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The underrated Summicron 35mm 6 elements Version 2


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Hi everyone, I thought I’d create a specific thread for this lens as there’s not a lot of content on it available. I will share some pictures for this lens, which to me is fairly underrated in Leica’s line-up. If anyone else would like to share their pictures too please jump in. 

This lens sits between the mythical V1 8e and V4 7e, so it’s often forgotten, but I do think it’s worthy of a place in the 35mm hall of fame from where I stand : ) 

A very quick summary of my observations: 

  • This lens retains some of the best characteristics of the Summicron V1, which to me are the gentle glow wide open, and the beautiful flare, while being sharp enough for my taste. 
  • At f2 the bokeh is swirly without being too swirly and definitely has a very unique signature that I like. At f2.8 it still has a beautiful bokeh, but the sharpness increases quite significantly. 
  • From F4 onwards it’s tack sharp and I can’t differentiate it from any other lens. 


To start, sharing some shots wide open so that you can have a feel for the Bokeh. As always, click on the images for better resolution. 

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Secondly, here’s the same subject shot at f2 and f2.8. I focused on the bird tail on both shots. 

At f2 the bokeh has more swirl, which I love, but at f2.8 is not too far off bokeh rendering wise, while becoming much sharper in the center; the glow also goes away at f2.8.

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Next here are some examples of how the lens flare looks like. The flare rendering is quite pleasing and I do enjoy it a lot. These are shot against the sun and really pushing the lens to get flare. Flare resistance wise, I’d rank it as more resistant to flare than the V1, without a doubt. 

To my eyes, the V1 8 elements has the best flare rendering I’ve seen out of all Leica lenses, with the 35mm Lux pre-asph coming in at 2nd place. The 6e flare probably takes 3rd place right after these two lenses. To me it looks much more interesting and dreamy than the flare I got from the V4 7 elements or (of course) any ASPH leica lens. 

 

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Finally, here’s a heavily cropped picture of text shot at F4 and wide open. At f2, it has a beautiful glow while retaining enough sharpness; this rendering is very similar to the 8e, while perhaps being a tad bit sharper and less glowy. At F4 it’s tack sharp, period. 

 

Edited by shirubadanieru
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A great idea for a thread and I've heard others praise the v2 35 Summicron for the same reasons you have.  Regrettably I don't have a v2 and for the present and foreseeable future my v4 fulfils my requirements in that area so I won't be in a position to contribute.  I like the pictures you have posted above and I hope others post their v2 pictures here. 🙂

Pete. 

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I've always thought the second and third 35mm Summicrons get an unfair rap.  Not bad lenses.  Compact, well made, and optically enough there to take decent pictures.  I like their slightly frenetic bokeh.  Ha, ha, good metaphor for life.  If you mess up a picture, it's likely not because you used a six element Summicron.  Maybe a little softer wide open, compared to a version four, but when I had both a third and fourth in the house, I decided to keep the six element, because I felt it had a bit more character.  Don't get me wrong, the fourth is a great lens too, I've owned three of them over the years, but it's almost a little sterile in comparison, and not as well made (at least the black version).  Never had much issue with flare with my six element (a mid-70's one).  Never owned a second version though.  Some users report knocking and altering the aperture can be an issue with this version.

Really they're all good, not a bad 35mm Summicron out there.  One of the classic lenses in Leica rangefinder photography.  Much prefer these older lenses to the more modern aspherical.  As always, just my opinions/experiences based on b&W film usage; others may see it differently.

Edited by TheBestSLIsALeicaflex
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Great 😊.

 

For me this M Summicron 35mm II or III (same optical 6 elements), I use for what it IS without comparing to other 35mm I have.

As the differences are very subtle, the pictures on line would not give the huge own quality of this cheaper (but so good as it IS) lens.

I can say that this lens is the easiest to use in M * 35mm Summicrons, most "neutral" in whole rendering, so quick to learn.

 

More, I appreciate the compact yet heavy (best compromised solidly built) and the aperture setting lever/offset-at-left index so distinctive.

 

Good thing that this "II" is the less appreciated by most, so it's not rare or expensive as other hyped lenses.

In my use, this has no importance as I already use for long those 35mm Summicron and don't need to sell/buy ...

II

Edited by a.noctilux
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2 hours ago, TheBestSLIsALeicaflex said:

I've always thought the second and third 35mm Summicrons get an unfair rap.  Not bad lenses.  Compact, well made, and optically enough there to take decent pictures.  I like their slightly frenetic bokeh.  Ha, ha, good metaphor for life.  If you mess up a picture, it's likely not because you used a six element Summicron.  Maybe a little softer wide open, compared to a version four, but when I had both a third and fourth in the house, I decided to keep the six element, because I felt it had a bit more character.  Don't get me wrong, the fourth is a great lens too, I've owned three of them over the years, but it's almost a little sterile in comparison, and not as well made (at least the black version).  Never had much issue with flare with my six element (a mid-70's one).  Never owned a second version though.  Some users report knocking and altering the aperture can be an issue with this version.

Really they're all good, not a bad 35mm Summicron out there.  One of the classic lenses in Leica rangefinder photography.  Much prefer these older lenses to the more modern aspherical.  As always, just my opinions/experiences based on b&W film usage; others may see it differently.

