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Buying a 50mm Summicron, are some versions noticeably better for color?

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I'm going to buy a 50mm Summicron and I would like know if there is some major differences between different versions of this lens. If I have understood correctly, there is improvement for color photography in the second version of the lens. Is there any changes in the coating etc. after the 2nd version that improve color rendition and are worth noticing since I mostly use color slide film?

 

I would also like to know if there is any special lens checking tips that are useful when buying a used lens?

 

Regards

 

Jouko

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Hi Juoko.

 

The only knock I've ever heard of the current 50mm f2 is some flare, but I honestly never experienced any problems with it when I briefly owned one...possibly I did not challenge it sufficiently for it to happen.

 

Checking used lenses is pretty straightforward and I'll start the discussion by saying you want to look at the glass front and back and check it thoroughly.

 

Tiny scratches at the front glass usually will not show, and if you have a steady hand you might even try filling with a black felt-tip pen.

 

Pay attention to the aperture ring that it clicks snugly into place at each detent, and moves uniformly and smoothly (without sticking) as you open and close the blades.

 

Ditto for the focusing ring and/or tab.

 

If the lens has been used in a humid locale look specifically for the little spider-webby and mossy patches that indicate infestation.

 

Finally, if you can, load the proposed lens purchase onto your camera and snap a few test shots to be sure it meets your expectations before you put the money down on the table.

 

Thanks.

 

Allan

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If you are primarily shooting color you need high macro-contrast to give rich, saturated color. That means getting the latest version possible. If finances are no issue get the current version.

 

The difference will show most from f2-4.

 

Best wishes

Dan

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Jouko:

 

As Dan mentions above, the latest optical version is the best. The fourth version started in the late 1970's and was made in Canada. The later versions of this fourth optical version were made in Germany and the latest version has the built in slide out hood.

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The 50 mm Summicron is an excellent lens and one of the lower priced lenses in the M Range. I got a new one but it came in a white box, so I assume the dealer had had it for some time. Newer built lenses come in black boxes, but inside it is the same lens, the one with the sliding lens shade. The price was about two-thirds of the list price and if you have time to wait for an offer to appear, this is a very good alternative to a used lens. These lenses are offered regularily on yab-e.

 

A very important thing to check on a used lens is fungus on the inside lens surfaces. The easiest way to do this is to put the lens on light box (like the ones used to look at slides or negatives) and look into the lens. Your eye will have difficulties focusing on the inner surfaces. Use a magnifier as the magnifier will force your eye to focus at the focusing distance of the magnifier.

 

Kiitos

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Guest user8952
Jouko:

 

As Dan mentions above, the latest optical version is the best. The fourth version started in the late 1970's and was made in Canada. The later versions of this fourth optical version were made in Germany and the latest version has the built in slide out hood.

 

 

the lens with the built-in hood and the version before have identical lenses.

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the lens with the built-in hood and the version before have identical lenses.

 

Not sure about the coatings on that glass...

 

Can anyone comment?

 

Thanks.

 

Allan

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Afaik the fourth computation of the Summicron-M 1:2/50 mm which is in production since 1979 saw no changes neither in glass types nor in coating.

I personally prefer the version with the detachable lens hood and the small handle on the focusing ring (built 1979-1994).

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The Canadian versions had different coloured coatings than the later German versions. The Canadian Summicron I have has similar coatings to my Noctilux and the 75mm Summilux and the 90mm APO-Summicron. I didn't notice any performance differences. It just might be the difference between the Elcan coating process and the Solms coating process.

 

I had both a current 50mm Summicorn and a 1980's vintage Summicron and there was not performance difference. I sold the newer lens because I like the more compact Canadian version with the focus tab and clip on hood.

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Thanks for your advices (or kiitos, should I expect more finnish from you Christer?).

 

I guess I'll try to find the fourth version of the lens or get a new one if I can stretch my budget or get a good deal. Generally list price seems to be around 1200 euros/1600 dollars + local taxes? I wasn't aware of that the current version doesn't have the focusing tab, I have started to like having one during my very short life in the Leica M world.

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