Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm F/2 ASPH. (VI)

Standard prime lens • Digital era

APO The lens features apochromatic optical design.
ASPH. The lens incorporates aspherical elements.
VI Sixth generation.

Model history

Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm F/2 ASPH.M8 - 50.7mE39 2019 
Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm F/2 ASPH. TitaniumM8 - 50.7mE39 2016 
Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm F/2 ASPH. (VI)M8 - 50.7mE39 2012 
Leica Summicron-M 50mm F/2 TitaniumM6 - 40.7mE39 2001 
Leica Summicron 50mm F/2M6 - 41mE39 1999 
Leica Summicron-M 50mm F/2 “King of Thailand”M6 - 40.7mE39 1996 
Leica Summicron-M 50mm F/2 (V)M6 - 40.7mE39 1994 
Leitz Canada Summicron-M 50mm F/2 “1913-1983”M6 - 40.7mE39 1983 
Leitz Summicron-M 50mm F/2 (IV)M6 - 40.7mE39 1980 
Leitz Wetzlar Summicron 50mm F/2 (III)M6 - 50.7mE39 1969 
Leitz Wetzlar Summicron 50mm F/2 (II)M7 - 41mE39 1956 
Leitz Wetzlar Summicron 50mm F/2 (I)M7 - 41mE39 1953 
Leitz (Wetzlar) Summitar 50mm F/2M7 - 41mE36 1939 
Leitz (Wetzlar) Summar 50mm F/2M6 - 41mA36 1933 

Designed for

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Features highlight

Fast
APO
1 ASPH
3 AD
2 HR
F.E.
Manual
11 blades
MF
Compact
Built-in hood

Specification

Production details
Announced:May 2012
Production status:In production
Production type:Mass production
Order No.:11141
11824
Original name:LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 1:2/50 ASPH.
Optical design
Focal length:50mm
Speed:F/2
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount:Leica M
Flange focal distance:27.8mm
Diagonal angle of view:46.8° (35mm full frame)
36° (Leica M APS-H)
Lens construction:8 elements - 5 groups
1 ASPH, 3 AD, 2 HR
Floating element system
Diaphragm mechanism
Diaphragm type:Manual
Number of blades:11
Focusing
Coupled to the rangefinder:Yes
Closest focusing distance:0.7m (coupled focusing)
Maximum magnification ratio:1:11.3 at the closest focusing distance
Focusing method:<No information>
Focusing modes:Manual focus only
Manual focus control:Focusing tab
Physical characteristics
Weight:300g
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀53×47mm
Weather sealing:-
AquaDura coating:-
Accessories
Filters:Screw-type 39mm
Lens hood:Built-in telescopic round

*) Source of data: Manufacturer's technical data.

Manufacturer description #1

Solms, Germany (May 10, 2012) - Leica Camera AG presents a new milestone in the history of lens construction: the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. With the goal of creating a lens that fully achieves the opportunities offered by high-resolution camera systems, Leica engineers have successfully redefined the limits of what is technically possible. The result is an extremely high-performance lens that sets entirely new standards and currently stands as an exceptional talent amongst the standard lenses of the Leica M portfolio.

This new reference lens achieves the best test results ever seen in the Leica M-Lens program. The MTF curves of the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. that describe the contrast of fine details and, in turn, the image sharpness, confirm its outstanding performance. Even the finest details are resolved with more than 50% contrast across the entire image field. This previously unattained value confirms the exceptional positioning of this lens. All images captured with the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. in any photographic situation show extreme sharpness and resolution of details from corner to corner of the image. Additionally, the apochromatic correction of the lens minimizes chromatic aberration on sharp edges to ensure natural rendition of every detail. As a result, photographers benefit from the best possible reproduction results at any print size.

The outstanding performance of the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. is founded on the perfect interaction of all its design and construction parameters, from optical calculation and choice of materials to the sophisticated and elaborate manufacturing and finishing of the lens. Together with more than 150 years of experience in the design and construction of optical instruments, Leica’s reputation as the manufacturer of the world’s best lenses is once again emphasized.

The new design of the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. is based on the optical design of its predecessor that has been on the market since 1979 and is the oldest lens represented in the Leica M portfolio. The classical specifications, 50 mm focal length and a maximum aperture of f2, offered an ideal starting point for further development. As such, Leica’s expert lens designers were able to concentrate exclusively on the improvement of imaging quality within these standard specifications.

In its optical design, the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. is oriented on particular features of the Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH. and the Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. lenses. For instance, the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. also incorporates a floating element. The lens group behind the diaphragm is designed as a floating element that changes its position relative to the front group during focusing, ensuring that the lens achieves outstanding imaging quality throughout its focusing range, including at closer focusing distances.

The realization of the apochromatic correction of the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. involved the use of specially formulated glasses based on original developments from the former Leitz glass laboratory. The use of such glasses requires great effort and many years of experience. As a result of the consistent advancement of optical processes, working with these high-quality glasses has been refined to such a fine art that they are integrated in the best possible quality into Leica lenses as evidenced today in the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH.

