Summicron 50 f2 v4
Old 12-21-2016   #1
gabrielcik
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Arrow Summicron 50 f2 v4

Hi everybody

I have just got my first Leica M mount lens: Summicron 50 1991. Used but at a good price

Is it possible that this lens performs better on film than on digital? I tested in on a Fuji xe1 and the results were not really better than my Skopar 35 or even Industar 50

But on film it seems to perform pretty well.

One last question, I noticed I cannot reach a perfect matching infinity when focusing the Summicron on my M6... thought could be the rangefinder but actually it perfectly matches with the Skopar...
The image quality seems to be good... not really out of focus... how do you think is it smth I should be worrying about or?

You know when you use Leica's stuff you always expect some kind of perfection...

How much do you think would cost a Camera+lens CLA? (Europe)

Thank you so much
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Old 12-21-2016   #2
Hern
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Try it on black and white film, that's usually where the Leica lenses separate themselves from the Voigtlanders...
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Old 12-21-2016   #3
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I purchased a like new chrome 50 summilux asph that wouldn't focus properly to infinity. I checked it on 7 bodies including a Voigtlander and Zeiss. I sent it to DAG and he said the mount was improperly machined and would require the mount to be replaced. It was a manufacturing defect he said. Check yours on several bodies and see if it does it on all of them. This might be why you got it at a good price.

The V4 I had would bind badly due to unever wear in the focusing helix. When putting pressure on the focusing tab there's excessive pressure which caused uneven wear and binding.

Leica isn't immune to turning out defective products.
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Old 02-21-2017   #4
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You bought a 26 year-old lens, don't expect to be anywhere as perfect as a new one, this is common sense for any vintage mechanical device. If you are not satisfied with the lens you bought, the only thing is to give it a good service and calibration by a reputable professional.
Cost-wise, if you want a simple service by a good professional (but non official Leica), count around 100-150 euro per lens. I would expect that a service by Leica themselves would be 300-500 euro per lens or even more if you have the complex lenses like Noctilux.
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My Summicron 50/2 v5 silver is perfect
Old 02-22-2017   #5
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My Summicron 50/2 v5 silver is perfect

Some few exception validate the rule. My Cron is perfect on any camera. In fact, it is just a little bit better than my Cron 50/2 DR.
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Old 02-22-2017   #6
Michael Markey
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I have a V4 , silver with extendable hood.
Not had a problem so far.
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Old 02-22-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Markey View Post
I have a V4 , silver with extendable hood.
Not had a problem so far.
That's known as the V5, same optics just slightly different design.
A great lens as well, I have the ltm/m mount in chrome, brilliant!
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Old 02-22-2017   #8
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Does it have a coded mount maybe not the original Leica mount, that can cause the lens not to reach infinity.
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Old 02-22-2017   #9
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Originally Posted by fad gadget View Post
That's known as the V5, same optics just slightly different design.
A great lens as well, I have the ltm/m mount in chrome, brilliant!
Thanks very much for that .... you know I was never quite sure
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Old 07-20-2017   #10
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I hope, OP has his Cron fixed...

If used RF lens doesn't reach the infinity it most likely due to wrong assembly after cleaning. I know it ... from my own experience

As for Cron to be not very sharp, in general, yes, it seems what all 50 Crons v1-V5 are OK on digital and great on film. I had Rigid before and it was nice Leica lens on M-E. Not very sharp, but rendering was most pleasing comparing to sharper on digital Planar and Nokton 50 1.5. On BW film the Rigid was OK and less spectacular as Collapsible Cron was for me. But I scanned C-41 negatives from Rigid yesterday. Those are sharp! And according to the Internet, later Crons were good on color film because it has multi-layers emulsion.

I googled it deep about film era 50 Crons. Where are threads on RFF and Leica forum about Crons focus shifts. It is visible on digital Leica M9 and later, easy to catch on focus test print. My worn out, slightly wobbling Rigid was front focusing until f5.6. V4 Cron I have now, does have focus shift fluctuations as well.
All V1-V5 Crons are showing it, if tested properly, but it is not something terrible in normal photography.

