Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux-M Lens

The Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux-M lens is probably the most interesting and intriguing telephoto lens made by Leica. Photographers who have used it previously claim it to possess “Dreamy and Magical” qualities. It is a special lens and all these intriguing opinions triggered curiosity and simply could not resist the temptation to try this lens. The quest to hunt for this lens at a reasonable price was not an easy task but managed to find a latter Canadian version of this lens from an overseas Leica dealer in good conditions. There are three versions of the Leica 75 F1.4 Summilux-M lens manufactured from the year 1980 until 2005 and then discontinued. This lens was either made in Germany or made in Canada but there is no variance in terms of quality. All three versions share the same optics as they are different only in terms of operating mechanics.

"A Blue Moment" Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®

"A Blue Moment" Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®


Perfect Lens Combo:

The “Holy Trinity” Combination for most Leica Photographers would be:

1.       Wide Angle Lens (21mm/28mm or even the 15mm made by Zeiss reviewed here)

2.       Standard Lens (35mm/50mm)

3.       Telephoto Lens (75mm vs 90mm)


Build Quality

·         The build quality is phenomenal and it is nothing short of the best Leica Standard, whether manufactured in Germany or Canada, the quality is second to none.

·         That big chuck of front glass element sucks in all the available light and the built-in hood comes in handy when encounter strong sunlight, which helps to reduce flare problems and this lens can be prone to flare issues.

Practical Use

·         Focusing can be challenging due to the issues caused by the Focus Shift, which is common for the Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux lens.

·         Recommendation: It is best to test out the focus prior to buying so that you will assess the degree of focus shift issue and keep in mind if the lens is either front-focused or back-focused so that you can adjust the focus manually for compensation.

Steve Huff Photo

Steve Huff Photo

 

Advantages:

·         Superior Fast lens – The lens allows the Photographer to shoot wide-open at F1.4 hence the ability to generate creamy bokeh and shoot under low-light conditions.

·         Unique Rendering - It is claimed to be a Dream lens with magical Qualities, just like the Noctilux F1 lens.

·         Perfection for Portraits – Desired rendering for shooting portraits, its unique rendering combined with less-than clinically sharpness are what makes the portraits stand out.

 

Disadvantages:

·         Size and Weight – The Leica 75 F1.4 Summilux lens is big and heavy when compared to most other Leica M lenses, but you would expect this if you love fast lenses with large chuck of glass element that absorbs all the available light of the surroundings.

·         Long Focus Throw – The focus throw is long and this can cause the focusing process to be slow but it is not a bad thing when you consider such a thin DOF for this lens.

·         Focus Shift – This lens is prone to focus shift, so precise focus can be difficult with this lens. However, If you are lucky then you might find a rare one without this issue.

Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®

Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®



Battle of the Leica 75mm versus 90mm

1.       Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux vs Leica 75mm F2 Summicron APO

Leica 75mm Summicron is comparatively:

{C}·         Small & Compact –The Leica 75mm Summicron coming at dimensions of 67mm/58mm vs 80mm/69mm and the weight of 430g vs 560g when compared to the smallest version of the 75mm Summilux.

{C}·         Clinically Sharp – This lens has similar rendering to the 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH lens but it is quite different to the “dreamy” rendering of the 75mm Summilux, which is sharp but not as clinical as the 75mm Summicron.

{C}·         Slower Speed – The 75mm Summicron is about a stop slower than the 75mm Summilux, coming at F-stop of 2 compared to the F-stop of 1.4 of the Summilux. This may be a problem under low-light situations.

Steve Huff Photo

Steve Huff Photo


2.       Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux vs Leica 90mm F2 Summicron APO

Leica 90mm Summicron is comparatively:

·         Weight – Both lenses weight about the same, in particular the heavier Chrome version of the Leica 90mm Summicron. The Size of both lenses is also similar as the front element of the lenses is large with the ability to absorb light increases.

·         Chrome Finish – The Leica 90mm Summicron comes in an attractive chrome version, whilst the 75mm Summilux only comes in black. However, there is a limited edition of the 75mm Summilux available that came as the “Black Paint” version.

·         Slower Speed – The 90mm Summicron is about a stop slower than the 75mm Summilux, coming at F-stop of 2 compared to the F-stop of 1.4. This may be a problem under low-light situations.

·         Focal Length – 75mm provides a perspective of the person from shoulder to head and the 90mm provides a narrower scope, which is more suitable for head portraits. 

        Steve Huff Photo

        Steve Huff Photo



Fun Fact:

Summilux-M 75/1.4 (in production for 27 years, from 1980 until 2007. This was the favourite design of Mandler himself, based  on the design of the second version Summilux-M 50mm. 


Walter Mandler (May 10, 1922 – April 21, 2005) was a famous lens designer ofErnst Leitz Canada (Leica Camera) in Midland, Ontario. Mandler was born into a German farmer's family. In 1947 he joined Ernst Leitz at Wetzlar as a lens designer, working with Max Berek

Dr. Walter Mandler's chief contribution to the optical engineering was his pioneering works in application of computer aided design in optical engineering. Midland optical department was specialized in the research of retrofocus designs and apochromatic corrections. Mandler employed sophisticated combinations of special glasses in his APO and high-speed designs, and many of these glasses were original Leitz formulas manufactured by Schott or Corning. Mandler was a master in optimizing Double-Gauss designs by means of the computer and a particular method developed by him and explained in his doctoral dissertation.

Walter Mandler is credited with the design of more than 45 high performance Leica lenses for the Leica rangefinder cameras and Leica SLR cameras, including many landmark designs, Please see the entire list of Leica lenses designed by Dr.Walter on Wikipedia. 


Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®

Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®

 

Specifications:

  •  Leica Order No. - 11 814 - 11 815 - 11 810 LLC - 165
  •  Production era - 1980-2007 < 14,752 lenses
  •  Variants - Black, titanium, ELC, ELW, 1913-1983 anniversary  edition; after 1982 built-in hood version 11 815
  •  Lens mount - Leica M-bayonet
  •  Number of lenses /groups - 7 /5
  •  F stop range - f/1.4-f/16
  •  Closest focusing distance - 0.75 m /2.46 ft
  •  Smallest object field - 192 mm x 288 mm /1:8
  •  Diaphragm setting /type - with clickstops from serial No. 2048701 onwards including half values / 10-blade
  •  Angle of view diagonal, horizontal, vertical - 32°, 27°, 18°
  •  Filter type - E60
  •  Accessories - Hood for 1st version: 12539
  •  Dimensions (length x diameter) - 80 x 69 mm /3.15 x 2.72 in
  •  Weight - 560 g /19.75

 

Leica 75mm F1.4 Summilux-M Serial Numbers Overview:

  • Serial Number started from 3063301 to 3988718 (Last Known SN)
  • The Lens Production Years started from 1980 until 2005. 
  • The Total Assigned Serial Numbers is 14,752.
  • The Built-In Hood has a Model No. 11 814. 
Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®

Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®

Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®

Jerry Bei All Rights Reserved ®