Leica’s M-series rangefinder cameras aren’t just a relic from history. As well as continually developing its M-series cameras, Leica is launching new M-series lenses too.
We're big Leica fans (even if we can't afford them), and we've rated the latest Leica M10-R (opens in new tab) and Leica M10 Monochrom (opens in new tab) very highly – though they are quite unlike DSLR and mirrorless cameras and do take some getting used to.
The new Leica APO-Summicron-M 35 f/2 ASPH. has the classic focal length for street photography, one of historical strengths of the Leica M series, and while this is by no means the first 35mm Leica M lens, it is. The most compact version yet – and it also has a closest focusing distance of just 30 centimetres, which, in conjunction with the high light sensitivity, offers a host of new photography options and guarantees outstanding image results.
In case you’re wondering where the name ‘Summicron’ comes from, we’ve got a whole article on Leica lens naming (opens in new tab).(opens in new tab)
Leica APO-Summicron-M 35 f/2 ASPH. key features
The aim of the APO-Summicron-M 35 f/2 ASPH. is to create a maximum imaging performance lens with a moderate wide-angle 35mm lens. It uses a sophisticated lens design with ten lens elements in five groups. They include three aspherical lenses (one dual-sided) and six with anomalous dispersion glass. This design should not only reduce chromatic aberration to almost zero, and provides apochromatic correction, which Leica says is rare in lenses of this focal length.
Like all M lenses, this one has a mechanical manual focus ring, with a large ‘throw’ of 300 degrees for extra-precise focusing. There is even a soft detent at the 70mm distance to indicate that you might want to swap to Live View mode for more accurate framing if you want to focus closer than this.
The APO-Summicron-M 35 f/2 ASPH. is designed to offer very high edge-to-edge contrast rendition and especially pronounced bokeh when used wide open. The aperture diaphragm is almost circular, thanks to its 11-bladed design.(opens in new tab)
Leica APO-Summicron-M 35 f/2 ASPH. price and availability
The Leica APO-Summicron-M 35 f/2 ASPH. is available now. Naturally all this optical and engineering quality doesn’t come cheap, and it comes with an asking price of $8,195 / £6,700.