Bad Hair Day – Leica M9 and 50 Summilux ASPH

Some Leica 50 Summilux ASPH Love…

It’s hump day so I figured I would take us up and over the hump with some shots from the Leica M9 and 50 Summilux ASPH at 1.4. I received  this lens a few days ago, and have been having some fun with it around the house testing it out. My son, who has been my #1 model lately for camera and lens tests agreed to spray his hair up just to be goofy and to let me take some shots. I wanted to make sure the M9 and 50 were focusing properly as I have had my share of focus issues with this lens in the past. The good news is that it focused just about perfectly. The depth of field at 1.4 with a 50 and at the minimum focus distance is razor thin, so I was very happy with these results, even if they were just for fun shots 🙂

This is the first time shooting this lens on the M9 and wow, what can I say. For those who are not aware, many consider this the best 50mm lens made today. Sure we have the 50 Noctilux at $15,500 but for all out versatility, the 50 Summilux ASPH wins. It has a mix of size, amazing 1.4 performance and a character to die for. If you want that creamy, dreamy look there is no substitute!

I will eventually re-review this lens with images from the M9, M8 and MP but I am waiting for a few weeks do I can take it out and get some worthwhile images. I know there are still a ton of you waiting for this lens but I hear that supply may be getting better at the end of this month so let’s hope so!

I plan on a few trips in the next two weeks where I will be taking this lens along as well as a couple of other cameras and I can’t wait!


ALL THREE –  M9/50 Lux ASPH at 1.4 – Converted to B&W with Nik Silver Efex Pro


Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks it helps this site. You pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance 🙂

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or facebook! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader!  Thanks so much for visiting my site!


  1. Hi Steve, I’m a big fan of your sites and reviews which I find extremely helpful when comes to choosing the right lens for my M9. After much research I decided to invest in a 50 lux 1.4 ASPH in additional to my current 28 cron 2 ASPH collection. Lucky enough I mange to secure a piece from one of the few camera shops in HK that carries it. Been owning the lens for almost 2 weeks now, shoot quite a few photos with it then realized my lux has this characteristic where the photos tends to appear slightly blur and mushy when shooting at wide open and it become much obvious when viewed in Lightroom 2 at 1:1 scale. Attached are some photos taken with the same focus at different aperture, is this a common characteristic for 50 lux or something is wrong with my lux? should I send it back to Leica for repair & service? Thank you.


    Best Regards,
    Mav Lee

  2. Calvin, and Steve Huff: Yeah, my dealer called to say the 50 lux I ordered was in, but I turned it down. So, someone else on their list must be really happy right now.

  3. Steve, It’s good to hear that some people are getting the 50 lux. Us mortals are having a long wait. I think I ordered mine about 3 months ago. Since then, not a peep. Still, I guess I’ll treasure it more when it arrives.

    • I was on a list for 6 months, and I bought the chrome (I like the chrome lenses feel/build over the black) which is easier to find 🙂 I hear the supply may increase in the next couple of weeks, so we shall see! Hang in there 🙂

      • Steve

        That’s good to hear. I’m hanging in there. No other option really.

  4. Well, on the Nikon Coolscan… I frankly have no idea if they will fix it or not. I really hope so. I got mine from Canada via Ebay new. Go figure. I just could not find one here in the UK. I have a Mac with Leopard and I hear that with Snow leopard there are problems with the scanner working so I actually did not upgrade my operating system on my Mac just so that I knew my scanner would work! lol

    As for speed, it is not that fast I have to say but I sit and watch the telly and scan one at at time (its like opening a little birthday present each time 😉 so I don’t mind so much that it takes about a minute and a half to scan each picture. If I had a huge load to do… hmmm, I think I might outsource the work to a pro lab. I can handle one or two rolls each time but more than that would be challenging. I only shoot a roll every week and a half, sometimes two weeks so end up scanning about 2 rolls a month, maybe 3 every other month.

    The quality of the scans from the Nikon coolscan is amazing. I am very impressed and when I resize in lightroom, I feel that no quality is lost, even if I resize down from 15 megs to 3 megs. Great for Flickr etc.If my coolscan breaks and nobody can fix it… I will be mad! Then I will buy another one. Lots of cash but worth it for me. Not sure on the Epson. I have seen some great scans from Steve H etc and from friends but still feel the Nikon is king of the consumer scanners. Now…If I had a drum scanner… the world would be at peace and harmony would reign! lol

  5. Stephen, My original plan was to buy the M9 and use a 35mm lens on it. I like using the 50mm too. I liked the idea of full frame. But you’re right about the corners being sharper due to crop factor of the M8.2. I do like that. I also agree about the constant upgrading., though I haven’t purchased a digital camera in years until now when buying into Leica. It’s just that my original plan was to buy a M9 and 35 and 50 lens for it. The M9 is so backordered that I settled on a M8.2 in the interim. Full frame has always been my goal, and I almost bought the Nikon D700 because of that. (I have the M6 which I found that even with old outdated film, had a better 3d quality picture to it than digital. I use that too.) I’m just a little irritated by the long wait for the product I originally wanted. As time goes on, I thought about it and as mad as I got at Leica for being so slow in their production, the more I thought about how nice the M8.2 files were, and really wondered if the M9 was 4K better than it. So, yes, I’d like to shoot wider on the Leica. I’ve come up with a solution for doing that. I was thinking of the Zeiss 24mm Biogon lens. Ashwin said it’s fabulous on the M8 and M8.2. That would solve my problem for going somewhat wide, but if I decide to use a wider angle, I’m kind of out of luck. I’m lucky in that 35mm (and 50) seems to be the sweet focal length for me. I’m just not happy with all the waiting for lenses and cameras. I guess I’m in the digital rat race after all. LOL! (Actually, I haven’t purchased anything new for many years before deciding on the Leica camera. then it was a spending spree.)

