Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Leica IIIc (1949) / Leitz 50mm Summar (1936) / Fuji X-E1 w/ M adapter & LTM to M adapter

Bought a 1949 IIIc a couple years ago. Got it relatively cheaply because it was missing a retro-fitted self timer dial. The IIIc didn't come with one but apparently you could get it retro-fitted. This spoils its collector value (which isn't great to begin with) but made it pretty darn cheap (for a fully functioning Leica). I've dry shot it and it seems in time. Probably the really slow speeds are off but so what. Then I had to wait for an appropriate lens to turn up, also relatively cheap. I eventually got a 1936 Leitz (Leica) 50mm Summar (previous to Summitar, which is previous to Summicron) in pretty decent shape, except the focus mechanism was frozen. The lens is clear, the aperture blades are snappy and oil free. I got some lighter fluid into the area of the frozen focus mechanism but no amount of turning and budging would turn it. Yes I released the lock at infinity. I contacted Youxin Ye in Boston about doing a CLA on it and $60 is a good price but the deal stopped being cheap at that point and I put it away. While I was cleaning out equipment and listing things for sale two days ago, I decided to go for broke and I removed the screws on the bottom, took it apart and after some more lighter fluid cleaning and head scratching, got it to focus AND and this is big, managed to get it back together in one piece and functioning. I am including some shots I took today on a digital camera using adapters. The lens renders a very film like image. Hyper micro contrast is not present but the edges are sharp (where it counts). You have to stop it down a bit or you get too much light from the edges bleeding into the sensor from odd angles but you can shoot low light all day. The bokeh at f2 is nervous but again, if you stop down a couple stops it smooths out a bit and is acceptable. Why do it? Because the images it renders are quite unique.

It is true that I need to load some film in the IIIc and shoot it with the lens on IT (I will) but for now I stuck it on the Fuji X-E1 and shot a few frames until the battery died, which happened all too soon. They are all SOOC other than where cropped, which is denoted at occurence. Without further ado:

BTW, I didn't collapse the lens to see if it would hit the sensor or not. You can try if you want but I'll stay safely un-curious.
The ugly bokeh the lens is renown for. I shot this wide open to demonstrate it.

A crop to look closely at the rendering on the focused bud and the smoother bokeh after stopping down a bit.
A bit of a crop here. The edges are sharp enough but you get a quite filmic look, which I think makes the lens earn it's keep.

I added the camercide to demonstrate what a nice portrait lens it would be as it smooths better than modern lenses and provides as close to a film look as a super sharp modern digital camera can provide. It's also rather unique.

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