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Thread: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

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    Member roanjoh's Avatar
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    The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    I am in the market for a Leica lens and would prefer to buy used as the prices for the new lenses are astronomical!! Is there any old Leica lens I should stay away from? It seems that all the reviews of any Leica lenses are glowing!! Would like to hear people's opinions.

    Thanks!!

    Oh, and if you can't think of a bad Leica lens and would like to recommend one that is of good value, include that in too ;-)

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Leica M? Leica R? For which camera body?

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Leica M :-)

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Make sure the glass surfaces do not have cleaning marks. Also inner surfaces may have dust and fog.
    These may be very difficult to see. So make a very close inspection with a strong light source.

    I have many old Leica lenses. performances may not be as good as the latest versions when measuring technically, but all have their own character.
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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    So many possibilities! I encourage you to look at the old "rigid" 50mm summicron. Just make sure the glass is clear. They can be found for $300-500 and it's a great lens. Best....Peter

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    The classic 50 summicron is next on my list...... I will be on the lookout for that.

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Antique Camera, CameraQuest, & Erwin Puts sites all have a lot of info about older lenses. If you want tech data, google 'old photodo'.

    If you look on the Wiki for 'Walter Mandler', you'll find a list of the lenses he designed – generally speaking, they're the very best of the oldies; some in production until quite recently.

    Kirk

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    A 40/2 C-Summicron fit the bill for me. Stunning lens!
    Leica MP, Leica M9P, Summilux 35/1.4 FLE, Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH
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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Thanks guys!! Will be doing some reading.

    Whats the consensus on the pre-asph 35 and 50 Summilux? I've seen a few of them for less than $1500.

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Have no experience of 35 lux, but i have a 2nd version 50 lux - Love it and you should be able to get a good one for way less than $1,500

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    Senior Member LCT's Avatar
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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    There is no bad Leica lens AFAIK. The best affordable ones are perhaps the latest Elmar 50/2.8 and the 30 yo Summicron-C 40/2.

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by LCT View Post
    There is no bad Leica lens AFAIK.

    Got it!!! So I guess it's a matter of looking for a good deal with the CC in your hand.

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    You don't want the first version of the 35 pre-a Lux. Even when the optical forulae remained the same, the coatings & glass improved over time. Some of the oldest have fragile coating. Read the info in the sources mentioned above.

    Kirk

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by thompsonkirk View Post
    You don't want the first version of the 35 pre-a Lux. Even when the optical forulae remained the same, the coatings & glass improved over time. Some of the oldest have fragile coating. Read the info in the sources mentioned above.

    Kirk
    Thanks Kirk. Will hold off on that one then and maybe look into a used 50 lux pre-asph. I did read about the flare issues with the old 35 lux.

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    I second that.. there is no BAD Leica lens.

    Specially when we start going back, there are LOT of lens with DIFFERENT signatures.

    There are some tack sharp, others that are mellow, other that render the shadow transition in this or that way, others with a more direct bokeh, others with a more faded bokeh...

    Bad ? No.

    Different ? Yes.

    You just have to do your homework and find what you like and which lens has it.

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    Senior Member Scargos2's Avatar
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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    I have 3 old lens, a 35 Lux added a 12524 hood to add a IR filter and prevent flare. Have not had any flare at all. A 50mm and a 90 Tele-Elmarit. And all lens work great and love the look, low contrast has to be uped in Lightroom though.
    The prices are what I like about them. All three cost less than 1 new lens.
    Old lens go for them, you will not be sorry
    Sunny Florida Rick of Fla

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    since I'm a RETRO leica gal
    my all time favs I still have:
    1966 35 lux
    1966 50 lux
    1959 35 summaron f2.8 ...beautifully crisp & sharp !!

    (though I do MISS the 21 super angulon,dang!)

    as someone pointed out YOU can't go wrong
    its just a matter of what style & character You are looking to Create

    take a Peek @ my flickr /link below
    there are some 'SETS' with various leica lenses
    Best- H

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    I love old lenses - 35/1.4 '60s Summilux, '50s collapsible summicron, and '50s Canon 28/2.8s.
    My Photography Blog here

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Thanks for all the response guys!! I am now seriously looking into a 35 f1.4 pre-asph to add to my kit as a low light lens. OR, maybe score a good deal on an ASPH version when the new one is introduced.

    ampguy - 50's Canon? Did they make an M-mount lens?

    :-)

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Probably not, but LTM to M adapters allow the old Canon's to work great.

    Here's some travel shots with a tiny Canon 28/2.8 here, most wide open

    Quote Originally Posted by roanjoh View Post
    Thanks for all the response guys!! I am now seriously looking into a 35 f1.4 pre-asph to add to my kit as a low light lens. OR, maybe score a good deal on an ASPH version when the new one is introduced.

    ampguy - 50's Canon? Did they make an M-mount lens?

    :-)
    My Photography Blog here

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by roanjoh View Post
    Thanks for all the response guys!! I am now seriously looking into a 35 f1.4 pre-asph to add to my kit as a low light lens. OR, maybe score a good deal on an ASPH version when the new one is introduced.

    ampguy - 50's Canon? Did they make an M-mount lens?

    :-)
    See my listings in the buy and sell forum.

    The 35 and 50 luxes are sold but the silver 28 cron and the black 75 lux are still available. Maybe the best of the bunch in my opinion. I also have a 21 Elmarit which is another special, special lens.

