Leica Summarex 85mm f1.5 , a legendary lens design from 1936: review and examples.

the 1953 Leica Summarex 85mm f1.5 (this one from 1953

The Leica Summarex is an interesting beast of a lens designed in 1936 by Max Berek. It was announced in 1943 and then produced between 1943 and 1960 (references vary on these) with around 4300 units built. It is around 800 grams and is a LSM 39mm lens that you could attach to Leica III bodies or to any M camera with a LSM to M adapter (or to many other cameras with a smaller flange focal distance to the sensor).

Many vintage portrait lens aficionados know the Leica Thambar 90mm f2.2, which was re-edited a few years back, but this one offers greater resolution and geometry, while being the first to have coated lenses it does lack the modern coating of today’s lenses and definitely will give you the vintage look.

It was designed for press and magazine photographers that needed the light capabilities considering film sensitivities at the time. Some see it a bit like the grandfather of the Summilux and Noctilux lenses.

You can also find the French version of the video presentation here:



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Tristan Zand

Tristan Zand


I like to hide behind sunglasses/music/photo/tech/arts/politics/whatever/oh and bass... Experimental photography and conceptual media. http://zand.net