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Highest quality construction you've seen?
Old 07-30-2010   #1
hipsterdufus
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Highest quality construction you've seen?

Brian,

We all know that you spend a lot of time working with optics (to say the least). All of this has led me to wonder what you consider to be the best constructed lens for a Leica you have ever dissassembled (i.e. best focusing helical/optical QC/aperture construction/etc.) Also, any underdog lenses that have surprised you in terms of quality? Just curious.
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Old 08-06-2010   #2
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The 50mm/2 Type 1 Rigid Summicron fits that description. The 1950s and early 1960s Leica lenses are extremely well made.

They are just amazing.

Last edited by Brian Sweeney : 08-06-2010 at 04:16.
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Old 08-06-2010   #3
Roger Hicks
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Dear Brian,

Not Leica but... even encounter a Pan-Tele-Kilar?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-06-2010   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Brian,

Not Leica but... even encounter a Pan-Tele-Kilar?

Cheers,

R.
Had one in screwmount. Pretty amazing.
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Old 08-06-2010   #5
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The M2 Leitz 35mm F2.8 Summaron, the V1 Rigid 50mm F2 Summicron, the "Big Bertha" 90mm V1 F2 Summicron, The V1 90mm F4 Elmar, and the V1 50mm F2.8 Elmar. The Elmars are the sleepers for me. Use them all alot, best build quality, lots of heavy metal.
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Old 08-06-2010   #6
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W-Komura 35/3.5 LTM

Lotsa steel and brass, aperture set in what appear to be clamps. Recessed lens front, safe to carry without a filter, although a hood would shield the lens a little bit. There's a picture of one in the Gear set on my flickr account, also Buzzardkid
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Old 08-06-2010   #7
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Most Robot lenses are pretty amazing, albeit very basic. Oh: and of course, Kern/Alpa.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-06-2010   #8
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50 & 60`s leica lenses, any of them. Built like tanks. Todays are cheesy by comparison although the optics are sharper.
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Old 08-06-2010   #9
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From my collection, any of the Elmarit 90 v1, chrome 'lux 50 v2 or Summaron 35/2.8 would get honorable mention for build quality. At the next level is the Telyt 280/4.8, a black-anodized Visoflex telephoto of frightening mass. But the top-rated lens must be the common Elmar 90 collapsible: absolutely rock solid in the mechanicals, and implementing a brilliant interlocking design. Too bad it's so heavy.
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Old 08-06-2010   #10
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I think the DR and rigid summicrons take the cake here. Absolutely amazing the way they are built.
The old Nikkors are great too. I've beat mine up and they are just as smooth as ever.
One of the worst I've seen that wasn't Russian or Eastern Bloc was actually my 90 thin Tele-Elmarit. One side of the helicoid is brass, the mate is aluminum. It's cut right into the barrel unlike most older Leica lenses which are sleeved and screwed or held in place by guide pins.

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Old 08-06-2010   #11
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rico View Post
From my collection, any of the Elmarit 90 v1, chrome 'lux 50 v2 or Summaron 35/2.8 would get honorable mention for build quality. At the next level is the Telyt 280/4.8, a black-anodized Visoflex telephoto of frightening mass. But the top-rated lens must be the common Elmar 90 collapsible: absolutely rock solid in the mechanicals, and implementing a brilliant interlocking design. Too bad it's so heavy.
Ever used a 400/5? Makes the 280 look light and flimsy.

For solidity and smoothness, the Thambar is hard to beat. Mine was made in 1938 and is smooth to this day.

Then again, the original 90/2 Summicron is beautifully made, much nicer than the second version. But if you want a sharp image; well, the older Summicron is, shall we say, romantic.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-07-2010   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
even encounter a Pan-Tele-Kilar?
Kilfitt lenses in general were rather well made. You mentioned the Robot already. The 36-82/f2.8 Zoomar lens made in the same factory is another such case (the lens that established variable-focal-length lenses and the "Zoom" monicker in the market). It's not a Summicron image-quality-wise, but the construction leaves you thinking "why did they stop building them like that?"
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Old 08-07-2010   #13
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My biogon 38mm/4,5 lens
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Old 08-07-2010   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nokton48 View Post
The V1 50mm F2.8 Elmar. The Elmars are the sleepers for me. Use them all alot, best build quality, lots of heavy metal.
I've got to agree about the early Elmars, built like brick house, sXXt house doors, I have the LTM and M 2.8's.

Those olde f1.9 73mm models are also very well constucted of bronze ? Not sure - three photo's below.











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Old 08-07-2010   #15
Brian Sweeney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbf View Post
Had one in screwmount. Pretty amazing.
I will have to look for that one- have never handled one.

I do have a pair of Robots, lenses are nice.

As far as "surprises", the Schneider lenses for the Retina line are very nicely made, lots of heavy brass and deep chrome. These lenses go "dirt-Cheap", as so many Retina Reflex bodies are non-functional. My 50/1.9 Xenon was $10.

Kern lenses- I have some D-Mount lenses, very well made. I need to take a cheap Digital camera and turn it into a D-Mount body. I have a Nikkor 13mm F1.9 waiting for it.

Last edited by Brian Sweeney : 08-07-2010 at 05:49.
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Old 08-07-2010   #16
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My 35mm black-paint summicron asph is easily the best made lens I have. Brass construction, glossy paint, silky smooth focus and aperture action, one of those lenses where everything just works. Heavy though, which can be a pain at times.

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Old 09-03-2010   #17
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My KM-Hexanon 90mm/f2.8 is very well put together.
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