I touched on this topic a little bit in a previous blog about hoods for various LTM lenses entitled Throwing Shade, but I wanted to drill down on lens hood options for the Leitz 50mm f2 Summitar. As previously stated, I think that earlier Leitz lenses require a hood in many circumstances to perform their best. And there are a number of possible hoods for the Summitar that photographers may be interested in trying. The correct original hood is fairly unpopular due to its size, thus I often see photographers looking for an appropriate alternative. It’s a little complicated a task though, because Summitars have an odd outer diameter of 41.5mm and their inner threads are 36mm and recessed within the front ring. This unusual design can make finding a well-fitting hood, or any accessory, a somewhat tricky.
The Leica Summitar is the predecessor of the fabled Leica 50mm f2 Summicron and later copies of the Summitar even share the lens barrel with the early Summicron. Consequently, most Summitars and the Version I 50 Summicron can accept the lens hoods that I’m about to discuss. I’m going to keep Summitar as my point of focus since it’s what I use but if you’re an early Summicron shooter, by all means, you’re welcome to huddle in with us too!
And before we get into hoods, we need to talk about the two main versions of Summitars out there, because yes, which version you have will dictate which hoods you can run.
One might divide Summitar lens types into more categories, for the intens and purposes of this discussion, I’m going to simplify them into just two versions.
Summitar Version I (1939)
Summitars from the first decade of this models production run featured sought-after ten blade aperture diaphragms. The front element was uncoated until 1946. Summitars made in the small window between 1946 and 1949 are often regarded as the most desirable due to having both the ten blades and the UV coating. One problem, however, if you can call it that, is that these first generation Summitars do not have the provision for mounting clip-on hoods that Leica would develop and use for many following decades. Summitar Version II got this update.
If you want to use more common, clip-on Leica hoods, there’s a simple way to do this. Screw an original Summitar filter onto your Summitar Version I. The tiny gap between the front ring of the lens and filter should create enough of a groove for the Leica clip-on hoods that we’re about to examine, to fit onto Version I Summitars.
Being unfamiliar with this recommendation first-hand and wanting to provide accurate accounts here, I decided to try it with my Summitar Version II. I bought an original Type L green filter (GCYOO) in black paint, mounted it to my Summitar Version 2 and then tried both my ITDOO and SOOPD (hoods discussed below). It worked out great. The ITDOO clicked into place with a little play. The SOOPD fit pretty tightly though. Perhaps moreso than when fitted the standard way. I am unaware of any differences between screwing any Type L filter into a Summitar Version I, though admittedly, for every rule with early Leica, there do seem to be exceptions. Please do let me know in the comments if you know more!
Summitar Version II (1949)
Summitar received some revisions in 1949, the main one being what everyone talks about; the recycling of leftover Summar aperture assemblies. But the change that’s important with regards to this discussion is the added groove around the front ring of the lens barrel which allows clip-on lens hoods to be fitted. In true Leica style, this tiny feature appears to be merely cosmetic as it perfectly fits the styling of the Summitar. But it adds considerable functionality to the lens, which can now accept both clamp-on and clip-on accessories. Which, as I’m about to get onto, opens up quite a number of options for future-built lens hoods.
SOOPD Version I (1939 – for 50/2 Summitar Version I)
The earliest hood made for Summitar was called SOOPD. SOOPD works with both Summitar versions because it employees a thumb-screw-adjusted circular clamp to attach to the outer circumference of the lens. SOOPD Version I was finished in either black paint or satin silver chrome. The rear section of black SOOPDS is finished in distinctive crinkle coat black. There were E. Leitz Wetzlar Germany and E. Leitz New York copies. Both feature the E. Leitz logo on the top-facing blade of this four blade barndoor assembly, along with the name “Summitar.” The placement of this logo is an easy way to spot the difference between Version I and II SOOPDs in online listings. These hoods were sold in the old style, red boxes with gold text.
The old barndoor hoods opened and closed by means of a precise and elegant little spring mechanism. While this folding mechanism is intuitively useful for stowing the hood, what I find quite genius about it is that the closed position of SOOPD serves as a lens cap for Summitar. I like using SOOPD on faster-paced shoots where I wouldn’t typically bother with lens caps. SOOPD can easily be closed very quickly to protect the vulnerable front element and cloth shutter, then opened again just as quickly, to get back to shooting.
SOOPD Version II (1949 – for 50/2 Summitar Version II)
The next version of SOOPD, features a faster push-button, clip-on mounting mechanism. As noted, SOOPD Version II is to be used with 1949/50 Summitars with the accessory groove around the front of the lens. Most of these Summitars, if not all, are the 6 aperture blade type.
