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Review: The Leica Summilux-M 35 f/1.4 ASPH. by Jonathan Slack


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1 hour ago, Jeff S said:

Jono, the guy who created the ‘King of Bokeh’ term (Mike Johnston, now publisher of The Online Photographer…TOP) agrees with your assessment and has since written about his regret over the term. The term first appeared in a picture caption in the photo magazine he edited at the time.  But he hadn’t used the lens at wide aperture or close distance. BTW, he was also the first to spell out the term ‘bokeh’ to help readers with the pronunciation of the Japanese term ‘boke,’ from which it derived. He now dislikes that overused term, too, and prefers ‘out-of-focus-blur.’  You can read all the background in various articles he’s since written at TOP.  Despite his retraction and regret, the terms have indeed stuck.

Jeff

Thank you Jeff - I didn't know that, and I'm glad . . . I wonder who first used the term 'sterile' with respect to the lovely gentle detail and bokeh of the 75 APO . . . and whether he regrets that!

But these things cannot be undone . . . I hope I haven't been guilty of any!

best

jono

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19 hours ago, jonoslack said:

 

This is an interesting subject - I always wonder about the reputation of different lenses and their bokeh . . . it seems to me that the general opinion has much more to do with phrases or words which become attached to them . . . for instance I've always found the 'Bokeh King' to have rather nervous bokeh, and I've never thought that the 75 APO was remotely 'sterile'. But these labels stick, and there is no way to change them!

I liked the bokeh in the flower picture as well, but I think that it was a good subject for nice bokeh. On the other hand I DID find the bokeh from my FLE to be nervous and I have not found this new one to be . . .  but I did not compare them side by side (really hard without proper terms of reference!) . . Is this difference because of sample variation? subject variation? my mood? there are so many variables which don't really relate to the optics of the lens!

all the best

Jono

 

Thanks much, Jono! Nice images by the way as I forgot to mention that, I always enjoy your reviews. I think you're right there are so many variables. I also have seen some 'nervous' bokeh from my FLE but mainly in extreme corners and with backlit foliage like just shooting in trees while hiking, and we have a lot of densely wooded areas here in the north eastern US. It's not particularly bothersome but I'm weighing options of course. I think maybe the biggest benefit for me would be the built-in hood since I often go without the hood on the FLE for a more compact size so that would be super convenient with this new version...trying to justify here.

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@jonoslack Having handled both of the close focusing M lenses, would you say the “detent” at .7m focus feels the same in both lenses? Or does one feel like a more significant bump than the other as you turn past .7m? 

I wish the bump on the 35 APO were a little stronger/more firm so I had a better sense on the fly when I reach .7m and subsequently turn past it. As it is now, the bump is fairly subtle.

Thanks!

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On 9/19/2022 at 2:27 PM, KateStarr said:

@jonoslack Having handled both of the close focusing M lenses, would you say the “detent” at .7m focus feels the same in both lenses? Or does one feel like a more significant bump than the other as you turn past .7m? 

I wish the bump on the 35 APO were a little stronger/more firm so I had a better sense on the fly when I reach .7m and subsequently turn past it. As it is now, the bump is fairly subtle.

Thanks!

Well, I think they feel about the same - but you should understand that I have a prototype lens, and things may have changed for the shipping version. I must say I don't see it as a problem - if you are using the rangefinder then it just stops moving, and if you are using the EVF / Live view then of course you can see the focus. 

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Hi @jonoslack, many thanks for posting your overview of this lens. I received a copy of the lens the day after launch date and am very happy with its performance on the M11.

I have a question for you. Some Leica websites state that one of the features of this lens is "optimized for M11 cover glass thickness". For example, here on the Leica Manchester website:

https://www.leicastoremanchester.com/35-mm-summilux-m-mk2-asph.html

You didn't mention this in your original overview. Is it something you have received any information about from Leica?

