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