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Mechanical Construction of Summarit Lenses?


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What you quote is unsubstantiated 'hear-say;' I doubt that anybody can prove your claims. Where there has been possible economy, and I doubt that considering the extra work, is the choice of soft material for the focusing grip. Optically, it is a true Leica lens with first class performance. Buy with confidence.

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I have the 35, 50 & 90 f2.5 models. I got a good deal on the used 35 as the aperture ring was a bit loose, as was the main cell in the focus mount. This was due to a loosened lock ring at the back of the lens that holds the optical head in the mount. Took about a minute to tighten it properly with a lens spanner from the back, and it's been fine ever since (several years).

The mounts are designed for easy machining and assembly, which lowered costs, but as an old mechanical engineer I say they are still high quality. I prefer the 35 & 50 to my Summicrons for handling and size, with equivalent performance in my use.

I hear the 75 & 90 criticized for the ribbed rubber grip ring on the focus ring, but that was a feature of my older (and expensive) Leica R lenses - so that is hardly a sign of cheapness. I have several 90s, and use the Summarit the most now.

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3 hours ago, wda said:

What you quote is unsubstantiated 'hear-say;' I doubt that anybody can prove your claims. Where there has been possible economy, and I doubt that considering the extra work, is the choice of soft material for the focusing grip. Optically, it is a true Leica lens with first class performance. Buy with confidence.

they are not my claims

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At the time Leica had a special efficient production line designed by Porsche  installed and designed the lenses to have as many common mechanical parts as possible, thus cutting down on production costs as much as possible without making quality concessions. 
So no, you do not need to fear for substandard quality with Summarit lenses. 

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Posted (edited)

I still own the 50 and had the 35 for some time. I was also loaned a 75 by Leica when my Summicron was in for service. All the Summarit lenses that I know are excellent lenses and totally fit for purpose. However, there are no free lunches and there's no doubt in my mind that the Summarits have a cheaper and looser feel compared with the regular Summicron and Summilux lenses that I have experience of. I think the Summarit lenses were also the first M lenses to drop the brass focussing helicoid in favour of a (presumably) aluminium one. In truth, the weightier and higher quality feel of the Summilux and Summicron lenses is often illusory as the aperture rings and focus actions can be just as sloppy and, in practice, the lenses are often no more robust – for example, my 28 Summicron ASPH ended up almost separating into two after about 10 years of moderate use (to be fair, Leica repaired it at no charge to me).

Edited by wattsy
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10 hours ago, earleygallery said:

Yes, they're all plastic inside and use plastic lens elements.

The venerable 35 Summicron v.4 ("king of bokeh") has, I believe, plastic parts inside. There was an example shown in this forum many years ago that had split inside and separated into two parts! If the search function worked properly, I'd try and find it because it is quite an amusing photo.

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On the point of haptics my cron v5 feel more smoother in focusing that my summarit, but i think the summarit was designed for faster focusing. Definately no issue with any sub par quality from my 2c experience

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, wattsy said:

The venerable 35 Summicron v.4 ("king of bokeh") has, I believe, plastic parts inside. There was an example shown in this forum many years ago that had split inside and separated into two parts! If the search function worked properly, I'd try and find it because it is quite an amusing photo.

Found from LCT, here

 

this ...

 

Edited by a.noctilux
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I have the 75mm 2.4, my personal feel is it’s well made. It’s also been a remarkable performer for portraits I print to 30” wide on drum-scanned E6 film.

I do, however, have an issue with the “smoothness” of its focusing, ie, the focusing ring now makes some noise when I rotate it from infinity to close-focus …. and in particular it almost feels like the focusing ring changes resistance (slipping?) when it gets towards the closer focus distance. Curious if anyone has a clue what could cause that scenario?

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20 minutes ago, a.noctilux said:

Found from LCT, here

 

this ...

 

Yes, that's the one. I did read somewhere that the part that split isn't actually plastic but some kind of cheap cast aluminium-silicon alloy (Silumin?). Quality plastic might have actually been a suitable material.

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14 minutes ago, wattsy said:

Yes, that's the one. I did read somewhere that the part that split isn't actually plastic but some kind of cheap cast aluminium-silicon alloy (Silumin?). Quality plastic might have actually been a suitable material.

I had one and it went to Malclom Taylor who could not repair it. If I remember correctly I think that he said that it was 'makrolon' which, whilst it has many attributes (https://solutions.covestro.com/en/brands/makrolon), can be difficult (or as in my case, impossible) to repair and needs to be replaced (Malcolm could not do so due to lack of spares). If someone could get hold of the part it may now bepossible to have it measured up and 3D printed.

Brass helicoids have the advantage of being potentially repairable if damaged (I had a 50mm Summilux which as dropped and had a stiff point on the focus which was repaired fine) whereas I would guess that aluminium helicoids probably have to be replaced because aluminium is less pliable. That said, aluiminium helicoids have been used in lenses like the MF Micro-Nikkors many of which have had a hard life and still operate well, so its hardly an innovative or problematic material to make heliocoids from.

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8 hours ago, wattsy said:

I think the Summarit lenses were also the first M lenses to drop the brass focussing helicoid in favour of a (presumably) aluminium one.

Looks like brass here:

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/50mm_f/2.5_Summarit-M

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/35mm_f/2.5_Summarit-M

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On 8/19/2021 at 10:57 PM, Ralf11 said:

Is there anything to the claims that the Summarits have lower quality mechanical construction or "feel" worse in use?

 

 

Ralf, the summarit are very well made. I think this thread could be a comprehensive answer to you question.

 

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The only really annoying thing about Summarits is the plastic rubber on the focus ring which - with age and chemical reactions from sweat on your fingers - greys out, curls and becomes downright ugly. Canon users did not mind this phenomenon though on their older EF lenses...

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33 minutes ago, Al Brown said:

The only really annoying thing about Summarits is the plastic rubber on the focus ring which - with age and chemical reactions from sweat on your fingers - greys out, curls and becomes downright ugly. Canon users did not mind this phenomenon though on their older EF lenses...

Plastic or natural rubber i don't know but we got the same grip on more expensive R lenses like 28/2.8 v2 or 280/4. To fix the problem see 

 

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