    How does that Nikon Coolscan 5000 ED work for you? Is it slow? I have a ton of slides and negatives I want to scan to show on the web, and was thinking of either a Epson 700 or trying to find the scarce Nikon Coolscan. Also, if it breaks down, will Nikon fix it?

  6. Elaine, I think that you have to ask yourself what focal length you prefer. In my opinion the big advantage of the M9 is the full frame so using the wides as they were supposed to be used is really nice (I would imagine). If you don’t use the wides so much and are more of a 50mm (actual) person then grab a 35 on your M8.2 and you are gold. Also, because you are using the ‘best’ part of the lens due to the crop factor, you may potentially get a sharper image in the corners than you would with a M9. That might be why you are noticing sharper images sometimes from a M8.2. I am a 50mm person and shoot this on my M7 and am very happy with this set up. I seriously looked at the M9 when it came out but I didn’t buy one because for me, the digital road leads just to upgrade after upgrade and this is not what I wanted as I was starting to look at rumor sites more than what I was looking at through my viewfinder. At the time I was considering the M series for all the good reasons after being on Nikon for a while (D700). Instead of the M9, I went for my M7 and top quality Nikon scanner (Coolscan 5000 ED) because it meant that I could focus (pun!) on my photography again and not on my gear. The M7 (or the M3, M6 and MP etc) is arguably the best analogue rangefinder ever made and there is no upgrade possible on these. I still have my D700 which some say is the one of the best digital cameras ever made and I manage to get some great results out of it when I need a DSLR.

    Going back to film, set me free. I still am interested in what Leica are doing with the M9/M10 etc but with my Nikon scanner and great film, do I worry about a new Leica M coming out that is going to make my M7 feel inferior? No. I am out of the digital rat race (at least in respect of Leica) and so much happier for it.

  7. Thanks so much Steve! Nice to know it isn’t optimized for a particular body, didn’t have a clue it was the current one being discussed, my bad… I am ordering one right now from here and will wait for as long as i can get it. Great shot of Seal!

    Kind Regards

  8. Wow ! Steve and Ashwin, these are some great shots… Steve, could you please mount the lens on your M8/8.2 and show us some samples? If it comes anything close to what you guys post here, i will order one right now from your site.

    I believe in camera lens combination, meaning there are lenses optimized for bodies in my opinion. Since this is a relatively new lens, it will be optimized for the M9 rather than the M8, i am not expecting the IQ to be that good on the M8.2. If it comes close, i will be all over it…

    Love the Voigt Nockton 50/1.1 on my M8.2, looking to get the 35/1.2 perhaps the 50mm 1.4, please post M8 samples.

    Great Job Steve…

    • Hey Kelvin, I no longer have the M8 or M8.2, had to sell when I upgraded to the M9. BUT i have used this lens on the M8 and M8.2 and it was gorgeous on those bodies as well, but slightly different due to the crop.

      Also, this lens has been out for a while now, before the M8 so it is not “optimized” for any particular body. It is known by many as the best 50 in the world, and I would say that is true mainly because it is versatile with its 1.4 aperture, small and superbly made (especially the chrome version) – It can be used wide open or stopped down with no compromise in quality.

      The only problem with this lens is that it is expensive (but worth it IMO) and impossible to find as it has been backordered for close to a year now. Leica ships a few out here and there but most dealers have a waiting list a mile long.

      Thanks for the kind words. I hear the Nokton 1.5 is also excellent but it’s not quite up to the 50 1.4 ASPH 🙂

      One from this lens on an M8:


  9. Honestly I don’t see $4k worth of difference between the M9 and the M8.2, either. And I do think the Canon 5D rivals both. Even though the lenses are nowhere near as good as Leica’s, the sensor and software are better.

    The faster you get to the exhaustion point with all the hype over equipment, the faster you will give up and be happy with what you’ve got. If you buy the M9, you will still have to experience the same feeling when they come out with the M9.2.

  10. The dealer called me as I was on a list for the 50 Lux, and I actually turned down buying this lens. I don’t have the M9, still the M8.2, and couldn’t see spending the money to use on the M8.2 when it wouldn’t be a 50m lens but a 65mm lens.

