Leica M 50mm lens choice

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by paulferesten, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. I'm trying to decide between the new 50mm Summarit-M f2,5 and the latest version of the collapsible Elmar 50mm 2.8. Does anyone have a comparison of these lenses, particularly with regard to sharpness?
  2. It's a tough choice if optical performance is your only criterion. I currently own the current 50/2.8 Elmar-M and it's the only Leica 50 I now own. I've tried almost every other 50 from Leica including the 50/1.4 pre-ASPH, ASPH, 50/1 Noct. and most of the Summicrons. While the Elmar-M is not as scalpel sharp wide open as the later Summicrons or ASPH Summilux at f/2.8, it does sharpen up as well as Leica's best by f/5.6 and frankly at f/2.8 would only suffer slightly by comparison on resolution test charts, not actual picture situations. It's main asset is pleasing rendition, excellent contrast and sharpness at every setting (by todays standards), greater immunity to flare and ghosting than any Summicron and a classic Leica signature to the image but without sharpness robbing aberrations of older designs. It's very compact but some don't like the lack of high speed, it's ergonomics of a collapsable design, it's meeger six blade aperture (yet the cult favorite 21/3.4 SA only had four blades!) and it's compressed f/stop arrangement after f/5.6 with only full click stops after f/8. I'd expect the 50/2.5 Summarit to behave like a 50 Summicron as the design and coatings are similar. I can't say for certain if the mechanics of the Summarit are as good as a Summicron but I doubt it based on reviews by Ken Rockwell on other Summarits where he mentions areas of construction that Leica cut corners on fit and finish.
  3. Why exclude the 50/2 Summicron? It's a great lens for a bargain price (well for Leica anyway).
  4. I am in total agreement with what Alan wrote earlier about the Elmar-M 50. I have owned and used more than few Leica M 50 lenses. IMHO, almost all the Leica M 50mm lenses are excellent performers. But the Elmar-M 50 (current version) is really special. If you use this lens at around f5.6 with good lighting conditions, the images are most beautifully rendered. It is hard to explain but with unique classic Leica characteristics. This is partly due to the Elmar design, a modified Tessar. To me, the Elmar-M is a perfect travel lens. But if you intend to use the lens for open f stop, Summicron will be a better choice. I have not used the newer Summarit-M 50 so I couldn't really comment on it.
    Kind regards,
  5. Any chance someone would be willing to post an example of an Elmar (current version) shot they thought captured its merits? Many thanks in advance.
  6. Here's one:
  7. Scott, many thanks... and nice shot.
  8. I have not seen images of the Elmar vs the Summarit. I own the recent 28/2.8 which is very nice. Given the Summarit is not a Tessar design it's image quality may not be as clinical as the Elmar and should produce excellent image quality at full aperture. On the other hand the Elmar is reported to be very sharp close up. The Elmar is kinda retro looking and comes in chrome and black. I tend to like how Mandler designed optics draw for B&W prints.

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