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Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 11301 "STEEL RIM" reissue QC problems


Al Brown

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I have gathered all the documented issues that plague the Summilux 35 "Steel Rim" reissue in one place.
As a recent, brand new M lens with probably the most problems of all recent M lenses it deserves a thread of its own. A clear case of the Leica quality control - or the lack thereof (we saw the M6 scratching film, Summilux FLE diaphragm blades collapsing etc.), they must still be working from home or are shut for some permanent vacay.
PS. My brand new copy (2022/10/11) has 3 of the issues.

- Loose, not snug lens cap that does not stay on

- Stiff focusing ring near infinity

- Wobbly aperture ring that rattles

- Some samples are not calibrated/aligned with rangefinder (back or front focus)

- The use of filter with screw-in threaded lens hood leads to undesirable vignetting – design flaw, a problem recognized by Leica with a promised solution

- The clip-on hood does not stay on the lens/falls of at the slightest touch

 

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4 hours ago, 69xchange said:

Even my $600 voigtlander 35mm nokton classic ii f1.4 has no issues.

Same for the SC version of the Nokton 35/1.4 v2, which avoids me from ordering the Leica reissue, unless its features or character prove to be in any way preferable to the Nokton's.

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Well, some reports of loose aperture rings are posted by those who do not realize that the aperture rings on the Version I and II were not exactly tight. This has been noted, by some owners of the old classic Summiluxes. I visited a Leica dealer, about a week ago, to co compare my Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/1.4 ZM, with a very clean, well-preserved, pre-owned Version II Summilux, and a demonstrator pre-II Summilux 35mm FLE. Sure enough, the aperture ring, on the classic v. II, was neither sloppy, nor riding on greased rails, but, a happy medium.

Obviously, if an aperture ring, on a re-issued Steel Rim, “rattles,” that would be an indication of a problem.

One thing that kept my credit card safely inside my wallet was the tiny size of the classic v. II Summilux. For walking-about shooting, when I am continuously hand-holding the camera, or wearing it on a strap, with one hand on the camera/lens combo, I like to be able to firmly grip the lens barrel. The larger diameter of the Re-Issued Steel Rim might be a better fit. So, I will be paying attention to this discussion. (Notably, however, this seems to be a good time to buy a pre-owned, pre-II FLE. I have noticed asking prices getting lower and lower.)

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6 hours ago, 69xchange said:

Even my $600 voigtlander 35mm nokton classic ii f1.4 has no issues.

 

4 hours ago, Al Brown said:

It is believed they are in their roots the same lens… 😊

I seem to remember reading, somewhere, words to the effect that the owner of Cosina Voigtlander has a special affinity for the early Summilux 35mm. If true, it makes sense that the Nokton Classic 35/1.4 series would be very well-executed lenses.

I had the opportunity to briefly try a friend’s Nokton 35/1.4 II MC, at a coffee shop meet-up. Wonderful! Reports of significant barrel disortion were found to be a non-issue. I could buy both the MC and SC versions, for different effects, for less than half the price of a Steel Rim Re-Issue.

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10 minutes ago, RexGig0 said:

(Notably, however, this seems to be a good time to buy a pre-owned, pre-II FLE. I have noticed asking prices getting lower and lower.)

Yes, I have a silver one as well for those wide open, non-bloomy shots. But if there ever was one the size of the pre-asph lux or Steel Rim it would have been my most favorite M lens… ever.

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9 hours ago, Al Brown said:

I have gathered all the documented issues that plague the Summilux 35 "Steel Rim" reissue in one place.
As a recent, brand new M lens with probably the most problems of all recent M lenses it deserves a thread of its own. A clear case of the Leica quality control - or the lack thereof (we saw the M6 scratching film, Summilux FLE diaphragm blades collapsing etc.), they must still be working from home or are shut for some permanent vacay.
PS. My brand new copy (2022/10/11) has 3 of the issues.

- Loose, not snug lens cap that does not stay on

 

- Stiff focusing ring near infinity

 

- Wobbly aperture ring that rattles

 

- Some samples are not calibrated/aligned with rangefinder (back or front focus)

 

- The use of filter with screw-in threaded lens hood leads to undesirable vignetting – design flaw, a problem recognized by Leica with a promised solution

 

- The clip-on hood does not stay on the lens/falls of at the slightest touch

 

 

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Yes, I found the vignetting yesterday when using the lens with a ND filter and subsequently processing the first couple of films shot with the lens and my M6, I should have tested it out on the M10 first I guess………agreed very annoying and very sloppy design by Leica. What remedy has been promised by them do you know, or will we just get the “Leica Shrug”?…….

Didn’t the original Summilux have a screw on vented hood that accepted filters, or am I imagining that?

