Leica Summarit M 50mm F2.4 Lens Review
Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens is a compact, standard lens for the Leica M-mount rangefinder cameras. This lens is the most affordable lenses in Leica Camera’s line up utilizing a double Gauss optical design that offers a fair degree of sharpness and relatively decent control over the distortion throughout the aperture range.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
It is a manual lens that requires the user to be familiar with manual focusing for proper operation. Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens can focus relatively close at 2.6′ feet which is in line with other typical 50mm lenses minimum focus distances.
Leica Camera aims to offer an affordable lens at a very slow speed of f/2.4 aperture as to not compete with its more popular Summicron and Summilux line of lenses. This lens was intended to be mass produced to provide profit margins based on brand recognition of Leica Camera. It is aimed for those brand concious buyers who want everything to be of Leica name without consideration of value or performance much like the ghetto kids who dress up in designer clothes with large logos screaming for attention “look I can afford it”.
Leica lenses offer mediocre quality in optics with an all-metal construction on the exterior. Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens is all about affordability for those who are on a budget who have jsut purchased their first Leica camera but must now fork over additional hard earned money for a Leica lens. This lens is the perfect lens for the sale clerk pull out of the window display and say “look, we have something that is affordable.” Of course, much like its cheap imitations, it boast a robust exterior with aluminum exterior rather than brass. The obvious advantage is the weight which is one of the selling points for Leica Camera’s marketing department as a “light and compact lens for everyday use.” The aluminum also reduces the production cost for this lens forming the second marketing frontier for the company.
The focus dial is smooth as to be expected for a lens at its price range, and well dampened for that familiar Leica lens manual focusing experience. It is built to fool the senses that it is of a much higher quality of its much reknowned cousin, Summicron but the truth is glaring reality rendered in images as a reminder that you get what you pay for and that it is an entry level lens for those who want to own a Leica lens without breaking the bank.
When it comes to price, Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens sells for $1,995. You are paying for Leica build quality and name here but rest assure there are plenty of these lenses in the second hand market of those who have smelled the coffee and woken up to move on to a better lenses. You can find some here, Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens. If you want faster and better performing lenses for half the price, there are plenty in the market. ZEISS Planar T* 50mm f/2 ZM Lens, for example, outperforms Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens in sharpness, clarity, and speed with an equal built quality for about half the price at $903.
If you want even faster lenses, Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 Lens which is almost as fast as Leica’s Noctilux f/0.95 lens selling at around $12,595 or 7artisans Photoelectric 50mm f/1.1 Lens sells for $369. Both of these lenses are not a match in performance to Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH. Lens but can easily let Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens bite the dust on value.
Overall, you buy a Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens because you want to own a Leica lens, that is the sole reason. After a year if experience serves you well, you will see the light and wish that you had forked over more of your hard earned money for a higher quality lens that can serve you for decades while your camera becomes an older generation one within two years.
Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens used to come in silver but it has been discontinued now you get only black as Ford Model T which is all fine to match a classic Leica M10 or a Leica M10 Monochrom body. Since this lens is a budget lens, no one should hold their breath for a limited edition collection in bright red to be released anytime soon. It will never be a collector item nor should be sought after for investment purposes.
Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 lens is a close relative to this lens but fits in a totally different category of far superior quality optics and construction. Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens is built different, performs different, and should be treated as a unique attempt by Leica Camera to offer more to budget-conscious brand loving consumer. Understandably, Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH. Lens sells for $12,595, Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens at $4,195 and Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. lens at $8,295 so comparing performance or build quality of a $1,995 lens is like comparing a luxury sedan car to a compact Fiat 500 car, looks cute, designed for an utilitarian purpose.
Owning a Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens
Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens is a designed to be an affordable lens. There is no doubt about it is accurate with an acceptable rendering abilities at f/5.6 or f/8. It is an excellent lens for those street photographers who want to utilize zone focus method and snap candid photos of strangers at f/11 or f/16. The mere idea of having a fast lens is an absurd one for them.
