Snapshot Voyager is about my own personal photography journey. I am always looking to try something new, inquisitive as to how it works, and to the end results I might achieve.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

50mm Summicron Story

My 50mm Leica Summicron has a weird history.  It is a fairly recent lens (made in 2000), and I found it on eBay for what seemed like an incredible ‘Buy it Now’ price.   When I read through the listing in its entirety, I found it was missing the rangefinder helicoids which meant that it would not mount on or adjust the rangefinder patch.  I decided this would not be a bad lens to fix up and decided to watch it.  

About 3 days later the listing finished and was promptly relisted with a price drop to just $280.  As new Summicrons list for around $2,500 and a nice used one for about $1,300, I committed straight away.  When I received it I then trotted off to my repair guy but he wasn’t sure where to source the part and suggested I hunt around on line for it.  

My first stop was to the local Leica repair people, Kindermann.  They have a reputation for doing good work, but when I rang them I found them difficult to deal with.  The guy wanted to know why I wanted the part, how come it wasn’t there in the first place and why I wasn’t asking him to do the repair work.  He intimated that I was totally wasting his time if I didn’t do it this way, but now interestingly I will never recommend his services to anyone.

Leica USA has their parts and service contact listed directly on the website, so I contacted them.  Dave, who is the parts manager, was excellent; promptly responding to emails, very courteous and always helpful.  Turned out the part I needed, was also included in the focus helicoids, the lens mount and the latter half of the barrel – basically half the lens....and it was also $400!  Gulp!  However with the huge initial saving, I ordered the part.  After a few weeks it arrived (it had to be shipped from Germany), I took it over to my technician to be put together.  He took one look at it and said it would only require 5 minutes and a few screws.  “I won’t charge you.  I know you’ll be back with other stuff.”  He knows a good customer when he sees one....

A Leica 50mm Summicron M is THE bench mark in lens performance, always sharp, always contrast, always excellent.  If there is a problem, it’s you.

All photos shot with Sony NEX-3 and Leica Summicron 50mm Type 4

1 comment:

  1. This lens increases my heart beat. I don't know how long I can hold on until I started shopping! I have the R version of the 50mm Summicron and like it a lot, but it won't focus to infinity due to adapter variance.

    Do you mind telling me who your repair person is? Sound like an honest person to deal with.