Thorsten von Overgaard, famous for his very, very, very extensive camera and lens reviews, started making exclusive lens shades for Leica lenses some time ago. I asked him if he could send me a shade for my Leica Summicron 35 ASPH to give it a try. And he did.
The shade comes in a neat little cardboard box, containing a pouch, a lens cloth, a filter adapter ring, two lens covers and the shade. Both the ring and shade are all-metal and quite sturdy. The lens covers are plastic and with no logos. The lens cloth features Thorsten’s mantra: “Always wear camera”, and I think it’s one of the best pieces of advice you could get. In fact, I recently bought an old Leica T to bring with me on my road bike.
The lens shade attaches perfectly tight on my lens, though Thorsten recommends to use a tiny drop of glue to keep it in place. I found it stays in place without any glue. Also, in the manual Thorsten writes not to pick up the camera by the lens shade, because of the short thread and the risk of your camera dropping on the floor. I’ve done it quite a few times, without any dropping, but it’s a good idea not to make a habit of this.
The lens shade is designed to accommodate a standard E46 filter, but Thorsten included an adapter to use E39 filters as well. One lens cap is designed to fit the shade without the adapter and the other one with the adapter. Smart thinking.
Of course, the main reason to buy this lens shade is for its looks. My version of the 35 Cron (the v5) has a cheap plastic lens hood that is said to be knocked off easily, but that never happened to me. It isn’t good looking though. And while the v6 has an all-metal lens hood that looks much better, it still doesn’t look as good as a vintage ventilated lens hood. Also, because of the ventilated design, you can see a bit more of your subject or scene through the viewfinder.
I once ordered a lens shade for my 35 Cron on Ali Express, for not much more than 5 or 6 euros. Compared to the 199 dollar TvO lens shade, this seems like a no brainer. But to be honest, my cheap ass Ali lens shade featured poorly fitting filter threads and it didn’t look as good as Thorsten’s does. I wouldn’t like to ruin the threads on my lens. Maybe I had a bad sample, yours may be better.
So is the TvO lens shade perfect? No, my only gripe is that there’s still too much ‘space’ between the lens and the hood. I’d prefer a design like the Leica 12452 hood, which is also included in the Summicron 35 black paint version. This hood is a clip on design and looks better in my opinion. The thing is, occasion 12452 hoods are often double the price of the TvO shade. And that’s a lot of money for a hood…
You can check out the TvO lens shades here.