Leica 50mm Summicron-M Lens Price & Information Guide
The Leica Summicron lens has long been considered to be the benchmark for all 50mm lenses. Many users are confused by the many versions available since 1953. This page is an attempt to illustrate the common models and variations available on the market.
Updated JANUARY 2012
MODEL / INTRODUCED
Price Range (Exc Cond)
Collapsible Summicron-M: 1953-56
The Collapsible Summicron lens began life as a screw mount lens and was later made for the M mount cameras. Serial #'s for the screw mount started at 920,000 and ran into the M mount serial #'s, about 1,112,000. The screw mount and M mount lenses are identical in performance. The Collapsible Summicron ( SM & M ) have very similar performance to the Leica Summitar lens at wide apertures, slightly better stopped down. 7 elements in 4 groups. Lens has low to medium contrast, and prone to flare. Vignetting 1.5 stops. Close focus to 1 meter. M mount serial #'s ran from about 1,112,000-1,709,000. Approx. 113,300 made (SM&M). E39 Filter.
Rigid Summicron-M: 1957-68
Lens shows good improvement over previous 'cron in both higher resolution and contrast. 7 elements in 4 groups. Flare and secondary reflections are reported with this lens ( Leica "glow" ?). Well regarded for its "out-of-focus" or "bokeh" characteristics. At F 5.6, performance is very high. Vignetting 1.6 stops. Prone to fogging and cleaning marks. Close focus to 1 meter. Serial #'s 1,400,001-2,358,300. Approx. 119,500 made ( includes this version and Dual Range ). E39 filter.
Dual Range Summicron-M: 1957-68
$ 650-1,000 (w/eyes)
Optically identical to the Rigid, however, this model focuses as close as 48cm utilizing a set of "eyes" which aid the M3 camera in focusing this lens with rangefinder coupling. Without the "eyes" attached, the lens will work fine in the normal, 1 meter to infinity range on almost all Leica M mount cameras. Prone to fogging and cleaning marks. Both this lens and the Rigid are considered by most, to represent the pinnacle of Leica's manufacturing quality. Vignetting 1.6 stops. Serial #'s 1,400,001-2,358,300. Approx. 119,500 made ( includes this version and Rigid ). E39 Filter.
Summicron-M, "Third Version": 1969-79
Many refer to this model as the Summicron Third version ( or sometimes as Rigid II ). Change to a six element design in 5 groups. The design emphasis on this lens was for higher contrast with slightly less resolution. This was the opposite of the previous versions. Vignetting 1.8 stops. This lens is the least popular of all the versions, but for probably no good reason. Since the later version provides performance improvements, and the previous versions feature medium contrast and high resolution ( ideal for B&W shooters ), this version is the "odd man out" of Summicrons. Close focus to .7 meter. Serial #'s 2,269,251-2,915,800. E39 Filter.
Summicron-M, "Fourth Version": 1979-current
Current lens sold by leica today. Contrast and resolution similiar to the third version, except performance is better to the edges and flare has been reduced. Close up performance is also improved. Six elements in 4 groups. Vignetting 1.9 stops. Since 1979, the optical deisgn has remained the same, but the barrel has seen a few variations such as a focusing tab. Other variations include black finish, chrome finish, titanium finish and even a limited platinum finish. The latest variation of this model features a built-in lenshood ( from 1994-on ). Close focus to .7 meter. Serial #'s 2,909101-3,xxx,xxx. E39 Filter.