Leica Black Summicron-M 90mm f/2 ASPH Lens For Leica M-Series Cameras - 11884
This lens is unique because apochromatic correction and an aspherical surface are combined for the first time. Two of the five lens
elements are made of high-refraction optical glass, and two others make judicious use of anomalous partial dispersion. Brilliance
and resolving power are already outstanding at full aperture. Artificial vignetting is extremely low. These features lead to superlative
results – in every application: such as portraiture, reportage or studio photography. In addition, its compact design and high
speed make it ideal for hand-held photography.
The first 90mm Summicron (without the suffix -M) arrived on the scene in 1958, and with a weight of 680 grams and a length of 99mm from bayonet flange to front rim was a physical heavyweight. Its performance at full aperture was moderate and so the ever-creative sales people invented the notion of a portrait lens. The softness of the Summicron at full aperture would support the romantic portraiture of women, and the lower contrast would help taking reportage style pictures in high contrast lightning situations. These notions are still en vogue today and the full aperture of the Summicron
90mm lenses is mostly described in this context.
The 90mm f/2 Summicron-M was introduced in 1980 in a mount that lost much weight (460 grams) and with 5 lens elements (6 for the predecessor). Two lens surfaces are plane, which reduces cost, but you also loose possibilities for additional optical correction. At full aperture the 90mm Summicron-M has medium-high overall contrast and very fine details are registered with fuzzy edges over most of the image area. This behavior has been described as 'smooth sharpness' (an oxymoron like 'military intelligence'). Stopping down to f/2.8 brings a very marked improvement of contrast of the subject outlines and a crispening of the edges of very fine details. In its overall impression, it is now comparable to the 90mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M at full aperture. The Elmarit however is able to record exceedingly fine detail structures that are beyond the capabilities of the Summicron. At f/4 the Summicron improves markedly again and now the rendition of the very finest details is brought into the picture. Compared to the Elmarit-M, the higher flare level of the 90 mm Summicron softens the edges a bit, but at this aperture the Summicron gives an excellent performance over most of the image field. The edges of the image (the zonal area covering the outermost 4 to 5 millimeters in the horizontal direction) lag a bit behind the rest of the image. But in most pictures this part is automatically covered by the unsharpness of the out-of-focus zone.
At f/5.6 the Summicron-M reaches its optimum with outstanding performance on axis and slightly lower performance in the outer zones of the field. At f/8 these outer zones become slightly crisper and the whole picture area is now covered with a high contrast image and a crisp rendition of extremely fine details.
Close-up performance is much improved, when compared to the first version of the Summicron, which had to be stopped down to f/5,6 to get decent quality. At smaller apertures the Summicron 90mm is a very strong performer. Its full aperture quality is acceptable. The best test for a wide aperture lens is a picture of a night scene with lots of street lamps and neon light advertising. Flare, veiling glare, halos around bright spots, contrast in the darker parts of the scene and the clear separation of closely spaced highlights are easily spotted. The Summicron-M performs commendably in this type of scenery, but its image quality is not fully convincing. Choosing the Summicron and not the Elmarit would be justified by the performance at full aperture f/2. In many cases you might consider the 75mm f/1.4 Summilux
- High Quality Glass
The first thing in the life of every lens is the choice of glass. Purity, as well as its reflective, refractive and transmission characteristics, can influence image quality from the start. Only the best optical glass is selected for the manufacture of Leica lenses. For the current lens portfolio, Leica needs around 100 different types of glass for the production of approximately 360 different lens elements. Our own glass laboratory, founded in 1948, formulated and patented many of these types of glass. Today, research and development in the Leica glass laboratory continues to ensure the highest quality: hundreds of glass types and test reports are immediately available for computer simulations and practical testing.
- Outstandingly Fast
The high transmission characteristics of all Leica lenses guarantee outstanding maximum apertures. Enormous effort is also invested in the minimisation of stray light around the lens elements and in the lens barrel by precision coating and perfected barrel construction. All glass surfaces are treated with high-performance antireflex coatings that are determined separately for each glass type using geometrical calculations based on all optical correction parameters. At Leica, the search for optical excellence is a passion. In their search, Leica engineers find not only the best solutions for guiding light, but also the most elegant.
- Exceptional Imaging Performance
To build the perfect lens, the laws of physics must be rewritten. Laws that also apply to Leica. Nevertheless, Leica engineers constantly strive to push the limits of the technically possible. A rewarding approach: M-Lenses have a very even imaging performance across the entire image field. There is no vignetting, and they are almost entirely free of aberration, yet they offer high colour saturation and precise colour separation.
- Mechanical Precision
The best optical system will only demonstrate such performance qualities if the engineering of the lens barrel is just as precise. Depending on the lens, the ef fects of at least 50 construction parameters on imaging performance must be per fectly coordinated. Engineering with such precision is only possible by combining the latest technologies with the most meticulous manual skills, and naturally, in combination with only the highest-quality materials. Thanks to perfect functionality, intelligent construction and an absolute dependability that guarantees perfect handling at temperatures from –25°C to +60°C, every single Leica M-Lens is a unique masterpiece of manual precision.
- Aspherical Lens Elements
The majority of M-Lenses feature aspherical elements. In contrast to the symmetrical curvature of spherical lenses, their surfaces are characterised by asymmetry. This makes it possible to refract light rays at the edges of the lens element differently to those passing through its centre. This means that a single lens element can simultaneously per form several corrections. It is precisely this curvature that makes the production of such lens elements so elaborate. But the complex calculations are rewarding: aspherical surfaces minimise or avoid aberrations and are also the key to the compact size of M-Lenses.
- Angle of view (diagonal, horizontal, vertical): 27°, 23°, 15°
- Optical design:
- Number of lenses / groups: 5 / 5
- Focal length: 90.9 mm
- Position of entrance pupil: 58.6 mm (related to the first lens surface in light direction)
- Focusing range: 1 m to Infinity
- Distance setting:
- Scales: Combined meter/feet-increments
- Smallest object field: 220 mm x 330 mm
- Largest reproduction ratio: approx. 1:9
- Setting / Type: with clickstops (including half values), manual diaphragm
- Smallest aperture: f/16
- Filter Size: 55mm
- Bayonet: Leica M quick-change bayonet
- Filter (type): internal thread for screw-in type filters E 55
- Lens hood: built-in, telescopic
- Length: 3.07" (78 mm)
- Largest diamater: 2.52" (64 mm)
- Unit: 17.64 oz
- Shipping: 2 lbs