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The Leica APO-Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH - First Impressions


Steven

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I have to confess that I'm prone to GAS.

After all the buzz about the new Apo 35 and especially its close focus ability I had to prevent myself from thoughts on how to get the lens, which lens to trade for a purchase etc. So I grabbed my M10-P and the only lens available in my household that is M mountable and has a close focus range of 0.3 m: the Elmarit-R 1:2.8/28 (II).

And I am calmed …for now.

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4 hours ago, budjames said:

!0 years from now, let;s guess what the used prices for these lenses might be. My bet is that the Leica will hold its value much better.

Regards,

Bud James

Please check out my fine art and travel photography at www.budjames.photography or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/budjamesphoto.

In ten years I'd expect to be either dead or droolingly close to it.........I buy my camera stuff to use now not to watch it accrue in value.

Edited by petermullett
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I have one suggestion for those of you trying to figure out a way to buy the new 35 APO, that will almost certainly have a more positive affect on your photography than a new lens:

(of course gear is fun too :) )

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42 minutes ago, Steven said:

I dont want to disagree with you again, but I do strongly disagree. A lens that produces a glow vs a lens that produces a hyper realistic look (which in my opinion are two main "Leica looks" the old one vs the new one) add a layer of emotion before the photographer gets to speak on top of it. 

Vive la difference.  My approach saves me a lot of money chasing gear.  Different lens/gear characteristics, sure, but so much more involved depending on myriad other steps and variables between shooting, editing, printing, lighting and display.

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S
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9 hours ago, Steven said:

It clicks nicely but it moves too easily in my opinion. The focus throw being so long (almost a full 360), you end up changing the aperture quite often while focusing at short distance. 

I suppose this is just a matter of getting used to. As with each new lens one buys. 

Inconsistent and loose aperture rings is seriously my #1 complaint about Leica lenses. Yes, even more than price 😂 My 50 Lux is clicky and sticky (although it won't stay fully wide open for more than a second), and my 21 SEM just flops around all over the place. It drives me nuts, and basically every other M lens manufacturer nails it.

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It is so much fun to read this thread - the angst, the joy, the anticipation of something new with the potential to unchain forever the bonds and limits to creativity that have caused our photographs to be mundane. Leica stuff has always been to die for. I shuddered a little bit when I saw the Leica collection marketed by Mykita (a luxury Germain eyewear brand) though I did see the promotion because I have purchased Mykita sunglasses, albeit during their 50% off sale. ;^)

I have already pre-ordered the VM Apo-Lanthar 35 f2. I am enjoying the apo-Lanthar 50 tremendously and expect to experience the same in the wider field. But I love lenses and know that I will drift back and forth between them for their different signatures depending on my mood and the occasion. I don't care to add one at this expense at this moment in my life. 

That said, I do think it is brilliant for Leica to combine the apochromatic and aspherical corrections with a close focus option - this may be the revolutionary aspect of this lens. Brilliant sharpness and contrast and the potential to get in close and present a subject with the dreamy shallow focus (though without the "dreamy" glow of spherical aberration, hopefully) when the mood calls for it. I am a huge fan of the old Apo Macro-Elmarit-R 100 2.8 on my SL for the same reasons. This is also a personality trait of Sigma's interesting autofocus 45 f2.8 dg dn, which will focus in as close as nine inches when called to, albeit with limitations to the sharpness and optical corrections. But it does make for very interesting and diverse picture taking.

I look forward to seeing the image thread for this lens grow to many pages.

Edited by Alan Friedman
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37 minutes ago, logan2z said:

I have one suggestion for those of you trying to figure out a way to buy the new 35 APO, that will almost certainly have a more positive affect on your photography than a new lens:

(of course gear is fun too :) )

This is so true for me.  LOL.  I am a B&W film shooter, so as a practical matter, shooting a larger negative has a greater impact on my printed images than using better lenses in the 135 format.

Obviously, a different situation for color-digital shooters with these excellent APO lenses.

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4 hours ago, David_miller70 said:

Has anybody seen uk stock or even pricing on this lens yet?

I was saving hard thinking about a monochrome but might have change my mind now. Not sure I am interested quite enough in B&W to justify the costs.

Thanks to everyone for a really interesting thread, especially Jono and Steve, which is lighting up my lockdown this week 🙂

Best, David

HI David

According to the Red Dot Camera  website it's £6,700 - but I don't know about availability, it seems to be shipping!

best

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4 minutes ago, petermullett said:

Or, take a workshop........

I've been making my living at producing images in photography and film for many decades, long enough to know just how to make an indifferent shot work perhaps and to please a client or myself, or both along the way.....BUT there's always room to learn from others be it in books or taking workshops that can help shove you out of the creative mire that's all to easy to sink into irrespective of how long you've been doing the dance. So yes Jeff, well pointed out.

I'm taking a workshop in Arles this year, one that was cancelled last year for obvious reasons, hoping now that it'll go ahead this time in May. Many colleagues and friends have wondered why I'd want to do this, haven't I conducted workshops myself and made a good living since the late '60's doing what I do, so why take a workshop? Well I think you learn by doing and you learn by being shown other ways to look at things especially if it's from outside of your own experience and yes, comfort zone. New gear however sharp and perfect will never do this for you, if you are a mediocre carpenter a top of the line hammer won't help you at all, but it'll look good damnit.

One of my favourite shots was made a long time ago on a M2 with a 50mm Elmar, both of which had seen hard use and better days and were close to being worthless in the condition they were in at that time. But here's the shot, out of focus, blurry image of a dog called Bill that I used to have...........Shot on Tri X pushed like crazy, very dim evening light on a Welsh beach probably raining too as it almost always was, but because of all of that that is what makes the shot work for me.

