Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5

Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 lens (1951)

Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5

Yesterday I was visiting London for two model shoots and to do some Leica street photography. I stopped in at a vintage camera repair shop in walking distance of Euston train station to have a look around. ‘Camera City’ ran by Pany and his team was full of amazing old cameras. Some very early film cameras through to newer digital cameras. I was looking at the Rolleiflex TLR cameras as that is one type of camera I have not yet owned. I checked to see if they had any vintage Leica lenses in and they had a modified 1951 Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 lens. The original design in that era (as showed in the photo) was Leica thread mount (LTM) but my copy is a bayonet mount (LM). I can tell the year of production from the serial number and mine is one of the early ones. The Summaron was in production in Germany from 1949 – 1960. The lens optics look reasonably good for the age of the lens and there is no obvious haze or internal dust. That said, I think the lens was probably cleaned when it was modified. This in not a problem for me as I buy vintage Leica lenses to use not to polish.

I struck a deal with Pany and part exchanged my Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f4 now that I have the Zeiss ZM Biogon 21mm f2.8. I loved the size of the 21/4 in LTM mount but I found those lenses sometimes had focus shift so I thought I would stick with the 21/2.8.

It was a totally unplanned purchase (again!) but after really enjoying the use of my 1954 vintage Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 I knew I would soon be looking for a vintage 35mm to match. You can see the advantages of older lenses by looking at my Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 blog post.

Here are a couple of samples using the Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 on my Leica M9

Camera City – test shot before agreeing to buy the lens @f3.5
Camera City, London

Leica street photography in Central London @f3.5
Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5

I love the flare of the old lenses. I recently bought the Voigtlander Skopar PII 35mm f2.5 which is sharp at f2.5 and controls flare well. Both these small 35mm lenses are compact and have their own character. I like the old Leica glass for personal projects but for paying clients I will often use newer glass if I need the look of modern optics and/ or reliable sharpness shot wide open.

I will post a full set of example photos using the Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 when I find time.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer

Related Links
Camera City – http://www.cameracity.co.uk
Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 (1954) –

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Author: matthewosbornephotography

Coventry, UK studio based Model and Wedding Photographer offering both Medium Format Film and Digital Images. 1-2-1 Photography and Lighting Tuition also available.

6 thoughts on “Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5”

  1. So, if you could only have one 35mm for your M – which would it be? The 3.5/3.5 Summaron, or the CV 35mm Skopar PII?

    1. Hi Jim, as always as you get more and more into gear.. it depends what you want it for! 🙂

      For me I have 4x 35mm..

      travel low light & portraits = Cv 1.4
      travel in good light + family = skopar
      paying clients & non-travel = cv 1.2
      vintage look & flare = 3.5

      Hope that helps

      ..CV 1.4 gets most use but I think 1.2 is a little sharper (super sharp!)

      Cheers
      Matt

      1. Interesting! So far, the only 35mm lens I have is a non-coupled M39 3.5 lens which I’d rather not bash around due to sentimental value. I’m hoping to add an M4P to my MDa soon in any case, so I’ll want a coupled lens for it. My budget basically allows me any one of the lenses you’ve described. (And The 1.2 is too big for me, so that’s ruled out – I’d heard a lot about non-linear focus on the 1.4 that put me off, so I’d discounted it – but the fact that you use it is more encouraging.

        Still, your usage cases are pretty informative, and the fact that the skopar is your daytime ‘general’ lens immediately biases me back to it from the Summaron or Nokton. Although the vintage rendering is appealing to me, flare is less so – and a more well-rounded lens (not to mention, a subtle blackness) is worth the extra $ for a new Skopar over a Summaron. Thanks!

  2. One of my all time fave Leica lenses. I loved the crunchy contrast but soft bokeh when shot on Ricoh GXR. Stupidly sold it off after getting a C Biogon. Have regretted it ever since. Mine came with the original hood, lens cap, and yellow and green filters. With the green filter, b&w looks like what I used to get from my PII Skopar.

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