I have a strong love for the 35mm focal length as it it one of those lenses that can cover most of your needs between the travel friendly 28mm and the narrow focus of the 50mm. Most of the time when I’m out for a day with the camera, you’ll see a 35mm lens attached to my camera most of the time.
During my tenure within the Leica M ecosystem, I have had a revolving door experience with this focal length in no particular order:
Zeiss Biogon-C 35mm f/2.8
Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2
Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH II
Leica Summarit-M 35mm f/2.4 ASPH
Leica Summarit-M 35mm f/2.5
Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH I
Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH (Pre-FLE)
Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH FLE
As you can see, I have a strong penchant for this focal length to the point of obsession, but a lot of my choices had to do with how these lenses played well with my previous Leica M9 with its more “filmy” output and rendering.
Due to the way the M9 rendered images with its Kodak CCD sensor, affected the way how the lenses would affect the look of the photos.
For example, my problem with Zeiss lenses was that the images looked too contrasty and cool since both the lens and the sensor had a contrasty rendering anyway. This made the photos look a bit too much for my liking, to the point where I had to pull the contrast out of the images in post.
One Size Fits Most
The beauty of the Summicron is that it’s not the best at everything, but it’s the most well rounded of the bunch.
First off, the lens is tiny and light. You would be hard pressed to find a lens of this size and weight that can offer the same image character, sharpness, build quality and ergonomics of this lens. The closest competitor that I could think of would be the excellent Zeiss Biogon-C 35/2.8 - probably the sharpest 35mm lens I have ever used but only offered at a slower f/2.8. I previously had the same issue where this lens was too contrasty for my liking but since moving the the M (240), it’s CMOS sensor added a balance to the colors to the photos that that didn’t exist with my previous M9.
As I’m still getting reacquainted with the Summicron-M, I can highly recommend this lens if you’re looking for a legendary lens in this focal length for your Leica M rangefinder.