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


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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.

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7 hours ago, Steven said:

Me neither. 
The way is see is that for 80% of the shots the two lens will perform equally, and most people wouldn’t see a difference at equal apertures. 
But sometimes, when the light is right, when the planet align, the APO can produce some very unbelievable photos, with an unparalleled 3D pop effect. 
 

I’ve once said the exact same thing about the Q2 vs the Ricoh GRIII. Most times, you could not tell the difference. But when the gods of photography are on your side, Leica rewards you. 

I was hoping not to see a difference either (for my wallets sake 🙂) but when using compare in Lightroom, magnified on my 5K LG monitor, I see a a noticeable difference in visual acuity in the trees silhouetted against the sky in the wide shot pics.  Could be just some slight jpg compression contributing at play but comparing apples to apples I’m seeing differences.  Thanks again for posting these and taking the time to shoot them.

Edited by RMF
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A negative observation about the APO 35 M ? While the high details that it resolves is an excellent point for chicken and dogs, is it too rough on faces ? Two DNG files below. The face might not even be in perfect focus, but it's really not a flattering amount of details ! 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1RIXBZKTIwcBiyAUJv2HB3AdbI7m60aqv?usp=sharing

Of course, I can't say this comes as a surprise with an APO lens, and it's not a "problem" that's only relevant to the 35 of the APO lineup. 

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2 hours ago, Steven said:

A negative observation about the APO 35 M ? While the high details that it resolves is an excellent point for chicken and dogs, is it too rough on faces ? Two DNG files below. The face might not even be in perfect focus, but it's really not a flattering amount of details ! 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1RIXBZKTIwcBiyAUJv2HB3AdbI7m60aqv?usp=sharing

Of course, I can't say this comes as a surprise with an APO lens, and it's not a "problem" that's only relevant to the 35 of the APO lineup. 

It's definitely in focus, as the crop shows. The main problem in my opinion is that it was taken in very harsh light.

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4 minutes ago, fotografr said:

It's definitely in focus, as the crop shows. The main problem in my opinion is that it was taken in very harsh light.

We can see little hair under her lip that (thankfully) we can't perceive in real life, and that we probably wouldn't perceive with a "regular" lens. And this was shot on an "only" 24MP sensor ! Dreadful. 

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Just now, Steven said:

We can see little hair under her lip that (thankfully) we can't perceive in real life, and that we probably wouldn't perceive with a "regular" lens. And this was shot on an "only" 24MP sensor ! Dreadful. 

 

1 minute ago, Steven said:

We can see little hair under her lip that (thankfully) we can't perceive in real life, and that we probably wouldn't perceive with a "regular" lens. And this was shot on an "only" 24MP sensor ! Dreadful. 

Agreed. She forgot to shave this morning. ;)

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17 hours ago, Steven said:

Me neither. 
The way is see is that for 80% of the shots the two lens will perform equally, and most people wouldn’t see a difference at equal apertures. 
But sometimes, when the light is right, when the planet align, the APO can produce some very unbelievable photos, with an unparalleled 3D pop effect. 
 

I’ve once said the exact same thing about the Q2 vs the Ricoh GRIII. Most times, you could not tell the difference. But when the gods of photography are on your side, Leica rewards you. 

I think I see some pretty big differences in these photos, even with a quick glance - much more clarity and contrast in the cron apo shots. In the bicycle photo you can see some of the typical odd and wavy plane-of-focus in the OOF parts of the 35 lux photo (see the relatively in-focus area on the walls to the far sides at the back, which one would expect to be more out-of-focus). 

Edited by gotium
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8 hours ago, Steven said:

A negative observation about the APO 35 M ? While the high details that it resolves is an excellent point for chicken and dogs, is it too rough on faces ? Two DNG files below. The face might not even be in perfect focus, but it's really not a flattering amount of details ! 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1RIXBZKTIwcBiyAUJv2HB3AdbI7m60aqv?usp=sharing

Of course, I can't say this comes as a surprise with an APO lens, and it's not a "problem" that's only relevant to the 35 of the APO lineup. 

