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What M lens is missing - what lens should Leica invent soon?


Al Brown

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Do a 35mm classic remake, either:

- summicron 8 elements

- summilux steel rim

 

And in general, Leica could approach lens design by offering:

- Highest performing APO / ASPH designs (current lineup seems to focus on this mostly while deprioritizing size/weight)

- Focus on small size & well balanced performance for people that just enjoy more classic rendering & lightweight & don't spend time worrying too much about MTF graphs. This could be by either countinuing to invest in the classic remakes or by creating a summaron / elmar line & offer f2.8 options for 35mm/50mm

I actually don't enjoy modern leica glass because it's either too large, too heavy or the rendering is too clinical. Leica is losing the size/weight benefit especially now when Fuji mirrorless cameras are as small and much lighter..so yeah, it could be nice to see Leica return to the design philosophy of their golden years (50s~60s). 

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New arena -- 
50mm to 65mm MACRO lens.
24mm F2 with built-in frame line on the M, accordingly
21mm F2 with built-in frame line on the M, accordingly


Classic design -- such as Summicron 35mm V1, 50mm V1/V2
Vintage revival is a great idea, but please, please don't alter anything on the original optical design.
I appreciated the modern ergonomic and mechanism, but the optical calibrations are much too good, too perfect at all.
BTW, the imperfection beauty of the old fashion chemistry and mathematics are more than good enough., these are the core competencies where your competitors fall behind. Not much you can do except the top-level calibrations technics.

Edited by Erato
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2 hours ago, rramesh said:

Bring back the Summarit lineup. There was nothing wrong with the lenses. Just bad marketing. 

Or a line of Elmarits that focus to 0.7m. At the moment we just have the 28mm.

21mm Summicron would be nice as well. 
 

Would definitely welcome a consistently sized and proportionate line of lenses that are all around 200grams. 

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4 hours ago, Jeff S said:

Would you replace your original for any particular reason?

Jeff

Hi, Jeff. No, would never part from it. I'm satisfied with every aspect of it. Plus, it's built like a bank vault - really precise, overbuilt even. It's like a piece of art. And I like the fact that it's considerably older than I am.

How are you getting on with yours, would you swap it for a new retro version?

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13 hours ago, colint544 said:

I'm interested to see what the rumoured re-issue of the 35 Summaron 2.8 will be like. Small lenses make the Leica M handle so nicely.

I wasn’t aware of this. I would buy one in a heartbeat to compare with my two existing 35 Summarons. 

Lenses of this size really do make a Leica M handle beautifully. The brass construction and build quality of the Summaron, and other lenses of that era, is also in another league compared with later aluminium bodied lenses. 

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11 minutes ago, Mute-on said:

I wasn’t aware of this. I would buy one in a heartbeat to compare with my two existing 35 Summarons. 

Lenses of this size really do make a Leica M handle beautifully. The brass construction and build quality of the Summaron, and other lenses of that era, is also in another league compared with later aluminium bodied lenses. 

It seems likely that the next retro Leica lens in the pipeline might be a re-issue of the 35 Summaron 2.8. I agree, the Leica M handles brilliantly with this little lens on it. It's sort of the very gestalt  of the Leica/Leitz philosophy -  compact, easily portable, high quality optics.

What I'm curious about is how the re-issue will compare to the original lens. I have six Leica M lenses - three modern aspherical designs, and three vintage ones, from the 1960's. By miles, the diminutive Summaron 2.8 is the best made one, it's like a monument to how good a manufactured object can be, and it renders beautifully. It's kind of perfect, and I wonder if Leica are prepared to build something of that quality again.

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11 minutes ago, pedaes said:

Look at the three lenses available so far to get an idea. I would say pretty close in all aspects.

Yes - I think they're onto a winner with these re-issues. Definitely nice to have the option of a brand new version of a vintage lens. And in many cases, cheaper than the original versions.

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16 minutes ago, colint544 said:

Yes - I think they're onto a winner with these re-issues. Definitely nice to have the option of a brand new version of a vintage lens. And in many cases, cheaper than the original versions.

Agree totally. The other big benefit is it removes worry about haze and fungus in the originals, and the former is more prevalent than many acknowledge.

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7 minutes ago, stephen.w said:

The Zeiss 35 2.8 C-Biogon is quite close to a modern version of this lens.

This lens is one of the 'sharpest', if not the 'sharpest', available. It is much underrated and passed over because it is a f2.8, but I think there is no similarity in the way it draws with a 35mm Summaron.

Edited by pedaes
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4 minutes ago, pedaes said:

This lens is one of the 'sharpest', if not the 'sharpest', available. It is much underrated and passed over because it is a f2.8, but I think there is no similarity in the way it draws with a 35mm Summaron.

I really just meant that they are similar in terms of lens design philosophy: small, sharp, well-made, comparatively cheap.

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39 minutes ago, stephen.w said:

I'd like a 50mm 1.5 Summarit in M-mount.

I had it in M mount. It is in fact a Cooke / Taylor, Taylor & Hobson lens. Cooke Optics has confirmed this to me personally.

Edited by Al Brown
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The only real "hole" I see in the M lineup - assuming the 35 Summaron is real, and with the end of the 90 Summarit, is a 90mm f/2.8.

I'd like to see (and would buy, even at "new Leica" prices) not necessarily a re-issue, but a rethinking of the 90mm Tele-Elmarit-M.

E39, 225 grams, f/2.8, only 50% longer than the 50 Summicron v.5 (67mm long). The only really M-sized (i.e. pocketable) 90 faster than f/4.0 that Leica ever made.

But with better quality control than in the 70s/80s (I've used copies that are all over the map in terms of f/2.8 resolution, from astounding to "Lomo-esque"). Better baffling inside the barrel to avoid the famous flare issue (that no lens hood could ever really solve).

A great little lens if one has "solved" the shorter focal lengths. And just wants something tiny-light-but-fast to complete an "M2 set" (35/50/90) or a "photojournalists' set" (21-24-28/35/90). Or just for light-weight hiking and travel use.

Back in the day (1990), Leica replaced it with an R lens (because it was already designed - and very good). But that was always a bit oversized for an M. And the Summarit kept the larger E46 form-factor. I'm sure Leica could do better now, with their APO/ASPH bag of tricks.

http://joerivanderkloet.com/the-leica-90-tele-elmarit-review-a-fine-vintage-for-a-good-price/

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3 hours ago, colint544 said:

Hi, Jeff. No, would never part from it. I'm satisfied with every aspect of it. Plus, it's built like a bank vault - really precise, overbuilt even. It's like a piece of art. And I like the fact that it's considerably older than I am.

How are you getting on with yours, would you swap it for a new retro version?

Also no reason for me to switch, Colin, even though, unlike you, I’m considerably older than the lens!.  Unfortunately all of my photography, especially with my M system, has been significantly curtailed during the pandemic.  But I’ve enjoyed the lens while I’ve had the opportunity to use it.  The infinity lock hasn’t seemed natural to me, though, but I suppose that will change with repetition.  More gear is not an issue for me lately; using the terrific equipment I have is the problem.

Stay safe,

Jeff

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