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The curious case for the 40mm Summicron... With images

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OK, I'll admit it I'm a bit nutty for Summicrons.  I have the 35mm ASPH the 50mm classic and the recently I found a 40mm (from the CL) for a measly $450 on fleabay.  OK you say, why? You have two perfectly good lenses that actually have matching frame lines on your M10.  There are two very good reasons I can come up with, the first is size.  The lens is downright diminutive.  It takes the M10 from small mirrorless to large point and shoot.  It's now suitable for stuffing in a Billingham Aeva 5 pouch and throwing on a belt even for casual nights out or chasing the kids around the playground.  Number 2 is it's actually a spectacular little lens with all the character and sharpness you could ever ask for.
I'm actually finding it perfect for environmental portraiture and general street pics.  It's also well suited to making multiple image panorama stitches with it's natural perspective.  More than anything though it's just a pretty lens and it can do about 80% of the job of both a 35mm and a 50mm as well as have it's own character.

OK so how do you frame it?  Honestly it's not hard, the 50mm frame lines come up with it attached and I just imagine the frame is just outside those lines and I'm pretty close.  For those instances where precise framing is necessary I always have live view.

lastly I have great little Minolta double asphere close up diopter that I've adapted and this makes the little 40mm perfect for certain macro shots (especially watches and camera gear).

 

 

 

 

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great little lens ..... got interested in during a short stay in London, traveling to take shots with a fellow forum member. picked it up at Aperture for about the same price, perfect condition, form factor is so small as well. use it on my film Ms, (M4 and MA), and the pics are great. purchased in nyc a 40mm viewfinder from voigtlander vey helpful and at f/8 pretty much everything is in focus....i think this lens doesn't get quite enough publicity.

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A Ming watch, I see. :-)

 

Also a big fan of this lens and just got the AVEA5 to pack the M10 lite...

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Photo showing the M10 with the M-Rokkor 40mm slipping into a Billingham AVEA 5 case.  Fantastic way to carry this small kit around (includes belt loops, if you like that).

 

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Minimum focus...

 

 

With the Minolta Diopter...

 

 

 

A Speedy and a Ming 

 . I want my M10 back ...

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I have Minolta Rokkor-M 40/2 CLE which is little bit ugly for bokeh on M-E, but on film M bodies it is sharper on medium distances than my Cron 50 IV and bokeh is fine.   

 

 

I frame it as 50mm and it helps with prints on 8x10, if I print on entire paper area as it is shown above. Here is another person (half-body) in the frame on shown picture, but it was cropped "naturally" during print on 8.5x11 (letter) darkroom paper. 

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I'd welded a CV 40/1.4 on my ZI since new...my 1C1L outfit and was very happy indeed.

 

My post is not about the CV lens...although it's just as good stopped down to the same aperture as other 40mm FL.

 

What I did was filing down the lens mount claw to bring up the 35mm FL frame-lines...ground glass on film plane conparison proved it was 100% coverage at the 35mm FL. This is much easier on a digital camera...VF to LCD direct comparison will prove the point.

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After getting the Billingham AVEA 5 case for the M10 with the M-Rokkor 40mm I can easily pack it with me to work (bike and train commute in Beijing).  Saw this on the way in this morning (@ F5.6, uncropped)...

 

 

What do they say... "The best camera is the one you have with you?"  

Edited by mdemeyer

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It's a nice little and inconspicuous lens - I tested it once briefly when a friend of mine got it. The main con of this lens is its doughnut bokeh IMO - you either love or hate it. 

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I have both - prefer the Rokkor due to filter size and slightly crisper f: clicks (at least on my version which appears less traveled than the Summi - which was bought new with a CL whenever that came out!)

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It's a nice little and inconspicuous lens - I tested it once briefly when a friend of mine got it. The main con of this lens is its doughnut bokeh IMO - you either love or hate it. 

I have 40 summicron-C and I agree about the bokeh....but.. it is not very far from 35 FLE wide open. 35 FLE also can show not so good bokeh depending on the subject (bright with sharp corners). Compared to both, 50 lux is buttery smooth. This is why I tend to use 50 lux more now. But the size and weight of 40 summicron-c is hard to beat. I have very nice pictures shot with it.

 

40 Summicron-C bokeh crop

 

35 FLE  bokeh crop

 

50Lux bokeh crop

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In practical use, 40 summicron-C's bokeh is not bad. I will happily take this lens on a outing.



This is shot wide open using 40 Summicron-C on M240.