    Have a look and let me know

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    Senior Member Peter Klein's Avatar
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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Roanjoh: If you are interested, I have a Canon 50/1.8 LTM that I haven't been using. It is in the league of the 50 Rigid Summicron. I have a DR Summicron (identical to the Rigid), so it's kind of redundant for me. If you're interested, PM me.

  23. #23
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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Does it have to be Leica? There are no dogs in the current Zeiss ZM range. You can always get them coded. I had two examples of the current 50 Summicron and neither were up to much. I now use a 50/2 ZM Planar and it is excellent. Unlike many of my modern Leica lenses, it focuses smoothly as well. My 50 ASPH Summilux had horrible focusing and my 35 ASPH Summilux although better and otherwise a superb lens, is not a touch on the Zeiss Planar for focusing smoothness.

    Wilson

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    Senior Member irakly's Avatar
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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by roanjoh View Post
    Thanks guys!! Will be doing some reading.

    Whats the consensus on the pre-asph 35 and 50 Summilux? I've seen a few of them for less than $1500.
    these are the lenses that i use.
    35 is a bit tricky, and it can give you quite a bit of headache before you learn how to use it right. once you master the outspoken "leica glow", however, it will become your favorite, if not the only lens.

    50 is easier to handle and all-around excellent lens, but if you are looking for a "BAD" lens, 35 is badder
    So, here is a photo taken with 1.4/35 @ f/5.6
    Last edited by irakly; 22nd February 2010 at 17:25.

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    See my listings in the buy and sell forum.

    The 35 and 50 luxes are sold but the silver 28 cron and the black 75 lux are still available. Maybe the best of the bunch in my opinion. I also have a 21 Elmarit which is another special, special lens.

    Have a look and let me know
    Thanks Woody............I wish I could snatch the 28 cron off your hands but I just don't have the funds to justify such a purchase...........

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Klein View Post
    Roanjoh: If you are interested, I have a Canon 50/1.8 LTM that I haven't been using. It is in the league of the 50 Rigid Summicron. I have a DR Summicron (identical to the Rigid), so it's kind of redundant for me. If you're interested, PM me.
    Thanks Peter.......... I actually just purchased a used 50 cron for a good deal - my first Leica lens!!! WOOHOOOO!!! CAn't wait to get it......

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by wilsonlaidlaw View Post
    Does it have to be Leica? There are no dogs in the current Zeiss ZM range. You can always get them coded. I had two examples of the current 50 Summicron and neither were up to much. I now use a 50/2 ZM Planar and it is excellent. Unlike many of my modern Leica lenses, it focuses smoothly as well. My 50 ASPH Summilux had horrible focusing and my 35 ASPH Summilux although better and otherwise a superb lens, is not a touch on the Zeiss Planar for focusing smoothness.

    Wilson
    Hmmm............... you tell me this after I purchased a used 50 cron!! I actually have 2 Zeiss lenses in my line-up (35f2 and 21 f2.8) - both amazing lenses that offer such stunning image quality and great value (compared to their Leica counterparts). Now I'm wishing they will introduce a 1.4 prime (between 21-35) to challenge the summiluxes!!

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by irakly View Post
    these are the lenses that i use.
    35 is a bit tricky, and it can give you quite a bit of headache before you learn how to use it right. once you master the outspoken "leica glow", however, it will become your favorite, if not the only lens.

    50 is easier to handle and all-around excellent lens, but if you are looking for a "BAD" lens, 35 is badder
    So, here is a photo taken with 1.4/35 @ f/5.6
    irakly - how is the pre-asp 35 lux wide open?? There is one at keh for $1350 that I am contemplating............but I've heard so much negative reviews regarding this lens that I don't know which ones to listen to. I will only use this lens wide-open as I already have a Zeiss 35 f2 that I am quite happy with optically.

    OH - and GREAT shot BTW!!! It's not your standard family photo :-)

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    Senior Member Peter Klein's Avatar
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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    You did well, you can't go wrong with any 50 Summicron. Now get out there and shoot, and post your pictures!

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    that's exactly what i am talking about. when you learn how to handle what this lens has to offer between 1.4 and 2.8, it's a marvel. people who bash it, simply do not know what they are doing
    here is an example:

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Did I hear 35 1.4....my fav 35 /1966 /arista400, M4
    please click on to make BIGGER

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    the magic of the 35 1.4... trix 400 /M6ttl
    click on to make BIGGER

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    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    a Bergdorf Goodman window...late one nite, neopan1600...35 1.4 Magic ...this lens is GORGEOUS !!!
    click on to make BIGGER

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    I agree about the old summilux, cron & summaron 35's they are fantastic each with its own signature.

    Irakli, do you do sharpening on shots like the ones you showed ?

    this is the summarex 85-1.5
    Last edited by gero; 26th February 2010 at 06:36.

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    Re: The "BAD" old Leica lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by irakly View Post
    that's exactly what i am talking about. when you learn how to handle what this lens has to offer between 1.4 and 2.8, it's a marvel. people who bash it, simply do not know what they are doing
    here is an example:
    Or it could simply be that they want a lens that doesn't require special handling at any aperture wider than f4.0.

    The pre-aspherical 35 lux is a specialty lens by modern standards. It really can deliver a gorgeous look, or it can rival a plastic lens Holga for flare, coma and distortion. You have to like its look, and you must handle it with care.

    It's just a lens with certain properties, that's all. No such thing as magic.

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