V4 50 Cron on M-E at f2.8 and MFD, 100% crop.

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Old 07-20-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabrielcik View Post
One last question, I noticed I cannot reach a perfect matching infinity when focusing the Summicron on my M6... thought could be the rangefinder but actually it perfectly matches with the Skopar...
The image quality seems to be good... not really out of focus... how do you think is it smth I should be worrying about or?
This could be a problem.

While looking through the viewfinder focus to infinity on something far off that should be aligned. Press up on the lens barrel at the end of the lens, just past the aperture ring.

Does the RF align? Can you see the RF moving when you press up on the lens?

I had this on my V4 when I had it and I told it pronto. This is unrepairable. or repairable but very costly. I sent my lens to Kinderman to get it solid again and I was told that in order to disassemble the lens there are very tightly fit pieces that if removed might not go back together properly. Even after their attempt to repair it the wobble was still too much for me. I was told that if I wanted it repaired I'd have to send it off to Leica themselves.

Essentially the problem is that over the years the helical in the lens has worn down and the threads aren't as tight as they once were. When the lens sits on the camera the lens has a very slight wobble that offsets the top ridge of the lens that contacts the focussing cam.

With this you won't get reliable accurate focus at F2.8-F2 without pressing up on the lens, even still you can miss focus wide open. You won't be able to take advantage of the sharpness of the lens. Furthermore since the DOF in the lens drops off so abruptly anything that is out of focus will be noticeably soft.

This defect is a common one and one that most people don't talk about. I had it slightly on my Rigid Summicron when I had it as well. However since the lens isn't perfect wide open I never shot it faster than 2.8
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Old 07-20-2017   #12
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There are aluminium (black) and brass (chrome) versions of the v4. Maybe the aluminium ones are not solid enough. The chrome ones have a real solid feel to them.

Maybe this is the reason that Leica returned to ring-focusing instead of lever-focusing. This is too bad, because lever-focusing is so nice.

Maybe Voigtländer choose for a brass construction for their Color-Skopar 50mm f/2.5 lens because of this. This lens too has lever-focusing. Even after fifteen years of constant use mine has no problems whatsoever.

Erik.
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Old 07-20-2017   #13
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Excuse me, current Leica Summicron lens is with the tab.
https://en.leica-camera.com/Photogra...-50mm-f-2-ASPH
And Summarits 50 2.5/2.4 and Lux 50 ASPH as well. With focus tab.

Same issues with soft focus helicoud parts are reported for Cosina Zeiss made lenses.
Getting worn after use is big mystery for me. How it is possible to worn something made from metal which has no significant pressure, next to zero rotating speed and lubricant in between?
Only if no lubricant or crappy one.

I was hearing these worn out theory first at Russian RF forum then we talk about Jipiter-8 with tab (first version) and no tab (later versions). Yet, FSU RF lenses are aluminum made and some of them have significant play in the focus helicoud, which is manageable by the choice of grease.

Here is my experience. If lens helicoid is dissembled and assembled back, focusing smoothness with tab is much more critical on assembly, manufacturing preciseness than not tabed lens. If you have non tabed lens assembled lousy, you will describe it as "nice, firm focus ring". But if you take it easy on lens focusing part end, one with the tab will tell you about it right away. It is more tricky how you have to assemble lens with focus tab. Lens mount screws tightening order and focus ring internal screws centering is much more critical. So, it is easier to manufacture, assemble lens without focus tab. Just look at IBERIT and this new MiC 50 1.1.

I read BLKRCAT story at another threads before. Kinderman is gone and it is Prolight now. With same repair person whom I'm waiting my M4-2 to be fixed right after it was fixed by same person... But any way, it was important story. I purchased mint, not abused v4 and looking forward to worn its firm and smooth helicoid out!
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Old 07-20-2017   #14
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Thank you, Ko.Fe. for this exensive comment.

Yes, the APO-Summicron has tab-focusing. But that lens can hardly be described as the current "normal" lens. That is still the v5, with ring-focusing.

