Leica Summarit M 50mm F2.4 Lens Review
Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens is a compact, standard lens for the Leica M-mount rangefinder cameras. This lens is the most affordable lenses in Leica Camera’s line up utilizing a double Gauss optical design that offers a high degree of sharpness and well-managed distortion throughout the aperture range.
It is a manual lens that requires the user to be familiar with manual focusing for proper operation. Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens can focus relatively close at 2.6′ which is in line with other typical 50mm lenses minimum focus distances.
Leica Camera aims to offer a very affordable lens and a very slow one as to not compete with its more popular Summicron and Summilux line up. This lens was intended to be mass produced to provide profit margins based on brand recognition of Leica Camera.
Leica lenses offer stellar-quality due to its all-metal construction. Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens is no exception. It features a robust exterior with aluminum exterior rather than brass. The obvious advantage is the weight which is one of the selling points for Leica Camera’s marketing department as a light and compact lens for everyday use. The aluminum also reduces the production cost for this lens forming the second marketing frontier for the company.
The focus dial is smooth, and well dampened for that familiar Leica lens manual focusing experience. It is built well as an entry level lens for those who want to own a Leica lens without breaking the bank.
When it comes to price, Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens sells for $1,895 or $1,795 for the black version. You are paying for Leica build quality and name here. If you want faster and better performing lenses for half the price, there are plenty in the market. ZEISS Planar T* 50mm f/2 ZM Lens, for example, outperforms Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens in sharpness, clarity, and speed with an equal built quality for about half the price at $903.
If you want even faster lenses, Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 Lens which is almost as fast as Leica’s Noctilux f/0.95 lens selling at around $11,595 or 7artisans Photoelectric 50mm f/1.1 Lens sells for $369. Both of these lenses are not a match in performance to Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH. Lens but can easily give Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens a run of the money.
Overall, you buy a Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens because you want to own a Leica lens.
Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens comes in silver or black which is all fine to match a classic Leica M10 or a Leica M240 body. Since this lens is a budget lens, no one should hold their breath for a limited edition collection in bright red to be released anytime soon.
Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 lens is a close relative to this lens but fits in a totally different category. Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens is built different, performs different, and should be treated as a unique attempt by Leica Camera to offer more to budget-conscious consumer. Understandably, Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH. Lens sells for $11,595, Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens at $4,195 and Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. lens at $8,295 so comparing performance or build quality of a $1,795 lens is like comparing a luxury car to a compact car.
Owning a Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens
Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens is a well-designed lens. There is no doubt about it is accurate, sharp rendering abilities at f/4 or f/5.6. It is an excellent lens for those street photographers who want to utilize zone focus method and snap candid photos of strangers at f/11 or f/16. The mere idea of having a fast lens is an absurd one for them.
It is a compact lens that is an important consideration if you are traveling or worry about your camera or lenses being stolen. For me, I would be totally happy to have this lens on my Leica M10 to photograph architecture or landscape. This is the lens to own if you are only going to photograph cathedrals, monuments and occasionally snap a photo of your wife or child.
Let me explain this further, imagine you own a Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. lens at $8,295 and you want to photograph on a bright day in Paris. You would need a neutral density filter on the front to block the amount of light entering the lens to use it wide open at f/2. Similarly, you would need to dial in your Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens to about f/5.6 before your shutter speed catches up for a proper exposure at which point your lens is at its sharpest.
While Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. Lens at f/5.6 has the best performance of any lens in the world, your eyes would not be able to tell the difference unless you start pixel peeping and analyzing for minute details which unless you are a professional who works with images, day in day out, you would not be able to differentiate the two images.
You buy Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens because it is light, compact and serves your purpose. I buy a Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. Lens because my professional work demands a higher standard but when I go traveling I am totally happy to be using a Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens.
Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens has a screw on lens hood. I like that too. No lost lens hood in your camera bag or on the street from accidental bumps.
How to use a Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens
Firstly, you don’t need to worry about sharpness or distortion with Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens. It is a slower lens which means you will get less distortion better contrast and sharpness at f/2.4. The obvious sacrifice will be the bokeh as the background will not melt like beautiful pastels, but you may not need your images to have that much bokeh.
You will get best results at f/5.6 for sharpness which is what you should be using for photographing landscape or architecture. For portraits stick to f/2.4 or f/2.8, you will get decent enough bokeh if the background has depth and your subject stands relatively close to your camera.
Know the limitations of your lens and camera. This camera works best on CMOS sensors. It is a modern lens hence it is designed to deliver good results when you can use it prudently. Don’t expect to have the same bokeh as a Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 lens instead know that you will capture amazing photographs if your subject is framed esthetically in your composition and you are in a reasonable distance from your subject.
Regularly clean your lenses. This is paramount, and I have made a tutorial on how to clean Leica lenses, please watch it before attempting to clean them.
Remember, your lens is a tool which means if you know how to use your lens you will get results. Owning a Leica lens is a beautiful experience, you are investing in quality but also performance.
Buying a Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens is a solid investment knowing that Leica lenses have a history of keeping their value. If you are in the market for a 50mm lens, this lens will serve you for years to come especially when you become familiar with using Leica lenses.
Where to buy your Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens
Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 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 Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens and other lenses mentioned in this article.
Other 50mm Lenses (Recomended *)
Recommended Leica 50mm Focal Length Lenses:
Other Leica Cameras
For my upcoming 2019 photography workshops, here are the links
I hope you have enjoyed this article.
Camera Review Team