Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 Review & Photos 

Mini review of the Leica Summaron 35mm lens that I just bought + sample photos + new YouTube video

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.

Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5

Summaron 35mm f3.5

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.

YouTube: Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 Review

Part Exchange Lens Deal

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 Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f4 in LTM mount but I found my copy of the lens sometimes had focus shift so I thought I would stick with the Zeiss Biogon 21mm f2.8.

Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5

Vintage Leica Lenses

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 the Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 blog post.

Leica Summaron 35mm Sample Photos – 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

Small 35mm Leica Lenses

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.

Leica Summaron 35mm Portraits

Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5
Leica M8 B&W Portrait
Leica Summaron
Leica Summaron 35mm 3.5

Best 35mm Lens?

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25 thoughts on “Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 Review & Photos”

  1. Pingback: 1954 Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 | Matthew Osborne Photography

  2. 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!)


      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!

  3. 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.

  4. Pingback: Cheap Leica Lenses - MrLeica.com - Matthew Osborne Photography

  5. I have a 50mm f/1.5 which I love, it’s a very good shot,I use it on an M Monochrom which I love also. I also have a 3.5cm f/3.5 summaron screw mount which I’m using with an adapter.. Hope it goes well

    1. matthewosbornephotography

      Hi Paul, both are great lenses and give a nice soft low contrast look (great for B&W). Thanks for your comments. Enjoy the Monochrom! 🙂 Matt

  6. Hi I have this lens from my grandfather as well as some other lenses, which adapter do you suggest me to buy since I wanna try them on my canon 7d.

    1. matthewosbornephotography

      Hi Adolfo, check on Google as to what adapters are needed for Canon and whether you can use it. I know from being an ex-Nikon user you can’t use these lenses on Nikon hence I switched to digital Leicas from A D800. If you get an old Canon rangefinder camera it might fit with an adapter. It should work on a Sony or Fuji too, just not traditional SLR like Canon and Nikon I think.

  7. stephen edmunds

    i clicked on and enlarged the colour pic of the blonde haired girl and the eyes were pretty sharp,really impressed with the sharpness combined with dreamy high key effect.

    1. matthewosbornephotography

      Thanks Stephen, yes I think because it is f3.5 it’s going to be plenty sharp but as you say it can have a nice glow too. Great little lens!

  8. Hello! I have this exact same model of the 35mm 3.5 summaron and I haven’t used it much because I tested it out on my canon p and none of the photos whether lining the patch or zone focusing were in focus. I also tested it on my Leica md-2 using an adapter with zone focusing and again not in focus. I’ve tested my zone focusing skills with a Canon 50mm 1.8 ltm and those photos turned out fine. So I guess I’m wondering…have you experienced any troubles with your focus being off? I haven’t found much on this issue and my lens is in beautiful condition. So what could it be? Did the modification you mentioned in your post make the blurr or focusing problems go away? If you have any ideas, please let me know. Thank you so much.

    1. matthewosbornephotography

      Hi Milo, Sorry to hear you are having issues. I think occasionally some lenses can do this. I had a similar sized Voigtlander 21 f4 that wouldn’t focus but years later I bought another copy and it is fantastic. If it wont work via RF or scale focusing (guessing distance) i’m not sure what to suggest. You could try to get it repaired but ideally try it on a different digital camera body first to be sure it is the lens. Some lenses don’t work via RF but should still work by estimating distance. I have a few soviet ones that are like this, Fine with EVF camera but not for RF.

      1. Thanks, yeah, I tried rangefinder focus and then zone focusing, but I read somewhere to under estimate the distance potentially for a certain industar lens, so maybe I’ll try to do that. Thank you again.
        What a bummuuhh

      2. matthewosbornephotography

        Hi Milo, yes it is true for some Soviet lenses. I just bought one with same RF issue.. but if you are zone focusing much beyond minimum focus distance it shouldn’t matter I would think. Can you stop the lens down a bit? Not ideal I know but I use my f6 Soviet lens just by guessing and I get photos. (I will do new YouTube video to include this soonish – days go too fast!)

  9. Hi Matt, thanks for all your reviews on lenses. I wonder if you ever tried the summaron 35/2.8? I am thinking between a second hand copy of that, and a skopar 2.5 and a ZM C- biogon. I like 3d pop in images.

    1. matthewosbornephotography

      Hi, no I know the 2.8 Summaron is well regarded. I’d get the Biogon 🙂 – I have an older version I enjoy (CRF mount)

    2. I’ll intrude here FWIW: the 35/2.8 Summaron is my go-to ‘normal’ lens. Sharp across the image, slight fall-off in contrast at the edges that corrects as you stop down; compact and mine “disappears” on my M6 since I sent it to Japan for flawless black paint. A great, great lens from Leica

      1. matthewosbornephotography

        Thanks Seth, great to hear! I know of the 2.8 but I’m more of a 50mm guy so I never bought it.

  10. Matthew, I was a 50mm guy all my Leica life (going back to the Leica IIIf w/ 50mm f/2 Summar that as a kid I bought from my Dad for $25. in 1945 – and paid off the loan 25c at a time!). Some years ago I was out-and-about with my M8 and the Summaron and found it doing absolutely everything, also providing me with the opportunity to crop any frame to create a 35mm image. The Summaron is wonderfully compact and most important, optically simply flawless.

  11. Recently I bought a Summaron 3.5/35 with half-moon shaped haze behind the aperture. I disassembled and cleaned it, relubed it, blackened some spots in and out and now it behaves very civilized. No flare, no vintage look. My sample now is just a nice, sharp albeit slow 35 mm without any noticeable flaws.

    1. Stefan, I wish I had sufficient confidence in my hands to attempt to disassemble and reassemble a Leica or Leica lens correctly but, helas! at 92 the fingers don’t function leica they used to wuz. 😉

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