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On the fence about buying the 50 SL Summilux…..


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I’ve got the 35 & 75 SL Summicrons and absolutely love the look they provide. But my fave Leica lens for every day use was the 50 M Summilux in terms of size, rendering & focal length. It would be great to get that look, even sharper, with the SL benefits. 
 

So, I’ve been considering the 50 SL Lux (used). I’ve read every thread here on the lens, all the reviews, and it seems very split down the middle. Nothing but good things about the images the lens can produce, super sharp, downside is size (my primary concern) & slow autofocus (which doesn’t bother me). I know some people have mentioned how they switched to the 50 SL Summicron and have been very happy, but I think if I’m gonna get an SL 50, it would make more sense to get the Lux, given that I already have a 35 and 75 Summicron SLs.

I do mostly environmental portraiture, I do like to shoot at 1.4, but I venture out in NYC with one camera, one lens to be spontaneous. I’m wondering if there is anybody out there with a similar usage case to me that might chime in on owning the 50 SL Lux. For some reason I’m still not convinced I should purchase one, largely because of the size.

I had been considering a 50 Noctilux but I came to my senses 😁. Thanks in advance to anybody who provides an opinion!

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Not sure if this helps -- here's a portrait with the 50mm SL Summicron: Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

It's a special lens, yes it's bulky, large and heavy, but every time I use it, l am completely blown away by the results. Beauty comes with a price 😉. Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

I don't think the SL 50mm Summilux is at all like the M version. For a start the SL version is slightly wider (most M 50's are actually 52mm), so there's that. Of the current Leica 50's I like the look of the SL50 Summilux the most. The SL50 .14 is better than the M version away from the center, especially on the SL body and it has no mid zone dip. Flare is nicer on the SL version and can be used as an aesthetic choice. It has a small amount od CA wide open but that disappears quickly. I ha

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It is big and it is heavy. Sufficiently so that you end up holding the lens, more than the camera. Add the hood, and it's a very large package. But it does image gorgeously. 

Do you still own the 50 M Lux? If so, are you using it much on the SL?

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The SL Summilux renders in what I find to be a particularly attractive way, but others prefer the SL Summicron 50mm.  I suggest that you ok at some images from both and see which you prefer.  (The sharpness difference are not the main distinguishing feature of the two lenses, leaving the physical attributes to one side.)

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1 hour ago, Alistairm said:

It is big and it is heavy. Sufficiently so that you end up holding the lens, more than the camera. Add the hood, and it's a very large package. But it does image gorgeously. 

Do you still own the 50 M Lux? If so, are you using it much on the SL?

Sold it to finance the 35SL, which is amazing, but a very different thing obviously.

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1 hour ago, jrp said:

The SL Summilux renders in what I find to be a particularly attractive way, but others prefer the SL Summicron 50mm.  I suggest that you ok at some images from both and see which you prefer.  (The sharpness difference are not the main distinguishing feature of the two lenses, leaving the physical attributes to one side.)

Yeah I figure the Summicron 50 renders like the 35 & 75 SL (which I own) that’s why I was leaning towards the Lux for my 50.

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Trickness,   You will find the 50 Summilux SL to be superb.  It renders a cross between the 50 Noctilux .95 and 50 APO Summicron.  The bokeh is most excellent and renders unlike anything out there.  As you wrote, it is big and bulky, but the resulting photographs will have a unique signature.  As you are well aware, the SL lenses render differently than M lenses and there is a distinct rendering difference between the 50 APO Summicron SL and 50 Summilux SL.  I think you will be quite happy with your choice.  I know both myself and clients are for sure.   r/ Mark

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I prefer the Summilux look for portrait.

It is as large and heavy , I went back to the summilux-M for size and usage on M camera too.

I have a test images comparing Noctilux, SummiluxM and Summicron-SL 50's the difference is not just bokeh, the Noctilux has a look that is different even at f2 from the other lenses. I find the 50 Summicron-SL a little boring for portraits.

Looking at a 50 1.4 AF I would consider the Lumix S Pro, optically renders almost the same. AF a little better and smaller body.

the Summilux-SL was terrible in the beginning in AF performance, many firmware updates have improved it and find it good. but taking around NYC for quick AF street photos is tricky .

