There is no such thing as a bargain when it comes to the Leica M lenses, but you can still get more bang for your buck if you are willing to think vintage. The 40mm Summicron-C is one such example, it is not too difficult to find a well-used copy at a reasonable price. My copy was made in 1973 and originally made for the Leica CL film camera. Leica did claim there could be rangefinder incompatibility if you have this lens mounted on a M body, but a lot of people have disputed this or made claims to the contrary. I was fully aware of this potential incompatibility, but I still took a leap of faith. Luckily, my copy works perfectly with my digital M body. The only issue I have is that it brings up the 50mm frameline, but there are ways to modify it so that it brings up the 35mm frameline, which is much closer to 40mm. For the time being, I'm shooting with the 50mm frameline and I'd just estimate what the extra coverage would be.
It is the most compact f2 lens I've ever used. When mounted on my digital M, it focuses quickly and accurately, and it is as sharp as some of Leica's modern lenses. For a vintage lens, it is quite contrasty and the rendering is more modern rather than classical. At f2 the bokeh is pleasing for the most part, it can get quite busy depending on the background, but if you are looking for that creamy look, you'll have to look elsewhere. The ergonomics suffer somewhat due to its size, it is not the most enjoyable Leica lens to shoot with. This lens does tend to flare especially when the sun or light source is just outside the frame, but when the sun is in the frame, it creates a nice sunstar effect. I like this lens very much for black and white images, below are some examples.
Overall, I am very impressed with this lens. If you are looking for a sharp and compact lens, you should look no further. If you can live with the 40mm focal length, this Summicron-C can be had for less than one third of the price of a Summicron-M. I personally find this focal length quite versatile; as a result, it now stays glued to the camera as this combination of size, speed, and sharpness simply can't be beat.
Below are some shots in colour, I like the rich colour tones that I'm getting from this lens.
I hope you enjoy this short review. Thanks for stopping by!