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.
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.
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.
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!
Kodak Ultramax 400
Kodak Eastman 5222 Double-X
Cinestill 800T pushed to 1600
Fujifilm Superia Premium 400
Kodak Super Gold 400 (Japan Ver)
Leave a comment Cancel reply
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
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?
Hey Jan, I think it worths around USD3,800 now
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.
Hi Daniel, thanks for your comment. Do you have any samples of your summiluix pre asph shots?
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.
Great write up on the 35 Summilux Infinity Lock Pre-ASPH. I’m fortunate to own one of the first brass infinity lock models whose serial number places it in the v1 range, 21667xx; it’s a 1966 late steel rim model (with the later purple coating) housed in a brass infinity lock v2 body. What’s really unique about it is that because it’s in a v2 body, it allows close focusing to about .8 meters. Everything you wrote about the Infinity lock rings true with my lens as well, it’s a marvelous piece of glass that has so many personalities. Thanks for highlighting this lens as very few are aware of it and/or know about the differences in the versions.
Thanks for your comment! You are lucky to have the brass tab. I only have the version with silver tab. It is a great lens! Speaking of it, I think I need to take it out for some street snaps!
Can you share some photos of the lens that you reviewed? I am most curious about how you know the focus is down to 0.85 meter: Does it say on the scale or does it go beyond the 1 meter mark?
Let me try to add that or shoot me a DM on instagram. I can quickly share you the photo of the lens. The lens itself doesn’t indicate but how I found out was because I used 3 35mm lenses at minimum focusing distance. It does go beyond 1 meter when you focus and I cross checked with other Summilux and Summicron 35mm.