Leica 50mm f/2 Apo Summicron versus Zeiss f/1.5 Sonnar

Posted on by Mike Evans

The Zeiss Sonnar is no young blood, but Oz Yilmaz argues convincingly that it perfectly complements Leica's flagship 50mm Apo. It's also a noted beauty, even if you do have to fork out extra for the hood

The super-expensive f/2 Leica Summicron and the economical f/1.5 Zeiss Sonnar are not two lenses I would naturally think of as being in the same league. The Sonnar, for starters, is a classic design dating back to the 1930s while the Leica is a thoroughly modern Millie.

Oz Yilmaz does think that these lenses can be compared; he believes they are complementary in many ways and that both deserve a slot in your camera bag.

Having a Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 APO will not make you a better photographer but what it can do is give you a tool with which you can (tell) a story in a different way. This is the reason I own both lenses. They both have a place in my arsenal of lenses. I love using Leica lenses, they are for me beyond price, they represent tools that are reflection of my believe in my art. Photography is an art form that requires artistic expression even if you are photographic the most mundane. Let me explain this in another way, for example, when I want to tell the story of an elderly couple I probably reach for my Zeiss but if it is architectural beauty of Notre Dame church it is Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 APO that I’ll take out of my bag.

I once owned the Sonnar for a few months and sold it for no good reason. I really liked it and in terms of size, weight and handling it beats Leica’s f/1.4 Summilux; it doesn’t block the finder as does the Summilux. After reading Oz’s enlightening review I’m tempted again.

The Zeiss Sonnar costs around £850 while the Leica Apo-Summicron 50 lists at £5,600. Quite a difference for a lens that Oz sees as complementary.

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