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Apr 132015
 

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The NEW Leica Summarit Lenses. 35, 50, 75 and 90 2.4. Part 1.

These lenses were sent to me to review by Leica Dealer Ken Hansen. He has these and many other Leica items in stock, so email him if interested at [email protected].

**This review will be in two parts. This part will mainly focus on the 35 and 50 with a few 75 samples thrown in. I will show many images and talk about the character of the lenses. Part 2 will feature more 75 and 90 and go over my final thoughts on the Summarit line as well as some comparisons. So my conclusion, comparisons, and more images will be in part 2 in about 1-2 weeks. Enjoy!**

1st, a video showing the Summarits with my new Safari Leica M-P 240 

Man, these brand new 2015 Summarit lenses from Leica REALLY surprised me, and these days it takes A LOT to Surprise me. The fit, the finish, the build, the design, the smoothness, the hood’s, the caps, the whole package with these little Summarit line has gotten better than ever before with the new improvements. Optically they are STUNNERS and IMO beat many of the classic Leica lenses. For example, I prefer the new 2.4 Summarit 50 to the older 50 Summicron f/2 (non APO). The 35 Summarit is TINY but STUNNINGLY sharp. The 75 is probably the coolest of the lot with its 2.4 aperture, close focusing distance of .7 and the slim slender profile. I loved the old summarit line (which are not really that old) that Leica introduced at the end of the M8.2’s life as they released them to create a more affordable lens for what would be the M9. They did a great thing with that lens line as they were Semi Affordable in Leica terms and they were fantastic performers. 

The new line is even better with a new design, new metal hood designs, new metal lens caps, new silver or black finish, improved optics, new closer focusing distances, and each lens comes with a real Leica leather case (the old line came with a bag). So the prices have went up from $2000-$2350 but they are still the least expensive REAL Leica lenses made today for the M and they give up nothing in performance to their more expensive siblings.

The 35, 50, 75 ad 90..look at the stunning silver finish. I am not a HUGE fan of the black focusing rings on the silver body but I would still choose Silver for my Safari M-P. 

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After shooting with the 35, 50, 75 and 90 I can say that I would love to own the 50 and 75 AND 90, but may end up buying the 50 for now, and one of the other telephoto options later. I own a 35 Summicron so do not need another 35 but man oh man. The details and color..some of these have that old M9 pop that many look for IMO – all from Leica’s latest and most affordable lens line for the M.

Click this image for a larger 1800 pixel size to see the details, and depth. This was with the 50 f/2.4 and it is STUNNING at any price. If Leica packaged this as an all new special 50 with a new name, they could have priced it at $3000. It is crisper than a Summilux, sharper and has better color than the old 50 Summicron, along with a smoother Bokeh and it is smaller and sleeker and looks amazingly beautiful on the camera. Click the image of the Cowboy to see the depth, detail and character of his face. Amazing lens. 

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When you view the above image, you will see that Leica pop and look from the contrast, sharpness, color and the WOW. It is in a class of it’s own. The gentle transitions from focus to out of focus is organic, the color is scrumptious and the glow is here as well. Take a look and click on the image below. From raw, wide open at f/2.4 on the new 50 Summarit.

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But let us keep going as I think I want to make this review more image based as the images are what tell the tale.

Click on the image below for a larger sized version. Here, you can see Leica’s color signature, the glow, the detail (see the eyes) and the smooth transition from sharp to butter. :) This 50 2.4 is a smashing lens. Many will feel they need a Summicron or Lux and they will miss out. Today, there is no need to spend more for better. Each Leica lens, the Summarit, Summicron and Summilux each have a different character, but ALL are stellar and better than any DSLR 50 ;) 

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The 35 Summarit inside at ISO 2000. Still crisp, still “leica” in the feeling. Nothing special about the image but it does show that even in dark indoor interiors the 35 Summarit and M 240 can pull it off.

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Always love old doors and this one was taken in Tombstone, AZ at an old abandoned building. The 35 now has a .8 meter close focus distance, is made to a higher standard, has improved optics and again, comes with metal hood, leather case and the full Leica treatment. This 35 goes for $2250, much less than the 35 Summicron or 35 Summilux. This lens feels amazing on the M. Small, solid, smooth focus. Not much more you could ask for. Click images for larger. 

