As promised, here’s a brief post on my new favourite lens. It’s a well-built and small lens (surprisingly so for an f/1.4 glass). Weighing at 6.2 oz (175 g), it’s light but feels solidly dense thanks to its all-metal barrel.
This lens provides classical rendering, so you’ll love it or you’ll hate it depending on your preference.
Surely, this lens will produce images unlike what you’ll get from newer lenses. The difference is especially noticeable when you look at the bokehs. The 10 aperture blades creates a unique background blur and the circular bokehs is harder than those rendered by modern lenses.
QUALITY – Colour
Another characteristic of ‘classic’ rendering is the analog-like, low-contrasty look of images. As someone who manually sets the camera saturation and contrast to ‘low’, this is a plus as I like my raw pictures to be neutral in order for easier post-processing
QUALITY – Sharpness
At f/1.4, Sharpness is great
(with bias included, it’s awesome) for a lens at this price point. It’s not as sharp as Leica’s Summilux 35 and 50 though.
At f/5.6, it’s really sharp (with or without my bias). The sharpness is (in my opinion) on Leica’s level.
If you consider the price, however – $449.00 vs $5,150.00 (for Summilux 35) and $4,250.00 (for Summilux 50), the 40mm is on a league of its own.
THINGS TO NOTE – before buying this lens
This is a 3rd party lens, so the Leica engineers back in Solms will not help you calibrate this lens in case you need to fine tune it with your Leica’s rangefinder mechanism. So, it would be best to go to a physical store and test the lens with your rangefinder to ensure you get the best copy. Depending on where you live, you may also find independent camera store that will happily fine tune the lens with your Leica at a reasonable fee.
Even though 40mm is closer to 35mm than 50mm in terms of focal length, attaching this lens to a Leica M bodies will trigger the 50mm frame line. Unless you’re using this lens with a CSC camera or Leica M240 (or anything that allows for live-view focusing). It’ll take a few days or weeks to get the composition right 🙂 Whether it’s worth the trouble or not depends on the photographer.
Whether you’re on a tight budget or just looking for a compact lens with “old-school” image rendering, this lens is one to seriously consider picking up.