The Elmar 50mm f/3.5, the first Leica lens, also has tab-focusing. It is a very simple construction, made from brass, and even after many years (80+) it works OK. Servicing is very simple. The same is true for the Color-Skopar 50mm f/2.5.
I am not sure how the Summicron v4 works, but again, I think that the focusing unit of the chrome version will last a long time.

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Old 07-20-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Kinderman is gone and it is Prolight now. With same repair person whom I'm waiting my M4-2 to be fixed right after it was fixed by same person... But any way, it was important story. I purchased mint, not abused v4 and looking forward to worn its firm and smooth helicoid out!
Funny you mention. Seems my M4 has a similar story after getting an overhaul from kinderman and then developing intermittent shutter issues less than a year later.

Not sure if I should take it back and see about getting some sort of warranty work done or just take it to someone else who won't bungle it up.
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Old 07-20-2017   #16
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BLKRCAT, PM sent.

Always happy to express my opinion based on first hands experience, Erik.

Here is another first hands experience (successful) with Cron 50 V4 focus part dis- and re-assembly:
https://fotophilosophy.wordpress.com...icron-5cm-v4s/

I was able to find it by request of the person on rRFF who has seized focus ring in his v4 (nobody knew why) but was able to return it in full working order. So, Mission Impossible v4 is possible

Forgot to mention. Since it is made in Canada, Ontario version, which is called as "tiger claw" outside from Canada, here back in Canada and Ontario I pronounce it to be as the "Beaver Tail" now! #beaversmile
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Old 07-20-2017   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabrielcik View Post
Hi everybody

I have just got my first Leica M mount lens: Summicron 50 1991. Used but at a good price

Is it possible that this lens performs better on film than on digital? I tested in on a Fuji xe1 and the results were not really better than my Skopar 35 or even Industar 50

But on film it seems to perform pretty well.

One last question, I noticed I cannot reach a perfect matching infinity when focusing the Summicron on my M6... thought could be the rangefinder but actually it perfectly matches with the Skopar...
The image quality seems to be good... not really out of focus... how do you think is it smth I should be worrying about or?

You know when you use Leica's stuff you always expect some kind of perfection...

How much do you think would cost a Camera+lens CLA? (Europe)

Thank you so much
You're expecting too much from Leica. There are quite a few lenses that perform equally or better then the Summicron. I had a V4 and the Nikkor Millennium 50 1.4 for RF outperformed it especially in flare resistance and sharpness. My 50 Planar ZM is at least as sharp and is much better in contrast and flare resistance. I sold the Summicron 4 and bought a Summilux asph. My first 50 Summilux wouldn't focus properly to infinity too. I sent it to Don Goldberg (DAG) and found out it wasn't manufactured properly. I currently have a 35mm Summicron v1 non goggled model and it doesn't focus to infinity either. It's now at DAG. I tested both the Summilux asph and the 35 V1 on multiple bodies and neither would focus properly on any body. I've owned several Leica dogs over 49 years if using them.

There's a lot of hype around Leica, Nikon, Canon and a few other makers. They all have their dogs do be realistic. Don't believe all the hype.
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Old 07-20-2017   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post

Always happy to express my opinion based on first hands experience, Erik.

Here is another first hands experience (successful) with Cron 50 V4 focus part dis- and re-assembly:
https://fotophilosophy.wordpress.com...icron-5cm-v4s/
Thank you, Ko.Fe. for this very interesting article.

I can see that the part with the red dot on it (and the focusing threads) is made from aluminium. I am pretty sure that on the chrome version of this lens, made in Germany, this part is brass.

Erik.
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Old 07-20-2017   #19
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I own this lens myself. It is true I think that the difference between lenses of different brands is less today than it once was due to modern computer aided design and modern manufacturing techniques. I have found that for the most part modern lenses (including modern Leica glass) is better than my photography so with modern lenses it is hard to tell the difference sometimes. So it is normal not to be able to see much difference between them in most actual photos and under most conditions except perhaps test conditions.

