May 10, Part 2: The Leica APO-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH review, and a comparison

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All non-product images in this review were shot with a Leica M9-P and the 50/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH, with the exception of the one B&W image lower down the review. Clicking on an image will bring you the Flickr page where you can access larger versions.

Part one of this review took a look at Leica’s new M-Monochrom I’ve had a chance to review already earlier; however, it’s now time to take a look at the accompanying lens. Personally, I find this a much more interesting announcement than the other two items – but then again, I’m also the sort of person who has eight ways to get to 28mm (and can find a use for all of them) – and I do appreciate the gentle field curvature of a Tessar design.

Note: I’ve been informed by Leica that both camera and lens are prototypes, and there may be changes between now and the final release product.

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The full name is a bit of a mouthful, so I’m going to refer to it as the 50 AA from here on. The 50 AA is a complicated design: 8 elements in 5 groups, in what appears to be a heavily modified double-Gauss design with a complex rear floating aspherical group, along the lines of that used in the recent 35/1.4 ASPH FLE. Leica claims it’s their most perfect lens ever – the MTF charts certainly support this, but we will of course have to use it in the field to see if a) these claims bear out, and more importantly b) whether we can see the difference under typical shooting conditions. Perfection does come at a price – the lens’ RRP is around 7,000 USD, which is double that of the already excellent (and actually apochromatic) 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH.

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Leica claims it’s the most perfect 50mm they’ve ever made – given the family lineage also includes the legendary 50/1.4 ASPH and 50/0.95 ASPH, that’s a tall order. MTF charts of this lens look flat – I don’t know if these are measured or computed, but f5.6 promises some pretty incredible resolving power and fine microcontrast structures. Let’s just say expectations were very, very high as I opened the files from this beast.

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Aside from the obvious optical formula changes from the previous design (which was a simple double-Gauss with no floating or aspherical elements) – the lens has a number of physical changes despite retaining approximately the same size. Firstly, I’m pleased to see the return of the focusing tab – it makes life a lot faster, especially when you’re trying to track moving objects. Better still, it incorporates the best of both worlds and has both a wide knurled ring and the tab, which is handy when shooting in portrait orientation. Secondly, the previous telescopic hood design has been modified a bit; it telescopes but also twists to prevent it from accidentally collapsing. Finally, the cap is no longer the plastic clip-on type, but a deep metal slip-cap that makes the lens look like the 50/1.4 ASPH when it’s attached. Unfortunately, the aperture ring seems to follow recent Leica designs and is far too loose to prevent accidental changes when taken out of a bag – you have to frequently check that you’re actually shooting at the desired aperture. It’s a complaint which I have of my 35/1.4 ASPH FLE, too – how hard can it be to make slightly firmer detents?

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I want to make one thing clear upfront: we’re already at the bleeding edge of diminishing returns with most lenses; your shooting discipline and rangefinder calibration are going to make far more difference to the pixel-level results than switching from the 50/1.4 ASPH to the 50 AA.

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Performance on the M9-P
Very nearly flawless. It’s easier to talk about what’s wrong with the lens than what’s right; let’s just call it perfection minus a little bit. What are the little bits? Well, it does flare a little with strong side lighting; curiously, I don’t see this behavior shooting into the sun or point light sources. There’s also vignetting that doesn’t go away fully until f5.6, though admittedly it’s fairly minor and mostly not noticeable in everyday shooting. I really don’t have anything else to say – it’s that good.

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100% crop of above image. Now this is what I call micro contrast.

Sharpness is outstanding across the frame even from wide open. There’s a very, very slight visible improvement until f4, but it’s so borderline you might as well just use the aperture for depth of field control only. Once again: if your rangefinder is properly calibrated, and you’ll want it to be for use with this lens because the focus plane transition is so sharp, you will have nothing to complain about.

