A Visual Profile on Leica M6 Classic LHSA 1968~1993 25th Anniversary Special Edition Kit
Lenses: LEICA SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90mm LHSA '93 Edition - Part IV - MIR Image Library


This is the only LEICA telephoto lens that I have. Whether you like to admit it or not, it is not very friendly to use a telephoto lens with a LEICA rangefinder camera because of the rangefinder system it deploys. That was the primarily factor behind development of the variable finder magnification options 0.72X, 0.85X and 0.58X that first introduced with the LEICA M6 TTL in 1998. With 0.85X models, with its parallax-compensating framelines for 35-, 50-, 75-, 90-, and 135mm lenses offers larger viewing image which indirectly interpreting a slightly enhanced focusing accuracy when using tele-lenses. Well, you must also know it has compromises, as in one way, the 0.85x finder gives you a bigger viewing image, but the M6 TTL or other relevant models such as the LEICA MP revised models deletes the 28mm frameline that found in the standard 0.72X model.

The LEICA M6 Classic model has a 0.72x finder magnification. It applies to the LEICA M6 LHSA 25th Anniversary Edition as well. So as I said earlier, it may not be the world most convenient way to use a telephoto with a typical rangefinder camera with standard finder but 90mm wasn't that bad as compare to 135mm as the focusing aid with the brightline frame is still reasonably large enough for adjustment of focus. Well, tele-lenses for LEICA rangefinder system had been around for the last half a century and people have been using them in 'true LEICA spirit' without much complains, so that is no point for me to elaborated further. But one cannot deny the fact SLR has its distinctive advantage at these longer focal lengths.

Leica M6 Classic LHSA 1968~1993 25th Anniversary Special Edition w/SUMMICRON-M 9mmm f/2.0 LHSA '93 edition
Look gorgeous with this setup isn't it ?

This is the only LEICA telephoto lens that I have with my own Leica collection. Whether you like to admit it or not, it is still not very friendly to use a telephoto lens with a LEICA rangefinder camera.
Other than the 50mm standard lens, the perspective of short to medium telephoto lenses in the range of 60-90mm is closest to that of the human eye. These lenses cause very little distortions when shooting close-ups of people's faces and also secure a comfortable working distance between the camera and the subject. For these reasons, they are often dubbed as "portrait lenses". Telephoto lenses are also very appealing to photographers because they not only draw subjects near and show them in sharp detail right before your eyes, but give you a refreshing view of the subject's other perspectives with a tightly framed coverage of the image area. In addition, the effect of compressed perspective typical of telephoto lenses is at its minimum with the longer end of the focal length selection. In a comparing SLR system, telephoto lenses with their image magnification and large maximum aperture often can make focusing quicker and more precise but that advantage is not offered in rangefinder camera system.

Leica optical group has its own specific focal lengths that were seldom being replicated on any SLR system. Some of the very early examples that were offered back in the late 1920~1930 era were the ELMAR 3.5/7cm; 4.5/7.5cm; 1.9/7.5cm,
HEKTOR 7.3cm, Summarex 1.5/8.5cm and 90mm lens group etc. The 9cm/90mm lens group has the most in varieties and types, e.g. ELMAR (4/90mm) , ELMARIT (2.8/90mm), soft focus Thambar 90/2.2; Velostigmat (4.5/90mm), and a fast speed LSM by Leitz Canada, Summicron 90m f/2.0 (SOOZI/SEOOF). From traceable references, largest aperture offered at the 90mm focal length is confined to f/2.0 with f/4.5 at the other end of the maximum aperture scale. The SUMMILUX-M 1:1.4/75mm, introduced in the 1980 was considered that has the fastest lens speed within the short tele-lens group, the alternate SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90mm, with its slightly extended focal length to 90mm as well as compromised (approx. one f-stop) maximum aperture was introduced two years later in 1982/3.

