Review of the Leica Summilux-M 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (close-focusing) – Documenting Singapore’s Fishery Port


The 2022 Leica 35mm Summilux-M ƒ1.4 ASPH (close-focusing) seeks to continue the heritage of the first 35mm Summilux lens released in 1961, typically referred to as the Steel rim. It replaces the now 12-year-old Leica Summilux 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (FLE) with improvements in quite a few key areas.

For brevity’s sake, in this review, I will be referring to this lens as the Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022).

Technicalities & what’s new

The 2022 version of the 35mm Summilux-M ASPH ƒ1.4 is tagged the model number: 11726, (it replaces the 2010 FLE version with model number 11663)

  • Diagonal angle of view: 62.5 °
  • Working range: 0.4 m to infinity
  • Built-in lens hood
  • 9 elements in 5 groups
  • 11 aperture blades versus 9 in the previous version
  • Length 46 mm at 338g with a 46 mm filter diameter

The improvements in the Live View functionality across Leica’s camera systems led to the introduction of the Summicron 35mm ƒ2 APO with close focusing down to 0.3 meters, with the focusing and framing done using Live View, the Visoflex or the Leica FOTOS app. The Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022) continues this development, bringing in a minimum focusing distance of 0.4 meters versus the 0.7 meters of the previous version.

Other key improvements include the promise of a better quality of bokeh, due to the increase in aperture blades from 9 to now 11, and the inclusion of a built-in hood, which allows a more compact design versus the 2010 version of the Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (FLE)

The built-in hood extended.

For part of the review, I decided to simply work with the M10-R set-up and pay a visit to Singapore’s Fishery Port at Jurong to document the activities from 12am to 2am. Look forward to a documentary style of review which I hope will be a good benchmark of the Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022)’s performance in real life.

Instead of samples in well-lit situations, why not push the performance of this lens by documenting a fast-paced low light enviroment?

Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R, shot across glass

12 a.m. midnight, to enter the Fishery Port, one needs to clear security with the exchange of an identification card for an access pass.

Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R

The snaking queue of potential buyers of the port’s fish from the general public was surprising. Fish merchants in the port market generally prefer to sell bulk to wholesalers but may still entertain public walk-ins.

While Japan’s famous Tsujiki closed and relocated to Toyosu Market in 2020, the Jurong Fishery Port (JFP), is an international port for foreign fishing vessels to land their fish catch, starting operations in 1969.

Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R

Front view of the main building in the 5-hectare sized area. The main building houses the market, where fishing merchants and buyers congregate.

Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R

Jurong Fishery Port has a 9,000m2 wholesale fish market which houses 110 market lots. Close to a hundred fish merchants conduct wholesale fish business at JFP. A few hundred fish retailers, processors, and institutional buyers visit this market daily to buy fish.

Footfall has dropped significantly since the pandemic, with most fish merchants here aged and not likely to continue their businesses once they retire, and thus, I felt a need to be here before this place ceases to exist in time to come. In fact, a quick glance was that around slightly lesser than a quarter of the available stalls were not open.

Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R

Haggling over prices is actually not common here. And price tags are clearly displayed per unit weight for the type of fish products respectively.

Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R

Performance and Handling

True to being the successor to the first Summilux-M 35mm FLE, the Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022) is plenty sharp and extremely ergonomic to handle. The lens draws modern and is clinical in its rendering. At 46 mm, this is a very compact lens for a bright ƒ1.4 aperture.

The aperture ring clicks clearly across the aperture values, and like most other Leica optics, the focusing ring comes with a perfect amount of throw from 0.7 meters to infinity.

The dual focusing mechanism that goes down to 0.4 meters works well, with a gentle ‘hard stopat the 0.7-meter mark so one knows that one is moving below what the rangefinder mechanism can focus.