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I didn’t see any lateral chromatic aberration in any of the 500 or so test images I shots with this lens, many of then deliberately framed and composed to provoke it. There is a tiny bit of spherochromatism (bokeh fringing), but it too is fairly minor. The apochromatic nature of the lens is actually given away more by its micro contrast structure than edge CA/ fringing; let me explain why. Non apochromatic lenses focus different wavelengths of light at slightly different distances; if you cut the sensor plane through this, you’ll land up with some wavelengths being focused and others not; this is why edges aren’t perfectly defined, and why the vast majority of lenses have trouble reproducing extremely fine detail structures. The 50 AA has no such issues, by the way. Bottom line: yes, it’s apochromatic, or as near as we can tell with current sensor resolution. What would be interesting is to see how it performs on say a Sony NEX-7 body, which is somewhat notorious for not playing nicely with Leica M glass – especially in the corners.

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Bokeh is pleasing – probably best described as neutral – it doesn’t get in the way, it isn’t distracting, but it also doesn’t dominate the image in the same way as say, a Noctilux. I did see some odd internal structure in extremely bright out of focus highlights, suggesting a formed aspherical element, but only in a couple of images. Color is also neutral and matches the palette of the modern Leica ASPH gestalt. Perhaps the best way of describing this lens is transparent. You see your subject, and not the signature of the lens – which is what I personally prefer.

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Interestingly, the aperture blades – much like every other Leica lens – don’t make a perfect circle at any aperture other than wide open, yet somehow the lenses always manage to produce great bokeh. The same is true of the Noctilux 0.95, too.

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Performance on the M-Monochrom

It is clear that this lens is capable of resolving beyond the definition of the M9 and MM sensors; even on the MM, the lens continues to be an outstanding performer wide open, though the improvement on stopping down is slightly more obvious. It delivers extremely fine micro contrast, which makes it a great B&W tool. Macro contrast – whilst great for delivering saturated color – is perhaps a little bit too high for B&W, especially if you’re shooting scenes with high native dynamic range.

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100% crop of image from M-Monochrom, unsharpened at f2.

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The bonus bit: A comparison between the 50 AA and Zeiss ZM 2/50 Planar

Unfortunately, I don’t have a 50/1.4 ASPH or previous 50/2 Summicron-M handy for a comparison, and the Noctilux 0.95 really has a different design objective (though admittedly their prices are uncomfortably close) – so I thought the most interesting head to head comparison would be with another highly regarded 50/2 – the Zeiss ZM Planar. I tested this lens against the older 50/2 Summicron extensively before making my purchase decision, the ZM 2/50 won both optically and financially. It’s a hair sharper and doesn’t exhibit any focus shift. The coatings allow it to be about 1/2 to 2/3 stop faster than the old Summicron for a given aperture and exposure histogram, too. I also preferred the way it rendered – there was just more ‘pop’ to the micro contrast, and (personally) preferable color.

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Reference polar bears. This image shot with the Zeiss ZM 2/50 Planar. Clicking here will get you a larger version.

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And this one with the Leica 50/2 APO. Clicking here will get you a larger version.

A note on testing methodology: the lens was shot on a tripod-mounted M9-P at base ISO with manual (i.e. fixed) white balance, with several shots taken for the purpose of focus bracketing. However, you can still see very slight differences in calibration have resulted in a slightly different focal plane between the two lenses. However, if you look at the fine detail structure in both focus zones, you should get a fairly accurate impression of lens performance. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t do the testing on the higher-resolution M-Monochrom; simple: how else would you know if the lens was truly apochromatic or not without using a color body? Please also go by my comments rather than the images (which are for demonstration purposes) – I’ve reviewed and examined far more full-size, uncompressed images on my PC than I can post here.

