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Got my dream camera, first impressions, still getting used to it.
Old 03-07-2013   #1
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Got my dream camera, first impressions, still getting used to it.

I finally got lucky enough to find an M2 at the price i was looking to pay. Bonus as well, it came with a summicron 50mm.


Untitled by nownownownow, on Flickr

Only thing is the outermost element of my cron has some hazing that is effecting contrast in the center of my images with the rare exception of a few. Im thinking of trying to remove it myself. It looks like someone has tried before me though. Does this look saveable?



Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 03-07-2013   #2
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Judging from the photo, it appears that the front coating is damaged.

Contact Gerry Smith at Kindermann Canada to see if this is something he can handle. (Gerry is an ace Leica service technician.)

Focal Point Lens in Colorado will for sure be able to repair the lens. (This company specializes in lens repairs.)
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Old 03-07-2013   #3
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Why do you have a ski mask on?
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Old 03-07-2013   #4
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its what all the hip young kids are doing.

but to the OP, you say that you're not impressed yet. do you mean just because of the lens or about the M2 in general?
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Old 03-07-2013   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjbecker View Post
Why do you have a ski mask on?
The world has turned on its head! Once upon a time we worried about street muggers stealing our M2's, now they are using them!

To the OP, don't worry about the lens, that will have little effect overall and you will probably find a lens hood is more important than a new coating on the front element. Unless you say what it is that you aren't impressed with its hard to give advice, but study what others have done with a similar camera and gain inspiration. Nothing comes from nothing so influence from another photographer can get you in the creative zone. Read Robert Frank, Ralph Gibson, etc
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Old 03-08-2013   #6
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My Summicron, when I had it, was in worse state than that and the photos were fine. It flared in direct, harsh light, but it would likely have done that with perfect coating.

Personally, I'd leave it alone unless you're getting lots of photos with obvious problems.
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Old 03-08-2013   #7
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Quote:
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Why do you have a ski mask on?
Didn't you know? He is the famous luchadore, El Leicha.
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Old 03-08-2013   #8
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The haze could be behind the front element and on the front of the second element group. Very careful cleaning will be fine with the front element. (Very little pressure needed). However, be careful of the second group because the lens coatings are very soft. You could easily damage the coatings again (fine scratches) You can do this yourself but best to get it done professionally. Having said this, if you use a hood, it will probably be 80% fine unless in super bright light.
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Old 03-08-2013   #9
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Hi,

In your shoes, I'd not even try it. You wonder if the bargain price was because they knew its history and guessed a little or a lot of sorting out would be needed; although that's just a suspicion. Anyway, a technician can check it all and clean the lens etc. Sooner or later it will need it and you might as well start with it done.

Regards, David

PS Everything about it ought to impress, which is why I'm wondering about it.
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Old 03-08-2013   #10
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Shoot a few photos, some against the light. Get a hood.
Summicrons do flare, like most Leica lenses..the haze will add to it.
i use the Collapsible Summicron(mine mint) but flares..
Leica cameras need a lot of usage to get used to.
For some it's worth it, others never.
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Old 03-08-2013   #11
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I used to own a collapsible cron in similar state and it definitely affected image quality. I now own a Summar with perfect glass and coated front element and it's a better lens: less flare, better contrast, better sharpness if you stop down to f4 at least. I think condition is (almost) everything with those old leitz lenses.
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Old 03-08-2013   #12
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What hasn't impressed you yet? I don't get the heading of your thread.
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Old 03-08-2013   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Hi,

In your shoes, I'd not even try it. You wonder if the bargain price was because they knew its history and guessed a little or a lot of sorting out would be needed; although that's just a suspicion. Anyway, a technician can check it all and clean the lens etc. Sooner or later it will need it and you might as well start with it done.

Regards, David

PS Everything about it ought to impress, which is why I'm wondering about it.
I'd give the same advice.
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Old 03-08-2013   #14
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a camera becomes a dream camera only after at least a month of constant use.
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Old 03-08-2013   #15
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wow, I didnt expect I would start such a flury.

Ski mask is more of an inside joke, but looks interesting to me in the end. Almost like a burglar decided to take a shot of himself because he couldn't resist shooting with a leica. Kinda lame if you want to think of it, take it with a grain of salt. It was more or less a properly exposed image with consistent contrast.

Now what havent i been impressed on.

99% of it has been the flare on the lens. I also shoot with my IIIa and uncoated summar and get more consistent contrast than this lens. I couldnt find a nice hood yet but figured that a pair of genuine orange and green filters would do ($25 for the pair, mint condition) to help even things out for the time being.

I LOVE the feeling of the camera. the brightness of the rangefinder blows me away every time. And things like the rewind that most people complain about havent really bothered me yet.

I never meant to say that it wasn't the camera alone that I havent been impressed with yet. But its all new to me and I have to get used to it. My metering has been absolute **** the first 3 rolls with a lot of corrections in the scanning dept (probably enhancing contrast flaws and grain). Im using the Voigtlander VC II that ive had for my IIIa eons ago. Worked perfectly fine on that camera but Im thinking its the film that's tripping me up. Ive put 2 rolls of foma 400 and 1 roll of neopan 400 which i cooked because I dont think the meter works well in half stop increments (had it set to ~250 iso).

