Four new lenses for Leica M mount

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Rob Skeoch, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    Not too much information is available yet but Leica has four new lenses for their M rangefinder lineup. All coded to work with the M8 digi.

    They should be shipping in Nov.

    90mm F2.5 Summarit around 1250 Euro

    75mm F2.5 Summarit around 1250 Euro

    50mm F2.5 Summarit around 1000 Euro

    35mm F2.5 Summarit around 1250 Euro
     
  2. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    What is a Summarit?
     
  3. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    f2.5 ?
     
  4. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Member

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  5. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    so?

    is this an ad?
     
  6. vanspaendonck

    vanspaendonck Member

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    No, it's news, big news actually, and if it wasn't for the OP I would have missed it.

    Leica doesn't introduce a new lens evey year, so any new lens from them is news as far as I am concerned.
    Leica introducing no less than four new lenses at the same time is big news, and when these lenses are in the US$ 1000 to 1250 price range (about half of what one would expect a Leica lens to cost) it is truly remarkable. I am happy that Leica Camera AG isn't dead yet, as many predicted.

    This means overtime for Erwin Puts, I guess....
     
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  7. AgX

    AgX Member

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    In that press release Leica Camera also say that with the release of those lenses they start a "campaign to focus more on their core competence in optics manufacture".
     
  8. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Seems like this is Leica's response to CZ's new ZM lenses.

    The translated press release is kind of confusing. Says the new lenses were developed in Germany and so carry the "larva in Germany" designation. Can't quite figure out what would be the correct synonym for "larva"* - could mean "made". But does that mean manufactured there?

    I wonder where these new lenses are actually being made?

    * "larva" as used in English is an immature, pre-adult, stage of an insect's life span - suggesting perhaps these lenses while "designed" in Germany are not being built there?
     
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  9. lens_hacker

    lens_hacker Member

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    The Summarit was originally Leica's 5cm F1.5 lens based on the 5cm F1.5 Xenon, which was built under license to Taylor, Taylor and Hobbs. I've seen it stated that it was "just a coated Xenon" and I've read in Morgan and Lester that it was an improvement over the original Xenon. It is a fine performer, and has a "interesting Different" look. The 5cm F1.5 Xenon and Summarit are a 7-element in 5 group lenses that took the original 6/4 Xenon rear most element and split it into two lenses each of lower power (source: Neblette, "Photographic Lenses"). The "classic" Summarit evolved into the Summilux.

    Leica resurrected the Summarit name for the Minilux a few years ago, but it was an F2.4 lens and was back to the classic 6/4 configuration. It performed like a Summarit, just not as fast.
     
  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Copake Ham,

    You should have resorted to some foreign language dictionaries before:
    the English perfect `made´ is identical to the German noun `Made´ which can be translated as `larva´...

    You really should not trust that translator any longer.


    In that press release quoted in the Photoscala magazine Leica Camera states that these new lenses are designed in Germany and are handmade in Solms nearby Wetzlar.

    (I assume that "handmade" is a matter of perspective...)
     
  11. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Leica has had a deficit of lenses coded specifically for the M8 since it was introduced. Although they offer the service of coding exisiting m-series lenses for use with the new camera, they really needed a range of lenses produced specifically for the m8. It's interesting that they decided to produce a low cost range for this market.
     
  12. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    The prices Rob quotes are in Euros, which translates to $1400 to $1700 US. Is that a low cost range for Leica? Wow.
     
  13. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I am trying to "still" my hand from writing what I really would like to write.

    I very carefully composed my post to indicate that I wanted to know more - certainly more than a translated press release would tell me. Press releases are not known to be fully "informative". Oh, and "spin" is usually the name of the game with PR's.

    Further, I am fully aware of the limitations of internet translators (in this case - Google's), which is why I added the post-script.

    So, I really don't need, nor am I interested in, nor do I care about, nor would I ever care about what you have to say on this or anything else.

    I really don't like to use the Ignore User function here - so won't. But how about this - you just never, never, ever, ever respond to one of my posts - and I'll give you the same courtesy?

