Least sharp modern Leica lens ?

Started May 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
Fogsville Contributing Member • Posts: 577
Re: Least sharp modern Leica lens ?

Toccata47 wrote:

Taking for granted this isn't a perverse joke (your pardon, there has been much of that here post "T"), my vote goes to the 28mm summicron.

The 28mm Summicron ASPH often tends to be a somewhat underrated lens. Yet it matches the 50mm Summilux APSH in both resolution and rendering. Both have similar OOF characteristics and both have that ASPH 'current' sharpness. Yet both also can produce a 'classical' look (e.g, unlike the latest 35mm Summilux FLE.) I have all three, and the 28 (aside from the focal length) is one of my favorite lenses Leica has ever produced. If I were to keep only one lens, it would be a difficult choice between the 28mm Summicron ASPH and the 50mm Summilux ASPH. Both are excellent optics and both work very well together as a pair. Between the two it would come down to a focal length choice and certainly not a 'sharpness' or 'character' choice.

I think the Elmarit has taken away from Summicron sales. It's also a sharp lens but it has much higher contrast (I owned it before I ended up with the Summicron.) And it's obviously less costly. In addition, it's a bit smaller and lighter than the Summicron. The Summicron also has a big ugly hood, although one can use the hood for the pre-FLE Summilux 35mm ASPH (which is a lot smaller.) But despite all that, the Summicron is really one of the best lenses Leica has made.

I still say that all of the Leica/Leitz lenses are quite good in their own right, but that they each have certain characteristics that may or may not be something one is specifically looking for. And the older single coated lenses may not be 'clinically sharp' in today's era of lenses that are 'designed by computers' but they have character (e..g., with certain B+W film emulsions.) Unfortunately it's getting harder to find good ones since the coatings were soft and got marked up easily, and the glue they used back then can create hazing and also separation.

And the same goes for certain older lenses from Nikon, Zeiss, Voigtlander, Alpa, etc.. I think we've got a bit too hung up on this 'sharpness' thing. It's not just about cloning the world we see, but also about interpreting that world which we are attempting to record. Anyway, this sort of 'lens talk' gets very subjective. And the differences we do see can often be very nuanced. In the end, the content and context of the image takes precedence (at least it should.) And the lens/camera that was used is to a certain degree, pretty irrelevant.

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