Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Summilux 50/1.4 Overview

These are two Leica Summilux II pre-ASPH 50/1.4 lenses – 40 some years apart. The right one is from 1966 and has been CLA’d recently with perfect glass and function. The left one is a recent new black paint model which features the 46mm filter size, attached retractable lens hood, with a close focus of 0.7m, along with other minor differences described below.

The original Leica Summilux I 50/1.4 was launched in 1959, in both LTM (prod. ~ 550) and M-mount (~13,000) versions, and have serial numbers between 1,640,601 and 1,844,000. This first version is now a collector's lens, and most current users appreciate the significant improvements in the later Summilux versions, whether the pre-ASPH Summilux II, or the very new (2004+) Summilux ASPH version.

Shortly after the 1959 launch of the original Summilux, an optical change was made around 1961. Leica acknowledged this optical change several years later, around 1964, and designated this updated lens the Summilux II. The Summilux II starts at s/n 1,844,001 and continues into the 4 million s/n range of the early or mid 2000’s.

In addition to this known early change in the Summilux optical design in 1961, resulting in the Summilux II, lens coatings, mount and finish options, and other minor changes occured throughout the long lifecycle of the Summilux II pre-ASPH. However, Leica contends that the basic optical design remained unchaged from the early 1960's change up until the Summilux ASPH version which was released in 2004.

The later versions of the Summilux II pre-ASPH are very interesting, and were released sometime in the mid to late 1990s. These later models, have four or more key differences from the earlier Summilux II models. Some folks refer to this later version as the V3 pre-ASPH, though Leica contends the optical design is similar among all Summilux II pre-ASPH lenses. The changes to the latest pre-ASPH version, relative to the earlier Summilux II versions are:

1) A close focus of 0.7m vs 1.0m for the early V2;
2) a filter ring size increase to the more common 46mm size vs 43mm, with slightly overall larger diameter, but smaller than ASPH;
3) a built-in retracting lens hood;
4) a tighter focusing throw than the early Summilux II's 180 degree throw;

Some of these later versions, perhaps only the black paint versions, also returned to a scalloped focusing ring which was last used in the early 1960s versions of the Summilux.

Most reports and photos show that all of the V2 pre-ASPHs render fairly similarly, however the close focus feature of the later pre-ASPH Summilux is extremely useful to me for my photography.

I think the Summilux pre-ASPH V2 lens has a unique character to it, and gives a look to images unlike any other lens made, including the newer ASPH version.

Photo was taken with an Epson R-D1 with CV 40/1.4 lens @ F2, 1/125th, ISO 400.
Posted by Picasa

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Web www.rangefinderforum.com
www.photo.net www.dpreview.com