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100% comparison screenshot at f2. Original (100%) size

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And again at f8. Original size

Focus plane differences aside, (and this is a prime example of how rangefinder calibration can seriously affect results) there are a lot of differences – and all of them in favor of the 50 AA. Neither one quite gets the color right – the 50 AA is too cool, and the Zeiss is too warm and saturated. What I previously thought was excellent and three-dimensional micro contrast (look at Bob’s scarf) on the Zeiss frankly now looks a little, well, soft (look at the label that wraps around the edge of the cigar box). The 50 AA has better bokeh, too; there’s a hint of double-edging and more spherochromatism on the Zeiss.

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Microcontrast, 100% crop at f8. Original size

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100% crop of bokeh at f2. Original size

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And again at f8. Original size

There are two pieces of good news, however – firstly, the differences by f8 are negligible; secondly, in actual shooting, the two lenses are a lot closer than this appears. Your focusing accuracy is going to make far more difference than the MTF charts. Secondly, both lenses are already at an excellent starting point – though the relative differences may be very noticeable here, I think perhaps comparing these to a Nikon 50/1.8 D might put things into perspective somewhat.

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100% crop of above image. Can you say, ‘detail’?

Remember my earlier article on T stops and f stops? The 50 AA meters the same as the older 50 Summicron, which is to say the Zeiss is 1/2 to 2/3 stop faster still. What this means in reality is that you can use the same aperture, get the same exposure histogram, but use a shutter speed that’s 50% to 75% faster on the Zeiss. It matters because you’re effectively getting more light into the camera, which can be critical especially in marginal situations.

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The 50 AA is undoubtedly the best 50mm lens I’ve ever tested by a small, but very clear margin. I’d love to have something this good to make the most of the D800E’s resolution, but the only thing that might come close is the Zeiss 2/50 Makro-Planar or Coastal Optics 60/4 APO UV-VIS-IR. The former has a very, very short focus throw from about 1m to infinity, which makes it tricky to use as an everyday lens; the latter is limited to f4. The only problem I have with the 50 AA is the price – I don’t know how this can be priced at the same level as much more complicated optical designs like the 21/1.4 Summilux ASPH; one can only hope it’s the degree of quality control involved (and I’ve definitely seen clear sample variation amongst even the 50/1.4 ASPH and 35/1.4 ASPH FLE lenses.). It’s also clear that the resolving power of this lens goes far beyond the current M body sensors, and perhaps reading a little deeper, says something about the resolution and pixel density of future M-mount cameras. Having said all of that – I’ve been hugely impressed with the results I’ve seen out of this lens. If you have the money, and must have the best, then this is the 50mm for you.

Come back in two days for the final part of the Leica May 10 series: how much resolution does the M-Monochrom really have?

The Leica 50/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH is available here from B&H orAmazon.


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved

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  1. Jonathan Hodder says:

    Unfortunately encountered problems with a newly purchased Summilux 50 ASPH. Performed wonderfully, especially at night, but after a few weeks suffered from suspected separation of lens elements. After a 6 weeks in Germany its back and the most beautiful lens I have…but also the heaviest.

    Would love to have read your review of the Planar ZM 50mm. An interesting lens and I’m thinking might perform nicely on colour film, especially if it has a habit of being faster than expected (I like my colour film a little over exposed). I’ve been told the contrast is stronger than the Summilux 50 ASPH. Is that true?

    • It’s been a long time since I used one. Yes, it’s a little faster than expected, can’t say contrast is higher than the 50 Lux ASPH – probably about the same. A lot cheaper though! 🙂

  2. It’s funny reading this again now thinking about how I started out with a (non-APO) cron on my (now sold) M9, sold it and acquired the Lux (ASPH), which is great, but is a wee bit bigger – I sometimes don’t want to lug it about if I’m not shooting in lower light or inside (sacrilege, I know) and ended up with the Lux welded to my M240 a lot of the time. Anyway, to cut a long story short, for financial reasons, I picked up a Planar F2 as a smaller backup lens and I’m very happy with it, particularly between F4-F8, which is where I shoot it when I am shooting street. It does seem to produce nicer results than the non-APO cron. It would be lovely to own the APO cron, but I can’t help thinking that owning the Planar and the Lux is probably better in many situations.

