Didn’t I already write about the 1949 Leitz 5cm 1.5 Summarit? Why yes, I did, but in light of several recent conversations about this controversial fistful of German metal and glass, I want to make it clear, THE LEITZ SUMMARIT 5CM 1.5 DOES NOT SUCK!
Okay, so you might not be into swirlios and soft focus. I get it. I really do. I sort of had to acclimate my taste for that on other lenses too. But I think MOST photographers can agree on appreciating SHARP images, right? It’s usually the first compliment someone gives a lens. And who loves sharp lenses more than grain-sniffing Leicaphiles?!
I really feel like much of the criticism of this lens comes from folks who don’t want softer full aperture images (which is fine) and folks whose gear isn’t serviced.
So look, follow this explicitly, okay?
If you stop down a properly hooded (Leica XOONS), recently cleaned, calibrated, 100% functional mid-century Leitz 5cm Summarit, on an equally well-maintained M39 or M mount body, you WILL get images that I think most of us can agree, are, by conventional definitions, GOOD. Below is my proof.
Before we get started, I just want to thank Dan Tamarkin of Tamarkin.com for selling me my Leitz Summarit. He had two copies in stock at the time, one was more costly than mine due to its cosmetic perfection but I explained that I’d be using this lens, not adding it to a museum collection, and he was more than happy to sell me the cheaper lens and a cheaper matching brassed hood to go with it.
Here we go,
Ilford Delta 3200 @ 6400 | Kodak HC110b | Levels Adjustment in Photoshop
And if there was any doubt, here’s a 16th shot of me with my Summarit and hood, just to prove that I didn’t swap in a 50mm Summilux Aspheric 😉 :
So whaddya think? Is the Leitz Summarit worthy of a spot in your camera bag? Is a $500 Leica 50mm 1.5 just a dream or a dream come true? I get it, you want these results at full aperture? I mean, you’re just going to have to spend more, right? But for the price and with that added “soft focus swirlios feature”, I am still madly in love with my Leitz Summarit!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and see your examples!
Thanks for reading and happy shooting!
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