As a particularly reliable product with enduring value and made in Germany, the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. is manufactured from only the best materials and is assembled in an elaborate process completely by hand at Leica’s factory in Solms. The combination of cutting-edge technologies and painstaking manufacturing procedures guarantees the consistently excellent quality of every single Leica lens.

Manufacturer description #2

With the new APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. our engineers have set new standards in imaging performance. This is the first lens ever to fully exploit the capabilities of modern high-resolution camera systems, making no compromises in image sharpness and achieving previously unattainable values in all technical performance characteristics.

Even at full aperture, there is no fall-off at the edges in the MTF curves. Furthermore, the finest details are rendered with more than 50% contrast, enabling sharp images with superb corner-to-corner detail rendition in all photographic situations. The apochromatic correction of the lens minimizes chromatic aberration to ensure natural rendition of every detail.

Manufacturer description #3

More than 30 years after the launch of Summicron-M 1:2/50 mm, which is still available, the Leica APO Summicron-M 1:2/50 mm ASPH. represents a totally new development. With its compact body - only marginally longer and slightly heavier than the Summicron-M 1:2/50 mm, and with an almost identical diameter, it provides visibly higher image quality. On the Leica APO Summicron-M 1:2/50 mm ASPH. the exceptional correction enables all aberrations to be reduced to a minimum level that is negligible in digital photography. Its key features include excellent contrast rendition, all the way to the corners of the image, even with a fully open aperture. The use of a „floating element“ ensures that this is retained, even for close-up shots. Vignetting is limited to a maximum - i.e. in the corners of the image - of just 2 stops at full aperture in 35 mm format, or around 1 on the Leica M8 models. Stopping down to 2.8 visibly reduces this light deterioration towards the edge of the image, with practically only the natural vignetting remaining. Distortion is very low at a maximum of just 0.4 % (pincushion), which is practically imperceptible. A total of eight lens elements are used to achieve this exceptional performance. To realize the apochromatic correction (resulting in a common focusing plane for three light wavelengths), three are made of glass types with high anomalous partial color dispersion, while two of the others have a high refractive index. The aspherical surface of the first lens in the rear group helps to reduce spherical aberration and flatten the image field. While the optical construction in front of the aperture is a Gaussian type, the arrangement of the lens elements behind it is similar to that in the Summilux-M 1:1.4/35 mm ASPH. This group comprises a „floating element“, which is moved independently of the rest of the construction during focusing.

Summary: The Leica APO Summicron-M 1:2/50 mm ASPH. delivers exceptional picture quality and sets new standards in 35 mm digital photography.

Manufacturer description #4

January 31th, 2019

Leica Camera AG presents the Leica M10-P and the Leica Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 as limited ‘Safari’ editions

Leica Camera AG is writing the next chapter in the success story of special editions finished in olive green enamel and now presents the latest model in this series – the Leica M10-P Edition ‘Safari’. Otherwise identical to the serial production model in terms of performance and technical specifications, the special features of this camera are its eye-catching olive green enamel finish and the accessories supplied with the camera. A carrying strap and a case for SD memory cards and credit cards, both crafted from Brandy-coloured, genuine full grain cowhide, underline the aesthetics and the unusual looks of the limited special edition of 1,500 examples of the camera. The matching Leica Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Edition ‘Safari’ premium lens will be offered separately. It is the first ever M-Lens in the history of Leica products to be produced in olive green enamel finish and, together with the camera, creates a perfect symbiosis of functionality and design. Current planning foresees a limited edition of 500 examples of the Leica Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Edition ‘Safari’ lens.

The Leica M10-P Edition ‘Safari’ is on sale from today. The Leica Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Edition ‘Safari’ premium lens will be available from 15 February 2019.

In addition to the special enamel finish, the Leica Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Edition ‘Safari’ is also distinguished by other design features. The distance scale in feet and the focal length engravings are picked out in red paint and stand in contrast to the otherwise white engravings on the lens. As the technical specifications and optical performance are identical to those of the serial production model, the lens is therefore not only an ideal complement to the olive green M-Cameras. The compact design of this high-performance standard lens makes it an ideal addition to every photographer’s set of Leica M equipment.

All visible metal components of the Leica M10-P Edition ‘Safari’ and the Leica Summicron-M 1:2/50 Edition ‘Safari’ premium lens are elaborately machined from solid brass. The premium stove enamel finish in olive green makes the camera and lens resistant to finger marks and scratches and provides enduring protection against external influences such as solvents, chemicals and UV light.

