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Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0 review (model 11193)
 
Clearwater Beach blue hour. Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
   
 
   

Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0 Review

By: Thorsten Overgaard, September 6, 2023. Last edit September 19, 2023.

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In 2023, Leica Camera AG introduced two "low price" Summicron lenses for the Leica SL2 camera system: A 35mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0 and a 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. This is a short review and proof of performance on these.


Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2
with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Buying cheap Leica never really worked. All that happens is that you (immediately and instantly) want the better and more expensive editions. It's been tried with Voigtlander lenses, Sigma lenses, and everything you can think of. It all ends with a dream of the better and more expensive editions.

 

Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0 Video Review

 

In the 50mm range, the Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-SL ASPh f/2.0 is the optimum, and the Leica 50mm Summilux-SL f/1.4 is the more narrow depth of focus alternative. Both of them cost more than double. And as if that wasn't enough, there are also the Leica S lenses that will fit onto the Leica SL2 via an adapter.

The new "economical" editions will do, and I can say as many nice words about them as I want. It will still make you wonder and dream of the better editions. Because that is what I do as well.

See lenses for sale here:

 


Clearwater Beach blue hour. Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

         
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Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 


Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

It's never been easier

The 50mm Summicron-SL f/2.0 is a leight-weight lens (402g) compared to any of the other 50mm SL lenses (704g) ; and the autofocus is faster than the previous models. And yet it is less expensive ($1,895.00 compared to $5,095.00 for the APO version).

If you are familiar with the ease of using the Leica Q that "is always ready", the Leica SL2 equipped with this lens is just as easy: Turn the camera on, point it and take the photo.

 


Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 



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Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

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Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 


Leica SL2
with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 


Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 


Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica 50mm Definitions

 

APO
stands for "apochromatically corrected" lenses. In most lenses, optical design concentrates the focus of blue light and green light into a single plane, but red light falls slightly into another plane of focus. Red subjects, therefore, would be ever so slightly out of focus compared to blue and green subjects in the same frame. In APO lenses, the design and expense has been put in to making red light focus on the same plane as blue and green. Under a microscope you would see that all light subject is now in focus, creating a sharper image overall. Many manufacturers offer APO designs, but in most of these only the very center of the lens is APO corrected. Leica prides itself on making most of the frame APO corrected.

     
Before correction   APO lens
Before correction   APO lens

 

ASPH
… stands for "aspheric design". Most lenses have a spherical design - that is, the radius of curvature is constant. These are easy to manufacture by grinding while "spinning" the glass. This design however restricts the number of optical corrections that can be made to the design to render the most realistic image possible. ASPH lenses, however, involve usually 1 element that does *not* have a constant radius of curvature. These elements can be made by 1) expensive manual grinding, 2) molded plastic, 3) Leica's patented "press" process, where the element is pressed into an aspherical ("non-spherical") shape. This design allows the manufacturer to introduce corrections into compact lens designs that weren't possible before. Practically, the lens performs "better" (up to interpretation) due to increased correction of the image, in a package not significantly bigger than the spherical version.

ASPH is a method where the glass is pressed, and if you think about it for a little while, it means that you can make shapes that you can't possibly grind: With grinding you can make a curved shape. With pressing (ASPH) you can make the shape of circles in the water if that is what is required.

     
Normal speric lens (grinded)   ASPH (note the shape of the glass as result of pressing reather than grinding)

There is another Aspherical lens manufacture technique: an uneven coating layer is applied to a spherical lens. The coating is thicker on the edges (or on the center, depending). Canon "Lens Work II" calls these "simulated" aspherical lenses. Simulated and Glass-Molded (GMo) asphericals show up in non-L Canon lenses, while the L lenses have actual ground aspheric elements.

 

Bokeh
the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens : It's a matter of taste and usually photographers discuss a 'nice' or 'pleasant' bokeh (the out-of-focus area is always unsharp why the quality discussed is if one likes the way it renders or not by a particular lens).
ORIGIN from Japanese 'bo-ke' which mean 'fuzziness' or 'blur.'

