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Update on the 50mm M Summilux ASPH?


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The 50mm M Summilux ASPH is a fantastic lens as far as I'm concerned. I had one for a number of years, and liked it so much (for me, it effortlessly blends modern sharpness with old-school dreamy melting backgrounds in a compact design) I traded it in for the retro brass black chrome version when that was announced in 2015. At the time, Leica said they would only make 500 copies of the black chrome version, but I now think they were being cheeky. I'm betting they've made a lot more than 500 of those by now.

Anyway, the design of the 50mm Summilux ASPH goes back to 2004, a time when a digital M rangefinder camera was but a twinkle in Leica's eye. So it was designed to work best with film. But Is it due an update soon? I think it might be, simply because Leica always seem to re-visit designs, and push them further than is strictly necessary.

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The current 50/1.4 asph works fine on digital bodies for which new copies are calibrated since they are 6-bit coded so i would not hold my breath for an optical update. I'm not in the know though but version 2 of the 50/1.4 pre-asph lasted 30 years more or less if memory serves. 

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Yes - I think all Leica lenses work well on the digital bodies. That's one of the USPs of the Leica M system - no other manufacturer has that level of compatibility going back so far. I have a 1960 copy of the 35mm Summaron F2.8, which is one of my favourite lenses on the M Monochrom. Low contrast, super sharpness - really suits the modern digital M.

But Leica have already revised their 28mm Summicron ASPH design, which was put on the market in 2000, and their iconic 35mm Summicron ASPH from 1997. I just wonder if the 50mm Summilux ASPH might not be next, given that the two most important focal lengths for the M system are the 50mm and the 35mm.

Edited by colint544
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11 minutes ago, colint544 said:

But Leica have already revised their 28mm Summicron ASPH design, which was put on the market in 2000, and their iconic 35mm Summicron ASPH from 1997. I just wonder if the 50mm Summilux ASPH might not be next, given that the two most important focal lengths for the M system are the 50mm and the 35mm.

Sure but 28/2 v1 and 35/2 asph v1 were somewhat challenged on digital especially on corner rendition which is not the case of the 50/1.4 asph. I may be totally wrong though.

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I think you might well be right there. Lenses these days are so good that we've reached the point of diminishing returns. You have to spend a lot more just to get an incremental improvement.

But when Leica introduced the 35mm Summilux FLE, in 2010, to replace the already incredibly good previous version, you could see that we were entering a time when production runs of 30 or 40 years for a lens (i.e. -the original 50mm Summilux, which ran unchanged optically from 1960-2004) were being drastically shortened.

Edited by colint544
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The Summilux 35/1.4 asph pre-FLE had focus shift issues contrary to the 50/1.4 asph and the Summicron 50/2 non apo has the same optical design since 1979. I'd wager a bottle of Champagne vs a Lagavulin that the optical formula of the 50/1.4 asph won't change til 2020 at least. Bet accepted? 😄

 

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To get an idea about a new version of a 50mm Summilux one may look either at the size of the 50mm Summilux-SL or the price of the 50mm Summicron Apo. Asph. 

The Summilux-SL is better than its equivalent for the M. This was possible because the incomparably bigger size gave a lot of opportunities  for lens designers to move the limits.

With huge efforts one could do something like this with the much smaller design of the Summilux-M. They did so with the Summicron. But it will cost. Whoever expects a Super-Summilux for less than 8000,- Euro, should better wait for wonders without the name of Leica. 

One may also look at some threads where people ask whether you really see any difference between the Summilux asph and the Summicron Apo Asph.

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10 hours ago, colint544 said:

The 50mm M Summilux ASPH is a fantastic lens as far as I'm concerned. I had one for a number of years, and liked it so much (for me, it effortlessly blends modern sharpness with old-school dreamy melting backgrounds in a compact design) I traded it in for the retro brass black chrome version when that was announced in 2015. At the time, Leica said they would only make 500 copies of the black chrome version, but I now think they were being cheeky. I'm betting they've made a lot more than 500 of those by now.

Anyway, the design of the 50mm Summilux ASPH goes back to 2004, a time when a digital M rangefinder camera was but a twinkle in Leica's eye. So it was designed to work best with film. But Is it due an update soon? I think it might be, simply because Leica always seem to re-visit designs, and push them further than is strictly necessary.

I am curious, does IQ between black chrome and regular version identical?  I was debating which one to get but ended up with the black chrome #501 copy.   lol

 

 

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22 hours ago, evikne said:

While some look forward to future models, I look back. Today I ordered a 50mm Summilux pre-ASPH (11 868) from eBay. And I'm really looking forward to get it. 😊

+1. Congrats to your new lens. I'm positive you'll like it's classic look almost as much as you like your Noctilux.

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