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35mm Summilux ASPH pre-FLE


mcpallesen
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Hi all,

I’m currently shooting the (silver) 35mm Summicron ASPH v1 as my 35mm lens, but I’m considering the (silver) 35mm Summilux ASPH pre-FLE.

Some say it’s rendering is amazing and a lot better than both the FLE and Summicron ASPH.

I’m mainly worried about size, weight and balance on a M body (M10R BP), and if I will see any real life difference?

I don’t really need f/1.4 per say, so it’s mainly if I get much nicer draw and more gentle handling of light.

Some on these forums almost makes one believe that the 35Cron ASPH is a garbage lens, but I really like it so far, and love the size and ergos.

I won’t sell the Cron, this would be to add another 35mm - I have a M10M coming next week. 😊

Thoughts?

Best,

Mads

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Hi

I do not know the 35 Cron ASPH v1. The only 35mm lenses that I can say that I know are the 35 Cron v4 and the 35 Lux pre-FLE. My immediate comment on the pre-FLE is that I just love it. The two-lenses-in-one (one wide open with some softness and ¨bleeding¨ and just amazingly sharp when stopped down) really describes this lens. A true keeper! I am sure the FLE is ¨even better¨ but never thought about switching…

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Posted (edited)

Hello Mads,

as far as I know suffers the pre-FLE from some focus shift (the FLE should have some, too, but much less). Size wise they shouldn‘t be very different with the pre-FLE being a little bit smaller.

Concerning rendering - well, this is highly subjective. There are some people who don‘t like the Bokeh of the FLE, being sometimes a little bit harsh depending on the background.

If you are looking for a “more gentle handling of light” I would recommend the Voigtlander  Nokton f1.2 III. It’s on the large side of the M-mount lens spectrum, but it’s rendering is really nice. Another possible alternative could be the Voigtlander Nokton f1.4 II. It’s small, renders very classical and is very affordable.

I own the FLE-Summilux, the aspherical Cron V1 (like you) and the f1.4 Nokton II. And my most used 35mm lens for some time now is the Nokton😉. The FLE is a great lens, but personally I don’t like the size and the heavy vignetting. But this is my personal taste which is probably more or less different from yours😅.

Edited by Knipsknecht
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I had the pre-FLE for about a year, the rendering was simply sublime - I looked through samples from the FLE, Aspherical, various crons, Summarons, Summarits, Distagon, Biogon(c), Nokton, Ultron and Color-Skopar (essentially all except the Apo's, which weren't available back then) and the pre-FLE came joint top of that list for me with the Aspherical, which is unobtainable now. So if you're coming from a Cron ASPH v1 you will probably see a tangible difference esp at 1.4. I didn't shoot it at f2 enough to comment but from memory the rendering was great at all apertures. 

Two issues however, 1 moderate, 1 minor: 

1. Focus shift. The optical design that gives you the sublime rendering also guarantees this optical aberration. Depending on which aperture your copy is calibrated at, if at wide open, then problems will occur at 2-2.8, if calibrated at f2.8-4, then problems will happen at 1.4. There is no free lunch here, so do test the samples if it's in a shop or at the least ask questions about it if online, if possible. My copy was calibrated at the "wrong" aperture which made it a frustrating lens at times. 

2. Size. The Cron is really perfection in terms of size for the M and the pre-FLE was noticeably larger but manageable. If the Cron is in the sweet spot, then the pre-FLE is right on the edge of what's comfortable (for street shooting) imo. It's not a deal breaker by far, but I was conscious of the additional size/weight every time I put the Pre-FLE on. That said, this is all in relation to the cron. It's incomparably smaller than the Distagon or the Apo-Lanthar or the 28 Lux, all of which you really need to want those additional optical juice to carry them. Regarding hood, the 12466 is absolutely the coolest hood Leica makes, but it's also costly.. :) 

The pre-FLE went away only because I'm more of a 28 person. If I liked 35 more, this will be the only one I keep despite the frustration with focus shift, the rendering was worth the trouble. 

 

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May  I ask, what other focal lengths do you have for your M? I would rather spend on an an additional focal length  lens, rather than double up on what I have.

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10 minutes ago, wda said:

May  I ask, what other focal lengths do you have for your M? I would rather spend on an an additional focal length  lens, rather than double up on what I have.

I have 50mm Summicron V5 (silver chrome) and 28mm 2.8 Elmarit ASPH (black).

