The Leica THAMBAR-M 90mm f/2.2 lens will be released in November, price rumored to be around $7,000


A quick update on the rumored Leica THAMBAR-M 90mm f/2.2 lens: it will be released in November and the price in Japan will be ¥800,280 (including 8% tax) or around $7,000 (via Nokishita).

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  • What am I missing here? A Leica 90mm Summicron APO F2.0 can be found for about $2,000 these days and is an absolutely incredible lens for color, clarity and sharpness, ….if that matters. Why would this new lens be about 3 times the price?

      • SomeoneNotImportant

        Well yes and no. By “no” i mean the following: the lens people in wetzlar and or R&D suggest “we could definitely sell this lens for 4000 Euros” but then Marketing will say “no, we have to be more expensive than this. We’re Leica and people are gonna pay the extra.”
        Happened before. As easy as that.

        • Have you seen some of the Kickstarter projects to revive old lenses? It’s insane the amount of money they get, I think Leica is trying to tap into this revenue stream.

          • But how much are they getting per customer?

            I actually think SomeoneNotImportant is accurate. Differentiation on uniqueness, as separate from performance, is a smart strategy for Leica, who has a history to tap and a customer base with an affinity.

            Leica can sell fewer at much higher per-unit cost than a Kickstarter that looks to drive initial funding up and development/production cost down simultaneously. If the lens design is and development is pretty much off the shelf of history, the margins seem like they would be attractive.

          • ZMWT

            Peter, as much as Yashica did something grotesque with their toy that shamelessly exploits the past, and jacks people’s good memories with utter silliness, Leica did it now. If news about the price are true, it simply is not right.

          • I cannot argue – Leica has always been expensive.

          • ZMWT

            I think they shouldn’t have done this with Thambar; if it were some brand new thing, crazy new invention they spent decades on, then go for it. But they are resurrecting the old name and design. Rabid exploitation of the past.

          • Bo Dez

            You could just say “I don’t get it” and leave those that do to enjoy it perhaps?

          • Nathan Wright

            I guess that I don’t get why they _shouldn’t_ do this. It is their business. If they fail or if they find success doing this, good or bad on them. But saying they shouldn’t is neither fair, not coherent.

            Is should or should not defined by a person on the internet? Is there a moral obligation to adhere to other people’s morals or objectives rather than your own?

            Maybe Leica wanted to remake this lens, found it a classic that needed or _should_ be revived.

            It’s not for me. It’s certainly not for you. But geez man, why they incessant whinging on about shoulds and should nots?

    • ZMWT

      It does not make any sense; it is a total breakdown. This news and lens must be ignored totally, and Leica sent a message that in their search to find some obscure part of their past they could shamelessly exploit anew, and sell to babyboomers, they have gone way deep into the lala land.

      • Bo Dez

        and every lens needs, for some reason, to meet your 1 degree vision of the world?

        • ZMWT

          Do not generalise, please. This is not about Leica in general — Leica also behaves smarter than this. This is someone’s silly idea within the company, and has passed the screening for lack of common sense by someone’s blind authority.

          • Bo Dez

            sure it is fella. Even though you will never get the credit for it I’m sure Leica are glad you worked all that out for them.

          • CCD FTW

            Can I upvote this more than once?

    • Bo Dez

      That point you are missing is 180 degrees from where you are.

  • ZMWT

    If true, that is the most ridiculous price and proposition ever. Then even what Meyer Optik asks for such similar old designs seems like a bargain. (And what MO asks is too expensive for such simple construction for today’s manufacture). We live in the age of shameless exploitation of the past, no holds barred pretense, moral rip-off, and sheer ludicrousness.

    • Bo Dez

      You forgot to add – “in my opinion”. It’s going to be very different from the opinions of those people who buy it.

      • ZMWT

        4 element design accomplished 70 years ago, and a forgotten name resurrected to create some hype, as an excuse to hike the price to an unprecedented level for such a design — by any company — has a word for it: shameless exploitation of the past. You may indeed live in a bubble thinking that everything is allowed to companies these days, but (if the price is true) this is far worse than what Yashica did.

        • Bo Dez

          in your own opinion, for what ever that is worth…

          • CCD FTW

            Exactly zero.

        • Les

          ZM,

          Are you for real? I get that you either do no want, or can not afford, this lens. That does not make it “unprecedented,” “shameless,” and whatever other self-centered indignation you can come-up with. It’s obviously not for you, or about you. It’s just a lens.

          I’m sure Leica asked their distributors how many they wanted, did some maths, and calculated a selling price that made it worth their time and effort.

        • CCD FTW

          That’s five words.

          People just aren’t very bright.

        • I would say it’s a simple supply and demand issue – there are many people who are ready to pay high prices for vintage lenses and that’s why several companies are taking advantage of this trend. I see no problem with companies offering this – if the price is too high, the market will correct it. I am sure Leica has done their research in advance. I personally am not interested in this lens. Keep in mind that the old version is selling for around $4k.

          • ZMWT

            Well, the ‘supply and demand’ can always be falsified and used to justify any extortion. 50mm Lux could cost $20K, and we could then assume that is because Leica produces only 5 units a month? It doesn’t work that way; classic laws of economy, and our perceptions, are heavily manipulated into believing something, which in reality is just a whim and inflated lie: 4 element classic lens design, a metal tube with a mount on the bottom, each for $1100.

  • Bo Dez

    I love Leica for doing this in a day and age where giant ASPH, APO, AF, lenses devoid of difference, character, style and have no selling point other than perfection (blergh) are killing off what photography used to be about. The Thambar’s look is not my cup of tea but I can still appreciate it for what it is. Well done Leica.

    • Same here – this lens is not for me, but I have no problems with Leica releasing it and making some extra cash.
      I was told that the pre-orders were surprisingly high, expect the lens to be out of stock for months.

    • I just can’t stomach the price, especially for such a simple optical design. One the of the assumptions of $6-7k lens like the Summicron ASPH is that they’ve used exotic glass and element designs to correct as many aberrations as possible, I don’t know why anyone would pay that kind of money for the opposite.

      • Bo Dez

        I agree about the price but also can see it the other way, that while exotic glass and corrections have been made for a result in something like the Summicron ASPH, the glass and deliberate use of non correction gives a result in the opposite direction and something which some (not me) see a value in.

        This particular lens and effect is not my cup of tea (but I do like the occasional soft focus and blooming wen it suits, just not in this particular method and style) but I like the fact it’s here as an actual option. I like that photography can be lots of things, to lots of people, not just perfect optics which gets very boring very fast when it’s the only thing you see and that is becoming increasingly so. all IMO of corse

  • Mistral75

    Latest tweet from Nokishita Camera:

    https://twitter.com/nokishita_c/status/920208250800291842

    – the Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2 will be announced tonight [is it a Japanese tonight or a European tonight?]
    – stores will take orders from 10am tomorrow.

  • Mistral75
  • CCD FTW

    Adversity builds character, but then I thought to myself ‘I already have a lot of character’… ‘is it possible to have too much character?’

  • Mato

    This lens does not interest me aesthetically (have seen images made with the original) and I have some sympathy for ZMWT’s view, even though Leica are of course entitled to do whatever they think will make them money. Personally, I’d like a new version of the 90 APO, with close focus correction (moving element).

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