A thread in photo.net brought the news. Let's hope
have an effect on the price of the previous 'lux. I really would like a slightly faster standard lens!
Here's the text of the announcement, copied from that photo.net post.
We are pleased to announce a new high-speed standard lens for the Leica M System offering maximum imaging performance: the new LEICA SUMMILUX-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. The goal of the optical designers at Leica was to create a reference lens that would exceed the technical boundaries of imaging creating a new performance benchmark of the standard 50mm focal length. The LEICA SUMMILUX-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. delivers virtually the same outstanding results through out all apertures and focus settings. This is the first major redesign of this lens since 1962.
The optical structure of the LEICA SUMMILUX-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. consists of eight lenses in 5 groups. Glass with anomalous partial dispersion (elements 2/3) was used to ensure correct color rendition. Lens element 2 is made of a fluorite-type glass while lens element 3 is made from glass originating from the former Leitz glass laboratory. Lens element 4 has an aspherical surface. Lens elements 1, 6 and 7 are made of glass with a very high refractive index to minimize monochromatic aberrations. In every innovation currently available in lens technology aspherical lenses, glass with anomalous partial dispersion (APO), glass with a high refraction index and a floating element has been combined to create a lens that will set new imaging standards.
This is the first Leica M lens with a specifically patented floating element used to maintain imaging performance at a very high level even in close-focus ranges down to 0.7m. During focusing, the rearmost optical component (elements 7/8) moves relative to the rest of the optical system and produces brilliant image quality in near focus ranges. To maximize the benefits of the floating element an extremely precise adjusting mechanism has also been utilized that had to fit into the restricted space inside this compact M-lens.
At full aperture, the LEICA SUMMILUX-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. offers high contrast rendering even for the finest structures. This performance can only be raised slightly by stopping down. Another notable feature of this lens is that it is virtually distortion-free. The normal vignetting for such high-speed lenses at full aperture is strongly reduced by stopping down slightly. Furthermore, the use of the most advanced coating technology ensures a high degree of anti-glare.
The new LEICA SUMMILUX-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. also offers special new features in terms of its handling: The built-in lens hood not only provides protection against stray light and dust, it can also be locked in the extended position to guard against accidental retracting. In addition to the familiar knurled ring, the lens is equipped with a finger grip that allows easy focusing using one finger. The balanced proportions of the lens also provide comfortable usage for longer periods of time.
LEICA SUMMILUX-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH.
Angle of view (diagonal, horizontal, vertical) 47°, 40°, 27°
Number of lenses / groups 8 / 5
Aspherical surfaces 1
Focusing range 0.7m to 8
Scales Combined meter/feet graduation
Smallest object field 11 inches x 16 inches
Largest reproduction ratio pprox. 1:11.3
Setting / Function Preset, with click-stops, half values available
Lowest value 16
Internal thread for screw-on filters size
Lens hood Built-in, telescopic, lockable
Black anodised only
Dimensions and weight
Length to bayonet flange approx. 2 inches
Largest diameter approx. 2 inches
Weight approx. 10.5 ounces
Price will be about $2500