Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH Lens Review
Among Leica camera has various wide angle lenses including the popular 28mm focal length lenses which include Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens, Leica Summilux M 28mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 ASPH lens, Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 lens.
The reason for the popularity of the 28mm focal length is its versatility as an all-purpose wide angle lens which is also the favorite focal length for most journalists. It is for this reason, most Leica M cameras included 28mm frame lines in the viewfinder as the default focal length. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at the most sought-after 28mm lens from Leica Camera, Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens.
Leica produces a variety of 28mm lenses; Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens is perhaps the most popular of these lenses due to its compact size, moderate price, and speed. lenses have aspherical surfaces to improve image quality with added benefits of color and sharpness even at aperture wide open. You can find the review for Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 ASPH on our website.
When compared to Leica Summilux M 28mm f/1.4 ASPH lens both lenses have aspherical lens elements and feature exceptional color reproduction and detail at wide open apertures. The price difference between the two lenses, however, is considerable which is one the reason most Leica lens owners prefer to purchase the more affordable Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens.
If you are curious to know if the performance of Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens and Leica Summilux M 28mm f/1.4 ASPH lens at apertures at f/2.8 in terms of sharpness and resolving power, both perform on par when tested side by side. What makes Leica Summilux M 28mm f/1.4 ASPH lens special is its ability to control the image quality at its wide-open aperture. You can find our review of the Leica Summilux M 28mm f/1.4 ASPH lens by clicking here. Our in-depth review of the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 ASPH can be found here.
Leica’s more versatile and faster 28mm lens is Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens. This lens is known to be the choice for journalists given its incredible ability to render images distortion free almost through all the focal range. The design of Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens incorporates nine elements in 6 groups with ten diaphragm blades.
The minimum focus distance is 0.7meters or 2.3′ feet. Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens is versatile enough to take portraits close up or render interior space without distortion common to most wide angle lenses.
Journalists, as well as news reports, can benefit immensely from this virtually distortion free wide angle lens with its true to life colors and compact design. Its small size allows the photographer remain inconspicuous compared to DSLR shooters.
Personally,Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens is one of my favorite wide angle lenses because of its versatility. On the street added benefit of a wide angle of view is definitely an added benefit and stopping down renders images with micro contrast that is hard to match with almost any other lens.
For street photographers, the use of hyperfocal focus will come in very handy as this lens has a wider area of focus than 35mm at any given aperture. I prefer to shoot at f/4.0 to f/5.6 when the occasion calls for hyperfocal focus as this is also the sweet spot for this lens.
At higher apertures, some diffraction will set in but not to the degree that the images are soft to be noticed at first glance. Often, when photographing at f/5.6 it is more than enough to capture images for photographs on the streets and urban landscape or Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens can be used for reportage purposes.
Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens has the advantage of wider focus area than the popular 35mm focal length which sometimes can make the difference between a photograph that is in focus or out of focus.
Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens is not the lens choice for most Leica first time due to the popularity of 35mm and 50mm focal lengths. As an all-purpose photography lens that is both fast and compact, it should really be the first lens to purchase.
I find that the viewfinder on the Leica M10 camera is the best camera to use with Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens because the 6-bit electronic connection between the lens and the camera helps to further eliminate lens distortion via built-in auto-correction software within the camera. or M9 to be ideally suited to capture photographs without the added need of an externally attached viewfinder. While at other focal lengths like 21mm or the 18mm require an external viewfinder to compose better images 28mm falls entirely in Leica’s viewfinder frame lines.
As for those who are seeking to capture the lost era of film-like look, a Leica M9 camera with CCD sensor will eliminate much of the fixed noise pattern common with digital sensors. One obvious advantage of using the Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens is that Leica M9 camera features built-in frame lines for the 28mm focal length. While at other focal lengths like 21mm or the 18mm require an external viewfinder to compose better images 28mm falls entirely in Leica M9 camera’s viewfinder frame lines.
For amateurs, a viewfinder is an indispensable tool for composing photographs. For this very reason, at a focal length that requires additional use of an external viewfinder having to shift between two viewfinders to first focus then on taking the photograph may be cumbersome. I strongly suggest to beginners to use a focal length like 28mm to master the use of rangefinder viewfinder.
Viewfinder to the next to focus then to frame is virtually the difference between getting the shot or not. This is perhaps one of the reasons why Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens is one of the first choices for lenses among journalists.
As in all things, everything comes down to timing, as much as Leica M rangefinder system slows the photographer to a speed where he/she must take into consideration multiple factors to create the image. From a professional photographer’s point of view, I need to have as good or better photographs as a photographer who uses a DSLR system. Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens is a fast lens that delivers consistent results in changing circumstances.
At times lighting conditions may alter so much so even to the degree that having a fast lens like a Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens could be the difference between getting that important shot or missing it. This is the reason why journalists want to rely on lenses that perform even in the worst possible lighting conditions.
