Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 Pre-asph Infinity Lock: A Hidden Gem with Characters

The Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 Pre-asph Infinity Lock: A Hidden Gem with Characters

A Lens Identical to Summilux first version aka Steel Rim

There are many people who would dream of owning a copy of the first version Summilux 35mm because of its rarity, outlook and Leica “glow”. Its special outlook on both M2 and M3 version really made me fond of it, especially with that sexy OLLUX hood which is so unique in the entire Leica collection. It is sad to see the price of this rare gem keep going up.  I have personally tried both lenses on hand and been shooting with them for a while on film and digital. So I would describe the Summilux pre-a v2 early type (infinity lock version) is a little bit sharper at all apertures compared with Steel Rim.

Kodak Tmax P3200
Kodak Tmax P3200
Leica M10
Steel Rim has vulnerable coating in early serials and very easy to have separations in elements, so it is hard to cherry pick the best copy. Both lenses were constructed in the same design with the same focus scale and infinity lock except the front metal rim was installed in Steel Rim. Some Infinity lock version have brass tabs and some are in chrome. Most of their serial number begins in 222xxxx, 229xxxx and 234xxxx and it is available in both M2 and M3 goggle version.

Kodak Double-X
Kentmere 400
Ilford HP5 pushed to 800
Ilford HP5 pushed to 800
Ilford HP5 pushed to 800

Minimum focusing distance at 0.85m in M2 version

The non-goggle version of this lens can focus down to 0.85m compared with Steel Rim and normal Summilux pre-a 35mm which has a minimum focus distance at 1 meter. Other summicron lenses such as 7 elements (King of Bokeh) and 8 elements both have min focus range at 0.7m. It surely gives you an advantage to take some nice images with f1.4 at a closer range, great to take half body portraits when you are sitting opposite of your subject. Whereas the M3 version with the aid of the goggle, it can focus down to 0.65m. 

Arista EDU 400
Kodak Double-X

An Underrated Gem with so much Character

There are so many layers to taste with this lens. The most popular lens from Leica probably is the Summicron 35mm f2 Version 1 (8 elements) with its immaculate transition in black and white images and the essense described as sealing the air in the image. Another one will be Summicron 35mm f2 IV (7 elements) also known as King of Bokeh, it is an overall performer on black and white and colour negatives not so special but great for consistency on your image. But what I wanted to express is that this Summilux infinity lock can also offer you most of their characters at different apertures. 

Leica M240P
Kentmere 400
Kentmere 400
Starting wide open at f1.4 can perform like Steel Rim but not having the crazy glow or haze from normal Ver 2 pre-asph, at f2 it is very much like the 8 elements and bokeh is the same as well. At F2.8 to F8 it gives rich and solid images like the King of Bokeh. The most obvious difference among them is that Summilux infinity lock tends to render in a much warmer tone than other lenses, that sense of Warmth sometimes might not be great on colour photography but sometimes that put on extra spirit to the photographs. I believe no lens is perfect but a great lens should have characters that fit in your photo philosophy and they are like your best companion, like a drawing brush which helps you to create your memories or assignments

Kodak Tri-X
Ilford HP5 pushed to 800
Kodak Double-X


As I have noticed not many people are aware of the specialty of this little gem, that’s why I wrote this article to let more people appreciate this lens with its character and outstanding performance. I know this lens is actually even rarer than Steel Rim but I highly recommend you to try it. All of these are just my personal experience and if you have anything wanted to share with me or other readers, feel free to comment below and definitely great to hear comments from other users!

Film Samples

Kodak Ultramax 400

Kodak Ultramax 400
Kodak Ultramax 400

Kodak Eastman 5222 Double-X

Kodak Double-X
Kodak Double-X
Kodak Double-X
Kodak Double-X

Cinestill 800T pushed to 1600

Cinestill 800T
Cinestill 800T

Fujifilm Superia Premium 400

Fujifilm Supera Premium 400
Fujifilm Supera Premium 400
Fujifilm Supera Premium 400

Kodak Super Gold 400 (Japan Ver)

Kodak Supergold 400
Kodak Supergold 400

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  1. Hi, I have a Summilux 35mm with infinity lock.
    It’s in perfect condition with hood and Leitz filter. 2347441.
    Any idea what it’s worth?

    Jan Ung

  2. I’ve delved into the world of 35mm Summilux pre asph and been trying to make sense of the different iterations of this lens. The apparent sample variation has made the description of the different versions vary widely. I have one from 1981 with yellow coating and it also focuses down to 0.85m. It barely shows any of that “v2 glow” and my attempts of making it flare has been rather unsuccessful. I might just try to find another copy for the sake of comparison. My sample isnt as sharp as the V4 Summicron but the images are very similar overall. The curveball in the mix is that my sample of the Canon 35mm 1.8 LTM is sharper than both but suffers from vignetting and barrel distortion wide open.

  3. Sorry for the late reply. I haven’t developed a bunch since I got it last month but here’s 2 shots. Both without hood. Color is f/1.4 and B&W is f/8.0.


    It doesn’t seem to flare or glow too bad. I did try it on a digital M camera and had it flare when a strong light source hit the lens at an angle outside the 35mm frame. Your review of this lens had me pushed over the edge to finally get one actually

    • Hey Daniel, that is interesting because it doesn’t behave like a summilux 35/1.4 pre-asph lens. Do you mind sharing some more images of the lens itself? just to make sure it is the same one. Feel free to DM me on instagram @tahusa if that is easier for you.


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