    Okay?
     
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  15. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    This is certainly true.

    But what's struck me as a bit "odd" is that these new Summarits are at the traditional film focal lengths - rather than "adjusted" for the M8's lens factor. (Best of all possible world's - or maybe compromise?)

    This is why I think a secondary consideration is to "blunt" CZ's attempt to grab the mid-price range M-mount lens market.

    I don't shoot M-mount so I'm only an observer. But M-mount folk are very "blessed" right now. They have the lower cost CV's, the mid-range CZ's (and these new Summarits) and then the top of the line traditional Leitz's.

    Quite a renaissance of gear for RF photography.
     
  16. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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  17. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Thanks, Helen.

    Leaving aside to return of the glorious "true" red button - this raises an interesting question.

    If these new lenses are made in Germany, presumably by the same gnomes that make the "good stuff", how "compromised" are they in terms of materials and construction from the top of the line?

    Since it means your labor costs are fixed, you don't come out with a "comparable" line of lenses at half-price, made in the same factory without some kind of compromises.

    This is a good marketing move to "blunt" the CZ inroad to the mid-market for M-mount lenses - but it remains to be seen what qualities these lenses offer beyond an "official" red button over the competition. :wink:
     
  18. Dorian Gray

    Dorian Gray Member

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    Well, I should have thought the "compromise" was obvious: f/2.5. This slower speed apparently allows Leica standards of image quality to be achieved without the use of expensive aspherical lenses and floating-element mechanisms, permitting the cheaper prices.

    I think this is exactly what Leica needs. If Leica cameras and lenses cost $500 it would be hard to find a photographer without one. The problem is the price, and that problem dramatically worsened in the last few years. Reducing the prices will attract new customers. And of course the established Leica tifosi will buy a couple of these for their M8 as an impulse purchase.

    I think the sales success of the M8 despite its high price surprised Leica, putting a bit of fight back into the company and making it realise that the game isn't up just yet. There is no natural law that says Leica must inevitably die a slow, graceful death, with prices spiralling and collectors replacing photographers. The 28 mm Elmarit-M Asph and these new lenses make the company once again interesting to the photographer of strong interest but moderate means.

    It's also great for film lovers because, even though I assume most new Leica lenses will eventually sell to digital owners, the lenses will work fine with all those used and affordable M2/3/4/6/7/P bodies out there, of which there are enough to last us several lifetimes even if Leica pulled the plug on film camera production today. A $1k M6 and a brand new 50 mm Summarit-M would be a very pleasant introduction to rangefinder photography, and the price of that combo isn't wildly out of reach of the determined amateur.

    My only concern is that the new lenses may cannibalise sales of the faster designs to the point that some of them become untenable. I don't think Leica has ever in its history had such a fat lens catalogue, and while that diversity is wonderful for us, I wonder if it is sustainable. It seems that Leica keeps adding lenses while rarely discontinuing old ones. In November there will be five 50 mm lenses alone!

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to the MTF and distortion curves for these new lenses.

    P.S. I would caution against viewing the nods to "heritage" -- the red button and traditional font -- as a lack of serious market intent on Leica's part. Similarly retro design elements form the basis of the entire high-street fashion scene and many other current successful products like the BMW Mini. I think the prices of these new lenses demonstrate that Leica means business this time.
     
  19. AgX

    AgX Member

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    You caused this situation you are referring to with that weird accusation you did not want to comment on.
    So feel free to ignore me further.
     
  20. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    It did surprise them. The production line for the M8 had to be redesigned to allow for making 50 per cent more cameras than they expected (I was in Solms a couple of months ago). Leica M-sales are back to the levels of the late 60s; they can't make lenses fast enough; and as dealers will tell you, a lot of stuff is back-ordered. Although the majority of Ms built are M8s, sales of M7s and MPs have also risen.

    Given the essentially hand-made nature of Leicas and Leica lenses, there's no real need to discontinue any camera or lens as long as it has its unique advantages: the sheer speed of the 50/1, the low cost of the 50/2,5, etc. They can just make a small batch from time to time.

