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35mm: Summilux FLE or APO-Summicron?


kengai
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Lens C

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Lens A is FLE 

Lens B is APO 

Lens C is pre-asph

In practice, there are differences between the FLE and the APO, but if I don't compare the same shot side by side I have a very hard time distinguishing the two. If one is happy with the FLE then I'm not sure there is a need for the APO. 

If on the other hand one wants the absolute latest in resolution, contrast, color saturation, convenient size, and 0.3m focusing, then the APO is the lens to have. 

On a final note, I find surprising how good the pre-asph summilux performs at f/2. Surely a bit softer overall, but certainly a wonderful lens on its own.

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Many thanks for your comparison! Confirms my impression that B is the APO due to its amazing clarity, popup of the zone in focus, both recognisable characteristics of this lens.

C (pre-ash) is also impressive considering its age and compact size! though I really never bonded with its bokeh; in that respect I prefer the FLE as a 1.4 

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To me, the pre-asph is simply astonishing: diminutive in size, very sharp from f2 on and 1.4, if you really need it. 

It's only problem, to me, is the lack of a filter thread- I never bonded with hoods.

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8 hours ago, lct said:

Interesting thank you. Any flare comparison? Just curious.

I need the Sun to do that, so it will have to wait. I have never been bothered by flare on any lens, I think it can sometimes add to the image, I rarely use hoods (although the hood of the APO is very nice). In any way, I'll try and do some rough comparisons once I get the right conditions.

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4 hours ago, rtai said:

C at first glance stood out as the most pleasing and 3D. Which version Pre-A? Steel rim, Canada or most recent Wetzler? 

Canada, from 1979. Interestingly enough, I had a Wetzlar one and found this one to be optically a better lens overall (e.g., sharper) so the Wetzlar one had to go. I know in general late German ones are thought to be better, but in my experience it was the other way around with the two samples I had. It's not going anywhere, but I think it's silly of me to have both the FLE and the APO, so I have to decide which one to let go, hence trying to make sense of these tests that I've done (posted) above.

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15 minutes ago, smkoush said:

Canada, from 1979. Interestingly enough, I had a Wetzlar one and found this one to be optically a better lens overall (e.g., sharper) so the Wetzlar one had to go. I know in general late German ones are thought to be better, but in my experience it was the other way around with the two samples I had. It's not going anywhere, but I think it's silly of me to have both the FLE and the APO, so I have to decide which one to let go, hence trying to make sense of these tests that I've done (posted) above.

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Your Canadian version is special indeed. I have come to appreciate the Canadian 35mm Summilux later in life. When I didn’t know better the ones I tried were unusable at f1.4 and I thought they were broken. Now I enjoy the special feature when I needed it and stop down to f2.8 for normal shooting.  And thank you for saving me $9000. :)

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I have the Canadian 35 pre-asph also, and marvel at its size after having used Nikon and Canon 35mm f/1.4 lenses. However, I do like to shoot wide open at times and I find the "glow" annoying on digital. (On black and white film it's another story). I was just about to part-exchange it to buy an FLE, but your post has made me think again.

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I just posted this on the old lens on monochrom thread. M10M 35mm Summilux Canada at f/1.4. The glow and tones worked well for this random shot last night around my neighborhood. Shot in JPEG mode with some contrast adjustments. 

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Posted (edited)

Many thanks for your efforts smkoush, it was an interesting exercise!  I figured out  the images off the pre-ASPH, but got the M APO and FLE round the wrong way, admittedly just looking on a small iPhone screen, however.

On my side, I tried the M 35 APO on my M10 Monochrom recently, and my immediate reaction was just how wonderfully small the lens was, and I had the impression the compact lens hood was very cleverly designed and also looks like it would protect the front glass element really well.

