Leica releases new versions of 28 Summicron, 35 Summicron and 28 Elmarit!

Leica releases new versions of 28 Summicron, 35 Summicron and 28 Elmarit!

Seems like Leica has updated some lenses and they will start shipping in Feb. A new 28 Summicron ASPH f/2, and an updated 28 Elmarit and 35 Summicron. They all have all new metal hood designs which is AWESOME as the 28 and 35 Cron hoods were awful, always falling off. The new metal screw in design will keep them intact! If this floats your boat, you can pre-order these new “refresh” lenses at my top recommended Leica dealers Ken Hansen (email: khpny19@aol.com) or PopFlash.com or B&H Photo. Links below for B&H.

What I am unsure of if these lenses have been changed OPTICALLY at all, I do not think they have been.

UPDATE: A reader commented below that there are new optical formulas for these. The 35 cron  used to have 8 Aperture blades, it now has 11. Others have less field curvature, so YES these are improved optically as well!

If you have been in the market for a new 28 or 35 for Leica M, I’d be sure to grab the newest versions here, if buying NEW of course!

The new 35 Summicron ASPH f/2 – ships Feb – $2799 – – B&H Link – Ken HansenPopFlash.com

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New 28 Cron ASPH f/2 – $3995 – B&H Photo, Ken Hasnen, PopFlash

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New 28 Elmarit ASPH f/2.8 – $2195 – B&H PhotoKen HansenPopFlash

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34 Comments

  1. Hello Steve,
    I wonder if you plan to test those lenses?
    There are a lot of assumptions about the potential interest of the update of those lenses and nobody knows if the quality has been improved or not, am I right?
    Even the Leica communication from Leica camera is very poor.
    Worse, the MTF charts are strictly the same, seems to be a copy paste of the old versions. This is very strange. Correct me if I am wrong.
    I think that it is an error (not so nice for this brand) or worse those lenses give strictly the same result. I cannot imagine that.
    Obviously we see that the lens hoods has been “improved” (I do not see much interest personally for the 35 cron but of course yes for the 28 cron) but what else about quality, bokey, etc…
    I just will not upgrade from old to new only for a lens hood improvement.
    Frankly, my first concern would be for the 35 summicron that is really quite old compared to the others 28. What about the improvement of quality, what about the 11 blades. Does it justify the upgrade compared to the old one?
    If you plan to test, I would be grateful you do that as your reviews are nice.
    Last comment, I really do not understand the update of the 28 Elmarit that is not so old.
    And in a more general point of view, I do not understand the commercial comment from Leica about lenses optimized for digital. Does it means that the old ones are not? Strange again.

  2. Just to clarify my post as Steve may have misunderstood. The lens tech was talking about modern autofocus lenses. He did not refer to them as Leica.
    He preferred manual and loved old Nikon lenses.
    He liked Leica and has never criticed Leica auto focus lenses.

  3. Hi Steve

    The cynic in me thinks that this is an attempt by Leica to charge more for the lenses under the auspices of a new optical formula. Hopefully, I am proved wrong and these lenses are an advancement over lenses produced by the other manufacturers.

    I suspect that Leica can only survive if it has something better to offer than it’s competitors. For example, Sigma and Nikon with their offerings of a 24 f1.4 lens have caught up to and probably eclipsed the optical quality of the Leica 24 f1.4 M lens. The Leica 21 f1.4 M is now under threat by Sigma with it’s newly released 20mm f1.4 art lens. If the Sigma wasn’t so big, I would have bought one.

    If Leica’s super lenses are being challenged by Sigma (let alone Zeiss and the other major brands) why would I pay say $3K for a 35f2 when I can pay $1K for the Sigma 35 f1.4 that is, by anyone’s reckoning, a great lens in it’s own right (irrespective of whether it is as good as the Leica) and fits on my Nikon or Canon? Hence, I suspect now is the reason why these lenses now have to be improved and updated so at least Leica can say that it’s lenses are still in front of the rest.

    The other point is that what I pay for in a Leica lens is not just the outstanding optical formula. I pay for the fact that it has a great optical formula in a small size for a full frame sensor that I can carry around. The size of the lens does matter when you are carrying the thing around your neck all day and want to be unobtrusive.

