50 Summilux-ASPH f/1.4

July 20, 2012  |  Review

The short: This is a lens sogood it can actually be bought as a wedding gift.

The long: If you’re a 50 user and you need speed, this is the lens to get. The only lens sharper @ 1.4 is the 35 Summilux-FLE. But unlike the 35, the 50 has the most fantastic bokeh North of f/1 (0.95, obviously takes the cake on best bokeh). All three lenses mentioned are very well built, though I think the 35 Summilux-FLE physically looks the sexiest mounted on camera. Yes, this matters.

The 50 Summilux-ASPH is more then twice the price of the super-capable 50 Summicron, and only a stop faster (plus it’s bigger and heavier), but boy does it deliver two of my favorite things: sharpness and bokeh. Honestly, those 2 factors make or break a lens for me. As far as I’m concerned, a lens needs to be sharp wide open, and needs to deliver nice bokeh at all subject-to-background distances. If I don’t have this combo for wedding work and environmental portraits, I’m unhappy with my results. Anything else, and I’ll probably not be shooting wide open, so I don’t really worry about it.

This lens cannot be replaced with one fifty alone. You’d need to own both a 50 Noctilux F/0.95 and a 50 Summicron-APO (yes APO) in order to satisfy the needs that one 50 Summilux-ASPH fulfills. Sure, the 0.95 is the nocturnal king. It has great bokeh, and at 1.4 it’s plenty sharp. But on the other hand, it’s huge – and plenty sharp isn’t Summilux sharp.

The 50 Summicron-APO (more about this later) is probably the sharpest lens I’ve used wide open, and it has fantastic bokeh @ f/2. This is where it’s predecessors failed, and it succeeded with creamy colors! It’s also fairly compact, and really looks ridiculously sexy mounted on an M9P. So yes, you would need both lenses in order to fill the void in your kit that losing the 50 Summilux-ASPH would create. Don’t go out and test this theory however, as you may well discover that the Noctilux and 50APO create a void of their own (and owning 3 super pricy fifties is a bit crazy).


50 Summilux-ASPH @ f/1.4


50 Summilux-ASPH @ f/2


50 Summilux-ASPH @ f/5.6


50 Summilux-ASPH @ f/1.4


50 Summilux-ASPH @ f/1.4