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Another with the 35, right out of the camera (RAW)…

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The 50 has its own unique mojo and character that sets it apart from the Summicron and Summilux. I know of one guy who has ALL of the Leica 50;s and chooses which one he wants to shoot depending on what he is going for in looks. For me, the 50 Summarit provides a crisp and “perfect” style of image while not being analytical or hard in any way. Look at the image below. The man WAS this red as he had a slight sunburn and he was HOT wearing his MARSHALL uniform. The Leica did color here better than my A7II did the same day and place. So Leica has finally got the old color issues settled. Now I see Leica color I remember. 

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Another with the 50, which became the most used Summarit for me while having them all. I shot with the 90 the least as I never use 90 but it is beautiful none the less. Look again at the detail the Summarit gives as well as the overall character of the rendering. 

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A quick grab shot this guy was a blast. He hung around all day dancing and playing his finger instruments. Never hounding anyone for money, just smiling for all who passed by. I used the 50 here again. 

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These two were on the street in the harsh AZ sun and I thought there is no way this image would come out OK. Usually these harsh sun images lead to faces in shadow, uneven exposure, etc. When I arrived home I was able to easily pull out the shadows on the faces while retaining highlights. 

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RICH reds here with the 50

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Again, the 50 shooting a happy young man on the Trolley Tour. LOVE the way the 50 renders images..so crisp and so colorful..with ACCURATE color. I think Leica enhanced these for use on the M 240 as the color that comes from these lenses is superb. 

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The 75 is a lens I have a love hate relationship with. Not because it is a bad lens, because it is SO GOOD and SO gorgeous, I want it. Problem is, I rarely use anything above 50. Even so, I will own this lens one day. I loved the old version of the 75 Summarit and this one is even better. Retains the Summarit look of crispness, great color, smooth transitions and this time with the new 75 we get .7 meter close focus, which is AWESOME. 

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Horse with the 75 in the direct sun. Look at how it handles the harsh light. Contrast is a but high but that is what gives these lenses the pop and 3D separation. 

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The local high school band from Nogales Mexico in Tombstone. They sounded great! The 75, even from across the street gave me detail, snap and pop. Color is spot on and the M handled the harsh light VERY well.

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I saw this lady having a BLAST watching the parade..she had her bubble machine and was getting the biggest kick out of it. She was enjoying life with a smile. I snapped this one with the 50..

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One more with the 50..love the dog ;) 

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Just a simple shot to show the detail and the Bokeh of the 75mm at 2.4

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…and a shot with a 100% crop from the 75 inside my home, no special light. Wide open at f/2.4. 

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It is safe to say that I am enjoying these Summarit lenses. I will be shooting over the next few days with the 75 and 90 more so my next report, which will be part 2, will go over these lenses more as well as a couple of comparison like the 35 Summarit vs the 35 Summicron vs the Zeiss 35 Loxia on the A7II.

REFERENCE: My old 35 Summarit review is HERE. My old 50 Summarit review is HERE. My old 90 Summarit review is HERE.

So that is all I have for now on these fantastic new lenses from Leica. ALL are stunning in their build, performance, styling and included accessories (Hood, caps, leather case, etc). The Summarits are now better than ever and are in no way handicapped by the more expensive line besides being a tad slower at f/2.4 vs f/2 or f/1.4.

If you want to save some cash and some weight, you will still get that Leica quality from the entire line of Summarit lenses. Watch for part 2 SOON which will have more on these beauties. Again, these came from Ken Hansen, email him and mention me for a GREAT buying experience ;) His email is [email protected].

MORE SOON!

Steve

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  46 Responses to “The NEW Leica Summarit Lenses. 35, 50, 75 and 90 2.4. Part 1”

  1. Where is part 2…?

  2. I am sure the new Summarit lenses are as awesome as your article outlines. Personally, I love the character of the first Leitz Summarit, the 5cm 1.5. Here are some of my shots with it. Considerably cheaper and faster than the current 50mm Summarit but also a bit quirky and certainly as clinical a look. Interesting crescent shaped bokeh and pretty flare prone but lot of fun with a classic look.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnnymartyr/albums/72157657787134441

  3. Scored a minto chrome 50 2.4 Summarit from PopFlash and didn’t hesitate because of reviews and comments like I found here. Looks amazing with that hood and will look even more so on my Safari. Thanks for the review.

  4. Hi Steve & Brandon, great article!

    I have a question, I am currently looking for a 90mm and considering the old Elmarit and Cron, as well as the new Summarit or APO Cron. I shoot theatre concerts, performances, etc and portraits. Size is not that important for me. I do need speed and I like 3D pop and smooth rendering. The new 2.4 Summarit may just be the right bit of everything… but I read somewhere the old 2.5 Summarit was flat with no 3D pop.

    How has your 2.4 90mm experience been so far, and when can we expect your review / sample shots?