In the past I liked the foma 100 but never tried the 400. I have a roll of 100 in now to see what happens. If not then I'll just end up purchasing some Tmax like everyone else as it seems to be very forgiving.

I didnt mean to offend, or get anyone's hair up. Nor end up typing out a wall of text (ha). I think i was just attributing my lack of having that "golden" shot on the haze on the front element. But in reality i have a lot more trial and error to learn the quirks a bit better.

Also i think a hood would be a good idea. Whoever suggested that, i'll order one from KEH today.

thanks for all the feedback, Heres some of what I've got thus far.













all of these look pretty decent, but i cant get over how in the last shot the two people in the middle have WAY less contrast than the woman on the far right for example. A lot of shots exhibit this effect. Most of which were corrected but end up losing detail.
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Old 03-08-2013   #16
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very soft contrast on parts of that last frame.

OT, Starbucks shops in YYZ seem to be undergoing lots of reno lately, move away from big chairs to communal row of benches etc. Guess they want to create churn. This location has always been stupid crowded/busy.
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Old 03-08-2013   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZF1 View Post
I finally got lucky enough to find an M2 at the price i was looking to pay. Bonus as well, it came with a summicron 50mm.


Untitled by nownownownow, on Flickr

Only thing is the outermost element of my cron has some hazing that is effecting contrast in the center of my images with the rare exception of a few. Im thinking of trying to remove it myself. It looks like someone has tried before me though. Does this look saveable?



Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Congratulations on the M2...would love to have one myself. With my M3, I have found that it is so much easier than the S3 2000 that I used prior to that and "guessing" or metering exposures was my biggest challenge.

The heading of this thread is backwards in my opinion. I honestly think that you should be using a camera that you love (camera and lens), but you should be working through the niggles and issues until you impress yourself.

It really is the space between your ears that determines your final results as well as what camera you love, how you compose, how you express yourself and all manners of things. So, quit expecting the camera to impress you with images....it is a tool. Learn it and Use it. Then keep learning. And at some point you will impress yourself...or not, it is up to you.

Hang in there. Got a great start already. Fine tune it with the film you like and exposures the way you want them.
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Old 03-08-2013   #18
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OT, Starbucks shops in YYZ seem to be undergoing lots of reno lately, move away from big chairs to communal row of benches etc. Guess they want to create churn. This location has always been stupid crowded/busy.
its almost inevitable where Leica is discussed for Starbucks to be mentioned as well... One of those funny/sad things about the whole Leica fluffdoom.
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Old 03-08-2013   #19
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The Leica is what it is. You however, may not be ready for it. I owned a Leica M in my late thirties but never got on with it, so I traded it away. I just wasn't ready for it. Now, in my fifties, I'm impressed by my M2. The Leica didn't change, I did.
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Old 03-08-2013   #20
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Dave,

thanks for the reply. You are 100% correct. It really isnt up to the camera to impress. In the past though usually I've had excellent luck with the first couple rolls of a new camera. Could have been dumb luck though. I'm definitely not discouraged. I'm bringing the camera everywhere now to get more opportunities to shoot and try new things.
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Old 03-08-2013   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
its almost inevitable where Leica is discussed for Starbucks to be mentioned as well... One of those funny/sad things about the whole Leica fluffdoom.
Huh? I spend a lot of time on RFF, where Leica stuff is often discussed, and I must say that Starbucks rarely comes up. Not sure I follow your logic.
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Old 03-08-2013   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZF1 View Post
Dave,

thanks for the reply. You are 100% correct. It really isnt up to the camera to impress. In the past though usually I've had excellent luck with the first couple rolls of a new camera. Could have been dumb luck though. I'm definitely not discouraged. I'm bringing the camera everywhere now to get more opportunities to shoot and try new things.
Cool...a good meter will make life less stressful. TriX has been my choice of film for the M as well as Delta Pro 100.

Come to think of it, I won't be shooting my M for a few months since I have dedicated myself to the Leica R4 (and lens-on-loan) for my documentaries...I will miss it but I can still look at it and clean it at night. Already looking forward to "M day" when I go back to the M only.
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Old 03-08-2013   #23
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Old 03-08-2013   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZF1 View Post


all of these look pretty decent, but i cant get over how in the last shot the two people in the middle have WAY less contrast than the woman on the far right for example. A lot of shots exhibit this effect. Most of which were corrected but end up losing detail.
Not just lack of contrast, there is flare. This is exactly what the coating damage on the front element will give you. Clean early Summicrons will not do this, they are in fact quite contrasty and flare resistant, in particular when stopped down (as in your case).

I don't think you can fix this yourself. I recommend to send it to John at focalpoint for cleaning and front element re-coating. It will make a noticable difference, and push the value of your lens up into the US 1k range or so. These early rigid Summicrons are nowadays quite valuable, because - in contrast to the DR Summicron with the same optics - they will work on digital Leicas, too.