 

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If you are willing to spend that much money, perhaps a 50mm 1.4 Summilux R E60? That has the best rendering of any 50mm I have used for portraits, and it is much more compact and lighter than the SL Summilux. It will not have the same sharpness or AF, but it is a lens with a very beautiful rendering, and the handling on the SL should be great. I wish I still had mine, but I sold it in 2010 when I got in the S system...

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I prefer the rendering of the 50/1.4, but it is heavy and big. I wanted to sell it after getting the 50 Summicron, but so far felt I should not give up the 50 Summilux.

I find it has a smoother and special look, even if the 50 Summicron is maybe more perfect and has a much better size.

The Summicron size makes the combo of camera and lens much more enjoyable though. That why - in the end - I use the Summicron more often.

good luck with your decision.

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6 hours ago, jrp said:

Yeah his review is weird, he spends the entire article saying that you can’t tell the difference between images from either the M or the SL versions of the 50 Summilux (really?) then at the end he says in kind of an offhand way that he likes the SL version better.

I kind of enjoy his blog but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single photograph that he’s taken on there that is anything other than some Russian model eating ice cream or shopping at 1.4 😆

 

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18 hours ago, LeicaR10 said:

Trickness,   You will find the 50 Summilux SL to be superb.  It renders a cross between the 50 Noctilux .95 and 50 APO Summicron.  The bokeh is most excellent and renders unlike anything out there.  As you wrote, it is big and bulky, but the resulting photographs will have a unique signature.  As you are well aware, the SL lenses render differently than M lenses and there is a distinct rendering difference between the 50 APO Summicron SL and 50 Summilux SL.  I think you will be quite happy with your choice.  I know both myself and clients are for sure.   r/ Mark

Thanks for the feedback Mark, really helpful! And thanks to everyone who has posted their thoughts so far, I truly appreciate it

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You know about the size and weight - it is what it is - so the question is: do you want Summilux quality and rendering at f1.4 coupled with the convenience of autofocus?  I sold my SL Summilux when I bought the 75mm Summicron and have regretted it ever since!  It really is a lovely lens for portraiture but maybe not for carrying around all day for street.

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I don't think the SL 50mm Summilux is at all like the M version. For a start the SL version is slightly wider (most M 50's are actually 52mm), so there's that. Of the current Leica 50's I like the look of the SL50 Summilux the most. The SL50 .14 is better than the M version away from the center, especially on the SL body and it has no mid zone dip. Flare is nicer on the SL version and can be used as an aesthetic choice. It has a small amount od CA wide open but that disappears quickly.

I have the SL Summilux, and Summicron as well as the M' lux. I had a Noct for about 7 years. Of all of them the 50SL is the lens I would keep. I think it's the best balanced lens in terms of sharpness, blur and fall off.

For run and gun photography it's the wrong choice. For candid street I'd always go with the fast focusing Summicron, unless you want to zone focus using the top display. For street *portraits* the Summilux would be my preferred option.

As for the weight. Yep. It's big and heavy. Much like having the 24-90 on the camera.  It'll add about 450 grams to your shoulder over the Summicron. It is well balanced on the body and handles well though. I use a sling strap which helps a lot.

Gordon

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7 minutes ago, FlashGordonPhotography said:

I don't think the SL 50mm Summilux is at all like the M version. For a start the SL version is slightly wider (most M 50's are actually 52mm), so there's that. Of the current Leica 50's I like the look of the SL50 Summilux the most. The SL50 .14 is better than the M version away from the center, especially on the SL body and it has no mid zone dip. Flare is nicer on the SL version and can be used as an aesthetic choice. It has a small amount od CA wide open but that disappears quickly.

I have the SL Summilux, and Summicron as well as the M' lux. I had a Noct for about 7 years. Of all of them the 50SL is the lens I would keep. I think it's the best balanced lens in terms of sharpness, blur and fall off.

For run and gun photography it's the wrong choice. For candid street I'd always go with the fast focusing Summicron, unless you want to zone focus using the top display. For street *portraits* the Summilux would be my preferred option.

As for the weight. Yep. It's big and heavy. Much like having the 24-90 on the camera.  It'll add about 450 grams to your shoulder over the Summicron. It is well balanced on the body and handles well though. I use a sling strap which helps a lot.