  5. I would have never thought I would want a 2.4 prime, but the photo of the Marshall is so crisp and smooth, I want that 50!

  6. Steve, could you do a bit of 90mm comparison? cron, summarit and elmarit? I am torn-which one to get for my A7 ii :-) I feel if I get anything other than cron, I will always think what is I had a cron. However,cron of course is heavier and expensive.

    • I do not own a cron or elmarit..so not possible. ALL are fantastic and to be honest, I prefer the old Elmarit and now Summarit to the cron. I never bonded with the cron due to the size, weight and focus issues that always plague it. None of that with the Summarit, which is what I would buy if I wanted a 90.

      • OK, thanks Steve. I look forward to your review though, of summarit 90. It is always such a joy reading your reviews.
        I tried Zeiss sonnar 50 the other day which was simply brilliant. I guess that and summarit 90 would be a good kit for me, for mainly people photography.

  7. The lenses look very nice…. but the pricing seems high. You can get a Mint current summicron for $500 less the the summarit…

    • NEW 35 Cron is $3k right now. New Summarit is $2250. The new Summarit is smaller, and gives up nothing but that .4 aperture. Me, I’d rather have a new Summarit than a used older Cron. I have a new chrome 35 cron and the summarit here. In many cases I prefer the Summarit to the cron for IQ. So it’s priced about right actually. New gets you warranty, used does not.

  8. In a previous post, I mentioned how I had swapped out my v4 Summicron 35mm for a Summarit 35mm f2.5 with a friend for a week. He shot a lot of colour with my 35 cron on his M9 and to be honest I was busy and just did a few black and white test shots with the Summarit on my M8 -still I was impressed.

    But there is more !
    Now he is telling me that my old 35mm Cron was no way near as good as his Summarit. He was surprised -frankly I was not !

    You will often hear Leica shooters say that a second hand Cron is a way better buy than a new Summarit -but what Cron ? How old ? It is not necessarily true for all lenses. Of course they are good lenses but lens design has moved on in the intervening time. You may like the rendering of an old lens- so then buy it by all means !
    Have a look at these Summarits before you do -you might just like them.

    Rgds

  9. Pipe dream: wish they’d make them in LTM to use with my Canon 7. Yeah, I know it’s not gonna happen…

  10. One more comment; how do these stack up against summarit’s of 2014? Last year’s line? Not the classics but just what was available previous to 2015?

    • I mentioned this and said they are an improvement in every way from build. to feel, optically, nicer color, nominee distortion with the 35, better hood design, and the hood and leather case is included. Also closer focus distance than the older versions that came out in 2008. The last version was from 2008-2014. These are no longer what I would call “Leica starter lenses” as they are just as wonderful as any Cron or Lux.

  11. Wow…that’s all I can say!

    Stunning quality for the cost.

    How can I tell these new lenses apart from previous ones when I go to buy?

    • These are f/2.4, new design, comes with the metal hood and leather case. Old ones are 2.5, does not come with a hood and only ships with a cloth bag instead of leather case.

  12. Hello Steve!
    I have elmarit 90mm/2,8 (latest model with built in hood). Is it new Summarit 90mm/2.4 better .

    • The Elmarit 2.8 is one of my fave Leica 90s ever. The new 90 2.4 is optically just as good if not a teeny bit better. I wouldn’t worry about upgrading but if you want you could always rent the new one from a place like lensrentals.com

  13. I’ve heard that there is no change to the optical formula on the new ones, only the mechanics and slightly better build tolerances. As for the speed, I remember reading that the old ones were also f/2.4, but marketed as f/2.5 out of some misguided desire to not cut into Summicron sales.

    Doesn’t matter much to me, the old ones (I own and absolutely love the 35) are fantastic, and the old 35 was also definitely aspherical (just look at the shape of that front element). Distortion is extremely minor, contrast is terrific and it is so flare-resistant that the hood is hardly needed, though I use it anyway to protect the lens.

    I bought mine last year and actually went to the Leica Store Los Angeles undecided between the 35 Cron ASPH and 35 LUX ASPH FLE. I tried both in the store on my Monochrom and then for good measure tried the Summarit (I’d used one before and liked it). Well, I bought the Summarit and haven’t even thought about using any other 35mm lens. Now that I also have an M-E on the way (thank you Ken Hansen) I may look into a faster 35, MAYBE, but it won’t be for any lack of image quality on the 35 Summarit.

  14. Simply gorgeous. Love the color. Really a wonderful look to these images. I would also be interested how these do on the a7s/II. This review is enough for me to not remember the Sony 35/1.4…. wait a sec. Can’t wait for that review!