Image quality of what I took with the 35 APO was impeccable, of course, but so is the image quality off my Voigtlander 50mm APO Lanthar, and I’ve been considering its 35mm APO Lanthar sibling too. The difference with these Voigtlanders are they’re really quite a bit longer than their M APO Summicron equivalents, and it was lovely to use such a well-balanced and short lens lens as the 35 APO Summicron on my M10M the other day. Decisions, decisions!

 

 

 

Edited by Jon Warwick
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The pre-asph Summilux is a very unique and magnificent lens on its own right (e.g., the lovely image posted by rtai above), and does not compare with the APO or the FLE.

The APO and the FLE are more similar than different. Both produce very pleasing images across the frame. The APO is sharper on the edges (as is expected given the MTF curves provided by Leica). I find the differences on axis to be less pronounced between the two, except for the APO aspect of the APO which is visible when an object is backlit (but easily corrected in post processing). 

If one needs sharp images with nice bokeh at f/1.4 the FLE is the lens to have. Small, versatile, with excellent image quality and truly wonderful at f/1.4. Also significantly cheaper than the APO. 

If the need is for crisp saturated sharpness across the entire frame at the expense of a stop then the APO is the lens to have. Images taken with the APO are stunning, and indeed it is the better lens in my opinion. Color saturation in the APO does give more of a "pop". It is not at all sterile, or clinical, but it provides a gorgeous rendition, all the way down to 0.3m. It's small size and cleverly designed hood as mentioned by Jon are extremely valuable aspects in my opinion compared to competing lenses from other manufacturers. 

 

 

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11 hours ago, smkoush said:

The pre-asph Summilux is a very unique and magnificent lens on its own right (e.g., the lovely image posted by rtai above), and does not compare with the APO or the FLE.

The APO and the FLE are more similar than different. Both produce very pleasing images across the frame. The APO is sharper on the edges (as is expected given the MTF curves provided by Leica). I find the differences on axis to be less pronounced between the two, except for the APO aspect of the APO which is visible when an object is backlit (but easily corrected in post processing). 

If one needs sharp images with nice bokeh at f/1.4 the FLE is the lens to have. Small, versatile, with excellent image quality and truly wonderful at f/1.4. Also significantly cheaper than the APO. 

If the need is for crisp saturated sharpness across the entire frame at the expense of a stop then the APO is the lens to have. Images taken with the APO are stunning, and indeed it is the better lens in my opinion. Color saturation in the APO does give more of a "pop". It is not at all sterile, or clinical, but it provides a gorgeous rendition, all the way down to 0.3m. It's small size and cleverly designed hood as mentioned by Jon are extremely valuable aspects in my opinion compared to competing lenses from other manufacturers.

 

Great comparison, thanks @smkoush

I couldn’t pick the pre-asph from the APO (C & B, respectively), but I picked the FLE immediately.  I sold mine as I really didn’t like the out of focus areas, particularly highlights.  If you look at the white guttering on the roof in the centre left of picture A, you will see a double outline.  The out of focus areas with the FLE always struck me as busy and harsh.

Conversely, the pre-asph and APO are very smooth.  My only problem with my pre-asph is it flares very easily - nasty counter-veiling flare if the sun gets across the front element.  I’d add I’m not a huge fan of the “Leica glow” either - just looks like a flaw to me.  Stopped down a bit, it’s very nice.  I rather see it as a nice companion to the 75 Summillux.

APO is out of reach at the moment.  I am considering shedding a few lenses to rationalise my gear - that might change things.

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Thanks @smkoush

from the comparison, to my needs i see no advantage of the FLE over the apo at 1.4 but it might differ when shot portrait widest open.. but then the apo can actually closer focus which might be another benefits for me… 

life not getting simpler after this

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On 8/27/2022 at 5:07 AM, jakontil said:

Thanks @smkoush

from the comparison, to my needs i see no advantage of the FLE over the apo at 1.4 but it might differ when shot portrait widest open.. but then the apo can actually closer focus which might be another benefits for me… 

life not getting simpler after this

The one obvious advantage of the FLE over the APO at 1.4 is that it actually DOES 1.4...😇

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