Leica 50mm F/1.4 Summilux Pre-Asph E46

This is the last version prior to the Summilux Asph. Designed by Peter Karbe, it sort of transitions between ealier Mandler designs and the current Asph, which is also designed by Mr. Karbe.

It is a 7 element, 5 grouping design with a 12 blade aperture mechanism. This mechanism yields almost perfectly circular bokeh throughout the aperture range. You can expect half click stops between the aperture settings. It weighs in at 275g/9.7oz in black, and 380g/13.4oz in silver. Serial numbers began in the 3588960 and production continued up to serial number 4011798. The lens has a built in hood.

This lens is not the perfect 50mm that the current Asph represents. You can expect CA in out of focus areas and also with very high contrast situations. CA is very well controlled, and limited to less than 1 pixel generally. Out of focus  chromatic aberration is the standard green/purple associated with almost all fast lenses, although it is significantly less visible in this lens compared to Zeiss or equivalent Japanes makes.

This lens can be had in the used market for around US$2400 – $3000 and it is readily available at the time of writing. There is also an E43 version, which is optically the same, but it only focuses to 1 meter vs 0.7 meter for the E46 version.

All testing done by Andrew Gough.

6 responses to “Leica 50mm F/1.4 Summilux Pre-Asph E46

  1. Pingback: Leica 50mm Summilux F/1.4 Pre-Asph E46 images added | The Planetwide Photo Blog

  2. Pingback: Leica Summilux Pre-Asph | The Planetwide Photo Blog

  3. Nice review and lovely pictures.
    As I tested the M-E last year for a couple of days I also had the Lux E46.
    Now my M has finally arrived and I’m targeting this lense for the 50mm setup.

    What price do you estimate today for this lense on the used market?

    • Hi E46er,

      Used market prices depend upon several factors. The condition of the lens, paint, and mount, can all affect the price. If the lens comes boxed that is desirable from a collectors point of view, but it may not be necessary if you intend to use the lens a lot. 6 (six) bit coding would be a must for me. I would buy a pristine lens without the coding and then have Leica service and code the lens, this way you know that it is up to factory spec.

      It is a beautiful lens with great bokeh, you will not regret buying it! Expect to pay anyware from $2000 to $2600 (boxed) for a clean copy in North America.

      Thank you for posting!

      Andrew

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