Page 1 of 3
Review by Markus Stamm, published July 2013
Special thanks to Thomas Koch for providing the lens!
A fast normal prime is a key lens in almost any system. For Leica and the M system, this role is best played by the Summicron 50mm f/2 lens. There is a little difference compared to most other systems, though: usually a fast normal prime is also a really affordable lens. Anyone familiar with the brand already knows that there is no such lens in Leica land, at least as long as we're talking about current products. For the price of the Summicron, one could also buy ten 50mm f/1.8 SLR lenses with F or EF mount.
The Summicron 50/2 as it is sold today is already the 4th generation. The first version dates back to 1959, while the current product was introduced in 1979. Since then, the lens has not changed internally, making it one of the oldest products in Leica's portfolio. However, the barrel has been redesigned in 1994, replacing the clip-on hood with an integrated one.
In this review we'll have a look at how the lens performs on our test camera, the Leica M9.
As you can expect from a premium product, the build quality of the lens is excellent. It's an extremely solid, yet still very compact lens. The focus ring is nicely damped and works smoothly. The minimum focus distance is 0.7m, which matches the minimum distance the Leica M rangefinder is able to cover. The focus path from infinity to MFD is roughly 90 degrees.
The aperture ring features half stop clicks and, unlike on older Leica lenses, has no play. The smallest aperture setting is f/16. The 8 aperture blades are straight (not rounded).
As you can see in the product images above, the lens extends a little when focusing closer.
The lens has a built-in telescopic hood that can be extended. It doesn't feature a lock in the extended position, but nonetheless stays well in its place in the field.
|Optical construction||6 elements in 4 groups|
|Number of aperture blades||8|
|min. focus distance||0.7 m (max. magnification ratio 1:11.5)|
|Dimensions||43.5 x 53 mm|
|Weight||240 g (black), 335 g (silver)|
|Filter size||E39 (non-rotating)|