    Thanks for a great website.

    • But they are charging less for the new versions. The 35 Cron has went down several hundred dollars. As for why a 35 f/2 over a Sigma 35 1.4…the Cron is 1/10th the size 🙂

  4. Dear Steve,

    if these lenses are optically recomputed, it perhaps means that Leica is clearing the way towards a new Sony-like sensor with a thicker cover glass. If so, we can throw away our wide angle lenses. What do you think?
    Rudolf

  5. Hello everybody… So Leica have not published the MTF charts for these newly released lenses yet, but I was snooping around their website today and stumbled upon the MTF chart for the new Summicron 28mm! I compared it against the previous version, and looks like the distortion is actually slightly worse in the new design at the expense of very, very slight increase in sharpness, if at all. Disappointed 🙁 I believe this is Leica’s strategy for making their new lenses “optimized for digital”, because you can fix distortion via software correction. Whether I’m right or not, if you want to take a look at and compare the MTF charts for the old and new 28mm Summicron, feel free to download them from my website’s home page (from the Latest News section). Cheers!

  6. A lens technician who worked in London told me that the new autofocus lenses he worked on are very poorly constructed.
    Manual focus lenes are better and Leica lenses are especially well constructed but in his opinion Voigtlander and Zeiss are below Leica in quality -but are way above a lot of lenses used today.

    He had a good opinion of Nikon and Canon manual focus lenses especially the older ones ?
    Do I agree ? I will not deny people who have problems with Leica or any other lenses for that matter.
    I would not buy a lens for its commercial resale prospects but would try to buy a small amount of gear with a good recommendation and I would try my best to look after it.
    I am a cyclist and sometimes people will see me and say “Like your new bike ” Actually my bike is 30 years old -you can use your equipment and look after it at the same time.

    • There is only one new Leica AF lens, and it has been out a month or so. How many have been worked on? That’s statement puzzles me as there are no new AF lenses besides the 24-90 and I highly doubt there have been many at all, if any, in for repair yet. Odd.

  7. I’ve used Leica lenses for more than 40 years. Once upon a time, they had an edge over Nikon & Canon RF lenses. Over time, those old Leica lenses turned out to be bad investments for me. The Summicron has had soft front coating – so almost all, including mine has wipe marks & delaminations.
    My 21mm f3.4 is useless on digital. Those older lenses don’t perform all that well.
    Read current reports of lenses falling apart. Lenses that we pay more than $2,000 don’t even stay in tact.
    I have one Leica lens and 7 Voigtlanders. The performance difference between Leica and Voigtlander lenses is negligible but the price difference is not. Yes – CV lenses fall apart too – but you get what you pay for – with Leica lenses, you can’t say the same.

    • I disagree on the poor value of Leica, I have bought used and sold Leica lenses with in most cases a profit, and in other cases not much more than a 10% loss. However if you abuse your equipment, then it is a near total loss. I am a professional photographer and use my equipment almost daily. Even my Noctilux (known for soft glass/coatings) is scratch free & worth 3 times what I paid for it.

      • Lenses, depending on when you bought them, can be a good investment but not anymore. Buy a new lens today and in 10 years it will be worth less. If you bought them during the M9 phase you would be losing 30-50% today as many are. For example, in the M9 days no lenses were available, and people were paying $2500 for a used 90 Elmarit (I sold one for this back then) – Today they are going for $1100. 50 Lux, back then people were paying $4k used, today $2500 used is the norm but the lens is $4k new. So Leica lenses today you will always lose on down the road. If you buy them used for a low as you can get TODAY then in 1-2-3-4 or 5 years you would be able to sell and not take a loss but you wouldn’t be gaining a profit. Leica’s best days for lens sales was during the M9 years when everyone was going mad for the lenses and camera. Today that enthusiasm is much lower and thus, lens demand is way way down. Now if you bought your lenses just as the M8 was launched, and you still have them today you could sell and not lose much at all. I wonder where Leica will be in 10 years from today. I feel with all of the tech coming and the phone camera madness happening, they may have a hard time in the future.