  15. Thanks for the excellent review Steve. I have always being singing the praises of the Summarits. Looks like the new ones are even better !

  16. I can vouch for the new 35 Summarit. We got the first one Ken received about a month ago. I absolutely love the precision of the build, the hard stops at the ends of aperture scale, the way the hood attaches (screws on, again with a hard stop to keep it perfectly straight). The feel of the aluminum is different than the chrome plated brass models — lighter and less dense — but they are top notch. On the M9 the contrast is almost too high, but perfect on the M. The only issue I can think of is that the metal lens cap is so precisely sized that it can be hard to attach and remove if you put it on the lens without the hood in place. Overall, an absolutely fantastic lens.

  17. I bought the 35 2,4 50 2,4 and the 75 2,4 and I feel the same like you Steve They are beaautiful

  18. #9 is one of your best portraits in a long while.
    #17 is one of your best street shots in a long while.

    Excellent!

  19. From what I see, distortion is invisible on all these lenses – as it should be. Very handy for when you are using the lens on a non-Leica body. I remember the 35/2.5 having a small amount of noticeable distortion, which ought to be unacceptable for a rangefinder lens.

  20. It seems like these new versions have a bit less chromatic aberration and vignetting, is that fair to say?

  21. Hello Steve!
    Could you do a comparaison between the Summarit 35 and the Sony 35 1.4 FE on the A7II?

    Thanks a lot. These Leica lenses look superb!

  22. So 3D, so vivid, so organic! Wow, absolutely wow! Zeiss instead is cold, harsh and flat.

  23. Can you help to decide between Voigtlander color heliar 75 f2.5 MC and the Leitz Wetzlar Elmar-L 1:4 /90? I need your help,please! Thanks.

  24. Just yesterday I did a small “35mm”-shootout, besides 3 other cameras withe the M+35 Summilux asph FLE and the Sony A7II and 35 Loxia. And again the results proved my impression of the last weeks. The Sony is fine but the Leica combo shows more color fidelity. Warmer and more live. Your experience with the Summarit and M indicate the same. By the way: Even the old Summarits are great and I found them underrated my many. I have used 35/50/75 Summarits and they all delivered.
    I still prefer the Summicrons on the P, they seem to “pop” a little more. I haven’t tried the new Summarits.

  25. Hey steve,

    What do you think of the new silver finish? from what I understand it’s anodized aluminium rather than chrome plated brass.

    • They are beautiful. Looks stunning, keeps the lenses lighter like the new silver versions they are producing. No, they are not brass but they are fantastic lenses.

  26. Hi, can you mount a filter with the hood? Thanks

    • Well, it appears so but I do not have filters as I never use them. But from the looks of it I feel it will work just fine.

      • I guess filters would fit but you may have to unscrew the hoods to actually attach them. Just looking at them the hoods seems to be too narrow and/or deep to attach filters through the hood. If you still do B&W film and you change filters frequently then that may be a bit annoying. Image quality seems to be great so.

  27. Fujifilm hoods :D Nice review. Love the image of the cowboy!

  28. Thanks for your review Steve ; I was waiting on it before I made my decision on which Summarit to get .
    Some are saying that the 2.4 and 2.5 are optically the same but your review shows different .
    I prefer the more classic / modern rendering of the 2.5 vs. the just clean modern rendering of the new 2.4 .
    Though cosmetically I prefer the new look of the 2.4 .

    I’m gonna go with the 2.5 and same some bucks to boot .

  29. Hi Steve,

    What would you recommend, Leica summarit 50 2.4 or Zeiss Loxia 50mm 2.0 for Sony A7II?

    Money is no objection, but the question is, are there differences that one could perceive?

    Which one has better color on A7II? From what I’ve seen so far, Zeiss is a bit cold in color with a bit nervous background, compared to the summarit. Whould you say that is a correct observation? :-)

    Thx!

    • For the A7II the Loxia. It is half the price, made for the Sony, and is SUPERB. The Leica will set you back $1950, then the good adapter is needed, you will not get auto magnify when focusing… I’d go Loxia for the Sony.

      • What about the Zeiss Planar T 50 F/2 compared to the Loxia 50 on the A7II?

        • If you don’t already own a Leica camera there is no reason to by the M Mount version, the Loxia Planar is the same as the Planar ZM but is adapted for the Sony Sensor. This means it will perform better on Sony Cameras.

          If you own a Leica camera and a Sony camera get the M Mount version with adapter.

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