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Different Versions of 50mm f2 Summicron How to tell


Active Member
Hello All,
I am new to all of this. I am confused about the different versions of Summicron lenses. How can I tell which is the latest? Do I look at the serial #? Which one do you all prefer? Is one better than another? I've been told the latest is the one w/ the built in hood? The next one up is the one w/ the focusing tab? What about the retractable one? What is a good price for a used one? Is Canadian made one not as good?


It's confusing a bit indeed. I have the summicron 2,0/50 mm with the focusing tab and the separate lens hood. Made in canada. Its performance is not as good as the one of my 2,0/35mm asph. especially in fine details and contrast. (I know I cannot compare these two properly). I wonder if the latest version is performing better. If yes I'd go and buy me one.



The latest one is the one with a built in lenshood. The one before that with the focusing tab (code: 11819) and separate lenshood. These two versions have the same optical design. The difference is only in the lens barrel and lenshood.

The older model than the 11819 is the one with code: 11817. The lenshood is separate but with no focusing tab.

Some people swear by 11817 but some people prefer the 11819 (including the current model as it has the same optical design). It is a matter of personal preference. The only way of knowing for sure is to try them yourself. Either one is a great lens.

All the best in your venture into the 50mm world.



Well-Known Member
Agreed with Chris of course!
(Hi Chris!)
I've used both the 11817 and 11819 models.
As far as i remember the 11819 has a slightly better contrast and the 11817 a slightly better "bokeh" (out of focus).
Both are superb lenses.
The 11819 with tab is very small so i kept it.


Active Member
Thanks for the info. Where can the code be found on the lens? I've seen one that has serial # 3021XXX. It has a focusing tab, and says "Made In Canada." It looks mint and the owner is asking for $460 US. If it is the same optical design as the latest model, I think I'd go for this one. What do you think?
Regards, Ann


Active Member
The code is on the box rather than the lens. S/n 3021xxx was made in 1980 and is likely an early 11819 lens - it should have "50" on the barrel. Good descriptions of M lenses:
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Examine the lens by shining a small penlight flashlight through it. If it looks clear it may be OK. Buy it with a return privelege and shoot a roll or two of film with it to test. Good luck!


Active Member
Hi all,
So the code can only be found on the box? That doesn't make sense to me. What if the box doesn't come w/ the lens (secondhand)?
Is $460 US good price for a 50mm Summicron serial # 3021XXX (w/ focusing tab and Made in Canada) in mint condition?
Thanks peter for the info.


Active Member
Ann one went on eBay Oct. 9 in EX++ condition for exactly this price. If it is truly mint then you may be getting a decent price. If you are really interested in the lens, make sure you get a 10 day return privelege - if the dealer/seller is straight, they will have no problem returning your money if you so decide. Then test the lens and make sure it has the characteristics you like. If not, return it.

You may also want to cast your net wider and look at places like the forums. There is a Leica forum there and also a classifieds section. I think there is at least one 50mm 'cron on sale there. The advantages of buying in an online community are twofold: you get better prices, and in general, you are buying from another member of that community so you can look at their track record.


Active Member
Oh, and about the code on the box. You mean you want to make identifying a lens easy? And put all those nice people who compile the Leica books and lists out of business?

You are supposed to *know* that a lens with serial number x is made in year y and is a code z! ;)

That's the Leica way! LOL.


Active Member
It matters very little which 50MM Summicron you get as long as the glass is clean and clear and the lens is not the collapsible model. I have both the newest edition (without the collapsible hood) and the DR Summicron. the only dissernable difference(on enlargements 11X14 and larger)is the contrast at F2 and F2.8. The resolution is there but the DR suffers a lower contrast at these F-stops.