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Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M: Focusing Challenges, with examples

Get Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M at B&H Photo.

Focusing the Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M is exceptionally difficult—this is not a lens that will ever snap into focus. That is ironic because the raison d^etre of the Thambar 90/2.2 is the combination of some sharpness with what I’ll just call a “haze effect” (caused by many optical aberrations and high veiling flare). So getting focus right is critical, or the whole image becomes an unfocused blurry blob.

Focusing the Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M (with examples)

Two examples are included, one portrait, one landscape. Images up to full camera resolution so the 0% or so MTF for fine details can be seen. I have more stuff coming, including aperture series with and without the center filter.

I’d say, think very hard unless the visual effects are something you must have in your repertoire, Me, I’d be infinitely more interested in the Leica 75mm f/1.25 Noctilux (coming soon for review). Still, there are certain types of portraiture where it might apply (boudoir?), or bucolic/idyllic scenes where the intent is to evoke a sense of timelessness. Not my style, but I am sure some striking images could be made.

On a separate note, it is striking to me just how poor the Leica M240 is for making portraits: the shutter delay and blackout time is unacceptable because it makes capturing the right expression hit-and-miss at best—Sony with Zeiss Loxia (or an autofocus lens with Eye EF to boot) is so much superior it’s not even funny.

Dee Sickles, LMT, MMT
f2.2 @ 1/45 sec, ISO 400; 2018-06-10 20:32:17
LEICA M (Typ 240) + Leica Thambar 90mm f/2.2

[low-res image for bot]

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