  3. Alexander says:

    I got mine a few days ago…… its a dream ……

  4. hello Ming! Great article as always. I wanted to ask you if you consider the major 50mm lenses for Leica M like Planar, Summicron f/2.0, Lux f/1.4 and new APO, the cheapset cost 800$ and the most expensive 7200$. Which one you think is the lens that you do not have to spend the extra bucks to buy the next most expensive?

    I am trying to by a small , in terms of size,.50mm lens for my M9P
    Thanks in advance!

    • I’d buy either the Zeiss 50/2 Planar or the 50/1.4 Summilux-ASPH (and I do actually have both; will be selling the Planar soon now that the Summilux has arrived). The Zeiss 50/2 outperforms the Leica, the APO is not worth it unless you actually have the shot discipline and perfect RF calibration to make the most of it, and the Noct is a special-purpose lens. The Summilux ASPH is excellent.

      • Thanks Ming. Last question since I do not want to take advantage of your time. In regards with sharpness do you see big deference between the Leica 50 f/2 and the Lux. I am reading left and right that the Summicron is better, weights less and cost almost 2K $ less. Thanks and I really appreciate the fact that you replied

  5. Paul H. Buch says:

    Ming, you stated that you had seen quite a lot of sample variation among the 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH lenses. I would like to know if my copy is a really good one. How can I find out, please? I mean somehow I would need a reference. Thank you for your answer!

    • The center and edges should be sharp wide open at f1.4, to the 100% magnification level. The image should cleanly separate into planes; there should be distinction between in-focus and out-of-focus planes even at >10m subject distance. Minimal to no CA at the edges, and bokeh uniformly smooth without double images or hotspots.

      • Paul H. Buch says:

        Thank you very much!! I do understand that, however, aren’t the properties you were describing not an inherent part of EVERY sample of this lens no matter how good or bad the sample is? I mean have you really seen samples where there were no cleanly separated planes? I’m just wondering.

        • I’ve seen samples that weren’t sharp til f4 or beyond, and have obvious astigmatism. Not all of them perform at that level wide open – that’s what you’re paying for, else you might as well buy a Summarit.

      • Paul H. Buch says:

        OK, thank you very much again. A Summarit should be sharp from f2.5 so Leica needs a new nomenclature if the lens isn’t sharp below f4. 😉

        • Precisely!

          • I got lost in the wording jargon of ‘planes’ etc.. Could someone please post here or in another post examples of what to expect from a ‘good’ 50mm lux versus a ‘bad’ 50mm lux. I hope that paying Leica price would ensure all ‘good’ lenses but could be wrong about german engineering. Thanks much.

  6. Your description of this lens having “transparent” image quality sealed the deal, Ming, so I ordered mine today, although my dealer has an understandable”how long is a piece of string” attitude to delivery time. I seem to remember reading that first deliveries would begin in
    August. Any ideas, Ming?

  7. Ming,
    You refer to the “old” Summicron, suggesting that the AA is intended to replace the “old” Summicron in the Leica lens lineup.

    I’m pretty sure that the announcement of the lens suggested that it is considered a “special purpose” lens, and that the previous, and much less expensive Summicron will continue in production. (Unfortunately, I can’t find that announcement now.)

    Did the Leica folks say anything to you about this?

    If they’re going to continue the old one, perhaps it would have been better if they had thought up a new name for the AA.
    “Super-Summicron,” or “Asphericron,” or something. 🙂

    If they’re not, perhaps this heralds a whole new line of lenses, including a $15,000 Summilux.

    • The natural comparison is between the old and new versions, is it not? But yes, to the best of my knowledge, the non-ASPH ‘cron will continue in the lineup. There’s just too much of a pricing hole. I can’t imagine what would justify a $15,000 Summilux (or how much the comparable Noctilux would cost) – but I suspect a large portion must be QC, because the optical design is simpler than the 21/1.4 and 24/1.4 – but the price is higher. Go figure…

      • Of course. I wasn’t intending to sound argumentative, just asking.

