Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 Review & Photos

Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 Review & Photos 

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

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.

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

Related Links

You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!
  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit – HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit – HERE

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.

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

  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!)


      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.

  3. 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. 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

  4. 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. 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.

Leave a Reply