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75mm Summilux - your experience and thoughts


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Hi!

 

I've been smitten by images I have seen online made by the 75mm Summilux and have recently found one in mint condition for a decent price. Before I decide to sneak another lens into my house... does anyone have any thoughts, reviews, comments or experience they can share with this lens? Love it? Hate it? Any quirks? Any examples of photos you have taken with it to push me over the edge?

 

Thanks so much!

Mike

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IMO, one of the best reasons to own a Leica system.  Perhaps my standards are low, or I have a great copy, but I find the notion of the lens being soft overblown. My Summarit 1.5 and Summilux 35v2  are certainly soft wide open. This lens might not equal the more modern razor blades, but neither is it a bowl of Jello. Not a great photo, but hopefully illustrative.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren

M10 + 75 Summilux Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

The 75mm Summilux is just one of those extraordinary lenses.   The new Noctilux is obviously quite incredible and in many measurable ways better, but I think it looses something in its rendering that the Summilux just has. That uncorrected, velvety, airy, super diffuse softness. The transition between sharp and soft is incredibly smooth and it gives it a feeling of calm and tranquility. The contrast and tonality is so gentle and pleasing - you just don't find this in modern lenses.   It's

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Mike, you might enjoy searching this site for the 75mm Summilux competitor - Leica's latest 75mm Noctilux. The Noctilux is not just a tiny bit faster but is a new Karbe design with stunning OOF. His genius in this lens is evident. Now with that said, the price difference is more than daunting and while I can afford the 75mm Noctilux, count me as one to stay with the Summilux - nobody I photograph for cares for the difference.

 

Others will contribute other alternatives. I would but I have no experience with those lenses.

 

Oh! What is a reasonable price today for the Summilux 75mm?

Edited by pico
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This is all Summilux75 on Monochrome1:

 

http://lotwouda.zenfolio.com/p735541593

 

Or use it on a film M with the Cinestill B&W film.

 

I think Mandler hit the ultimate on what is still reasonable on an M, re weight, volume and rangefinder compatibility. What Karbe did is only tenable with an EVF in my view

Edited by otto.f
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I bought mine because of its unique rendering and bokeh, much like the Noctilux f/1.0, only more controlled, sharper, better reach and better near limit. I undoubtedly prefer the look of these old lenses rather than the more correct, newer designs.

This is a good point. While I have a number of Karbe designed lenses, it’s nice to have a variety of rendering. At the modern end, I have the 21, 28 & 50 Summilux ASPH lenses, then the 75 Summilux from Mandler and at the older end th 28 Summaron-M (new, but made to the old formula) and a 50 Summitar-LTM from 1948.

 

The 75 Summilux rather straddles the old and new, being the spherical lens Mandler was most proud of, yet rivalling modern lenses when stopped down.

 

I hope this makes sense.

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Depends on the kind of photos you intend to take. In low light, the 75/1.4 has little competition besides the 75/1.25 i have no experience with. For portraits, the 75/1.4 is more forgiving than modern designs but so is the 90/2 v3 which is less expensive by a significant margin. Main difference, aside from subjective considerations, the 75/1.4 is significantly softer at f/1.4 than the 90/2 v3 at f/2. Also the latter has more CA but 75/1.4 has more focus shift. For street, both lenses are rather bulky, too much so for me but this is a matter of tastes obviously. For landscapes, f/1.4 is hardly necessary and modern lenses like 75/2 or 90/2 apo have more acutance so at the end of the day i would consider the 75/1.4 as a unique soft portrait lens that can take very good if not outstanding pictures otherwise but is hard to beat in low light aside from the 75/1.25. YMMV.

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Hi all

 

for my, the 75Lux is a little bit 75 lens with Noctilux 50 character . I use it more now on the SL. The lens is easier to focus then the Apo75 and softer (les sharp) wide open. Like the Noctilux, Sonnar a special purpose lens wide open and a standard 75 at f4.0? Color transmission and rendering changes from f2.0 to f4.0. I use the lens for portraits and nature, mainly

 

Here are some exemples 

https://www.flickr.com/gp/siggigun/22DdR4

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Those shots are an outstanding recommendation for the Summilux 75, showing its character very well.

 

Andy

 Thanks; I studied them again now that the Noctilux75 is out and I must say that the bo-keh of the Summilux looks smoother to me than what I've seen from the Noctilux thus far

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Full disclosure- I am selling mine on this forum.

 

The 75 lux is stupendous. It has gorgeous bokeh and a soft rendering at f/1.4 and f/2.0.  By f/2.8 it is as sharp as the 90 Apo, and stopped down further it is one of the sharpest M lenses of all time.  It has the glow and a lovely spherical rendering.  It might be the ultimate M portrait lens.  I'm only selling mine because I have moved from a 28mm/75mm two lens kit to a 35mm/90mm kit.

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Main difference, aside from subjective considerations, the 75/1.4 is significantly softer at f/1.4 than the 90/2 v3 at f/2.

 

However, the 75 f/1.4 @ f/2 is sharper than the 90/2 v3 at f/2. Erwin Puts' recommendation was get the 75 lux over the 90 'cron v.3 if you are getting it for use wide-open - and get a 90 Elmarit if you don't need f/1.4 or f/2 anyway (he was not a fan of the 90 f/2 v.3).

 

Anyway - I got a 75 Lux when I acquired my first M9 - to get back some of the tight framing of the cropped M8 view, and to get the extra speed with the ISO-limited CCD.

