Woo Hoo! “New” Lenses From Leica

 

Leica has just announced three “New” [read: make some cosmetic changes to an existing lens and run it as a limited edition while jacking up the price to reflect its scarcity] lenses. First is a black-chrome Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH,  (shown above), made to resemble the classic Type 2 lens from the 1950s with the scalloped focus ring, all brass hood and cap, edition of 700, priced $1,600 dollars more than the standard 50mm f2 ASPH.

To put this in perspective, you can buy 4 copies of the 50mm 1.1 7Artisans lens in M Mount, give 3 of them away as gifts, keep the remainder and then also buy the standard Leica 50mm f2 ASPH, all for the same price as this lens.

Next is the  Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 in matte black paint with matching hood, edition of 500, $400 more than the silver version.

Finally, the Leica Summilux-M 28mm f/1.4 ASPH. in silver, edition of 300, an extra $400 more than the black version.

22 thoughts on “Woo Hoo! “New” Lenses From Leica

  1. Laurence Kesterson

    This just in. Leica cameras and lenses are boutique items marketed to the well heeled collector. Film at eleven.

    I’m an avid Leica digital M user and a professional photographer. I used Leica M gear prior to the digital revolution. I recently returned to the Leica M and I find the system well suited for me for where I am in my life and career. But make no mistake, the modern Leica M system is not marketed to the professional user. I think we all know that almost any other professional camera system can make the same photos at 1/4 the cost.

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  2. Ashley

    I don’t know if it’s because I shoot film Leica’s but I find most modern Leica lenses to be quite bland.

    Yes they’re wickedly sharp and yes they have bags of contrast but they’re just too perfect. For want of better word they lack character.

    I have a Zeiss Biogon 35/2 and it’s a similar case with that. The Zeiss is super sharp, modern contrast (loads of) and has zero distortion. And yet I find myself reaching for an old Canon LTM 35/2 as the negs just look nicer from that old lens.

    I’m not a hipster.

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      1. Ashley

        I’d ask you to step outside but I’m eating a slice of bread from an artisanal loaf covered in hand churned butter. That and I’ve just oiled my sailors style beard.

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  3. Dan Castelli

    “All right you young people, listen here…back in the day I shot with a Nikon F and a 105 (pronounced One Oh Five) Nikkor. I had a Leica M2 with a 35mm Summicron. I had one of those Honeywell flashes, what were they called? Strobomatic I think. Had a gawdawful heavy battery slung over your shoulder like an M1. Yessir, that’s all you needed to call yourself a PROfessional photographer. You wore a jacket with lots of pockets. Smoked Camels. Told stories to other PROfessional photographers. Didn’t think much of writers. They could make stuff up..WE had to be there…”
    Now, seriously, I just wonder how people can afford to gear up with a Leica M10, new Leica lens and the ancillary equipment and make a living as a photographer. The upfront investment boggles my mind. How do they do it? Legacy babies? Trust fund babies?
    My professional career was spent as a public school teacher. My wife & I raised a child, paid a mortgage, had expenses like every other middle class person. I bought used equipment, built a darkroom and truly enjoyed my hobby/obsession of photography. Now that we’re both retired, we enjoy a easier time and I’m still banging away with used Leica cameras and having a blast. But, I don’t think I could afford to do it today from scratch.
    BTW, I still have & use the darkroom, but I’m too old to be called a hipster…

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    1. Leicaphila Post author

      Yes. Leicas have always been expensive, no doubt. But it’s now an exponentially higher expensiveness, where even the prosperous photographer is priced out. Now it’s a rich man’s trinket. That wasn’t always the case with Leica – witness me at 18 saving up my money to buy a new M5. It was 4 or 5 times the expense of a Nikon F2, let’s say, and likewise, the Leitz lenses were pricey…but I could swing it with enough dedication to the idea. Now? No way. The cost of a body and standard 50mm lens – your basic kit – costs more than any car I’ve owned.

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  4. Ashley

    I stupidly stumbled into the Leica ‘boutique’ in Mayfair, London last year. I may as well have been walking into the Prada store or other designer label.

    My battered M2 was looked upon with what I suspect was disgust by the young fashionista working there.

    It was no place for a jobbing photographer that’s for sure!

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    1. Michael

      I don’t think that’s entirely fair. Same place replaced the rewind lever on my M6 last summer. An item that they held in stock and fitted free of charge, for collection an hour or so later.

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  5. Rob Campbell

    My last boss had his M3 as well as a Sinar, Nikon F etc. but when I left him to fly solo, it was the F that stuck in my mind as the one to get when I could. Versatility of the slr was key, but as mentioned before, printing his Leitz negs was different to printing from his F optics: there was a distinct look that the Leitz lenses produced; shame about the rangefinder body, though. Whether that means anything in a digital context, where digital processing has such a massive influence on everything that comes out as a finished image is perhaps a moot point.

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  6. Dan Castelli

    Nick, I’m glad it made you smile…just trying to keep the mood light. Honestly, I think I’m a pretty sharp guy, but some of the responses I read here just mire me up to my arse in mud. I can’t follow some of the trains of thought.
    You know, it’s easy, this photography thing: you see the picture, you take the picture, you process the picture. Duh?
    Ashley, I stumbled into the Leica store in Washington DC with my scarred M2 about 5 years ago, The response was similar. By God! Why don’t I just grab a chisel and stone and carve the image? Film? Even my wife was taken aback. It was like my fly was open at a formal reception.
    F*ck ’em if they can’t take a joke! [btw, my work can be seen on flickr: flickr.com/photos/dcastelli9574/ ]
    I don’t have a blog/website.

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    1. Rob Campbell

      Dan, where the problem?