This unusual special finish has a long tradition at Leica. The first Leica cameras with this high-quality stove enamel finish in olive green were originally designed and constructed for use in the field. Their reputation as robust and reliable tools under extreme conditions spread rapidly around the world. What began in 1960 with the Leica M1 ‘Olive’ manufactured for the German armed forces went on to become a story of success. While the olive green M3 and M4 cameras were manufactured exclusively for military use in the field, 1977 saw the appearance of the olive green Leica R3 ‘Safari’ camera in response to increasing demand on the part of private customers. This was followed by the M6 TTL ‘Safari’ in 2000, the M8.2 ‘Safari’ in 2008 and, in 2015, the M-P (Typ 240) ‘Safari’. The olive green cameras are enormously popular among Leica collectors and enthusiasts.

Typical application

landscapes, interiors, buildings, cityscapes, portraits, street, travel

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm

Travellers' choice

Note

Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

One of the best fast standard primes

According to lens-db.com; among lenses designed for the same maximum format and mount.

Apochromatic optical design

All glass elements in an optical system refract light in certain colors to a different extent. This leads to the effect that not all rays of light from a multi-colored subject are focused at a single imaging point – the result of this is chromatic aberration.

In this lens, the chromatic aberration is minimized by apochromatic correction.

A need for apochromatic correction arose with the increasing popularity of color film. Now, with high-resolution digital sensors, the need for superior control of chromatic aberrations is even more pertinent than when film changed from monochrome to color.

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Unique Leica Look

Leica lenses are one-of-a-kind optical masterpieces that are impressive because of their unique Leica Look. This is ensured through exceptional optical design combined with selected materials and the highest quality standards.

Leica lenses reveal their full potential only when mounted on Leica cameras, since only these have sensors precisely matched to their optical characteristics.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

MF

Sorry, no additional information is available.

Aspherical elements

Aspherical elements (ASPH, XA, XGM) are used in wide-angle lenses for correction of distortion and in large-aperture lenses for correction of spherical aberration, astigmatism and coma, thus ensuring excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. The effect of the aspherical element is determined by its position within the optical formula: the more the aspherical element moves away from the aperture stop, the more it influences distortion; close to the aperture stop it can be particularly used to correct spherical aberration. Aspherical element can substitute one or several regular spherical elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Use of aspherical elements has its downsides: it leads to non-uniform rendering of out-of-focus highlights. This effect usually appears as "onion-like" texture of concentric rings or "wooly-like" texture and is caused by very slight defects in the surface of aspherical element. It is difficult to predict such effect, but usually it occurs when the highlights are small enough and far enough out of focus.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Canon's Super UD, Nikon's Super ED, Pentax' Super ED, Sigma's FLD ("F" Low Dispersion), Sony' Super ED and Tamron's XLD glasses are the highest level low dispersion glasses available with extremely high light transmission. These optical glasses have a performance equal to fluorite glass.

High-refraction low-dispersion elements

High-refraction low-dispersion elements (HLD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

High Index, High Dispersion elements

High Index, High Dispersion elements (HID) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Anomalous partial dispersion elements

Anomalous partial dispersion elements (AD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Fluorite elements

Synthetic fluorite elements (FL) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. Compared with optical glass, fluorite lenses have a considerably lower refraction index, low dispersion and extraordinary partial dispersion, and high transmission of infrared and ultraviolet light. They are also significantly lighter than optical glass.

According to Nikon, fluorite easily cracks and is sensitive to temperature changes that can adversely affect focusing by altering the lens' refractive index. To avoid this, Canon, as the manufacturer most widely using fluorite in its telephoto lenses, never uses fluorite in the front and rear lens elements, and the white coating is applied to the lens barrels to reflect light and prevent the lens from overheating.

Short-wavelength refractive elements

High and specialized-dispersion elements (SR) refract light with wavelengths shorter than that of blue to achieve highly precise chromatic aberration compensation. This technology also results in smaller and lighter lenses.

Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics

Organic Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics material (BR Optics) placed between convex and concave elements made from conventional optical glass provides more efficient correction of longitudinal chromatic aberrations in comparison with conventional technology.

Diffraction elements

Diffraction elements (DO, PF) cancel chromatic aberrations at various wavelengths. This technology results in smaller and lighter lenses in comparison with traditional designs with no compromise in image quality.

High refractive index elements

High refractive index elements (HR, HRI, XR etc) minimize field curvature and spherical aberration. High refractive index element can substitute one or several regular elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Apodization element

Apodization element (APD) is in fact a radial gradient filter. It practically does not change the characteristics of light beam passing through its central part but absorbs the light at the periphery. It sort of softens the edges of the aperture making the transition from foreground to background zone very smooth and results in very attractive, natural looking and silky smooth bokeh.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.

Format

Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

Mount

A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance from the lens mount to the film or sensor can also be different.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Flange focal distance

The flange focal distance (FFD), sometimes called the "flange back", is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.

Speed

The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Floating element system

Provides correction of aberrations and ensures constantly high image quality at the entire range of focusing distances from infinity down to the closest focusing distance. It is particularly effective for the correction of field curvature that tends to occur with large-aperture, wide-angle lenses when shooting at close ranges.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Convex protruding front element

The convex front element protrudes from the lens barrel, making it impossible to use filters.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.

Weight

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.

Filters

Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.