designed into the lens intentionally. In my mind, owning the lens, even though there were obviously some positives, defending the flare behavior to myself always felt like The Emperorís New Clothes. Itís just really difficult to see it as anything but an unfortunate flaw in the design or execution (coatings) of the lens. I had to admit to myself, that it was behavior I would never make excuses for had it been in an M42 Pentax lens.
50mm V5 ASPH Summicron, same thing, though I havenít sold that one.
Original question, given the choice, Iíd personally opt for the Summilux FLE for the same money, but they each have their virtues.
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Old 01-19-2020   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
The awful lens flare with veiling, haze and hot spots for $3700.
My 7A 35mm f2 at $200 does a better job.
I'm surprised as well. 7A 35 f2 barrel distortions, plus J-12 flare = 35 Cron ASPH.

BTW, I have filters at all of my lenses. No such, I'm very sorry to say this, crap.
I have had it in earlier 2010s with cheap protective filters, but it is long gone once I switched to normal brands.
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Old 01-20-2020   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
I like that photo^^^^^as it is very striking, and would agree that you have done an admirable job working with the characteristics of the lens, something I never managed to that extent (just sold mine). But, I have a hard time believing that Leica themselves really believe that this is a good thing, or something that was designed into the lens intentionally. In my mind, owning the lens, even though there were obviously some positives, defending the flare behavior to myself always felt like The Emperorís New Clothes. Itís just really difficult to see it as anything but an unfortunate flaw in the design or execution (coatings) of the lens. I had to admit to myself, that it was behavior I would never make excuses for had it been in an M42 Pentax lens.
50mm V5 ASPH Summicron, same thing, though I havenít sold that one.
Original question, given the choice, Iíd personally opt for the Summilux FLE for the same money, but they each have their virtues.

I came to the same conclusion. I went to see the FLE, but it seemed like it had been cleaned too much on the front element (the edges of the lens looked dirty and I couldn't clean it).
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Old 01-20-2020   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmtwit View Post
I have/had few 35's over the years, including a Zeiss, Voitlander Konica Hex and an older Canon and Nikkor, all of em flare when you expose the lens straight to light. Some a little more than others (Voitlander and Nikkor). i tend to think that folks are over blowing the flare problems with cron here. Personally I like mine and I like it more then Voitlander, the Zeiss and in digital, the nikkor (I like the nikkor slightly more when I shoot film). The Canon wasn't that great to start with. The cron asph (for me) has been great, espeically once I learned what you can really do with it.

Lux vs Cron question: On the used market, the cron asph is 40%-50% the price of a used lux asph. I sdimply don't have the money for $3500-$4k lens. And having taken a few workshops with some fairly well known folsk, all of them had 35mm f2 cron asph as their prime lens.

Interesting that you mention the hex. I just found a mint copy of the 35mm m-hexanon and pulled the trigger (half the price of a used 35mm chron).
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Old 01-20-2020   #28
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I have both the Summilux ASPH (non-FLE) and the Summicron ASPH. The latter gets more use because of its smaller size. I don't do a lot of shooting against the light, but I haven't noticed the flare problem. Still, in your situation, I would be tempted to get the Lux. More lens for the money!
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Old 01-21-2020   #29
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I really liked the UC Hex, but when I picked up my M240 the edges picked up color and corners darkened and no setting on the camera would fix it so I'd spend too much time in post trying to fix stuff. I sold it and got the cron asph. Oh, I think I only paid a $200 for a used cron asph. My 3.5 f1.8 nikkor does the same, but I use it only for film.

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Interesting that you mention the hex. I just found a mint copy of the 35mm m-hexanon and pulled the trigger (half the price of a used 35mm chron).

UC Hex flare



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Old 01-23-2020   #30
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If anyone is interested, this is what the lens element looked like


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