But where we might see differences in actual use are at the margins and under difficult conditions and adverse lighting. This is what you really pay for with Leica glass - flatness of field and consequential sharpness in the outer field and outer edges, lack of distortion, performance when shot wide open, amount of vignetting, color rendition, low coma and flare and so forth. This is where it often has an edge over cheaper glass but it is seldom an obvious difference. Mostly these things are not particularly noticeable to most of us unless looked for and most of us are not capable of taking advantage of them in any event for everyday shooting. I often use Voigtlander lenses on my cameras - Leica M and m4/3 and are perfectly happy with them for most purposes but if I want really top results will reach for my Leica glass knowing it can give an edge although mostly I can't live up to it. This is not to say I am particularly a "booster" for Leica glass given as I said how good most modern lenses are - its a bit like top athletes where differences in first second and third place can be measured in hundredths of a second and a second rate athlete of today might perform better than a gold medal winner of 50 years ago simply due to modern training, technology etc.

So is a Leica lens better than the opposition - mostly I would say yes sort of. Does it really matter or will you even notice it - mostly no (unless you are in a laboratory running controlled tests).

Reviews:

http://www.lenstip.com/205.1-Lens_re...roduction.html

http://www.photozone.de/leicam/678-summicron50
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Old 08-09-2017   #20
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This can't be right. My 50 summicron rigid is sharp as hell wide open in the center, in fact sharper than the V5 I also have and much sharper than the 35 cron asph I used to have. The V5 is better when it comes to corners, it is the lens I kept after quite some testing and owning quite a few lenses. I also keep the rigid, that lens is sexy time.


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Old 08-09-2017   #21
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Hey! That's the lens of my avatar!
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Old 08-12-2017   #22
Erik van Straten
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I recently got a 50mm Summicron v4 in chrome, no. 359XXXX, very heavy, it weights 285 grams. It has a tab to focus, no ring. To my surprise however I can unscrew the lens head from the helical mount, just like is possible with the old rigid Summicron and the Summiluxes 50mm f/1.4 v1 and v2. The question now is: why is this possible? This lens head does not fit the old close-up devices or other apparatus.

Has anybody an idea?

Erik.
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Old 08-12-2017   #23
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No idea, but mine, black Canadian, now has a new white dot for aperture selection on the lens head. I bought it second hand in perfect condition in 1986 and it has been in constant use. Only when I got digital Leicas did I notice that it was not as sharp as my C Sonnar.

Having developed a set up for testing focus shift on that lens, I tested the Summicron and at 1m it was back-focusing by 2cm. The local Leica agent fixed that. Why the solution involves the lens head being rotated about 5 degrees further clockwise is unclear to me optically. They seem to have removed a shim somehow. It was always perfect at infinity and I struggle to find a shot in my archive where I could identify the back-focusing.
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Old 08-15-2017   #24
Erik van Straten
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Today I was at my repairman. He dismantled my recently aquired Summicron 50mm v4 in chrome. The lens head screws off just like on the Summicron Rigid 50mm and the earliest versions of the Summilux 50mm I and II. This is a great advantage when the lens needs service.

My lens is 24 years old, but looks like new. However, the lubricant was dried out, so my repairman removed it all and replaced it with the grease that Leica uses for the helical mount of their R-line of lenses. The result is amazing. All play is gone. The lens focuses now very smooth with just the right amount of resistance. The lens is now completely like new.

Erik.

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Old 08-16-2017   #25
Erik van Straten
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Leica M3, Summicron 50mm f/2 v4, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

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Old 08-16-2017   #26
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Very nice lens, Erik. I didn't know they have this version in matching M3 white.

I still haven't tried my Beaver Tail on BW film. I'm feeding my film cameras with color stuff.
v4 on old Konica 50 C-41 film:

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Old 08-16-2017   #27
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Shot with the V4 Summicron on an M8

Adelaide market by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

Through a glass darkly 3 by Life in Shadows, on Flickr


Ladies who shop by Life in Shadows, on Flickr


Danny by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

A little piece of Asia in Adelaide by Life in Shadows, on Flickr
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Old 08-16-2017   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabrielcik View Post
Is it possible that this lens performs better on film than on digital? I tested in on a Fuji xe1 and the results were not really better than my Skopar 35 or even Industar 50
you are looking only the sweet spot, and crop out the borders where the difference shows best.

edit: op was asking 12-21-2016... could we have some forum feature to remind if you are replying some ancient thread
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Old 08-17-2017   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Very nice lens, Erik. I didn't know they have this version in matching M3 white.
Thank you, Ko.Fe. On this version the lenshead unscrews, just as on the Rigid. Also the weight is the same, 280 g. The v5 in chrome seems to be even heavier, 330 g.

