Leica APO Summicron-M 75/2.0 ASPH FLE | Serial number: 3995506 (2006): Batch 3993946 to 4004757.
The 75m focal length | A focal length unique to the Leica M system, the closest focusing highest magnification “tele lens” in the M line-up, and a step up from 50mm without going too far: a longish standard lens rather than a short telephoto. 35mm SLR photographers work with 50mm, 85mm and 90mm focal lengths.
Design: The 75 ‘cron is one of Leica’s flagship lenses. 7 elements in 5 groups with a “floating lens element” or FLE design, and aspherical surface. It was designed by Peter Karbe (who also designed the 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH, and the 50/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH, legends both).
Weight: Heavy for an M lens for its size, at 430 grams (pairs well with the relatively light M9).
Magnifier: Use the 1.4x viewfinder magnifier.
Angle of view: Said to be superior compared to a 50mm for achieving ‘normal’ vision.
Depth of field: | Summicron lenses generally deliver more even performance across the frame than Summilux or Noctilux lenses. At f2.8 to 4 the 75 ‘cron renders a sharp subject popping out of a naturally creamy background. Isolates the subject with smooth bokeh, focal point and defocus point blending.
Pros | One of Leica’s best corrected M lenses. Spot on focus gives incredible detail (even for Leica). Sharp corner-to-corner, even performance across the frame at all apertures. Excellent resolution. Beautiful rendering. Images with a nice modern contrast. Punchy colours, saturated but true (suits the M9). Compact, discreet for street. Fairly close minimum focusing distance (for Leica) of 70cm, so you can get close in. Also suits tight in or macro-style shots, isolating a subject from a distance. Vignetting is low, chromatic aberrations very low.
Cons | Very short focus throw (2cm at 1m @ f2). Avoid focusing too far into the subject. Prone to flare (any lens can flare with, for example, a strong light source directly into the front element) even in only mild back-light or side light situations, especially at close range. The short built-in lens hood is less than effective. Backfocussing a possible issue. Incredible sharpness can be too sharp for portraits.
Frame lines & focusing: In the viewfinder this lens brings up frame lines for 50 & 75 mm lenses. The 75 frame lines are in the centre and cover about 40% of the view (height/width, not area) making it difficult to focus and compose accurately, especially wide open. Aperture ring is light, smooth, ribbed,well damped, with audible clicks. The focusing ring has a short throw, so hard to focus both accurately (even with the essential 1.4x viewfinder magnifier) and quickly.
Use for: Close ups–e.g. flowers, still life, as the close focus distance gives a useful magnification. Portraits–head and shoulders or with the subject at infinity, in both cases to isolate subject from background (eg. street). Ideal for reportage, documentary. Cities, crowd scenes (eg. markets). Street–great for street: compact size, high magnification, very good close-up, outstanding resolution. Excellent wide open and in close. Landscape–incredible sharpness and free of lens errors.
Two–lens kit: Best matched with a moderate wide angle (35mm, 28mm).