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Leica 50mm Summilux-M f/1.4 35mm Primes
Submitted by Grandalltex a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: January 6, 2005
Strengths: quality of build - still looks new after 40 years use.
quality chrome and glass.
Weaknesses: availability on secondary market at reasonable prices
I have used this lens, the Summilux 1.4/50, chrome - made in germany, age 1964, for a very short while and may or may not describe it to its fullest potential. I use it with a Leica M6 (regular early model), and the camera with lens looks small and compact, but feel equal in weight to my F2 w/50mm. It is a beautiful lens with smooth operation, and allas, when used indoors at an auto show in texas in 2004, provided me with wonderful colors with mid range f stops. I was unable to use the lens to its full potential. This was my fault I was using 400 speed film. But when the pictures came back from 1 hour, I was pleased with their luminious nature and very detailed appearance. Next time I will use slower speed film and shallower depth of field to correctly use this most respectful and reputable lens.
Duration Product Used: 6-10 years
Price Paid: $400.00
Purchased At: pawn shop
Similar Products Used: Summilux 1:1.4/35 - lovely lens
Canon Serenar 1.8/50 - another heavy small lens
Type of photography: Other
Submitted by Dave_in_HK a Casual from Hong Kong
Date Reviewed: August 9, 2002
Strengths: Sharpness & resolution
Extra stop very useful where alternative is camera blur
Weaknesses: Cost compared to 50mm Summicron
Slight barrel distortion in corners at wide aperture
I’ve had this lens for less than a month and have shot about 4 rolls of ASA 400 B/W so far with it, so pls keep consider relatively small sample size as you review my observations below.
The lens is solidly made and is only slightly larger and heavier than the Summicron. Negatives are beautifully sharp under all lighting conditions, as expected, with minute detail easily discernable under a 10x loupe and no detectable flare. However, I have noticed some slight barrel distortion in the corners at maximum aperture. The distortion seems to occur in only a small minority of images with pronounced vertical lines at the periphery, and disappears stopped down. Even where it is detectable it is generally unobtrusive and overall image quality remains quite good.
I don’t have the 50mm Summicron so I can’t make an image quality comparison for f-stops of 2 and up. However, the Summilux produces excellent images and in most handheld available-light situations I’ve got to think that the limiting factors to image sharpness are more likely to be camera motion and film response/development than the choice of one lens over the other. I would base my decision between the two on whether I truly needed the extra stop badly enough to pay an additional $600-700 for it and tolerate minor distortion in a small number of images.
Duration Product Used: 2-5 years
Purchased At: Hong Kong
Similar Products Used: Various mid-range (Minolta, Sigma) SLR AF primes & zooms (not really a fair comparison)
Type of photography: People
Submitted by jhsymington a Expert from Milan, Italy
Date Reviewed: January 18, 2002
Strengths: Fantastic results.
Excellent build quality.
Would have preferred a fixed lens hood rather than one that could get knocked in.
Great lens for low light work. Picture quality wide open is excellent. I use it much less for outdoor photography than I anticipated but when indoors I use nothing else. As I said in my review of the 35mm Summicron, if you have to buy one lens for your M I would say that it would be the 35mm Summicron. That lens takes care of most of the outdoor shooting I do. The one to get next is the 50mm 'lux as it is better suited to the more condensed scenes you get indoors where you also benefit from that one xtra stop.
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Similar Products Used: Contax G
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by Kevin Yates a Expert from London UK
Date Reviewed: January 22, 2001
Strengths: Robust fast and compact normal lens
Weaknesses: 1.0m minimum focus distance - later models focus to 0.70m
Most Leica M users would aspire to own one of these lenses and see it as the final frontier in 50mm desirability. I did too. Having used it for 5-6 years after a 50mm f2.0 summicron I feel able to offer a balanced view. The Summilux is a fabulous low light picture maker. I seem to perform under whatever circumstances i find myself in. A picture taken of candles on a dinner table in France. The interior of ancient buildings have never defeated its ability to 'see' the micro-contrast when I could not.
How about usability. I does not have the focusinjg chevron attached to the summicrons and as such fails to meet that lens's ultimate handiness. I cannot discern whether or not it performs better or worse. I shoot 400asa B&W film which tests neither of these great lenses. All in all I yearn for a Summilux with the focussing chevron - without it 4 stars for usability. Performance wise - you will not be dissapointed - 5 stars, no other maker can match this quality .
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Price Paid: $1000.00
Purchased At: London LCE
Similar Products Used: F2.0 Summicron - Chrome and Black
50mm F1.8 Nikkor
55mm Micro Nikkor
Type of photography: People
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