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michael friedberg

50mm: Summicron 2.0 or Elmarit 2.5?

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Since I've moved from an M8 to an M9, I'm back to regular lenses and readjusting to "normal" focal lengths. My 35/1.4 is now a wide angle again, and I think a 50mm lens fills some gap.

 

But which one? It seems to me that, for fast shooting and minimum aperture I can still use the 35. But it is a little large and heavy, which leads me to the 50/2.5. But am I compromising too much --should I get the 50/2.0?

 

Thanks for any opinions.

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The 50mm Summicron and 35mm Summilux are almost the same size, if you ignore the huge hood on the Summilux. The Summilux is a full 10g heavier.

 

If you want a 50, the lens to go for is the Summilux ASPH. That lens has come into its own for me on the M9.

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It seems that the 50mm Summarit (I take it that this is the lens you mean) is about as good as a Summicron, f-stop for f-stop. So I don't think that you would be badly served by it.

 

That said, I agree that the Summilux ASPH is a near-miraculous lens. I bought it for my M4-P, kept it through two years with the M8, and for me too it has come into its own with the M9. But it is not a small lens, and not particularly light either. Or inexpensive ...

 

The old man from the Age of the 5cm Elmar

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If you want a 50, the lens to go for is the Summilux ASPH. That lens has come into its own for me on the M9.

 

I have to disagree. I got both: the Summicron and the Summilux asph. and I always (!!!) prefer the Summicron.

It's so much lighter and so much more bang for the buck (you can get a used one with todays optical performance for about 600€).

I'm using the Summilux only when I'm going to need f1.4 (I'm shooting film, so I have to plan what lens to take with me).

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I have a 50mm Summicron on my M4-P since 1985, and I couldn't be happier.

I simply love what this little lens can do for me and I wouldn't change it for the world!

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Hi

 

There is also the

 

- late Elmar f/2.8 collapsible

- ZM Planar f/2

 

Or if you only need f/8

 

- the f/3.5 (or f/2.8) Elmar collapsible

 

If you want real compact (and light)

 

- the CV f/2.5

 

But the summarit f/2.5 is a nice lens.

 

Before you buy I'd check that the focus and aperture rings suited your fingers.

 

Noel

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The reason why I sold my 50mm Summicron was that I had come to hate it.

 

I could not trust it. I did especially dislike its trick of throwing a rectangular flare patch into a dark part of the image, e.g. of a landscape under a lightly overcast sky. It was not much fun to discover this when you developed your negs. Maybe that is slightly less infuriating today, if you are a conscientious chimper (or chimp) but I do really prefer a lens with which I can do a shooting sequence without checking every single frame for hidden booby traps.

 

So I dumped it and purchased the then-new Summicron ASPH, not for the speed, even then, but for its utter reliability. It has never tripped me up, not on the M4-P, not on the M8, not on the M9. And its limpid clarity of very small detail never ceases to delight me; this is especially striking with the M8 and M9. Bokeh is creamy and smooth. Could one wish for more? (oh yes, less bulk, weight and price – but compare it to a Nocti! Or for that matter, any SLR lens.)

 

The Summarit, being a six-lens Gaussian design, is more sensitive to stray light and flare than the 'lux, though less so than the 'cron, I am told. And a Summicron may well be all you want, if you restrict your shooting to medium contrast, evenly lit subjects. But I don't.

 

The old man from the Age of the 5cm Elmar

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50 1.4 if you can afford the the weight and cost. It is a brick. Performance is unmatched by any 50 1.4 nikon or Canon or whatever.

 

Summicron is better made than the 2.5 and always was the F 2.0 performance standard.

 

The last version of the 50 2.8 performs as well as either at 4 to 11 . It is my always in the bag 50 and almost always on the camera.

 

Summarits are not big sellers, but they are ok.

 

summarits first look

 

Roger Hicks review on the Summarits.

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The problem of flare with the Sumicron 50 is caused by a reflection on the inner barrel

after the last lens.

That is why I bought a 2,8/50 Elmar, insensitive to flare, and

absolutely excellent ...

