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Leica Upgrades Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH Physical Design

Leica has announced an updated version of the geriatric Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH. Available sometime shortly before you die, as with other M lenses.

There is no new nomenclature for it (“2022 version” is what B&H Photo uses). I’ll have to make something up in order to distinguish it.

The new lens has substantially improved physical design . All nice improvements, but with the same crude haptics for focusing (the tiny tab on the bottom, which offers very poor control for fine focus and the whole thing stinks with gloves on).

  • 11-blade lens diaphragm
  • Twice the focus throw along with much closer close-focusing distance.
  • Built-in lens hood.
  • Extra inanity in the marketing twaddle such as “visibly improved bokeh”, not to be confused with scratch-n-sniff bokeh, or punk-rock bokeh. Inane marketing boilerplate by professionals ought to have a uselessness prize.

The new lens sports an all-new* identical optical design with visibly* the same identical MTF . Same mediocre performer as its predecessors, requiring f/8 for a sorta sharp image across the frame, and a joyride of wild field curvature for that classic soft-areas look which proves you are a real photographer.

Curiously, the new version is $600 cheaper than the prior version. Is it made in Portugal instead of Germany? (Leica had done so with other lenses).

About $5395 Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH (2022 Version)...

The Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon at half the price has far superior sharpness with far superior bokeh and far superior haptics for focusing as well as aperture control.

* I couldn’t resist.

Roy P writes:

Not only is the Zeiss is better, it is such a pleasure to use, and the quality is so excellent. The haptics are so much better than any of these Leica M lenses.

I’ve had mine since early 2015, which is when it came out, if I remember correctly. It still looks, feels and acts like it was brand new. The aperture ring is as crispy as it was when new. Contrast that to the aperture ring on a Leica M lens that goes from digital to analog with use. The focus ring on my Zeiss feels as silky smooth and controlled with just the right amount of dampening as it felt the day it arrived. Contrast that with a Leica M lens with its initially stiff focus ring that can only be moved with a jerk, but eventually starts turning by itself by the earth’s gravitational pull on the idiot tab. OK, I’m exaggerating a little, but you know what I mean.

I don’t HAVE to flaunt a Leica lens. Remember in the ‘60s and ‘70s people used to have license plate holders on their VW Beatles that said “My other car is a Mercedes!”? Maybe I should get a strap for my Leica M camera that says “My other camera is a Phase One!”, and in my case, it would even be true!

DIGLLOYD: spot on.

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