Leica Summilux M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH Lens Review

Leica Summilux M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH Lens Review Review

Introduction

LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is an outstanding lens from Leica camera explicitly designed for the Leica M camera. Its price is listed at $5,295 far above any lens in its class.

The lens has floating lens elements and a sophisticated design that renders exquisitely detailed photographs. It is also very compact weighing in at 320 gram with dimensions of 56mm by 46mm.

LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is also a very fast lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.4 and the minimum of f/16. The lens performs exceptionally well throughout the aperture range but delivers optimum performance at f/8.

The aperture can be set in half-stop increments from f/1.4 through f/16 with a minimum focus distance of 70cm. LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is a wide angle lens permits zone type of photography with everything falling into focus at around f/8 making it the ideal lens for street photographers.

Design

If there is a fine example of a stellar built quality for a lens, LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens will stand on top of the hill as an alchemy of solid metal and high-quality optics. The exterior of the lens is finished in black or silver anodized finish resulting in durable built quality.

LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens has 46mm filter thread should you wish to utilize ND or polarizer filters. The polarizers are highly recommended for optimizing the results from this lens in bright days. You can find the links for the best polarizers for the LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens at the end of this article.

The most important design element in the LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is the hood which is best used during daytime to reduce flares and artifacts resulting from unwanted light rays entering the lens. Although the lens could have been built better with a retractable lens hood as in Leica Noctilux M 50mm f/0.95 or Leica Summilux M 50mm f/1.4 it is a vital part of the camera and serves an important function.

Looking Through the Viewfinder

LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is a compact lens; however, Leica M camera’s viewfinder will still be partially blocked if the lens hood is attached. In this scenario, the solution is to improvise or switch to an electronic viewfinder if your Leica M camera supports it.

Image Quality

LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is a very sharp lens with significant improvements as the aperture dials to higher numbers. This lens is only outperformed by Leica APO Summicron M 50mm f/2 lens and Leica Noctilux M 50mm f/0.95 lens.

For landscape photography, the lens is best set at f/8 which will deliver the best resolving power for this lens. Unfortunately, Leica M10 or M240 only has 24MP that requires an only mediocre lens to pass beyond the resolving requirements for the resolution required. Alternatively, LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens can be adapted to Sony A7r III for 42MP resolution or other cameras with higher resolution to attain detailed photographs.

Competition

LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is an excellent lens without a doubt, but when it comes to competition, the price and value factor renders this lens somewhat overpriced. For example, ZEISS Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZM Lens resolves at 3861 lines on average while the LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is topped at f/8 with 3198 lines.

The price of a Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/2 lens is ZEISS Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZM Lens is $2290 while a LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens sells for $5,295 which more than double. ZEISS Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZM Lens has less distortion in comparison although much of the distortion is “auto-corrected” by Leica M10 camera’s software while recording.

How to Use Leica Summilux M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH lens for best results?

LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is an expensive lens, but you are also getting a lens that holds its value pretty good over time. There is the added benefit of owning a Leica lens, and if you are considering the competition, LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is smaller making it ideal for travel.

For the best results, it is best to keep the lens hood attached during daytime to avoid unwanted artifacts.

Remember that if your Leica M camera is an older model without the baked-in corrections software, it will mean that you will need to make adjustments in Lightroom to correct for distortion.

This lens is best used wide open for portraits should you choose to utilize it. Yes. Wide angle lenses can be used for portraits. Read the lens designer’s interview on it.

If you are photographing a landscape or urban environments, it is best used at f/8 for optimum performance. It will mean that everything within the frame will be in focus.

For those who shoot street photography, it is your lens, no autofocusing, no dealing with apertures settings, just point and shoot your unsuspecting subjects.

This lens on a Leica M10 or M240 body will require you to make adjustments for contrast, saturation and clarity to attain the best results. Yes. You need it, no matter what the camera company or “experts” claim.

Forget the JPEGs. I will not get into details, I have already explained this point in other articles. Just shoot DNG for best results. You paid for an expensive lens, well, make the most of the image quality.

Remember this lens is built for a compact camera, that is why you should use it for your travels. It will fit in just about any camera bag or backpack. There is no reason to leave it at home.

If you want to photograph people as well as landscape and architecture, Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH lens serves for both, in either case, you can crop it should you desire to reframe your photos for sharing or printing.

Verdict

LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is a lens that you can invest in for the reasons of travel and quality. It is well built which means it will outlast you a lifetime or two. In the end, there is a strong market for this lens and should you wish to part with it your losses from the purchase will not be much or you may actually make money considering the high demand there is for this lens.

The name carries a prestige which can only be understood and appreciated by Leica Camera fans and those who know the lens company’s history. Beyond that, it is a lens that can deliver results wide open or at any aperture give the resolution requirements of most cameras.

I own this lens and many other 35mm lenses including Zeiss 35mm Distagon, but when it comes to travel this is the lens I pack in my camera bag. If I am on the move and in the city, I am happy to use Zeiss as it delivers incredible results but LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens will always have the upper hand for that thumb dial for ease of use on a Leica M camera body.

Either way, I would say LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is a winner, and you will get something a legend if you purchase it.

Where to buy your LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens

 

LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is best bought online from an authorized dealer and often the online retailers have better prices due to low stocking fees. Here are the links to the best prices on LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens and other lenses mentioned in this article.

LEICA SUMMILUX M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens

Leica APO-Summicron-SL 75mm f/2 ASPH. Lens

Leica APO-Summicron-SL 90mm f/2 ASPH. Lens

Leica APO-Vario-Elmar-T 55-135mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH Lens

Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. Lens

Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH. Lens

Leica APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90-280mm f/2.8-4 Lens

 

Other 50mm Lenses (Recommended *)

ZEISS Planar T* 50mm f/2 ZM Lens *

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 lens *

7artisans Photoelectric 50mm f/1.1 Lens

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 Aspherical Lens *

ZEISS C Sonnar T* 50mm f/1.5 ZM Lens *

Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Nocturnus 50mm f/0.95 III Lens

Recommended Leica 50mm Focal Length Lenses:

Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH. Lens

Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. Lens

Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. Lens

Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Lens

Leica Accessories for LEICA SUMMILUX SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens

Leica R-Adapter L for SL Camera

Leica SF 60 Flash

For my upcoming 2018 photography workshops, here are the links

Barcelona April 19 – 22

Rome April 26 – 29

London May 3 – 6

Paris May 10 – 13

Vancouver June 7 – 10

San Francisco May 24 – 27

Tokyo November 8 – 11

Hong Kong November 22 – 25

I hope you have enjoyed this article.

Thank you

OZ YILMAZ

Camera Review Team

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