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The 50mm Summilux has been unobtainable for months in the UK. I was going to replace my very old 50 Summicron but, while waiting for new stock, have been quite impressed with the results I am getting with my TriElmar 28-35-50 at 50mm setting. When I need a faster lens I use my 35mm Summicron. There is usually a work-around solution.

 

If I were the OP, I would look seriously at a late 50/f2.8 Elmarit. Low cost, low bulk, low weight and excellent performance.

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The problem of flare with the Sumicron 50 is caused by a reflection on the inner barrel

after the last lens.

That is why I bought a 2,8/50 Elmar, insensitive to flare, and

absolutely excellent ...

Some flare problems, yes. Probably the one with the trapezoidal flare patches. But not all; double-Gauss designs were always more sensitive to flare than e.g. retro-focus lenses with their radically different designs. A fact I discovered decades ago.

 

So a redesign of the mount would probbly increase the Summicron's usefulness, but a modern 1:2/50mm would be even better. On the other hand, four different 50mm lenses for the niche camera that the M is, is really overkill.

 

The old man from the Age of the 5cm Elmar

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Here's one take....Summarit range

 

I happen to love my Summilux asph. But, I think the Summarits are underrated by many, and Leica will temper their marketing to avoid cannibalizing sales of higher priced lenses IMO.

 

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S

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Yes, Summarit lenses are badly underrated. Mainly by two different kinds of fundamentalists:

 

--Those who believe that names, not lenses, take pictures.

--Those who know that names, not lenses, carry status.

 

The fools and the blingers, unfortunately, are assertive -- as the ignorant so often are. And many trusting people believe that from loud mouths issue incontrovertible facts.

 

I think is it time for Leica to scrap those old lens names. They have carried absolutely no information for the last half century, and we see what misunderstandings they lead to. Leica do not make 'economy' or 'entrance level' e.g. second-rate lenses. Lenses should be engraved simply e.g. "Leica M lens 1:2/50mm". If it's Leica, it's the best -- period.

 

Lenses, not names. Before WWII, Rolleiflex cameras carried (4 element) Zeiss Tessar lenses, while the more sparsely furnished Rolleicords had (3 element) Triotar optics. These were unavoidably less capable than the Tessars. After the war, Rollei upgraded their 'cords with 4 element Schneider Xenar lenses that were just as good as the Tessars. But the kind of ignorant 'experts' referred to above kept on insisting that "you cannot take sharp pictures with a Rolleicord". You see, it was the nameplate, not the lens, that took the pictures! Let's move away from that kind of foolishness.

 

The old man from the Age of the 5cm Elmar

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Well said, Lars! But you missed out a third kind of "fundamentalist":

 

-Those who know that only the most expensive lenses can take acceptable pictures.

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Lars,

Thank you for mentioning the flare patch. I've run into a couple of those and couldn't for the life of me figure out where it came from. Have cleaned sensor, lens, filter..... very annoying when it happens, I agree. Do you know of a workaround, e.g. repositioning the camera slightly?

Thanks, Per.

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Well said, Lars! But you missed out a third kind of "fundamentalist":

 

-Those who know that only the most expensive lenses can take acceptable pictures.

The price fundamentalists will always be with us. But they are all standing in the Noctilux corner by now.

 

The old man from the Age of the Schneider Xenar

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Lars,

Thank you for mentioning the flare patch. I've run into a couple of those and couldn't for the life of me figure out where it came from. Have cleaned sensor, lens, filter..... very annoying when it happens, I agree. Do you know of a workaround, e.g. repositioning the camera slightly?

Thanks, Per.

The only workaround I know of is to stop taking those pictures. It is a bad one. As the patch is caused by a reflecting surface inside the lens, and the light source is large and diffuse, not a point source, minor repositioning is unlikely to cure it. Frankly, Leica do know about the problem -- some of those people do take pictures -- and I do wonder if the current mount design, the one with the collapsing hood, is better than the classical one. I will not buy a 50mm 'cron just to do the testing however. Oops, make that two 'crons, because I have none at present! Someone reading this able to and interested in doing it?

 

The old man from the Age of the Voigtländer Skopar

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Well mine is the current design with collapsible hood so I wouldn't encourage the experiment. It may or may not be better, but it hasn't gone away.

 

~ Per.

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