Leica Showcase Simlar 5cm F1.5, very early, on the Canon P and the Leica M8

This lens is "uncommon", probably under 3500 made. This lens is a Planar formula design, 7 elements in 4 groups, a 1-3-2-1 configuration. The front doublet of a traditional Planar is replaced with a triplet, each element of lesser power than what would have been required to get the F1.5 speed from the traditional design. Using the triplet eliminates two air/glass surfaces that would be required in a 7 element/ 5 group design used in the Leica Summarit.

I believe the Simlar is the first original post-war Japanese design. The Canon and Nikkor lenses were based on existing Sonnar and Planar designs. This is the first 1-3-2-1 Planar that I've seen, the Canon 85/1.5 also used this basic block diagram. This lens was bought on a 4-digit Leotax D-IV, made in 1950.

I have seen it described as "half a Sonnar"- because it used a triplet as the second group. This is not correct, it is a Planar. The focal length of the front section and rear section are "roughlt" the same. A Sonnar formula lens, the front section is a telephoto with focal length "about 2x to 3x that of the rear section.
simlar_needles_f15.jpg
simlar_berry_f4.jpg
simlar_berry_f15.jpg
simlar_needles_f4.jpg
simlar.jpg
 
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This lens had been in a storage shed for 30 years, with the camera and Canon 85/2. I took a gamble, bought off Ebay for $600 for the lot. The lens was opaque and frozen solid when I got it. Soaked the helical in Ronsonol for a week, flood cleaned every day, after 4 days it budged. I was amazed the glass cleaned up so well, no damage to the coating or glass. This is a very early version, the 6 screws used internally to hold a fixture together had to be replaced in the same order as removed: the heads were slightly different size and the holes were individually tapped. Like a hand-made prototype. This lens uses 39mm filters, later versions used 40.5mm filters.

Performance: "on par" with a Summarit 5cm F1.5. Bokeh- "Different"? Worth what people want for it on Ebay- no, unless you are a collector that has to have one. This on- I figure cost me $200 and a week well spent. I need to try this on the Monochrom. I suspect it will be the first used on one. Next lens up- Tanar 5cm F2.
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Penfan2010

All-Pro
Location
NJ, USA
Real Name
Ed
This lens is "uncommon", probably under 3500 made. This lens is a Planar formula design, 7 elements in 4 groups, a 1-3-2-1 configuration. The front doublet of a traditional Planar is replaced with a triplet, each element of lesser power than what would have been required to get the F1.5 speed from the traditional design. Using the triplet eliminates two air/glass surfaces that would be required in a 7 element/ 5 group design used in the Leica Summarit.

I believe the Simlar is the first original post-war Japanese design. The Canon and Nikkor lenses were based on existing Sonnar and Planar designs. This is the first 1-3-2-1 Planar that I've seen, the Canon 85/1.5 also used this basic block diagram. This lens was bought on a 4-digit Leotax D-IV, made in 1950.

I have seen it described as "half a Sonnar"- because it used a triplet as the second group. This is not correct, it is a Planar. The focal length of the front section and rear section are "roughlt" the same. A Sonnar formula lens, the front section is a telephoto with focal length "about 2x to 3x that of the rear section.

Brian - very nice contrast and rendering of greens, looks like very little susceptibility to flare compared to some of the other older lenses you've tried out. Do you have the Canon 35mm F2.8 form a similar era? Seen some of them on ebay and I am intrigued by its size and reported sharpness. Having an aperture ring on the barrel is also better than my current KMZ 3.5cm F2.8 with the aperture ring on the inside of the front of the lens.
 
The German Jet is the Arado 234, two-engine jet bomber. And yes- Dornier 335 Arrow behind it. I will get some more shots of it up.

My Father was in B-29's, and saw a Baka in action. One of the B-29 gunners got lucky and detonated it before it hit. It knocked Dad's B-29 1000ft.

I had a Canon 35/2.8: it is very good, a bit lower contrast. Basic formula as the Leica Summaron. Prices used to be in the $150 range, but as they get close to $300- I would go for an Ultron.
 

Penfan2010

All-Pro
Location
NJ, USA
Real Name
Ed
Thanks, Brian. Thanks for clarifying that the 2 engine aircraft is an Arado; would love to see more photos of the Arrow. Amazing story of your dad's B-29; the gunner really got lucky, although I am sure they were grateful there was no damage to their aircraft.

Thanks as well on the lens advice; I sort of came to a similar conclusion as I am not sure it's worth paying close to $450-$499 (latest I have seen them on eBay lately) when I can get an Ultron for less.
 

M. Valdemar

Veteran
Location
New York City
I had FOUR of these Simlar 1.5 lenses, if you can believe it. I sold three on eBay (for a huge profit, having hoarded them for over a decade) and kept one. Recently, I picked up another Leotax with another 1.5 Simlar on it. I got lucky, it was a sleeper.

I now have a 152XXX (late) and a 150XXX (early) like Brian has.

The 150XXX lens actually seems a bit sharper than the 152XXX lens. The construction is somewhat different. The 150XXX has no click stops, but the 152XXX does. The engraving is also somewhat different.

If anyone is interested I may take images of the two for comparison and post them, also I could post some shots taken with each. I find these lenses not too sharp wide open but they quickly improve after stopping down.

PS: As Brian noted, the 150XXX takes 39mm oddball filters, the 152XXX takes 40.5mm filters.
 
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I would very much like to see pictures of the two lenses. The early ones: I suspect were made under trying circumstances. As noted on mine: the inner screws had to be put back into the same holes that they came out of. Later lenses- more standardized.
 

M. Valdemar

Veteran
Location
New York City
I finally had a little time to take some photos. I had the 2nd Pfizer vaccine 11 days ago, with no side effects other than a sore arm.

As promised here, here are my two Simlars.

The construction is somewhat different, and the earlier lens has the 39mm filter, the later one has 40.5mm.

The coating colors are about the same. I'll take some photos with them and post them in a few days.
 

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Did the diameter of the front element increase with the newer version? It looks like the retaining ring is thicker on it, not sure of the front element changed or not.

I cannot think of another 5cm F1.5 lens that uses 39mm filters, the Zeiss and Nikkor F1.5 are 40.5mm, the Canon 50/1.5 is 40mm.
 

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