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35mm Summicron v1 vs. 35mm Summilux Pre-Asph


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I currently have a 35mm Summicron v1 8-element lens that I absolutely adore because of the small size, ergonomics, and the character of the images it produces. However, I'm going to be going back to a film body from digital and have been thinking it would be nice to have an extra stop with a Summilux... but I'm not entirely sold.


Part of me thinks that I can still get by with shooting the Summicron wide open with an ISO 1600 film (either rated or pushed), but another part of me thinks that I would need a Summilux, especially when traveling and shooting at night or with low light.


If I were to go to the Lux, the version I've been thinking about was the Pre-Asph version (probably the later Titanium version built in Germany since people say it has better coating on it). How much of a change should I expect (in terms of character, image quality, etc.) between the Cron v1 that I have with a Pre-Asph Lux? Or will they both be about the same and I'm just paying for the extra stop (though the v1 8-element lens that I have is about the price of a later version/titanium Pre-Asph Lux, so it could just be a flat out trade...).

Edited by cannonballjoe
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I also have the 35mm ver1 8 element summicron and love it to death, assuming I want Leica glow at f/2. Sharpens very nicely when closed down. I recently purchased a 35 summilux ASPH pre FLE which is very sharp at 1.4 (apparently not as "good" as the FLE at closer distances). It seems like you would save at least 2 or 3 stops of light with a newer Lux compared to the 8 element, not just one stop, if only comparing sharpness over the entire field. I feel they are very complementary lenses.



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I think you should look at it as trading a (pretty average) stop for 30cm of close focus. Which is more important to you?


Wide open the pre-asph has "character", stopped down past f/2.8 it's not too different from what you have, it just doesn't focus as close.


The macro-gamut and nanolevel colour separation are pretty similar in both I think. The pre-asph summilux has more pronounced globular enhancement which makes it far superior :D

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Globular enhancement aside, here's a note of caution about the 35mm pre-a Lux:  


I liked the lens' character/rendering, and its wide-open softness.  But I finally gave it up because of its proneness to an unusual kind of flare.


If there's a strong light source just outside the range of what you can see through your viewfinder, the lens sometimes produces a large new-moon shaped arc or swath of flare across the frame.  And of course you can't see this through the RF in order to predict it – it sometimes just 'befalls' you.  Particularly indoors and at night, you'll encounter just-out-of-view artificial light sources that provoke this behavior.


So it's a toss-up: you might like the way the lens renders, but you'll from time to time lose what you thought would be a fine shot because of this unusual flaring.  In some instances I was able to repair/clone the image in Photoshop, but it was hard to keep parts of the image from looking like a painting.  


I read that back-in-the-day when these were widely used as photojournalists' lenses, it was fairly commonplace to use a Summicron by day and then switch to a Lux as the sun went down.  Perhaps a modern equivalent might be to keep the lens you have for general use, and then for your available-light photography acquire an inexpensive used hulking clumsy Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 that covers a chunk of the viewfinder.  At large apertures the Nokton's rendering is similar enough to older/classic lenses for its images to blend into a mostly-Summicron portfolio.  


This was one of my solutions after missing a number of shots for the following series because of the Lux's flare:


(shot with 28 Cron, 35 Cron v4, 35 pre-A Lux, 35 1.2 Nokton, and 40 Cron.) 



Edited by thompsonkirk
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Flare is indeed a problem with the 35/1.4 pre-asph, even with my late German version, and no hood can avoid that i'm afraid. BTW the 12526 square plastic hood referred to above doesn't vignette significantly on the 35/1.4 pre-asph but it rotates freely on the lens and it tends to get in the way when turning the aperture ring. What's unique in this lens is its "glow" (halos around highlights) at wide aperture but it is a soft lens at f/1.4 and my copy suffers a bit from focus shift which is not a problem in LV mode though. Now the lens is as sharp as Summicrons 35 from that era at f/2 and on and it is unrivaled amongst f/1.4 wides size-wise aside from the CV 35/1.4. The latter's SC version flares even more than the Summilux though and it shows no glow at all.

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I am on my third 35mm Summilux, version 2. The previous two were damaged on the job. No publisher has rejected my wide-open images for technical reasons.


Edited by pico
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Hello Joe,


Welcome to the Forum,


After reading the above, it would more or less appear that the general opinion is:


Both are good lenses.


If you need the +1 stop of speed, then the Summilux is the choice.


Otherwise they are both pretty much the same.


Best Regards,



Edited by Michael Geschlecht
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I have both Summicron V1 and Summilux preasph (btw, it's even older than the Summicron...) : have used them for lot of years (> 25...) and my mindset is simple :

- Use Summilux only in "safe" light-source situations. (*)

- At similar f stops, they have a very similar rendering.


(*) provided that, it's really usable at 1,4, and no critical to focus.

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Is the Summicron v1 less flare prone, or much the same?

Later batch of Summicron would be better in that regards for sure.

Those early batch of Summicron is as much flare prone as Summilux if not more



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Thanks, I guess the lens coatings might account to some extent for the flare, although my 35mm Summilux 'v2' pre ASPH is from 1990 and still flares much as they all seem to?

And the front element in the Summicron is maybe a tiny bit more recessed than the Summilux? The Summicron maybe is only single coated, the later Summiluxes - I don't know?


The two lenses seem to often be described as "the same except the added stop", but looking at the design cross-sections, they appear completely different lens designs and I think they use different types of glass?

One is 7 elements in 5 groups, the other is 8 elements in 6 groups in a symmetrical design.


Courtesy of Ken Rockwell:





The 35 Summilux v2 is also often described as the same as the 35mm Summicron Type 4, except the v4 has been 'crippled' by the aperture not opening completely - the barrels certainly appear pretty much the same and the not-completely-opening aperture makes sense

The v4 also has 7 elements in 5 groups, I can't find a cross-section.


These are all subtle differences that make zero difference in making a good photograph, but since the topic is on, it'd be great to see some examples/delve a bit deeper - the 'they are very similar' line seems a bit like a lazy answer to me, especially where the 1st type Summicron is concerned.

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  • 1 month later...

There are difference in terms of coating, between earlier and later V1 Summicron. You can easily tell the difference when put them side by side by seeing the color of the coating.

By seeing the photos it seems that the later version has higher contrast. Wether it has higher resistance to flare than earlier ones, I never did comparison.

The Summilux v2 might be more due to the larger front element, in terms of flare prone? I have not used it enough although I have one.



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