Quick Test of the Apo-Summicron 2.0/50mm Asph.

Today I received my Leica Apo-Summicron-M 2.0/50mm Asph., which I ordered some months ago (on the same day it was announced).

When I got the parcel with the lens it was already getting dark. I assume that I got one of the first 50 AAs (not counting the test lenses) and therefore decided to quickly grab my tripod and publish some test shots.

I arrived at dusk at my favorite spot for testing new lenses. At this time of the day, the light was, of course, changing every minute. It is therefore not possible to draw any conclusions regarding colors and contrast out of these test-images, but it should be possible to evaluate the sharpness.

Since I shoot mostly landscapes I decided to do the first tests at infinity (the main subjects were at a distance of about 1-3 km).
The M9 was mounted on a stable Gitzo tripod and the self-timer was used for every image. I did a quick comparison of the 50 AA vs. the 50 Summilux Asph at different apertures.
PP was done with identical settings in LR.

Here is an example of the whole test image followed by some 100% crops:

50 Apo-Summicron Asph., f/2.0:
50 AA f/2.0

50 Summilux Apsh., f/2.0:
C 50LX 20

50 Apo-Summicron Asph., f/8.0:
C 50AA 80

50 Summilux Apsh., f/8.0:
C 50LX 80

50 Apo-Summicron Asph., f/2.0:
LC 50AA 20

50 Summilux Apsh., f/2.0:
LC 50LX 20

50 Apo-Summicron Asph., f/8.0:
LC 50AA 80

50 Summilux Apsh., f/8.0:
LC 50LX 80

50 Apo-Summicron Asph., f/2.0:
LO 50AA 20

50 Summilux Apsh., f/2.0:
LO 50LX 20

50 Apo-Summicron Asph., f/8.0:
LO 50AA 80

50 Summilux Apsh., f/8.0:
LO 50LX 80

50 Apo-Summicron Asph., f/2.0:
RE 50AA 20

50 Summilux Apsh., f/2.0:
RE 50LX 20

50 Apo-Summicron Asph., f/8.0:
RE 50AA 80

50 Summilux Apsh., f/8.0:
RE 50LX 80

Short conclusion: The 50AA is extremely good wide open at f/2.0, especially at the edges/corners.  Outside of the center area, it is significantly better than the Summilux (at f/2.0). Stopped down to f/8.0 and in the center area the sharpness difference between the two lenses is very small and probably not visible in a print. Due to the extreme price difference of the two lenses the 50AA makes only sense if you use it at least sometimes wide open and edge/corner sharpness is important for you. This conclusion is only valid regarding sharpness at infinity. I’ve not yet tested other aspects like bokeh, colors, contrast, sharpness at MFD, etc.

I will do some more tests tomorrow, hopefully with more constant light. Stay tuned!


6 thoughts

  1. Your post is a blessing for me. I have been agonizing over whether to get a Leica Monochrom Typ 246 and Summilux 50mm or Summicron APO 50mm. Thanks to you, I think I’ll save myself the A$3,800 difference in price and get the Summilux. I wonder how the ordinary Summicron 50mm would fair? Thanks for making the effort to compare the lenses.

    1. Thanks John! I’ve no experience with the ordinary Summicron. My guess is, that it’s slightly less good than the Summilux. But despite it’s a very old design it’s probably still a very good lens (at least stopped down at/near infinity). I think the Summilux is the best price/performance compromise at the moment.


    1. I had a chance to get immediate delivery of a summicron today. While I am impressed by the superior colour it produces compared to my summilux, your meticulous work has convinced me to save my money.
      Thank you,

  2. I am glad I found your side!
    This is what I was looking for. Someone who showes the results of both 50 side by side.

    Bought my first Leica, a monochrome with 35mm Lux, 9 month ago and order 50mm AA.
    Waited without a 50mm for the AA
    When I saw your side I canceled the AA an bought next day 50mm Summilux.
    I tried a lot and I am happy.
    Whenever I will find something, worth to take a picture, it is up to me to make it good.
    It will not depend upon what 50mm I use, to make a good picture.

    Thank you

  3. Thanks for doing this and putting it up for others to see

    For what the AA costs over the ZM planar 50, the difference is not justified.

    And as you pointed out, stopped down, the 50 lux asph matches the performance and I’m assuming so will a few other 50’s

    Technical genius? Yes.

    Leica engineering made a point? Yes.

    Worth the money? Depends.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.