We’re streaming daily on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, and Spotify!
You’d think that someone would want to purchase this super rare Leica lens, right? Well, at this point, it probably belongs in a museum. It checks off all the wishes of Leica lovers too. A 35mm f1.4? Check! Brass? Check! The rare silver color? Check! And it’s a rare prototype? Checkmate!
“According to the listing by Canada-based ebay seller setadel_studios, this 35mm Summilux-M f1.4 AA is the only prototype still out there today. It comes in chrome instead of the regular black version; while the latter has a lighter anodized body that weighs 340 g, this prototype has a brass body and weighs a little heavier because of it at 400 g. The AA stands for the double hand-ground aspherical lens element. There’s also a concave lens element on both the front and rear element, and it’s reportedly the only Leica lens to have this feature. All these make it a highly collectible lens along with the likes of the 50mm f1.2 Noctilux.”
Then it disappeared from the web. And in February 2019, we spotted it again, listed by the same seller. We noted:
“‘Probably the greatest find and most desirable lens ever in the Leica system,’ the listing description went on. This lens is supposedly within the ranks of collectibles like the coveted 50mm f1.2 Noctilux lens.”
And recently, we saw it listed yet again. This time though, the pricing went down. It’s now going for a cool $695,000. The seller, setadel_studios, emphasizes that this is the highlight of any Leica collector. Indeed it could be! There is only one available! Further, Leica ceased production because the lens was too expensive to make, notes the seller. It makes sense since it was a double aspherical. Steve Huff confirms this and says that afterward, maybe only 2,000 were made. Huff, who I’ve known for many years, is a highly respected authority on Leica products. He’s worked directly with Leica dealers and reviews only the products he likes. If he’s featuring this lens, he obviously liked it. And from a publisher’s standpoint, the long term pageview generation potential is too good to fail.
Horatio over at Street Silhouettes got his hands on both this lens and the 50mm f1.2 AA a while back. He’s very realistic in his findings, concluding that if you’re on the fence between both lenses, you’ve probably got the money to get both. So just get both! Most of us mere mortals can’t afford this, but it’s always cool to geek out about them.
I’ve visited the Leica Museum, and I’ve always wondered how they didn’t hold onto a product like this. Maybe it was auctioned off? Leica has surely gone through some tough times. But when I’ve visited other manufacturers’ headquarters, I’ve seen lots of awesome and similar things. Canon’s headquarters in NY has a whole wall of old and rare cameras and lenses.
Is it expensive? Yeah. But let’s be honest, it’s a one of a kind. And in that case, you get to name your price. It would surely look cool adapted to your Sony a7r IV. But where I think it would be perfect is the Leica M9. Otherwise, it would be fun to use on the new Leica M10 Monochrom. The thing is that this classic lens needs a classic render to really make it do something special. And as it is, it’s hard to take a bad picture with either of those cameras.
All images are from the seller on eBay.