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Thread: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

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    50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    I really need some help on various versions of the 50mm Summilux lens.

    Some 50mm lux says "Summilux", while some says "Summilux-M". There is substantial price difference when the "M" is present at the end.

    What are the difference between these lenses? How are the IQ? I understand the ASPH version is a different animal altogether...

    Thanks so much.
    Francis

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    There is no difference. All Leica-made lenses are either -M or -R (and probably -S coming up). I believe the 4/3 lenses are marked "D".

    There are two interesting 50 Summiluxes:

    - Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 (pre-Asph)
    - Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH

    The latter is perhaps the best normal lens ever made, an astoundingly good lens with awesome boke and sharpness. However, wide open, some prefer the also very good pre-ASPH. It has a little of that old glow. The latest version with the pull-out hood focuses closer and is quite sought-after.

    If you have seen higher prices from lenses marked -M, it is likely coincidence (since they all are, except the very first versions from '59-'61, order number SOOME, 11114/11113, SOWGE, 11014, these can be recognized by their scalloped focusing rings), or it just reflects that people selling more expensive copies are more careful with their writing

    All 50 Luxes from '61 and up to the latest pre-ASPH (11114, 11868, 11856, 11869, 11621) have the same optical formula. The early Lux is not nearly as good as the later two.

    You will notice that the order number 11114 appears in both lists. Leica made a gliding switch and didn't confirm until '68 that this had happened, so I would recommend avoiding this, unless you have access to an expert who can tell the difference via serial numbers or possibly other means.
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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    all the 50 Luxes are gorgeous and share many of the same characteristics. i have an early one with scalloped edges but the later optical formula and it is gorgeous. the only issue i have with it (and one for you to aware of) is that only the last version Pre-asph and the Asph itself focus to .7m. all others will only go as close as 1m.

    this makes the last version Pre-asph the most desirable and more expensive than the other Pre's. if near focus isn't an issue for you, you can get a wonderful lens for quite a bit less in some cases.

    the Asph isn't that much different than the Pre-asph, but takes it up a notch and is wicked sharp. i've heard many people say that this is one of their favourite lenses, but i personally prefer the slightly gentler draw of the Pre-Asph.

    starting over again, i would go for the last version because i find the 1m limitation of mine drives me mad -- yet i am so in love with the one i have, i haven't bothered to replace it.

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    I had both the pre-asph and the asph version of that lens, but just sold the asph for a few reasons:

    the pre-asph handles better, it's 1 cm shorter, the focus ring is better placed and after I got a focus lever attached it focusses quicker. I also prefer the hood design. I prefer the look wide open. I lost quite a lot in selling the ASPH, but I had to find out myself....

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Many people say the pre-ASPH is softer wide open but with a gentler look and better bookeh. Do you have any pictures showing the pre-ASPH wide open that can share with me? That will be awesome.

    By the way, which version is this? Is this the pre 61' version that is not as good?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=290355217530

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    That's the early version. The later version has a different focusing ring:

    http://www.camera-exchange.de/images...50-2848954.jpg

    And the pre-ASPH looks much more modern, focuses to 0.7m, but has the same optical formula:

    http://tinyurl.com/ydcx32h

    (Note that the ad is for the ASPH version, but the photo is the pre-ASPH. Note the hood which slides into the lens, rather than sitting on the outside, like the ASPH.)

    Someone on l-camera-forum.com tested the 50 Lux vs. 50 Lux ASPH once, specifically for boke, and IIRC was unable to produce a single image where the 50 Lux has nicer boke. It does have a little of that glow which looks so nice for portraits, so if you like that, or prefer the better price, then the 50 Lux is still a truly great lens, which lasted 4 decades in Leica's lineup.

    Both exist in black and chrome, btw.

    Don't fall into the trap of dismissing the ASPH for being too sharp though. Too many people do that. The 50 ASPH is a truly special lens, a classic for years to come, and wide open it is sharp, but never harsh. The best reason to buy the pre-ASPH is price, compact size, or the glow, not boke, less sharpness or any other reason.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    I think the 50 ASPH is an awesome lens. I've yet to take a picture where I thought it was too sharp. There are only two complaints I could have with this lens. 1) it's expensive. 2) it's a bit bigger than the pre-ASPH. However, performance is impeccable - it doesn't flare, it's sharp when/where it's supposed to be, easy to use, focus close and doesn't fall apart there. It's awesome.

    The other complaint you hear get heaped on the ASPH lenses is harsh bokeh. The 50 ASPH doesn't have it. In fact, when it comes to 35s, I though the 35/2 IV had harsher bokeh than one of the ASPH 35s. I don't get where the harsh bokeh thing comes from or what lens it's supposed to apply to.

