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White Buffalo

28mm: Summilux vs Summicron

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I think the next lens I will add is a 28mm. It's a focal length I struggled with for years on my SLR rig. I owned one for maybe a decade before I really started to give it a chance only a couple months ago. It always felt neither here nor there, but in the last two months I've really come to love the field of view it offers and so now I find myself researching the various Leica offerings in the focal length. At first I thought about the venerable Elemarit, but then kept reading such incredible things about the Summicron 28 and so became very interested in that one- it seemed to be the one to get. Then tonight I just started reading a little about the Summilux version and now find myself intrigued by it. Here's the thing though, I will seldom if ever shoot at 1.4 (or even 2 for that matter)- so from that angle a 1.4 would be wasted on me of course. Extra stop of light aside- and assuming we're shooting @ f/3.5-, how different will the overall rendering of the Lux and Cron be? I know the playing field evens once you stop down, but surely there must exist some differences? Would really be curious to hear from those that've extensively auditioned both lenses. I'm of course well aware of the added bulk and price premium associated to the Summilux, however neither of those things are too major an issue- I really just want to pick the 'better' (subjective, I know) lens... Everything I've heard about the Summicron has me salivating for one, but maybe I just haven't heard as much about the Summilux because it costs so much more? I currently only have one lens, the APO-50, and will be shooting on an M-A. I mostly shoot portraits. Oh and I'm talking about the v2 ASPH Cron. 

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I was never a fan of the 28mm focal length until the Summilux— now, I often head out for the day with just the 28 lux and a 50mm. The 1.4 aperture allows you a bit more subject separation, which coupled with the wide FOV, seems to “float” the subject in a deeper looking space. Calling it “3D” doesn’t quite capture the unique look. The 28 Summilux is kind of in a Goldilocks zone to produce this— the 24 Summilux has too much DOF, the 35 luxes do not have the same wide FOV.

 

 

Edited by mdg1371

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48 minutes ago, mdg1371 said:

I was never a fan of the 28mm focal length until the Summilux— now, I often head out for the day with just the 28 lux and a 50mm. The 1.4 aperture allows you a bit more subject separation, which coupled with the wide FOV, seems to “float” the subject in a deeper looking space. Calling it “3D” doesn’t quite capture the unique look. The 28 Summilux is kind of in a Goldilocks zone to produce this— the 24 Summilux has too much DOF, the 35 luxes do not have the same wide FOV.

 

 

Was it just having that faster speed and extra separation that made you a fan? I'd imagine so as the FOV is the same amid all 28's. It's an odd length for sure (imo) and took me the better part of a decade to actually start utilizing- and suddenly I don't think I could be without it. I myself never shoot wide open so wonder if the Lux would otherwise be wasted on me or if the rendering is actually somehow different/"better" even at apertures like 3.5-5.6 to warrant getting it over the Cron. 

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I have both, although my Summicron ASPH is the v1 version.

If you are going to use primarily aperture values between f/4 (there are no click stops on these lenses for f/3.5 😉) and f/5.6, I'd stick to the Summicron - or the Elmarit. Just MHO.

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White Buffalo,  I have owned both Leica 28mm M Summilux and Summicron V2.  I came to the conclusion for me, the 28mm is not my lens for my genre of photography.  It is a difficult choice when it comes to the two lenses as both are superb.  It will get down to your personal taste and desire for your genre of photography.  I do suggest you read these two articles, if you haven't already done so.  I think you will find them interesting and might be helpful.  

Try:  https://www.streetsilhouettes.com/home/2017/3/12/quick-comparison-two-generations-of-leica-28mm-lenses

Try:  https://www.streetsilhouettes.com/home/2016/7/31/28mm-summilux-part-2-in-bright-daylight-and-on-the-street

r/ Mark

Edited by LeicaR10

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The summicron is a great lens with solid performance. No CA.

The summilux offers a unique look wide open with visibly better subject isolation and fantastic micro contrast.

It really depends on your usage. If you hardly ever use the lens wide open, the Summicron is the better choice.

