Acuity comparison of Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 vs Summicron-M 35mm f/2 vs APO-Summicron-M 35mm f/2 lenses


Acuity comparison of Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 vs Summicron-M 35mm f/2 vs APO-Summicron-M 35mm f/2 lenses by Onasj (see all previous posts by Onasj):

Here’s a quick acuity comparison of three 35-mm focal length Leica-M lenses, all current versions:

  1. Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH ($5,995)
  2. Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH ($3,795)
  3. Leica APO-Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH ASPH ASPH ASPH 😊 ($8,195)

Methodology: Tripod-mounted, M10-R, 2-second shutter delay, ISO 400, auto shutter speed, RAW. DNG files were opened in Adobe Camera Raw 13.1, auto-adjusted only, then cropped to 100% from the center and put side-by-side. Focus plane was the larger circle of black feathers (slightly behind the smaller circle), carefully focused in live view at 100% magnification.

Full scene:


Comparison matrix at 100% crops (click on the image for the full-resolution version):


Matrix file uncompressed original can be found at Dropbox.

Leica’s 40 line/mm MTF values for the very center of these lenses are as follows:

  1. Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH: 67 at f/2, 53 at f/1.4
  2. Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH: 60 at f/2
  3. Leica APO-Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH ASPH ASPH ASPH: 90 at f/2

…which pretty much exactly corresponds to my take on acuity in this test: all lenses perform well given the challenging nature of this test, but the 35 lux at f/1.4 is softest, followed by the 35 cron at f/2, the 35 lux at f/2, and then the 35 APO, which really handily beats all of the other lenses under these conditions. In fact, the 35 APO was so sharp that there is slight moire visible in the fine black and white striped areas, something I rarely see with this test object. For comparison, the outstanding 50 APO-M at f/2 has a 40 line/mm MTF value of 73.

The apochromaticity and the contrast of the 35 APO also stand out.

So bravo, Leica—you might have set a new record at $26 per gram of lens (by comparison, the $14,000 75 Noctilux is a mere $13 per gram), but performance at least in terms of acuity is also record-setting.

Plus it takes nice photos.

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