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Beauty in Red: Leica unveils its first special edition lens

Leica’s special edition options that the luxury camera brand is known for have now been extended to lenses. Announced today, the limited edition lens wraps up the quality of the Leica APO-Summicron M 50mm f/2 ASPH lens in a red anodized finish.

The lens is the company’s first lens to receive the special edition designation. As a special edition with a limited production run, the lenses will sell for $8,950 each. The eye-catching red finish is accompanied by a matching lens cap. Leica is also pairing the pricey new lens with a gray cowhide lens case. And the lens wears its assembled-by-hand heritage proudly with a “Made in Germany” engraving.

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While the exterior of the lens looks drastically different thanks to that red color, the lens’ innards remain unchanged from the black and silver versions of what Leica says is the lens that sets the standard for 50mm options.

Designed with eight lens elements, the lens sports a bright f/2 aperture. Three of those glass pieces are designed to reduce chromatic aberration, or purple fringing in high contrast areas, and another two are dedicated to a high refractive index to achieve a sharp image. A floating lens element allows the lens to maintain a sharp focus even at close distances, Leica says.

According to the manufacturer, the standard versions of the M-mount 50mm lenses are known for the sharp detail and high contrast they create. The M-mount lens was first crafted in 1954 and Leica continues to design camera bodies with the same mount size, allowing the red lens to be used with a number of different bodies.

Getting that level of performance in a red wrapper will cost Leica’s users, however — the lens retails for $1,200 more than the standard black and nearly a grand more than the silver option. Users who fancy the red color (or potential resale value as a limited edition), will be interested to know that the company is limiting production of the lens to only 100 units worldwide.