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Here's a review of the pre-asphs I did a few months ago here

    The scalloped focus ring came back a few times for special versions. The E46 version's main benefit is the closer focus than previous 50 Summiluxes.
    My Photography Blog here

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Thanks everyone. So I guess the ebay link I had was for the V1 pre-ASPH?

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    I have had the 50 ASPH and the 50 PRE ASPH and still own the PRE ASPH. I have a beautiful, coded black paint version with scalloped focus ring and built in hood. Focuses to .7 and I like this lens more than the ASPH version, but its all personal tastes.

    The ASPH version, like others have said is a pretty perfect lens. The pre-asph has some of that old school charm and romance. Even the pre can be sharp wide open. Here is one I shot on the M9 with the pre-asph.



    Also reviewed the pre-asph on an M8.2 at my site. Great lens and not as expensive as any one you find will be used.
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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Have both latest pre-asph and asph Lux 50. The asph is probably the sharpest 50/1.4 ever made at f/1.4 but its bokeh is too sharp for my tastes at f/2.8 and on. Also the asph is very contrasty, which can be a problem with digital. The pre-asph is second to none for portrait. If i had to keep one it would be the latter. Beware that all pre-asph Lux are not the same. The latest model has a built-in hood. It is sharper than earlier versions but has no 'glow' at all. FWIW.

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Quote Originally Posted by LCT View Post
    Have both latest pre-asph and asph Lux 50. The asph is probably the sharpest 50/1.4 ever made at f/1.4 but its bokeh is too sharp for my tastes at f/2.8 and on. Also the asph is very contrasty, which can be a problem with digital. The pre-asph is second to none for portrait. If i had to keep one it would be the latter. Beware that all pre-asph Lux are not the same. The latest model has a built-in hood. It is sharper than earlier versions but has no 'glow' at all. FWIW.
    So the one that has the "glow" is the v2?

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    The pre-ASPH (v2+) is meant to have the same optical formula as the previous version (v2), so I do not see why this would be. Perhaps there is some copy-to-copy variation in play here.

    I own the ASPH, but also have a 75 Lux, and one day, I will buy myself a nice v2 Lux. I love that rendering too. I think that both have their place, but as previously mentioned, differences in boke aren't among them; the ASPH is better than the pre-ASPH as often as not. The gentler rendering would be the primary reason.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Quote Originally Posted by francishmt View Post
    So the one that has the "glow" is the v2?
    No personal experience of it sorry.
    I would ask cbretteville or cam here:
    http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-...etteville.html
    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/member.php?u=264
    I can't seem to recall if they've been using v1 or v2 though.
    BTW 'glow' is just a kind of halo around highlights as in the bottom pic attached but you know this already i guess.

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Ehh...

    I had a CLA'd '66, and current E46 and they "glowed" the same. But if you like old fashioned "glow" an early lux version might be preferable with lesser coatings, more haze, etc.

    IMHO, the pre-asph lux has more character, but is technically not as good a lens as the asph. I attribute this to the harsher bokeh (subjective) of the ASPH, along with the measurable sharper edges at corners of the ASPH vs pre-asph.

    Just my opinion. Ideally, get them both, then sell one.

    Quote Originally Posted by francishmt View Post
    So the one that has the "glow" is the v2?
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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Quote Originally Posted by ampguy View Post
    ....I had a CLA'd '66, and current E46 and they "glowed" the same...
    Never got the least glow with my latest pre-asph so far. Would you have a pic to share? Just curious.

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Maybe it's because I came from a Canon, but the Canon EF 50/1.4 has 'glow' wide open, and I always found it incredibly annoying. It must not be as rampantly out of control on the Leica as it is on the Canon lens, but Leica 'glow' was one of the things I never bought into.

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    I think there is some "glow" in these here

    Quote Originally Posted by LCT View Post
    Never got the least glow with my latest pre-asph so far. Would you have a pic to share? Just curious.
    My Photography Blog here

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Quote Originally Posted by ampguy View Post
    I think there is some "glow" in these here
    Hardly highlights in those pics.

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    i have a v2 summilux pre asph. i dont know if it has the "glow" but ive been very happy with it.


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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Nice pic. Did you apply sharpening to the background as well?

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    this particular scan was done by the lab that developed it, so i have no idea what they did.