 

It was love-hate: loved the imaging, the "Mandler 1980" cyan color bias, the speed, and the close-up capability - hated the weight and size (and the price). Now that I have an M10, the 75 Summarit f/2.4 is much lighter and smaller, focuses to the same close range, and thanks to the 2-stop boost in ISO, works in the same dim light as the Summilux @ f/1.4 on the M9.

 

(But don't take that as recommending the Summarit over the Summilux - that is just what works for me. The Summilux is still unique in many ways the Summarit can't match - f/1.4 backgrounds, color rendering)

 

My experience is that 75 Summiluxes that have been 6-bit coded by Leica (with a full recheck of the optical/focus system after adding the coded mount) tend to behave better in focusing precision and overall IQ. If the one you have found does not have 6-bit coding already, I would consider having that done just for the "blessing" by Leica's techs - Add $300 US or equivalent.

 

The attached is one of my last 75 'lux images on the M9 (a 6-bit-coded copy) - @ f/1.4 and 1/1500th sec. Full image and cropped detail. For an upcoming story on a Colorado river. The high contrast of the situation "burned through" the dreamy overlay of the 75's spher. aberration @ f/1.4 and revealed quite a lot of underlying sharpness.

 

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Full disclosure- I am selling mine on this forum.

 

The 75 lux is stupendous. It has gorgeous bokeh and a soft rendering at f/1.4 and f/2.0. By f/2.8 it is as sharp as the 90 Apo, and stopped down further it is one of the sharpest M lenses of all time. It has the glow and a lovely spherical rendering. It might be the ultimate M portrait lens. I'm only selling mine because I have moved from a 28mm/75mm two lens kit to a 35mm/90mm kit.

You will regret and will not be the only one to buy another one in your lifetime.

Besides, the 75Summilux is beyond any considerations about the best pair of angles in your bag. It is a lens in the absolute sense: the photographer would be wise to follow this lens instead of the equipment following the photographer.

Edited by otto.f
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However, the 75 f/1.4 @ f/2 is sharper than the 90/2 v3 at f/2 [...]

 

+1. Reason why i prefer the 90/2 v3 for portraiture. Not too soft, not too sharp. YMMV. Pity the 90/2 v3 has more CA though. At f/1.4 my Summilux is a rather soft lens even on mirrorless cameras (pic) but i like that .
 
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Mike, you might enjoy searching this site for the 75mm Summilux competitor - Leica's latest 75mm Noctilux. The Noctilux is not just a tiny bit faster but is a new Karbe design with stunning OOF. His genius in this lens is evident. Now with that said, the price difference is more than daunting and while I can afford the 75mm Noctilux, count me as one to stay with the Summilux - nobody I photograph for cares for the difference.

 

Others will contribute other alternatives. I would but I have no experience with those lenses.

 

Oh! What is a reasonable price today for the Summilux 75mm?

Thank you so much for your comment and thoughts. I have defiantly taken a look at the 75mm Noctilux - it really does look like an incredible lens.

 

I am in the position to be able to purchase the new Noctilux, but, there are a number of things that push me towards the Summilux. Weight is a consideration, that new lens is very heavy, but more importantly for me, I already have a number of newer Karbe designed lenses, so its more a matter of pairing that with something that offers a different look.

 

As for the price, the one I am looking at is $3700 USD and is the pull out hood version.

 

Thanks again!

Mike

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Hi Mike, love mine. Soft open, tack sharp stopped down. There comes a point where another sharper, better lens adds little. I will sort of lust after the 75 Noctilux, but not really. I have the 50 Noct 0.95, and frankly there’s a limit to the number of lenses I “need”.

 

Haha - totally understand the number of lenses you "need"! I have a Noctilux f1.0 which I love, and totally agree with you about more sharper / better lenses. I have a number of the newer ASPH lenses which are incredible, but its fun to pair those up with something a little different. Thanks again!

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This is all Summilux75 on Monochrome1:

 

http://lotwouda.zenfolio.com/p735541593

 

Or use it on a film M with the Cinestill B&W film.

 

I think Mandler hit the ultimate on what is still reasonable on an M, re weight, volume and rangefinder compatibility. What Karbe did is only tenable with an EVF in my view

Wow! Thank you so much for posting the link to your folio. These shots are just stunning. I love the close up image of the pipe. It's so simple, beautifully framed, the monochrome tones just melt together and it really shows off what I love about the DOF on this lens.

This has really pushed me over the edge on this lens. Thanks again!

Mike

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I bought mine because of its unique rendering and bokeh, much like the Noctilux f/1.0, only more controlled, sharper, better reach and better near limit. I undoubtedly prefer the look of these old lenses rather than the more correct, newer designs.

Thanks so much for your comment and thoughts - very interesting you liken it to the Noctilux f1.0 (a lens I have), but being sharper and a closer near limit. I have a few of the newer designed lenses, but that 50mm f1 has really taken me into the older lens look camp as well. I think I will like this lens a lot! Thanks again!

Mike

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This is a good point. While I have a number of Karbe designed lenses, it’s nice to have a variety of rendering. At the modern end, I have the 21, 28 & 50 Summilux ASPH lenses, then the 75 Summilux from Mandler and at the older end th 28 Summaron-M (new, but made to the old formula) and a 50 Summitar-LTM from 1948.

 

The 75 Summilux rather straddles the old and new, being the spherical lens Mandler was most proud of, yet rivalling modern lenses when stopped down.

 

I hope this makes sense.

Makes a lot of sense, and very much the same reason I am looking at this lens too. I have a few modern lenses in the 21mm Super Elmar and the 35mm Summilux FLE which I have been using for a number of years, but then paired it with a 50mm Noctilux f1 for something totally different. The idea of adding to the line up with another Mandler design seems like a good addition.

 

Thanks again!

Mike

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