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Alternatives

Assuming you want to stick with Leica lenses, you might want to evaluate the latest 90mm variant of this lens - APO Summicron-R 90mm f/2, which by many accounts improves the image quality even more when compared to the older E55 version, but unfortunately would also cost you a whopping US$3,400 if bought new. If you need an even faster lens, then Summilux-R 80mm f/1.4 would offer that extra speed but at an even higher price - US$4,000 if bought new. For those of us with limited resources, the latest Carl Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 in ZF/ZS mounts or its older variant in Contax/Yashica mount might be a viable choice. If speed is not very important, then Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 85mm f/2.8 (review) for Contax mount could prove an excellent choice.

 

Recommendation

Leica Summicron-R 90mm f/2 is a very solid overall performer. The lens showcases excellent image characteristics - sharpness, color, contrast, distortion, all are in the right place (yes, sharpness around borders at f/2 is a little bit softer, but it should not matter for practical purposes). The lens sports superb build quality and although the pricies for the lens have been slowly creeping up, they are still more or less reasonable for what the lens offers. With its fast maximum aperture, the lens would be an interesting choice for portraiture type work. Of course you still need to deal with manual focusing, and this might be the only drawback to some users.


Sample Images