A Guide to the Leica 35mm Lens: Choose the Best One

The 35mm lens is currently experiencing a renaissance, and the Leica 35mm lens is front and center to it!

You love your Leica! Let’s be honest; it’s a badge of honor that you’ve worked hard to get such a high-quality product. You adore the way it feels in your hand. The way that the classic ergonomics suit anyone and everyone is just a wonder to us. And very few lenses are dreamed of like a Leica 35mm lens. Many Leica photographers proclaim their 35mm lenses as the most indispensable in their kit bag. Each of them has something special about it. And we dove into our archives to figure out what that is. Here’s our guide to choosing the best Leica 35mm lens for your needs.

Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored blog post by Leica Camera.

Leica 35mm f1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

The Secret Recipe: The Leica 35mm f1.4 Summilux is a lovely lens for the photographer who craves low light performance. This is THE ONE if you’re smitten with your Leica M9, your Leica M6, or anything older. The f1.4 aperture will let your exposure soak up a ton more light. And the creamy bokeh will be the cherry on top of your sundae.

In our review, we stated:

“In general, I never stop these lenses down beyond f4 or f5.6. And if I stopped the lens down at all, I usually just stayed at f2 or f2.8. The reason why is because these lenses perform so well when shot wide open.”

Buy Now: $5,895 from the Leica Camera Store

Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M ASPH

The Secret Recipe: The Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M has been a mainstay for many photographers. It has beautiful bokeh, feels flawless in hand and is incredibly compact. In fact, one of the biggest draws is just how small it is. This lens pairs well with any Leica body and balances well with their ergonomics, perhaps the best of any lens on this list.

In our review, we stated:

With the Leica 35mm f2 ASPH Summicron, you’re getting solid image quality for a pretty affordable Leica price point. For the photographer that is bound to stop the lens down and use it anywhere at around f5.6 or so, you’re going to get solid results consistently.

Buy Now: $3,895 from the Leica Camera Store

Pro Tip: Leica M mount lenses can potentially have a subject in focus faster than autofocus lenses. They have zone-focusing distance markers on them. When you stop one of these lenses down to around f5.6 and focus a few feet away, a whole range of the area will be in focus. All you then need to do is walk that distance away from your subject. This is known as hyperfocal length shooting and zone-focusing. The Leica 35mm lens is perfect for this type of shooting.

Leica 35mm f2 APO Summicron-SL ASPH

The Secret Recipe: The Leica 35mm f2 APO Summicron-SL is a beast of a lens. The SL camera system has IP durability ratings all around it. To that end, this lens can stand up to some of the toughest conditions you’d throw a camera into. On the new Leica SL2-S, it’s also bound to focus very quickly. 

In our review, we stated:

“It feels like a small bottle of hairspray chocked full of glass. With all this said, it’s still not as heavy as other primes I’ve used for L mount. And most of all, it’s very well built. The Leica 35mm f2 Summicron SL APO is also weather sealed. So you don’t have to worry about it in the rain or most other situations.”

Buy Now: $5,095 from the Leica Camera Store

Leica 35mm f2 APO Summicron-M ASPH

The Secret Recipe: The new Leica 35mm f2 APO Summicron-M has some seriously cool things happening. It boasts 11 aperture blades, is incredibly small, and focuses the closest of most M-mount lenses. In fact, it can focus just under a foot away. If you need something that’s a complete workhorse of a lens, this is likely it.

In our review, we stated:

“So, what do you get from a lens that costs $8,195? Almost absolute perfection. The image quality is so good that every picture you create will bring a tear to your eye. I have used many 35mm lenses in my days, but none have rendered images quite like the Leica APO Summicron M 35mm f2 ASPH. I went to edit my images and hardly had to touch them. They’re that good. Sharp, contrasty, colors to die for; you get the idea. Bokeh, oh the bokeh.”

Notify Me: $8,195 from the Leica Camera Store

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.