The Best Leica Lenses for Street Photography

Street photography is the “thing” you think about often when you consider Leica lenses. They’ve been used on the streets for years before many of us were born. And they’ve been creating and capturing stunning photos the world over. But of what’s currently available, what are the best Leica lenses for street photography? Well, we’re going to share our selections in this roundup with you.

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The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear that we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Tips on Using the Best Leica Lenses for Street Photography

If you’re just getting into using Leica lenses for street photography, consider these tips:

  • If you use Leica lenses for street photography in the best way possible, you can outdo the autofous on some cameras. Instead of manually focusing the lens, you’ll zone focus it.
  • We’ve got an entire guide to zone focusing on our website. But if you prefer to watch a video, check out this one on our YouTube channel.
  • Photographers have been using Leica lenses for street photography for many years and with fantastic results. You should give this a try. It will make you a better photographer by thinking different.
  • Be sure to check out our comprehensive guide to Leica M lenses. It includes the best Leica lenses for street photography and so much more.

Leica 28mm f2 ASPH

Tech Specs

  • Diagonal picture angle: 74 °
  • Working range: 0.7 m to infinity
  • Biggest scale: 1: 21.9
  • Number of lenses/groups: 9/6
  • Length * 1: 41.4 mm
  • Weight * 1: 257 g
  • Lens hood: can be screwed on
  • Filter/filter thread: E46
  • Made in Germany

Pros

  • Sharp, but I’ve seen better
  • Beautiful, subtle colors
  • Nice bokeh
  • A joy to use partially because of the size and the zone focusing scale
  • So incredibly small

Cons

  • I guess this can go without saying, but I like their Summilux f1.4 lens so much more.

On Zone Focusing

In our review, we state:

“Focusing is done manually. If you hate manually focusing, I recommend that you give it a shot, breathe, and learn to slow down. It’s an entirely different world altogether.”

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Leica 35mm f1.4 Summilux ASPH

Tech Specs

  • Diagonal angle of view: 63 °
  • Working range: 0.7 m to infinity
  • Biggest scale: 1: 17.4
  • Number of lenses/groups: 9/5
  • Length * 1: 46 mm
  • Weight * 1: 320g
  • Lens hood: can be screwed on
  • Filter/filter thread: E46
  • Made in Germany

Pros

  • Small
  • Well built
  • Sharp image quality
  • Beautiful colors
  • Nice bokeh
  • It’s almost impossible to make someone look bad with this lens.

Cons

On Zone Focusing

In our review, we state:

“Focusing is done manually. The Leica 35mm f1.4 Summilux ASPH has a distance scale, depth of field scale, and a focusing scale. You can focus a distance away with zone focus if you wish. You can also sit there and slowly, manually focus on a subject. It’s nice to do that and feel like you’re a part of the image-taking process vs. having a machine do everything for you.”

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Leica 50mm f2 Summicron-M

Tech Specs

  • Diagonal picture angle: 47 °
  • Working range: 0.7 m to infinity
  • Largest scale: 1: 11.5
  • Number of lenses/groups: 6/4
  • Length * 1: 43.5 mm
  • Weight * 1: 240g
  • Lens hood: Pull-out
  • Filter/filter thread: E39
  • Made in Germany

Pros

  • Small
  • One of Leica’s most affordable M mount lenses
  • Beautiful image quality
  • Sharp without being overly sharp
  • Nice bokeh
  • Gorgeous colors
  • Truly a lens you want to bring with you everywhere

Cons

  • Not a thing!

On Zone Focusing

In our review, we state:

“As stated earlier, this is a manual focus lens. You can zone focus pretty easily with it. The sweet spot for that is around six feet away and f8. If you want to shoot portraits, then open the aperture open and focus carefully. For what it’s worth, it’s easier to focus the lens with a Visioflex or an EVF than it is with a rangefinder. It should go without saying that zone focusing is the way to go with this lens.”

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Chris Gampat

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