HELP! - Leica CL and Summicron-C f2/40mm lens

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Stephen Geis, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. Stephen Geis

    Stephen Geis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    538
    May 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    Came across a Leica CL is great shape at the local camera store. From the serial number on the body it was part of the first production run. It is paired with a Summicron-C f2/40mm lens with no scratches, fungus, dust. I have it set aside for 24 hours.

    I've been shooting with the Panasonic 20mm and 45mm-200mm along with several legacy Nikon lens. This caught my eye as a way to potentially (with an adapter) check out Leica M-style lenses (I've been lusting after Voightlander's 35mm and 40mm 1.4 Nokton's as well as their 50mm 1.1 ...)

    The camera shop has it listed at $800 - my questions are, is this a good price for the body & lens? Has anyone on here had experience with m43 and this lens?

    Uploaded some photos here.

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    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Stephen
     
  2. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    The lens sells for $350-$425.00 here in the states. The body about the same. It's a nifty little camera and I have used it for many years as a backup because of the lens.
    The Lens is a beaut......

    The only issue with it is doing Film.....but that may not be an issue for you....
     
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  3. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    714
    Apr 11, 2009
    How is the meter? The CL uses a Meter on a Stalk, flips up with each exposure. It is a known failure point. It also uses CDS cells, in the direct path of the lens. They deteriorate.

    1) Is the Meter good?
    2) All Speeds Good?
    3) Warranty?

    $800 would be a decent price for a freshly serviced CL with a 40/2 lens with working meter. The meter on mine is intermittent. Mine was $800, with the 40/2 Summicron and the 90/2.8 Tele-Elmarit. The 90/2.8 lens is worth ~$400. That was 5 years ago. With the M8 and M9, prices seemed to have gone up.
     
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  4. Stephen Geis

    Stephen Geis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    538
    May 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    Thanks Streetshooter - so at $800, the set seems fairly priced (this shop doesn't specialize in Leica's so I know already that they won't break up an sell separately).

    I was thinking it might be nice to carry both the CL and the GF1 in my bag and actually shoot some film (gasp) in the future as well.

    Just to clarify your comment, the lens is NOT so great for 35mm film? Or were you thinking of video?

    Thanks,
    Stephen
     
  5. Stephen Geis

    Stephen Geis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    538
    May 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    Brian,

    I have a call into the shop to ask about the questions you raised - I saw them listed as things to check on another site.

    If there is no warranty, any suggestion on what I should ask that they knock off from the price?

    Thanks,
    Stephen
     
  6. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    714
    Apr 11, 2009
    No warranty, and non-working meter: do not offer over $600 for it.

    Reliable meter, no warranty- $700. Remember, this camera was made for Mercury Cell 1.35v batteries. You can get an adapter to use silver-oxide cells, or use Zinc-Air. The latter only last a few months.

    Or- use Alkaline and cut the ASA in 1/2.

    Also to add, make sure the viewfinder is clear and that both horizontal and vertical align at infinity. This RF is not easy to adjust.

    The Summicron is quite sharp, has good contrast, and is great with color and black and white film. It will make a good portrait lens for the 4/3rds, and even better fast/slight wide for the CL.

    I basically replaced my Black Canonet QL17 GIII with the CL and 40/2 Summicron.
     
  7. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Brian's right about the rangefinder. There's a few that will adjust it but it's not cheap.
     
  8. mojojones

    mojojones New to Mu-43

    6
    Jun 1, 2010
    I paid more for mine but it's one of those special "Jahre" ones. :rolleyes: They are sweet little cameras, and the lens is very nice, but you've already heard all the little technical problems. I picked up one after being frustrated with the autofocus on the Contax G2 but ended up not using it that much for fear of the meter breaking. In the end, I learned to deal with the autofocus on the G2 which is only slightly larger, (somewhat heavier though) and the glass for it is superb. You can pick up a G2 with a 45mm for several hundred less. It must be said though, the G2 is a complex machine that is now 5 years out of production, so long term maintenance is a consideration.

    Darn, no easy answers!

    [​IMG]
    The Evolution of Small
     
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  9. Stephen Geis

    Stephen Geis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    538
    May 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    Nice rangefinder "Family portrait"!

    Appreciate the perspective - I am going to take a look at it again tomorrow - we'll see if I come back with it ...

    Stephen
     
  10. Jonas B

    Jonas B Guest

    91
    Apr 23, 2010
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    If you have some special lust for a small Leica and that lens I see no reason not to buy it (unless the meter is faulty).
    If you would buy it mainly to get a 40mm lens for your µ4/3 I see no reason at all to do so. You would do better spending your money for a Nokton lens instead; the Summicron-C is, simply put, not stellar. The coating is not that good, the bokeh is dubious and I don't think the resolution is that good either with our small high pixel density sensors. My opinion on coating and bokeh is based on what I have seen from the lens used with bigger sensors.

    regards,

    Jonas
     
  11. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    714
    Apr 11, 2009
    The coating on the Minolta version had problems, basically "white Dots" (EDIT: 28mm lens only). I do not own one personally.
    The Summicron-C is hard-coated, and single-coated. That means lower contrast than multi-coated lenses, and turns out to be a plus with Digital cameras. The coating on my Summicron-C is perfect, no wipe marks or scratches. The Leitz lenses from the 1940s and 1950s were soft-coated using a drip-coating method. Zeiss held patents on hard coating lenses, and it seems Leitz had to abide by them and the competition did not.