        I have quite a few older Leica lenses, and find it hard to imagine what would justify a $2,300 50mm Summicron, when other moderate aperture 50’s are more like $200. As a retired manufacturing guy, I don’t think QC quite explains it.

        But then, I’m old, and find it hard to justify $1 for a candy bar. 🙂

        (Just found your site. Love your photography and respect your opinions. Thanks….)

        • Oh, don’t worry about that. Healthy discourse and other points of view are always welcome! The thing is…it’s now a $7,000+ summicron. I can’t understand the pricing either, personally – but the optics are good, incredibly so. Value is very relative these days – I deliberately don’t come to a conclusion on whether it’s worth it or not, because that’s down to the photographer.

  8. You wrote it already: in actual shooting the two lenses are much closer than it appears here. Wel, actual shooting is what photography is all about. One must be a fool to pay ten times more for the summicron. How many excellent lenses or other photographic tools can be bought with the difference in money? Get serious.

    • The potential of one is higher than the other. Most of the time you won’t be able to realize all of it. But sometimes you will, and that’s where you will see the difference. But do I think it’s worth 10x the price? Personally, no, because I don’t have that kind of disposable income. But I’m sure some people will.

  9. I read on the Leica Blog site that peak performance of the new 50 APO Cron can only be reached with the Monochrom due to enhanced resolution, dynamic range, and sharpness. What are your thoughts on this statement? Do you see an increase in overall performance on the M9? I am not going to purchase the Monochrom; instead, plan to wait for the M10 then decide. Please let me know your experience with this lens on the M9/M9P. Thank you.

    • There are definite benefits to using the 50 APO on the MM, but you’re climbing a very steep diminishing returns curve. Agree on resolution/ sharpness but not DR (that’s a sensor property). There’s a slight but lesser improvement on the M9 – it reminds me very much of an excellent sample of the 50/1.4 ASPH at f2, actually. Personally I’d rather have the extra stop in the 50/1.4 ASPH though.

  10. rwboyer says:


    You are probably going to think I am a complete jerk – I hope not because that is not my intent. I just discovered you and your photography a few days ago (I forget how I stumbled upon it). I think we probably share more views on things than we would disagree so please do not take this the wrong way but…

    There is always the “but”. Without disputing any of your findings in any way that you have written I would find it hard to believe that ANY of the pictorial images that you have used to illustrate this post have anything to do with what you are talking about. The MOST IMPORTANT characteristic that I can glean from these is your personal sharpening preferences for images intended to be viewed at around 100dpi. My guess would be somewhere between .6 and 1 px and either 100% or a bit north of that if a smaller radius.

    Especially when using a camera with no AA filter I have no idea what the images convey about the lens. I probably understand why you do this but at the end of it all you are producing these posts to either speak to an audience that has no idea of what they are looking at or you are producing them for an audience that might care about some level or performance that is about 300 spots down on the list from image quality as to what improvements the newest summicron brings to the table.

    Personally I would rather see what is going on without the embellishments – maybe even without any contrast enhancements at all as that would let me evaluate visually what the heck is going on at some more reasonable base line assuming I have comparable gear/sensor.

    For instance let’s take the yellow flower shot… I could make an asumption about what might be going on in the upper right hand corner of the “100%” view but it could be one of two things = first the lens exhibits the same magenta/green fringe on out of focus highlight areas that almost all wide aperture lenses do but it could also be your sharpening preferences lightening the green background at that edge…


    Ps. I read the post but not all the comments so forgive me if this was already discussed….

