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Collapsible 50 mm



Hello you all,
I have got a rigid 50 mm summicron. It is perfect but a little too protrusive when I have to 'hide' my camera below my jacket (am I coward?!). I shoot nearly exclusively in B&W. For B&W exposures, is the collapsible 50 summicron, although quite old, as sharp as the last collapsible 50 Elmar?


I have the new 50mm Elmar 2.8 and a collapsible Summicron of serial vintage 1315xxx. I find the collapsible is very good and suffers only when compared to current summicron or perhaps even the current Elmar. I think you would be happy with the collapsible because it meets your needs of small size. A price for a terrific collapsible (no cleaning marks, etc.) will come close to a current used Elmar so look carefully. I bought one in the box with everything for $400 on a lucky day. In short, all are great. If you need the speed try the Summicron; I doubt that an excellent ex&le of one will be that much different than the rigid version.


The original collapsable 50 was a high resolution,
low contrast lens. The current 50 elmar is a capable modern lens. Actually I like my original version 50 elmar. Contrasy with out being overly so, but a little soft in the corners at 2.8.

If you really want small, find a 3.5 redscale 50 elmar. Meets modern standards at 5.6 and works better than any modern glass at 16-22. You will need a screw to bayonet adapter and a shade.

I have every 50 made since 1945. All are ok, some are better than others. All are somewhat unique, so pick what you want.


Hi guys
and thank you both for your advice.
In terms of contrast I would be more tempted by a lower contrast, higher definition lens.
3.5 seems too small an aperture to work indoors.
I am looking for an universal lens. Possibly I would even replace my summicron by it (I have owned many M bodies and lenses but always changed them for others - always used to get them at lower prices).
In terms of protrusion and weight, what significant is the difference between these lenses? From which date have these lenses been adapted for color?
Thanks for this ongoing discussion...


The collapsable summicron is sharper than the elmar at 2.8 and 4.0. But the 50 and 90 elmar have a smooth quality about them. My mentor, a wedding photographer from the `60`s calls it peaches and cream or he would say soft, but sharp. Mind you these differences are small and if you are inexperienced, you may not see them.


New Member
>Hi. I have a II(D) with an Elmar 50/3.5 that appears to date from 1932 >(same as the body), hence uncoated. Purchased them together, had them CLA'd >together. Originally thought that I'd use the gear only for B&W, but on a >recent weekend in Copenhagen decided to try colour. As Copenhagen is a >fairly colourful place thought that treatment in colour rather than B&W >would be appropriate. Did not take any other camera, thought that by doing >so I would force myself to use the Leica (I live in Japan so a weekend in >Copenhagen does not happen often).

To my surprise, the colour photos were really quite good. OK, some of them were not exposed well so didn't turn out too good, but the rest were really OK. I had always thought, perhaps a little irrationally, that since the lens was "obviously" designed with B&W in mind that colour would not fair too well. How wrong I was.

Bottom line - don't discount the thread mount Elmars. Mine has certainly been a pleasant surprise to me.

Be aware however that I am not a professional and my standard of comparison is to a Contax T3.


Thank you Ronald and Richard:
Richard, the T3 has a fine lens. You were right to try colour ; I am not really suprised, the modern colour-fitted lenses are better for colour but this does not mean that older cannot work.
Ronald, what Elmar are you talking about? The old thread mount 3.5 or the modern 2.8 ? Did anyone here try a thread mount 3.5 on a M body ?
So long,


Active Member
Reynaud, I really like the picture you posted!

I have a 1949 (coated) Elmar f3.5 and an M6TTL. They work fine together. I also have the current Elmar-M 50mm/f2.8 which I love - so much nicer than the current 50mm Summicron - Ronald describes it well above.

I was pretty stunned by the performance of the Elmar f3.5, it's a little lacking in contrast but you have to look carefully with a loupe to see the sharpness differences between it and the current Elmar-M.

I keep a light yellow (1/2 stop) B+W filter on the front and that fixes the contrast problem. I use a regular 39mm filter fitted to a Leica SOOGZ 36/39mm filter adapter, then inside that I have a Leica VOOLA ring that allows you to set the aperture without taking the filter off. Then (historically incorrect but I don't care
) I have a current Leica 12550 lens hood on the front. Awesome combination!



Thank you Peter ! Venice is an inspiring place... I am puzzled by your comparison between the Elmar and the Summicron. The Elmar is compact, but I had never heard before that it was really more performing than the Summicron. What are your arguments for this statement? The additional stop of the Summicron adds some interest, but this is not really enough (in my point of view), taking into account the larger size of this lens (important deal for a traveller). Therefore, to be really interesting, it has to be sharper and with a more subtle contrast, especially in the low lights.


Active Member
Reynaud, my description was "much nicer". I've had two of the current Summicrons, and while they are wonderful lenses, they are painfully sharp, in fact they are too sharp. For architecture this is fine, but the lens is not kind to people.

The current Elmar-M is sharp, but not as sharp as the Summicron. It has a warmer color rendition, and a creamy look about it that presumably comes from it's Tessar origins. I mostly take pictures of people and the Elmar-M is perfect for that, if you are mainly interested in definition then the Summicron is probably the better bet.