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Monday, 26 June 2017


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I think Leica is a perfect example of that 638hp Corvette from your previous post. It looks great on the table in your local photo club.

There's a big (1.5 mm diameter?) speck right in the middle of my Summicron 35/2 version 4. Ugh. I never would have guessed it was a piece of the aperture blades!

Why not get Leica to fix/replace it? Irrespective of warranties, all the Leica gear that I ever had a problem was fixed free of charge or replaced. And I had problems with a few items. When I took them back to the dealer they never even asked for a warranty

Leica introduced a new 35 Summicron - M earlier this year, so yours is now 2 generations past. I have the ASPH version that superseded yours, and it suits my needs and tastes well.

Your story did, however, remind me that I have an eye condition (Pigmentary Dispersion Syndrome) whereby little bits of my iris break off and travel in fluid around my eyes like rings of Saturn. Fortunately, it has no effect on my vision. Sometimes we just need to tolerate imperfections!

I had a different 35mm Summicron-M problem. The issue with mine was that the front half of the lens assembly would become loose. One day photographing overseas it became bad that I was afraid that the front half would separate from the lens body and fall to the ground.

I did a hotel room fix by pulling off the lens mount and tightening a retaining ring inside with jeweler's screwdrivers that I had packed. A more permanent fix awaited proper tools back home, but it sufficed for the remaining weeks that I was traveling.

But I still have recurring nightmares about an obligation to photograph but something is wrong with the equipment.

"It had a lot of falloff (also called "vignetting"), especially with thin-emulsioned B&W films—"

Sounds more like a developer problem, or rather the compensating effect of the products of development in thick emulsion films not being present as much in the thin emulsions. At least that would be my guess. Never liked those thin emulsion films, thought T-Max was unusable vile looking stuff.

Cosine fourth falloff more likely than vignettting anyway in a non retrofocus design, and the angle of the rays impinging on a multi layered film or those damn T-grains could make a difference I guess but, I never heard it described as such before. Then again I was pretty much a photo hermit at the time.

The toeless, shoulderless, mushy grained, flat, hot sky rendering was enough to never get around to noticing vignetting. Was that really a thing? Just asking because I never heard of it until now.

Oh and I meant to add, maybe its like that old saying about Schneider lenses that if they don't have bubbles you got a dud.

Even though I will never adhere to the concept, I am always mindful of the OCOL mindset. The closest I have come, so far, is the Leica M3 and the 50 Summicron DR. When I bought the lens it was pretty much pristine. I am not sure if my example is representative of all such lenses but it renders beautifully and, to a greater degree than with any other lens, I am able to consistently gain accurate focus. Well, about a month ago I noticed a small speck of white material, about half the size of a pin head, located smack dab in the center of one of the inner elements. It bothers me that it is there, but it seems to have absolutely no adverse effect on photos. I think I will just leave it as it is.....As a reminder that things do not have to be perfect in order to be perfect.

I have a pre aspherical one that looks exactly as one in the pictures you show. Mine was fabricated at a Leica plant in Canada. I still have the lens, and I have never experienced the problem you mention.

Like Peter Wright, I also lost the red dot on one of my Leica lenses (the 28–9)0 and, since I didn't have any idea just when or where I lost it, I wanted to replace it, which turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. Eventually I arrived at the same solution: I made one myself and stuck it on with super-glue. It's been fine for something like seven or eight years now.

I had another problem with that lens (which wasn't Leica's fault), which was that the mirror on my Canon camera(s) didn't clear Leica's anti-flare baffle (of course it worked fine on my R8, which I constantly regret having sold). I discovered that people were having the mirror shaved down by a millimeter or so (whatever it was so that would clear the baffle) but I thought before going to that much trouble I'd try just removing the baffle, which was easy enough to do, and of course that solved the mirror clearance problem. I never could see that it made any difference flare-wise, but maybe I'm just not very demanding about that.

I never had a Leica 35mm Summicron, but I do have the 50mm Summicron (also pre-aspheric) and I've always loved "the way it draws" (an expression that I've also always loved). If I had to choose just one lens to keep, it might very well be the one. No problems with it, ever.

Would I buy Leica lenses again? Probably not: it's not all that hard to give an image made with Canon or Nikon lenses (and probably many others as well) a reasonable facsimile of the "Leica look" in PhotoShop, though once again, that may just be me not having — can one say "golden eyes" the way audiophiles say "golden ears"?

