Leica APO-Summicron-SL 90mm F/2 ASPH.

Short telephoto prime lens • Digital era

APO The lens features apochromatic optical design.
ASPH. The lens incorporates aspherical elements.

Designed for

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Features highlight

Fast
APO
1 ASPH
F.E.
9 blades
CFD 0.6m
IF
STM
Dual Syncro Drive
DP/WR
FC

Specification

Production details
Announced:January 2018
Production status: In production
Production type:Mass production
Original name:LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-SL 1:2/90 ASPH.
Optical design
Focal length:90mm
Speed:F/2
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount:Leica L
Diagonal angle of view:27° (35mm full frame)
17.8° (Leica L APS-C)
Lens construction:11 elements - 9 groups
1 ASPH
Floating element system
Diaphragm mechanism
Number of blades:9
Focusing
Closest focusing distance:0.6m
Maximum magnification ratio:1:5 at the closest focusing distance
Focusing method:Internal focusing (IF)
Focusing modes:Autofocus, manual focus
Manual focus control:Focusing ring
Autofocus motor:Stepping motor (Dual Syncro Drive)
Focus mode selector:None; focusing mode is set from the camera
Manual focus override in autofocus mode:Determined by the camera
Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS)
Built-in OIS:-
Physical characteristics
Weight:700g
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀73×102mm
Weather sealing:Dust-proof and water-resistant barrel
AquaDura coating:Front and rear elements
Accessories
Filters:Screw-type 67mm
Lens hood:Bayonet-type 12302 (round)
Teleconverters:<No information>

*) Source of data: Manufacturer's technical data.

Manufacturer description #1

New prime lenses for the Leica SL-System: Superior performance and the finest arts of engineering in compact design

Wetzlar, 15 January 2018. The APO-Summicron-SL 75 mm f/2 ASPH. and the APO-Summicron-SL 90 mm f/2 ASPH. are the first two of a new line of high-performance lenses for the Leica SL-System. The focal lengths of the two SL-Lenses are ideal for all genres of photography and are particularly suitable for portraiture. While the APO-Summicron-SL 75 mm f/2 ASPH., for example, enables natural portraits, the APO-Summicron-SL 90 mm f/2 ASPH. is a classic focal length for portraiture and creates the often desired slight compression of perspectives. Both lenses are perfectly matched to the SL-System and – just like all currently available and future SL-Lenses – have been designed and constructed for a long service life in professional use.

All glass elements in an optical imaging system – for example lenses – refract light in certain colours to a different extent. This leads to the effect that not all rays of light from a multi-coloured subject are focused at a single imaging point – the result of this is chromatic aberration. In order to reduce this chromatic aberration to a hardly perceptible minimum, both new Summicron-SL lenses are apochromatic – in short: APO – corrected. For this, most of the eleven elements of the optical system – one of which is an aspherical – feature anomalous partial dispersion and are manufactured from sensitive and specially formulated, high-quality glass types.

Both the construction and the design of the cutting-edge Summicron-SL line represent the next step forward in the development of lenses for the Leica SL-System. New, extremely precise manufacturing methods and measuring technologies have been developed especially for the production of these lenses. The results of this are reflected not only in the more compact dimensions and considerably lower weight of the lenses, but also in their excellent imaging performance. In addition, these lenses feature a new, faster autofocus system and a considerably shorter close focusing limit.

As both Summicron-SL primes deliver extremely high imaging performance at their largest aperture, the lenses are also ideal for photography in difficult lighting conditions. The Leica promise of ‘maximum aperture is a usable aperture’ also applies to the new SL-Lenses – stopping down is exclusively a creative imaging tool, and is not necessary for achieving better imaging performance.

In the construction of the APO-Summicron-SL lenses, particular attention has been paid to the prevention of stray light and reflections. Together with an optimisation of the optical and mechanical design, the application of high-quality coating to lens surfaces reduces unavoidable reflections to an absolute minimum.

The autofocus drive of all SL-Summicron lenses employs extremely powerful and robust stepping motors with DSD® (Dual Syncro Drive™). Thanks to these, the entire focusing throw can be travelled completely in only around 250 milliseconds.

Manufacturer description #2

High speed and an unmistakably striking rendition of out-of-focus areas make this telephoto lens the first choice for every portrait photographer. The precision and almost silent action of its autofocus give photographers crucial moments to concentrate fully on the creative aspects of their work and the people in front of their camera. Like all Leica SL-Lenses, the APO-Summicron-SL 1:2/90 ASPH. is perfectly matched to the modern SL-System and is constructed for a long working life under professional shooting conditions.

