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Summicron 4th versus Summicron ASPH


New Member
Hi, I've been reading 'bout this topic the last 3 days (get a life...) but I can't come to a conclusion: the Summicron ASPH or pre-ASPH? Money is no issue (though I can't afford a Lux asph) but shooting ALWAYS at f2 is! Can anybody draw me over the line, any which way? I own the 4th version now...
I'm looking for 'other' convincing arguments. As I'm almost always shooting at F2 (because I like to capture the subject in an OOF area) I'm mostly interestend in the OOF qualities of the ASPH and the so-called bokeh and, very important: the typical Leica 3D-effect. Is that also possible with the ASPH or do I need the older lens for that, the one I have already?
Thank you


Active Member
Hi Rick,
I know it may seems obvious but If I were you I'd simply rent the new ASPH and make the due experiments: I think that you are looking for something very personal and I doubt that your perception of those specific qualities is the same that myself, or other more competent fellow member of the boards, can have.
I've never tried the ASPH but from what I've read it sounds a little more harsh on out of focus areas compared to the pre-ASPH.
Just something I read, no more.
All the best


New Member
thanks for your answers.
Maybe a silly question, but where can I rent LEICA gear (here in Holland)??


I would think any Leica dealer would be happy to loan you (not rent you) a lens for assessment, that's what 'demo' items are for. They may ask for a deposit on the value of the lens but they're after a sale, they want to help you buy one!


Dear Rick...
U seem to have answered your own question. The 4th version gives the best OOF effects. The ASPH has the benefit of modern advances in technology and so , technically is a better lens. But Enrico is correct when he said that the effect U are looking for is something personal and subjective.

So short answer = stay with the 4th bcos U like the unique OOF effects and spend the $ saved on film.



I have had both the summicron pre-asph and asph.
The first one is considered as the "bokeh" king. The transition between the focus zone and the out of focus is really beautiful. On the other side the resolution and the contrast of the asph, especially at f2, is really ahead. The last one is bigger, heavier and more expensive. Now you can make your choice.

Sorry for grammatical errors. English is not my mother language.


Hi all, can someone let me know the
quality differences between the Elmar 90 f4 four lenses and Elmar 90 f4 three lenses? I have bought recently the first one for my M3.
Thanks and regards


Well-Known Member
The ASPH has a little more contrast compared to the V4. The ASPH is better wide open as it's sharper in the corners. Once you are above f4 it's pretty much a moot argument. I own both lenses. The ASPH has better "bokeh" to my eyes. Sorry, but to me the V4 King of Bokeh thing is a myth. The ASPH also has a shallower DOF compared to the V4. But I love how small and light the V4 is compared to the ASPH.

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Well-Known Member
Jim, How do you account for a difference in DOF when this is a result of reproduction ratio and aperture?


Well-Known Member
I understand Jim's argument about depth of field. To a large extent it's an impression. Imagine a single-element lens. There would be relatively little difference between the 'sharp' areas and those which are 'unsharp'. The better the lens, however, the shallower the apparent depth of field because the difference is greater by virtue of the greater apparent sharpness at the focused plane. In both lenses the DOF is actually the same, as a lens only really focuses on one point. What the eye sees, however, is different.


Well-Known Member
One of our local shop is selling a Leica 35mm 1.4 asphericals for more than USD4k.The lens is labelled with the words asphericals rather than the usual ASPH. She said the lens has two aspheric elements. The lens looks cool and big. Does anyone know this particular lens ?


Well-Known Member

Just browsing old topics and noticed your post about very expensive 'two element' 35mm aspheric lenses.

I was reading about them very recently - I think they are possibly early ashperic summilux lenses, which had two hand-ground aspheric elements (hence the extra cost) instead of one moulded asph element.

They are allegedly 'better' - although this may be one of those Leica myths!

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Well-Known Member
Thanx James.

No matter how good the 35 1.4 ASPH or 35 1.4 ASPHERICALS, I am happy with my chrome 35 2 ASPH Summicrons.

Despite the fact that Leica is going to have a partial frammed digital M7, I am not to keen with this idea. I really wish they can have a full frammed one.


Well-Known Member
Joseph -
Yes, I'm not sold on digital in terms of Leica yet. Its not really why I bought a Leica, plus I love working on film to be honest. Its interesting looking at the test photos that Jim Arnold took (which are great - so much better to have something to see than trying to describe effects of different lenses). I had been wondering if I was missing something not having an aspheric (I have a V4 summicron too) and had wondered about upgrading at a later stage. To my eye, the V4 is more pleasing in those test shots, although I can see that the aspheric might be technically better in some shots. I'm now wanting a 50 and 90, although I'm considering a 75 instead of the 90, because it sounds like a good focal length for portraits. I don't suppose there are any more comparitive lens test pictures posted anywhere? What is the subjective difference in quality between summicron and summilux lenlses?


Well-Known Member
Many people have discussed the various 75s and 90s in
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. If you type some key words in search you will find plenty of comparsions.

Though there are plenty of them, I find there are important difference between 90 and 75 not commonly discussed.


This one was taken with 75 2 ASPH at f 2.8 made to 8X11 print then photographed with my Sony R1 at f11 with studio flash. You can tell it is from 75 2 at 2.8 because the bokeh has the typical shape.

With the 75, you could focus in distance shorter than 1 meter. At this position, the cheek looks bigger, the face has a roundish look. It does make the subject looks younger and gives the viewer an intimate feeling because you are looking at the subject at a nearer distance. This feature distinguish it from 90 which can focus down to 1 meter. At the shorter distance, 75 is superior to 90 in producing an intimate feeling to the viewer.

When you are using the 75 at distance more than 1 meter, it behaves exactly like the 90, it makes the subject smaller.


The second one is taken with M90 2 ASPH at f2. The distance is 1 meter. At this distance, the subject looks more distal, the face looks more real and has a mature look. In fact, 90mm at 1 meter can be used for clinical photos when the face has to look normal and real.

I chose the newer M75 2 instead of the 75 lux because I prefer to use f2. If I have the 75 lux, I would use it at 1.4 but I don't like the 1.4. f2 of the 75 lux is not as good as the f2 of 75 2. 75 2 also has a better bokeh.

M90 2 ASPH is sharper and more contrasty than the old version of M90 2 at f2 and higher f no.


Well-Known Member
Thanks Joseph, that's very interesting. I can certainly see the greater three-dimensionality of the 75 (which I would expect) in your photos. I guess they are different lenses for different applications. I think I would probably prefer the 75 for general purposes (I could see myself ideally having a good 35 and a good 75 in my bag. I think I'd be more comfortable using the 90 with my .72 rangefinder too, having used a 90 a friend lent me recently - the framelines for the 90 are very small and the 75 framelines look more workable, although I'd probably get used to it. However, economics might dictate that I go for the 35, 50, 90 combo to star t with, since used 75s are very expensive still compared to the non-asph 50s and 90s out there, even ones in mint condition. I'll have to save up for a while if I want one of the new 75 apo lenses (which I do!). James


Well-Known Member
The photos are shown to show the difference in perspective of the two lenses, but I do agree that 75 is more versatile. There are plenty of good and economical 90 around, I mean M90 2.8. Get a 2nd handed magnifier as well. I always use the magnifier on my .85 and .9 M3. Sometimes I even use two magnifiers together. It makes the frame a lot bigger.
The new Zeiss Ikon is also a good alternative, I heard that you can put Nikon magnifier on it.