This year is the 50th anniversary of the LHSA, the International Leica Society, and the occasion has been commemorated with another LHSA special edition, a classic retro version of Leica’s sharpie, the 50mm Apo-Summicron.
This LHSA Apo-Summicron is limited to 500 lenses worldwide, 200 of them in silver chrome and the remaining 300 in the black-paint finish. A Leica collector friend, Carole Hall, received her lens, which had been on pre-order for many months, just this week. I was there at the unboxing and a great deal of excitement ensued. We felt moved to open a bottle of prosecco. Carole had chose the silver chrome version which has all the hallmarks of the classic 50mm Rigid Summicron of the late 1950s, considered to be the ultimate consort of the Leica M3. The black-paint version is also beautiful, but I think the silver chrome makes a wonderful looking optic.
As usual, Leica packaging is second to none. The outer box, a traditional Leica design, contains a two-part polystyrene protector with the documents in a pocket on top. Living the top half reveals the lens box and a zipped leather pouch, similar to those supplied with most modern Leica lenses.
The black, satin-lined box is a work of art in itself, and the lens and accessories all sit snugly in its silky recess. Included is a push-on lens metal lens cap and a perforated hood which clips on to the front of the lens. There is also a second cap to use when the hood is in place.
As usual with Leica lenses, the workmanship is superb. This is a lens that is sure to become a collectors’ item and I suspect many of them will see little real use.
While this limited edition is undoubtedly gorgeous and highly desirable, I suspect the standard 50mm Apo-Summicron (with which it shares all optical features) is probably more practical. For a start, the standard lens weighs only 305g while the all-brass LHSA Special Edition tips the scales at 435g, including the hood.
This lens has been on sale in the UK for £7,750, including VAT, but I am not sure if there are any left. Allocations were tight and supplies to dealers were rationed. As with many of these special editions, the price will now tend to rise.
The LHSA is universally known in Leica circles for the special commemorative editions which have appeared over the years and the Society’s Bill Rosauer has been involved with most of them. For the past two years, he has been working closely with Stefan Daniel and his team at Leica Camera AG, on designing and producing this new limited-edition lens. Bill has written a history of LHSA editions which you can find here.
What will our friend Carole do with her new lens? She has already taken a few test shots but, essentially, she sees the LHSA Apo-Summicron as a collectors’ item. Not everyone will agree, and I have heard of at least one enthusiast who has sold his standard Apo-Summicron in favour of the new LHSA edition. It definitely looks the part on the M10, as you can see from the accompanying pictures.
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