Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica’s new steel-rim Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 joins the Classic Line of lenses

Leica’s new steel-rim Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 joins the Classic Line of lenses

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One of the most attractive and sought-after Leica lenses, the steel-rim Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4, produced between 1961 and 1966 in this format, is today re-introduced as part of the Classic M lens line. The Summilux-M 35 f/1.4 is the fourth member of the Leica Classic Line, alongside the Summaron-M 28 f/5.6, the Thambar-M 90 f/2.2 and the Noctilux-M 50 f/1.2 ASPH.

Manufactured in the Wetzlar factory, the Summilux-M 35 f/1.4 is identical to the original design and with the same optical calculation as the first Summilux-M 35 f/1.4. The stainless-steel front ring, which gives the lens its “Steel Rim” nickname, is modelled on the original.

This ultra-compact and fast medium wide-angle features a lockable focus ring which is extremely smooth in operation and is fitted with a tab for easier adjustment.

According to Leica, “photographing with maximum aperture creates pictures with an especially soft, almost magical bokeh that is hard to achieve even with digital image processing.

“Its extraordinary pictorial look earned the Summilux-M 35 f/1.4 the title ‘True King of Bokeh’.

“Photographing at open aperture in backlit conditions creates intended lens flares that can be used for specific creative effects. Even after stopping down to f/2.8, it produces very sharp and particularly distortion-free pictures which also meet modern requirements for image quality.”

Overall, the Summilux-M 35 f/1.4 is extremely compact and weighs only 200g, which has always been a compelling feature for M photographers. It is a full 120g lighter than its modern counterpart, the Summilux-M 35 f/1.4 ASPH.

With its classic render, the lens represents an opportunity for modern enthusiasts to acquire a piece of Leica’s history. While the overall optical performance cannot be compared directly with later aspherical designs, the Summilux is tack sharp and distortion-free when stopped down, with f/5.6 being its happiest spot.

In order to retain authenticity, the Summilux comes with a copy of the original clip-on lens hood. But, as Stefan Daniel explained to me last week, this hood is noted for coming unclipped very easily.

And you will need a hood, he says, because this classic design is sensitive to flare. So, to satisfy the modern user, the lens comes with an additional screw-in round lens hood which can also be used on all E46 lens mounts and permits the use of filters.

Initially, the Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 will come in a stainless-steel finish, which I think is the most attractive and probably the one to go for. It is possible that a black version could be introduced early in 2023, although I have heard that it could be limited in quantity.

The Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 is available from today and will sell in the UK for a reasonable (for Leica) recommended price of £3,450 (including taxes).

PRESS RELEASE


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7 COMMENTS

  1. 🙂 yes, it’s a special look. I tried the new and the “old” to see the difference. Unfortunately, I tried them on my LEica MD and ME, so even though the new one is coded, leica MD and ME do NOT write the lens name on the file. So people must be aware that the “old camera cannot recognize the lens. I want to test it more but it is tempting. …

  2. I tried the “new” 35 today and I must say there is a magic about the pictures. I only tried them in the Leica shop a portrait with backlight. There is a magical aura (flare) around the person – my wife. I am quite impressed.

    • Ha! “‘Magical Aura” is a good one. Leica says in the press release that it is “intended flare” which is a bit rich (if not b******s). I don’t think any lens designer builds in “intended flare”. But we will see. I fancy a bit II that magic aura.

  3. i used Stefan’s own copy of the lens last Saturday. It is very compact and beautifully made. I did not see the results as I was using it on a film camera also belonging to Stefan, more of that later.

    The compactness of the lens will require some practice as regards use, but I am sure the results will be worth it. I have small hands and I had to ensure that i did not get my fingers in the way. The ‘wings’ on the aperture adjustment ring are a help in that regard.

    Others may have used the lens on a digital camera and may have results to show.

    William

    • I should add that I was using the lens without the hood, which should help as regards errant fingers.

      William

    • See if you can persuade Stefan to send a copy of the photography you took with the M6. It will be very interesting to see the results.

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