Jump to content

What could be wrong with my Summitar?

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I've recently bought a Summitar in very good condition (I hope) from an Austrian Leica specialised shop. It is the ten aperture blade version instead of the six aperture blade version. Overall condition looks very good. 

No visible scratches on the front element or back element and focus is smooth. 


While scanning the first results I noticed that the centre of the frame has less contrast and is lighter than the outer portions of the frame. First I thought this is internal reflections or incoming light from the side. I didn't use a hood.

But looking at more frames it also shows while the sun is coming from behind me so flare is not so likely. 


Does anyone has an idea about what this could be?


I’ve attached some unedited scans. The are shot with Tri X / TMax 400 @ 250, developed for 6 min. in HC-110 at 20C.


It is not in every frame. I used the sunny 16 rule (lens only goes to 12.5 so I compensated for that). 


Hope to find out if it is the lens, light conditions or something else. 








Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Could possibly be internal haze, or veiling flare. You need to take some shots in controlled lighting of a test chart or similar.


If it's haze you should see it but try shining a light through the lens and look through the other end - post a photo of it if you can.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed, if the front and rear elements look good, it's probably haze on an internal one.

Also, is it a coated or uncoated lens?

If memory serves, the early 10-blades Summitars were uncoated, while the last ones before the introduction of the 6-blades versions were coated.

Early coatings were not as stable/resistant as those we know today, so I'm wondering if coating degradation could somehow cause the issue.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input. As soon as I can I will do the flashlight test. 

This version is the uncoated version. 


Is it possible to remove haze?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends on the cause of the haze. I've had several lenses of similar vintage cleared during a CLA service, and one Leica tech noted she used a liquid provided by Leica to remove haze. However, sometimes a glass surface may become etched, or the glue between elements affected, and little can be done. My 1939 Summitar cleared up well.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I agree with the haze diagnosis. I would advise contacting the seller and have them CLA the lens.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


I have a Summitar # 526606 with the same problem. Then I discovered a strange ¨oval glare¨ behind the first lens element ( I dontˋ know how else to put it). Classic Camera in London looked at it and suggested that the glueing of lens element 1 and 2 had started to loosen. Was possibly fixable... but costly.


Good luck!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Try using an LED torch to inspect the lens internally as it will illuminate any dust, have and separation. If it turns out that the adhesive holding elements together is failing then it should be possible to have this repaired as its likely to be Balsam rather than a UV cured adhesive so can be softened and removed usually. You will need to find a specialist and ensure that they can remove the old adhesive, accurately realign the elements and then re-glue (probably with a UV cure adhesive) them. Its unlikely to be cheap so if you can get this sorted under warranty it would be viable. If not then I'd return the lens for a refund because it won't get any better on its own!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Similar Content

