Leica 28mm Summaron: First take from the new-old slowcoach
I have been using Leica camera equipment since 2005, having migrated from Nikon (a common progression as I later found out from chatting to other Leica owners). I use both film and digital Leica M bodies, primarily for travel and street photography, with my favoured focal length being 28mm. I currently use the Summicron f/2 28mm on the M, which is a lovely lens but not ideally suited for street work with its weight and long focus throw.
So when Leica announced the new 28mm Summaron I was quite excited. I was immediately drawn to the idea of using a small, unobtrusive lens with a short focal throw and f/5.6 as maximum aperture — a perfect focal length for street photography. I had not thought of buying the original older version of this lens before, mainly because I have bad experiences of purchasing second-hand lenses on the open market in my pre-Leica days.
I immediately placed an order through my Red Dot Cameras, thinking, as did they, that the lens would be months in the making. Both the dealer and I were astonished when the lens turned up a few days later, so I spend a few hours this week using it mounted on my M-P240.
The lens is a beautifully engineered delight, both to look at on my silver MP240 and to use. The body and lens combination is relatively light and feels the same as my Leica Q on the shoulder. The Summaron arrives with a lens cap and hood which, when the latter is fixed on the lens, means you cannot use the lens cap! If you want to mount a filter (34mm) on the lens then you may have to resign yourself to not using the hood.
For shooting, I left the aperture at f/5.6 most of the day and got amazing results; the lens also locks itself in at infinity so, with the short focus throw, I soon discovered, I could set the correct focal length on the dial to capture my subject. The rendition reminds me of Kodachrome with its colour saturated look and texture.
There is also some vignetting and hints of pink or magenta around the edges of the frame, both of which can be eliminated quickly with post-processing if you wish. I did not see any lens flare in my photographs, but I try to avoid shooting into the light unless it’s for artistic reasons!
Overall I am delighted with his beautiful little lens, it does the job well and is a pleasure to use.
More on the ORIGINAL Leica 28mm f/5.6 Summaron:
- William Fagan takes the old lens into the Irish countrtside
- Mike Evans goes all zone-focusy with the Summaron in Chepstow