Leica THAMBAR-M 90mm f/2.2 lens officially announced




The previously rumored Leica THAMBAR-M 90mm f/2.2 lens is now officially announced. Pre-orders are now open, the US price is $6,495:

The design of the original Thambar lens has been almost completely preserved in the new Thambar-M 90 mm f/2.2. The black paint finish, the proportions of the lens and its aperture engravings in red and white are nearly identical, while slight modifications align with the design of modern M-Lenses. The most pronounced difference between this lens and the original is the single-coating to protect the glass against environmental influences and surface corrosion. Additional information on the old THAMBAR lens can be found here.

Leica THAMBAR-M 90mm f/2.2 lens features:

  • Dedicated to producing soft focus imagery, this unique lens can be used in conjunction with the included center spot filter to increase the drama of the dreamy effect for striking, ethereal image quality.
  • Based on the original Thambar from the 1930s, this updated version uses the same optical layout but features a single protective coating on the glass elements to guard against corrosion.
  • Deliberate under-correction of spherical aberration, along with a 20-blade diaphragm, produce a circular rendition of out-of-focus highlights along with an overall diffuse quality that becomes more exaggerated towards the edge of the frame.
  • Short telephoto focal length and bright f/2.2 maximum aperture are ideal for portraiture and isolating subject matter using shallow depth of field techniques.
  • Dual aperture scales, in red and white, represent working with and without the center spot filter in place. Additionally, the aperture ring is stepless for smooth, precise adjustment that is not limited by click-stops.
  • Manual focus design provides a minimum focusing distance of 3.3'.
  • Included vintage brown hard leather case further reinforces the classic look and nostalgia of this lens, and contains a storage pocket for the included center spot filter in the lid. Additionally, the included specially designed metal lens hood and metal front lens cap are felt lined to protect the metal body of the lens from scratches.

Additional information on the lens can be found here and here. Sample photos from the lens can be found on this page.

Leica THAMBAR-M 90mm f/2.2 lens technical specs and full pres release:

  

Angles of view
(diagonal, horizontal, vertical)
 

approx. 27°, 23°, 15° (for 35 mm: 24x36 mm)1

Optical design

Number of lenses/groups

Position of entrance pupil

(at infinity)

 

4/3

49.6 mm
(in the direction of light incidence behind the bayonet fitting contact area)

Focusing

Focusing range

Scale

Smallest object field / Biggest scale

 

1 m to ∞

Meter divisions

approx. 215x322 mm/1:9.0 (for 35 mm: 24x36 mm)1

Aperture

Setting/Function

Setting range

 

No detent positions

2.2 - 2.6 or 9 - 25 (values in white: for use with the associated center spot filter)/2.3 - 6.3 (values in red: for use without the associated center spot filter)

Bayonet fitting Leica M quick-change bayonet with 6 bit lens identification bar code for digital M models2
Filter mount / lens hood Internal thread for screw-on filter E49, center spot filter and push-on lens hood in the scope of delivery
Viewfinder Camera viewfinder3
Finish Black lacquered (Distance scale: silver)
Dimensions and weight

Length to bayonet flange
(without/with lens hood)

Largest diameter
(without lens hood)

Weight

 

approx. 90/110 mm

 

approx. 57 mm

 

approx. 500 g

Compatible cameras All Leica M cameras1, 3

1 Use with the Leica M8 models is not recommended since the optical properties do not suit for smaller formats than 35 mm (24x36 mm).

2 The 6 bit lens identification bar code (8) situated on the bayonet flange enables the digital Leica M models to identify the attached type of lens. This information is utilized by the camera to optimize exposure and image data.

3 The Leica M1 does not have a 90 mm bright-line frame.



LEICA CAMERA AG PRESENTS A MODERN RENAISSANCE OF THE CLASSIC LENS – THE LEICA THAMBAR-M 1:2.2/90

A legend reborn: following the Leica Summaron-M 1:5.6/28, Leica Camera AG has further expanded its lens portfolio with the Thambar-M 1:2.2/90, the modern renaissance of another classic lens. Just like its namesake from 1935, the contemporary incarnation of the lens is distinguished by its characteristic soft-focus effect and unmistakeable bokeh. Its focal length of 90 mm is suitable for photography in a multitude of scenarios and is as good as predestined for capturing portraits with a uniquely aesthetic atmosphere that cannot be reproduced in digital postprocessing. The new Thambar-M is thus an exciting addition to the existing Leica M lens portfolio and brings photographers entirely new possibilities for creative composition.

A legend reborn: following the Leica Summaron-M 1:5.6/28, Leica Camera AG has further expanded its lens portfolio with the Thambar-M 1:2.2/90, the modern renaissance of another classic lens. Just like its namesake from 1935, the contemporary incarnation of the lens is distinguished by its characteristic soft-focus effect and unmistakeable bokeh. Its focal length of 90 mm is suitable for photography in a multitude of scenarios and is as good as predestined for capturing portraits with a uniquely aesthetic atmosphere that cannot be reproduced in digital postprocessing. The new Thambar-M is thus an exciting addition to the existing Leica M lens portfolio and brings photographers entirely new possibilities for creative composition.