Someone once told me that serenity wasn't having what you want but wanting what you have …

No red dot?
No problem

I have the aspherical version that superseded yours and love it, but I thought the rule was that when a new version of. Leica lens comes out you pronounce it better in every way, but pine for the "character" and "classic look" of the older version(s), which immediately begin going up in price?


This post made me chuckle because it resonates at a couple of levels. At the time I had the choice between a Gen IV and Gen V (Asph) version of the 35/2, both second hand. I bought the ASPH Gen V 35/2 mainly because I already had a pre-asph Gen III and the performance on the digital sensor was average (and as you say, the weaknesses of the Gen IV wide open were problematic -- not enough of an improvement for the money).

But you're right about Leica owners. Why won't they complain? Is it because they've spent so much on so little? Well here's one complaining Leica user.

- My M6's shutter were/are never quite right. 1/1000 wasn't 1/1000. Neither were the other speeds.
- Nor was the shutter selector: 1/15 was a lottery ticket for 1/8, 1/15, and 1/30.
- My M9's electronics belong on an old washing machine. How small is that screen? How slow is that OS?
- There's a defect with the M9 design where the SD card electronics are too near the sensor: noise from the card creates banding on the sensor. Only Sandisk 8Gb Ultra (an only a specific version of these) reduce this banding effect. I ended up buying 8 of these cards.
- There's a bug in the OS of the M9 where the battery indicator wraps around. That is, if the voltage is above 100%, like say 105%, the battery reads 5%. You get low battery warnings (and the shutter refuses to go off).
- Dust on the sensor means a clean. Cleaning with liquid corrodes the sensor and means replacing the sensor. I've already replaced one sensor, so I've ended up never changing lens on my Leica.

I guess that is the long story why I like the Gen VI Asph 35/2 so much.

But, given the results, I'll STILL probably buy another Leica. But don't expect me to defend them. When someone tells me how great a Leica is, but have never used one: I normally hand over my M9 and tell them to have a go. And I start complaining in the background. They walk away mostly thinking: "Gee, how does he live with that?"


I had a flaking diaphragm problem with a 28mm Angenieux in an Alpa mount I bought for a song in the mid-sixties. It created a many-armed "spiral galaxy" of dust in the center of the lens. Being younger and more brash then, I simply disassembled the lens and wiped the dust away. No problem subsequently. Seemed to me that it was likely a graphite coating on the blades. I had the pleasure of meeting the designer of that lens years later. He said that lens was his first design job after WWII. Small world.

Those pre-ASPH Luxes actually wore out thanks to the Aluminum housing, I've owned two used ones and they developed wobbles from over-use. There are no bargains ;-p

I lost Leica red dots, and Leica NJ shipped me 3 free of charge. Sometimes all you have to do is ask! Stuck it on with superglue.

The Summicron 35mm ver 4 is a classic "bokeh" lens, but its poor construction is quite well known, although not all are affected. The previous and post versions returned to the high production standards Leica are known for.

Bought one of the last 80-200/4 Vario-Elmar R lenses available new about 8 years ago. Been used no more than 3 or 4 times but black "rubber" has turned white in places. Doesn't affect optical quality but.... Apart from that, my only Leica problem was a very sticky exposure compensation lever on a new-to-me R8.

Without doubt, the least reliable brand I've owned is Canon. An A-1, F-1 (original) and 5D II have all had to be repaired.

Mmmm, unfortunate to encounter a manufacturing defect on such an otherwise fine product. I don't think it's really accurate to say that the lens let you down, though, do you? Leica certainly would have repaired or replaced it, as it was brand new. If anything your apprehensions about getting remedy are what ultimately foiled you, eh?

Aside, of the three 35mm lenses I have for my Leica M cameras the 35mm F2 Summicron is my favorite and most-used. Small, light, very sharp across the frame. And no "flecks" that I've seen.

Like Wayne, I love the DR Cron. I had it (with goggles) on an M3, which I had bought used from Helix. I never inspected it carefully of any "imperfections," I just used the damn thing and boy was it great. Kodachromes were marvellous, Agfachrome 50 & 64 were superb. I'm now more of a 40mm guy, but every once-in-awhile I think about re-buying a 50 DR for my CL, though I suspect I would then want another full size M body. Must. Stay. Away.

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