(My own understanding, after doing a bit of research, is that such an optimization could reduce aberrations particularly when shooting wide open)

Edited by phototrope
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On 9/18/2022 at 9:11 AM, Jeff S said:

Jono, the guy who created the ‘King of Bokeh’ term (Mike Johnston, now publisher of The Online Photographer…TOP) agrees with your assessment and has since written about his regret over the term. The term first appeared in a picture caption in the photo magazine he edited at the time.  But he hadn’t used the lens at wide aperture or close distance. BTW, he was also the first to spell out the term ‘bokeh’ to help readers with the pronunciation of the Japanese term ‘boke,’ from which it derived. He now dislikes that overused term, too, and prefers ‘out-of-focus-blur.’  You can read all the background in various articles he’s since written at TOP.  Despite his retraction and regret, the terms have indeed stuck.

Jeff

How about OOFA for out of focus affect (as apposed to OOFE out of focus effect), for those obsessed with the creaminess of backgrounds drawn by a lens, or the lack thereof. ;<)

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On 9/21/2022 at 11:07 AM, phototrope said:

Hi @jonoslack, many thanks for posting your overview of this lens. I received a copy of the lens the day after launch date and am very happy with its performance on the M11.

I have a question for you. Some Leica websites state that one of the features of this lens is "optimized for M11 cover glass thickness". For example, here on the Leica Manchester website:

https://www.leicastoremanchester.com/35-mm-summilux-m-mk2-asph.html

You didn't mention this in your original overview. Is it something you have received any information about from Leica?

(My own understanding, after doing a bit of research, is that such an optimization could reduce aberrations particularly when shooting wide open)

Hi there

Thanks for pointing this out

I understood that the optical formula is identical, and you couldn’t do this without changing the optical formula!

If it’s true then why don’t Leica mention it in their marketing?

I’m doing some research to check up on this, I’ll get back when I know more. 
All the best 

Jono

Edited by jonoslack
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23 hours ago, jonoslack said:

Hi there

Thanks for pointing this out

I understood that the optical formula is identical, and you couldn’t do this without changing the optical formula!

If it’s true then why don’t Leica mention it in their marketing?

I’m doing some research to check up on this, I’ll get back when I know more. 
All the best 

Jono

Hi Jono,

Many thanks for looking into this.

A quick google search brings this up in a few other web pages. One such page is this "press release":
https://newsroom.notified.com/transcontinentagroup/posts/pressreleases/new-leica-summilux-m-35mm-f14-asph-for-high-r
which says the lens has been "redesigned and optimized for the Leica M11 sensor cover glass thickness and high resolution".  So.. I don't know.

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vor 20 Minuten schrieb Robert Blanko:

… which raises the question: did Leica change the thickness of the sensor cover glass from M10 to M11? 🤔

This Marketing. The lens design is the same as the older  35Lux ASPH. with or without FLE. All this lenses works with modern M digital cameras. Of cours M10-R and M11 are equipped with "high(er)" resolution sensors. So, no new lens optical design (mecanics are new). 

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Am 23.9.2022 um 11:24 schrieb jonoslack:

f it’s true then why don’t Leica mention it in their marketing?

There must be a difference in quality between the Apo Summicron 35 and the Summilux 35, because otherwise Leica could not justify that the Summilux costs less. But that does not rule out the possibility that there have been minor changes to the optical calculation of the Summilux, which Leica does not propagate in order not to dilute the distance to the Apo Summicron. However, Your tests and the test of another fellow forum member I spoke to tend to indicate that nothing has changed in the main weakness of the Summilux, the colour fringing at open aperture at higher contrast.

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Thanks for the testing, evaluation, images, and review. I prefer the threaded 12465 hood, and dedicated 14212 hood cap, available with the already-extant 2010 FLE, and am not so sure I need close-focusing capability in a 35mm lens. (I do not yet own a 35mm FLE, but the same general type of hood and cap is present on the Elmar-M 24mm ASPH, which I do have.) Indeed, it was your excellent article, on the line of M APO lenses, that helped convince me to acquire a pre-owned APO Summicron-M 75mm ASPH, rather than get on a waiting list for the close-focusing APO Summicron-M 35mm ASPH. 

While I am not likely to buy this new, close-focusing 35mm Summilux FLE, the close-focusing 35mm APO does remain interesting, for some time in the future.

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