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Which M adapter for 3.5 cm Summaron on M9?


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Could users of the screw mount 3.5 cm Summaron lens with an M9 camera recommend which screw mount-to-M adapter to use? I tried the M adapter marked 9 cm, but after reasonably tightening the lens, it did not seem to lock in the camera body. I could try my other M adapter marked 5 cm, but will first ask for expert advice from the Forum.

Should the lens and M adapter LOCK in the body, like a modern M lens?

I wish to try a 1952 Summaron 3.5 cm lens on a digital M body, to test it. Like most old lenses it has its share of cleaning marks and a bit of haze.

Thank you for your advice.

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Today's testing of the 3.5 cm Summaron, using a genuine Leica M adapter ring (marked 2.8-5 cm, probably 1950s version), on an M9 camera, worked well. With the M9 you can make the 35 mm frame marks appear in the viewfinder, by pushing the viewfinder lever. Convenient feature. Otherwise the 50 cm frame lines appear and serve to aim the camera, "good enough" for testing a lens indoors and outdoors. The picture results (my reason for using the adapted lens on an M9) show that this particular

Me too... but the CV15 has not that old fashioned focus knob that originates all the above deep discussions... Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

OK... so, good for the Summaron 35 A36, definitely ; I bought the Chinese (no cutout) for my CV15 LTM 2 months ago, because with M and 15 the EVF is really a lot appreciable for composition (the adapter can be coded, too... I haven't yet coded mine... for lazyness Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!) and the cutout inhibits the usage of LV/EVF.

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An adapter LTM to M must lock to the body as a normal M lens... to say, with the usual "click" : for my (wide) experience the best way , if you plan to use the adapted lens regularly, is :

1) screw the lens on the adapter, with no overeffort (adpater in left hand, lens in right hand... no overeffort meaning that you must NOT feel the bayonet blades penetrating in your hand...

years ago happened that inadverdently, I ended with a drop of blood in my hand...)

2) mount the lens on M

3) after the "click" tighten a bit more the lens onto the adapter.

4) A bit more in the sense that when you want to dismount the lens, pushing the BM release button and rotating the lens the usual way, the lens+adapter moves all in one... if the lens tends to unscrew from the adapter, it's too loosely tightened.

 

Regarding WHICH adapter for Summaron... the obvious advice is to use a Leitz adapter marked 35mm (ISOOZ) : it does activate the correct frame; BUT there is a downturn... the adapter has a cutout along its external diameter, and it makes the 6-bit code strip unusable... it is uncovered; exposed to light, so you have no way to have lens recognition.

 

Adapters without the cutout do exist (from Leitz - a bit rare - and from modern 3rd parties - Cosina Voigtlander and Chinese like Jinfinance)... BUT... the cutout wasn't made by Leitz for nothing... it prevents the interfering of the focusing knob with some old Lenses... like the Elmar 50... AND the Summaron 35 3,5 LTM A 36 version (note, interfering does not happen with the Summaron 35 3,5 LTM E39 version)

 

So, if you have a Summaron A36, imho is better to have an original adapter, and renounce to lens recognition, otherwise, a modern codable adapter for 35 can be the best choice... my experience with the Chines I quoted above is satisfactory, and they have a very affordable cost.

Edited by luigi bertolotti
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Grazie Mr. Bertolotti for your comprehensive and good advice. The first useful thing I learned is that there should be a CLICK as the adapter fits correctly on the M9 body. That did not happen today when we tried my A36 style 3.5 cm Summaron with the (original Leica) M adapter marked 9 cm, without the cutout edge. So I should probably try mounting the adapter alone on the M9 body, to learn why it does not CLICK into locked position. I have the 1950s style of M rear lens cap with the 3 lugs on edge, to act as the wrench to remove a locked-in-place M adapter, so I should be able to do this mount test without creating a problem.

Please confirm that I can mount and unmount only the M adapter, without the screwmount lens?

I was hoping that "no cutout" would allow the M9 body sensors to understand there was a lens installed. I was further hoping that there was a Menu in the M9 that would allow setting for a 3.5 cm Summaron, for frame size and any program corrections for distortion, vignetting, etc. that I believe the M9 is smart enough to perform.

Next I will try to mount the 3.5 cm Summaron on my 2.8-5 cm adapter ring, with the cutout on edge. I understand that the M9 may not recognise a lens being in place, because its body sensors are exposed. But at least I can check the physical mounting, and see if it CLICKS as it locks in position.

We may also try using the Summaron on an M8 body, with either M adapter. I will report on this trial.

The functional objective is still to test the Summaron on a digital body, to see the results and decide if the lens imperfections are OK to live with.

