Leica Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH review
Old 07-02-2017   #1
borge
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Leica Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH review

A brief article where I share my experience with this lens over the last years, and also some pictures I made with it with various Leica cameras:

http://indergaard.net/2017/07/02/lei...4-asph-review/
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Old 07-02-2017   #2
Bendj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borge View Post
A brief article where I share my experience with this lens over the last years, and also some pictures I made with it with various Leica cameras:

http://indergaard.net/2017/07/02/lei...4-asph-review/
Thank you for posting this, there are some lovely images in the article.

I am on my second of these lenses, the first was stiff to focus when in close but the second is perfectly smooth throughout the range. I still find it a bit too big though and wonder if I should just go back to the ZM Sonnar as it is nice and small, but of course it has its own foibles.

Out of interest what did you replace it with and are you happy with the switch?

Thanks,
Ben
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Old 07-10-2017   #3
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Originally Posted by Bendj View Post
Thank you for posting this, there are some lovely images in the article.

I am on my second of these lenses, the first was stiff to focus when in close but the second is perfectly smooth throughout the range. I still find it a bit too big though and wonder if I should just go back to the ZM Sonnar as it is nice and small, but of course it has its own foibles.

Out of interest what did you replace it with and are you happy with the switch?

Thanks,
Ben
I had the same issue with my two copies. One was uneven. The second was too loose, then I sent it in for service, and then it came back and was stiff again, but at least evenly so.

Honestly, I grew a bit tired of the 50mm focal length, and I rarely use it these days. I tried a Summicron v5, but didn't like it much. Then I picked up a Zeiss Planar 50/2 ZM which I liked better, but it's not as good as the Lux 50 of course. But still, it gets the job done. But it mostly sits in my drawer these days.

I'm also curios about the ZM Sonnar. That's a lens I would love to try. But I haven't seen any on the 2nd hand market where I live, and they're simply too expensive to buy.
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Old 07-10-2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borge View Post
I had the same issue with my two copies. One was uneven. The second was too loose, then I sent it in for service, and then it came back and was stiff again, but at least evenly so.
I sent mine to Leica so that they could calibrate my 90mm to focus the same, but they tore it down for a full CLA (for free) as well.
Came back stiff, loosened up to normal in less than six months, years later it's still perfect. The grease just needs to be worked a bit!
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Old 07-11-2017   #5
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Originally Posted by borge View Post
I had the same issue with my two copies. One was uneven. The second was too loose, then I sent it in for service, and then it came back and was stiff again, but at least evenly so......

I'm also curios about the ZM Sonnar. That's a lens I would love to try. But I haven't seen any on the 2nd hand market where I live, and they're simply too expensive to buy.
Too expensive? You can buy 3 for the price of one Summilux Asph.

My Summilux Asph is extremely sharp and renders very nicely but has terrible flare resistance. My Sonnar is sharp enough, resists flare my better and has a flattering vintage look for portraits.
The bayonet style lens hoods that Zeiss uses are far better than the sliide out and twist that the Summlux Asph uses. It does not seem to provide enough coverage, especially when a filter is used.
I think the Leitz is a 'better' lens but the Zeiss Sonnar provides a very interesting option that Leica does not offer.
FYI my Sonnar has the typical Zeiss wobble. My Planar does not.
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Old 07-11-2017   #6
borge
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Too expensive? You can buy 3 for the price of one Summilux Asph.
To buy new. For my use, as in, mostly sitting in my drawer, yes.
I use the 35mm focal length in 70% of my shooting nowadays.
The remaining of my shooting is usually either a 24mm, 85/90mm, and in the last spot is the 50mm, which maybe gets used in like... 3-5% of my shooting. So it's not a FL I'm willing to spend any money on nowadays. The Zeiss Planar 50/2 ZM is great for the few times I need the FL. I'd always use a 85/90 for portraits anyway, so I don't really need the Sonnar's wide-open rendering either.
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Old 07-11-2017   #7
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My Summilux Asph is extremely sharp and renders very nicely but has terrible flare resistance.
Same here, it's possibly the least flare resistant lens I own especially as it's the newest by a considerable margin.
Very unpredictable, even with a deeper screw on hood... nah not impressed
The only Leica lens I have bought new and it's been back to Leica, but no improvement.
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Old 07-11-2017   #8
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To buy new. For my use, as in, mostly sitting in my drawer, yes.
I think I'm in the same boat as u. I bought my Lux new when I first got back into photography, then discovered the Zeiss lenses later. And bought those used.
The Planar really is a great lens, new or used, and an excellent choice whether it is used occasionally or not.

If I knew then what I know now, I think I would have done many things very differently and bought the Planar as the one 50mm lens.
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Old 07-11-2017   #9
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Bought new, had mine for over a year; focus ring was always stiff, developed a coarseness to it and it front-focused at close distance. Took me a while to realize the latter, thinking that it wasn't so sharp at all wide-open. Ultimately, the focusing coarseness made it difficult to use. While it was away for warranty repairs (why in hell does a US$4000 lens leave the factory in this condition, I ask??), a 50 Summicron APO was offered up at a good price and after shooting it at ƒ/2 for a day, the repaired Summilux was off to market. While the APO does not have the creamy bokeh that gently dissolves away, but a neutral OOF, portraits leap out at you and the smaller size & weight, along with 39mm filter thread are a combo unmatched by any other 50.

The resolution at ƒ/2 is mind-blowing. Really.
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Old 07-11-2017   #10
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at one point i used the ZM 50/2 and 50/1.5 interchangeably to their strengths, very happily. then unexpectedly found a used lux 50 at a good price, and bought in. ended up selling the two ZMs, keeping the lux. it is not too big for me, renders beautifully to my eye. even when it fails to deliver - meaning flare - it does so with such grace.

yeah, only lens i'd swap it for would be the APO 50, if price were no issue.

but if had just ~$500 to spend it'd be the ZM planar, all day.
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