Review of LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 E55 (1980-1998)

For the provided lens LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 many thanks the store ProFotoSale.


LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90. increase.

In short

LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 – classic short telephoto lens of the film era for rangefinder (mirrorless) cameras with bayonet mount Leica M. Primarily intended for portrait photography. Compact, with high-quality assembly and good image quality.

There are several main versions of Leica/Leitz class 90/2 lenses for mount Leica M:

  1. scheme 6/5, 1957/1958-1962 (thread M39 or M, filter E48, 15 blades)
  2. scheme 6/5, 1963-1980 (filter E49, 12 blades)
  3. scheme 5/4, 1980-1988 (filter E49 [1980-1981] or E55 [1981-1998], the name has the prefix 'M' [SUMMICRON-M])
  4. scheme 5/5, 1998->2024+. (filter E55, the name has the prefixes 'APO, M, ASPH' [APO-SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 ASPH])

And also, each of the main versions had many subversions, which differed in name markings, body color, etc.

The optical design of the LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 E55 is similar to the optical design of a lens for SLR cameras LEITZ CANADA SUMMICRON-R 1:2/90, optically the lenses are close to each other.



Main technical characteristics of LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 E55:

Name of instances from review LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 3459039
Basic properties
  • Lens designed for film cameras with Leica M mount
  • Rangefinder Pairing
  • Manual focus only
  • Metal case
  • Multi-coated optics (although there is no MC marking)
  • Leica – inscription on the cover
  • The lens is available in two body colors
Front Filter Diameter 55 mm, metal thread for filters
Body materials All parts of the lens housing are made of metal
Focal length 90 mm
Diagonal viewing angles 27° for full frame cameras
Zoom ratio 1 x
Designed by for film cameras with Leica R mount
Number of aperture blades 11 petals
  • markings on the focusing ring with focusing distance in meters and feet, there are marks for 1, 1.2, 1.5, 1.7, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 7, 15 meters and an infinity mark (white marks m) + 3.5, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 15, 25, 50 feet and infinity mark (yellow ft marks)
  • A ring with aperture values, there are marks for F/2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16. You can set one additional intermediate value between each pair of numbers. When you rotate the aperture control ring from F/2 to F/4, there are exactly 4 clicks, and from F/2 to F/8 exactly eight clicks (it’s convenient to blindly set the F/4 and F/8 values)
  • DOF scale for F/2, 5.6, 11, 16
  • yellow inscription '90mm'
  • LENS MADE IN CANANA E55 from the back of the lens (engraved, filled with black paint)
  • red dot for lens installation
Diaphragm from F/2 to F/16. The lens has an aperture control ring
MDF (minimum focusing distance) 100 centimeters

maximum magnification ratio 1: 9

The weight 481 grams (measured, only the lens itself)

The lens in a silver frame weighs significantly more, about 700 grams (why?)

Optical design 5 elements in 4 groups. The lens does not use special optical elements.

LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90The image is clickable. The optical design is very similar to that used by a DSLR camera lens LEITZ CANADA SUMMICRON-R 1:2/90

Lens hood Built-in, telescopic, retractable, metal
Period The model was produced from 1980 to 1998. The lens in the review was most likely manufactured in 1988 (judging by the serial number).
Manufacturer country LENS MADE IN CANADA, lens made in Canada, in Midland
Price They don't sell new. In the used version. approximately 700-2000 USD

LEICA/LEITZ generally uses class 90/2 lenses as analogs/replacements/alternatives for more common 85mm lenses other systems (by type 85/2, 85/1.9, 85/1.8, 85/1.5, 85/1.4, 85/1.2). A modern representative of this line can be considered LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-SL 1: 2/90 ASPH., announced in January 2018.

The company values ​​its 90mm lenses very much and has more than 14 versions of them (Elmar, Thambar, Elmarit, Tele-Elmarit, Summicron). The first such lens, the Elmar 90/4, was released back in 1931.



Assembly, control, focus

LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 1:2/90 made with high quality. The filter diameter is only 55 mm. The focusing and aperture rings are non-rubberized, metal with “sharp” notched edges. The focusing ring is narrow, only 10mm wide. During intensive work, the focus ring can rub the skin on your fingers; most likely, this is due to the poor pitch of the notch ribs of the focus ring (needle design).

There is a built-in retractable telescopic hood, which consists of one section. There are pleasant characteristic clicks when extending or folding. The lens hood is not fixed securely and rotates freely around the axis of the lens. To extend the hood, remove the front protective cover. In the active position of the hood, access to the light filter is lost.

In one place the bevels of the lenses are poorly blackened.

The LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 focusing ring rotates approximately 180 degrees (1/2 of a full rotation). During focusing, the front lens (together with the thread for filters) moves forward 10 mm, but does not rotate. Focusing is pleasant and smooth.

On the body there is a focusing distance scale in meters and feet and a depth of field scale. There is no tag for working in the infrared spectrum.

LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 1:2/90 has a slight 'Focus Breathing' effect (changing the viewing angle while focusing). When focusing towards the MDF, the viewing angle decreases.

Focus peaking with LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 and Sony a7, Sony a3500 works well at F / 2.0.

You can easily find information online that pairing with a rangefinder works very well.



Sample photos (Full Frame)

Camera used Sony a7 (24 MP Full Frame Exmor HD CMOS sensor). On the camera Sony a7 I used LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 using a regular adapter Leica M -> Sony E/FE/NEX. All photos in the gallery below used an F/2.0 aperture (covered apertures can be found in the archive with photographs).

Original photos in RAW format (Sony '.ARW' compressed) can be download / watch this link (30+ photos, Google Drive gallery). Principles ZEROJPEG.



Video review


LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 – classic, very loved by many photographers. The lens is good, but the subsequent LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 ASPH became even better.

10 main advantages

  1. retractable built-in hood
  2. eleven aperture blades
  3. balanced combination of aperture and focal length
  4. small size
  5. ease of adaptation to mirrorless systems
  6. smooth focusing ring
  7. good resolution at open and closed apertures
  8. multi-coated optics, good performance in back and side light
  9. beautiful bokeh
  10. LEITZ CANADA – is it good or bad?

10 main disadvantages

  1. heavy weight (almost half a kilo)
  2. The focusing ring is not the most convenient (narrow, metal, with notches that rub your fingers during intensive use)
  3. an ugly rusted screw is noticeable on the rim near the front lens (where the lens name is written)
  4. The hood does not lock well in the active position; when installing the hood in the active position, the front protective cover flies off
  5. there is no tag for working in the infrared spectrum (quite strange for a classic manual lens from the 70s)
  6. The bevels of some lenses are poorly blackened/not blackened at all
  7. minor optical imperfections, such as a small amount of chromatic aberration
  8. some sources indicate that single-layer coating is used (not multi-coating)
  9. optical design with a long flange length (like the “mirror” version LEITZ CANADA SUMMICRON-R 1:2/90), optimization for a short flange could further reduce the size of the lens
  10. quite high cost. Same modern TTArtisan 90 / 1.25 (for Leica M mount) significantly cheaper and a step lighter with a tail

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Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 2, on the topic: Review of LEITZ SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90 E55 (1980-1998)

  • Dmitriy

    In the captions for test photographs, it would be a good idea to indicate at what aperture value they were taken.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thank you. Added a description that all photos in the gallery used an F/2.0 aperture. The hidden values ​​are in the archive (2.8 and 4). Since 2.0 is the most interesting

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