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I have 40 summicron-C and I agree about the bokeh....but.. it is not very far from 35 FLE wide open. 35 FLE also can show not so good bokeh depending on the subject (bright with sharp corners). Compared to both, 50 lux is buttery smooth. This is why I tend to use 50 lux more now. But the size and weight of 40 summicron-c is hard to beat. I have very nice pictures shot with it.

 

40 Summicron-C bokeh crop

exp_sm_20160506M240_40mm_FOV_bokeh_test-1001752.jpg

 

35 FLE  bokeh crop

exp_sm_20160506M240_35mmFLE_FOV_bokeh_test-1001751.jpg

 

50Lux bokeh crop

exp_sm_20160506M240_50mm_LUX_FOV_bokeh_test-1001753-2.jpg

 

Which aperture(s) did you use for this comparo if i may ask?

Edit: Sorry i've just seen that you've used f/1.4 for both your 35/1.4 and 50/1.4. No wonder why you've got the feeling that bokeh was smoother then. I would redo the test at f/2 and you will see that this is not true any more i suspect.

Edited by lct

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Which aperture(s) did you use for this comparo if i may ask?

Edit: Sorry i've just seen that you've used f/1.4 for both your 35/1.4 and 50/1.4. No wonder why you've got the feeling that bokeh was smoother then. I would redo the test at f/2 and you will see that this is not true any more i suspect.

I did the test (its an old test) according to how I shoot. I don't close 35 FLE and 50 Lux to f/2. I either shoot them at f/1.4 or around f/5.6. There is no usefulness of f/2 behavior of these lenses to me.

 

The conclusion from my test was:

- 35 FLE bokeh wide open is not smooth for some objects. 40 summicron-c wide open is not far off (being at f/2). I don't think FLE is going to smoothen out at f/2.

- bokeh difference (wide open) is big between 50 lux and 40 summicron-c (and it is expected). This allows me to choose between 50 lux (people shot) and 40 summicron-c (landscape).

Edited by jmahto

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OK but comparing apples to apples i.e. same apertures, neither 35/1.4 FLE nor 50/1.4 asph have butterly smooth bokeh at f/2 in my own experience. Been using both Leica and Minolta 40/2 for many years and i don't find their bokeh significantly harsher at f/2. Subjective matter though. YMMV.

Edited by lct

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The 40mm cron-c has seen many actions paired with my M9, M8, and now M2. 

 

A few from the past: 

 

 

on M9

/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7777/17305177306_815905b48d_b.jpg&key=25d45ce6b4208732667ec01345d61f86f057b082fff76a6e8d86b3edcd5bedbe">

 

 

On M8

/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7622/16566374440_e9f071a9a7_b.jpg&key=8d84f761d006fc7ea015fa5c34c969ba37fcb643f1eefb0aa72635319ee885e6">

 

 

On M8, SOOC

/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8627/16827546795_aaeea70301_b.jpg&key=a48adfe3be7396cb4c585c4b1923fd3f7195cdf8281019ea992db5ebf7515c5a">

 

on M2 with ilford HP5+

/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4401/36303328541_ed6c8ee887_b.jpg&key=68e2bd2ae1a719ea28b386f28b0640ddca32ab4873b8400968aa6b48963d34fd">

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OK but comparing apples to apples i.e. same apertures, neither 35/1.4 FLE nor 50/1.4 asph have butterly smooth bokeh at f/2 in my own experience. Been using both Leica and Minolta 40/2 for many years and i don't find their bokeh significantly harsher at f/2. Subjective matter though. YMMV.

It maybe but I never experimented (since I never shot them at f/2). Going back to 40 summicron-C, I pick it up along with my single lens kit (28mm cron) if I am in a mood to change lens. This and 90 macro-elmar are light enough that I don't sweat about carrying the extra weight.

 

From one of my hikes. 40 summicron-c on M240.

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I've had a 2.0/40 Summicron-C for some time.  It used to get a more use when paired with my 1.4/75 Summilux due to similar rendering and colouring, but I found that the focal length wasn't quite far enough from the 75. So I found a nice 2.0/35 Summicron IV which pairs with the 75 very nicely.  35 is just far enough from the 40 to make it worthwhile.  

 

The 40 is now a bit lonely and unloved.  Time to get it out again :-)

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Great little lens indeed. I used mine a lot on the Epson R-D1 whose frame lines are accurate enough, which is not the case on my later M8.2 and M240 so it tends to stay on its shelve now due also to the competition of 35mm lenses and a tiny CV 40/2.8 giving funny results on my A7s mod. 

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