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Flare

I was quite surprised to to discover how much the Summicron-R 90mm f/2 E55 flares. The two shots below compare the behaviour at f/2 and f/8, with the sun positioned right above the building, in the left upper corner of the picture frame. You can see that with both wide open and stopped down apertures, the lens shows noticeable glare, ghosting and color shifts, along with the generally reduced contrast across the entire frame. Of course, this is probably one of the worst possible cases and I don't expect many users will be composing their pictures with the sun (or any other light source) shining directly into the lens, but if you do end up in such situation, use the built-in telescopic hood - while it is fairly shallow, it's sufficient to cut all the flare out for 99.9% of cases out there.

 

ISO 200, 1/2000, f/2, 90mm (Canon 5DMk2)

ISO 200, 1/640, f/8, 90mm (Canon 5DMk2)

 

 

Vignetting

Given its large maximum aperture, Leica Summicron-R 90mm f/2 E55 shows a pretty moderate amount of light falloff. On an APS-C type body with smaller sensor, the lens shows very minimal amount of vignetting even at its widest aperture - ~0.4EV at f/2, which then slowly drifts to lower levels. Vignetting on full frame cameras is higher, reaching ~0.8EV at f/2, but is still manageable from practical perspective.

 

The shots below demonstrate what vignetting will look like in real life. On a FF camera, you will see mild darkening around corners in light colored scenes, so you might want to either activate your in-camera vignetting correction or do that during post-processing. On APS-C cameras, there is basically no darkening of corners at all. In either case, vignetting is too problematic from my perspective.

 

Vignetting @ f/2 - full frame vs 1.6x crop

 

 

Distortion

Leica Summicron-R 90mm f/2 E55 showed basically no distortion - at ~0.03% barrel distortion is completely superficial and will not be visible in real life.