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geetee1972

Should I buy a copy of the Summicron-S 100mm?

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I recently bought a copy of the Hasselblad HC100 2.2 but have found the results highly variable. Shooting at anything longer than about 2.5m wide open results in very poor results; I'm not sure what it is but either the focus is off or the resolving power is very poor. At 1-2m it's perfect so I'm not at all sure what the problem is. But  since I only tend to compose this way about 10% of the time, it seems pointless having a lens capable of perfect results at such a large aperture in such limited circumstances. What I want is a lens that can give these results at 2-3m without having to stop down.

I have therefore sold the Hasselblad, although I have taken a big hit on the original purchase cost (it smarts to write this but I've lost about £500!)

I have however found somewhere selling an excellent condition copy of the Summicron-S 100mm, which is both slightly faster, weather sealed and hopefully a better performing lens. for £3099/€3650. In the past I've bought and kept a copy for two weeks before electing to return it (under the sale of goods act), concluding that for such a lot of money the difference in use between this and the 70mm summarit was too small. However, having owned the Hassy lens for several months, I realise that I do apprecaite using a slightly longer lens and not just for portraiture (the Beachy Head shot on the images page was taken with the 100mm Hassy).

With the sale of the adapter and the Hassy lens, the Summicon-S would be abother £1500; what advice would the forum offer me? I would have to put the money on a card and then pay it off over time.

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The Summicron-S has a lovely rendering but it's one tricky pony for portraits to get the focus spot on wide open at f2 on e.g. the eye, because of the large focus point of the S. 

If you get it in focus it's a magical lens.

Example wide open on the S007

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100cron is my most used S lens. I love it.  However, I am against recommend it to anyone rely on AF using it. I use manual focus most of time. 

until my last service by sending S007 and 100 cron ( I am original owner) to LeicaGermany, it always front focus consistently. The longer the distance, the poorer the results. I handled total 5 S bodies, include 3 007 and 2 006 until my last one Brand new 007 with its latest service, it now at least pass my test with well defined focus target under good light over reasonable distance. I don’t know what Leica did on my 007 body though, they charged me an impact damage service, replaced a few things. 

I have friend with the combo has exact same issue, now sending both to Leica. Given I saw many reports with mis focus with this lens, I will personally not buy this without way to test it on your body or good return policy
it is as you said offerIng weather sealing, high performance if you can nail focus, however the rendering is modern. You will not see the same soft(a complement) rendering as your Hassy. The behavior you described about inconsistent result with hassy is most likely a focus issue but it is not a surprise for me and can be easily verify and test. Too bad you sold it already.  Lens with that kind of render(Mainly SA) will struggle with even the most advanced SLR system, not to mention ancient S tech. ( Nikon 58G was struggle on D850)
 

Given you have 70, I would recommend you considering 120, cheaper, APO and more consistent focus with high magnification, about same blur and focal length spaced a little better. 

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56 minutes ago, ZHNL said:

Given you have 70, I would recommend you considering 120, cheaper, APO and more consistent focus with high magnification, about same blur and focal length spaced a little better. 

I would agree, but not used the 100 though

john

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I have not used the 100mm either, but I think the 120mm would be my choice as well..

That said, I am not sure it is worth going into debt for...the 70mm is a lovely lens and with a slight crop is still going to give wonderful results.

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We generally engage in photography for money or for personal satisfaction, or some combination.  In the business case, one can do a cost/benefit analysis. On the personal side, only the user can assess and determine enjoyment.  Plenty of people here use the S100.  Plenty of others don’t.  Is a forum survey, subject to random participation, really a good vehicle to help spend or save your hard earned dollars?  All I would ask is that if you can’t make a compelling case, how can we (especially given that you’ve already used the gear)?  

Jeff

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8 hours ago, geetee1972 said:

With the sale of the adapter

Don't factor on getting too much for the adapter as they don't appear to be selling on ebay at the moment. I have one listed at a mere £360 and it isn't selling - that's less than some of the 'dumb' adapters!

P.S. http://www.tearsinrain.co.uk <-- One of my favourite quotes from Bladerunner! 

Edited by Sarnian

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18 hours ago, ZHNL said:

until my last service by sending S007 and 100 cron ( I am original owner) to LeicaGermany, it always front focus consistently. The longer the distance, the poorer the results. I handled total 5 S bodies, include 3 007 and 2 006 until my last one Brand new 007 with its latest service, it now at least pass my test with well defined focus target under good light over reasonable distance. I don’t know what Leica did on my 007 body though, they charged me an impact damage service, replaced a few things. 

The S100mm is my favorite lens and my usual two lens kit is the S100 and Contax 55mm. No problems with AF on my S2P My S100 failed on the SL and Leica repaired the AF motor. Now I am not scared to let my friend use it on his 007, but he is having focusing problems with my 100mm. His S120 and S180 work well with his camera. 
 

If I buy an 007 in the future, I will definitely follow your advice and send all my stuff to Leica for full service. 

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Interesting and helpful replies, many thanks for this. The option to buy is only pressing because one is available now from a reputable second hand retailer and they don't come up that often. I think however the combination of the challenges with focus and the fact that my style is for a more open composition I will hold off and keep my set up simple. The 70mm and the 45mm between them should be enough.

