Leica Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH M (11604) – Exploring the Creative Potential of 28mm

Leica Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH M (11604) - Exploring the Creative Potential of 28mm

Lens Review

Leica Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH M (11604) – Exploring the Creative Potential of 28mm

Leica Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH with clip on hood
Leica M10, Hong Kong

Leica Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH M

Before we get into the Leica Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH M (11604). I have mixed feelings about the 28mm focal length. On the one hand, I’m drawn to its potential, sparked in part by positive experiences shooting with the pocket-sized Ricoh GR. Its wider field of view lets me capture more of the scene in front of me, which can reveal fresh ways of seeing and creating images. However, for my street photography, I tend to prefer a 35mm lens. While 28mm is wide enough to include necessary context, 35mm feels like the right balance of wide-angle and mid-range—keeping me close to subjects but not too close, and letting me achieve the composition I envision in a single frame.

Leica M10, Hong Kong

Despite my personal preference, the 28mm focal length remains a popular choice for many photographers due to its versatility as an all-purpose wide angle lens. This particular Summicron 28mm lens produces incredibly sharp and high-quality images with a unique rendering that makes it an exceptional option for 28mm shooting. This review covers the initial version released in 2000; Leica’s 2016 version 2 features an improved metal screw-on hood and claimed enhancements to sharpness and image quality, cementing the Summicron 28mm’s reputation as an exceptional wide-angle lens.

Leica is known for delivering exceptional lens quality, and this 28mm lens is no exception. However, street photography in Hong Kong can be challenging due to the abundance of street signs and advertisements, making it difficult to frame shots and capture desired subjects or elements in a uniform way. Nonetheless, when you do get a successful shot or series of shots, it’s a satisfying feeling.

While I am no stranger to the 28mm focal length and have enjoyed using lenses like the Elmarit 28mm f2.8 v2 in the past, I ultimately decided to part ways with this Summicron 28mm lens and stick with my preferred 35mm focal length. However, I still have an interest in trying out other 28mm lenses like the Summilux 28mm or the new Voigtlander 28mm ASPH in the future.

Kentmere 100, Hong Kong


In terms of specifications, this lens is almost the same size as my Summilux 35 FLE. It’s only slightly bigger than earlier Leica 28mm lenses like the Elmarit 28mm 9 elements, which were a full stop slower. Compared to other M-mount lenses, the Voigtlander 28mm f2 ASPH is smaller. The construction and materials are outstanding, and overall, it’s quite consistent with other modern Leica lenses, feeling solid and neat. The lens markings are engraved and painted in Leica’s computerised fonts, adding a nice touch to the lens design. It takes a 46mm filter which can be shared with Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 ASPH FLE and my Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH and it has a closest focus distance at 0.7m.

Leica Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH, hood and cover
Leica M10, Hong Kong

However, the lens hood is quite large compared to its 35mm siblings. It’s chunky and loosely clipped onto the lens, made from thick matte plastic. It is also somewhat easy to scruff off the paint around it. And I don’t like the design of this lens hood but you can find an alternative hood from Leica (below). There are fewer silver versions (11661) of this lens available compared to the black version. Originally, both black and silver versions were sold, but the silver version was discontinued in 2010. The black lens is made of anodised aluminium, resulting in a lower weight than the silver version made of brass. However, the black version is more prone to showing wear and tear, with paint scuffing off more easily than on the silver version.

Leica M10, Hong Kong
Leica Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH without hood

Alternative Hood

After some experimentation and studying some threads online, I discovered that the hood from the Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 ASPH (11874) looks better and is compatible with this 28mm lens. I promptly replaced the original hood with this one, and found it to be much more practical and convenient to carry around.

28mm external viewfinder and alternative hood
Alternative hood for Summicron 28mm

Image Quality

When put into practice, this lens produces images that are impressively well-rendered. Even when used at its widest aperture, the sharpness is noticeable good. The overall contrast is medium given its an aspherical lens, with clear definition that retains detail in both highlights and shadows. For reference, a high-contrast lens like the Zeiss Distagon 35mm f1.4 would produce even more pronounced contrast.

Leica M10, Hong Kong
Leica M10, Hong Kong


While wide-angle lenses typically do not provide a very shallow depth of field, the 28mm f/2 Summicron lens offers sufficient subject separation due to its ability to smoothly yet distinctly transition between focal planes.

The bokeh of the 28mm Summicron lens is exceptional for a wide-angle optic. Upon close inspection, there is a subtle hint of vignetting at the maximum aperture. Stopping down the lens ameliorates these negligible flaws but also increases depth of field. In practical use, the bokeh is largely velvety and well-controlled while retaining some structure.

Leica M10, Hong Kong


The colours produced by this lens are highly saturated and appear even more so than those produced by my Summilux 35/1.4 ASPH FLE, which is also an aspherical lens. I’ve found that this lens is particularly effective at capturing sharp, vibrant colours, making it a great choice for photographers who enjoy composing high contrast scenes, much like the work of Alex Webb and Harry Gruyaert. 

Chromatic aberration, which is the failure of a lens to focus all colours to the same point, is corrected in Leica lenses through a combination of improved lens design that minimises chromatic aberration, as well as 6-bit coding that provides additional digital correction for any remaining chromatic aberration. While the Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH lens exhibits remarkably low flare and ghosting, the later 11672 model’s refined optical design achieves an even more effective handling of lens flare and ghosting.

Leica M10, Hong Kong
Leica M10, Hong Kong

Additional Viewfinder

Some camera models, such as Leica M2 and M3, do not come equipped with a 28mm frameline. To properly frame your shots with a 28mm lens on these cameras, it’s recommended to use an external viewfinder that can be attached to the hot shoe on top of the camera. In practice, you would use the rangefinder focus in your main viewfinder to focus, then shift your gaze to the external viewfinder for composition. To speed up this process, you can use Zone Focusing by selecting a smaller aperture to increase your depth of field, allowing you to shoot without constantly refocusing through your main viewfinder.

Leica Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH with Leica M6 Classic

28mm focal length

While Leica’s 35mm and 50mm lenses are popular choices for first-time Leica buyers due to their versatile focal lengths, the Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH lens is an excellent all-purpose option that is worth considering first. Its wider 28mm focal length suits documentary and environmental portraiture, as well as landscape and architecture photography where a sense of space is important. Despite its wider field of view, the 28mm Summicron is still relatively compact and fast, making it a very capable yet portable lens for a range of subjects and shooting conditions.

Kentmere 100, Hong Kong
Kentmere 100, Hong Kong
Kentmere 100, Hong Kong

28mm Alternatives (Personal Recommendation)

  • Voigtlander Ultron 28mm ASPH II
  • Leica Summilux 28mm f1.4 ASPH
  • Leica Elmarit 28mm f2.8 V2


If you’re looking for an all-purpose lens that inspires you to push the boundaries of your photography, I highly recommend giving a 28mm lens a try. While 35mm and 50mm lenses are versatile choices, the 28mm focal length allows you to capture more of the scene in front of you, creating an immersive sense of space that suits environmental portraiture, photojournalism, and architecture work.

The Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH is an outstanding fast 28mm lens that delivers accurate colours and sharpness, with an f/2 aperture that opens up low-light shooting. But even more affordable 28mm options from brands like Voigtlander can ignite your creativity. Once you experience the 28mm perspective, you may find it reveals new ways of seeing and sparking your imagination—it’s a journey every photographer should explore.

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