The AF system of the Summicron-SL lenses is fast, precise, and almost silent. They thank their outstanding AF performance figures to the autofocus drive unit they share. These are limited only by the mass of the lens elements moved when focusing, the travel from infinity to the closest focusing distance and, of course, the amount of space available. In order to preserve the compact dimensions of the lenses, the integration of these components must follow an integral approach.

Specialists from the areas of optical and mechanical engineering and electronics worked together in an interdisciplinary team on the development of a unique lens concept based on double internal focusing. This system, comprising two particularly light focusing lenses, allows the construction of particularly small and compact drive systems. In addition to space limitations, the choice of the drive motors is also determined by the AF principle used for focusing.

Several contrast measurements at various focusing positions must be made before the correct direction of motion for focusing can be determined and followed by precise focusing. In this procedure, the focusing lenses must be moved rapidly backwards and forwards in accordance with the speed specifications of the contrast AF system. This requires a dynamic drive system without any play.

In the Summicron-SL lenses, the drive units installed are extremely powerful and robust stepping motors with Dual Syncro Drive™. Thanks to these, the entire focusing throw can be traveled completely in fractions of a second. This means that the Summicron-SL lenses achieve values that are among the best in the full-frame system segment in terms of speed, precision, and noise emissions.

With an initial aperture of f/2, the SL-Summicron lenses are significantly more compact than faster lenses, but still allow photographers to work with similar depth of field. The reason for this is contrast: the zone of highest contrast is perceived by viewers as being sharp, while zones with lower contrast are regarded as being unsharp.

In the case of SL-Summicron lenses, this difference in contrast is considerably higher than that of conventional lenses: sharply focused objects show much higher contrast than objects that are out of focus. This means that objects “snap” more distinctly out of the foreground or background and more effectively isolate the subject. This creates a three-dimensional visual effect with very impressive apparent depth.

In the construction of the Summicron-SL lenses, particular attention has been paid to the prevention of stray light and reflections. The optimization of the optical and mechanical design was carried out in elaborate simulations before the construction of the first prototype lenses. Unavoidable reflections are reduced to the best possible level by high-quality coating of lens surfaces.

The focusing and aperture setting functions of a SL-Summicron lens are based on a multitude of control systems and mathematical operations. The demands on the electronics are particularly high in the case of the double focusing system.

The two autonomous focusing units must be moved in perfect synchronization and positioning data have to be analyzed at a very high sampling rate and passed on to the camera. Here, the communication with the camera is so fast that there is no perceptible delay. These are the primary preconditions for fast and precise contrast AF.

The aperture is driven by a stepping motor. Here, a special micro-step control system ensures precise and fast movements with minimized vibration.

SL-Summicron Lenses feature a totally new manual focusing ring construction concept. In this concept, a ring magnet with alternating north-south magnetization is embedded in the manual focusing ring. The magnetic field changes its polarity when the ring is turned. A sensor monitors the status of the magnetic field and sends the data to the main processor. The drive then shifts the lens to the corresponding focusing position on the basis of the angle of rotation and the rotational speed.

The construction of the MF-ring guarantees reliable sealing against dust and water spray, provides protection against impacts and other mechanical stresses, and prevents focusing inaccuracies as a consequence of temperature fluctuations. Even after years of use, the MF-ring of a SL-Summicron lens impresses with a smooth action without play and homogeneous focusing.

The consistently compact dimensions, low weight, and the excellent grip and feel of the SL-Summicron lenses are particularly impressive when shooting. Thanks to the almost identical design of the Summicron-SL lenses, feeling for the MF ring is unnecessary after switching lenses and the center of gravity remains largely the same. This means that the camera always lies perfectly in the hand and makes working from a tripod much easier.

Typical application

portraits, street, travel

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Leica APO-Summicron-SL 90mm F/2 ASPH.

Leica APO-Summicron-SL 90mm F/2 ASPH.
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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm

Travellers' choice

Note

Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

One of the best fast short telephoto primes

According to lens-db.com; among lenses designed for the same maximum format and mount.

Apochromatic optical design

All glass elements in an optical system refract light in certain colors to a different extent. This leads to the effect that not all rays of light from a multi-colored subject are focused at a single imaging point – the result of this is chromatic aberration.

In this lens, the chromatic aberration is minimized by apochromatic correction.

A need for apochromatic correction arose with the increasing popularity of color film. Now, with high-resolution digital sensors, the need for superior control of chromatic aberrations is even more pertinent than when film changed from monochrome to color.

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Unique Leica Look

Leica lenses are one-of-a-kind optical masterpieces that are impressive because of their unique Leica Look. This is ensured through exceptional optical design combined with selected materials and the highest quality standards.

Leica lenses reveal their full potential only when mounted on Leica cameras, since only these have sensors precisely matched to their optical characteristics.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Stepping motor (Dual Syncro Drive)

The lens incorporates focusing system consisting of two autofocus drive units precisely synchronized to deliver fast and accurate autofocusing.