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I made some trials tonight with my Summaron 35 A36 and two adapters, on M8 and M240 (haven't M9...) :

 

1) Leitz original ISOOZ with cutout (the one you see in our Wiki section... marked " M2 21-35" and "M3 135"

2) Chinese (Jinfinance) for 35/135 without cutout, milled for 6 bit coding (I coded it for 21 in sight of using my Summaron 28 5,6 LTM)

 

First important note : adapter 2) makes hardly usable the Summaron 35 A36: the absence of cutout is very annoying : if you mount the lens set at infinity (to say, with knob "locked") you CANNOT move the focus knob anymore : pushing the focus knob, its end part touches the adapter' surface , the partial pushing of the knob is insufficient to release it... focus is blocked at infinity; if you mount the lens with the focus knob unlocked, you can focus but cannot anymore position the knob at infinity... max focus distance is around 50 feet (my Summaron is in feet) : this is maybe not a practical problem (and SURELY is not with the Summaron 28 5,6, which of course has a more than sufficient DOF) , but is annoying.

With the adapter 1) no problem on M8 : the cutout makes the focusing clean at all, frameline in the viewfinder is correct... lens detection must be set to OFF, no record of focal in the exif file, a minor hassle. On the M 240 things are a bit different... ... mechanically, all ok as for M8, but being the 6-bit reader exposed to light, even setting lens detection to OFF Liveview does not work : you get the message "no lens connected" : not a great hassle, but you must renounce to LV : OK for the frame in the viewfinder, which is correctly 35+135

 

I confirm that the adapter must "click" when engaged in the bayonet : btw, the "click" is originated by the bayonet release button that , pushed for mount, comes back to normal position when lens or adapter is well mounted... you can visually verify this ; in itself, there is no problem to mount the adapter alone on the camera , but it's someway difficult to handle it without a lens attached...

Edited by luigi bertolotti
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Thank you again Mr. Bertolotti for these useful tests. Before trying either of my M adapters with the M8 camera (initially, to check the bayonet LOCK process) I played with the 3.5 cm Summaron and the 5 cm marked M adapter.

WITH THE 3.5 cm SUMMARON:

I found that the extended edge cutout of the adapter marked 2.8-5 cm is in fact much more extended than it needs to be, when used with 3.5 cm Summaron. If the edge cutout was limited to a small radius of perhaps 1 cm maximum, (only) under the position where the locking pin must push down to go into infinity lock, the cutout would be wide enough to allow complete focus from 1 m through infinity. Outside of that small "pin push zone" the locking pin rides high enough to not touch the edge of the M adapter, through its focus swing from about 15 m to 1 m. Whoever designed that extended cutout was too aggressive in its size, for the 3.5 cm Summaron.

This situation MAY NOT be the same with a 5 cm Elmar lens, and I will check if the Elmar's infinity lock pin perhaps rides lower, making necessary the extended cutout.

I tried the M adapter marked 2.8-5 cm with the M9 camera and it LOCKS into position easily. There must be a mechanical difference in the 9 cm adapter that does not allow it to rotate enough into the LOCK position.

With the 3.5 cm Summaron now mounted (using the 2.8-5 cm adapter) and operating nicely on the M9, it is time to go out and test the lens, on a sunny Good Friday in Berlin.

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Today's testing of the 3.5 cm Summaron, using a genuine Leica M adapter ring (marked 2.8-5 cm, probably 1950s version), on an M9 camera, worked well. With the M9 you can make the 35 mm frame marks appear in the viewfinder, by pushing the viewfinder lever. Convenient feature. Otherwise the 50 cm frame lines appear and serve to aim the camera, "good enough" for testing a lens indoors and outdoors.

The picture results (my reason for using the adapted lens on an M9) show that this particular screwmount lens (from 1952) demonstrates a good amount of flare, even reacting to the glow of a computer screen in the foreground, with a properly exposed subject in the center of the frame. Shooting into a bright sky gives a lot of flare, overpowering the center subject. Contrast is good to very good in cloudy conditions and with the sun behind you. The colour balance is very good and accurate. The focus is sharp in center and at left, with degraded focus toward the right side of this particular lens. The "creamy look" of a 1950s Leica lens is often visible. Most pictures look very good even when blown up 8X on a PC screen. Although the standard examination of this lens with a flashlight-magnifier shows many small scratches and "cleaning marks" on both front and rear elements, and a bubble flaw off center in one middle element, none of these visible flaws is evident in the test pictures. This proves that a lens can take a fair amount of abuse and still perform well.

Overall this was a useful test of an old lens. In most conditions it is a good to very good performer. Tomorrow I'll decide whether to buy it or return it.

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I have an LTM 3.5 Summaron from the early 50s that I got in the late '60s for my IIIf. I've used it on my M9 with the proper (but Voigtlander) adapter, and have been very pleased with the performance. My sample seems pristine, which may be why I hadn't noticed bad flare.

