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Leica 35mm Summilux-M f/1.4 ASPH 35mm Primes

4 star rating
                      4 / 5 (7 Reviews)
MSRP : $0

  • Lens TypeFixed Focal Length Lens
    Focal Length35mm
    Lens Max Aperturef/1.4
    Min Aperturef/16
    Focus TypeManual Focus
    Closest Focusing Distance27.56 in
    Attachment / Filter Size46 mm
    Groups / Elements9 Elements in 5 Groups
    Diameter2.1 in
    Length1.8 in
    Weight14.5 oz
    Product ID22632184
    Release Date1994

Product Description

This lens is among the very best in terms of sheer quality of design. Its exceptional picture performance in such a compact package is an outstanding achievement of Leica's aspherical technology. The hallmarks of this remarkable lens include high contrast, superb detail rendition across the image field, excellent flatness of field, and very low coma - all at virtually the same quality even at distances down to 0.7 meters (28 in). The 35 mm focal length is already the standard for many Leica photographers. Ultra-high speed paired with outstanding optical characteristics and compact dimensions make this Summilux a universal wide-angle lens. Its uses range from medium-distance portrait photography to landscape shots. We can recommend it without reservation as a top lens, best suited for available light photography.

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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by photojunky a Professional

Date Reviewed: December 22, 2005

Strengths:    Fit and finish is outstanding. Compactness is very good for a fast lens like this. When stopped down to about f/4 evenness across the frame is very good, sharpness is outstanding. Never had any flare problems with this lens.

Weaknesses:    I found light fall-off at f/1.4 to be shockingly bad in a lens this expensive--it's not that wide a lens. Its funny that this was not really mentioned in the various reviews I read prior to buying this lens. Even Erwin Puts only says that fall-off is worse af f/1.4 than the f/2 ASPH lens wide open, but that isn't really helpful if you don't have the f/2 lens (I wouldn't suppose that most buyers do). It would be nice if pro reviewers would give info in absolute terms rather than relative terms.

Using some test shots, I found that by f/4 the vignetting is gone, though at f/2.8 it is acceptable for most subjects.

Bottom Line:   
This is for the 35mm Summilux/1.4 ASPH lens.

I have mixed feelings for this lens. It is extremely good at mid-apertures, is nice and compact, and sharp as it gets, but has pretty bad light fall-off in the first 2 stops.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $1800.00

Purchased At:   used camera store

Similar Products Used:   This is a medium-wide lens, and this angle of view is my "normal" lens. I own similar lenses for 4x5, like the Schneider 110mm Super-Symmar XL, and medium format, like the Mamiya 7 65mm/4 lens.

Type of photography:   Fine Art

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by d2f a Expert

Date Reviewed: March 28, 2004

Strengths:    Smooth Focusing mechanical operation, solid professional construction, no doubt better than anything on the market designed for any rangefinder. Optical performance is great under the right conditions. Yet the optical performance not as good as one would expect, compared to modern SLR counterparts by Canon and Nikon as my personal testing has reveled.

Weaknesses:    The lens hood blocks to much of the viewfinder image for me and makes it difficult to compose the image on the fly. Flare on this lens is horrible! (even with the lens hood on) It acts like a lens with no coating, and you cannot see this until you get the results back from the lab, due to the nature of a rangefinder camera. A nasty surprise if you doing weddings. Not even Photoshop CS with all it's magical enhancements can recover an image like that.

Bottom Line:   
Leica 35mm 1.4 ASPH. While the older Leica lenses are well know for their mechanical and optical performance this particular lens did not quite meausre up to "my expectations". No doubt Leica makes the best manual rangefinder in production today but over the years others have caught up with them optically and for much less. In short if you are in love with Leica this lens is perfection, for all others remember the story of the "King's new clothes" as your the other Leica reviews. Just trying to be objective here.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $2495.00

Purchased At:   mail order

Similar Products Used:   Canon and Nikon 35 mm focal lenght prime lenses ranging from modern to 30 years old optics.

Type of photography:   Fine Art

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Alan Uke a Expert from San Diego, Ca. USA

Date Reviewed: July 13, 2002

Strengths:    Color fidelity and detail

Weaknesses:    expensive

Bottom Line:   
Fantastic Lens. Will take pictures under very poor lighting conditions. Great color and detail. I have the aspheric version

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $2400.00

Purchased At:   dealer

Similar Products Used:   many Leica and Nikon lenses

Type of photography:   People

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Leif a Expert

Date Reviewed: December 25, 2001

Strengths:    Together with the almost vibration free Leica M body, this lens will provide handheld shots in very low light. I regularly get sharp pictures at 1/8 handheld (I also get unsharp ones, so I always shoot several).

Weaknesses:    At full aperture coma is very appearant = general soft pictures and dropshaped halos around light sources like street lights. In addition there is severe vignetting at full aperture.

Bottom Line:   
Great lens when stopped down. Very good contrast and sharpness. However, as an old design (a Mantler design from the sixties) it does not live up to recent standards near or at full aperture. But since it was the only 35 mm lens with 1,4 aperture, it has nevertheless been my workhorse and standard lens for 15 years. But the new ASPH version is far better at full aperture (frequent use at full aperture should be the only reason to get this lens, otherwise you waste your money), and I plan to get that one soon. If you intend to buy the ASPH, note that it comes in two versions (black or chrome) and that the chrome version is almost 200 grammes heavier than the black one (black one mede of aluminium, chrome one of brass).

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Similar Products Used:   Canon FD with Canon F1 bodies (oldies, yes, but goodies).

Type of photography:   People

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by David Azia a Expert from Geneva

Date Reviewed: December 23, 2001

Strengths:    Very compact, high luminosity lens that benefits greatly from having a focus tab (which allows for easy focusing with gloves, amongst others). Results at apertures greater than f/2 are excellent, although I am told that the new Aspherical Summilux is even better;

Weaknesses:    One has to remove the lens shade to protect the lens, which is a real pain; at f/1.4 the lens produces soft results, especially with luminous subjects on a dark background (there is a sort of halo around objects); the lens shade is impractical; the new Summilux has better close focusing - this lens is limited to around 0.9m, as opposed to 0.7m;

Bottom Line:   
An absolutely wonderful lens! I have been using the 35mm Summilux (pre-Aspherical lens production model) for nearly a month now, and have greatly enjoyed the luminosity and compactness of this lens. However, without the lensshade flare can ruin your photographs in certain situations, and results are quite soft at f/1.4. However, I am not sure whether I would rather have the new f/1.4 Summilux or the f/2 Summicron - taking into account volume and quality.

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Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

Purchased At:   Borrowed lens

Similar Products Used:   Canon lenses

Type of photography:   Other

Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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