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50mm Planar vs 50mm Summicron


Hi, I'm new to this forum but did own a 167MT some years ago. I currently use a Leica M5 but prefer an SLR, probably a Contax but perhaps a Leica.

Could anybody give me a subjective comparison between the Planar and Summicron (independantly of the widest aperture). Talk about resolution, MTF and so on doesn't interest me. What does are the results, i.e. the overall character, especially with B&W.

Thanks, Neil.


Gold CI-Patron
Hi Neil

I had the Planar 1.7 few years ago, now I own the Planar 1.7, so I can't compare them against a Leica lens. But what I can say is that the Planar 1.4 absolutely shines! I had it as the only lens on my trip to Paris and I was using Kodak Tri-X and Fuji NPC. On the Tri-X it gave me this classic Magnum-photography look but on the NPC, which seems a lot sharper to me, the images really popped up from the paper and had a certain 3D-look! It was amazing, I've never seen such things before! The colors are rich but not too saturated, in fact very accurate, the sharpness is amazing, even open, and the lens is very flare restistant and has only a little bit vignetting. All in all, it's a dream for me and I love it. But, as I said before, I never compared it to any other 50mm lens.

Hope this helps a bit



Well-Known Member
I also love my Planar f1.4. I prefer it to the 1.7 I had a few years ago despite the larger size, probably because of the extra stop. Although my f1.7 did come to bits at an inconvenient moment when the front ring decided to unattach itself. This may have coloured my feelings towards it.
I find that if I scan from the f1.4, I can crop to the shape I want and this makes it an almost universal lens.
Hope this helps,


Well-Known Member

I currently own two Planar 50/1.7's as well as a 50/1.4, and have shot with a borrowed Leica with the Summicron. Each of these is an excellent lens in its own right. My impression is that my 50/1.7 may be just a wee bit sharper than my 1.4, but that may be a function of the fact that my 1.4 gets used wide open a lot more often than my 1.7's do.

Comparing them to the Summicron, all seem equally sharp and contrasty to me, which is to say wonderful. With color films, I prefer the somewhat warmer tones I seem to get with the Zeiss lenses, and love the fact that they are so much less expensive than the Leica glass.

All in all, these are all great lenses, with the 50mm being more useful to me than I originally thought it would be. I've had my original 50/1.7 in use for over 20 years now with no problems and it still works fine.

I don't think you could go wrong with either SLR system you mentioned, although I like the 167MT a lot, as evidenced by the fact that I own four of them in addition to my other Contax cameras.