    I wonder when they will call me for the M9? I’m still on the list. It almost doesn’t seem worth waiting for. All this waiting for M9s and lenses left a bad taste in my mouth for Leica. (I’ve been waiting since January!) I swore I’d never settle, but I did by buying the M8.2 while waiting for the M9. The M8.2 is a good settle camera though. Even though I truly wanted the M9 in a bad way, I’m kind of put off by the waiting. The M8.2 produces awesome photos. I wonder how much better the M9 will be compared to this camera anyway? Do I really want to spend another 4K to get that M9 camera? Is it worth that much more money? Before the M9 came along all the rave was for the M8 and M8.2, even with IR issues. Slap a high end IR filter on it and it was good to go. Now that the M9 came out, everyone slams the M8 cameras like they were the plague, but the only difference I see between quality of picture is the ability to get a larger print or crop more. I’ve actually seen sharper images coming out of the M8.2 than some of the M9 cameras. Am I losing my mind here? So, yes, I would adore a M9 to see if it is really that much better than the M8.2. And no, I don’t want to spend 4K more to find that it isn’t 4K better.

    I’m thinking of getting a Zeiss 24mm Biogon lens instead, (to get that sweet 35mm focal length), and use the M8.2 with the little D-Lux 4( and Nikon D90) for my camera needs. I also have the M6, which is no slouch. But again film may or may not be here in 10 years. Most pros I talk to seem to think it will be quite gone in 8-10 years. Developing will be harder to accomplish as labs go out of business.

    Leica definitely makes beautiful lenses, but at times, some of the Canon 5D Mark II images ( and Nikon) have rivaled the Leica, IMHO. On some occasions, it was hard to choose which photos were taken by which camera on this website. A good photo is a good photo.

    If I were able to buy a M9 right away and use it, I may have felt differently, but the aggravation of waiting for almost 6 months for camera and lenses is excruciatingly annoying and costly.

    When the dealer call me about the M9’s arrival in God only knows when, I honestly don’t know what I’m going to tell them. I’m ready to give up the whole lot in disgust.

    • Don’t miss out foveon pics too. They look awesome in good light. You are definitely right that a good photo is a good photo no matter what camera it was taken. So far yours is the most sensible rant I’ve read in Steve’s site.

  11. Buying a lens is a very personal decision. What works well for Steve might not work for many others. The difficult thing with Leica is to find someone who has that lens so that you can try it out. 😉 I know many Canon and Nikon users but with Leica the air is getting thin. Maybe we have to create some support groups here that show where Leica users are located so that they can connect. Currently I am using the 35cron and the 50lux and to me a small problem are the ergonomics. When I switch from a shorter lens a longer one (size) I tend to grab the wrong ring. The size and location of the 35mm cron aperture ring are so embedded in my brain that I tend to grab the focus ring on the lux when I want to change the aperture. I might get used to that but it is frustrating when you are in a hurry, when you have already set the focus, and you want to change the f stop. I might be the only one who has that problem, but for me and my style that might be a reason to use two physically similarly sized lenses. So I will give this combination a couple of weeks.

  12. Steve,

    it’s good to know that you went back to the 50 lux. After reading your review about the new 35 lux I thought I may have made a mistake buying the 50 although I bought it half a year ago and it’s now on it’s way.. but I feel better now – knowing that you’re staying with the 50lux :).


  13. Best 50 ever imho, although I sold mine (more of a 35mm fan). I like the last shot the best 🙂

  14. Thanks for the comments!

    Davis S, well, I felt the same and ended up canceling my 35 Lux order and went back to the 35 Summarit and bought this 50 Lux ASPH 🙂 Im back to a 35, 50 and 90 – where I started. If I could afford the 35 Lux I would also buy one of those but I am tapped out. The 35 and 50 Lux’s are my fave two Leica lenses.

  15. If I had to choose between the 50 lux and the 35 lux, having seen your results, I’d take the 50 lux (and maybe add a 35 or 28 cron later).

    The combinaton of the sharpness of the 50 and its shallower DOF create a more striking contrast between in-and out-of-focus areas, IMO.

  16. Lovely pics, Steve. I still love ym 50 lux asph. I have considered selling it, now that I own the 0.95 Noctilux, but it’s just too good to do this. Best 50 ever, in terms of performance, price, size, weight, and rendering…The Noct is gorgeous, but huge, heavy, and costly (though I love it)….here’s a pic from recently with the 50 lux asph!


    As per your prior reviews, the 50 lux pre-asph is no slouch either, especially when calibrated to your M9….Here is one from that lens, showing it’s more gentle rendering:


  17. I got one on Monday and have used it on my M9 during the last few days. The focus is amazingly accurate and the separation between objects in focus and background is really beautiful. Takes me back to medium format times. Still I have to figure out for myself if I want to keep it or not. I am so used to the 35mm focal length that I have to see how often I will actually change to 50mm.

  18. Cool that your son is a good sport in appeasing all of us who want more, more, more images from these lenses! Can’t wait for the full review, but I’ve already decided that the 50 Lux is going to be added to my kit.

  19. Hehe…great you do have your son as a “model”.

    It is a great lens – that’s why I still waiting after 8 weeks of ordering it to get my hands on it…and I still don’t know how long it will take additionally until I can use it on my M9 too.


Comments are closed.