I found his actual troubles with both Leica lenses pretty gruesome - both seemed to need attention and/or repair in order to be at their (potential) best, and neither was at the time of testing. Granted, this can happen to lenses that are well used and pretty old - but it also goes to show that a legend can age, and not do so all too gracefully (there's a lovely representation of this in Terry Pratchett's first couple of Discworld novels: Cohen the Barbarian - he's your "Summilux" of heroes, unfortunately he's by then 86 years old ...). That said, yes, I'm fully prepared to believe that the Summilux *is* an amazing lens when correctly adjusted, and I know for a fact that the Summicron is quite a good one - for a defined value of "good".Thanks for the link, very useful, all done in the author’s free time and I also really liked his review of the E43 Summilux buried within his site. The author originally posted the article on the Leica Camera Forum, where he was good enough to advise that he approached his review with a view not to lens character (for me a big deal) but to neutrality which he said was reflected in his conclusion and that he viewed Leica not as a camera brand but a luxury brand. I found it interesting that he seemed to prefer the modern Voigts over their Leica counterparts but that the pre 1990 Leica lenses were the ones giving him least trouble. Fair to say that owning a rangefinder/ lens combo and manipulating them to get an image to your own subjective taste is never a simple process, thus I see the author’s review as a starting point.
However, I have to say that his observations about the Summicron-M do ring a bell: The lens is quite impressive and appealing at close quarters (portraits, documentary, quite possibly street shooting), but less convincing as a general purpose lens, i.e. at medium and long distances. Considering the price you pay (and also the amount of money proper maintenance entails), that's at best an adequate showing - but not exactly what I'd call reliable and decent *at this kind of price*. I'm absolutely sure the new Voigtländer APO-Lanthar outshoots it by a considerable margin - for 40% of the price new, and 60% of what you pay for a used Summicron-M, which is in itself quite annoying in a way (but good for me - the Summicron-M will pay for the APO-Lanthar handily, with money to spare). Come to think of it: The Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S *clearly* tops the Summicron-M's IQ *and* is more versatile - but at least you can say that the Nikon is twice as big and heavy (though only a fifth of the price). The APO-Lanthar, on the other hand, is itself quite a compact lens - if not exactly a *small* one which, of course, the Summicron *is*.