Leica Showcase Leica 50mm f/1.5 Summarit

Mr_Flibble

Veteran
Aug 16, 2013
68
The Lowlands
Rick
I picked up a crusty Summarit with 1950s serial number for a fair price last week.
The front element is pretty scratched up and has two small pits in it. Looks like somebody dragged it along a gravel pathway.
The aperture ring was binding quite a bit and really didn't like being disassembled.

The sequence of taking it apart is similar yet differs in some important places from the Leitz Xenon.

I took it apart, washed the grime of some parts, cleaned up the threads and lubricated them with fresh rifle grease.
After cleaning the lens surfaces I took a fine-line pen and filled in the pits in the front element with some ink.

Sunday it was time to mount it on the M-E, put a XOONS hood on it, and take it with me for a walk to see if this was such a flare and glow monster people make it out to be....

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Verdict: Guarded from stray light it's actually a nice performer. The glow is there, on par with my Xenon. Guess I'll have to try it with some B/W film now.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
That looks great! I have two Summarits- one is fussing about the barrel coming out of the focus mount. I need to make a small tool to hold in place, my usual screwdriver through the access port "SNAPPED"!
 

Mr_Flibble

Veteran
Aug 16, 2013
68
The Lowlands
Rick
Someone suggested using a paperclip in the service opening. I had my trusty 1mm clock-maker screwdriver for that.

I probably need to take my Summarit apart once more, though. The 3 screws that hold the lens barrel in place are not seated deep enough, so I cannot turn the cover ring to the other 3 screw holes. Shouldn't be too hard to fix.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
The paperclip will be too soft for this particular lens. I think something "like" a Thumbtack, with the tip cut so you can grab the focus mount with a rubber band over the tack, pushing down, and then unscrewing the barrel. the other 5 Summarits that I took apart worked with the screwdriver.
 

Mr_Flibble

Veteran
Aug 16, 2013
68
The Lowlands
Rick
Manage to turn the ring with a little force. The 3 cover screws are now in their spots. Lens is ready to go.
Might risk giving the front element a little polish. But at this point I'm not really seeing any point as the images look okay.

It looks pretty sexy sitting with its pre-war twin
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I found some old, heavily made thumbtacks in the Lab- will trim them down and put rubber on the inside. I'm betting this will work.

The Summarit and Xenon look great together- both highly under-rated, probably due to people not cleaning out haze before using.
 

Raid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
123
My old Summarit may have internal challenges and not haze. It provides lovely looking portraits with a soft focus resemble.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
It's a long story on how I ended up with a new Summarit- this one was the most stubborn lens that I've had to take apart to get at inner haze. It's a fairly late run LTM lens with an M-Mount adapter epoxied on. It cleaned up nicely, focus is a little stiff- which is promably why the adapter is fixed in place. Optically, it's as good as the LTM Summarit that is making it's way around the world. Cosmetically, it looks almost new.

I left this one unmodified, with the inner elements in their original configuration. The Summarit is optimized for F2.8 at closest focus, and F1.5 for distance. The focal length is closer to 51.1mm. This helps correct for focus shift- if the lens had been optimized for F1.5 used at minimum focus, and had been 51.6mm as the RF is calibrated, it would focus must past infinity at F4. This is one of the differences between the Summarit and the Xenon. I believe the Hexagonal pattern of the Xenon is to minimize focus shift.

Just some quick test shots for "me" to calibrate with this lens, and make the point.:

Wide-Open, focus exactly with the RF aligned, and yes- it's tilted...

Close-Focus w RF
by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Wide-Open, slight "fudge-factor" by shifting the RF slightly:

Shift slightly
by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Now- I AM CALIBRATED TO THIS LENS- and ready to apply the fudge-factor for offsetting the RF ever-so-slightly.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
At F4.

At F4
by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Jason Schneider wrote in high regard for the Summarit. Having owned two of them for over a 15 years, they need to be opened up and cleaned about every 10 years. After 15 years- the haze builds back up. If left unchecked- oil that outgasses onto the surfaces on each side of the aperture can get into the coating. If that is the case- best to remove the coating. The front element is fairly soft, and prone to coating damage. It is worth a trip to FocalPoint to have recoated.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
Sometimes you just have to realize that these are 60+ year old objects that refuse to budge. I've seen a little grease act like glue in Jupiters and Sonnars. This one of mine is the most stubborn that I've worked on, the front group unscrewed rather than the whole barrel first time I tried.
 

Mr_Flibble

Veteran
Aug 16, 2013
68
The Lowlands
Rick
Yeah, taking off the outer aperture ring took quite a bit of skin off my fingers. It wasn't until I heated the lens unit to a 100C that the ring budged. Unscrewing the ring with oven mits was also a challenge ;)
 

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