For sure, I’d say that it has more character than the V4 and the built quality of the lens is noticeably better. I feel it’s closer to the V1 Summicron than to the V4. It’s a less glowy V1 with a more swirly bokeh and slightly more flare resistant. Other than that I don’t see much difference. 

My lens is a repaint done by Kanto camera, in chrome finish. It’s beautifully done so I’ll post some pictures of the lens itself here soon.

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The v3 Summicron is a beautiful lens and I shot b/w film with one for a long time. Unfortunately I don’t remember what lens I used with what so can’t show anything. My first 35mm Summicron was the V4 and I disliked it immediately not because of its optical performance but the poor handling due to its small size. With the V4 mounted the tab is very close to the camera and with a camera case on I can only access the tab with my finger tip. While v1 is a legendary collector’s item beautifully constructed it was worth more to me sold to someone who valued it more than I do so I could get another Leica lens I really wanted like a 21mm or 24mm Summilux both I value highly. I don’t have any 35mm Summicrons and only have a Summilux Pre-a and a Pre-FLE. The v3 is undervalued and I wouldn’t hesitate getting one again.

Edited by rtai
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Nice, the v2 was my first Leica M lens about 4 years ago due to it being inexpensive (I came from a Zeiss 35mm), and my only 35 summicron to date. I had it YYE serviced and it's in fine shape! 

The aperture tab is quirky and different, and the build is great, and the original vented round hood is very cool imo. 

I think of 'upgrading' sometimes and often had doubts about it, but after the service and YYE's high rating of it, I'm glad I have it.

 

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10 hours ago, bdolzani said:

Nice, the v2 was my first Leica M lens about 4 years ago due to it being inexpensive (I came from a Zeiss 35mm), and my only 35 summicron to date. I had it YYE serviced and it's in fine shape! 

The aperture tab is quirky and different, and the build is great, and the original vented round hood is very cool imo. 

I think of 'upgrading' sometimes and often had doubts about it, but after the service and YYE's high rating of it, I'm glad I have it.

 

What lens hood are you using? I am not sure which one is the original hood for it, but I guess any hood for the 35mm focal length would work well, including the IROOA for the 8e and the 12504 for the lux pre-asph?

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Hot tip: The double-Gauss, 6 element Summicron-C 40 is a full derivate of the Summicron 35 II (11309) at a fraction of the price.
I am absolutely in love with the render of my 40 'cron.

http://www.marcocavina.com/articoli_fotografici/Leitz_piccole_bugie/00_pag.htm

Edited by Al Brown
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6 hours ago, shirubadanieru said:

What lens hood are you using? I am not sure which one is the original hood for it, but I guess any hood for the 35mm focal length would work well, including the IROOA for the 8e and the 12504 for the lux pre-asph?

AFAIK (please correct me if I'm mistaken) the v2 doesn't have a filter thread which suggests that series VII filters were intended to be used with these lenses  therefore the 12504 would be the 'correct' choice. These are also the hood which seem to be sold with the v2 on the s/h market..

If filters are not to be used then, in 35mm terms, whilst some earlier 12585 hood engravings omitted the Summicron the later versions do list it along with the f3.5 and f2.8 Summarons;

The IROOA would also work of course.

Philip.

Edited by pippy
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19 minutes ago, pippy said:

AFAIK (please correct me if I'm mistaken) the v2 doesn't have a filter thread which suggests that series VII filters were intended to be used with these lenses  therefore the 12504 would be the 'correct' choice. These are also the hood which seem to be sold with the v2 on the s/h market..

If filters are not to be used then, in 35mm terms, whilst some earlier 12585 hood engravings omitted the Summicron the later versions do list it along with the f3.5 and f2.8 Summarons;

The IROOA would also work of course.

Philip.

Hi Philip, mine has a filter thread, as you can see by the pic I added on the Elcan thread with the 6e side by side with the Elcan, it fits an e39 filter with no issues.

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Hi Shirubadanieru; that's both interesting and educational!

My info - which, admittedly, I had read quite a while back - was from the wiki entry and I thought I might well have been remembering incorrectly (hence the AFAICR) and so I've just had a 'google' and the same info is still there!...;

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/35mm_f/2_Summicron_II

But as your lens clearly DOES have a filter attached (I had missed that detail when I saw the pic) the wiki entry is obviously erroneous! Having the E39 thread makes life a while lot easier in many ways(*) and a 12585 in good condition is usually easier to find than a 12504.

Philip.

* Whereas the Serie VII Circular Pola works with the 12504 IMX the POOTR does not work with a 12585 as its mounting-ring cannot slip past the fixed-ring part of the filter.

Edited by pippy
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Philip, you are correct.

First Summicron II was offered without filter thread but later production "flaw" corrected with E39 filter size added.

I don't know the whole story or serial numbers.

this one has no filter thread
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5 minutes ago, a.noctilux said:

Philip, you are correct.

First Summicron II was offered without filter thread but later production "flaw" corrected with E39 filter size added. I don't know the whole story or serial numbers...

Thank you very much for the added info, Arnaud, and for posting the photograph. I think we can now say that Wiki and Shirubadanieru are both correct!......:)......

These details are very interesting indeed! As the v2 was only in production from 1969 - 1971 it would be quite informative to discover when this change occurred and whether the E39 version carried-on until production in Germany ended.

Philip.

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