Summitar hits the streets

As you can read above this, I have a sweet spot for locating, acquiring and of course, using, vintage cameras and lenses.

Some time ago I spent some time reading material about lens manufacturing. It was amazing to discover the number of calculations that are involved in the design of an optic, just think on all the ways and angles in which light can ‘fall’ over a lens, and all the refractions and reflections that take place when light goes through all the glass elements and lens/air surfaces on its way to meet with the plane of focus.

So imagine what it could be to make those calculations back when computers as we know them now were only a distant dream.


However,sometimes when one puts a 50 or 60 or even more years old lens in a camera and looks at the results, it seems as if even without the support of all the latest technology, their creators did it… just right is not the word, there seems to be a sort of remaining imperfection, causing a sort of really pleasant roundness.


These shots are from one of those ‘magic’ old lenses, a post-WWII Leitz Summitar I bought from a member at photo.net a while ago. For some people, the Summitars and Summars are the most ‘glowing’ lenses in the Leitz line, meaning that they seem to easily deliver that special character, that something else that may be lacking in the sometimes too perfect modern optical designs.

I’m not sure if it’s the dreaded leitz ‘glow’, but what I know for sure is I find some of the peripheral oof areas to be rendered in a very different but pleasant way, almost playful.

Of course, it could only be due to my eyes being dizzy…

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3 thoughts on “Summitar hits the streets

  1. Ok, OK! I’ve moved my 1949 vintage Summitar up to the top of my CLA list. It’s time to get that haze out of it and get it back on a camera.

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