Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

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A comparison of the Leica 35mm Summicron ASPH vs the Summarit 2.5 and which one I decided to keep

If you could only own one lens for your Leica M, most photographers would say it should be a 35mm lens (or 50mm ;-)). I have been through a few different 35mm M mount lenses, namely the Summicron v4, the Voigtlander Nokton 1.2, the Summarit 2.5 and the Summicron ASPH. As I have been using the last two simultaneously for a while, I thought I would write a short comparison of Leica’s most popular and one of their cheapest lenses, to see which one would come out on top.

The 35mm is the lens I’m most familiar with (I owned 9 different 35mm lenses over the last few years), as the majority of my work over the past 2 years was shot with this focal length. Whilst I did recently switch to a 28mm as my main lens for commercial work, the 35mm still remains my go to for most of my personal work.

For a true representation of the lenses capabilities, all of the photos in this review were edited to my liking but with no sharpening applied or clarity applied.

When comparing my copies of these lenses I found the focusing ring on the Summicron to be slightly stiffer. It also has an ever so slightly longer throw and the focusing tab is noticeably bigger. I also found the aperture ring of the Summicron to be a bit looser, and as a result, easier to turn by accident.

When I first got the Summicron I didn’t like the way it handled. I preferred the smaller focusing tab and smoother (faster) focusing ring of the Summarit. However, after a few days I changed my mind. While the Summarit is still better for quickly changing focus from one extreme to the other, the Summicron makes precise focusing easier. I also got used to the slightly different handling and the only thing I would change now would be the aperture ring – it would be nice if it had more noticeable clicks.

Optical performance

Both lenses are very sharp even when wide open, as you would expect from Leica glass. Between f/4 and f/8 these lenses are as sharp as it gets. Edges and corner are somewhat less impressive at wide apertures but I’ve never found this to be an issue for my style of shooting.

Both lenses produce pleasing to the eye bokeh. Of course, the Summicron allows you to blur the background noticeably more due to its larger maximum aperture. Once stepped down, the bokeh appears to be very similar on both.

In the sample images below, the camera was approximately 0.8m from the subject and the subject was approximately 120cm from the brick wall.

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summicron f/2 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summicron f/2.8 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summicron f/4 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summicron f/5.6 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summicron f/8 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summicron f/11 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summicron f/16 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summarit f/2.5 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summarit f/2.8 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summarit f/4 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summarit f/5.6 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summarit f/8 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summarit f/11 (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summarit f/16 (above)

Chromatic aberrations are very similar in both lenses and by saying this, I mean they are pretty much non-existent.

It must be said that the Summicron can flare quite a lot without the hood. I personally often like using lens flares so it’s not an issue for me, and if I want to avoid the lens flare, the hood sorts it out in all but extreme cases. The Summarit is more flare resistant even without the hood, but when it flares, the results are not as nice as the Summicron flare.

The images below were taken without the hoods.

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summicron 35mm ASPH (above)

Leica 35mm Summicron vs Summarit Lens Review

Summarit 35mm (above)

Neither of the lenses produces any visible distortion.

As a side note, to the best of my knowledge, the 2.5 Summarit is actually 2.4 ASPH lens just like the newer model.

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  • One of the fundamental things to make your life and composition easier is to decide what lens you are.

  • Jan van de Male says:

    Dear photographers,

    I enjoyed and appreciated your review. Thank you for making this effort. I myself choice the Summarit, just as sligjhtly lighter than the Summicron. In combination with the Summarit 75 mm it is in my opinion a splendid couple. My advice: keep your weight as low as possible, it keeps photography enjoyable

    • zofka-manager says:

      Thanks for your comment Jan! Yes, keeping photographic gear small and light definitely helps, especially during all-day long shoots.

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