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Summarex 8515


Active Member
Again, I am wishing to have/try this wonderful lens every day but the price is skyhigh. I wonder the quality of taking photo with it, and its quality comparison with big 90/f2 which I am using. Is getting accurate focus at wide open with M6 .72 very difficult or impossible, which I concern most?
Patrick, The 85mm f/1.5 Summarex was designed in 1946-47. It was good in its time, and very heavy. More modern lenses offer superior performance. Leave the Summarex to the collectors. Happy Snaps, Sal
Sal, you can't find this focal length with this big aperture in todate lens while price is comparative 75/1.4. The lens outlook is fantastic in shiny chrome. I want to know its quality and "characteristic".
Dear Sal and Patrick,

I have had two f=85mm 1:1,5 Summarex lenses and only sold them because of their weight and size. The performance was quite amazing and I have numerous shots taken directly into the sun across water without any flare or ghosting of the aperture blades unlike the current 1:2.8/90 Elmarit-M !!!

I categorise lenses into three groups:

1. Taking lenses (used frequently).

2. Taking lenses with special and/or historical qualities (used rarely)

3. Collectibles but not really useables (never used).

The Summarex I would put in group 2.

Have fun.


Good classification! It's nice to know the lens in good quality and good user lens. Could you post some photos, or send to me for sharing? Unfortunately, price tend to very high side.

Is the heavy weight posed practical difficulty?

Dear Patrick,

I will find the prints this week-end and send them to you.

The weight was not a difficulty, just unnecessary.

Today films are so much faster that f/1.5 is rarely needed, particularly in daylight. As for that special Leica quality, it continued right up to the 90mm Summicron-R.

These days, for available light with this focal length, I am using a mid sixties 90mm M Summicron which is a better lens than the Summarex at f/2.



I have one. It came with my first Leica (a IIIf/ST BD) among three other lenses and accessories which were sold to me at a ridiculous low price as "some old camera and accessories" that belonged to the deceased grandfather of the owner.

I have used it very little -as you've been told, it's very large and heavy-- also, it has an incredible long focusing throw. OTOH, it has a superbly shallow DOF and superb bokeh.

It's something that you want to use for some flattering available light portraits.

You're in real good luck. Do you know some more any of this seller? Pls introduce.

Understand the pain of using it, but its overlook is really fascinating, tempted to touch and use it.


The story, a very unusual one BTW, goes like this: Some nine years ago, a local minilab owner who also did small-time trading in used cameras and lenses called me at the office saying that some months before I had told him that I was interested in old rangefinders and that he had an old Leica on commission. Fearing that the asking price would be more than I was budgeting at the moment (Mexico was in deep economic turmoil, again), I cautiosly asked the pretended price and he replied the equivalent of five _hundred_ dollars. When, shocked, I didn't reply immediately, he added: "but it comes with a few lenses and accessories in a nice leather case". In three minutes I was with my checkbook in hand aboard my car and speeding towards his shop. On arrival I found a very clean IIIc with sharkskin, factory converted to IIIf/ST, plus a Summarit 50/1.5, an Elmar 50/3.5 (coated, BD), a Hektor 28/6.3, the Summarex 85/1.5 (with an ugly filter thread bend), an Imarekt viewfinder with 28 bubble converted, an original cable release (damaged), three filters for the Summarit (damaged), the original clip-on leather strap, plus assorted caps and hoods for the lenses.

Overwhelmed, I mentioned that it wasn't possible that the lot was being sold for that ridiculous amount and the shop owner replied that the seller was a young guy, student of journalism, who had inherited the gear some time ago from his deceased grandfather, a former pro photographer but that the camera didn't work (cracked curtains, red); no body was able to put film inside it or even fathom how it worked and that this guy had been desperately tring to sell the lot and found no takers after visiting severak other shops and studios. This last thing was an incredible break of luck because he had visited business owned by keen collectors but didn't find them.

I got an affidavit from the store that the goods were in good provenance, got out my checkbook and paid US$150 more than the guy asked.

When I reached my McKeown's I almost fainted. Just the Summarex was worth more than I had paid. The camera was sent to a shop in NJ for curtain repair and CLA, a $350 job plus another $50 in S&H, and when it came back it became my perdition. I ceased shooting my beautiful Rolleiflexes, my 6003, my 4x5 and stumbled head on into RF-dom. First some CV lenses, a Bessa R2 that were followed by an M6, an M2 and an MP.

Sadly but probably fortunately as well, I never met the kid. I would have probably got cold feet and give him some extra $500; better placed towards the CV glass. ;-)
For those still transfixed on a beauiful Summarex, there is on for sale on E-***. From what I see it's in great condition.