 

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I own the Lux and an old 5.6 Summaron (LTM). You mention that you will be using your lens on a M-A so I have added some thoughts in that context.

The Summaron is very light, compact and has its own charm. You hardly notice it on your M body. In daylight on film (400/800 ASA), it is fine but it becomes more challenging when the light disappears and you are stuck with f5.6. That's where the Lux comes in - I will take it when I know I will be shooting later in the day / with less light or if I want more separation in my shots. I have become a huge fan of the Lux - it is a great lens. Larger and more bulky but it still handles like a dream on my MP.

So if you need the speed or additional separation (wide open) in your shots, consider the Lux. If you don't need this, the Cron is likely the better choice. If you don't know - the Lux is the safest option :)

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The 28 lux is perhaps my favorite lens.  It renders so beautifully wide open.  I've had it since 2015 and use it a lot while traveling, sometimes taking it as my only lens.  But... it's big and heavy and bulky and doesn't balance well on the M, and by the end of the day one suffers from its uncomfortable weight and size.  I also have the retro 28 Summaron 5.6, also a wonderful little lens but renders so very differently.  I use it in daylight and love how tiny it is and how fun it is to use.  Only downside is the 1m MFD and a little cramped ergonomics.  I am thinking of getting the 28 Summicron because I like its size (similar to the 35 FLE), and looking at photos on flickr I do like its rendering, especially in B&W.  But I will never part with the 28 lux!

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I’ve not used the Summilux though I have been tempted. The Summicron is my favorite lens and 28mm is my favorite focal length. I shoot film. 

As I mentioned, I’ve been very tempted by the Summilux, and I still might give in one day, but after reading every review I can find and looking at lots of pictures, the Summicron seems better behaved and is a lot smaller. If you aren’t going to go to f/1.4, why bother with the larger lens?

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If highest lens performance is what you're after then you should prefer the (current) Summicron-M 28 mm Asph over the Summilux. According to the official data sheets, the Summicron has better MTF at f/2.8 and f/5.6 and more benign distortion (slightly barrel-shaped; the Summilux's is no stronger but wave-formed). However, all these differences are minuscule and basically imperceptible in real life. On the other hand, when shooting film then having another stop of light can be very useful at times, even when you don't shoot at wide apertures often.

I shoot both film and digital, was very tempted by the Summilux-M 28 mm Asph (which really is a marvellous lens), and got the Summicron eventually (which also is a marvellous lens). The reasons were bulk, weight, viewfinder obstruction, and filter size.

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I am not sure how much I would trust the MTF graphs...

For example, I frequently switch between the 28mm Summicron V2 and 35mm Summilux. Based on the MTF graphs, the 35LUX should be worse for sharpness in the centre, but in practise it out performs the Summicron (though note that the difference is small enough that boosting sharpening/clarity a little is enough to make it impossible to tell the difference). This might be because the highest resolution MTF lines only correspond to 40LP, which is a lot less than even a 24MP digital sensor can resolve.

I would add that it took some effort to get a 28mm Summicron that worked properly. The first copy had massive field curvature and very poor sharpness. The exchanged lens had some (minor) back-focus, which was corrected with a service pass.

Where the Summicron shines is in its lack of sins and nice background rendering. Colour fringing is almost entirely non-existent, and performance is very very even across the frame, even in the extreme corners. It is my most used lens on film. Ergonomics and handling are just about perfect.

I had intended to replace the 28CRON with a 28LUX. When I tried the faster lens I preferred the rendering (save for the purple fringing) and the extra stop for shooting film at night. But the size and finder blockage were more than I was comfortable with, so I compromised with the 35LUX for times when I really needed the extra speed.

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On 9/13/2019 at 8:32 AM, Mark II said:

I would add that it took some effort to get a 28mm Summicron that worked properly. The first copy had massive field curvature and very poor sharpness. The exchanged lens had some (minor) back-focus, which was corrected with a service pass.

...I had similar experience, thought after service everything was great.

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