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Just as a demonstration of the property, the old Thambar 90mm f/2.2 has a severe case of the glows:

    http://j-lights.air-nifty.com/k_i_ph...f22/index.html

    The 50 Lux pre-Asph, like the 75 Lux and the Noctilux f/1.2 and f/1, will under the right circumstances show varying amounts of this (but never as much as the Thambar).
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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Just FYI - the cat's meow is the LHSA 50 summilux asph. It's the old knurled style brass with the modern optics of the current tabbed lux asph. They were offered in silver over brass or black paint over brass, each with black vented hoods. They came with the LHSA MP3 kits and were also made in runs of 500 each as separate lenses. Here's a photo of the silver, currently listed on ebay for $4580.
    Last edited by bradhusick; 17th July 2014 at 09:27.

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Those look nice, and some might think they handle better, but man, 4580 versus around 2000 on the used market for the same lens? 2580 dollars for a scalloped focusing ring is a heck of a lot of money.

    I have both the pre-asph and the ASPH -- the pre-asph was my father's, and I cannot bring myself to sell it. I have to agree with Carsten though -- the 50 ASPH has really nothing wrong with it optically -- the lens is superbly sharp at all ranges, has nice bokeh, strongly resists flare, and is rather compact.
    The pre-asph is also nice, but it is certainly not as sharp, particularly in the edges of the image. The bokeh can be lovely, but it can also be a bit "crazy", which I happen to like. You see it in the background a bit in drazin's image above, and it is also evident in this one here. My brother in law is a bit of a goof in front of the camera...here is the 50/1.4 pre-asph:

    And here is a kind of similar background, taken with the 50/1.4 ASPH

    Notice how the tree leaves in the background remain rather smooth, where in the pre-asph they get that stronger ring effect.

    Overall, they are both very good lenses, but the 50/1.4 ASPH is in a different league when it comes to corner to corner sharpness below f/5.6. It is extremely sharp even out to the corners at 1.4 -- no other lens I have used is so good at 1.4. I think it is the better buy overall, particularly for use on digital like the M8 and M9. If you just want a soft dreamy lens, get a summarit.
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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Quote Originally Posted by bradhusick View Post
    Just FYI - the cat's meow is the LHSA 50 summilux asph. It's the old knurled style brass with the modern optics of the current tabbed lux asph. They were offered in silver over brass or black paint over brass, each with black vented hoods. They came with the LHSA MP3 kits and were also made in runs of 500 each as separate lenses. Here's a photo of the silver, currently listed on ebay for $4580.
    I had the BP version of this lens and it was the best lens I have ever owned. I sold it and when I bought a normal 50 Lux ASPH later it was just not the same in regards to sharpness/contrast. That LHSA version is amazing. At least mine was. Im an idiot for selling it.
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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    That may be, but it shouldn't be! They are optically and mechanically identical (internally anyway). I think maybe you just got an out of spec one in your subsequent version.
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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    OKAY, all this talk makes me really really want the ASPH version, especially if it is in chrome.

    Anyone willing to part with one??

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Francis....and while you're looking for your 50mm ASPH, I've started looking for a mint 50mm pre ASPH (e46), probably last version before ASPH. Anyone willing to part at a good price? I have the new VC 50mm f1.2...extremely nice but now going for a very compact kit instead.

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    I have a 50mm f/1.4 Summilux that has minimum focus of 0.7m in my cabinet. I bought it new to collect so it is totally mint with box and all. I should be putting it on ebay in the next few weeks when I find the time to get some photos done and listing it. I'll also be listing a 75mm f/1.4 which is also mint but I lost the box when I travelled back from London. The lens was purchased from a shop that replaced Hove Camera. I used to buy leica stuff from Hove Camera when I lived there in the 1970s.

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Hi Henry,

    PM Sent. Thanks!

    DAve (D&A)

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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    What is the going rate for a perfect, second-hand 50 Lux ASPH, in Europe and in the States?
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    Re: 50mm Summilux vs Summilux-M pre-ASPH?

    Hi Dave, I've got a very late E46 German black paint one with latest style box, papers, case, caps. I use it, so can't call it mint, but like new with box (and all other bits). Can't see any signs of wear or use on it. Focuses perfectly on my M8, M6, and RD1. Not coded, but comes with a new Leica 46 UV/IR filter. There's an ad in the classifieds, I'll try to find it and bump it, or you can pm me.

    Photo of the lens is here

    and some images I took with it last July are here

    Without a doubt it's my favorite 50, or at least a tie with the Noct., but I need to sell it to fund an M9.

    Ted

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Francis....and while you're looking for your 50mm ASPH, I've started looking for a mint 50mm pre ASPH (e46), probably last version before ASPH. Anyone willing to part at a good price? I have the new VC 50mm f1.2...extremely nice but now going for a very compact kit instead.
    My Photography Blog here

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