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Focusing wide open is an issue but if you reconsider, I would recommend you test your lens with tripod and fixed object to see if AF and manual focus work. I have had no problem with my 100 mm wide open except for occasional lack of super sharp focus of eyes. It is usually because the person or the photographer.. are moving ever so. 'such a narrow DOF! When tested with tripod both AF and manual are fine.

Albert

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Thanks Albert - I can buy and test the lens under the distance selling regulations here in the UK. I can have the lens for 14 days and return it for a refund without question as long as the lens is in the same condition I received it in!

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3 minutes ago, geetee1972 said:

Thanks Albert - I can buy and test the lens under the distance selling regulations here in the UK. I can have the lens for 14 days and return it for a refund without question as long as the lens is in the same condition I received it in!

Go for it - "Nothing ventured, nothing gained".

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GT—for your work definitely get it. You will anyway. But do test it.

the focus problems are real and unrelated to DOF— I had a copy that simply didn’t focus accurately, even after a trip to Leica, on my S007 that focused all my other lenses fine. Ditto when I tested it with a S007 at a Leica Store. A second copy of the 100 focused fine. Almost bought a third but decided against it.

its really a beautiful lens but I didn’t gel with the perspective. You on the other hand can really put it to good use.

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Greg,  I agree with many of the posts here for the S 100.  Since you are considering buying a previously owned S 100, I would ask for at a minimum the documentation for the AF motor replacement performed by Leica Wetzlar Service Center.  If the motor has not been replaced, I would ask for a minimum of a 1 year warranty in writing from the dealer stating they bear the AF motor cost replacement by Leica Wetzlar.  That is if the lens doesn't have a valid Leica warranty in existence and has not been registered on the Leica website.  I would also test for lens centering during the trial period.  I had several S lenses that became de-centered due to extreme hiking conditions when I go out to remote locations for my clients.  In my early years dealing with stores who sold previously owned Leica S and M lenses,  I found some would not stand behind their store "warranty" for various reasons.  Most said, the lens was "perfect" when it left the store...yet, once back at my business and tested the lens found the lens de-centered, etc.. (I don't buy previously owned lenses anymore)  The AF motor issue is a most expensive repair for a S lens if you bear the cost yourself.  I suggest;  No documentation or extended written warranty on the lens from the dealer or whomever, I would not buy it...no matter who was selling the lens or gear.  My experience when I use to buy previously owned camera gear, the idea of "Trust, but verify"...has saved me a lot of hassle and expense later on.  r/ Mark

PS...The S 100 will help you create even more amazing portrait photographs.

Edited by LeicaR10

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Mark/Alan many thanks for the very helpful reply. How much does the AF motor replacement cost if you pay for it as the user? I had previously heard it to be something like £400 but cannot be sure how true that is.

I confess I already bought a second hand 45mm from the same source without checking either the provenance or the AF motor though the lens was 'only' £2400 and it had a six month warranty.

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20 minutes ago, geetee1972 said:

 How much does the AF motor replacement cost if you pay for it as the user? 

EUR236.86. See the attached (from November 2019). N.B. As a Channel Islands resident I don't get charged V.A.T. so it might be a little more for you. The turnaround was pretty quick at around 3 weeks.  

I recently bought a mint condition Vario-Elmar 30-90mm for a mere £2,500 (£8,700 new!!) so that's with Leica now for a preventative AF motor replacement. I'm also getting it calibrated as its corners were a little soft. 

Edited by Sarnian

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1 minute ago, Sarnian said:

See the attached (from November 2019). N.B. As a Channel Islands resident I don't get charged V.A.T. so it might be a little more for you. The turnaround was pretty quick at around 3 weeks.  

I recently bought a mint condition Vario-Elmar 30-90mm for a mere £2,500 (£8,700 new!!) so that's with Leica now for a preventative AF motor replacement. I'm also get it calibrated as its corners were a little soft. 

+1. I had recently 4 lenses in for af motor upgrade; one because of af motor failure, the three others because they had old motors. I find the cost reasonable. Regarding time, it took one week shipping/custom clearance in both ends and 2-3 weeks at Leica, so the whole process took about one month. Again, reasonable from my point of view. And of course, shipping to/from Leica adds to the 240 EURO...

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23 minutes ago, helged said:

 I find the cost reasonable.../ ...shipping to/from Leica adds to the 240 EURO...

I think so, too.

It cost me £83.24 to FedEx my 30-90mm to Germany (insured for £2,500). It would probably cost less than that to send it from the U.K. as getting things off 'The Rock' (including people!) is always more expensive. 

Edited by Sarnian

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17 hours ago, geetee1972 said:

Thanks Albert - I can buy and test the lens under the distance selling regulations here in the UK. I can have the lens for 14 days and return it for a refund without question as long as the lens is in the same condition I received it in!

it clearly seems to be a lens where you see conflicting views. Given the offer and return policy, and looking at the work you're doing, I would just go ahead and buy it. You are the best to judge for the usefulness of that lens. If you then want to sell it for 500 less, I may be interested 😅 .

Regarding your HC 100/2.2, I cannot recall having made a similar experience, but then I have probably not used it too much on longer distances wide open - I may check it one day. I bought the HC mainly because it was a reasonable offer (including the adapter), and it has a central shutter (which I so far did maybe use once ...), plus it is nice and compact.

Edited by Photon42

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