The optical design of its ancestor remains almost unchanged in the new Thambar-M 1:2.2/90. It has therefore also inherited the characteristic properties of its predecessor. The only difference is that the four elements in three groups that make up the design have now been single-coated to protect the glass against environmental influences and surface corrosion. The 20 blades of its iris deliver a unique bokeh with perfectly round rendition of point light sources.

The soft look of the Thambar is the result of intentionally accepted under-correction of spherical aberration. This under-correction increases towards the edges of the optical system with the consequence that not only the depth of focus, but also the degree of softening can be precisely controlled by means of the stepless aperture setting. The effect is more pronounced as apertures increase, and is continually reduced as the lens is stopped down to smaller apertures.

The design of the original lens has been almost completely preserved in today’s Thambar-M 1:2.2/90. The black paint finish, the proportions of the lens and its aperture engravings in red and white correspond to the appearance of the original. In addition to this, slight modifications have been made that bring the lens into line with the current, minimalist design of modern M-Lenses. These include the knurling, the lettering and scales and the specific use of sharp edges and bevelling that underline the precision of the lens design.

‘The name Thambar has always been preceded by the adjective ‘legendary’ – rightly so. It portrays people with a wonderful aura, in a romantic way – but landscapes too are raised to a higher, incomparably aesthetic plane. The addition of a new incarnation of this classic lens to our selection of vintage lenses was one of our greatest wishes – to my great delight, this wish has now been fulfilled.’ emphasises Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, majority shareholder and chairman of the supervisory board of Leica Camera AG.

As is the case with all Leica lenses, the Leica Thambar-M 1:2.2/90 is also manufactured in strict compliance with the most stringent quality criteria. The use of only the best materials in its construction guarantee the familiar long working life of all Leica lenses. As was the case with the original lens, the lens hood, the ring of the centre-spot filter and both front and rear lens caps are made of metal. Even smallest details, like the felt lining of the lens hood and the front cap, contribute to the exceptional perceived quality of this lens. The design of the rigid lens keeper in ‘Vintage Brown’ leather is identical to that of the original from 80 years ago in almost every respect and, as in the past, the centre-spot filter can be safely and conveniently stowed away in its lid.

The Leica Thambar-M 1:2.2/90 will be on sale from mid-November 2017.

Additional pictures:

Like the new Leica Lenses Facebook page and join the Leica Lenses group.

This entry was posted in Leica Lenses and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Mistral75
  • Gary Craggs

    Bizarre. $6500 for a soft focus lens that produces blurred images. I got one off eBay for $100

  • Licheus

    Does make sense. They know whoever would be buying this must have disposable income.

    • YourFace

      Personally, I think the same should be said for every Leica product. Whenever I make a purchase I try to justify it then laugh at myself…

  • Whilst I understand the appeal of this retro lens is softness and glow, the samples from Jolie are just way too much…

    • Jeff Bridges

      Yeah I find it hard to understand why she got a lens to test.
      Must be due to having 13.8k followers.
      But there are thousands of great Leica photographers who should have had this lens to test out.

      • Second thoughts after going thru her Instagram:
        She’s not a horrible photographer per se, far from that even. More like either she tried too hard to demonstrate the character of the lens, or that monster is just impossible to use properly.

        • Jeff Bridges

          That was my thought as well.
          Her regular work is nice.
          But the test shots from this lens do not do the lens justice.

        • Alphageist

          Check out Thorsten Overgaard’s piece on the original Leitz 90mm Thambar f/2.2. He speaks to how to use the lens to its fullest. Be sure to check the very end/bottom of his write up for more advice on its use along with additional sample galleries. Granted, this is with the original lens and not this remake, but the “how to use” should practically be the same.

          • Overgaard’s a Leica guru. He knows pretty much everything about Leicas. Was somewhat surprised he didn’t get to test drive the new Thambar… Although everything’s gonna be soft and dreamy for sure.

          • Tadao_Isogai

            Thank you for this note. I’m a long-time Nikon photographer but I really like what Leica has done here. Great to see Mr. Overgaard’s work with the lens.

    • ZMWT

      I mean, did Leica even think before releasing this lens? 70 years ago this could have been be a cool effect, but same effect can be done with any lens today: on top of a well focused image put a blurred copy of the same image, and adjust transparency and blending mode to your liking.

    • Noodle

      My first impression of the 28 Summaron was also quite bad with those pink and overexposed samples we got then. This changed dramatically after seeing some proper Raws from dpreview.

      But indeed the Thambar looks like way too much of everything at the moment, and i highly doubt it will change THAT much. Not that i’m ever going to fork over the price that they’re asking.

