60 year old lenses on Mirrorless and Leica Digital
The famed “Japanese Summilux”.
Recently I purchased from a Japan used camera dealer, a mint copy of the famed Japanese Summilux 50mm f/1.4 lens made by Canon in the late fifties and early sixties. This lens is revered by many as a close copy of the Leica Summilux from the same time period. It is sharp, without being clinically sharp and is wonderfully smooth on out of focus areas and skin.
To use the older style Leica Thread Mount lenses, you can purchase adapters via B&H Photo, Amazon or CameraQuest. CameraQuest carries RayQual adapters, which are made in Japan and definitely a step up from the adapters made in China. I used this lens on my Leica M10’s and on a Fuji XT-4 with a Leica M to Fuji X adapter made by Novoflex. (high-end German manufacturer)
Yesterday, my wife and I took a long walk along the Potomac River south of Alexandria. She took her binoculars for bird spotting and I brought along the M10 with the Canon lens. (She spotted a bald Eagle, Red Shouldered Hawk and a Green Heron)
The lens is prone to flare, which makes it unique and desirable for lifestyle, wedding and engagement photographers – not really my style but fun to play around the low contrast, low saturation files the lens produces.
There are several in-depth video reviews by photographers on this lens. On Youtube type in Japanese Summilux. My favorite is by Matt Osborne, who calls himself Mr. Leica. He shoots primarily black and white portraits and is based in the UK.
There are quite a few of these lenses on eBay from Japanese camera stores. The range in price and condition. Mine was the cleanest of the ones up for sale that week. It is an old lens, so look out for fungus, scratches and loose elements.