When developing the Summilux M 50 mm f/1.4 Asph, Leica's aim was nothing less than to create the world's fastest standard lens. To achieve this, aspheric technology played a vital role.
Aspheric lenses (whose surface profiles are not portions of a sphere or a cylinder) can correct aberrations to a degree that is virtually impossible with spherical lenses alone. At the same time, they allow for an efficient, compact design, which is crucial for any lens of the M system. However, the complex construction of aspheric lenses meant that Leica had to develop, perfect, and partly pioneer the procedures that would allow them to re-engineer the new lense's predecessor, which had been in their catalogue for over forty years.
Introduced in 2003, the Summilux M 50 mm f/1.4 Asph represents a tour-de-force of fine mechanics – not least due to the integration of a floating lens element (which shifts independently during focusing, maximising optical quality even at close range) into the compact lens body.
The Summilux M 50 mm f/1.4 Asph offers first-class contrast rendering across the entire image plane even at fully open aperture, with no need for stopping down. In fact, with this lens the aperture is simply a creative tool – making it a perfect representative of contemporary Leica lens design.