Enjoy your rig !

Roland.

PS: funny how many react to the thread title only and don't read your full posts
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Old 03-08-2013   #25
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I'll look into the recoating. I know the lens was out for a CLA with the camera and the repairman i suppose couldnt or didnt want to touch the lens. No big deal. Thanks for your input! I knew that these lenses should be a little contrastier than they are.
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Old 03-08-2013   #26
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I agree with others who have recommended to you to send out the lens to get professional treatment. I own a very clean rigid Summicron that does not display such flare. At one time, it required a cleaning, as it is an old lens.

Congratulations on the rig. I have never used an M2, and I may never get one, but many people here seem to like it.
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Old 03-08-2013   #27
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I'll throw in my two cents on the M2 experience. To really appreciate its sublime qualities, you have to ditch the meter, only use one film or at least one film speed (I've had a roll of Tri-X planted in my brain) and start to learn to read light. First you'll guess, and ruin a bunch of shots. Then you'll get better. Soon you're as good as a meter, and the whole thing magically becomes a seamless wonder. The camera disappears.
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Old 03-08-2013   #28
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fix up your metering and composition skills first. if you have a digital camera try using it as a polaroid of sorts before taking your m2 photo.

you might throw on a multicoated filter on that summicron to help cut down some of the flare. recoating is expensive but will significantly increase the value of the lens, especially if only the front element's coatings are mangled.

if there are any deep scratches or scratches in the rear element i'd suggest bailing out and selling it or just using it with its quirks.
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Old 03-09-2013   #29
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Foma is pretty 'glowy' and not helping contrast. I'd shoot a box of tri-x and develop at box values for reference. How are you scanning the negs?

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Old 03-09-2013   #30
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In 1967 i bought a new Leica M3. Coming to grips with a Leica, is not a overnight exercise or a month. Using the Leica daily, with a few exceptions, medium format, 35mm SLR for certain pro jobs, i began to appreciate the system. The lenses do flare, not only the Collapsible Summicron. Yet the lenses all seemed to have a special signature. Some have a boxy look(Elmar), Roundness(Summicron) and a lightness often mistaken for over-exposure(Summilux). I've used the Aspherics and find them way too sharp and out of focus backgrounds awful..Others adore them. We are all correct! Your lens needs attention but maybe the better idea is add a modern lens, Voigtlander 28mm or 35mm(matches your wide frame).
Here a really modern, contrasty lens, that fits and balances with the camera.A lens hood is a necessary. A filter to protect the front element a good idea.
Pick one film.. Kodak Tri-X or T-Max(made for scanning, but takes longer to fix) or Ilford HP-5. Slower films are sharper, less grainy but are harder to use in poor light.Use ONE film for at least one year.
i no longer use an exposure meter. A small point and shoot digital as instant "Polaroid". Adjustments have to made to equalize the film to digital. Digital sees way better in the poorer light with same ISO!
Shooting pix! Shoot daily. Maybe one frame, maybe a roll. In a short time the camera will be one with you. Don't worry too much about exact focusing in daylight with small f-stops(f8,11,16) Work with depth of field scales.
Shoot fast. Grab images as you see them.
One morning you will look at a roll and see "your" images. It may take a year, maybe a few months.. Don't get lazy. A Leica is made to be USED.
I use mine in any weather. I live in Toronto. A plastic bag for rain.
No batteries so cold does not kill my shooting.. The heat, well the Leica copes better than me.
Enjoy the Leica. No other camera can make one so hopelessly inadequate, or so simply superb. Give it your all.
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Old 03-09-2013   #31
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Bigeye, Im scanning using a V700 and Silverfast. These were also tweaked in PS after the fact.

I have a lens hood in the mail for the cron and am shooting again with my orange filter with 1 stop of compensation to increase contrast.

I appreciate the general feedback, but I won't bring a digital camera along to shoot with. That just doesn't work into my workflow. I fairly regularly shoot with my unmetered Bronica SQ-A and get outstanding results. Ive been a film shooter for almost 10 years now.

I more or less just need to get into the groove of shooting with this camera. I'm working through that roll of foma 100, once complete I'll look into finishing off my neopan then purchasing some Tmax or moving to color as I have a lot of it in my freezer. I can post up results for what they are worth when they are developed.
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Old 03-11-2013   #32
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Well I havent impressed many of you saying that my M2 hasnt performed up to my expectations. Well I JUST finished scanning my first great roll from this camera. Im VERY happy now. Here are some of the results. Shot on Foma 100 souped in Xtol 1:1 and scanned with a v700.

Funny homage to the german Leica

Untitled by nownownownow, on Flickr


Untitled by nownownownow, on Flickr


Untitled by nownownownow, on Flickr

Still cant wait to get my Lens hood in the mail hope to get it this week! I think it will cut down on subtle flare like at the top of the last picture in the toque. Overall VERY VERY happy!
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