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Struggling to find "My" 50mm.

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As ergonomics are important to you, I’ll briefly share my experience with the 50 APO. I’ve owned the 50 Summilux ASPH for quite a while. It initially suffered from sticky focus action, but DAG worked his magic and it’s been perfect ever since. I don’t suffer GAS, but after reading all the raves about the APO, I decided to rent it for a week and incorporate it into my print workflow to see if it made any practical improvements.


While the IQ was superb as expected (like most Leica lenses), I didn’t like the handling. The aperture ring was ridiculously loose, (just like 2 other store samples), which seems an all too common characteristic of recent M lenses. Moreover, the compact design made the aperture and focus rings too close together for my tastes, and prevented the focus ring from being fully knurled, which I prefer for fine focusing. So back it went.... no more wonder... and I kept the faster, more ergonomic alternative.


The new LHSA APO version likely addresses my concerns (if the aperture ring is tighter), but it sacrifices the nifty built in hood (albeit probably more effective ), and is significantly more expensive.


You can rent or demo most any lens currently in production and decide for yourself.



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All those 50mm lenses, wow are you overthinking and over gear-heading it. Just get a 50mm Summicron and get to making photographs. If you find you are not producing with it, then I hate to say it but it is your headspace, not the lens.   The character is best portrayed in the actual photograph, not a magic bullet in the lens it self.

Wow Monochromatic, this is a "first world problem" of the highest order.   I have several 50mm M lenses.  A few Summicrons(V4 Midland is my fave) Summarit, Elmars, Nokton, a russian fake Elmar (very nice actually) ,and a Canon.  I love them all for their various charms.  I leave the intangible qualities to the content of the images.  A great picture isn't made by the lens, its apparent content,  what people see makes a great picture.  Most humans cant see the difference between an Elmar and a Su

One more of Santana - can't resist showing how good this lens really is! Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

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The locking tab was originally black but has worn to mostly silver.

Lens serial number: 228997


1968? Mine is from 1989 with a plastic focus tab. I would have preferred a focus tab like yours w/o infinity lock.

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With locking tab? Serial number would help the rest of us.


No problem... assuming you can read upside down and sideways. 


I'm no expert but from my understanding of the serial numbers, it is a v2 from 1969.  As you hopefully can see it does indeed have the locking metal tab.  Had no idea when I bought it, it was a apparently a more coveted version; simply thought all early S'luxes were all like this one. Just happened to luck out.  And as much as I dislike the locking, from what I've read since, I'm glad its not the plastic version.  Regardless, for the right situations its a little jewel of a lens. 


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Dud for how soft it was? If so, it is norm for this lens.

It was just not as described and in very poor shape as well as missing the caps and lens hood. It just wasn’t what I thought I was buying.

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Try and find a good one - an underrated lens IMHO- with ergonomics you may like....It’s not a soft lens by any means and at f2 I’m hard pushed to see a difference in sharpness to my Summicron V5. No focus shift either despite what I’ve read elsewhere...I paid £400 for mine in great shape with the hood.

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I see no need for f:1.4.  If 50, you'd be fine with a 2.8 like my current fav 50, Elmarit-M.  Fab lens





Don't take me wrong,

I assume you want to talk about Elmar-M 2.8/50 which is exception in naming not Elmarit-M

even if it's f 2.8 lens.


My EX favorite was Elmar-M 2.8/50mm, now I'm happy with Summarit-M 2.5/50 with rounder aperture, shorter/smaller, focus tab, without worrying about collapsing/uncollapsing,

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I suspect without prejudice that Leica Canada had 'unscheduled' parts by necessity to meet demand, thus the infinity lock on a few V2 Summilux 35mm. So it goes. I'm so happy with mine, which is like Tailwagger's. I'd likely be frustrated to find another. (This is my third)


(Note to self, "Do not drop this one!"

) Edited by pico
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If your budget is $1K 50/2.5 for maximum sharpness, 50/2/v2 for bokeh and character.

If your budget is $2.5K, 50/1.4/ASPH.  You can use it wide open for bokeh, and it is sharp across the range.

If your budget is $6K, 50/2/APO.  This would be my one 50mm if they start regulating how many 50s a person is allowed to own.


P.M. me if you want to try a few shots with one of the other 50's and if I have it on hand, I will bring it to the June Anaheim camera show.



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what was the constraint choosing between these lenses?  budget or quality?



So I've been through quite a few 50mm lenses in my time with Leica, perhaps that's one of the downfalls of having so many options, but as such I seem to be struggling to find one that really suits me. I might be close with the Elmar-M but even with my second copy there's just something... missing, something intangible.


So far I've tried the following 50s out.


From Leica:

50mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH - 11891

50mm f/2 Summicron-M V - 11826
50mm f/2 Summicron-M IV - 11819
50mm f/2.4 Summarit-M - 11680
50mm f/2.8 Elmar-M - 11831 x2
From Zeiss:
50mm f/1.5 C-Sonnar T*
50mm f/2 Planar T* x2
From Voigtlander:
50mm f/1.1 Nokton
50mm f/1.5 Nokton (LTM + M)
50mm f/2.5 Color Skopar LTM x2
From Konica:
50mm f/2 M-Hexanon
From Nikon:
5cm f/2 Nikkor-HC LTM
I just can't seem to find one that really sings to me. Each one has its merits and perhaps I'm being too picky since there ARE so many options, but as I try to hone in my lenses around ones that really speak to me, I want to get them locked in. For instance: I've grown quite fond of the 21mm Super Angulon and it is essentially mated to my M4, I love the way it draws, particularly for my black and white work and on the total opposite spectrum I'm growing more and more fond of my 35mm Summilux FLE. 
It's entirely possible that maybe I'm just in a season of life as a photographer where 50mm isn't "MY" focal length anymore and I just work with 21 and 35 for a while, who knows. But I suppose I'm just looking for something that seems missing. 
I'm sorry to write such a long and seemingly pointless post, I think I just needed a place to write down my thoughts. To those of you that find yourselves in similar positions having tried a multitude of lenses looking for "the one", did you ever find what you were looking for?


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I owned one of these for 10 years.  A spectacular, large and heavy lens, that results in razor sharp, clinical images.  However, I found myself typically grabbing a Summicron because of size considerations.


Okay it's large but not that large for its performance.  

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