Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
And I'll second your comments about the red dot and the font. Why not go back to the original, after all?
Indeed. I think the typeface on the new Summarits is a DIN variant (a realist sans-serif typeface) that has been used in German engineering since the thirties. It's timeless and quintessentially German (very Bauhaus), whereas I feel that the square typeface used on the other Leica lenses, while not overtly fashionable, is still not as timeless as the DIN typeface. Of course this doesn't matter much, but if you're coming up with a new lens range you might as well change these things.

Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham
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.
I'm praising the introduction of a new lens line, not their optical quality. Having said that, can you think of a Leica lens released in the last decade that hasn't been optically superb? There is some reason to expect the new lenses to be optically excellent.

Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham
It's obvious to most any person without a bias or agenda that a lens line at half the price of the "top of the pile" is going to have compromises that include more than just the speed of the aperture!
Why is this obvious? It's not to me. Below are UK price comparisons, with Robert White prices for the existing lenses and official Leica prices for new Summarits. The lenses of each focal length are listed from fastest to slowest:

35 mm:
Summilux ASPH - 1958
Summicron ASPH - 1358
Summarit - 890

50 mm:
Noctilux - 3413
Summilux ASPH - 1645
Summicron - 920
Summarit - 690
Elmar - 572

75 mm:
Summilux - not available from Robert White, but around 2000
Apo-Summicron ASPH - 1519
Summarit - 890

90 mm:
Apo-Summicron ASPH - 1645
Summarit - 890
Elmarit - 1073
Macro-Elmar - 921

To me these prices do not suggest a lack of quality in the new lenses. Several of the expensive Summicron and Summilux lenses use aspherical elements and/or complicated floating element mechanisms, which obviously drive up the price. And in general, as the maximum aperture decreases the ease of design and production rapidly increases. This is why a 50 mm f/1.8 from Nikon or Canon costs a small fraction of the same company's 50 mm f/1.4.

Quote Originally Posted by elekm
One thing I found disappointing about Leica's page about its lenses is that it didn't say if these were reformulated lenses with digital in mind.
Digital sensors are a bit more reflective than film, but film does reflect light too. If a lens flares with digital then it will also cause flare on film to a lesser degree, and vice-versa. In other words, a good lens is a good lens and "designed for digital" is more of a marketing slogan than an engineering approach. A true "designed for digital" lens design would allow rampant geometric distortion (correctable in software) to gain an edge in sharpness, but no such lens has been marketed. Another digital approach would be to design near-telecentric lenses, which would incidentally work fine with film, but Leica's offset microlenses make that unnecessary and perhaps even undesirable, and such a lens would be much larger and more expensive than these Summarits.