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


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On 12/2/2022 at 6:59 PM, S Maclean said:

What’s going on with this lens? I’m tempted to cancel my replacement order.  But I honestly can’t believe all these issues are happening

On 12/2/2022 at 7:10 PM, normie610 said:

Yeah it’s very frustrating. I’m returning the lens and won’t ask for a replacement. Not until I’m assured that all these issues have been resolved. It’s a shame really.  

On 12/3/2022 at 2:49 AM, anickpick said:

Since Leica does not communicate, I have cancelled my order.

 

I was on the list with a retailer, and last week they offered me a black copy they just received. Nope, not until this is sorted. 

I do appreciate the crazy engineering and painstaking precision hand assembly it takes to put together some of Leica’s recent new lens designs, but I have to wonder if they have started to push themselves too far — flown too close to the sun so to speak. 

Edited by hdmesa
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18 hours ago, hdmesa said:

I do appreciate the crazy engineering and painstaking precision hand assembly it takes to put together some of Leica’s recent new lens designs, but I have to wonder if they have started to push themselves too far — flown too close to the sun so to speak. 

Complicated by a close focusing ‘feature’ that cannot even be realized using the RF.

Starting with the 35 APO Summicron, the reduced MFD wasn’t even included in its initial design spec by the marketing side; only later added when the tech side said it was feasible (per comments from a live interview with respective Leica management). Now it seems many new releases will follow suit.

I might have been interested in the 35 M APO had it come in a simpler design, with 70cm MFD, but otherwise improved optical performance (and better QC), even at a premium cost. 

Jeff

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On 12/7/2022 at 3:38 PM, dickgillberg said:

Hi, got my 35 yesterday. All seems fine but I've not got time to test it yet. Manufactured 28.11 so it's fresh from Wetzlar.🙂

 

Good on you. On the RF focusing issue, do give it a spin for a couple of days of frequent shootings and try to engage the close focus as often as possible. If after 2-3 days of intense use the RF focusing is still good, then I think you’re good to go. Please note that the copies I had have absolutely no issues when focusing through live view or Visoflex.  

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It sounds like another store of poor Leica quality control. 

I bought my first Leica, an M10, in Nov. 2019 along with a Summilux 50, Summicron 35 and APO Summicron 75. I immediately had problems getting in focus photos using the 35 and 50 lenses. I struggled with this for over a week thinking that it was me just relearning how to focus manually. I made an appoint and took my new gear to the Leica service center in Avondale, NJ. After they checked out my camera and lenses, I was told that the 35 and 50 were out of calibration from the factory. Very disappointing. I left these lenses with the service center and I didn't get them back until late January. I spent $20k on new Leica gear and couldn't use the camera during the holidays.

Since then I purchased the APO Summicron 35 and 50 lenses. The APO-Summicron 50 barrel became loose after two months and had to be sent in for repairs. The Summilux 50 suffered the same problem and had to be returned for service a second time. Both repairs took weeks.

I traded my M10 in for an M10-R in 2021. After a few months, I noticed hot pixels in underexposed areas when the ISO was over 2,500. I sent the camera in for service and Leica replaced the entire sensor and shutter mechanism. It took 3 weeks for that service.

I have owned Canon prosumer and pro film and digital DSLRs and a number of Canon L-series lenses over a 35 year period. None of these ever needed service. I switched to Fuji-X cameras and lenses for about 5 years before moving to Leica in 2019. I shot 10s of thousands of images per year in all kinds of weather and travel situations without any problems, failures or service needed.

Now, with Leica, I love the shooting experience, but the QC is terrible. Not to mention that each time I sent Leica gear in for service, it cost me about $75 for shipping and insurance.

