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Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M Aperture Series, With and Without Its center Filter: Sprinter Van

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

Leica supplies a center filter with the 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M.

This series looks at the Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M over the entire aperture range with and without the center filter, showing:

  • Which apertures are viable for use with the center filter.
  • How the center filter affects image rendition and sharpness.

Includes the aperture series f/2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 3.2, 4.5, 6.3, 9, 12.5, 18, 25 at sizes up to full camera resolution.

Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M Aperture Series, With and Without Its center Filter: Sprinter Van

Includes images at sizes up to full camera resolution.

Below, the center filter has a very limited useful aperture range.

Sprinter Van near Deep Springs (Hwy 168)
f9 @ 1/350 sec, ISO 200; 2018-06-12 14:12:27
LEICA M (Typ 240) + Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M

[low-res image for bot]

David C writes:

Could it be that you accidentally substituted a jpeg from an old cellphone for the thambar-m image you intended? at least on my screen “soft” doesn’t really go far enough.

DIGLLOYD: a cell phone would be tharper.

Dan M writes in response to my comment “While it is surely a specialty optic, it’s hard to conceive of paying $6500 for a lens designed for inferior performance when world-class performance in a Zeiss Otus costs at most about $4500.”

For those images you posted just now? That’s taking $6,500 out on the front lawn and burning it. Well, maybe pooping on it first, then burning it.

DIGLLOYD: not for Leica collectors—they’re loving it (isn’t that the phrase McDonald’ uses? Which seems appropriate compared to regular Leica glass).

Peter K writes:

This comparison is not completely fair, because in 1930 Leica introduced this LEICA Thambar 90mm/2.2 only as a soft-focus lens and not as a 'normal' lens.

I have to admit that until today I haven’t seen a single picture made with the LEICA Thambar 90mm/2.2 that makes me smile]. In 1931 Leica had a 'normal' LEICA Elmar 90mm/4.0 in their program. You can assume this lens gives different results compared with the LEICA Thambar 90mm/2.2.

DIGLLOYD: also, Leica has single-coated the lens elements on the modern Thamber. Also, an f/4 lens is necessarily better, and indeed the Thambar 90/2.2 improves a lot by f/4, though it is still a very weak performer.

Jason W writes:

I agree with your evaluation of the subject qualities of the Thambar, but couldn't one produce a highly similar diffusion effect with a $20 pro mist filter?

DIGLLOYD: probably the mist filter would be sharper, and different as well, which does not mean less pleasing. I was thinking of vaseline on a filter also.

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