The Leica 28mm Lens: Choosing One for M-Mount Cameras

The 28mm lens is fantastic for street photography and everyday documentary imagery. And for years, photographers have loved the Leica 28mm lens. They’ve reached for different variations of it too. Ergonomically speaking, they’re a fantastic focal length on Leica M camera bodies. And there are options for different budgets and demands. We’ve got a special treat for the Leica photographer and those interested in their beautiful M-Mount lenses today. Here’s our Leica 28mm lens guide!

This piece is presented in partnership with Leica. We’ve independently and ethically reviewed all the products in this round-up already without sponsorship. And we worked with them to recommend a few essential gems to you.

Leica Lens Nomenclature Explained

The following info is borrowed from our previous infographic post on these kinds of lenses. Here’s what you need to know when you’re looking at Leica lenses. Their nomenclature can become a bit complicated, but it’s easy to understand once you’ve read through it.

  • Noctilux: Faster than f1.4
  • Summilux: f1.4 through f1.7
  • Summicron: f2 typically
  • Summarit: f2.4 and f2.5 typically
  • Elmarit: Around f2.8
  • Elmar: Around f3.4 to f4
  • Summaron: f5.6
  • Telyt: Long telephoto focal length
  • ASPH: Aspherical lens elements
  • APO: Apochromatic design

Leica 28mm f1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

Stand Out Features: The 28mm ‘Lux has a beautiful look to it. In my opinion, it’s the most unique of the bunch. It’s easy to admire what a 35mm lens can deliver, but looking at a 28mm lens output, you realize it’s something to behold. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about how the colors, the 3D render, and the bokeh mesh together even at night.

In our review, we state:

“There is seriously nothing like the Leica 28mm f1.4 Summilux. This applies to the quality of the bokeh, the colors, the ease of use, the sharpness, and the overall performance. Believe it or not, even though I was tempted to shoot with this lens wide open most of the time I resisted the urge and stopped it down. The choice was a good one, as I discovered just how incredibly sharp the Leica 28mm f1.4 Summilux is.”

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Leica 28mm f2 Summicron-M ASPH

Stand Out Features: The Leica 28 ‘cron has a specific look to it. It’s not as vibrant as the Summilix f1.4 lens, it’s creamier and softer. If you want something with lower contrast but still solid sharpness, this is the one to get. But more importantly, because it’s a smaller lens, it’s going to pair better with your camera. Leica M-mount cameras are designed for small lenses. That’s why the Leica 28mm f2 Summicron-M ASPH is one of our top recommendations for an everyday lens.

In our review, we state:

“The bokeh from the Leica 28mm f2 Summicron ASPH is hazier than it is creamy. It’s pleasing for sure. Because of the muted look, you don’t really get the pop you would get from faster lenses. There isn’t a lot of micro-contrast. And if you’re looking for a more subtle look, then you’ll adore the Leica 28mm f2 Summicron ASPH.”

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Leica 28mm f2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH

Stand Out Features: The cool thing about the Leica 28mm f2.8 Elmarit-M is how easy it is to use. Because it’s a wider angle and has an f2.8 aperture, it will be simple to focus with. If you shoot street photography, we highly recommend this one.

In our review, we state:

“The 28mm has an ideal balance between being too soft and so sharp that you see every pore. The center is sharp wide open, and so are the edges. The very corners see a bit of softness wide open.”

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Pro Tip: Leica M-mount lenses are best used when zone focusing. That’s how you can ensure that you get moving subjects sharply in focus. It’s a method photographers have used for decades, and they still do today. Above, please take a look at one of our most popular YouTube videos.

Leica 28mm f5.6 Summaron-M

Stand Out Features: There’s a whole lot to love about this lens. It’s a revived vintage optic, and so it has this beautiful retro look to the render. Additionally, it’s super tiny. Think of it as the closest you can get to a pancake lens. And in that case, you’ll always want it on your camera if you’re shooting street photography.

In our review, we state:

“In the streets, you’re essentially going to be zone focused anyway. No need for you to look through the viewfinder, focus, and then shoot. Honestly, I rarely did this. If anything, it works better with the EVF for the Leica M…”

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This piece is presented in partnership with Leica. We’ve independently and ethically reviewed all the products in this round-up already without sponsorship. And we worked with Leica to recommend a few essential gems to you.

Chris Gampat

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