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volcaremos

Summicron 50mm f/2 sharpness question

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Hello

I have just taken ownership of an M9 and a Summicron 50mm f/2. I love the atmosphere and colour range of the first pictures but suspect that the sharpness of the focused area are below expectation for this wonderful lens. 

 

This is only noticeable at 100% crop. I find the outlines soft compared to examples I have found online and in print. I am aware of focus shift but just wanted to know how I should test if the lens is performing at optimum.

 

I don't think I can share large images on this forum. Where should I look and who should I speak to?

 

Any suggestions very welcome.

 

Thanks

 

William

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Don't pixel-peep and obsess over 'sharpness'. I'm not sure how you can compare a print to a 100% pixel peeping view on a screen either.

 

My guess is that your lens is just fine but why not visit a dealer and try yours alongside another version if this is bugging you.

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Uhm... "sharpness" on digital is a lot depending on raw development... and the search for top sharpness could bring to some undesirable effects on outlines... so no surprise if you have found "better" results on online pictures and prints (moreover... digital printing is an art that specialized labs can really master and achieve excellent results)

 

Summicron 50 has Always been, generally speaking, a lens of very good sharpness even in old models (I have an item from 1963 that is maybe better than my contemporary one...)

 

To illustrate how to do a in-house test is long and complex... and I'm not so expert to give a clear trustable explanation... of course, basically you need a REFERENCE lens to compare the Summicron to (personally, I like to use as reference my Summarit 75... one of the few lenses I bought brand new and has Always felt as one of the sharpest I have ever tried)

 

My general advice is that if you have some doubt about your Summicron is better to deal with a trustable dealer and get a professional test/inspection/control.

 

Also... you speak of 100% crop... in my opinion, such tests are of no great practical importance : my guideline is that , being my final product a print, it's the print itself that must look satisfactory in sharpness.

Edited by luigi bertolotti

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Pixel peeping seems to always lead lead one into the land of uncertainty. Do you print your photos at exhibition size - if so simply do a print and see if it matches your expectations (making certain you've reduced other factors' influences - meaning shooting on a tripod, making sure your camera is properly adjusted, etc). If all you do is view them on a computer screen, then look at them at screen size and forget pixel peeping. If really NEED TO KNOW if your lens is sub par, like mentioned earlier, visit a dealer and compare it to another lens of similar focal length and vintage.

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Often slightly softness wide open is a result of focus calibration. Check the focus accuracy of the rangefinder.

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[...] I don't think I can share large images on this forum. Where should I look and who should I speak to?

 

Any suggestions very welcome. [...]

 

Hi William just put a couple raw files in a dropbox and we can give you an advice.

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Thank you all. I will post some pics on DropBox as suggested and get some opinions. I assure you I am not pixel peeping but just trying to understand if what I see is right for this lens. I would like to rule out any focus calibration or range finder issue. 

 

LocalHero1953 in answer to your question the lens has serial number 3909385.

 

 

William

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The correct RF focusing is , luckily,much more easy to test in House... There is the good (downloadable) Focus Test Chart: With it and a tripod the testing is easy (not the adjustment, in case of need...).

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Thank you all. I will post some pics on DropBox as suggested and get some opinions. I assure you I am not pixel peeping but just trying to understand if what I see is right for this lens. I would like to rule out any focus calibration or range finder issue. 

 

LocalHero1953 in answer to your question the lens has serial number 3909385.

 

 

William

So, current non-AA version from around 2000, according to the wiki.

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Hi again. Would the finding below have any bearing on my initial question on sharpness?

 

So, current non-AA version from around 2000, according to the wiki.

 

Basically I would to know if my lens is as good as can be expected. I have uploaded  a dng file (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/645463/L1000677.DNG) of a picture I took wide open using tripod and cable shutter release to eliminate shake. I focused on black lego stick from 1m. Please do not laugh at my pseudo-scientific attempt. At 100% magnification is the focus to soft? Lens, camera or user?

I will download the focus chart suggested by Luigi and provide more examples. Thanks

Edited by volcaremos

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I you'd focus with an EVF at max. magnification i would say that your lens might need a bit of calibration but with a rangefinder i would focus bracket to be sure.

Edit: Also for your next try i would use lego blocks of the same black and white colours.

 

Edited by lct

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Hi again. Would the finding below have any bearing on my initial question on sharpness?

 

I was just checking that you weren't using the Apo-Summicron Asph - not everyone is rigorous in describing their equipment!

I have the Apo, but not your Summicron version - I was curious to know if you were having problem with sharpness with the Apo.

Edited by LocalHero1953

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Unless you are doing recon photographs, nobody in the world will find anything wrong with your 50mm Summicron images as long as you were competent in making the exposure. Therein is the rub.

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Thanks lct. How would i focus bracket? I will trt the focus chart next and welcome all constructive feedback. Thanks

 

I would take 3 shots, one with nailed focus and the others slightly closer and slightly further.

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Thanks lct. Just wanted to be sure. Eill give it a go.

Pico thanks for taking the time to write but not particularly helpful. Irony lost on me.

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Summicrons do have a slight shift of focus to the rear as they are stopped down. I have versions 1,2,3 and 5, and all show this slightly, looking like yours, with a very slight front focus wide open. I sent my v2 to DAG to see if it should be adjusted, and he said this was normal and intentional by Leitz. He worked at the Leitz factory years ago, and I trust him.

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Summicrons do have a slight shift of focus to the rear as they are stopped down [...]

 

The OP's problem arised at f/2 where there is no focus shift in my experience. 

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I don't think the lens is mis-aligned. Remember, you were shooting from almost minimum focus distance and the light condition is not ideal either. In addition, the M9 DNG files are very flat. If you process your image just a bit, it should come out OK. 

 

IMHO, the Summicron-M 50mm is one of the best valued Leica lenses, if not the best. In my own experiences, the lens' real strength is at f2 - f5.6 from 1.5 to 5 meters distance.  In these distances, it competes with even the 50mm APO.  

 

I won't worry too much of your lens. Just go out and use to see how you like your images. 

 

Cheers! 

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