Last year Leica announced the SL System, a full-frame mirrorless camera that was well received by press and photographers alike, and with the promise of bringing some serious glass to the series. Leica is finally putting out some new glass to take advantage of the SL’s EyeRes electronic viewfinder technology and 24-megapixel full-frame sensor, and is expanding its current lens options. During Photokina 2016 Leica announced a prime lens for the SL, the Leica Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH, as well as its 2017 roadmap featuring three additional primes and an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens.
The Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH will be the first SL prime lens available and features a bright f/1.4 maximum aperture that’s designed to deliver a shallow depth of field, and sharp results even in challenging lighting conditions.
According to Leica, the 50mm’s motorized internal autofocusing system is fast, precise, and reliable. The lens features 11 glass elements, two aspherical elements, and four glass elements designed to cut monochromatic and chromatic aberrations, ghosting, and flaring below a just-noticeable threshold. The lens is meant to be shot wide-open and combines the lens’ resolving power with its soft bokeh to create aesthetically pleasing separation without sacrificing sharpness or contrast throughout the focal range of the lens.
Besides the 50mm, Leica announced the SL lens roadmap through next year and into 2018. There will be three upcoming prime lenses: the Leica APO-Summicron-SL 75mm f/2 ASPH, Leica APO-Summicron-SL 90mm f/2 ASPH, and the Leica Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 ASPH.
There will also be an ultra-wide-angle Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH zoom lens. With its weather-sealed construction, the 16-35 mm targets professionals who require the added ruggedness of a lens that can handle work out in the field. The wide zoom range would be ideal for everyone from landscape and architecture photographers to photojournalists who need everything from a wide shot to the classic 35mm focal length.
In addition to the lenses, Leica also introduced a new multifunction handgrip, the Leica SL Multifunctional Handgrip HG-SCL4. The HG-SCL4 includes an extra shutter button, two command dials, and a joystick to easily control all the functions of the SL while making it far more comfortable to handhold when shooting portraits. The grip also has space for an extra battery.
The HG-SCL4 is available now. The Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH will launch in January 2017 and will be followed by the Leica APO-Summicron-SL 75mm f/2 ASPH in summer 2017. The launch dates of the Leica APO-Summicron-SL 90mm f/2 ASPH and the Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH are scheduled for autumn and winter 2017 respectively. The Leica Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 ASPH will appear in spring 2018.
Leica has not released pricing info yet, but both B&H and Adorama are listing the 50mm lens for $5,295 and the handgrip for $850.