Leica launches the the APO-Summicron-M 35 f/2 ASPH, its most compact 35mm yet

Leica APO-Summicron-M 35 f/2 ASPH
(Image credit: Leica)

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 and Leica M10 Monochrom 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.

(Image credit: Leica)

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.

(Image credit: Leica)

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.

Read more:

Best Leica cameras
Best full frame cameras
Leica M10-R review
Leica M10 Monochrom review

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com