Nothing wrong there!

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10 hours ago, Steven said:

We can see little hair under her lip that (thankfully) we can't perceive in real life, and that we probably wouldn't perceive with a "regular" lens. And this was shot on an "only" 24MP sensor ! Dreadful. 

Someone please chime in the full technical explanation, but my understanding is digital records detail - whether larger (like the outline of the head) or small (like the minuscule hair under the lip) with the same amount of contrast? Hence minuscule details such as that hair under the lip (or the finest of lines under people's eyes) become more prominent, both compared to how our eyes see the world, and also compared to how a film camera would have recorded it?

Whatever is the technical reason - it is for that observation that I find film in my Leica M7 gets me the "look" for portraits that I find closer to reality, and is also more pleasing to me.

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Just a quick thought triggered by a question from another thread. 

At this point, I believe that the APO is a lens that is particularly suited for the SL bodies.

First, because of the closer MFD mechanism. It just makes more sense with live view and an EVF

Second, because of ergonomics. Of course everything is relative, but it feels more like a compact lens on the SL. On the M, its rather on the big side, or at least the long side. It's as long as and FLE without the hood, even if its thinner and lighter. 

Third, I hesitated to talk about this. I prefer the way the lens renders on the SL than on the M. I hesitated to talk about this so soon because I cant quite put my finger on this yet and have trouble describing the feeling, and I also understand that this might open a bigger debate than the APO: the one of M lenses on SL bodies, and the way they render. To me, M lenses work exactly the same on an M and an SL, except for two lenses that render slightly differently on each body. The Summilux 35 pre asph, and now the 35 APO. It's very hard to explain, I'm sorry if I dont sound constructive. On the M, I think the lens lacks a bit of character, its just too clinical. I had similar complaints with the Cron ASPH, and that why I always used summiluxes that have more personality wide open. On the SL2S, however, I feel its a really special lens. It has that crazy 3D pop, hyper realistic look that I've often compared to the Q2 look. 

Anyway, just speaking out loud here, as I am realising that if I was to keep this lens, it'd probably be glued to my SL2 and it would never be my first, not second nor third choice on an M. It all started yesterday when I shot a few side by side of the APO and the Cron V4 in my M10P, and realised that I liked better the smudged corners of the V4 to the perfect image of the APO (Only true on the M, not the SL2). 

Cheers

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2 hours ago, Steven said:

Anyway, just speaking out loud here, as I am realising that if I was to keep this lens, it'd probably be glued to my SL2

That begs the question, why would one want to use the 35 Summicon-M APO on the SL2/SL2s when the 35mm Summicron-SL APO exits?
I'd be very interested to see a comparison of the two lenses on a SL2/SL2s. I do have the 35mm Summicron-SL APO, but not the M version (yet?).

Alain

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Looking at Steven's example of APO clinicalness run amok, perhaps even causing him to run to the return counter in despair...

my reaction to the picture is that it is a quick snap, and made a basic error.  her eyes and forehead are in shadow, while the mouth and chin are overly lit, perhaps overexposed.  Take the cap off, go into open shade, and the eyes will carry the picture.  Two strokes with the brush in PS and there are no blemishes in the skin, and the details in the hair will do the rest.  Don't blame the lens, just use the material that it presents a little better.

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1 hour ago, alainD said:

That begs the question, why would one want to use the 35 Summicon-M APO on the SL2/SL2s when the 35mm Summicron-SL APO exits?
I'd be very interested to see a comparison of the two lenses on a SL2/SL2s. I do have the 35mm Summicron-SL APO, but not the M version (yet?).

Alain

There is a very simple explanation to your question. I use my SL2S as a hybrid camera. 50% video 50% stills. You cannot shoot videos with the SL 35 APO. On the other hand, you can shoot exceptional video the APO 35 M. 

And then of course, as @lct hinted, size is a no brainer. 

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