    • No, they’re valid points – and that kind of discussion is always welcomed. The web size images aren’t intended for you to draw a conclusion from. It’s impractical for me to upload full size samples of everything, so the top right corner of the flower shot is certainly not 100% – I think the largest size I uploaded is about 2MP. However, if you click through the 100% crops on flickr, they are straight and unsharpened – I have added the watermark but that’s it. They are also unprocessed, and I think more of what you’re looking for.

      The web size images go through a 0.3px smart sharpen with 80% after downsizing, to get back some of the acuity lost by the downsampling. That doesn’t do anything to emphasize fringing because the radius is too small. So if you see spherochromatism, it’s because it’s there. I didn’t take it out (and I think I noted there was a bit of it present wide open, but not stopped down. At any rate, certainly not as much as the Planar had).

      Hope this clears things up.

      • rwboyer says:


        I hate to point out where you might be mistaken – even the “full size” images on flickr have distinct acutance enhancing artifacts that I can clearly see on my 109dpi monitor on lower res density monitors it would even be more evident. if you look at it at 2x you will see exactly what I am talking about. Maybe it is due to your software doing things that you are unaware of (ie… the default sharpening of ACR 7+PS6 resize algorithm). In any case they are clearly evident.


        Ps. No need for adding sharpening to a downsized image from a non AA camera you do not “lose” anything but detail. Would love to debate this but I will win in the end… ;}

        • Are you looking at the whole frame or the crops? The whole frame is sharpened. The crops are not. I’m using bicubic smoother, so there definitely is some perceived acuity lost that has to be put back in. But I’m sure if you measure it, it’s probably all there.

          • rwboyer says:

            all of them…


            Ps. WordPress “comment threading” blows maybe switch to disqus?

            • Hmm, it could be flickr compression in that case – I won’t rule it out, because they looked fine before I uploaded them…

              I don’t use disqus (yet) but will look into it. In the meantime, happy to take this offline over email if you like (

  11. re: Zeiss 50ZM vs Leica 50AA

    as you have subtly put (and as one of the commenters pointed out as well): there’s a different plane of focus for the two lenses making it more difficult to make a fair judgement on sharpness and bokeh: the 50AA is focused more on the bear on the front; the ZM on the bear on the back.

    I’m surprised the the 50ZM holds its own, nonetheless…even at f2, the only thing that stands out is the CA on the ZM…but of course, that’s expected given the APO on the 50AA.

    on a slightly off note: have you tried the 35/2ZM?

    • Yes, there is, and it wasn’t obvious until after I started processing the images (by which time, I’d already returned camera and lens, so I didn’t have a chance to re-shoot). It’s so subtle you can’t really tell on the back of the M9’s admittedly lousy LCD. In any case, these images are not the sole basis of comparison for my conclusions; I’ve shot hundreds with the 50 AA and 50 Planar, so they’re for illustration only. The 50 AA is also much more consistent cross-frame than the 50 ZM, which has a bit of field curvature.

      Nope, not tried the 35/2 Biogon.

  12. Winston Tan says:

    Excellent review! Thank you for your effort. Now I wonder if I want to spend 9x the price of the Planar and call that an upgrade 🙂

  13. First let me thank you for your very informative reviews regarding the M9M and new 50mm Cron AA. One thing that I’d like to point out and that you alluded to, was the the need for precise focusing in order to compare both lenses wide open. In the crops of the cigar boxes, indeed the side wrapping on the box in the image taken with the Cron 50mm AA is sharper but the rectangle labels on top of the box are considerably sharper in the simpar image taken with the Zeiss 50mm f2. This can be seen at both f2 and f8. Therefore it seems to be simply a case of point of focus differences between the two. It would be interesting for you to repeat that one shot (and post the crops) by zone focusing with each lens on the same exact spot and then pick the sharpest image of that focused area with each lens. My guess just looking at the images already posted, is that it will be a lot closer than first seen.

    • Yes, unfortunately I only noticed this after the lens had been returned to Leica, so it’s going to be a bit tough to repeat the test. As noted, I’m using these shots for illustration only – the conclusions I draw after seeing hundreds of real-world frames with both lenses. Sharpness is close, but microcontrast structure, spherochromatism, CA etc are not.

