Classic Leica lenses
The origin of this classic Leica lens is quite interesting. Since its predecessor, the Hektor 28 6.3, lacked a real aperture ring, the redesign used new glass, which increased the aperture by half a stop and made the craftsmanship more refined. However, by the time this 28 5.6 lens was launched, the M3 using the new M mount had already been on sale in 1955. In fact, Leica claims to have a 28mm 5.6 M-mount lens, but it wasn’t until 2017 that this lens became available. Of course, this is a joke among friends, so I won’t verify it.
It is said that when the German factory completed the design of the Summaron 28 5.6, the Canadian factory also designed the M-mount Elmarit 28mm 2.8 lens. The screw mount 28 5.6 seems to be designed for the Leica IIIG. The lens was produced in small series from 1955 until 1963.
In 2017, Leica launched a 28mm 5.6 lens limited to 1,000 pieces. I had been expecting that the M mount of this replica lens could be easily removed, but when I took it in my hand, I found that there was a screw locking the M mount. So, I didn’t continue trying to dismantle it. The replica lens does inherit a similar aesthetic design, it is exquisite and compact, and the lens hood is also very beautiful.
For a Leica lens with an f/5.6 aperture, there is no doubt about the optical quality. High sharpness, high contrast, Leica taste. In fact, the optimal aperture for most Leica lenses is f/5.6. For street photographers, this aperture is adequate during daylight hours. Use this compact lens for street photography during the day, and switch to the Summicron in the evening, and the Summilux or Noctilux after dark.
The Summaron-M is modelled on a screw mount lens produced at the Leitz factory in Wetzlar from 1955 to 1963.