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Thread: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

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    Member animefx's Avatar
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    So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    Got my 50 Summilux ASPH today in the mail. Had about an hour to use it... Tomorrow I'll get to use it a lot more in St. Louis.

    So far I have to say I'm very disappointed. I can NOT get an in focus shot. I've taken a lot of photos with it too. What's odd is even with a higher shutter speed I can't see an area of the photo that's really sharp at all, if the lens was back focusing or front focusing i would see an area somewhat close to what I thought I focused on, well in focus.

    I forgot to put on my UV/IR filter so the color hasn't been right, but that's my fault, I'll do that tomorrow.

    If it is just a problem with this particular lens then I can send it back and just buy one new instead of used, but I'm not sure I'll do that because of an unexpected negative... Focus throw... Maybe I didn't do enough research, but I had no idea how stiff the focusing was and how big the focus throw is... It feels like it takes forever to focus on anything. I'm used to shorter focus through like the 35 summarit.

    What 50mm lenses have a much shorter focus throw than the 50 Summilux ASPH? I want something closer to the 35 summarit for focus throw although a little more focus throw is fine. Also, how is the focus throw on the 28 summicron asph? 35 summilux fle?

    Thanks

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    The 50 Summicron has a shorter focus throw than the Summilux, and I don't believe it is as heavy, either. I'm guessing the Summilux has a longer focus throw for easier fine tuning wide open.

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    Senior Member Hosermage's Avatar
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    So far, I like the focus throw of my 35'Cron v4 the best, and my guess it's probably pretty close to your 35 Summarit. When I first got my 50'Lux (used), I found the focus to be stiff too, probably due to lack of use because it loosen up after use.

    If you suspect focus problems, I usually layout a newspaper on a well lit table and try to take shots wide open at minimum focus. Note the line you think the focus should be on, then zoom in on the display to see which line is actually in focus. If everything is still out of focus, it may be some bigger problem.
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    The focus throw on the latest 50mm Summicron (non-APO) is about the same as on the Lux ASPH actually. I had both lenses for a while. The Lux ASPH is just a tiny bit bigger and heavier as well.

    The biggest difference between the two in my experience was that the Summicron easily flared like crazy when the sun was going down or coming up while I can shoot straight into the sun with the Lux and almost don't get any flare at all.

    The Cron was a bit easier to focus though, but not because of the focus throw. The focus ring was a lot smoother. Then again, the cron was 10 years old and had been used quite a lot and the Lux was brand new.
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    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    If you cannot see an area in your image that is tack sharp, even if it is not the part you have focussed on, something is seriously wrong with this example.
    The hallmark of this lens is the beautiful separation of the plane of focus.
    The stiffness of focus seems to vary with the individual lens. There have been more complaints in the forums And reports of the opposite. My silver one leaves nothing to be desired. Smooth and positive, making the focus throw just right.
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    Super Duper
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    Sounds like a defective lens. Send it back.

    Here's tip regarding focus throw:

    If you are shooting with the subject at distance (10 feet or beyond) return the focus ring to infinity after shooting. That way it only has to travel a short distance to reach critical focus. If you are shooting a lot close up, return it to about 10 feet.

    In either case, the focus is always in the same direction and once it is a habit, most any M lens is pretty fast to focus.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    The lens may be miscalibrated. I doubt a faulty lens will pass the stringent Leica QC, unless it was bought used.
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    You can test this a bit by mounting camera on tripod and focus bracketing around a known distance. If the focus calibration is the problem you should be able to determine just how far off it is...however if nothing is in focus then collimation may be a problem.

    Bob

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    This is on an m8 correct ? I ve been down this path before .

    First ....learn how to test for proper calibration . These issues don t go away and you can cause them yourself just by bumping the M body . I use a white board and draft a 3ft line with 8 s every 6 inches . Using a tripod ..shoot the board at a 45 degree angle standing 2 M from the chart . Take 6 images and review on your computer not on the screen .

    Second ....surprise ....the 50 summilux back focuses on an M8 ? The placement of the screen in the M8 was slightly different than the film plane in film Leicas. Most 50 summiluxes tend to be at the edge of the range for "in specification" . In fact all the summmiluxes have a tendency to back focus . Leica got around this by changing the placement of the sensor in the M8.2 . Keep in mind that calibration is about bringing both the camera and the lens into a range that properly focuses (e.g a camera that is slightly front focusing and lens that slightly back focusing can result in a perfect solution) .

    Third ... return the lens and refuse to accept any other solution . The 50 summiluxes all have a bias toward back focusing with an M8. Yet they all have a tolerance range and if the sample you have is significantly back focusing (more than 2-3 CM at 2M) you can spend forever trying to get it calibrated . Sending it back to Leica is not a solution . My almost new 50 summilux went back to Solms 4 times . It failed the tests inside Leica NJ so it wasn t me .

    Fourth .... have DAG calibrate your M8 . Last time I did this he charged less than $100 . The bigger issue is it takes a month . Call him early in the morning ..never email . He uses a calibrated 50mm chrome summicron (leica uses a 90 chrome summicron ) .