If you consider DSLR cameras most lenses are big, heavy and obnoxiously visible, sadly, those same lenses are often manufactured using inferior materials like plastic barrels which at times have various mechanical failures. Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens is unmatched in this aspect; it is reliable, compact and built to withstand harsh working conditions and best of all it has no cheap plastic barrels or focusing mechanism.
Personally, I love using Leica’s Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH when the conditions require the fastest lens on the market. This may be when I need to photograph in low light or at night when I have to be mobile without the benefit of a tripod. Frankly speaking, for professionals having that one stop light advantage is important enough to warrant the extra cost and weight of carrying around a Leica Summilux M 28mm f/1.4 ASPH lens but in most circumstances, one would very rarely need to have that added advantage.
Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens is a fast lens that can capture interior spaces and portraits equally well without having to need to change focal lengths. More importantly, at f/2.0, Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens has a delicious bokeh that is hard to achieve at this focal length with slower lenses.
Distortion is minimal at wide open aperture then improves dramatically at f/4.0. Chromatic aberration is corrected both by lens design and the 6-bit coding that transmits the metadata to the sensor for best image reproduction results.
I have chosen to capture a variety of photographs to demonstrate the versatility of this Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens. As you can see in the photographs in this article, architecture, interiors spaces are beautifully captured. At a closer examination, you can also observe that portraits and reportage-type photographs show that iconic “Leica Look” again and again.
Although, I am not a fan of ultra sharp clinical lenses they are much in demand these days due to picture cropping, pixel counting frenzy. Lenses shine. What Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens allows a photographer to achieve is that character of uniqueness that conveys the spirit and emotion of the moment.
This is why portraits of old Hollywood stars stand the testament of time or war photography with its element of emotionally moving stories. These days even Leica is bowing down to the ultra sharp, devoid of emotional content way of capturing images with their lens designs. To be fair, that is probably what the consumers may be demanding; maybe they feel that this is the age of ultra sharp lenses with less character.
Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens is perhaps one of the few lenses that have come out in the last decade from Leica to convey something more than sharp images. I feel that from Leica camera’s Summicron line up of lenses 28mm is their greatest achievement both in color and character that defines a truly unique lens.
I choose Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens in my professional work when I am faced with circumstances that may be unpredictable. It may be following a celebrity or capturing images in a subtle way when a photographer needs to be “invisible.” Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens‘ small size makes this lens one of the best-suited lenses in the world for this type of work.
During any given project, I may opt to set it at a distance that is comfortable for use at a hyperfocal focus or may choose to capture a portrait of someone at a contemplative moment. This is when 28mm actually becomes an indispensable tool because fast lenses like Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens delivers consistent results.
Just imagine doing that with at DSLR set up. If you think of an oversized lens pointing at someone at a moment when they are lost in thoughts is often a wake-up call with bells and whistles. I believe a photographer must use what gets the job done as best as possible.
I often get asked from people who are interested in photography whether they should get a 35mm or a 50mm lens. My reply is always the same; I ask them what do you want to use the lens for.
Often their answer is “I want to use it for everything” or an “all-purpose” lens for everyday use.” , kind of reply. My suggestion is for them to buy a 28 mm lens within their budget. Leica camera has produced lenses with f/2.8 in the past which are excellent choices for amateurs and beginners. You can find links for these lenses in the links at the end of this article.
At a focal length of 28mm, one can use Leica’s viewfinder without the need to buy an additional viewfinder to compose the image. Focusing and framing become easier and faster which allows the photographer more time to think of the image rather deal with the mechanics of using the camera and the lens.
Most beginners in photography make the mistake of choosing lenses that slow down their learning curve. I believe one should be able to compose and focus on the same viewfinder to build a base of experience in using rangefinder cameras. I remember using a 24mm for almost five years every day to create that “bond” and “comfort” with using a particular focal length.
I think both 24mm and 28mm are great wide angle lenses that allow photographers to capture more of “life” and “tell a story” through their photographs.
While most first-time lens buyers will continue to opt for 35mm or 50mm lenses, experience and knowledge come after years when one can make decisions not on what everyone else does but on a sound judgment that comes from experience. My experience of over 25 years in photography has thought me that 28mm lens on a Leica rangefinder camera is a logical choice for many reasons.
Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens can be purchased used or new, here I have provided links for the best online sites. Most are authorized dealer and the others are reputable dealers. I have also included a list for other alternative lenses that perform well.
Here is the link for the Leica Summicron M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH lens and other lenses mentioned in this article.
Here are some links to get the best prices on some of the best Leica lenses.
Other Wide Angle Lenses (Recommended *)
Used Leica Cameras:
For my upcoming 2019 photography workshops, here are the links
We offer photography workshops around the world specializing in Leica cameras and lenses. You are invited to take part in one because what you gain from a dedicated photography workshop for Leica cameras and lenses. The tips and techniques you will learn in these workshops will take your photography to the next level also will stay with you for a lifetime. We look forward to hearing from you.
As always, if you have any comments please write to us.
Leica Review Team