I also own the SL2 and all three Leica zooms. I have shot only about 2,000 images with the Leica Vario Super Elmar SL 16-35mm lenses and I started to experience out of focus images at long distances. After several emails with Leica tech support (they don't return phone calls) over a few weeks, I had to ship the lens to the NJ service center. After I shipped the lens, they emailed me to let me know that all SL lenses have to be shipped to Germany for service. The estimated turnaround time is 14-16 weeks! Again, I spent another $75 for insured shipping to the NJ service center.

With the most expensive camera gear I have ever owned, the problems and lack of QC is extremely disappointing. Leica needs to get it's act together on QC and servicing times.

Regards,
Bud James

Please check out my fine art and travel photography at www.budjames.photography.

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On 12/8/2022 at 5:53 AM, budjames said:

It sounds like another store of poor Leica quality control. 

I bought my first Leica, an M10, in Nov. 2019 along with a Summilux 50, Summicron 35 and APO Summicron 75. I immediately had problems getting in focus photos using the 35 and 50 lenses. I struggled with this for over a week thinking that it was me just relearning how to focus manually. I made an appoint and took my new gear to the Leica service center in Avondale, NJ. After they checked out my camera and lenses, I was told that the 35 and 50 were out of calibration from the factory. Very disappointing. I left these lenses with the service center and I didn't get them back until late January. I spent $20k on new Leica gear and couldn't use the camera during the holidays.

Since then I purchased the APO Summicron 35 and 50 lenses. The APO-Summicron 50 barrel became loose after two months and had to be sent in for repairs. The Summilux 50 suffered the same problem and had to be returned for service a second time. Both repairs took weeks.

I traded my M10 in for an M10-R in 2021. After a few months, I noticed hot pixels in underexposed areas when the ISO was over 2,500. I sent the camera in for service and Leica replaced the entire sensor and shutter mechanism. It took 3 weeks for that service.

I have owned Canon prosumer and pro film and digital DSLRs and a number of Canon L-series lenses over a 35 year period. None of these ever needed service. I switched to Fuji-X cameras and lenses for about 5 years before moving to Leica in 2019. I shot 10s of thousands of images per year in all kinds of weather and travel situations without any problems, failures or service needed.

Now, with Leica, I love the shooting experience, but the QC is terrible. Not to mention that each time I sent Leica gear in for service, it cost me about $75 for shipping and insurance.

I also own the SL2 and all three Leica zooms. I have shot only about 2,000 images with the Leica Vario Super Elmar SL 16-35mm lenses and I started to experience out of focus images at long distances. After several emails with Leica tech support (they don't return phone calls) over a few weeks, I had to ship the lens to the NJ service center. After I shipped the lens, they emailed me to let me know that all SL lenses have to be shipped to Germany for service. The estimated turnaround time is 14-16 weeks! Again, I spent another $75 for insured shipping to the NJ service center.

With the most expensive camera gear I have ever owned, the problems and lack of QC is extremely disappointing. Leica needs to get it's act together on QC and servicing times.

Regards,
Bud James

Please check out my fine art and travel photography at www.budjames.photography.

Exactly why after a decade of loyalty I’ve sold all of my Leica gear.  I’ve owned literally every lens and camera that Leica makes but i was tired of it. Gave Leica hundreds of thousands.  

Adjustments at leice NJ are worthless. How many stories have we seen in which NJ told one of our forum members some nonsense story about adjusting a 35 fle or 50 Lux at some specific aperture because of natural focus shift and so many forum members jump in and say its crazy. I’ve heard this first hand at least 5 times and its because they don’t know what they are doing. I find it strange that DAG can get a lens perfect but NJ can’t, and it’s because they are “calibrating for 2.0.” Garbage. So many people accept that it is user error when in reality it is not. I’ve spent time with very experienced Leica photographers that had no idea their gear was out of “tolerance.” 

No idea if I’ll ever buy Leica again. I love the look. I love the lenses. I love the body construction. Hate the QC.  

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I am from Germany, and never had any of these Problems. But what I read is a disaster. I am not sure if Leica is aware of this poor service in NJ. Did you guys try to call Germany directly and report all these issues? 