 

Summicron
Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f2.0 . There are many guesses how this name came about, a popular one being that the "summi" came from "summit" (summit means the highest point of a hill or mountain; the highest attainable level of achievement) while the "cron" came from "chroma" (ie. for colour). Not so: The name (Summi)cron was used because the lens used Crown glass for the first time, which Leitz bought from Chance Brothers in England. The first batch of lenses were named Summikron (Crown = Krone in Deutsch). The Summi(cron) is a development from the original Summar (the 50mm f2.0 lens anno 1933)

 

Mandler, Dr. Walter (1922 - 2005)
Legendary Leica lens designer. Read more in Leica History.

Otto Geier, supervisor of the Optics Department of Ernst Leitz Canada (on the right), with the legendary lens designer Dr. Walter Mandler.
Otto Geier, supervisor of the Optics Department of Ernst Leitz Canada (on the right), with the legendary lens designer Dr. Walter Mandler.

 

 

Other resources for the Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0

Erwin Puts' few precise words on the precision and technical accomplishments the new 50mm implies:

"I cannot repeat it often enough, but high-quality imagery with a lens of small dimensions is very difficult to achieve. The 50mm APO-Summicron-M needed to have a front lens diameter of 39 mm (the normal filter size for Leica Summicron standard lenses). The new 50mm APO-Summicron-M has eight elements that have to be fitted in a small-sized mount and there is indeed hardly room for air in this mount. This is a second problem: when lens elements are packed as closely as in the 50mm APO-SummicroniM the potential for aberration correction is restricted. It is a triumph of optical and mechanical design" - Erwin Puts
See his Page 1 and Page 2 of his article on the 50mm APO.

 

Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.
Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.

 

Steve Huff also have reviewed the Leica 50mm APO-Summicron in his Part 1: "Technically, the best 50mm lens I have ever shot with. Period. End of Story. Done Deal. No contest. Really!" – Steve Huff.

Howard Shooter wrote this article, "Copenhagen with the Leica M 240 and 50 APO-Summicron" article.

 

Peter Karbe interview on the Leica 50mm APO-Summicron ASPH f/2.0


Peter Karbe & the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. from Leica Camera.

 

Comments

Feel free to send me an e-mail with comments, suggestions, ideas, corrections.

 

 

One last image to sleep on: The Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 on my Leica M 240.
One last image to sleep on: The Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 on my Leica M 240.

   
   

- Thorsten Overgaard
#1966-0419


    Thank you!
For help, corrections and information to

Peter Karbe
Erwin Puts

 
 

 




   
   
Thorsten von Overgaard
Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
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Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica Digilux 1
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica Digilux
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R film cameras:
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R8 / R9
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R4
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica R3 electronic
Leica 35mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL / SLmot
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 FLE   Leica compact film cameras:
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0   Leica Minilux 35mm film camera
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.2   Leica CM 35mm film camera
7artisans 50mm f/1.1   Leica R lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 50mm Elmar-M f/2.8 collapsible   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25   Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4
7artisans 75mm f/1.25   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 180mm R lenses
Leica 90mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.5   Leica 250mm Telyt-R f/4.0
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
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Above: Clearwater Beach blue hour. Leica SL2 with Leica 50mm Summicron-SL ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

Leica reviews by Thorsten Overgaard. LEICA = LEItz CAmera. Founded 1849 in Wetzlar, Germany. Leica logo in photo by Thorsten Overgaard

LEItz CAmera = LEICA
Founded 1849 in Wetzlar, Germany.

 

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Thorsten von Overgaard in Hong Kong by Lee Yu Chaun.
Thorsten von Overgaard
in Hong Kong by Lee Yu Chaun.

 


 

 

 

 


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Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish-American multiple award-winning photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing and teaching workshops to photographers. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via email.

You can follow Thorsten Overgaard at his television channel magicoflight.tv.

Feel free to email to thorsten@overgaard.dk for questions, advice and ideas.

 

 

 




 

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Thorsten Overgaard photo workshops and masterclasses for Leica photographers and digital photographers



 


 


 

 

     
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Thorsten Overgaard photo workshops and masterclasses for Leica photographers and digital photographers




 

 
Thorsten Overgaard photo workshops and masterclasses for Leica photographers and digital photographers          
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