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Just a simple Chinese adapter for Voightlander lenses will do, it's a dollar or 25. I have it on my CV15 for years now, no problems

 

Me too... but the CV15 has not that old fashioned focus knob that originates all the above deep discussions...

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OK... so, good for the Summaron 35 A36, definitely ; I bought the Chinese (no cutout) for my CV15 LTM 2 months ago, because with M and 15 the EVF is really a lot appreciable for composition (the adapter can be coded, too... I haven't yet coded mine... for lazyness

) and the cutout inhibits the usage of LV/EVF.
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Thank you recent contributors to this thread. After looking closely at the results (1952 LTM 35 mm Summaron used with a 5 cm M adapter ring on my son's M9) I decided to return the lens to the Berlin store, because the focus was not very sharp at the sides, although it was sharp in the center. The right side was a bit softer than the left side, perhaps indicating a shifted optical element?

The focus performance improved at f5.6 or smaller apertures, but since I wanted a good quality lens to use even at f3.5, I feel there is a better example of this lens out there. I may be wrong - perhaps all 1950s 35 mm Summarons are soft focus at the sides, at f3.5.

The dealer said I should test this lens with film, not with a digital camera that shows all the imperfections in detail. But I believe that soft focus is soft focus, whether used with analogue or digital methods.

Can other 35 mm Summaron users show us detail pictures taken at f3.5, to see the focus performance at the sides?

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....Can other 35 mm Summaron users show us detail pictures taken at f3.5, to see the focus performance at the sides?

 

Well... I like Summarons so couldn't resist to make a quick & dirty test with my 3,5 (BM, E39, 1.1xx.xxx): a trivial in-house subject (sofa), but the texture of the covering is quite visible : Leica M at ISO 800, distance 1,4 meters about, lens wide open, out of camera Jpg : this is the full frame :

 

(illumination IS uneven, but this lens has also a certain vignetting by itself)

 

Then crops : better to specify that the "angle" of texture towards borders is really so... not a lens' distorion effect

100% crop, center

 

100%crop, left side

 

100%crop, right side

 

Imho, a decent behavior... it is not my Summicron 35 asph (now it comes to my mind I could have easily done a comparision...

) , but I think that one can't say either that focus is "soft at border".... all in all, the result one could expect from a lens of the '50s. Edited by luigi bertolotti
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... all in all, the result one could expect from a lens of the '50s.

 

The idea of sharpness from corner to corner is in fact realized not earlier than the nineties. All Mandler designs have this characteristic of being softer at the edges, more or less, and it was seen as a quality or even a hallmark of legendary Leica lenses at that time. So, ironringer I suggest that you show us some pictures from this lens, so that we can see if it's abnormal. That seems more reasonable to me than letting us work for you, where you could have irrealistic demands

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Anyway, Ironinger, your Summaron CAN have some issues : they can be easily dismounted for cleaning, and maybe your item has been uncorrectly re-assembled... this is what happened to me recently, with another Summarono 35 3,5... when made the first picture, at f4 and focusing with care, it was VERY clear that the lens had a problem...

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Thank you Mr. Bertolotti for sharing test pictures with your screwmount 3.5 cm Summaron lens. I agree with Otto F. that joint review of test pictures will lead us to some conclusions about the example Summaron that I tested in Berlin 2 weeks ago (using an M adapter ring on an M9 camera).

Here is one test picture I took at f3.5, with focus almost at infinity: it shows the center detail is very good but the edge detail is soft; the right side is worse than the left. A full-size file would be easier to examine, but even this 270 kB image shows what I experienced.

I will share another test picture soon.

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In this 3.5 cm Summaron test picture (taken with an M9), again at f3.5, with focus about 3.5 meters, the image reduction sofware makes the soft focus more difficult to see. On the original large file the difference is easier to see. But even with this 295 kB image it is evident that the sides have soft focus, while the ceneter has good focus.

I concluded that this particular Summaron 3.5 cm f3.5 lens was not as good (sharp focus everywhere) as I hoped for or expected. Maybe the old Summarons are all like that. I will try another example soon with a friend's Sony NEX-6 camera and adapter ring.

Some reviews say that the later screwmount Summaron 3.5 cm f2.8 lens is a bit "better". Although it costs almost 3 times as much, maybe I should look for that newer lens to use with my IIIf.

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Ok... judging from your examples, I'd say that your Summaron has NOT a problem of its own, or a problem of badly made maintenance: it's an old Summaron, period, and if would try an Elmar 35 f 3,5, it would be worse...

 

Btw... if you tesy your lens on a NEX6, don't forget it is an APS-C camera... problems related to borders/corners are "cut away"...

Edited by luigi bertolotti
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