        • Hi Steve, i agreed with you. and i see lot of 50lux asph floating around for sales as low as $2300.
          Any idea of this sales pulse?

    • Leica will be just fine in 10 years.

      FWIW: I bought my first Leica (M2R) 45 years ago then traded it for the newer M4 a year later. I used that M4 daily for 40 years. I still use a 47 year old 50 Summicron. My 35 type IV Summicron sees nearly daily use. It is 25 years old. I’ve never any problem with this lens and am always amazed at the photos it takes. The same is true for my 90 Elmarit M.

      I have two modern Leica lenses (50 Summicron & 21 SEM) and neither have ever had an issue and are both stellar performers. (Yes, I have two 50 Summicrons as I prefer the rendition of the older one on the M9 and the new one on the Monochrom. The older one renders color with a warm glow and is wonderful for portraits where the new one is crisp and produces a look I like better with B&W).

      Leica gear is very well made. True, I had to have the sensors replaced in both my M9 and S2 but, other than shipping, it didn’t cost me a dime.

      Leica stands behind their products which, with reasonable care, will last a lifetime.

      Fanboy? Not really. I used a variety of cameras over my 48 year career and some gear has stood the test of time.

  8. Help me understand the logic here. I can buy a new 28mm f/2.0 Summicron Lens for $3,995, or buy a Leica Q with a 28mm F/1.7 Summicron Lens and an entire full frame camera , which also includes a full copy of Lightroom for $4,250? Let’s see, what should I choose?

    • The lens on the Q is not close to the one on the Q, not the same at all really. The dedicated 28 Cron lens is of much better construction and is optically near perfect. The one on the Q is typical built in lens and the camera does correct internally for any lens flaws. With the real cron, no real need for this, and it can be used on an M, SL, Sony A7 system or any other mirrorless system. Finally the character/rendering difference is much different between the two.

  9. It would be interesting to see a comparison done with the’old’ones cf the new ones!.I have 28mm Elmarit f2.8 asph and the 35mm asph,no probs with either.Of course it woudnt be a case of Leica making some more money from us would it??

  10. Never had a problem, ever, with the lens hoods on the 28 and 35. And I use them all the time. They clip on really securely. And work with filters! (I’m looking at you limited edition 50 Lux).
    What is crap are the lens caps that go over the hoods. Flimsy rubber things that fall off if you sneeze, so instead of losing them, I just put them away and use the hoods all the time.
    New optical formula is very cool, as well as kick starting sales.

  11. I’m sure these new Leica lenses are exceptional, so I think it might interest those mere mortals like me, to see detailed test comparisons with other manufacturers’ 35 f/2 offerings such as the new (and also excellent) Fujinon 35 f/2.

    • The Fuji is not a full frame lens. None of the Fuji lenses are as they are made for APS-C. Meaning I could not use it on my Sony A7, my Sl or an M. Or anything besides a Fuji where I would never use any of these new Leica lenses as you would not be using the whole lens, would be a waste 😉

    • Well said Steve. Fuji is a closed dedicated system. Effectively just a waste of money when comes to expandability and longevity.

  12. Hey Steve,

    Some info here:

    http://leicarumors.com/2016/01/14/leica-introduces-three-new-m-lenses-with-improved-performance-summicron-m-35mm-summicron-m-28mm-and-elmarit-m-28mm.aspx/

    Seems like the new 35 Cron ASPH has 11 aperture blades, the old one had 8. The silver version has also changed to anodized alumnium from chromed brass.

    The 28 elmarit and cron both seem to have ‘significantly reduced image field curvature’ – which implies a new optical formula for both.

  13. All three have been changed optically: the 35 is a all new construction, the Elmarit is optimized for digital and the 28 cron has a ‘new optical calculation’.

    • I had that with an old version 35 cron too. It took the dealer about half a minute to fix it, but it left me with an uncomfortable feeling.

    • Totally. When I had a 28 Cron I always carried a small screwdriver with me to tighten up the screws, which would manage to loosen themselves weekly. I never noticed image quality decline with the loosen front part of the lens, amazingly, but it was sure disconcerting on an optic of such price and otherwise supremely high quality.

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