      It’s not really a Leica thing at all; what it is is much more pedestrian: do you or do you not enjoy using a rangefinder camera, and if you are used to a reflex of some sort, does the alternative suit your way of seeing? Where it is a Leica thing is that it’s the only remaining game in town for rangefinders. However, with electronic viewfinders, maybe even Leica is abandoning the concept.

      Leica has survived because of its glorious past, because some people have a lot of spending power and because they just enjoy ownership. And there is nothing wrong with that, especially if it serves to keep the company and the name alive. It could be argued that everybody can get around in a Ford Fiesta like mine, but were I now able to afford a hot Alfa, that’s where I’d be. And I don’t even drive fast at my age, I just like the way the things look and the potential. I would not buy a large expensive car because I don’t want large, I just want good, responsive, and something that can be parked easily in narrow, Spanish village streets. Or large urban underground car parks which scare the hell out of me even with a little Fiesta, they are so tight.

      Truth to tell, I just wish they still made cars where you could see all four corners from the driving seat. Indicators that bleep at you when you are close to something are just a way of accepting that vision and function have been sacrificed to style,

      Amyway, keep out of that mud, Dan: you could get worms.

      😉

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  7. Lee Rust

    Consider that a Leica M10 purchased in 2019 for $7295 would have sold for an inflation-adjusted $1064 in 1969 (if it had existed back then), whereas the 1969 list price for an M4 body was a little over $300. An M10 has a lot more hi-tech ‘stuff’ in it than an M4, so would it not be worth an additional $700 back in the old days? Leicas have always been expensive though, especially when you consider that you could have bought a very nice 35mm SLR for $150 in ’69.

    Leica cameras and lenses are definitely a luxury item now, especially since so very few are manufactured compared to 50 years ago. Keep in mind also that the adjusted real income of an average American has steadily declined since 1968 and those of us who came of age in that era are really starting to notice.

    Then there’s the proverb that my Dad repeated to us every time the high cost of a durable item was at issue; something that he heard from his own father that bears repeating even now… “Quality remains long after the purchase price is forgotten.”

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    1. Rob Campbell

      I still have my then new ’72 Rolex Submariner that cost me south of £90 at the time because it was bought through a family friend’s jewellery store. A year or two ago it stopped, and so it was either get the thing serviced and waterproofed again or let it sleep in a drawer until my son inherits.

      My chosen option was, obviously, to have it serviced. That cost me in the vicinity of € 860 and I turned down the opportunity to replace the steel bracelet whose springs died years ago. Why? Because a new one, not even the original model which is now, unsurprisingly, obsolete, would have set me back an additional €1200. As the watch now comes in at around € twelve + grand, I’m sure I wouldn’t have dreamed of buying at today’s prices. There is no way that around a hundred notes back then was as hard to earn as twelve grand today. Especially when you’re retired! Think of buying the same model in gold, and the next heart attack threatens. Fortunately, even back then when it was a possibility, I thought gold watches made you look like a bookie. Especially when they are so bulky.

      I think that Leica pricing psychology has joined the same celestial chorus of crazies.

      I used to have a wealthy friend who was fond of putting these things in perspective by asking the question: can the very best steak in the world be worth more than five quid? That was in the 80s. My wife used to cook the very best steaks in the world right here at home, and she would never have paid more than that!

      Rob

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  8. Keith Laban

    Some know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    😉

    But seriously, due to eyesight problems I’ve been considering adding an autofocus system in addition to or even as replacement for my Leica M system (probably Nikon Z). Then I look at the results I get with the Leica lenses and the sheer enjoyment I get when using the rangefinders and wonder why the hell I need anything else. I’m currently using the system intensively and having the time of my life.

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    1. Rob Campbell

      Keith, it’s age; you might well be standing in line for the second danger period for male menopausal moments. I can think of three of my own: the first getting that Italian sports car we both did; the next the dream of selling the house and living in a boat in the Med; the final one (I hope), going 6×7 after dumping all my Nikon stuff, only to have to rebuy most of it all over again after dumping 6×7 in turn.

      Ideally, and starting from zero bodies, I would go for the Z7 and whatever non-zooms they have. I would also buy the adapter ring so that I could enjoy my 500 cat. Ultimate image definition would certainly be lacking with the latter, but for its specific uses – cooking optical doughnuts – that is of no importance whatsoever. Come to think of it, it’s unimportant for practically all that I do today.

      Thing is, every such mistake I made, I was absolutely convinced that I’d thought it through carefully. Or it was just a matter of doing the right thing at the wrong time? Today, that car would suit me perfectly. Mallorca’s local government has decreed that as of ’25 there will be no new diesel car available for purchase, or for use on the island unless bought before that date. I seriously doubt it will be of interest to me by then, but at least the sports thing was gasoline!

      If you can stretch to it, why not keep one M body and your favourite optic for it, and build up on the Nikon?

      I can still use manual lenses on the Nikons, but I have to depend on that tiny green light to advise when I have hit (I hope!) focus; mas que nada, but one distracting pain in the ass. How easier and more accurate my 1.8/50mm and 2.8/180mm autofocus lenses. This from someone who scorned af.

      Ask V for advice, and listen. Women get the bigger picture better than we do; it’s genetic as well as a gender thing.

      🙂

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  9. Rob Campbell

    As a sad footnote to the post about watches: today’s Ultima Hora newspaper reports the case of a north-American lady and a German gent who bought two Rolexes from the same Palma shop that I use for services etc. Using the same underground car park as I have to, they returned to their car, put the fancy bag (thief bait) containing the two watches, one worth € 23,000 and the other € 13,500, onto the roof of the vehicle and drove off….

    They offer a ten percent reward, but so far, nothing.

    Ever felt suicidal?

    Reply

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