Lovely shot Peter - Excellent

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7 minutes ago, petermullett said:

Or, take a workshop........

I've been making my living at producing images in photography and film for many decades, long enough to know just how to make an indifferent shot work perhaps and to please a client or myself, or both along the way.....BUT there's always room to learn from others be it in books or taking workshops that can help shove you out of the creative mire that's all to easy to sink into irrespective of how long you've been doing the dance. So yes Jeff, well pointed out.

I'm taking a workshop in Arles this year, one that was cancelled last year for obvious reasons, hoping now that it'll go ahead this time in May. Many colleagues and friends have wondered why I'd want to do this, haven't I conducted workshops myself and made a good living since the late '60's doing what I do, so why take a workshop? Well I think you learn by doing and you learn by being shown other ways to look at things especially if it's from outside of your own experience and yes, comfort zone. New gear however sharp and perfect will never do this for you, if you are a mediocre carpenter a top of the line hammer won't help you at all, but it'll look good on your new tool belt damnit.

One of my favourite shots was made a long time ago on a M2 with a 50mm Elmar, both of which had seen hard use and better days and were close to being worthless in the condition they were in at that time. But here's the shot, out of focus, blurry image of a dog called Bill that I used to have...........Shot on Tri X pushed like crazy, very dim evening light on a Welsh beach probably raining too as it almost always was, but because of all of that that is what makes the shot work for me.

Awesome shot. You may have been able to get closer though with the new APO. :  ) 

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15 hours ago, Chriseto said:

I do think as a M user since 2004 and Sl since 2015 that the best of this new lens is its size and MFD for using it with the SL system. I don't see the point to buy it for a M. But I do for the SL. I don't like the size of the SL lenses. Too enormous. The Q cameras have the "best"  MFD with 17 cm, which gives with the 1,7 aperture a reason to hesitate for buying this new APO summicron 35. For 5000$ you get a Q2 with a very good 1,7/28 ASPH lens. 
You're right. choices

10 years from now the APO will be worth at least the same amount of money but the Q2 will be next to worthless which for some people is a consideration.

Not sure that would apply if leica went bust mind you.

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11 minutes ago, dkmoore said:

Awesome shot. You may have been able to get closer though with the new APO. :  ) 

And risk a dog jumping on your $8K lens?  😉

I bought an inexpensive Nikon FM/lens combo for shooting pictures of my dog.  If she destroys it I'm only out $150 :) 

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On 3/5/2021 at 12:07 AM, Steven said:

Clear resemblance 

Awesome! Looks so much like the little brother to the Q28lux.  Is the optical design similar or more to the SL35? I wonder why they didnt add a dual range feature instead of the long focus throw.

Hope to see more comparison pics and future review against the vm APO 35

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On 3/4/2021 at 12:49 PM, horosu said:

Of course, everything is relative, but to me, my Summilux 35/1.4 FLE of the M60 set, in stainless steel, which is 420 g, is certainly not light. 

 

Anyway, what this lens really means is that the next M will have LiveView

And perhaps a flip-out screen like the latest x100

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2 hours ago, petermullett said:

Or, take a workshop........

I've been making my living at producing images in photography and film for many decades, long enough to know just how to make an indifferent shot work perhaps and to please a client or myself, or both along the way.....BUT there's always room to learn from others be it in books or taking workshops that can help shove you out of the creative mire that's all to easy to sink into irrespective of how long you've been doing the dance. So yes Jeff, well pointed out.

I'm taking a workshop in Arles this year, one that was cancelled last year for obvious reasons, hoping now that it'll go ahead this time in May. Many colleagues and friends have wondered why I'd want to do this, haven't I conducted workshops myself and made a good living since the late '60's doing what I do, so why take a workshop? Well I think you learn by doing and you learn by being shown other ways to look at things especially if it's from outside of your own experience and yes, comfort zone. New gear however sharp and perfect will never do this for you, if you are a mediocre carpenter a top of the line hammer won't help you at all, but it'll look good on your new tool belt damnit.

One of my favourite shots was made a long time ago on a M2 with a 50mm Elmar, both of which had seen hard use and better days and were close to being worthless in the condition they were in at that time. But here's the shot, out of focus, blurry image of a dog called Bill that I used to have...........Shot on Tri X pushed like crazy, very dim evening light on a Welsh beach probably raining too as it almost always was, but because of all of that that is what makes the shot work for me.

Stunning photo… thanks for sharing.

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11 hours ago, jonoslack said:

 

Hi Tom

do you mean these pictures? Otherwise I’m confused - these are both from the reviews of the respective lenses (as Tailwagger says).

But I also agree with a previous post of Tailwagger’s, which is that there is a ‘look’ about the Leica APO lenses which their ‘normal’ aspherical modern lenses do not show, it’s more obvious at wider apertures, but it’s a kind of ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ look, with very detailed in focus areas and much gentler with lower contrast when even slightly out of focus. It certainly goes back to the 75 APO (still an old favourite of mine) I also think it’s demonstrated by all the new SL lenses. A different dialect perhaps?

I don’t think these images really demonstrate it so much (they were both shot at smaller apertures) perhaps they just represent the ‘Iron Fist’!

All the best

The linked pictures to me were the new clear-sharp aesthetic on Slack's site.  The ones you put up on Leica Camera Forum were the older more atmospheric aesthetic.  I liked yours, the dog and the landscapes better.  I realize many people are into the new super-clear-sharp trend though… it has its place. . 

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