LEICA SUMMILUX 50mm f/1.4 ASPH review

After two years of shooting with it I decided to update the article.

This is my best and most used lens by far. Everything about it is just perfect. No wonder Leica puts this lens on their advertisement and photos on their website. It just feels and looks perfectly proportional to the camera body.

Optically Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH is at the top of its game as expected by any Leica lenses. It has aspherical and floating element inside. Whatever this does I can confirm it works. Sharpness is at its best at f5.6-8, but center sharpness is there already at f1.4. At f1.4 and f2.0 you get nice separation of the object from its surroundings. It is magical here. It produces the 3D rendering that makes colors and object pop. Compared to my first 50mm 1.4 Canon, Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH makes circles around it. From sharpness, bokeh to color fringing and size it is all better. More on sharpens of this marvelous lens here and here.

Recently Sony, Sigma and Zeiss released 1.4 lens that in tests performs very well. The problem for me is the size. Comparing the Zeiss Otus 55/1.5 with Leica 50/1.4 we can see the huge difference in size and weight. Zeiss is about 1000 grams and Leica is 355 grams only. I will not even comment on the physical size. This huge difference have a big impact on my photography.

The lens is made out of metal and glass. Aperture and focus ring is the best I have ever used but it is like this on any Leica new M lens. It just feels so organic and smooth. Clicks sound and feel are delightful. I mostly shoot at 1.4 and 2 so a nice ND filter is needed in bright situations, but it will produce extra vignetting. You can always pull down the iso to 100 so you can use it at f2 in the same situations. Like with any other prime Leica you get the nice scale to help you calculate depth of field- very useful on the field. The hood is build in and it has a lock mechanism by turning it once extended. Filters does not block hood. As all new Ms this lens also has the finger tab to focus it easily with one finger.

Color rendition of the Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH as far as I am concern is superb. You want the best you have to pay for the best. The combination of M body with M lens is extreme especially with this one. The 50/1.4 sits in between two other giants on the Leica 50 mm line: APO 50/2 and Noctilux 0.95. It nicely balance the sharpness, color and size of the one (APO 50/2) and the separation and bokeh of the other (Noctilux 0.95). All those three lenses are magical in their own way. The designer of the lens Peter Karbe, actually admits the lens is APO design but it never got imprinted on the lens itself. The lens is also FLE like Leica 35/1.4 FLE so the engineering inside this small jewell is not to be underestimated.

Object separation is superb. This is my personal choice when it comes to street and landscape photography because of the view angle which is 47 degrees. It is closer to my eyes depth of field so it work very well. It helps me frame better with it and gives enough space between me and the object. Whatever you shoot however you shoot it it always looks proportional and straight. With the Leica 35/1.4 FLE I own, you have to be careful about your angle of shooting. Some lines will curve and look weird. Frames inside the rangefinder also works better. With the 35 mm lens it almost fills the whole rangefinder. With 90 mm lens it is too small. With 50 mm lens it is just perfect. You see enough outside and inside the frame.

Minimal focus distance of Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH is 0.7m which is good enough but is more than the R version of the Summilux which was 0.5m (thoughts on it here). If you need a closer distance you will have to get the M micro adapter which will make it possible to focus from 0.5m, but my personal preference for closer shooting is the Leica 100/2.8 APO Macro-Elmarit-R (1:2) that goes all the way down to 1:1 with the ELPRO adapter.

The versatile of the lens can be seen bellow- portraits, landscapes or even panoramic photos, close up, street photography, commercial products, black and white or color it can do it all.
  • Leica Summilux 50 ASPH

    Leica Summilux 50 ASPH

  • Leica Summilux 50 ASPH

    Leica Summilux 50 ASPH

  • Leica Summilux 50 ASPH

    Leica Summilux 50 ASPH

Leica Summilux 50 mm ASPH APO


  • Over Dospat lake at sunset

    Over Dospat lake at sunset

  • Panorama over Dospat lake

    Panorama over Dospat lake

  • Old roman bridge

    Old roman bridge

  • Kids wonderland

    Kids wonderland

  • At the fields in autumn

    At the fields in autumn

  • Sunset over old house in Dolen

    Sunset over old house in Dolen

  • Old houses in Dolen

    Old houses in Dolen

  • Church St. George Rotunda

    Church St. George Rotunda

  • Jet fighter MIG

    Jet fighter MIG

  • Skyscraper in Sofia

    Skyscraper in Sofia

  • Autumn in the park

    Autumn in the park

  • Autumn in the park

    Autumn in the park

  • Fireworks


  • Product photography

    Product photography

  • Morning sun over snow

    Morning sun over snow

  • A view from Vitosha mountain

    A view from Vitosha mountain

  • Closeup


  • At Muzeiko children place

    At Muzeiko children place

  • Self-portrait


  • Hot stepper

    Hot stepper

  • Street photography

    Street photography

  • Close up of a book cover

    Close up of a book cover

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