    This issue is essentially gone for m9 s ... Leica began calibrating the bodies so that the summiluxes would fall in the middle of the tolerance range . My calibration issues are now only when I really push the system ..like the 135APO .

    You also may benefit from a diopter and a 1.25X or 1.4x magnifier .

    A quick easy test is to put a baseball hat on the grass and focus on the letters . You should easily see plane of focus . Marc s recommendation to start at infinity or 10ft is useful to minimize your own focus error .
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    Member animefx's Avatar
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    Thanks for the tips guys. I will be putting it to use today and see if I can get better results. If I can get used to the long focus throw then I'll consider sending it in to get calibrated (if needed).

    I'll post some samples tomorrow

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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    This is on an m8 correct ? I ve been down this path before .


    Second ....surprise ....the 50 summilux back focuses on an M8 ? The placement of the screen in the M8 was slightly different than the film plane in film Leicas. Most 50 summiluxes tend to be at the edge of the range for "in specification" . In fact all the summmiluxes have a tendency to back focus . Leica got around this by changing the placement of the sensor in the M8.2 . Keep in mind that calibration is about bringing both the camera and the lens into a range that properly focuses (e.g a camera that is slightly front focusing and lens that slightly back focusing can result in a perfect solution) .


    This issue is essentially gone for m9 s ... Leica began calibrating the bodies so that the summiluxes would fall in the middle of the tolerance range . My calibration issues are now only when I really push the system ..like the 135APO .

    .
    Roger:

    Does Leica calibrate the sensor position on M8 when they are in for repair? My M8 is in at Solms now getting a CLA. It did have the sensor replaced in the early days when it developed a line of bad pixels. I don't think I had any focus problems after that and remember emailing them to say the focus was working perfectly.


    Robert

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    Member animefx's Avatar
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    Ok I'm posting this from my phone... Photos I've taken today with this lens are absolutely phenomenal! I will have 4 or 5 street portraits to post tomorrow and a couple of general purpose photos. I can't tell from the LCD if these have back focused or not (they probably have) but I tried to compensate by shooting at f2- f2.8 instead of wide open and to focus slightly further than I thought I needed to.

    If I send this lens into Leica to get calibrated, how much can I expect to pay?

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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    You will pay, but the price is determined by Leica via estimate once they receive your lens and have a service technician take a look at it. This could all take a while, especially since now they are just getting back to business after storm Sandy so things could be a mess for a while.
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    Roger:

    Does Leica calibrate the sensor position on M8 when they are in for repair? My M8 is in at Solms now getting a CLA. It did have the sensor replaced in the early days when it developed a line of bad pixels. I don't think I had any focus problems after that and remember emailing them to say the focus was working perfectly.


    Robert
    They check the position of the sensor . One of my M8 s was slightly off..making calibration difficult . However the technician was able to make enough of an adjustment in the RF to avoid needing to work on the sensor .

    I am not saying that lots of M8 s had sensor positioning errors ..but that they were positioned slightly forward when compared to film . This resulted in losing some of the tolerances necessary to calibrate a body and a set of lenses.

    The tolerances and testing procedures where also tightened for both bodies and lenses. (you can see it in the LL Leica Trip video ).

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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    Quote Originally Posted by animefx View Post
    but I had no idea how stiff the focusing was and how big the focus throw is...
    I'm used to shorter focus through like the 35 summarit.
    Yes, the 50 Summilux will probably feel like you need a wrench to turn it if your experience and point of reference is the 35 Summarit. I used a 50 Summilux ASPH for about 7 years and never really fully came to terms with the stiffness of the focussing. I found it was often easier and more accurate to focus the lens using the knurled focussing ring rather than the tab.

    What 50mm lenses have a much shorter focus throw than the 50 Summilux ASPH?
    The 50 Summarit has a significantly shorter (and looser) throw. It's a lens that is treated with indifference in these kind of forums but I rather like mine and sold my Summilux when I found out how good the Summarit is. (Interestingly, I've been less impressed with the 35 Summarit – a lens that has more of a following.)
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    Super Duper
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    My brand new 50 Summilux had to be sent in for focus calibration as well.
    After years with Leica M I am used to first checked every new lens. It is one of the pains I (have to?) accept when using Leica M lenses.
    The focus of my 50 Summilux is stiffer than the one of my 50 Summarit, but I dont feel its super stiff. Maybe your sample is on the stiffer side?
    Once your lens is calibrated accurate focus shouldnt be a problem anymore.
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    Member animefx's Avatar
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    Here are my successful photos, posted in another thread...
    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/466319-post7972.html

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    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    See?
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    Member animefx's Avatar
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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    Quote Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
    See?
    Indeed. This lens despite needing calibration is the best lens I've ever used by FAR. Simply amazing

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    Re: So I got my 50 Summilux ASPH today...

    ^^I had much the same experience with my Canon 24/1.4 mkII. Beautiful rendering, stupid sharp, but it focused all over the place. I used it a bunch anyway, was my stuck-on-body lens, and I finally caved in and sent it in on warranty. Got the focus motor changed, and it came back as good as any lens has a right to be. Sold it this summer to fund this new disease...

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