Leica Announces the Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH III

Leica has updated the classic 28mm Summicron-M f/2 ASPH. The new lens features the same great optical formula as the current 28mm Summicron, with 9 elements organized in 6 groups, but with a couple of noticeable changes. The redesigned 28mm Summicron-M, like the freshly announced versions of the 35mm and 50mm Summilux, enables close-focusing down to 0.4 meters. Similarly, the lens has a retractable circular lens shade built in rather than the screw-on metal shade of the current version.

The filter size remains fixed at 46mm, but the lens’s physical proportions have risen slightly, with a 5mm wider girth and 1mm longer length. Thankfully, the new 28mm Summicron-M is 12 grams lighter and features a retractable hood, making it a little more compact overall.

While practically all M lenses are limited to a minimum focus distance of 0.7m due to the physical limit of a M camera’s optical rangefinder, the new 28mm Summicron can decouple and focus down to 0.4m. Close-focusing, differentiated by modest gray distance engravings and separated from the conventional infinity to 0.7m rangefinder-coupled range by a light detent, necessitates the use of live view rather than the optical rangefinder.

Full focusing capabilities is available with any live view-capable M camera (M240, M10, M11, etc.) or SL mirrorless body (SL601, SL2, SL2-S). Of course, users of non-live view cameras like the M9 or M7 can use the 28mm Summicron as a conventional M lens even without the benefit of tight focus.

Lens shades have been a constant progression at Leica over the last decade or so. The original 28mm Summicron ASPH utilized a hefty clip-on plastic shade. The version II redesign added a flared screw-on rectangular metal hood. Leica has now included the lens shade into the design of the third generation of the Cron, with a similar execution and style first seen on the 50mm APO-Summicron-M. Simply twist to increase the length. The hood will come to a halt and gently lock into place. Retracting is the same as extending. Turn in the opposite direction until you are fully seated in the barrel.

The Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH III will be available for purchase in the coming week for $5,295. As with any significant Leica introduction, availability will be exceedingly limited for several months, especially for a high-performing lens like this.

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