On both sides of SOOPD Version II are rectangular, spring-loaded buttons. Press these in and, similar to most newer LTM and early M Leica hoods, little tabs are retracted from inside the circumference of the hood’s collar. This allows the shooter to slip the shade over the front of the Summitar and release the buttons, deploying the tabs, such that they clip into the groove on the front of the lens barrel.
The push button arrangement makes for quick and easy installation and removal. However, of the two versions, I prefer the earlier, rarer clamp-on because the Version II SOOPD can rotate around the lens if jostled, throwing off it’s proper positioning with the view and rangefinder windows.
The engraving on the top-facing blade of the barndoor of SOOPD Version I was relocated to the right-facing blade of the barndoor of SOOPD Version II. The location of the engraving is a GREAT way to tell SOOPD Versions I and II apart from one another in online listings. To my knowledge, there is not a New York copy of SOOPD Version II, only Wetzlar, Germany. And Version II was also sold in a variation of the textured red box with gold text.
SOOFM (1954 – for 50/2 Summitar Version II & 50/2 Summicron Version I)
In 1953, the Summicron was released and the Summitar was discontinued after a 14 year run. Accordingly, SOOPD was renamed SOOFM and repackaged.
The only difference between SOOPD Version II and SOOFM is the addition of “u. Summicron” on the right-facing barndoor blade text.
The box for SOOFM remained the plain red style for some time before upgrading to the mid-century modern style; beige with a stylized graphic of the hood on it.
SOOFM survived until 1960 when the 50mm Summicron shed the old 1930’s style collapsible barrel and went rigid.
ITOOY (1956 – for 50/2.8 and 50/3.5 Elmar)
I’ve heard some fringe recommendations to run ITOOY with Summitar. Personally, though I haven’t tried it because I expect that this hood is is too narrow. It was designed for use with the Elmar 50/2.8 and 3.5. While it would be very low profile in appearance on a Summitar, I have a feeling that it would vignette when used at full aperture. I’m noting it here simply because this hood will mechanically fit on the Summitar and might be an option for someone who doesn’t use this lens at full aperture much and wants as small a hood for it as possible.
ITDOO (1956 – for 35/3.5 Summaron & 50/2 Summicron)
Before the presentation box for SOOFM was changed but after the Summitar had been discontinued, Leica released a more compact hood for the Summicron and 35mm Summaron, called ITDOO in 1956.
Like the SOOPD Version II and SOOFM, ITDOO was installed onto the lens via two little push-buttons that took advantage of the recessed ring on the front of these lenses. Unlike the push-button SOOPD and SOOFM, ITDOO is a circular shade, thus it doesn’t matter if it is jostled while installed as it does not need to sit any particular way on the lens so as not to affect the viewfinder.
ITDOO originally sold with a plastic rear cap that was not available for SOOPD/SOOFM. And this is an important point of distinction in use between these hoods, in my opinion.
The idea with ITDOO was that the photographer could reverse mount it to the lens, then use the supplied rear cap to cap the hood and lens. I don’t think most people even realise that ITDOO can be reverse-mounted and thus, you often see the hood for sale sans original cap. I prefer circular lens hoods whose front can be capped rather than needing to make a big effort to protect the lens. However, by reverse-mounting an ITDOO actually takes up less space in ones camera bag than a barndoor hood, providing that hte lens isn’t collapsed. Because, when reverse mounted, ITDOO prevents Summitar from fully collapsing. So it’s really just about personal preference at this point.
Capping inconveniences aside, ITDOO is more compact in use and just more conventional in appearance, and therefore has become more popular and more expensive than most copies of the SOOPD, which I feel, is one of the few undervalued Leica accessories available.
I am unaware of any cosmetic variation of the ITDOO. The conical part of the hood is black paint aluminum engraved with “Summaron 3.5cm Summicron 5cm” and the narrow chrome mounting ring is engraved with “Ernst Leitz GmbH Wetzlar” and “Germany” on the opposing face. ITDOO was packaged in the old textured red box with gold lettering and later, the beige box with graphics. Apparently it’s not difficult to remove the black paint conical section of ITDOO from its silver chrome mounting band. So sometimes you’ll see that someone has fitted another
SNHOO (1957 – for Summitar)
SNHOO isn’t a hood but rather a special adaptor ring made specifically for the Summitar. You see, Summitar’s filter thread is recessed and therefore requires Summitar-specific filters and accessories. The alternative is to screw in a SNHOO which is a step-up ring with a female 39mm thread. 39mm is a much more common accessory size and will then give the photographer access to any 39mm threaded hood.
