Leica 50mm Apo-Summicron-M ASPH: An extraordinarily competent lens
When I collected my review copy of Leica's flagship 50mm Apo-Summicron last week I was prepared to like it. I was not convinced, however, that its eye-watering £5,600 price tag justified the reportedly small increase in image quality over, say, the old 50mm Summicron or, even, the faster 50mm Summilux FLE.
Now I am not so sure. This is an extraordinarily competent lens by any reckoning. The sharpness, the dynamic range and the tonal rendering, especially as here in black and white conversions, is truly impressive. Together with the latest Leica M or the Monochrom (which I haven't had a chance to try), this is arguably the world's best fifty. I have a lot more shooting to do before I am convinced but, so far, the signs are promising.
I am trying out this lens on three cameras (the M-P, the Fuji X-T1 and Sony A7 MkII), as part of my comparison test, but there is little doubt that the Apo looks and feels most at home with the traditional lines of the Leica. As it should.
Look at the top picture of one of my favourite hostelries, the famous Dove tavern on the Thames at Hammersmith. This featured in my story about the Doves Press and the missing type fount. I passed by again this morning specifically to reproduce a previous picture I had taken with the Sony A7r and 35mm Summilux FLE last year.
I was so impressed with the new results that I have replaced the earlier pictures in the article. This top picture truly epitomises the character of the narrow and ancient alleyway which binds together The Dove, the Doves Press and the 'twixt and 'tween narrow Cobden-Sanderson House.
This is one lens I will be reluctant to hand back.