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wlaidlaw

Are the Summilux R ROM lenses really fetching what is being asked for them

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Given that the youngest of the Summilux-R ROM lenses are now 10 years old, are they really still fetching the prices folk are asking for them? The one stop slower but otherwise just as good Summicron but admittedly much more common lenses, are fetching only about 1/10th to 1/5th the price. For my recent acquisition of an R9, my first instinct was to buy a 50 Summilux-R ROM lens. Given that I had only recently paid £1700 for a rare 1999 year special edition LTM e46 Summilux III in unused condition (came from a Japanese collector), I expected the 50 Summilux-R ROM lenses to be in the £1000 to £1200 range. Not a bit of it. A decent looking one with unmarked glass and good paintwork is over £3,000. The 35 Summilux R ROM lenses are around £4500. 

I do wonder if this is a bubble market and people see a lens for sale and thinking theirs is in better condition than that, add £500 or more to the price. Are they really selling at what seems to me to be inflated prices. This is especially true, as for the most part, these ROM lenses are bought for the now ageing and close to unrepairable R8 and 9 cameras. I understand the prices fetched by the huge APO system tele lenses, as these are desirable for digital but would SL users really pay close to the same for an MF 50 Summilux-R as they would for the noticeably superior AF 50 Summilux SL? In a similar fashion who would rather buy the MF 28-90 Vario Elmarit-R rather than the excellent AF and stabilised 24-90 Vario Elmarit SL, given also that for both of these alternatives, they would have to use the quite bulky R adapter L or stacked R adapter M and M adapter L? 

I bought a beautiful condition 50 Summicron-R ROM from Thomas Merkt for £330, then a good but not quite as perfect 24 Elmarit-R ROM for just over £800. Given the relative scarcity or non-scarcity of the foregoing lenses, I thought the prices very fair. I have had the 80-200/f4 Vario Elmar-R ROM lens for some time and only paid £400 for it a few years ago. I see they are now for sale for over £1,000. To some extent this is understandable given the relative sizes of the 80-200 and 90-280 SL, for SL owners like me, looking for a more portable lens. 

Wilson

Edited by wlaidlaw

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Wilson, some years ago I sold my 35 R Summilux ROM on commission. It didn't get anywhere near £4.5k! I was quite happy though because, even after commission, I got more than I paid for it when I bought it brand new. You're probably aware that Ivor has got a ROM one. It looks a bit cosmetically shabby (though it says it was serviced in 2017) for £3.3k. This would seem more reasonable. Personally I do wonder if these lenses are indeed put on the market as a try-on, because the owners have seen others priced similarly. It then becomes a self-perpetuating myth, and I suspect they hang about for a long time on dealers' shelves.

 

I suspect that the reason that the ROM versions command a premium is nothing to do with the fact that they have advantages when used with an R8/9, rather that it is simply an indication of a more recent sample.

 

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John,

Ivor is a bit like Porsche dealers were a few years ago. "Discount? Discount???" - screams in horror at the thought and faints! I have made a couple of what I thought were eminently sensible offers to him for non-commission sale items over the last year or so and no interest at all. 

I don't intend to buy a 35 Summilux-R ROM lens but was just quoting those prices as an example. I think the three lenses I have, 24, 50 and 80-200 provide all the coverage I want or need for the R. I will also have my CL along where I have coverage 11-23, 18TL, 18-56 and the 80-200 R lens on an R adapter L. I have not bought the 55 to 135, as I am hoping that either Leica bring out a Mk.2 stabilised tele-zoom APS-C L mount or Sigma will convert its APS-C stabilised 18-200 or 18-250 lenses to L mount. 

Wilson

Edited by wlaidlaw

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To see what they are fetching on the big auction site, go to the advanced search button and search for completed sales, where you will see the actual sales prices people paid.

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1 hour ago, spydrxx said:

To see what they are fetching on the big auction site, go to the advanced search button and search for completed sales, where you will see the actual sales prices people paid.