      • sam hasan says:

        Thank you for unbiased and well thought out review. what do you think about utility of this lens on Film cameras like M6, interms of resolution and micro contrast?

  14. Fabulous review, this and the MM. Can’t wait to read Part III. Thank you! Question, it would appear that the price is not justified considering the improvement are only truly beneficial for pure professionals (if that) who are required to produce very large prints, so on and so forth. How do you think this lens will fare on film cameras, such as M7 or MP? Or is that going to be a true waste of cash? Thanks again.

    • Thanks Shang. I think if you must have the best, then you won’t ask about price. And the reality is that we’re very, very high up the diminishing returns curve here. The lens is an optical masterpiece, but you must pay for that.

  15. Excellent quality review Ming. As usual, written in a very professional style. I will be keeping my Zeiss 50mm Planar based on what I see. For the “polar bear” shots, I prefer Zeiss’s slightly warm rendering. It may be possible that the 50AA is MUCH superior to the Zeiss and Summilux ASPH but only on higher resolution sensors (M10?).

    • Thanks. Undoubtedly the 50 AA is better, but we are at the point of very steep diminishing returns…I too will keep my 50 Planar for now.

  16. Jimmy Law says:

    very good review,worth donating and thank you, the question is whether the 50AA lens really worth so much than again 0.95 Noct is so unique on its own that perhaps is justifiable in many aspect.

    • Thanks Jimmy. Tough choice – personally, I’d pick the Noct because of the extra light gathering ability. However, the 50 AA is much more user-friendly from a size and ease of focus perspective. I suppose it depends on whether you shoot a lot in low light or not.

      • Hi Ming. Is the 50 AA and M9M not also a good combination for low light photography ?

        • It worked well for me – but if you were to use the 50/1.4 ASPH you’d get another stop of usability, which might or might not make a difference to your photography.

  17. In your opinion, is it worth going from the 50mm 1.4 Lux to this lens on the M9 or would the cost difference be hard to justify in the final output? Are we looking at really small differences hardly perceivable to most people? Thanks.

    • Focusing accuracy is going to make far more difference in the end than the lens sharpness. I’d personally take the 50/1.4 ASPH because of the extra stop it gives you, which is important with the M9’s limited high ISO capabilities.

  18. Ming – excellent and exceptional review. Please look me up if you ever come to Hong Kong.


  1. […] to mitigate this. Modern designs for maximum performance like the Zeiss 1.4/55 Otus APO-Distagon, Leica 50/2 Summicron APO-ASPH and Leica 50/0.95 Noctilux ASPH are much more complex. The two Leicas are 8/5 designs with high […]

  2. […] heights. Take the recent crop of 50mm lenses for instance – the Zeiss 1.4/55 Otus APO-Distagon; Leica’s 50/2 APO; and the amazing bang for the buck Sigma 50/1.4 Art – I am pretty sure the first two will retain […]

  3. […] Planar 2/50 habe ich auch. Es ist sehr gut, sogar im Vergleich zum Leica Summicron 2/50 ASPH: May 10, Part 2: The Leica APO-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH review, and a comparison __________________ Leica M9, Olympus Pens, SONY A7, NEXen(3+5N+6). Ernst Leitz, Leica, Carl […]

  4. […] AI 45/2.8 P; pre-AI 55/1.2 SC; Leica 50/2.5 Summarit-M; 50/2 Summicron-M; 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH; 50/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH; 50/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH; Sigma 50/1.4; Zeiss ZF.2 1.4/50 Planar; ZF.2 2/50 Makro-Planar; ZM 2/50 […]

  5. […] Re: Zeiss 50mm Sonnar or Planar? Ad Have google at Ming Thein's side-by-side of the APO-Summicron-M 50mm ASPH to the Planar and be astonished at what he reports. May 10, Part 2: The Leica APO-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH review, and a comparison – Ming Thein | Photog… […]