Gordon

My experience also, though when push came to shove, I kept the Noct 0.95 and sold the SL-50/1.4.  I do, however, hold firmly to the view that the 50 Summillux-SL is the best 50 Leica has made.  “Best” being my opinion - it is Leica’s reference 50.

(I should add that I have a few 50s - Summitar 50/2 (LTM), APO Summicron-M 50/1, Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH, Noctilux-M 50/0.95 and the 35 Summilux-TL, which is 50mm equivalent)

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1 hour ago, FlashGordonPhotography said:

I don't think the SL 50mm Summilux is at all like the M version. For a start the SL version is slightly wider (most M 50's are actually 52mm), so there's that. Of the current Leica 50's I like the look of the SL50 Summilux the most. The SL50 .14 is better than the M version away from the center, especially on the SL body and it has no mid zone dip. Flare is nicer on the SL version and can be used as an aesthetic choice. It has a small amount od CA wide open but that disappears quickly.

I have the SL Summilux, and Summicron as well as the M' lux. I had a Noct for about 7 years. Of all of them the 50SL is the lens I would keep. I think it's the best balanced lens in terms of sharpness, blur and fall off.

For run and gun photography it's the wrong choice. For candid street I'd always go with the fast focusing Summicron, unless you want to zone focus using the top display. For street *portraits* the Summilux would be my preferred option.

As for the weight. Yep. It's big and heavy. Much like having the 24-90 on the camera.  It'll add about 450 grams to your shoulder over the Summicron. It is well balanced on the body and handles well though. I use a sling strap which helps a lot.

Gordon

Very helpful Gordon, and spoken like somebody who sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. Much appreciate it

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55 minutes ago, IkarusJohn said:

My experience also, though when push came to shove, I kept the Noct 0.95 and sold the SL-50/1.4.  I do, however, hold firmly to the view that the 50 Summillux-SL is the best 50 Leica has made.  “Best” being my opinion - it is Leica’s reference 50.

(I should add that I have a few 50s - Summitar 50/2 (LTM), APO Summicron-M 50/1, Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH, Noctilux-M 50/0.95 and the 35 Summilux-TL, which is 50mm equivalent)

Yeah the Nocti - that’s kind of what I started looking at when I realized I needed a 50. But then I thought the 50 SL would be less than 1/2 the money and I wouldn’t be inclined to shoot only wide open all the time 😅

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I had no interest in the 0.95 Not when it was released.  I hated the images I saw online, and one member posted a picture of a Jaguar (I think it was) outside the Mayfair Leica shop, in bright sunlight it was all purple fringing.  I really wasn't interested.

Then I started to see images where people had used the aperture dial, and got the entire subject in focus, and I started to reconsider.  Yes, it's big on an M camera, and it is as tricky to focus as the 75 Summilux-M, but not that tricky and easier than the APO Summicron-M 75.  On a whim, I bought it.  On the SL, less to no purple fringeing (don't ask me why) and better balance than on the M cameras or the SL Summilux 50.  But, perhaps not as good as the SL Summilux if you're looking for differences.

It's an expensive beast, the Nocti, and not as good as the SL Summilux, but there is something about it.  Maybe it's just its reputation and bragging rights (not that anyone is even remotely interested), but I do like the balance and the feel of it on the SL.  It's also an all manual lens, which I rather like.

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11 minutes ago, IkarusJohn said:

I had no interest in the 0.95 Not when it was released.  I hated the images I saw online, and one member posted a picture of a Jaguar (I think it was) outside the Mayfair Leica shop, in bright sunlight it was all purple fringing.  I really wasn't interested.

Then I started to see images where people had used the aperture dial, and got the entire subject in focus, and I started to reconsider.  Yes, it's big on an M camera, and it is as tricky to focus as the 75 Summilux-M, but not that tricky and easier than the APO Summicron-M 75.  On a whim, I bought it.  On the SL, less to no purple fringeing (don't ask me why) and better balance than on the M cameras or the SL Summilux 50.  But, perhaps not as good as the SL Summilux if you're looking for differences.

It's an expensive beast, the Nocti, and not as good as the SL Summilux, but there is something about it.  Maybe it's just its reputation and bragging rights (not that anyone is even remotely interested), but I do like the balance and the feel of it on the SL.  It's also an all manual lens, which I rather like.

I like manual lenses too -  that 75 Noctilux makes me weak in the knees AND the wallet 😂

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