    Lower-contrast lenses avoids image "clipping" where you can lose shadow detail and highlights. I'll try the 40/2 Summicron on the M8, I have he 50/2 Summicron of the same vintage on it now.

    As far as Leica cameras- these days a good user M3 or M2 body runs $500~$600, with a recent CLA. Keep an eye on rangefinderforum.com classifieds for bargains. Film body prices are down, but lens prices are up because of the M9, M8, and even u4/3.
     
  12. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend Charter Member

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    No the Minolta 40mm and 90mm had no issues, it was the 28mm that often exhibited white spots from poor edge coating: Leica Minolta* CLE. I have the 40mm and 90mm, both are absolutely beautiful lenses.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  13. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    714
    Apr 11, 2009
    That is good to know. I thought it had to do with the multi-coated versions that Minolta switched to with the CLE generation.

    Did Minolta produce multi-coated versions of the 40 and 90?
     
  14. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    714
    Apr 11, 2009
    I'm still waiting for my m-Mount to u4/3rds adapter to come in. When it does, the Canon 35/2 in LTM, Summicron-C 40/2, and Canon 50/1.5 (Sonnar formula) will be some of the first lenses to get used on it. The Canon 50/1.5 is perfect on the CL, fits in the Pouch Case and is slightly bigger than the 40/2. The Canon 50/1.5 is smaller than the 50/1.8 and smaller than a J-3.
     
  15. Jonas B

    Jonas B Guest

    91
    Apr 23, 2010
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    So, let's see if I can sum it up:

    The Summicron-C has a bit low contrast and harsh bokeh, it can be flary, the resolution abilities when paired with a high pixel density sensor are unknown but probably good enough and we don't know about possible smearing problems at corners and borders.

    I don't say there are any smearing problems, it's just something that should be tested (and it is also something that either matters or not depending on the use of the lens). If one likes the lower contrast or not is probably personal, just as any opinions on bokeh.

    From my Minolta CLE days of the mid 80's I remember I wasn't that impressed with the 40mm lens and I went back to my M5 and the Leica lenses. My memory is shady of course.

    In the end I would say avoid it, some say it is excellent. It would be nice to see some µ4/3 images taken with the lens. For now I wouldn't recommend anyone pay USD 800 for the combo Stephen asks about.

    A, very short but anyway, comment on the bokeh can be seen here.

    regards,

    Jonas
     
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  16. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    714
    Apr 11, 2009
    Well, the u4/3 to M adapter just arrived, so I'll be giving it a test. I do not have any scans of negatives with the 40/2. I tend to keep a 50 on the CL, either the Canon 50/1.5 or a Nikkor 5cm F2.
     
  17. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    714
    Apr 11, 2009
    There were two versions of the 40/2, one made in Japan by Minolta and the other by Leitz in Wetzlar, Germany. Mine is the latter. It is a Leica lens, made in Germany. I'll be trying it on the EP2 soon enough, the adapter arrived. I also have an F-Mount to M-Mount adapter on order, to use the Nikkor wides on the M8 and to use any of them on the EP2. So, M->u4/3, LTM to M, and F-Mount to M-adapter, and Contax/S-Mount to M-adapter. That covers a LOT of lenses, over 100.
     
  18. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend Charter Member

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    Stephen Gandy and a number of others have noted that the Minolta 40mm f2 is one of the sharpest lenses ever, rivalling the Leica. There were two versions or both the 40mm and 90mm according to Gandy, CL and CLE versions. The CLE lenses were multi-coated and can be distiguished by the fact that the serial number is on the lens barrel. Apparently the lenses were made to the same optical formula as the Leicas.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  19. Stephen Geis

    Stephen Geis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    538
    May 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    Hmmm ...

    Jonas - your comments are giving me reason to pause.

    Checked out the body again today. The meter is working as is the rangefinder. Can return for 10 days with no restocking fee and it comes with a limited 60 day warranty (good camera shop - just doesn't typically deal in Leicas). I've used a Yashica GSN as a film rangefinder - liked the results, but found the weight and fixed lens somewhat limiting.

    Must admit that I find the size and the lens interchangability of the CL nice and I've wanted to explore Leica lenses (viewing this and Voightlander as "gateway" lenses to other Leica glass).

    I traded in a beat-up Nikon F3HP with Motor Drive and some cheap Nikon lenses to help fund GF1 purchase. Kept my better Nikon MF lenses and have had a blast using them with an adapter.

    Neither I, nor the people in the camera store, have a M to m43 adapter so I can check out and see if the 40mm f/2 lens results in images on my GF1 that I find pleasing. However I like the various photo's I've seen online with this lens.

    Not sure that I want to invest for M bodies and other Leica glass before "trying out" the Leica concept via the CL ... Figure the downside is I don't use it and resell (at a loss after 6-12 months) and the upside is that I add something to shoot film to my walkaround GF1 kit.

    Still $800 could fund other purchases ...

    I'm torn
     
  20. Stephen Geis

    Stephen Geis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    538
    May 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    Brian & Ray,

    The 40mm / f2 on this body is the CL Leitz not the CLE Minolta.

    Brian - would love to see any images of your EP2 paired with the summicron. And I am curious as to any recommendations on Nikon to M adapters. Wasn't aware that they existed. Might tip the balance in favor of this purchase given my legacy lens collection. My local camera shop just got a shipment of Tokina f/2.8 11-16mm that I've sampled on my GF1. Been holding off on this purchase since I know I will always be able to get this lens in the near future ...