Front view of a LHSA 1993 edition of Summicron-M 1:2/90mm for Leica M6 Classic LHSA 1968~1993 25th Anniversary Special Edition
The original SUMMICRON 90mm f2.0 was first introduced in 1957. The original version has min. aperture f/22 (f/16 for later versions), uses filter attachment size E48 (E55) and weighs quite heavy. It served its service for more than two decades. The followed up model (introduced in 1982/3) , same as the one shown here and has being chosen by LEICA as one of the 3 companion lenses issued as special edition optic for the LEICA M6 LHSA 25th Anniversary Model equally has a comparing long product cycle but was discontinued in 1998*. The early 2nd model was first introduced in black, the silver chrome version was released later in 1992.
* APO-Summicron-M 1:2/90mm ASPH, the current model as at 09.2008 replaced the non-ASPH (2nd series) version in 1998. In 2001, a limited edition of 500 units in 2nd design which bear Titanium-plated finishing were introduced to serve M6/Ti models. A version which uses raw Titanium metal and finishes in gray-Ti of 50 units Limited Edition were introduced along with the Leica M7 Titanium 1954-2004 50 Jahre Leica-M System Special Edition in 2004.
The SUMMICRON 90mm f2.0 LHSA 25th Anniversary edition carries with the usual encoded matched -S/N as well as the special engraving on the occasion at the front lens data ring. It exhibits an extremely high quality construction and has a hefty weight as a rangefinder lens. The relatively fast 1:2 maximum aperture it offers does not directly benefit the rangefinder focusing system but it provides considerably benefits in terms of low available light shooting which is an advantage journalism , candid and/or street photography.

Top view of the combo set of Leica M6 Classic LHSA 1968~1993 25th Anniversary Special Edition with Summicron-M 90mm f/2
We all acknowledge quality in a Leica. In a long German tradition to define sheer quality and dependability, most critical parts of a Leica are made of non-compromising metal or alloy. Adoption of these good values usually interpreting as weight gain.

The weight factor in a typical LEICA rangefinder camera setup is okay and very comfortable to use and handle. But when the camera is added on with a fast speed tele-lens such as 1:1.4 or a 90mm f/2.0 for long session photography and/or traveling it can be quite stressful considering you don't just carry around in a long trip with just a lens.

The Summicron-M 2/90mm has all the essential elements to regard it as a superb telephoto companion for your Leica where it neutralizes slow shutter speed shooting with its fast maximum lens speed as well as delivering top class optical deliveries in handheld available light photography. But it may has a compromise in the area of portability i.e. with over 2 Ibs of caryying weight - in particularly for long session usage. But if you only have a short duration assignment, you will then be having one of the very best in the Leica optical system to fullfill all your needs. Well, if all of your entire photographic journal was centered around a Leica probably you won't be able to feel the difference. If you have a friend with a... say a mechanical Nikon FM2/T (515g) with a Nikkor 85mm f/2.0s (310g) and try use it for a couple of days, probably you may feel the elevated level of comfort in this specific area. * Comparing LEICA M6 chrome body 560g (1.23 Ibs) and 460g (approx. 1 Ib) for the Summicron-M 2/90.

Note:- The S/N for this 1993 LHSA edition could had been started from: 1938000~1938150 for the the entire 150+1 units. Ref: Stephan Gandy

NOT READY YET - having something to attend in Bangkok the next few days.

previous | 4/4 Part 1 - Introduction | Part 2 - The Camera Body LHSA 1968~1993 Edition | Lenses: Part 3 - Summicron-M 35/50mm 1:2 LHSA edition | Part 4 - Summicron-M 90mm 1:2 LHSA edition / other issues

Main Index Page - Leica M6-series models
Main Index Page - Leica-M Rangefinder camera Models

Nomenclature / Main Reference Map for Leica M6 Standard Model(s) applicable for this Leica M6 LHSA 1968~1993 25th Anniversary Edition Kit
Instruction Manuals:-
Leica M6 Classic in PDF (3.8mb) also applicable for this Leica M6 Leica M6 LHSA 1968~1993 25th Anniversary Edition by Niels H. S. Nielsen

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