My experience with the Summarit range has been limited to the Leica Summarit 75/2.5. Until recently, because Leica Netherlands was kind enough to let me have a go with the entire Summarit-M range. The Summarit series was completely updated not long ago and though they are regarded as an ‘entry level’ range, there’s actually nothing wrong with it. They are the smallest, most light weight and least expensive Leica lenses available.
They are the smallest, most light weight and least expensive Leica lenses available…
Some people might say that the financial benefit can be undone when buying second hand Summicron lenses. True, an occasion Summicron lens can be less expensive than a new Summarit. But what if you prefer a new lens? Professional users usually prefer new equipment, because of the VAT they don’t have to pay. And what about warranty? Usually, this is a little easier with new equipment as well.
Leica Netherlands was also kind enough to lend me their M262 demo camera. A good idea, because it’s not uncommon at all that people that are in for the Summarit range, are also in for the M262. When I unpacked the kit, I suddenly realized that I had a complete ‘Leica entry level kit’ to my disposal. Let’s get to the numbers to see what the actual price difference between the M262-Summarit combo and the M240-Summicron combo is. The prices are in Euros, including VAT.
- Leica M262: 6050
- Leica Summarit-M 35/2.4: 1885 Euros
- Leica Summarit-M 50/2.4: 1630 Euros
- Leica Summarit-M 75/2.4: 1780 Euros
- Leica Summarit-M 90/2.4: 1985 Euros
So this kit comes in at 13.330 Euros.
- Leica M240: 6630 Euros
- Leica Summicron 35/2: 2890 Euros
- Leica Summicron 50/2: 2085 Euros
- Leica Summicron 75/2: 3660 Euros
- Leica Summicron 90/2: 3870 Euros
And this kit will cost you 19.135 Euros. The difference is 5805 Euros. Almost an extra M262 as a backup body.
The difference is 5805 Euros. Almost an extra M262 as a backup body…
Of course, it’s almost impossible to compare the Summarit range with the Summicron range. The Summicron is faster, has better glass elements, is made with an even tighter tolerance. But both types of lenses are made for the same thing: taking pictures.
There’s not just the financial difference. A Summarit lens has less glass than a Summicron lens and therefore is even lighter. Let’s make the same comparison, this time for the weight. Numbers are grams.
- Leica M262: 600 grams
- Leica Summarit-M 35/2.4: 197 grams
- Leica Summarit-M 50/2.4: 190 grams
- Leica Summarit-M 75/2.4: 325 grams
- Leica Summarit-M 90/2.4: 345 grams
So this kit comes in at 1657 grams.
- Leica M240: 680 grams
- Leica Summicron 35/2: 254 grams
- Leica Summicron 50/2: 240 grams
- Leica Summicron 75/2: 430 grams
- Leica Summicron 90/2: 475 grams
And this kit weighs 2079 grams. A difference of 422 grams. Less than I expected, but, let’s be honest: almost the entire weight of the 75 Cron. For this comparison I used the weight of the black lenses. With the Summarits, the difference between black and aluminum is minimal, but with the Summicrons, the chrome versions are considerably heavier than the black lenses. On a more practical, realistic side, the weight difference will be felt more when the camera is worn in hand or on a strap, than it is when worn in a bag. So if you’re walking a lot with a 90mm lens in your hand, you will really notice the difference between the Summarit and the Summicron.
With the updated versions of the Summarit range, the new lenses look better, in my opinion. Especially the 35mm and the 50mm with their screw on, rectangular hoods. Compared to my 35 Summicron with its plastic hood, the new Summarit looks a thousand times better. Both in silver as in black. The only exception are the silver versions of the 75 and 90. I’m not a big fan of the black focus ring, but I guess Leica didn’t have a choice.
I’m currently working with all individual lenses and reviews will follow. So far, I’m pretty excited about the Summarit lenses! For now, I’d like to conclude that the Summarit range might be more interesting than you’d think. Leica ‘entry level’ is still much better than you’d probably ever need.