A couple of years ago I expressed my views on my rather ostentatious Contax T2… Well, guess what, these things are now worth more than my vital organs, so when I was offered a farcical sum for the device, I was already contemplating what to spend the gold coins on.
It transpires a limited edition Contaxt T2 with all its paraphernalia is the equivalent of a practically new Summarit-M 35mm f/2.4, a Yashica Matt 124g, and a pub lunch. I for one can’t refuse a good pub lunch, especially if it involves pie. Though for clarity, I don’t mean one of those evil rogue imposter pies that laugh at you from their non-edible ramekin suit and puff pastry hat.
Back to the non-pie related photographic endeavours. The Summarit, is one of the least expensive (cheapest) Leica offerings. This variant now comes with the typical leather pouch and metal lens hood as standard. It’s a light lens at just under 200g but it doesn’t feel cheap in its construction, which you would hope considering its £1400 if purchased new. The apertures click just as nicely as my 50mm Summilux yet the focus is less dampened, lending to a faster focus throw without it being inaccurate. My only real criticism of the lens is that the focus distance is 80cm rather than the typical 70cm.
The latest Summarit renders very clinically with no visible aberrations or distortion. You won’t get anything magical but nor will you have something overly characterful imposing itself on each of your images. This is very much a lens for those wanting clean and consistent results.
The five images here are from my first outing with the lens at one of the last “Banner Racing” events at the soon-to-be-demolished Arena Essex. A few more random images can be found in my Leica MP review along with my social media. All images here are shot on Portra 400 with minimal post production.
All in all I quite like the Leica 35mm f/2.4 Summarit, but it doesn’t feel that “special” in use, or in rendering. With other lenses I own the little person inside my head can equate the price with the feel or the qualities associated with fast glass – but with this you don’t have either, and although the lens is cheap for a Leica it’s still comparatively expensive compared to the Zeiss Biogon or the Voigtlander Color Skopar. If you did decide to buy the Leica however I don’t think you would be disappointed at all, and as the sale of the Contax covered the costs for me, I’m quite pleased I took the plunge with this very consistent and practical lens.
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