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Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.5 Standard Manual Focus Lens Review Roundup

2010-09-14 04:13
The Summarit-M lenses are designed to offer traditional Leica optical and mechanical excellence while positioned at a price level below the current M ASPH lenses. The aim of these lenses is to bring classic Leica quality and performance to a broader market of users. The Summarit-M 50mm f/2.5 is powerful, lightweight and designed to be easy to operate. It corresponds closely to the field of vision and viewing patterns of the human eye and offers a neutral and natural perspective. On the digital Leica M8, its 67 mm equivalent focal length makes it ideal for portraits for precise details.

The 50 mm Summarit-M is tailor-made for everyday photography. Its lens speed is perfectly adapted for all common applications. It is an updated double-Gauss six-element construction based on our tried and tested design. This Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.5 lens is currently selling at around $1,395, via Amazon.com. Here's the lens features:

  • All Summarit-M lenses are designed, manufactured and marked "Made in Germany"
  • Highest optical and mechanical performance with the classic Leica look and feel
  • Superb price/performance that reach new markets and customer segments
  • Compact lenses in the Leica tradition
  • Lenses include metal front cap, rear cap and cloth pouch
  • High quality, full metal lens hoods are available as optional accessories

Specifications
  • Lens Name Summarit-M 50mm/F2.5
  • Construction Number of lens elements: 6 / Number of Groups: 4
  • Number of Aperature Blades 9
  • Minimum Distance 31.5 inches (0.8 m)
  • Filter Size E39
  • Lens Mount M
  • Made In Germany Yes
  • 6-bit Coding Yes
  • Length 1.3 inches (33 mm)
  • Diameter 2.03 inches (51.5 mm)
  • Weight 8.1 oz (230 g)
  • Pouch Cloth
  • Warranty Leica 2-Year

Here's the lens review roundup:

Review by PhotoZone, gave the lens an optical quality rating of 3.5/5: "The Leica lens delivers an impressive resolution characteristic across the tested aperture range. The center quality is already very good at f/2.5 and the borders follow on a good level here. There's a boost in quality at f/4 - the center is lifted to excellent quality and the borders are also very sharp. Diffraction effects reduce the quality from f/11 onwards. Lateral CAs are very well controlled at large aperture at less at 1px on the average pixel at the image borders. However, the CA pixel width increases steady the more you stop down and the CAs get slightly more obvious at f/8 and f/11. The quality of the bokeh (out-of-focus blur) is, of course, a primary aspect of a fast prime lens. The Summarit produces a very decent bokeh. Out-of-focus highlights show a slight outlining effect at f/2.5. The quality of the blur in the critical focus transition zones is very smooth both in the image foreground and background.

The Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.5 is a lens for enthusiasts. Its execution is next to perfect and you can feel that it was made with passion rather than task-work and that's despite the rather "low" price tag for a Leica lens. However, even an low-priced Leica lens is hardly meant for the masses so you've to pay dearly for the privilege. In optical terms it is certainly an impressive lens and a tad better than the Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f/2 that we've tested here recently. The Summarit is already perfectly usable at f/2.5 and the results are very sharp from f/4 onwards. Lateral CAs are mostly well-controlled. Vignetting is basically a non-issue on the Sony NEX. Distortions are non-existent. The quality of the bokeh is smooth and buttery although it suffers a little from the comparatively slow max. aperture. The lens has a bit of a focus shift when stopping down - possibly the biggest "weakness" of the lens. The Sony NEX-Leica combination is absolutely beautiful but you'll probably rarely see it out there. Leica lenses are already quite exotic and most will use them on the Leica M8/9 anyway. However, if you're looking for the best 50mm lens for your Sony camera - this may well be it."... [Source]

User review by John Kwok, gave a rating of 5/5: "Leica has introduced this marvelous little "retro" lens, the 50mm f2.5 Summarit-M lens which will remind long-time Leica M users of classic black 50mm f2 Summicron lenses manufactured at Leitz Canada and Leica Germany from the 1980s to mid 1990s, since, like them, it possesses a focusing tab. Performance-wise, it is almost as optically superb at f2.8 and f4 as the current 50mm Summicron-M lens with a collapsible lens hood (For the 50mm Summarit-M lens and the rest of the Summarit-M lens line, Leica has created separate detachable lens hoods, which do not come with the lens, but must be purchased separately.). Like current and previous 50mm Summicrons, this lens does accept 39mm filters. So it is definitely a most desirable lens for anyone interested in superb optical quality and a relatively inexpensive 50mm lens. Right? Maybe. If your objective is the best optical quality, then you'd be better off acquiring either the Leica 50mm f1.4 Summilux-M ASPH lens at a king's random, or the relatively new Zeiss ZM 50mm f2 Planar lens (Optically it out-performs my old 50mm f2 Summicron lens made back in the late 1960's at Leica's former Wetzlar, Germany plant. Elsewhere, online, I have read that the Zeiss Planar is slightly better wide open at f2 with respect to resolution and contrast than the current 50mm Summicron-M lens; it is currently available brand new to potential purchasers at a price that is more than half of a brand new 50mm Summicron-M, and almost exactly half that of a brand new 50mm Summarit-M.)."... [Source]

Lens Sample Photos from Flickr:



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