There are some recent completed sales at £2000 and £2300 for the 50 Summilux-R ROM, this is an average of about 7 times what I paid for a very nice 50 Summicron-R ROM two weeks ago. That seems a very big differential compared to the relative prices of a S/H 50 Summicron-M series V and S/H 50 Summilux-M ASPH (or more correctly, the directly comparable 50 Summilux-M version III). The price differential for the M lenses is around twice the price for the Summilux-M compared to the Summicron-M. This seems to me, a far more sensible ratio. 

Wilson

Edited by wlaidlaw

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To think, it wasn’t that long ago that Aperture in London weren’t interested in buying or selling any R gear at any price! They said nobody wanted them anymore. 

 

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Guest jackaria
On 1/28/2019 at 12:19 PM, wlaidlaw said:

Given that the youngest of the Summilux-R ROM lenses are now 10 years old, are they really still fetching the prices folk are asking for them? The one stop slower but otherwise just as good Summicron but admittedly much more common lenses, are fetching only about 1/10th to 1/5th the price. For my recent acquisition of an R9, my first instinct was to buy a 50 Summilux-R ROM lens. Given that I had only recently paid £1700 for a rare 1999 year special edition LTM e46 Summilux III in unused condition (came from a Japanese collector), I expected the 50 Summilux-R ROM lenses to be in the £1000 to £1200 range. Not a bit of it. A decent looking one with unmarked glass and good paintwork is over £3,000. The 35 Summilux R ROM lenses are around £4500. 

I do wonder if this is a bubble market and people see a lens for sale and thinking theirs is in better condition than that, add £500 or more to the price. Are they really selling at what seems to me to be inflated prices. This is especially true, as for the most part, these ROM lenses are bought for the now ageing and close to unrepairable R8 and 9 cameras. I understand the prices fetched by the huge APO system tele lenses, as these are desirable for digital but would SL users really pay close to the same for an MF 50 Summilux-R as they would for the noticeably superior AF 50 Summilux SL? In a similar fashion who would rather buy the MF 28-90 Vario Elmarit-R rather than the excellent AF and stabilised 24-90 Vario Elmarit SL, given also that for both of these alternatives, they would have to use the quite bulky R adapter L or stacked R adapter M and M adapter L? 

I bought a beautiful condition 50 Summicron-R ROM from Thomas Merkt for £330, then a good but not quite as perfect 24 Elmarit-R ROM for just over £800. Given the relative scarcity or non-scarcity of the foregoing lenses, I thought the prices very fair. I have had the 80-200/f4 Vario Elmar-R ROM lens for some time and only paid £400 for it a few years ago. I see they are now for sale for over £1,000. To some extent this is understandable given the relative sizes of the 80-200 and 90-280 SL, for SL owners like me, looking for a more portable lens. 

Wilson

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You seem to have just reposted my original post without adding anything. 

Wilson

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Posted (edited)
On 1/28/2019 at 12:19 PM, wlaidlaw said:

Given that the youngest of the Summilux-R ROM lenses are now 10 years old, are they really still fetching the prices folk are asking for them? The one stop slower but otherwise just as good Summicron but admittedly much more common lenses, are fetching only about 1/10th to 1/5th the price. For my recent acquisition of an R9, my first instinct was to buy a 50 Summilux-R ROM lens. Given that I had only recently paid £1700 for a rare 1999 year special edition LTM e46 Summilux III in unused condition (came from a Japanese collector), I expected the 50 Summilux-R ROM lenses to be in the £1000 to £1200 range. Not a bit of it. A decent looking one with unmarked glass and good paintwork is over £3,000. The 35 Summilux R ROM lenses are around £4500. 

