My Summilux Adventure

So that escalated quickly…

It was not that long ago when I had acquired my Summicron-M 35mm from the good people at Leica Store Miami and took some photos with it in Ocean City over Labor Day weekend. I knew after that weekend that the Summicron 35mm had a place in my humble collection of Leica lenses and I planned to keep it for a long time.

Oh how things changed on a fateful visit to Ace Photo.

One of my favorite local camera shops in the Northern Virginia region had a pre-owned Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH (11874) for sale for an exorbitant price for a used lens, which they quickly corrected to match the used market value once I had corrected them. What I did not realize was that the lens was now significantly cheaper and a few hundred more than what I had bought the pre-owned Summicron 35mm for a few weeks back.

My poor and terrible GAS logic got the best of me and I picked up the Summilux for an excellent deal and the good folks at Leica Store Miami accepted the Summicron back for a refund, albeit I was hit with a minor restocking fee. This was completely fair considering I had the lens longer than the approved return window.

Impressions

The images that I was able to capture with the M9 was nothing short of stunning and at the same time, as expected from Leica. The images were sharp across the frame, albeit a bit soft on the corners. The color saturation was neutral, yet beautiful with the M9’s sensor. The bokeh, was just stunning without any weird shapes or “nervousness”.

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The lens turned out to be one of my favorite 35mm lenses of all time, even more so than my previous favorite: the Sony-Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/1.4 ZA.

While the body of this lens is what you would expect from Leica, with its brass inner construction with aluminum outer body, but the lens hood was something to be desired as it was made from hard ABS plastic (albeit very tough). Not something I expected from a lens that costs over $4,000 new, built between 1994-2010.

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Optically, the lens was close to perfect, yet it does suffer from minor focus shift between the median apertures. I personally don’t think this is a big deal because people buy this lens to shoot wide open at f/1.4, which is fantastic, and street photographers tend to shoot above f/8 anyways to open up their depth of field. Anything between f/4-f/5.6 is sort of immaterial for photographers that buy this lens, in my opinion.

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There is more to this story, however, but that will have to wait until the next update.