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Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0
 
 
The 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0 on the Leica M9. © Thorsten Overgaard.
   
 
   

Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0
Minolta 40mm M-Rokkor f/2.0


By: Thorsten Overgaard. March 17, 2019.

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A hidden gem in the Leica lens lineup

Between 1973 and 1979, Leica Camera AG produced 54,000 lenses of the Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0 (order no 11542), made for the Leica CL (also known as the "Leica Mini M") film camera they developed with Minolta. It's lens it's easy to get around, and it's not expensive.

 

Los Angeles. Leica M10 with 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Los Angeles. Leica M10 with 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The Minolta CLE and the Leica CL were sister cameras in an age where Leica tried to catch up with the Japanese camera producers of the so popular SLR cameras. The idea was to work with Minolta. A lot of Minolta staff went to Leica in Wetzlar to learn the German way of engineering and assembling, which obviously took quite some resources.

 

The Leica CL 35mm film camera was made as Leica CL and Minolta CLE and shared technology. It also introduced three CL lenses together with it, as a compact and economical alternative to the Leica M camera. See more on the original Leica CL here.
The Leica CL 35mm film camera was made as Leica CL and Minolta CLE and shared technology. It also introduced three CL lenses together with it, as a compact and economical alternative to the Leica M camera. 

 

Despite the success of the Leica CL and the Minolta CLE, the innovative cameras didn't save Leica. In early 1980's the Leitz family had to sell the Leica company. But that's another story for another day.

What we are left with is the hidden gem of the Leica lens lineup, the Leica 40mm Summicron-M f/2.0 that sells second-hand on eBay and elsewhere for around $350 - $600.

 

Joy Villa for 90th Oscars. Leica M10 with Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Joy Villa for 90th Oscars. Leica M10 with Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Should I buy the 40mm Summicron-C..?

If you are looking for something to tweak things a bit, the 40mm Summicron-M f/2.0 offers the usual high lens quality, the look of the 1970's and a very compact lens. So if you lust for something different, this is the one to throw your love at. It fits straight onto the Leica M.

 

 

Leica M9 with Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica M9 with Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Imagine the framelines

As the Leica M only have 35mm framelines and 50mm framelines, and never had 40mm framelines you have to imagine or approximate where the frame is. If you use an EVF (electronic viewfinder), you see the frame exactly..

 

Raven and David Campbebll. Leica M9 with Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Raven and David Campbebell. Leica M9 with Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The look of the 1970's

The Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0 is pretty detailed and with very good control of light, colors and contrast. What you see, compared with for example the current Leica 35mm Summilux-M f/1.4 FLE (which is a $5,500 lens), is that newer Leica designs tend to be able to pick up more details in the shades.

For me, the Leica 40mm Summicron-M f/2.0 represents a somewhat 'film look' because it doesn't have the crisp high-contrast details as modern lenses have.

 


Leica M10 with Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

             
 

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Close focus

A feature of the Leica 40mm Summicron-C is that you can close focus as near as 80 cm. If you pick a long background with some sparkling light, you will get some nice sparkles.

 

Leica M10 with Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica M10 with Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Compact lens

With just 120g and a length of 23mm (1 inch), this is as compact as it gets for street photography and travel.

 

Designers

Optical designers of the 40mm Summicron-C is Georg Knetsch, Hermann Desch (also 21mm and 28mm Elmarit), Heinz Marquardt (also 60mm Macro-Elmarit-F, 28mm Elmarit-M and 50mm Summilux-R), and Walter Watz (also 35mm Summilux-M and 35mm Summilux-M Aspherical AA).

 


Leica M10 with Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Other sources of information

Flickr Group Summicron-C
Leica 40mm Summicron Review at 35mmc

 


Leica M9 with Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Lens shade

 
  The original rubber hood (order no 12.518)
   

The Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 comes with an original rubber hood (order no 12.518), which was a popular hood back in the 1980's. The original rubber hood is not worth pursuing as the rubber will be pretty old looking. I prefer mine to look a little more sophisticated, so I fitted the E39 Ventilated Shade that I designed myself for Leica lenses.

 

 

Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0 with the E39 Ventilated Shade designed by Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0 with the E39 Ventilated Shade designed by Thorsten Overgaard.

 

To be continued ...

I hope you enjoyed today's story. As always feel free to email me with suggestions, ideas and comments.

 

 

 
   
   
         
   

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Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
Leica M cameras:   Small Leica cameras:
Leica M10   Leica Q full-frame mirrorless
Leica M10-P   Leica CL
Leica M Type 240 and M-P Typ240   Leica TL2
Leica M-D Typ 262 and Leica M60   Leica Digilux 2 vintage digital rangefinder
Leica M Monochrom Typ246 digital rangefinder   Leica Digilux 1
Leica M Monochrom MM digital rangefinder   Leica Sofort instant camera
Leica M9 and Leica M-E digital rangefinder   Leica Minilux 35mm film camera
Leica M9-Professional digital rangefinder   Leica CM 35mm film camera
Leica M4 35mm film rangefinder    
     
Leica M lenses:   Leica SLR cameras:
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica SL 2015 Type 601 mirrorless fullframe
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica R8/R9/DMR film & digital 35mm dSLR cameras
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R10 [cancelled]
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R4 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R3 electronic 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL/SL mot 35mm film SLR
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95    
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 and f/1.2   Leica SL and TL lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4    
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0    
Leitz 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica R lenses:
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 75mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 80mm Summilux-F f/1.4
Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leitz 90mm Thambar f/2.2   Leica 180mm R lenses
    Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
Leica Cine Lenses:   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica Cine lenses from CW Sonderoptic   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/4.0
     
     
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Lightmeters   "Die Magie des Lichts Finden" eBook (German)
Color meters for accurate colors (White Balance)   "The Moment of Impact in Photography" eBook
White Balance & WhiBal   "Freedom of Photographic Expression" eBook
Film in Digital Age   "Composition in Photography" eBook
Dodge and Burn   "A Little Book on Photography" eBook
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Signed Prints   Ventilated Shade for Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH
Mega Size Signed Prints   Ventilated Shade E43 for older 50mm Summilux
Mega Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade for 35mm Summicron-M ASPH
Medium Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade for older 35mm/f2 lenses
Small Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade E39 for 50mm Summicron lenses
Commisioning Thorsten Overgaard Worldwide   Ventilated Shade for Leica 28mm Summilux
Thorsten Overgaard Archive Licencing   Ventilated Shade for current 28mm Elmarit-M
Video Masterclasses   Ventilated Shade for older 28mm Elmarti-M
Photography Books by Thorsten Overgaard   Ventilated Shade E49 for 75mm Summicron
Home School Photography Extension Courses   ventilated Shade E55 for 90mm Summicron
Overgaard Workshops & Masterclasses   Ventilated Shade for 28mm Summaron
Artists Nights   Ventilated Shade for 24mm Elmarit
Gallery Store Specials   Ventilated Shade E60 for 50mm Noctilux and 75/1.4
 
Above: The 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0 on the Leica M9. © Thorsten Overgaard.  

Leica logo

LEItz CAmera = LEICA
Founded 1849 in Wetzlar, Germany.

 

 

 

Also visit:

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Books by Thorsten Overgaard
Leica Definitions
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Light metering
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Lightroom Survival Kit 8
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The Story Behind That Picture

Von Overgaard Masterclasses:
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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

Feel free to e-mail to thorsten@overgaard.dk for
advice, ideas or improvements.

 

 

 




 

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