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Leica Summicron-C 40/2 + A7R2


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Hi,

 

This weekend I found a Leica Summicron-C 40mm f2! I know you can easily find some on Ebay, both the m-rokkor or summicron-c versions, but frankly, I avoid buying lenses on ebay - I much prefer to assess a lens in-person which also sometimes opens the door to negotiations and bargaining. In this case, I was able to bring the price down because I noticed a slight haze on an inner element, noticeable when shining a bright light at an angle, but otherwise the glass was perfect. So I took my chance, knowing that this was probably fungus (or separation?) hoping it might be cleanable.

 

It is by far the tiniest lens in my A7 kit, it is very well built, it focuses very well (when you actually find the focus tab). We got lucky with Arctic temperatures here in Montreal this weekend and using the lens with my gloves on was ... not ideal. I actually froze my fingers a few times :P

 

I didn't do any "formal" performance analysis, but overall I am really impressed by the results, this is a very capable lens. It is amazingly small and 40mm on full frame is a really nice focal length, very versatile. 

 

This is something which amazes me: it is rather unsettling how little photographic impact lens anomalies actually have on the end-result. I have vintage lenses with front and/or rear element scratches, inner fungus or haze and frankly, I have yet to find a situation where there is an obvious impact, maybe excluding flare sensitivity. 

 

Here are a few sample pictures taken with this lens.

 

26239482515_c090885fb2_k.jpgMontreal Docks Cityscape by Colin Surprenant, on Flickr

 

25634729024_27c12b74fa_k.jpgBattures Tailhandier by Colin Surprenant, on Flickr

 

26213518506_8381a55e03_k.jpgSpring Banks by Colin Surprenant, on Flickr

 

Colin

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Congrats, it's a wonderful lens. I have the Minolta M-Rokkor version (same lens as you already know, filter size aside).

 

Be sure to focus it, if possible, at the working aperture for the best results because it exhibits focus shift stopping down.

 

And if you want to use the nice and small typical Leica rectangular hood check this:

 

http://myweb.lmu.edu/sshepherd/Summicron40Hood.htm

 

It involves a minimal amount of DIY, but it is fairly simple to do. I followed these instructions when I still had the Summicron-C* and all it took were maybe 10 minutes, so it is feasible.

 

*I bought this lens 3 times, two times in Minolta version and 1 in Leica, in the pre-mirrorless era during my love-hate affair with Leica M cameras; now finally I can love & keep the lens without having to use it necessarily on a M body

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Be sure to focus it, if possible, at the working aperture for the best results because it exhibits focus shift stopping down

 

 Ah thanks for the tip, will verify that!

 

And if you want to use the nice and small typical Leica rectangular hood check this:

 

Oh nice! The original folding rubber one I got with the lens is still in pretty good shape but the rectangular metal one is really sharp, and much more useful, will try that.

 

Colin

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Congrats, it's a wonderful lens. I have the Minolta M-Rokkor version (same lens as you already know, filter size aside).

 

 

 

*I bought this lens 3 times, two times in Minolta version and 1 in Leica, in the pre-mirrorless era during my love-hate affair with Leica M cameras; now finally I can love & keep the lens without having to use it necessarily on a M body

 

Sorry got a noob question here. I also got the M-Rokkor of the 40mm, and also the 28;

 

Are there any real differences between the Minolta version and the Leica? All I have heard of is that some of the Minolta version of the coding issue with the haze.

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Sorry got a noob question here. I also got the M-Rokkor of the 40mm, and also the 28;

 

Are there any real differences between the Minolta version and the Leica? All I have heard of is that some of the Minolta version of the coding issue with the haze.

 

 

There where 3 lenses made by Minolta in the M-Rokkor line.

 

28mm f/2.8

The 28 is, as far as I know, an original Minolta optical scheme, meaning it doesn't have a Leica sibling. It is also the only one exhibiting the problems you cite, again AFAIK. There are several opinions on what is causing said problems. I think the most reputable one is the one identifying the problem with what in the large format world is well known as "Schneideritis". Basically, the black flocking paint inside the barrel flakes off, and the minuscule paint chips look like "bubbles" when seen through the glass.