Aspherical elements

Aspherical elements (ASPH, XA, XGM) are used in wide-angle lenses for correction of distortion and in large-aperture lenses for correction of spherical aberration, astigmatism and coma, thus ensuring excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. The effect of the aspherical element is determined by its position within the optical formula: the more the aspherical element moves away from the aperture stop, the more it influences distortion; close to the aperture stop it can be particularly used to correct spherical aberration. Aspherical element can substitute one or several regular spherical elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Use of aspherical elements has its downsides: it leads to non-uniform rendering of out-of-focus highlights. This effect usually appears as "onion-like" texture of concentric rings or "wooly-like" texture and is caused by very slight defects in the surface of aspherical element. It is difficult to predict such effect, but usually it occurs when the highlights are small enough and far enough out of focus.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Canon's Super UD, Nikon's Super ED, Pentax' Super ED, Sigma's FLD ("F" Low Dispersion), Sony' Super ED and Tamron's XLD glasses are the highest level low dispersion glasses available with extremely high light transmission. These optical glasses have a performance equal to fluorite glass.

High-refraction low-dispersion elements

High-refraction low-dispersion elements (HLD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

High Index, High Dispersion elements

High Index, High Dispersion elements (HID) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Anomalous partial dispersion elements

Anomalous partial dispersion elements (AD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Fluorite elements

Synthetic fluorite elements (FL) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. Compared with optical glass, fluorite lenses have a considerably lower refraction index, low dispersion and extraordinary partial dispersion, and high transmission of infrared and ultraviolet light. They are also significantly lighter than optical glass.

According to Nikon, fluorite easily cracks and is sensitive to temperature changes that can adversely affect focusing by altering the lens' refractive index. To avoid this, Canon, as the manufacturer most widely using fluorite in its telephoto lenses, never uses fluorite in the front and rear lens elements, and the white coating is applied to the lens barrels to reflect light and prevent the lens from overheating.

Short-wavelength refractive elements

High and specialized-dispersion elements (SR) refract light with wavelengths shorter than that of blue to achieve highly precise chromatic aberration compensation. This technology also results in smaller and lighter lenses.

Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics

Organic Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics material (BR Optics) placed between convex and concave elements made from conventional optical glass provides more efficient correction of longitudinal chromatic aberrations in comparison with conventional technology.

Diffraction elements

Diffraction elements (DO, PF) cancel chromatic aberrations at various wavelengths. This technology results in smaller and lighter lenses in comparison with traditional designs with no compromise in image quality.

High refractive index elements

High refractive index elements (HR, HRI, XR etc) minimize field curvature and spherical aberration. High refractive index element can substitute one or several regular elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Apodization element

Apodization element (APD) is in fact a radial gradient filter. It practically does not change the characteristics of light beam passing through its central part but absorbs the light at the periphery. It sort of softens the edges of the aperture making the transition from foreground to background zone very smooth and results in very attractive, natural looking and silky smooth bokeh.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.

Format

Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

Mount

A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance from the lens mount to the film or sensor can also be different.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Flange focal distance

The flange focal distance (FFD), sometimes called the "flange back", is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.

Speed

The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Floating element system

Provides correction of aberrations and ensures constantly high image quality at the entire range of focusing distances from infinity down to the closest focusing distance. It is particularly effective for the correction of field curvature that tends to occur with large-aperture, wide-angle lenses when shooting at close ranges.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Fixed focus

There is no helicoid in this lens and everything is in focus from the closest focusing distance to infinity.

Overall linear extension

The entire lens optical system moves straight backward and forward when focusing is carried out. This is the simplest type of focusing used mainly in wide-angle and standard prime lenses. It has the advantage of introducing relatively little change in aberrations with respect to change in focusing distance. With telephoto and super telephoto lenses this method becomes less beneficial in terms of operability because of the increased size and weight of the lens system.

Front group linear extension

The rear group remains fixed and only the front group moves straight backward and forward during focusing. This method is primarily used in zoom lenses and allows to design comparatively simple lens construction, but also places restrictions on zoom magnification and size reduction.

Front group rotational extension

The lens barrel section holding the front lens group rotates to move the front group backward and forward during focusing. This method of focusing is also used only in zoom lenses.

Internal focusing (IF)

Focusing is performed by moving one or more lens groups positioned between the front lens group and the diaphragm.

Methods of internal and rear focusing have the following advantages:

Rear focusing (RF)

Focusing is performed by moving one or more lens groups positioned behind the diaphragm.

Methods of internal and rear focusing have the following advantages:

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.

Weight

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.

Filters

Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.

Teleconverters

Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.