I recently wrote a 5 Frames piece about the Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 C Biogon T* ZM, extolling its virtues. Shortly afterward I suddenly decided I wanted a Leica 35mm lens on my M6! No logic in the decision at all. The only modern Leica lens I could possibly afford was a used Summarit-M, this model is from Leica’s “cheapest” range of lenses, however, it is not a budget lens and is built to the same high standards as the rest of the Leica ranges of lenses. These Summarit-M’s are quite rare as used items but luckily my local shop had a minter in stock. After what I thought was a positive deal part-exing my Zeiss, I was the new owner of this lens.
Optically the Leica and Zeiss are very similar, in fact you probably wouldn’t know the difference in side by side prints, very sharp in the middle of the image at f2.4/2.8 then very sharp all over by f5.6. The Summarit-M has no distortion or colour fringing. Viewfinder blockage from the lens hood is minimal, the filter size is 46mm. The build quality is excellent, especially the Summarit-M’s supplied lens hood which screws on and is so well engineered. One advantage I did find in focusing the lenses, the Leica was a lot faster and easier to focus with its big finger grip under the lens and shorter focusing throw from close up to infinity. My large fingers struggled a bit focusing the Zeiss. A used Summarit-M is twice the price of a used C Biogon so it was pure indulgence on my part, but surely so much of the enjoyment of owning film cameras is the pure indulgence. If it makes you feel good then go for it!
I used Fuji Pro400H over a weekend to give my new lens a workout. This film has high red saturation which can make bright red objects like the flowers in my images loose definition. You can tame this by reducing the red saturation a little, colours otherwise are very pleasant. The close-up of the pink flower was shot at f2.4, wide open.
Hope you enjoyed the photos.