Peter Karbe & the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH.

Striving to guarantee superior image quality and maximum creative freedom, the new Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. epitomizes the art of lens production that takes place by hand in high-tech laboratories within the Leica factory. Peter Karbe works as a lens designer and is head of Leica optical systems development at Leica Camera AG.  Building on history, Peter introduces the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH.

In his office, Peter keeps the documentation and data that was gathered on the systems that have been developed over the last hundred years, including the first 50mm lens that was calculated by Max Berek. “Ultimately we will be archiving our optical calculations under the same number that was used back then. We know that we are the heirs of what Max Berek and the others achieved,” says Peter.

Peter continues, “The APO-Summicron 2.0/50mm aspherical is a lens originally conceived sixteen years ago. With the APO-Summicron 2.0/50mm ASPH Leica has made apochromatic corrections, as the name suggests by using special glasses, glasses with partial dispersion, to improve the colour unity in the picture element. The lens will of course only reach peak performance in conjunction with the M9 Monochrom because it has the resolution and the entire imaging chain is so lossless that it’s only then that the performance of the lens comes across.”

The new Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. is the first lens ever to fully exploit the capabilities of modern high-resolution camera systems without any compromises. This lens is a new milestone in the history of optical design that achieves previously unattainable values in all technical performance characteristics. For instance, there is practically no fall-off at the edges – even at full aperture – in the MTF curves for image sharpness. Even the finest details are rendered with more than 50% contrast – a previously unheard of value that confirms the exceptional properties of this lens.

This enormous contrast enables extremely sharp images with superb corner-to-corner detail rendition in all photographic situations. At the same time, the apochromatic correction of the lens minimises chromatic aberration on sharp edges to ensure natural rendition of every detail. This results in outstanding pictures – even in large-format prints. The Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. provides discerning photographers with a new high-performance lens in the portfolio of standard focal lengths.

“Of course this is a benchmark that we’ve set, one that will remain in place for years to come. It is a continuation of technological development as we know it at Leica building on the fast lenses which we have designed in recent years, and so having produced a standard lens in the high-performance category, of a type that has never existed before. To that extent I’m happy, yes, very happy,” states Peter.

-Leica Internet Team

To learn more about the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH., please click here

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  • I’m sure he will be even happier if they sell it at the absurd prices listed. Just when you think they can’t get any nuttier regarding price they offer an F2 50mm lens for $7k.

  • Dan, I know your comment is old already, I actually stumbled upon it while re-watching this interview in an attempt to answer a question I had, that I thought was answered here. But didn’t get my answer. So figured I’d perhaps reply to you:

    This is the best lens the world over. I haven’t used anything better.. I’ve used Master Primes which cost 2-3 times the price, and still haven’t used anything better. Even Leica’s cine lenses don’t match this lens. Also keep in mind, it’s TINY TINY. The Otus lenses pale in comparison and they’re huge and not really much cheaper. And even my S-system which if phenomenal doesn’t make me as happy as this little 50APO does. So at the end of the day, price may be high, but I’m glad at least that it’s available to us. I’d rather the option of buying a high priced lens, then not having the choice. You can always pickup the stellar 50cron-non-apo or even a 50/2zm if budget is an issue. They’re both nice lenses.

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