Some nameless Chinese company makes cheap, modern aluminum SNHOO copies which are widely sold on eBay along with circular vented hoods that resemble the 1960’s Summicron style hood. For lack of a simple list like I’ve compiled here, I stupidly purchased these poor quality, Chinese knock-off kits from a seller called heavystar and ran it on my Summitar until I found that the fake SNHOO got stuck and had to be twisted and cut out of the threads with wire cutters. The seller wouldn’t return my messages, offering no help. So if you are going to run some other 39mm threaded hood on your Summitar, please, go to the trouble of tracking down a Leica-made SNHOO. Check the site or write to Tamarkin for help. Don’t attach garbage to your Leica, it’s not worth it.
IROOA/12571 (1959 – for 35/2, 35/2.8, 35/3.5 and 50/2, 50/2.8, 50/3.5)
Riding off the coattails of ITDOO, Leica came up with IROOA in 1959. Same basic shape/concept as ITDOO but the chrome band on IROOA is wider and sports two rows of tabs instead of just one row. This allows one to lengthen or shorten the hood and to fit a few other lenses. Additionally, when the IROOA is reverse-mounted to the lens for storage, that second set of tabs can clip onto the lens securely. Whereas when ITDOO is reverse-mounted to the lens, there is only a section of velvet lining in the hood that pressure fits it in place.
There were two versions of the IROOA but they differ only in their engravings and were always sold in the graphic laden boxes
Interestingly, I’ve noticed that there are some quite nice modern aftermarket IROOA copies for sale on eBay. They are made by a Japanese company called UM, look close to original and some even come in 1950’s Leica style boxes. There are also IROOA copies made by a Chinese company called Light Lens Lab. They sell for considerably more than the UM copy, and even it seems, more than some original Leica copies. But Light Lens Lab makes their IROOA’s in three colors; all black, all chrome or all gold. And of course, not to be outdone in obscurity, Japan Camera Hunter has shown off a rare distressed black and gold IROOA copy.
IROOA is a useful hood because it fits 50mm f2, 2.8 and 3.5 as well as 35 f2, 2.8 and 3.5 lenses.
12585 (1963 – for 35/2, 35/2.8, 35/3.5 and 50/2, 50/2.8, 50/3.5)
This is probably the hippest looking lens hood that anyone can own. The Leica 12585, when paired with a 50 or 35 Cron and a black and brassed M4 practically defined smart and stylish in the 1960’s. Zeiss copied it. Voigtlander copied it. You even see some crazies using a hood this shape on their SLR’s. The Leica 12585 is a work of art. Form and function fall in love. This circular hood contains the original ITDOO DNA in terms of its mounting and shape but features a reverse conical nose with three cutaways. It eliminates flaring and reduces viewfinder blockage, but is compact. The unusual shape also makes for a good grip when carrying a Leica by its lens. The 12585 simply redefined what a simple lens hood could look like. I run this hood design on my Voigtlander 40mm Nokton and used to run it on my Summitar. I found the 12585 a little large and modern looking for the 1930’s style Summitar. But hey, maybe you have one for your newer lenses and don’t feel like buying another hood. It will work fine with the Summitar.
From my research, that about wraps up all the hoods that I’d recommend to run on your Leica Summitar. Please don’t hesitate to give me a shout if there’s anything that I missed!
So, what Summitar hood am I using, you might ask. Well, I am tied between my push-button SOOPD and ITDOO. For sheer pragmatics, the SOOPD gets my vote. But so as not to cause my subjects to stare at my camera in bewilderment, which, yes, sometimes they do and it’s distracting, the ITDOO serves nicely. If I were to make a single recommendation, I’d probably recommend the clamp-on SOOPD. Leica really did everything right with the first version of the Summitar hood. If I’d picked it up first, I probably wouldn’t have sought out the ITDOO. But on a cosmetic level, the ITDOO seems to look the best on a Summitar in my opinion. While I wouldn’t normally go out of my way to buy a camera accessory for mere cosmetics, I do find that the SOOPD draws more attention than I’d like, to the point of it being distracting. Old cameras inspire some amount of conversation with subjects but the SOOPD has a habit of really getting people engaged to the point that I’ve wound up talking about it with them more than actually shooting. Your mileage may vary though!
Much of the information I’ve noted here came straight from page 106 of the Leica Accessories Guide, exhaustive eBay window-shopping and talking to Leica experts like rock photographer Jason Nicholson.
All photos were taken with my Olympus OM-1n and 55mm 3.5 Zuiko on Kodak TMAX P3200 rated at 1600 and processed for 3200 in Kodak HC110b. Pictured is my 1947 Leica IIIc and 1954 Summitar with a SOOPD Version 2 hood, ITDOO and GCYOO green filter in black paint (I figured a black paint copy would look more distinct in photos for this blog!).
Thanks for reading and happy shooting!
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