The service here is very good and easy, you can call Wetzlar Customer Care or get a quick reply on questions via email. The only downside that it takes very long to fix things.My M3 will take 6 months for repair ! Digital 4 weeks...not acceptable if you need the gear for living.

Yes, Leica shooting experience is unquestionable unique. But not for that poor QC...

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As others have I have cancelled my order.  A lott of the luster was lost with the dissapointment of the first copy shipped to me and I do have a Cron 35mm and a Nokton 1.2.  I did buy recently a 21mm Lux 14 to complement my excelens 21 SE so I figure I am covered and have enough gear tosatisfy my needs for now.

If at some point this lens becomes reliable and available I will considered again but for now...Good bye!!

 

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4 hours ago, Jeremy Bunting said:

Just to add another data point to the conversation, I got a day 1 copy of the FLE II from Leica Manchester and I've had no issues whatsoever. I can get tack sharp focus on the spine of a book from across the room with my M11 (which I tested yesterday).

That’s great. I can’t say I’m happy with my decision but my copy was very very bad.  So im just giving up for now. I put my $ into the 21 and will just have to work the cv 35 1.2 and the cron for now.  All in all not the worst compromise.

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32 minutes ago, S Maclean said:

That’s great. I can’t say I’m happy with my decision but my copy was very very bad.  So im just giving up for now. I put my $ into the 21 and will just have to work the cv 35 1.2 and the cron for now.  All in all not the worst compromise.

Yes, I saw the pics. I would be pissed. I wonder proportionally how many have had issues. I imagine most people that haven’t don’t bother to post about it, which is why I thought to. 

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On 12/9/2022 at 11:17 PM, dkmoore said:

Exactly why after a decade of loyalty I’ve sold all of my Leica gear.  I’ve owned literally every lens and camera that Leica makes but i was tired of it. Gave Leica hundreds of thousands.  

Adjustments at leice NJ are worthless. How many stories have we seen in which NJ told one of our forum members some nonsense story about adjusting a 35 fle or 50 Lux at some specific aperture because of natural focus shift and so many forum members jump in and say its crazy. I’ve heard this first hand at least 5 times and its because they don’t know what they are doing. I find it strange that DAG can get a lens perfect but NJ can’t, and it’s because they are “calibrating for 2.0.” Garbage. So many people accept that it is user error when in reality it is not. I’ve spent time with very experienced Leica photographers that had no idea their gear was out of “tolerance.” 

No idea if I’ll ever buy Leica again. I love the look. I love the lenses. I love the body construction. Hate the QC.  

I'm actually relieved that my SL 16-15 is being sent to Germany for service. At least it should get the best treatment from techs who see these lenses more often than the techs in NJ. It's also cheaper for me to ship it to NJ and have them ship to Germany than me shipping it to Germany directly myself.

The clock is ticking on the 12-14 week turnaround time. We shall see when I get it back.

Regards,
Bud James

Please check out my fine art and travel photography at www.budjames.photography.

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On 12/12/2022 at 4:27 AM, Jeremy Bunting said:

Just to add another data point to the conversation, I got a day 1 copy of the FLE II from Leica Manchester and I've had no issues whatsoever. I can get tack sharp focus on the spine of a book from across the room with my M11 (which I tested yesterday).

Glad that it works out for you. Do you by any chance frequently use the close focusing function? I think my RF focusing issue appears after I frequently use the close focus.

It’s a bit of an irony since I can easily focus my Voigtlander 50mm at f1.0 from 3-4 meter of a small object (using RF).

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59 minutes ago, normie610 said:

Glad that it works out for you. Do you by any chance frequently use the close focusing function? I think my RF focusing issue appears after I frequently use the close focus.

It’s a bit of an irony since I can easily focus my Voigtlander 50mm at f1.0 from 3-4 meter of a small object (using RF).

Not terribly frequently actually.

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