The lenshead of the Rigid can be used on all kinds of close-up apparatus, even on an enlarger, but AFAIK this is not possible with this lenshead.

Contrast and sharpness are very good and there is no distortion.

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Old 08-22-2017   #30
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Old 08-24-2017   #31
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This could be a problem.

While looking through the viewfinder focus to infinity on something far off that should be aligned. Press up on the lens barrel at the end of the lens, just past the aperture ring.

Does the RF align? Can you see the RF moving when you press up on the lens?

I had this on my V4 when I had it and I told it pronto. This is unrepairable. or repairable but very costly. I sent my lens to Kinderman to get it solid again and I was told that in order to disassemble the lens there are very tightly fit pieces that if removed might not go back together properly. Even after their attempt to repair it the wobble was still too much for me. I was told that if I wanted it repaired I'd have to send it off to Leica themselves.

Essentially the problem is that over the years the helical in the lens has worn down and the threads aren't as tight as they once were. When the lens sits on the camera the lens has a very slight wobble that offsets the top ridge of the lens that contacts the focussing cam.

With this you won't get reliable accurate focus at F2.8-F2 without pressing up on the lens, even still you can miss focus wide open. You won't be able to take advantage of the sharpness of the lens. Furthermore since the DOF in the lens drops off so abruptly anything that is out of focus will be noticeably soft.

This defect is a common one and one that most people don't talk about. I had it slightly on my Rigid Summicron when I had it as well. However since the lens isn't perfect wide open I never shot it faster than 2.8
Funny that I've come across this comment just now because I've been having this exact same issue with my 50 Summicron V4. When I disassembled the lens, I assumed it was the helical gears getting loose from wear. I was going to re-pack some thicker grease to help compensate.

However, what I found when I opened it up was that the helicoils were fine. What was actually going on was that a brass retaining ring in the lens mount portion of the lens had been worn down allowing for play between the focus ring and the lens mount.

I was able to source a ring that would fit from here:
https://www.thorlabs.com/thorproduct...tnumber=SM48RR

The dimensions and thread pitch are spot-on. The one catch is that it is made of anodized aluminum, not brass like the original ring. It's not a big deal and there shouldn't be issues with using the aluminum part but I'm going to call Leica and see if they can send me the genuine brass retaining ring anyway. May post a thread once I get it all sorted and put back together. I know other V4 owners have dealt with looseness.

P.S. I don't know if you tested your lens carefully but with my lens, focusing wasn't really affected by the looseness. Because the RF cam is rigidly linked to the optics, focus through a rangefinder should not be greatly affected.
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Old 08-28-2017   #32
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Old 08-28-2017   #33
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Old 08-29-2017   #34
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Old 08-29-2017   #35
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #36
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Old 1 Week Ago   #37
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Old 1 Day Ago   #38
Erik van Straten
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Leica M2, Summicron-M 50mm f/2 v4, 400-2TMY, Perceptol.

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Old 1 Day Ago   #39
Daryl J.
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Erik,

Are you using any filters on your V4 Summicron?

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Daryl J.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #40
Rob-F
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
There are aluminium (black) and brass (chrome) versions of the v4. Maybe the aluminium ones are not solid enough. The chrome ones have a real solid feel to them.

Erik.
Both versions use both brass and aluminum. These two metals have low friction when moving against each other. Leica will use aluminum for the outer part of the helicoid for black anodized and black paint lenses. The aluminum is lighter than brass, so it saves weight when used as the outer part. But aluminum can't be chrome plated, and brass can be. So chrome lenses have to be brass on the outside and aluminum for the smaller inner part. The heavier metal on the outside makes the chrome lens feel more solid.
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