Peter Karbe Intros APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH

Peter Karbe, lens designer and head of optics at Leica introduces 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.