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35mm Summicron V4 -the final choice


MrBan

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Posted (edited)

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After seemingly ages of agonising over which 35mm lens to purchase, considering the modern ASPH Summicrons, the newer Summilux FLE options, Voigtlander, Zeiss, Thypoch options, I finally put myself out of my misery and picked up an absolute mint Summicron V4, made in Germany. It came from a collector and looks brand new. Here are a few pics, of course of a ubiquitous flower (what else?) I took just prior to purchashing the lens. It is definitely very sharp and sharp enough for my use. The rendering is nice and the bokeh here looks great, although this is subjective of course. It seems to have a nice character. So I can recommend this as a good option for people in the market for a 35mm lens.

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Edited by MrBan
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Good choice. I'm thinking of replacing my Summicron 35asph with an older version. I can't really get to grips with the lens. Photos are always a matter of taste. Are these raw shots? There is clearly too much contrast in the bokeh for my taste. Maybe the slider slipped. The foreground looks fantastic.

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Posted (edited)

The only perfect lens is the perfect lens for you!😎😎😎😎😎

Edited by rsh
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14 hours ago, 01maciel said:

Good choice. I'm thinking of replacing my Summicron 35asph with an older version. I can't really get to grips with the lens. Photos are always a matter of taste. Are these raw shots? There is clearly too much contrast in the bokeh for my taste. Maybe the slider slipped. The foreground looks fantastic.

These are post-processed DNGs. Contrast in the bokeh edges is a thing for sure, so it is not creamy smooth like one would get from a modern 50mm Summilux for example. Here is an untouched out-of-camera jpeg for comparison.

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The Summicron 35/2 v4 is not a low contrast lens but it is less contrasty than the 35/2 asph v1. The later's bokeh is generally smoother at f/2 but not at f/2.8 and on. Matter of taste and depends upon subject distance though. Here at about 1m. M11 + 35/2 v4 @ f/2, FF & crop:

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Congrats for finding your lens! I'm shopping for a 35 as well. After I tried some modern lenses, which didn't really work for me, I'm now going down the rabbit hole of vintage options. This one, the Summilux V2 and a Steel Rim Reissue are on their way. I'm sure one of them will be a keeper for me as well.

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Posted (edited)

It's all a mater of taste of course but for me anything demanding faster aperture/ vintage features including "glow" etc, if that is what one is seeking, can be dealt with in the 50mm category whether vintage or new and, if it matters, considerably less cost.  Partly due to that, the V4, after years of owning rangefinders and after adjusting to its behaviours, has turned out to be my only 35mm and may be yours.  I do look at other 35mm lenses but keep thinking "no need".  That character you mentioned eventually gets ingrained to the point I don't actually want to use another 35mm.  And in terms of size, well isn't it just wonderful.  Nothing wrong in using other lenses of course, but never, ever at the cost of selling/ part exchanging a V4, it really is a lifetime keeper, so well done @MrBan .

Edited by Ray Vonn
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4 hours ago, Almizilero said:

Congrats for finding your lens! I'm shopping for a 35 as well. After I tried some modern lenses, which didn't really work for me, I'm now going down the rabbit hole of vintage options. This one, the Summilux V2 and a Steel Rim Reissue are on their way. I'm sure one of them will be a keeper for me as well.

How exciting to have those options on the way. Good luck and have fun.

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4 hours ago, Ray Vonn said:

It's all a mater of taste of course but for me anything demanding faster aperture/ vintage features including "glow" etc, if that is what one is seeking, can be dealt with in the 50mm category whether vintage or new and, if it matters, considerably less cost.  Partly due to that, the V4, after years of owning rangefinders and after adjusting to its behaviours, has turned out to be my only 35mm and may be yours.  I do look at other 35mm lenses but keep thinking "no need".  That character you mentioned eventually gets ingrained to the point I don't actually want to use another 35mm.  And in terms of size, well isn't it just wonderful.  Nothing wrong in using other lenses of course, but never, ever at the cost of selling/ part exchanging a V4, it really is a lifetime keeper, so well done @MrBan .