I do wonder if this is a bubble market and people see a lens for sale and thinking theirs is in better condition than that, add £500 or more to the price. Are they really selling at what seems to me to be inflated prices. This is especially true, as for the most part, these ROM lenses are bought for the now ageing and close to unrepairable R8 and 9 cameras. I understand the prices fetched by the huge APO system tele lenses, as these are desirable for digital but would SL users really pay close to the same for an MF 50 Summilux-R as they would for the noticeably superior AF 50 Summilux SL? In a similar fashion who would rather buy the MF 28-90 Vario Elmarit-R rather than the excellent AF and stabilised 24-90 Vario Elmarit SL, given also that for both of these alternatives, they would have to use the quite bulky R adapter L or stacked R adapter M and M adapter L? 

I bought a beautiful condition 50 Summicron-R ROM from Thomas Merkt for £330, then a good but not quite as perfect 24 Elmarit-R ROM for just over £800. Given the relative scarcity or non-scarcity of the foregoing lenses, I thought the prices very fair. I have had the 80-200/f4 Vario Elmar-R ROM lens for some time and only paid £400 for it a few years ago. I see they are now for sale for over £1,000. To some extent this is understandable given the relative sizes of the 80-200 and 90-280 SL, for SL owners like me, looking for a more portable lens. 

Wilson

I tend to agree with Wilson with the comparison of the technically superb SL lenses vs the older R equivalents with some fetching high prices. The advantage of the R lens range is how small they are compared to the SL's.  I recently purchased a CL with 18-56, and unexpectedly found a minty 80 - 200 f4 R which I used for a recent holiday trip. The excellent EVF of the CL provides  really easy focussing of manual  lenses and I have started to enjoy the R lenses again. I always looked forward to an autofocus Leica camera system, but the SL lenses are too large for my needs. I still find the build and optical performance of R lenses stunning, and better than some currently made non Leica products I use. 

Unless AF is a requirement, R lenses remain a viable option. 

A few pictures taken with a 28 - 90 Vario

Mark

Edited by leicamr

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On 1/28/2019 at 2:40 PM, gbealnz said:

Not sure why but I recollect that many were being bought up and "converted" for video/filming use, making them sought after.

Gary

You recollect correctly. In my line of work and location, I've met quite a few pro videographers (indy film makers, ad commercial cinematographers).

Surprising how many preferred the R over newer lenses.

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Just recently I've been told that it's the cinematography folks—not the hobbyists but the motion-picture industry—who inflate the current Summilux-R bubble. The Summilux-R 80 mm lens in particular is popular among professional cinematographers. That was, by the way, the reason for Leica Camera to launch the Summilux-C series of cine lenses a couple of years ago ... they figured it could be a success, and it was.

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vor 37 Minuten schrieb james.liam:

... I've met quite a few pro videographers (indy film makers, ad commercial cinematographers). Surprising how many preferred the R over newer lenses.

Exactly.

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Posted (edited)

On the Red User forum there are two whole long threads on adapting Contax-Yashica and Leica R lenses. Many cinematographers prefer their "analogue" look and appreciate their mechanical robustness (especially the R) relative to modern plastic autofocus photographic lenses.

But that trend has been ongoing for several years now, and I suspect is cooling off now with 4K and even higher resolutions becoming mainstream, and with more and more true cine lenses being made (including by Leica themselves, who tout precisely the "analogue" feel of their Thalia line). 

I had multiple copies of the Summilux-R 35, 50, 80 and miss them fondly. What I remember the most are the lush colors (on an A7R).

Edited by alan.y

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Even for stills photography (most of) the R lenses still hold their own.  Either on a SL or Sony or adapted whereever.

The catch is you have to use v.high quality lens-mount adapter rings.  I was having image-corner quality trouble with my 28mm V2 which simply went away when realised it was the adapter and not the lens.

The Leica R-Adapter-L https://au.leica-camera.com/Photography/Leica-SL/SL-Lenses/L-Adapters/R-Adapter-L is pretty good, although the ROM-pin electronics on my first one was so flaky that I had to send it back and receive a replacement.  No problems with the new one (so far).