Most importantly of all, the Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022) is noticeably more compact, and not much larger than the Leica 35mm ƒ2 Summicron ASPH (2022) and smaller than the FLE version, allowing a much more compact-sized setup that is part of Leica’s M system’s design DNA.

Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R

In 2020, approximately 30% of Singapore’s seafood imports were handled here. Sources of fish here include by sea from neighboring Indonesia or Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, Taiwan, and Vietnam via air route. Numbers have fallen after Covid-19, but the Fishery port retains much of its character.

Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R

It is now around 1:30 a.m., and most of the buyers have turned up, and the fish merchants are busy closing and prepping the orders for transport out to their next destination. A daily affair, there will be a fish merchant who holds an auction for individual buyers; interestingly, the bids start high and go lower until a buyer raises his or her plaque.

Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R

Outside, activity is still abuzz, with ship workers rushing to unload the day’s catch to the fish merchants. Numerous vehicles zip around the compound, some helping load purchases while others helping to shift fish products across the fish market.

A worry I initially had with using the M-system was having to manually focus through the optical viewfinder in low light. However, a pleasant surprise was that once I got the hang of it, it was pretty straightforward, and focusing through the rangefinder optical viewfinder was clear despite the light conditions, allowing me to capture the movements of the fish market.

Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R

Hitting 2 plus a.m., the crowd starts to thin, with most fish stocks exchanging hands, and one can see some fish merchants packing up for the day, leaving the premises.

Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R
Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R

By 3 a.m., most customers and fish merchants would have wrapped up the day, while the fish stocks get transported to the local wet markets and supermarkets around the island, where they will be processed and sold from 5 a.m. onwards.


What I love about the Leica M system has always been how one needs to work with it to capture critical moments, and the compact-sized M10-R, Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022) setup worked extremely well even in the fast-paced and chaotic environment of Jurong Fishery port.

The Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022) performed admirably well optically, even in cases where the photos showed mostly dark in preview on the M10-R’s LCD; the DNG files impressively have enough latitude for me to work well with them in post-processing.

I had a 35mm Summilux ƒ1.4 ASPH (FLE) a few years back before it was stolen while on loan to a friend, and since that, I have been using a 35mm Summicron ƒ2 APSH as my daily lens. One of my key complaints with the FLE version was that it was pretty bulky (by Leica M lens standards), and the 2022’s updated version resolved this issue while adding extra functionality to a clinically almost perfect lens in terms of the close-focusing ability.

*may I wish the thief to never get the focus right for anything in life.

Leica 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022), M10-R

In fact, there are also unsaid bonuses, for example, how ‘sun-stars’ turn out more beautifully as a result of the 11-bladed aperture design of this lens.

I can hardly find much fault with this lens and will surely recommend this to anyone seeking a modern 35mm Summilux within Leica’s M mount system, current owners of the FLE would probably do well in keeping to the lens. Still, for others, this 2022 update is very worth considering.

Thank you for reading.


  1. All product photos and samples here were photographed by me. I believe any reviewer with pride should produce their own product photos.

2. All images were shot with the Leica M10-R and the Leica Summilux-M 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (2022). The raw files were edited in LR CC Classic to my preferences. 

3. This review is not sponsored; the lens is a review loan set from Leica camera Asia Pacific (Singapore) and will be returned.

4. I do not do affiliate purchase links to keep myself neutral. I write as a passion and a hobby, and I appreciate that photography brands are kind enough to respect and work with me.

5. The best way to support me is to share the review, or you can always help support me by contributing to my fees to WordPress for the domain using the Paypal button at the bottom of the page.

5 Replies to “Review of the Leica Summilux-M 35mm ƒ1.4 ASPH (close-focusing) – Documenting Singapore’s Fishery Port”

  1. I own the FLE and reading this, it makes me more sure I am going to be adding this lens soon. Thank you for a very well written review Keith.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Andy, I was lucky that a group of fellow photographers wanted to visit the place in time for the review, and the rest is as seen here 🙂


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