Leica users have had a rough time of it in the past - they have always had access to the best of optical performance in most fields - but they may not have known it was available. The traditional Leica presentation of street photography in Germany or field photography in Africa has mostly revolved around the use of rangefinder cameras used with stand-off lenses. Unless one was using the 35mm SLR cameras, one was going to have to do a lot of hard work to get macro and close-up shots.
Well, not any more. The digital revolution and the availability of live view and the LCD screen has changed all that. The Leica shooter can go in as close as people using other systems. It just needs the lenses and determination.
The Leica Macro Elmar M 90mm f:4 is one way to go. 1:2 close-up ratio and incredible resolution. You need to stack the Macro Adapter M in between the lens and the body to do it... and here the price of the two items may be a barrier. The fact that you need to take a specialised lens with you as a separate item is another - what if you want to keep your 50mm lens on the camera all the time? Is there a smaller close-up solution?
Yes. Now there is. Leica have just introduced a 52 mm supplementary close-up lens that should suit many of their customers. It is even more likely to be useful because they have also included a couple of different filter ring adapters with it: 49mm and 46mm lenses can wear this new lens as well.
The new lens is the Elpro E52. It fits more than 20 different Leica M and TL lenses and substantially reduces their minimum focus distance. It's two cemented elements and should have the classic Leica performance edge over simpler devices.
This is not a new name in the Leica lineup - Elpro lenses have been made for a number of previous lenses and always to bring them closer. There is no shame in using this sort of accessory - it is made for the system and can deliver superb results - subject to the laws of optics, focus, and aperture. If you've been able to afford a Leica and can afford this, you'll be assured of unbeatable performance. You'll have the advantage of close-in focusing without carrying a massive extra lens - just one the size of a filter.