For the Sony E I use the Rayqual adapter https://shop.cameraquest.com/sony-alpha/nex-e-mount-lens-adapters/rayqual-leica-r-lens-to-sony-e/nex/ - the only commercial one I didn't have to shim to get the exact Lens-to-mount distance.  I'm looking at you Novoflex and Fotodiox =/

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One must remember that ROM is a feature, and not a lens model. And that R lenses of many types could be factory-upgraded with the ROM chip. So there is not a ROM 50mm, 80mm, or 35mm Summilux. Some are ROM'd and some are not, without necessarily having different optics.

The 1998 50mm Summilux-R was a major redesign, to eight elements and a significant improvement in image quality - especially wide-open - over the previous 7-element (which can also be found ROM'd).

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On 9/2/2019 at 6:51 AM, adan said:

One must remember that ROM is a feature, and not a lens model. And that R lenses of many types could be factory-upgraded with the ROM chip. So there is not a ROM 50mm, 80mm, or 35mm Summilux. Some are ROM'd and some are not, without necessarily having different optics.

The 1998 50mm Summilux-R was a major redesign, to eight elements and a significant improvement in image quality - especially wide-open - over the previous 7-element (which can also be found ROM'd).

Who here is mistaking ROM for a lens model? The chip is just an approximation for (relatively) new copies or recently serviced by Leica. The questionable reliability of this shorthand is the very premise of the thread.

Edited by alan.y

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A fairly sure way of seeing what the market is paying for lenses is to go to Ebay and search for the specific lenses that you're trying to evaluate, with the search set to "Sold Items" only. Then you'll see the auction or BIN close pricing. 

G

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For whatever else they are, the 50mm E60 Summilux R, 100mm APO Elmarit R and 180mm APO Elmarit R were three of the nicest lenses I ever used...the last two being extremely sharp with pleasing bokeh. The 50mm was quite sharp, but also had some of the lovliest bokeh of any lens I have used. They also have very smooth and solid manual focusing and aperture rings, which make them much nicer to use as "dead" lenses than any of the more recent electronic lenses. Because of all this, I am not surprised there is still a lot of interest from cinematographers, for whom image character is often more important than sheer resolution (4k is still only 8mp...). That said the best R lenses should still perform more than well enough to handle modern digital cameras.

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It's a fact that more than a few R lenses can 'sit', unsold, on established Leica dealers' shelves for many, many months. One reason is that dealers might not be prepared to buy or PX them … because of reduced demand … especially if they already have existing stock. They prefer to sell on commission with no real £risk to themselves … which is fine and good business sense. If the lens sells there is a commission due … but for a 'no sale' there is no real £loss … apart from the time and effort involved in listing the items. Some dealers do eventually suggest to their 'sell on commission' customers that prices should be reduced … but those 'seller customers' might have a false expectation of their precious Leica lens' worth … and stubbornly refuse to agree to a reduction (I've actually been told this by a dealer). However, if dealers quoted and agreed more realistic commission sale prices in the first place, the lenses would likely sell more easily.  There are also some 'chancer' s/h dealers who are not exactly Leica enthusiasts or experts, but who assume that anything 'Leica' commands a premium price. Their Leica wares, including R lenses, can be priced way OTT … as a 'try on' , but when they do not sell they're reduced by a significant £amount with an amended description advising, "REDUCED" , or, "SALE PRICE". Looking at various dealers' current s/h 'R' lens offerings, the disparity in prices is very obvious. Secondhand prices of non-Leica items are generally fairly stable … but Leica is the exception to the general rule. There are some 'chancer' Ebay sellers who regularly and repeatedly 'try it on' with Leica items .. especially if listed as BINs … often with the obligatory 'RARE!' or "VERY RARE!" label … hopefully few buyers fall for their descriptions. By 'shopping around', it's sometimes possible to find a good buy … rather than paying OTT prices. One Leica sales avenue which I no longer use or look at is TLF Classifieds - because those listing often have totally OTT expectations of a Leica item's actual worth. 

dunk 

Edited by dkCambridgeshire
typo

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