Have you reported this filter issue to Leica and should I do so too?

The alternate, “original design” lens hood is a joke, too large by far and as to whether it falls off easily or not I wouldn’t know, never used it and won’t anyway, it’s still in the original box.

So far my copy’s aperture ring is ok, as is the focus ring, but hearing of these reported faults is highly disappointing even though I do truly like the lens’s performance and size.

Ah well, at least I have my trusty 35 1.4 Nokton II SC to fall back on if I decide to return the “Classic”, I still have time to do that.

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7 minutes ago, Al Brown said:

There is notable barrel distortion on the uncorrected steel rim remake as well.

Thanks for the warning. My “cure” for barrel distortion, when shooting with man-made vertical and horizontal lines within the 35mm frame, is to simply use a Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/1,4 ZM. 🙂 Technically, the Distagon has some amount of complex distortion, but it is so mild as to be seemingly unnoticeable.

Edited by RexGig0
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20 minutes ago, Smudgerer said:

Yes, I found the vignetting yesterday when using the lens with a ND filter and subsequently processing the first couple of films shot with the lens and my M6, I should have tested it out on the M10 first I guess………agreed very annoying and very sloppy design by Leica. What remedy has been promised by them do you know, or will we just get the “Leica Shrug”?…….

Didn’t the original Summilux have a screw on vented hood that accepted filters, or am I imagining that?

Have you reported this filter issue to Leica and should I do so too?

The alternate, “original design” lens hood is a joke, too large by far and as to whether it falls off easily or not I wouldn’t know, never used it and won’t anyway, it’s still in the original box.

So far my copy’s aperture ring is ok, as is the focus ring, but hearing of these reported faults is highly disappointing even though I do truly like the lens’s performance and size.

Ah well, at least I have my trusty 35 1.4 Nokton II SC to fall back on if I decide to return the “Classic”, I still have time to do that.

Each of us sent an email to Leica, just search the forum, there’s several threads on the topic re: vignetting. Leica has promised to redesign the hood and deliver the newly designed one to the existing owners that complained, all in a formal statement.

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1 minute ago, Smudgerer said:

Didn’t the original Summilux have a screw on vented hood that accepted filters, or am I imagining that?

AFAIK the Summilux 35/1.4 v1 has a E41 filter thread and a plain bayonet hood (Ollux), whereas v2 has no filter thread but a vented clip-on hood (12504) with two halves to insert a Series 7 filter. I have no experience with v1 though.

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4 hours ago, hjddd said:

My reissued steel rim was sent back to Wetzlar from China to fix the wobbly aperture ring , they said it will take half a year to get it back……

Why not just ask for a replacement rather than go through warranty? Assuming you bought it at a Leica dealer and not grey market?

 

In my opinion, everyone should just ask for replacement / refund (if no replacement available) on their defective lens rather than sending it back for warranty. Maybe this way, leica will lose profits and get the message that their QC is trash with a large inventory of defective pre-owned reissue steel rim that they would have to sell for a discounted price after repairs. This would be a win win situation for us consumers, no?

Edited by 69xchange
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2 hours ago, 69xchange said:

Why not just ask for a replacement rather than go through warranty? Assuming you bought it at a Leica dealer and not grey market?

 

Because that mostly works in USA only.
In EU there is no replacement, the dealer will send for repairs and take care of it under warranty, but will not replace nor refund (unless you bought online and no more than 14 days have passed). That's the legal procedure here. Of course sometimes - at the delarer's DISCRETION - he/she would replace for you, if you are a REALLY GREAT customer, but under no obligation to do so.

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4 minutes ago, Al Brown said:

Because that mostly works in USA only.
In EU there is no replacement, the dealer will send for repairs and take care of it under warranty, but will not replace nor refund (unless you bought online and no more than 14 days have passed). That's the legal procedure here. Of course sometimes - at the delarer's DISCRETION - he/she would replace for you, if you are a REALLY GREAT customer, but under no obligation to do so.

I see, that’s very unfortunate. 

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This lens-hood / filter vignetting problem that I have just discovered after processing a number of rolls shot last week with the "Classic" and a ND filter is truly a PITA. Four rolls with pronounced vignetting on every frame.

What the hell were Leica up to with this in the design and testing stage? Forget film users who have to wait to discover the issue after processing it is glaringly obvious on a digital M body with Live View or Review. Didn't anyone at Leica think to check for vignetting when the vented lens hood was in the design stages or used, the one that they say "enables the use" of a screw-in filter?

This really pisses me off, it's quite astonishing that this seems to have completely blown by Leica, ( and I was never told of it by the Leica dealer I bought the lens from ), and I may just return the lens even though I do truly like it's results, either way my dealer and I are going to have a chat tomorrow.

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