Thanks. The size is amazing. I tried the 35 Summilux and thought to myself yes, I can manage the weight (especially after having Canon DSLRs and large zooms in the past), but there is so much to be said for a small form factor, very light lens which still performs great.

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Posted (edited)

Still have my 35 v4 I bought pre-owned 35 years ago. CLA and coding a couple years ago. I have more than one 35, others are sharper, some faster, but this one is just right.

Edited by SoarFM
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18 hours ago, Almizilero said:

After I tried some modern lenses, which didn't really work for me, I'm now going down the rabbit hole of vintage options. This one, the Summilux V2 and a Steel Rim Reissue are on their way. I'm sure one of them will be a keeper for me as well.

I've been down that rabbit hole too. The choice between the Summilux v2 and the Summicron v4 is particularly difficult. I've traded back and forth between them several times. Leica forces us to choose between a large aperture on one side, and a shorter near limit on the other. An almost impossible choice! 😄

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Posted (edited)

Besides MFD, a good way to choose between Lux 35/1.4 v2 and "KOB" 35/2 v4 is to know if you need f/1.4 or not and/or do you need "glow" i.e. halos around highlights since the "KOB" has none AFAIK. Same with coma more or less. Also distortion is lower on the 'Lux. FWIW.

Edited by lct
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From what I heard (my own experiences will come next week), the Lux behaves mostly like a Cron (KOB) from F/2 onwards. If that's the case, I'll have to decide whether I want/need the MFD or the wider aperture more. Or not even the wider aperture, but the completely different look at F/1.4. I have an old Lux 50 V2 and I really love how it's character changes at different apertures. On the other hand, with 35mm, the difference in MFD might be a bigger deal than with 50mm.

Since the KOB is very hyped right now, there seems to be an overlap between the average KOB price and the lower end of the Lux's price. If the KOB was considerably cheaper, I wouldn't even have to think about it, but at only a few €€ more for a good condition Lux V2, I feel I get the better deal with the “two lenses in one” option. If that turns out to be true.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Almizilero said:

From what I heard (my own experiences will come next week), the Lux behaves mostly like a Cron (KOB) from F/2 onwards. If that's the case, I'll have to decide whether I want/need the MFD or the wider aperture more. Or not even the wider aperture, but the completely different look at F/1.4. I have an old Lux 50 V2 and I really love how it's character changes at different apertures. On the other hand, with 35mm, the difference in MFD might be a bigger deal than with 50mm.

Since the KOB is very hyped right now, there seems to be an overlap between the average KOB price and the lower end of the Lux's price. If the KOB was considerably cheaper, I wouldn't even have to think about it, but at only a few €€ more for a good condition Lux V2, I feel I get the better deal with the “two lenses in one” option. If that turns out to be true.

I think that is wishful thinking... Yes the Summilux pre-ASPH is soft wide open and gets better when stopped down, but it never will be exactly the same rendering as the Summicron. In fact, I am always confused when using it. Shots wide open seem to come from a different lens compared to F2.0 and smaller.

If you do not need dreamy look (at F1.4), halo and lots of character, then the Summicron will beat it (technically) at every stop.
The Summicron starts very sharp and contrasty (for a vintage lens) at F2.0 and only gets better when stopped down but stays in character. Unlike the Summilux which seems to transform into a different lens between F1.4 and F2.0, and then gets slowly better and better when stopped down.

So if you want to have a creamy look with almost modern rendering and tech specs then I think the Summicron is best. If you want a lens that plays with light and do not mind softness and a bit of inconsistency here and there, then maybe the Summilux is the one for you.
With today's high ISO performance, the need for F1.4 is not as high as it used to be. I would use the Summilux at F2.0 most of the time, to get more sharpness and contrast, so I sold mine and kept the Summicron.

Edited by dpitt
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