A modern version of the 1955 L-mount Summaron 2.8cm F5.6 lens is to be introduced by German camera manufacturer Leica. The new lens will be fitted for the current M series and will be named the Summaron-M 28mm F5.6. The company appears to have kept the optical design the same as was used in the original model – and indeed makes a feature of the vignetting - but has changed the mount and added 6-bit coding so the lens can communicate EXIF data to modern camera bodies. Internal mechanics remain as they were when the lens was first introduced, but the aperture ring and focusing knob have been redesigned to match the placement and feel of the current M series optics.

With such a small maximum aperture the lens itself is especially compact and lightweight - measuring 51mm across and extending 18mm. This makes it ideal for street and documentary work on occasions when the photographer wants to remain unnoticed. It seems though that at this stage the lens will only be available in silver chrome, like the original, with no black paint alternative for those with black cameras.

Leica says the focus throw is particularly long which should make focusing accurate, and the small aperture will deliver quite an extensive depth of field even when used wide open. The closest focus will be one meter and the smallest aperture will be F22.

The original Summaron 2.8cm F5.6 was produced between 1955 and 1963, and was made in relatively small numbers – so prices have remained high for these older models. It was introduced as a replacement for the even flatter Hektor 2.8cm F6.3 and bought with it that faster aperture.

There is no date for delivery yet for the new lens, but the company is asking users to pre-order due to ‘expected strong demand’. The price will be £1900.

For more information visit the Leica website.

Press release

The Return of a Classic:
The Ultra-Compact LEICA SUMMARON-M 28 mm f/5.6 wide-angle lens for Unobtrusive Reportage Photography with a Vintage Look

October 19, 2016 - With the Leica Summaron-M 28 mm f/5.6, Leica Camera expands the lens portfolio of the Leica M rangefinder system with the modern reincarnation of a classic Leica lens. First introduced as a screw mount lens in 1955, the predecessor of this new lens is still one of the most compact wide-angle lenses in the Leica M-System and is famed for its characteristic visual signature. The new Summaron-M 28 mm f/5.6 takes its lead from the classically compact construction of its ancestor and brings the unique, analog look of its pictures into the age of digital photography.

The optical design and mechanical construction of the Summaron-M 28 mm f/5.6 are identical to those of its predecessor, which was manufactured at the Leitz factory in Wetzlar until 1963. The perfect fusion of the latest optical developments, such as the highest quality finishing and manufacturing techniques, with this classic optical design make this new edition of the Summaron-M 28 mm f/5.6 much more than a reconstruction of an existing lens. While only slightly modernizing the shape and design of the lens, the new version of the Summaron-M 28 mm f/5.6 is reduced to the essentials but loses none of the character of its legendary ancestor. Its exceptionally short length of less than two centimeters makes it incredibly unobtrusive, and together with the inherent unassuming nature of a Leica M it is an ideal lens for street photography. The combination of a clearly laid out depth of field scale and long focus throw allow for very precise and easy zone focusing.

The optical design of 6 elements in 4 groups, arranged symmetrically around the iris of the new Leica Summaron-M 28 mm f/5.6, is identical to that of its ancestor. The historic optical design of the original lens has remained completely unchanged. When shot at wide-open aperture, the new Leica Summaron-M 28 mm f/5.6 renders subjects with rich contrast across nearly the entire image field. The combination of a large depth of field, natural contrast rendition, excellent resolution of details and a slight visible vignetting create a unique visual signature, and lend pictures a special classic look reminiscent of earlier days of analog photography.

The outward appearance of the new Leica Summaron-M 28 mm f/5.6 has been harmonized with the contemporary look and mechanics of the current portfolio of Leica M-Lenses. This is exemplified in the Leica M bayonet mount with 6-bit coding, the shape of the focusing lock button, the diameter of the aperture ring and the style of the knurling on the barrel and rings. The style and construction of the lens hood reflects the original, and recalls memories of the beginnings of rangefinder photography. It is machined from solid brass and finished in an elaborate manufacturing process.

As is the case for all other Leica lenses, the Leica Summaron-M 28 mm f/5.6 was designed and developed by the precision engineers and optical specialists in Wetzlar. As a product made to stand the test of time with enduring value, the lens is made in Germany from only the finest materials, and assembled entirely by hand. The combination of cutting-edge technologies and painstaking manufacturing processes guarantees consistently excellent quality and long-lasting reliability.

Customers wishing to purchase a Leica Summaron-M 28 mm f/5.6 lens must place a pre-order with a Leica Store, Boutique or Dealer. Deliveries will follow according to the sequence in which the orders are received. Due to the strong demand, long delivery times must be taken into account, especially in the first few months.