    • By Jim J
      I have a 1936 IIIa (s.n. 184223) that is in need of a lens, and I am now in a position to purchase one.  I am leaning towards an f3.5 Elmar, as I think it complements the design of the camera beautifully both in compactness and in general appearance.  The other lenses that are possibilities look a bit heavier and some even a bit too modern (even though some of them are not) for an 85 year old camera.  I do have some points that I would appreciate comments on from those who know more about things Leica than I do, before I part with my cash.
      Firstly, condition.  Quite a few lenses of this age have either dust or haze in the optics, and others have light marks.  Would I be correct in assuming that dust or haze (provided the haze is not excessive) could be fixed with a CLA, as could a stiff aperture ring or focusing ring, but marks would generally not go away?
      Secondly, coatings.  I see that, as a rule, Pre-War lenses are clear, and Post-War lenses are coated, and I understand the basic reasoning behind coating lenses is to cut down internal reflections but, in lenses of this quality, is there really much of a difference between the two?
      As for the lenses that I’m looking at:
      Elmar f3.5:  My preferred option, as it is so light and compact and just looks so right on a Barnack Leica;
      Elmar f2.8: Aside from the extra f-stop, is there any reason for preferring this over the f3.5 Elmar?  I find it does not have quite the same visual appeal as the f3.5 Elmar, but it could be useful in low light situations.
      Summar f2:  Maybe another lens to consider.  Again, not quite the same visual appeal as the f3.5 Elmar, but it could also be useful in low light situations.
      Summitar: From what I can see, it appears to be an updated and improved version of the Summar.  Compared with the Elmar, and even the Summar, it looks a trifle bulky (yes, I know it isn’t really).
      Summicron: I’m not so keen on this one, as I find the appearance of the earlier lenses more appealing.  I would also prefer to fit my camera with a lens that’s a bit closer to what it originally had.  I have heard that the front element is made of an unusually soft glass, which means that these lenses are often badly scratched.  Is this so?
      Thank you in advance for helping a newcomer to the world of Leicas.
    • By max.mlzr
      Hallo Freunde der analogen Fotografie,
      seit einer Weile fotografiere ich nun schon analog, erst mit einer Canon AE1 und jetzt mit einer Olympus OM1, da ich vollmechanische Kameras mehr mag, so kommt es auch, dass ich mir jetzt eine alte Leica zulegen will. Da mein Budget als Schüler begrenzt ist und ich Schraubleicas bald schöner als dass M-System finde, habe ich meine Suche auf die IIIF, IIIC und IIIG eingegrenzt, wobei die IIIG auch schon fast zu teuer ist. Dazu soll es noch ein schönes Elmar, Summitar oder sogar Summicron sein.
      Da ich Händlern generell mehr vertraue bin ich auf 2 Angebote gestoßen:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Leica IIIC mit Summitar 50mm f/2 und Beli für 500€: https://www.meister-camera.com/de/gebraucht/5297/leica-iii-c                                                                                                                                                          Leica IIIF VLW mit Elmar 50mm f/2 für 445€: https://www.leica-store-muenchen.de/de/gebraucht/15166/leica-iiif-vlw-3550mm
      Ich weiß wirklich nicht, welches Angebot ich nehmen soll, da beide Kameras ziemlich gleich sind (Der Blitzanschluss der IIIF ist mir egal).
             Die IIIC hat halt noch einen Belichtungsmesser und das bessere Objektiv für Naturlichtfotografie, jedoch, hat Sie kein Rückgaberecht, der Zustand ist schlechter (das Chrome blättert ab), sie hat                 Selbstauslöser (eigentlich ein cooles Feature, was jedoch kein Muss ist) und ich habe von vielen gehört, dass es nur selten ist, dass man ein Summitar ohne Kratzer findet, da dass Glas sehr weich           ist. Objektiv und Kamera sind beide von ca. 1949/50.
             Die IIIF hat an sich ein (licht-)schwächeres Objektiv (ist das ein großer Unterschied?), keinen Belichtungsmesser (welchen ich eigentlich nicht wirklich brauche, jedoch ist dieser ganz nett) und ist ein         Umbau (was nicht unbedingt schlecht ist?). Jedoch hat der Body einen besseren Zustand, die Kamera hat ein Rückgaberecht und ist 50€ günstiger. Der Body ist auch so von 1949/50, von dem                    Objektiv kenne ich aber Jahr, was auch bedeuten könnte, dass es keine Vergütung hat.
      Ich gehe bei beiden Kameras davon aus, dass ich sie noch justieren lassen muss, dazu will ich sie für 120€ zu  Oleg Khalyavin schicken, hat da jemand Erfahrung?
      Schon mal vielen Dank im Vorraus für eure Antworten!
    • By Baybers
      I'm looking at getting a Summitar and was wondering whether anybody can shed light on the two variants, namely the round aperture bladed version approx. pre 1950 and the later type with the hexagonal arranged aperture. Generally the latter version seems to be a little less expensive and less sought after if my observations are correct. 
      Both lenses opened at f2 there is clearly no difference in aperture shape but any smaller setting then does the hexagonal opening perhaps provide a little less appealing bokah for instance? Or perhaps there may be other discernible differences?
      Thanks in advance.   
    • By lynnb
      hot day outside a tyre centre, Sydney, summer 2016
      IIIf Summitar 5cm f/2 LTM Agfa APX100 in Rodinal
    • By dparushev
      Hello everyone! 

      Just recently I came upon a wonderful set of the Leica IIIC together with 3 (seemingly in mint condition) lenses. The SN of the camera itself is 374588 and the only information I could gather is that it was manufactured in 1940. More about the lenses - elmar 3,5 cm, summitar 5cm, SN 559993, thambar 9cm SN 540124. There are some more additional bits and bops in the set. I tried to make my own research but couldn't find much on the internet. Can any of you, professional Leica users/keen fans let me know more about the history of these items? I am more curious other than anything. 

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue., Read more about our Privacy Policy