  6. […] ASPH FLE* 9/10 – review B&H Amazon Leica 50/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH 8/10 – review B&H Amazon Leica 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH** 9/10 – B&H Amazon Leica 50/0.95 Noctilux-M […]

  7. […] M Typ 240 prototype (review here), the 28/2 Summicron-M ASPH and 50/2 APO-Summicronn ASPH (reivew here). As you can see, it may not have the dedicated B&W-only sensor of the M Monochrom, but the […]

  8. […] selected. It doesn’t quite render in the same perfectly neutral, transparent fashion as the 50/2 Summicron APO-ASPH, but it does have the same very pleasing, clean, three-dimensional quality as the newer ASPH glass […]

  9. […] the images in this review were shot with the 28/2 Summicron-M ASPH, 50/2 APO Summicron-M ASPH (reviewed here) and Zeiss ZM 2.8/28 Biogon. Incidentally, the 50 AA really shines on the M 240′s sensor […]

  10. […] its UV and IR filtration, but it turns out that decision actually makes a lot of sense, as does the 50/2 APO-Summicron – I’ll explain why […]

  11. […] that is truly outstanding – the last two that come to mind were the Olympus ZD 75/1.8 and Leica 50/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH. I’ve used a number of competent, but imperfect, lenses in the meantime, none of which were […]

  12. […] von asmith I take the heretical view that a perfect lens would have no "signature" May 10, Part 2: The Leica APO-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH review, and a comparison – Ming Thein | Photog… __________________ what in me is dark illumine, what is low raise and […]

  13. […] Leica APO-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH review by Ming Thein. […]

  14. […] we have an amazing slow-motion video and we take a look at the night sky. Enjoy!Test & Reviews.Ming Thein was allowed to test the new Leica APO-Summicron-M take 50/2 ASPH and provides a review on his […]

  15. […] Planar ZM 2/50: Hat es eine Blendendifferenz? Lies mal hier, am Ende kommt ein Vergleich: May 10, Part 2: The Leica APO-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH review, and a comparison – Ming Thein | Photog… __________________ Grüße […]

  16. […] zuletzt werfen wir noch einen Blick in den Nachthimmel. Viel Spaß beim Klicken!Test & ReviewsMing Thein durfte das neue Leica APO-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH unter die Lupe nehmen und stellt auf seiner […]

  17. […] there any pictures using the 50mm APO Summicron + M9? Have look to Ming Thein's great review: May 10, Part 2: The Leica APO-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH review, and a comparison – Ming Thein | Photog… WOSIMs Photography Leica M & Lens reviews Collection Links Testberichte – Reviews: Leica M – […]

  18. […] hand, is a way to expensive pickle jar. It`s optical quality … outstanding, but when you compare it to a Zeiss or the 50mm Summilux ASPH, it`s kinda pointless to throw 7000$ down the drain when […]

  19. […] …and a comparison. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  20. […] The final part in this triptych aims at examining the differences between Bayer and non-Bayer sensors. Part one was the review of the M-Monochrom; part two, the APO-Summicron 50/2 ASPH. […]

  21. […] The new Leica 50mm f2 announced at the Berlin May 2012 event is now reviewed by Ming Thein. […]

  22. […] Link: May 10, Part 2: The Leica APO-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH review, and a comparison – Ming Thein | … Leica claims it’s their most perfect lens ever – the MTF charts certainly support this, but we will of course have to use it in the field to see if a) these claims bear out, and more importantly b) whether we can see the difference under typical shooting conditions. Posted by Trent Nelson Posted in Leica […]

  23. […] Thein Review of 50mm APO Summicron Ming Thein is an excellent reviewer. He has just posted a review of the 50mm APO Summicron: May 10, Part 2: The Leica APO-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH review, and a comparison – Ming Thein | Photog… […]

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