50mm f14 SummiluxM lens

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Guest

I consider this lens to be a good compromise for those who want a 'normal' Leica lens that is fast, has very respectable performance and is not too bulky.

The 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M lens is sometimes regarded, within Leica circles, as inferior to other current Leica M lenses, on account of its old design. Its optical formula that hasn't changed substantially since the 1960s. There is speculation that Leica may one day upgrade it, as happened recently with the 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-R, which is now an excellent performer in all respects. However, it is still generally agreed that the 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M remains one of the very best 50mm f/1.4 lenses on the market.

Performance of this lens is very good even wide open, a strength in general of Leica lenses, and is improved further by stopping down by 2 or 3 stops. It has excellent color rendering and contrast; the control of coma and flare are also very good. Vignetting is noticeable at f/1.4 and f/2 but in low light that is often not a problem; it disappears by f/4. There is no distortion.

The 50 Summilux is quite a compact lens, with a weight of 275 grams (black) or 380 grams (chrome), a length of 46.7 mm and a width of 54.5 mm. The current version can focus as close as 0.7 meters and has a built-in retractable hood. Previous versions had minimum focus of 1 meter and a detachable hood.

The 50 Summilux is one stop slower than the much bigger, heavier and more expensive 50mm f/1 Noctilux, which weighs in at 630 grams, is 62 mm long and 69 mm wide. The performance of the Summilux is about the same as the Noctilux at all stops the two lenses have in common (f/1.4 to f/16). The 50 Summilux is one stop faster than the slightly smaller and much cheaper Summicron. The optical performance of the Summilux is not quite up to the standard of the Summicron at apertures wider than f/5.6 but is very good nevertheless.
 
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I add my vote in favour of the much-maligned 50mm Summilux. I have the latest model, and since getting it I have drifted towards it from the 35 'cron that used to be the first choice.

Whenever I get an attack of Noctilust, I ask myself "How often will you really need that extra stop, and couldn't you just use a faster film?"
 
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Ratiolising the benifits of a Nocitlux by contemplating faster film is probably more at place when deciding between the 35mm cron or lux. Not between the 50mm lux and nocti. The shallow dof and vignetting give this lens such a unique fingerprint that you cannot purely look at this lens as a speed thing only. Its a nocti thing that if you have a craving for it can only cured with the nocti itself. I'll defenitely add it to my array of lenses, probably as the next purchase.
 
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Bas: fair point, but it looks as if you've got a bad case of the 'lust! If (or when) you get one, will you post some ex&les?
 
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Paul, you're right, I have a craving for a nocti like you won't believe. Just don't have the cash right now. Lukily or oddly I do find that my hassy with 150mm sonnar and 16mm extension tube do help to shooth it a bit since that combo give me very shallow DOF as well, but if you think the nocti is big and heavy try lugging that combo around for a day or so. But the nocti is unavoidable for me and posting will follow soon after.
 
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This is of course an age-old discussion, and after knowing of course that the 50 cron and 50 lux aren't both available as ASPHs like the two 35s are, it just seems to come down to the fact that the 50 lux is maybe often "too expensive". I think if I had the money, I would opt for a 50 lux instead of my 50 cron, just for the very reason that I'd have that one stop more. The general quality of the 50 lux isn't REALLY all that bad in comparison to the 50 cron. If it really WERE somehow "bad", I don't think Leica would have used it so often as a "standard" lens of an M in their advertisement photos. And I like Osterloh's description of the 50 lux being a good bad-weather lens.
 
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Just shot a Bat Miztvah last week--12 rolls of film--and since I couldn't use flash during the service, the Lux was a perfect choice. Of course I'd have loved to have the 70 Lux as well!

Several of the shots were absolutely razor sharp too. Otherwise, it sometimes looks soft--the effect was very positive overall.

I contacted Erwin directly when deciding on a 50mm and I'm pleased with my decision.
 
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Here's one taken with the 'lux on an M6TTL, at or close to full aperture, XP2+, artificial light, no flash. The 'lux is at its best when used for unobtrusive candid photography in low light situations.
 
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Guest

I wonder how many of you realize that the 50 Summicron and the 50 f/1.1 Noctilux share the same optical formula ? The Nocti probably was the result of newer optical glass formulations, in the same way that the 50 Summi was updated from the older (Schneider) Xenon.
The 50 Summi seems to have been quietly improved over the years with newer optical glass(es) and multicoating.
 
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Guest

I have a 50mm 1.4 summilux M and I use it with a type 12586 lens hood. I want to use a neutral density filter with this but if I mount a 43mm filter on the lens, I cannot mount the hood over it. I think I need a very thin type of filter. Does anyone know of a type of filter that can work with this combination?
 
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Guest

I have the same lens (50mm Summilux with 43mm filter diameter. I think we are out of luck when it come to finding filters that allows to use the hood. Hoya sells series of very thin filters but I don't think they make 43mm size(especially ND). You may be able to find a right filter at camera shows/used Leica equipment dealers. Even the Leica's latest E43 UVa, does not allow hood to be attached to the lens itself but only onto the filter (there is a hood thread on the filter).
 
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Or you can do what I recently learned how to do and tried. Buy a couple of used UV filters of the correct diameter. Then remove the metal ring that holds the glass in place. Paint the inside of the filter matte black. Screw two filters rings together (with the glass removed). Instant Lens hood. I got some 39mm B+W filters off of eBay for $4.00 a pair. Works like a charm.

John
 
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Hi all,

I currently own a 35mm F2(M) and would like to add a 50mm. I have a choice between an 1.4 and 2.0 both used for under $700.00 What are your thoughts? Any questions to ask? Any experience with Don Chatterton, KB, or KEH?

Cheers,

Jim
 
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Guest

James,

I guess you are expecting a more profound answer. There are many different versions of the M50/1.4 and M50/2.0. Without knowing the exact version, it is difficult to recommend you anything specific.

In general, the newer the design (not production date or date of purchase), the better the quality.

Since the M50/2.0 is easier to design then the M50/1.4, it is in general also better in image quality. But you have "only" the maximum aperture of 2. You should first asl yourself whether you really need 1.4.

If you do not absoluteley need it, then go for an M50/2.0. It is lighter and cheaper, But verify the lens design or you end up paying a lot of money for an old collector lens which is inferior in image quality.

The best overall information source about the different image qualities is the Leica book of Erwin Puts.

I would recommend to buy always the newest lens design of Leica. If you decided to go the (expensive) road with Leica equipment, then you should also opt for the best within the product line. Otherwise you pay more for the name then for the performance.

Dirk
 
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> [ Dirk, Thanks for that! I will look into the age of the lenses and get back to you. Jim]
 
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While I have not made any major purchases for years, I have met don Chatterton and found him to be a very reputable gentleman. His prices were very fair and he did not hesitate to answer questions.

I have also purchased from George Ury and can recomend him as well.

I have also purchased from KEH. The merchandise was described accurately, but the prices seem to be rather high. I met the owner once and he was bragging that HE set the prices for the market and was proud that he was raising them. Enough said ?
 
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Photp Phreak,

Thanks for the comments. Do you happen to know George Ury's web site? Any experience with Delta International?

Jim
 
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