 

I've had to samples of the 28mm, one that suffered heavily from the bubbles and the one I got now that instead is squeaky clean. Both are super sharp (THE sharpest 28mm I've ever owned, but I don't have the new Sony 28/2 so I can't compare the two), the one with the bubbles MAYBE (I didn't have them at the same time, so I couldn't compare) it was a tad more susceptible to flare shooting into the sun, but also a tiny sharper.

 

From tests seen online, the 28mm should be sharper than the Leica Elmarit 28/2.8 version II.

 

The 28, like the 40, should be focused at the working aperture for the best results because it suffers from focus shift stopping down the aperture.

 

Minolta for Leica M-Rokkor 28mm f/2.8

 

 

40mm f/2

This one should be the same in both Minolta and Leica version. The only meaningful difference will be the filter size: a 39mm for the Leica Summicron-c (but with a non-standard pitch, so you can't screw filters all the way in), and 40.5mm for the Minolta (standard pitch, and same size of the 28 and the 90).

 

According to some, the Minolta should be multi coated while the Leica should be single coated, but honestly I have no idea nor I ever noticed a difference. 

 

The Leica, though, can suffer from a bit of lubricant hardening, and so sport a much tighter to turn focus ring.

 

The 40mm has an over-correction of the field: the center will be much sharper at f/2.8 than at f/4 or f/5.6, but the borders will improve stopping down. At f/8 center and borders are about the same sharpness. (remember, this is for flat subject; in a real world situation the results will vary according to the "shape" of your subject/scene!)

 

Minolta for Leica M-Rokkor 40mm f/2

 

 

90mm f/4

This one was made by both Minolta and Leica, possibly in the same factory, and there are no differences that I know of among the two of them. It is super sharp, and even if it is an f/4 IMO it has a shallower depth of field that you would expect for such an aperture (DOF depends as well from the optical scheme other than from the actual value selected on the lens).

 

It has the opposite kind of correction compared to the 40mm, so the borders are already at their best at f/4, while you need a stop or two to get to the best center. Honestly, though, it is always so sharp (especially at portrait distances) that I use the aperture only to control depth of field, and not to optimize sharpness.

 

Please disregard my comment in the link below about the Jupiter being as sharp, that was on the Nex 7. On the A7r (possibly because of the larger pixel pitch?) the 90mm is super sharp.

 

Minolta for Leica M-Rokkor 90mm f/4

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Thanks for the quick reply!

 

Now you made me want to get a copy of the 90! hahaha

 

 

I got lucky with my 40 for a very good price with all original contents, and a 100 Canadian Dollar (around 90 USD at the time) for a 28;

 

but my 28 suffers a bit from the bubbling, however I don't really see any issue on my photo.

 

I actually also got the Sony 28mm f2. I was genuinely surprised by how close the min. focus distance is on the Sony and how well it performs for the price u paid!!
You should consider getting one :)

 

 

 

I was doing a test video comparing the minolta and Sony at min. focus, but basically this is what it looks like shot at f2.8:

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

 

 

Cropped in:

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  • 2 weeks later...

..............

 

This is something which amazes me: it is rather unsettling how

little photographic impact lens anomalies actually have on the

end-result. I have vintage lenses with front and/or rear element

scratches, inner fungus or haze and frankly, I have yet to find a

situation where there is an obvious impact, maybe excluding

flare sensitivity. 

 

...........

You find it "unsettling" ? ! ? !? I find it a great comfort ! 

 

Anywho, you and me and 2 or 3 others here may be the

only pragmatic realists concerning this well kept secret !

 

I mean, you and me and Billy Bob don't keep it a secret.

It's that all the nerds/geeks promulgate anti-reality about

real world use of optics, trying to deny and smother out

our "gospel" :-)

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The Rokkor 40/2 for Leitz Minolta CL is the same lens as the Summicron 40/2 for Leica CL, but not the Rokkor 40/2 for Minolta CLE. The latter has been launched in the eighties, has not the sloped focus cam of the Summicron and has a bit less flare than the latter. I have both lenses and never noticed focus shift with either i must say. As far as my copies are concerned, both lenses are soft on edges and corners at f/2 but sharp in the center there and even sharper at f/2.8 and on. Edges and corners are sharp at f/4 and on. Great little lenses indeed. BTW lubricant hardening may happen with any lens but none of my 40/2's has suffered from this in 30+ years. FWIW.

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