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Reader Asks: Which 50mm Lens for Leica M Typ 240?

See Guide to Leica for more on the Leica M Typ 240 and Leica lenses.

Reader Nicolas S writes:

While still waiting on the 50/2 APO ASPH, I was looking on the web for the first images coming from this lens. For what I saw, I am wondering if the 50/1.4 Summilux would not be a better choice.

I mean, it looks like the 50AA has of course a slight advantage in definition but the images I saw so far looks a bit flat. I only saw images on the net so I can be wrong but it looks like that the Summilux gives a better 3D image, has a softer and most pleasant bokeh and probably not so subject to flare (I do not know how the Summilux behaves in matter of focus shift).

Of course my judgment is only based on what I saw on the net and it is not always representative of the real life. This is the reason I would be glad to have your point of view on the matter.

DIGLLOYD: A lot depends on how you expect to use the lens: the 50/2 APO ASPH is far superior for geometrically plane subjects because it has little or no field curvature, and the 50/1.4 has a lot of field curvature. But does the 50/2 AA have “personality”? Many photographers like traits other than technical perfection; witness the Zeiss 25mm f2.8 Distagon.

The 50/2 AA offers a flat field with as a good as detail as you can expect from any lens.; it is the most technically best lens in the Leica M lineup. Without extensive field use (not yet), I can’t be sure if it will have that “pop” that is possible at f/1.4 with the Summilux. The Summilux is special the 50/2 AA might be technically special but until I can have both in hand for a good solid workout, I don’t know if the 50/2 AA has its own appealing look as with the Summilux.

The 50/1.4 Summilux makes images with a special quality wide open not matched by any f/1.4 DSLR lens with a subject vs background separation as seen in the images shown below (click for each for the example pages in Guide to Leica). It’s hard to quantify, but might “hook” you once experienced. Then again, I don’t yet know if the Leica M Typ 240 preserves the same “pop” as with the Leica M9.

Leica M9 + Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH @ f/1.4
White Mountains Bristlecone Pine
Leica M9 + Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH @ f/1.4
Sony NEX-7 + Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH @ f/1.4
Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH, Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
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