Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica 28mm Summaron: First take from the new-old slowcoach

Leica 28mm Summaron: First take from the new-old slowcoach

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I have been using Leica camera equipment since 2005, having migrated from Nikon (a common progression as I later found out from chatting to other Leica owners). I use both film and digital Leica M bodies, primarily for travel and street photography, with my favoured focal length being 28mm. I currently use the Summicron f/2 28mm on the M, which is a lovely lens but not ideally suited for street work with its weight and long focus throw. 

So when Leica announced the new 28mm Summaron I was quite excited. I was immediately drawn to the idea of using a small, unobtrusive lens with a short focal throw and f/5.6 as maximum aperture — a perfect focal length for street photography. I had not thought of buying the original older version of this lens before, mainly because I have bad experiences of purchasing second-hand lenses on the open market in my pre-Leica days. 

I immediately placed an order through my Red Dot Cameras, thinking, as did they, that the lens would be months in the making. Both the dealer and I were astonished when the lens turned up a few days later, so I spend a few hours this week using it mounted on my M-P240. 

The lens is a beautifully engineered delight, both to look at on my silver MP240 and to use. The body and lens combination is relatively light and feels the same as my Leica Q on the shoulder. The Summaron arrives with a lens cap and hood which, when the latter is fixed on the lens, means you cannot use the lens cap!  If you want to mount a filter (34mm) on the lens then you may have to resign yourself to not using the hood.

For shooting, I left the aperture at f/5.6 most of the day and got amazing results; the lens also locks itself in at infinity so, with the short focus throw, I soon discovered, I could set the correct focal length on the dial to capture my subject. The rendition reminds me of Kodachrome with its colour saturated look and texture.

There is also some vignetting and hints of pink or magenta around the edges of the frame, both of which can be eliminated quickly with post-processing if you wish. I did not see any lens flare in my photographs, but I try to avoid shooting into the light unless it’s for artistic reasons! 

Overall I am delighted with his beautiful little lens, it does the job well and is a pleasure to use.

More on the ORIGINAL Leica 28mm f/5.6 Summaron:

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Bill,

    Thank you for your comments.

    I agree with you on the Leica images – was not quite sure what they were trying to prove with them. I am not a ‘lens tester’ in the scientific sense of the phrase by any means, but I may make a side-by-side comparison with the 28 Summicron (and also the Q) at some point to see the results. However, my next test for this lens is planned for the M246 and M7 to see what it does for unconverted B&W images.

    Regards
    Jack

  2. Excellent images Jack. These are some of the best I have seen yet, which show the true rendering of this lens, or how it draws. They make for a proper comparison with the images William has shared already with the original 28 Summaron. I don’t feel that the "official" pictures that Leica had with the announcement did the lens justice, or gave a realistic idea of its rendering. Too much of the photographer’s "art" got in the way of those images.
    I would be curious to see some side by side comparisons with your 28 Summicron.
    Bill Rosauer

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