Video Field Test: Legacy Lens | Leica 5cm f/2 Summicron (Collapsible)
That's right, it's time for another video field test. This lens is a bit different, though. This lens holds a secret inside.
This collapsible model of the Leica Summicron 5cm (or 50mm if you're keeping track) was produced between 1953-1960. It's a compact M-mount marvel, with a smoothly-traveling focus ring that travels with the gentle coax of a single index finger.
With a single twist and a push, the lens retracts within itself to an even more pocketable size for transport and travel. When extended, the lens has a one-of-a-kind retro look that will likely have onlookers leaning in to figure out exactly what it is.
On the surface, this particular lens might be listed as 'Like new' or 'Minty' if you bought it from an auction site or even from a marketplace seller. The front and back glass don't show any scratches, the chrome and etchings are nice and clean. Everything moves the way it's supposed to, so what gives? Why did we give this lens an 'Ugly' rating?
Well, when you shine a bright flashlight into the glass, the trained eye will see that there's an anomaly deep within the glass. There's a hazy type of fungus growing inside that looks like a steamed-up mirror after a hot shower.
Fungus like the kind growing inside of this lens can very rarely be removed entirely to bring the lens back up to perfection. Certain types of lens fungus can etch into glass elements or eat away at the coatings as they grow. This is why every lens that we find fungus or haze inside automatically is deemed 'Ugly'.
However, that doesn't make this lens useless by any means. First of all, that Ugly rating means that this lens is far more affordable than the same lens with an Excellent Plus rating. Second, you'll find that sometimes, fungus and haze inside of a lens may not affect your picture quality as much as you'd expect,
With the right kind of light entering the lens, that haze will cause a flare, causing a tremendous loss of contrast and sometimes a lack of clarity. For a low-fi, artistic-indie feel for your images, that might not be such a bad thing after all.
When in doubt, give us a call at 1-800-DIALKEH. We'll be able to look at the details of an Ugly-graded item and give you more info.
See our field test of the Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 AI-S lens