    In many ways the 50/1 would be the obvious candidate for the chop: modern fast films and an ISO 2500 equivalent on the M8 mean that there's less need for the speed, it's hellish expensive, there's some focus shift on stopping down, and inevitably quality suffers slightly when you build an f/1. It would be possible to redesign it and make a better lens, but I'd be surprised if they bothered. As long as people buy 'em, they'll make 'em: both Leitz and Zeiss say that very small batches -- 25 or fewer -- are feasible, as long as the lens costs enough.

    And I'll second your comments about the red dot and the font. Why not go back to the original, after all?

    As for collectors replacing photographers, before the M8 came out Leica reckoned they were selling maybe 50/50 to photographers and collectors. The M8 seems to be selling pretty much to photographers.
     
  21. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    I don't entirely agree. First, all current lenses are despatched with a bar-code, and are suitable for the M8. Second, I don't think these new lenses were produced specifically for the M8, though it has to be said that telecentric, well colour corrected lenses are a lot easier to design at f/2.5 than at higher speeds, and that with a maximum ISO equivalent of 2,500 you don't need speed as you did in the days of ISO 100 films. But if you can afford an M8, how likely are you to worry about the price of lenses?

    I suppose their big advantage is that for the rich amateur who wants the best point-and-shoot in the world -- and Leica sold to that market well into the 1960s -- the new lenses make a conveniently compact package and might even be impulse buys.

    There's only one thing for it: I'll have to go to Solms again, and ask them. I reckon I can get there in a day on the BMW, but it won't be until September.
     
  22. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Ways Leica could have saved money on the new lenses

    Maybe part of the price saving is in the focusing mounts. These had always been hand-lapped, which is obviously labour-intensive and time-consuming but makes for tremendous durability. When I was at the factory in May, though, they said they had some ideas on mechanizing this. If they have succeeded in doing so, this might put a good-sized dent in the price.

    So do all-spherical elements (Leica's larger aspheric surfaces are ground, not hybrid, though the smallest aspheric elements are moulded glass), together with significant reductions in size and weight thanks to the lower maximum speeds. For a given level of engineering quality and complexity, the cost per pound (or gram, or whatever) is far more constant than seems intuitively likely.
     
  23. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    A Summarit used to indicate, back in Leica screw mount days (pre 1954) a fast lens of about f1.5. Seems like they bastardized the classic meaning by calling f2.5 lenses Summarits instead of Elmarits.

    Probably going to be very sharp with better mechanical quality than similar Cosina lenses, but way more expensive than used fast lenses.

    Good to have choices.

    Take care,
    Tom

    Edit: sorry I didn't see lens hackers response about Summarits before I posted
     
  24. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    That was my feeling.

    Roger thanks for the info. Re your comment upon if you can afford the body you can afford the lenses, well I dunno, a suite of lense bumps it into a different category of affordability (it would for myself if I entertained the idea anyway).

    Cheers, John
     
  25. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    What will be interesting is NOT the comparison of these new Summarits to Cosina lenses. It's how they stack up against the CZ's ZM lenses at the same price point?

    Given that many who own a Leica camera body will want a Leitz lens no matter the quality - this may well be a very telling blow against CZ's "incursion" onto Leica's 'turf'.

    What's really amusing is to read all the folk here now praise these new Summarits (yet to be released, BTW) without knowing about how they test for quality.

    Perhaps a classic example of "Leica glow"?

    BTW: as a marketing strategy, this kind of reminds me of how Nikon cheapened the Nikkor label by creating a separate "consumer class" of lenses with the resulting market confusion!
     
  26. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Lens hoods sold separately (not built in); velour pouches instead of echt leder zip cases; this is going to bring the cost down as well. the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that these lenses are essentially designed as bait for ZI and Voigtlander owners, who wonder what a 'real' Leica lens might be like. Then, once they've bought a Leica lens, maybe they'll buy a Leica too...