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I have owned and used all Leica 35mm lenses over the past 25 years including the ultra rare Summilux AA and will say without hesitation the 35mm Summilux Asph pre FLE is a fine fine lens. The pre-Asph is also a special lens. These two I kept. The rest I don’t miss.

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If you could live with a little front focusing at f/1.4, you could have the lens calibrated to f/2. Beyond f/2, the increased DOF will compensate for the slightly back focusing and you will hardly notice any focus shift.

I had my 50mm Summilux pre-ASPH calibrated that way, and it works great. When I purchased it, it was calibrated to f/1.4, and the back focusing was very prominent at f/2.8.

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Posted (edited)

I have an early silver version at Leica now getting 6 bit coded. Leica NJ just sent me a work order estimate for $600 because I also wanted them to tighten the focusing helicoil. Hard to believe this lens is 25 years old.  Used ones are going for way more than what I paid with the Leica Customer Care on top.

Edited by rtai
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2 hours ago, mcpallesen said:

I have 50mm Summicron V5 (silver chrome) and 28mm 2.8 Elmarit ASPH (black).

I would be tempted to add a 90mm lens to form a good spread and give you more options than doubling up your 35mm. Those 3 fls served me well for 35 years, and despite adding newer lenses, I still favour my originals to this day, 57 years later..

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29 minutes ago, wda said:

I would be tempted to add a 90mm lens to form a good spread and give you more options than doubling up your 35mm. Those 3 fls served me well for 35 years, and despite adding newer lenses, I still favour my originals to this day, 57 years later..

Which 90mm? 🙂

The rationale for two 35mm lenses was two M bodies (M10R BP and M10M coming next week), and as a main lens, nice to be able to have 35mm mounted on both bodies for documentary at home etc. 

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1 hour ago, mcpallesen said:

Which 90mm? 🙂

The rationale for two 35mm lenses was two M bodies (M10R BP and M10M coming next week), and as a main lens, nice to be able to have 35mm mounted on both bodies for documentary at home etc. 

Makes sense. Summicron for color and Summilux pre-FLE preferably with an orange or yellow filter for b/w. The pre-FLE will be a good match for the M10M. 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, rtai said:

Makes sense. Summicron for color and Summilux pre-FLE preferably with an orange or yellow filter for b/w. The pre-FLE will be a good match for the M10M. 

You prefer the Summicron color rendering over the pre-FLE?

Edited by mcpallesen
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10 hours ago, mcpallesen said:

Which 90mm? 🙂

The rationale for two 35mm lenses was two M bodies (M10R BP and M10M coming next week), and as a main lens, nice to be able to have 35mm mounted on both bodies for documentary at home etc. 

Clearly you have a different requirement. For me, I have a different mind-set when shooting black and white. I would seldom do both together.

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38 minutes ago, wda said:

Clearly you have a different requirement. For me, I have a different mind-set when shooting black and white. I would seldom do both together.

Me neither, I just like to have both cameras ready with a 35mm mounted when on the shelf at home, so I can just grab an image whenever during the day - family documentary. 🙂

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1 hour ago, mcpallesen said:

Me neither, I just like to have both cameras ready with a 35mm mounted when on the shelf at home, so I can just grab an image whenever during the day - family documentary. 🙂

Understood !

I wonder if a couple of seconds to "mount" a lens on M count.

Having M with "dedicated"/mounted is my practice anyway, knowing which lens is attached to which M (many times, I failed in this delicate job = the dedicated lens is not mounted).

But I'm not shy to replace the lens if I need another one.

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8 hours ago, mcpallesen said:

You prefer the Summicron color rendering over the pre-FLE?

The Summicron Asph is a high contrast lens and the color really pops out. I had this lens and shot color film with it. Just personal preference but the monochrom sensor benefits from the more subtler tonality of the Summilux pre FLE. 

This is just a grab shot while walking in some village at f1.4 with the M10M and Summilux pre FLE. Not a masterpiece I just like the tones:

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

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12 hours ago, mcpallesen said:

Small side track 😊 Anyone have experience with 35mm Summicron V3 on M10 Monochrom? I’m considering adding that one instead. 😆

I really like the v3.  But I don’t have the Monochrom 

I hear the v3 may have more distortion than v2, but other than that are very similar. I’m keen to seek out a v2 on this basis 

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