It is a compact lens that is a given and an important consideration if you are traveling or worry about your camera or lenses being stolen. You would not want to shed tears over a Leica Summilux or a Leica APO Summicron but for a Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens, you can say “ahha, I was going to sell it anyways.” For me, I would be happy to have this lens on my Leica M10 to photograph architecture or landscape at an aperture of f/8 which is around its optimum performance peak. This is the lens to own if you are only going to photograph cathedrals, monuments and occasionally snap a photo of your wife or child with no aspirations for higher image quality. Remember, there are lenses that are far, far slower than this 50mm in Leica’s line up of lenses as Dante would have it, the nine layers of inferno.
For all those who are baffled by such a lens for Leica, let me remind you that Leica Camera is no different than any other company, they aspire to maximize their bottom line and if that means a lens that is an affordable one why not, there are plenty of buyers waiting in line to purchase one, not to mention many store clerks ready to pull one out when the budget does not afford a Summicron.. Let me help you with this one, imagine you own a Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. lens at $8,295 and you want to photograph on a bright day in Paris. You would need a neutral density filter on the front to block the amount of light entering the lens to use it wide open at f/2. On the other hand, you can dial in your Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens to about f/16 before your shutter speed catches up for a proper exposure at which point your lens is dealing with some serious diffraction issues.
While Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. Lens at f/5.6 has the best performance of any lens in the world. Put both images side by side, most novice photographers would not be able to tell the difference between the images shot with the best lens and a mediocre lens unless they start taking a closer look and analyzing details. Sadly, unless you also have an eye for appreciation of a well rendered image, you would not be able to differentiate the two images.
Remember, you buy Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens because it is light, compact and serves your purpose without deep financial commitment. I buy a Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. lens because my professional work demands a higher standard. When I go traveling I am totally ok to be using a Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens because I know its limitations and draw back to produce an excellent image but most importantly I won’t shed a single tear if it gets dropped in the ocean.
Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens has a screw on lens hood. I like that too. No lost lens hood in your camera bag or on the street from accidental bumps, best of all, no $60 bucks for a cheap plastic lens cover that falls all the time.
How to use a Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens
Firstly, you don’t need to worry about sharpness or distortion with Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens. It is a slower lens which means you will get less distortion, better contrast and sharpness at higher f stops which is how this lens is supposed to be used. The obvious sacrifice will be the bokeh which of course can be argued to the degree of existence of purgotary. No, the background will not melt into beautiful pastels, but you may not need your images to have that much bokeh or be totally content with the fact that your lens carries the name Leica rather than Zeiss. You will get best results at f/5.6 for sharpness which is what you should be using for photographing landscape or architecture. For portraits stick to f/2.4 or f/2.8, you will get enough background separation in the form of a light bokeh. If the background has depth and your subject stands relatively close to your camera, you should be fine in pretending that your lens is a good one and with enough skills under your belt you can take a good photograph that LFI can post it on their instagram page. My advice is, know the limitations of your lens and camera, especially of Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens because you will need to do a few more hat tricks to get more out of it. This lens works best on CMOS sensors so no M9, get the M10 or monochrom. It is a modern lens hence it is designed to deliver “good” results when you can use it prudently. Don’t expect to have the same bokeh as a Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 lens instead know that you will capture good photographs if your subject is framed esthetically in your composition and you are in a reasonable distance from your subject.Of course, you should regularly clean your lens. This is paramount, and I have made a tutorial on how to clean Leica lenses, please watch it before attempting to clean them.
Remember, your lens is a tool which means if you know how to use your Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens you will get results. Overall, owning a Leica lens is a beautiful experience, you are investing in quality but also performance. Always remember that there are people who are shooting great images with cheap Chinese lenses that cost a few hundred dollars, you should be able to get much better results than they do with a Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens. Buying a Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens is an investment knowing that Leica lenses have a history, you are paying a premium for the name. If you are in the market for a 50mm lens, this lens will serve you for years to come especially when you become familiar with using Leica lenses. The best investment you can make is in yourself, take a photography course, learn to use Leica cameras and lenses, know their limitations and strengths to make the most out of them.
Where to buy your Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens
Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens is best bought online from an authorized dealer and often the online retailers have better prices due to low stocking fees. Here are the links to the best prices on Leica Summarit M 50mm f/2.4 lens and other lenses mentioned in this article.
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I hope you have enjoyed this article.
Camera Review Team