  • Alphageist

    $6.5k? I was intrigued by this lens, but at that price I’ll continue saving for the 50 APO. I knew this Thambar was going to be pricey as even the originals go for big $$$ on the big auction site…yeah, no thanks.

  • Alphageist

    Forgot to ask, does this new lens come with the special filter that the original lens had to make even dreamier portraits?

  • ZMWT

    I mean, did Leica think before releasing this lens? 70 years ago this could have been be the very cool effect, but it can be done with any lens today: on top of a well focused image put a blurred copy of the same image, and adjust transparency and blending mode to your liking …

  • Jukeboxjohnnie

    I’d honestly take the 90mm summarit, just don’t get it…

    • ZMWT

      Use Summarit, take a photo, copy it in a new layer, add blur, and blend in the mode of your liking. For that kind of streamlined effect, Thambar should cost no more than $1000. But the price they ask for this simple effect, and inability to see how easily this is done in PP with any lens, tells someone at Leica has lost his mind.

      • Les

        Tell me more about this “under-corrected spherical aberration” filter in Photoshop…

        …or maybe don’t. It’s obvious that your main issue with this lens is the price. It’s expensive. Just like most things Leica, you can find cheaper alternatives. You can even convince yourself that the alternatives are just as good, and that anyone paying more than you is wasting money. Just like a tourist eating at MacDonald’s in Paris.
        The look of this particular lens isn’t for me (at this point in time), but I can think of a dozen very talented photographers who could create outstanding work with it. In a way it makes me glad that we’ve finally progressed beyond sterile “sharpness.” Seems like that was the only thing photographers cared about for the first 10 years of the digital era.

        • ZMWT

          This lens was viable before Photoshop, but today is superfluous; one quick Photoshop action can create dozens of such images in row. It does not deserve to be resurrected at all, least at such a ridiculous price. If it were a unique lens with huge bandwidth, incredible micro-contrast and bohkeh, thanks to low element design, even $3K with Leica’s name on it would be a far stretched release.

        • Bo Dez

          exactly. Photoshop Blur does not recreate optical blur. This is a legitimate tool for those that want the effect.

        • Noodle

          Yeah but MacDonalds is really not healthy though.

          The average *pro photog* certainly has not -finally progressed beyond sterile sharpness- yet, but indeed i am glad things seem to be moving in the right direction. Although i don’t know how happy i am about them smartphone filters. 😛

        • sperdynamite

          I can’t roll my eyes enough. So you’re either shooting Leica, or eating at McDonalds? Shooting a Summilux is fine dining, shooting an Otus is fast food, got it. Oh gosh, I do most of my work with a Rollei Hy6 and a Schneider 80mm Xenotar AFD, I might as well buy a freaking HOLGA! Obviously I’ve just “convinced myself” that Schneider is capable of making decent lenses. What was I thinking????? They’re far too cheap to be good! Don’t get me started on my “sterile” 58mm 1.4G, I haven’t progressed beyond that! I’ll be throwing my 2.8E in the trash too. It’s all fast food unless I buy a $6500 dollar soft focus lens that could be replicated by simply using the right softening filter. Short of that I’m pretty sure the Nikon Defocus lenses (so maybe the Arby’s of optics?) will do the same thing, with AF, on the best sensor currently available in a 35mm camera. I’m gonna go eat my McNuggets.

          • Brennan McKissick

            You can have your McNuggets. I’m gonna splurge a bit on some curly fries and a roast beef sandwich.

          • Les

            You completely missed the point. It wasn’t brand-centric. It was based on ZM’s constant whining that anything he doesn’t personally use is a waste of money. No doubt he feels the same about your Hy6, TLR, and Nikon.

            Nobody is forcing him to buy the new Leica lens, just like nobody is forcing him to buy a Rolleiflex, or a Nikon. And yet he feels the need to spout hate towards those who make different equipment choices than he. No doubt he spends the rest of his free time telling people in bicycle forums that they overspent for their inner tubes, and telling people on screwdriver forums that he can get a Philips head for less.

  • raziel28

    i like the look of the lens
    regards

  • onasj

    Where is the 75/1.25 please? Honestly I don’t get the Thambar’s charm, and I suspect a skillful photoshop filter maker could make a Thambar filter without too much trouble.

    • probably coming next, I don’t have an announcement date

      • onasj

        Thanks, Peter– you are the best.

  • Mistral75

    Amusing: the internal code name of the lens was most certainly London (London –> Thames –> Thambar), see the URL of the lens’s page on some local websites:

    http://fr.leica-camera.com/Photography/Leica-M/Objectifs-LEICA-M/London

    http://ch-fr.leica-camera.com/Photography/Leica-M/Objectifs-LEICA-M/London

    Yesterday night, it was also the case on the German site; it’s been fixed since then.

  • Back to top