Leica’s latest SL system lens promises high-end images — if you can afford it

Leica’s SL-System and the L-mount family just gained a new member. On Thursday, February 28, Leica unveiled the APO-Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 ASPH lens, a high-end L-mount prime lens.

The company says the lens is designed for exceptional image quality. The construction of the lens focuses on minimizing reflections and stray light, using coatings on each lens piece. Leica says the lens offers high contrast and sharpness even to the corners. The lens is designed from 13 lenses in 11 groups, with an aperture range from f/2 to f/22.

With a Dual Synco Drive, the autofocus system locks on quickly, moving through the focus range in 250 milliseconds, Leica says. The system uses two focus motors moving together. That autofocus motor is the same one that’s used across the Summicron-SL line. 

The manual focus ring uses a unique design involving magnetization. The lenses uses a sensor to monitor where the magnetic ring is to adjust the focus, while still matching the speed and rotation of the lens ring. Leica says the design allows for better weather-sealing and enhances the lifespan of the lens.

Like others in the Summicron-SL series, the Leica APO-Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 ASPH uses seals to lock out dust and moisture. The front of the lens also uses a moisture-resistant coating. The company says the lens can be used in almost any weather condition.

The lens weighs around 26 ounces and, length-wise, will take up about four inches inside a camera bag. The front of the lens accepts E67 filters.

The new wide angle prime lens joins the Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH, the APO-Summicron-SL 75 f/2 ASPH, and the APO-Summicron-SL 90 f/2 ASPH in Leica’s list of high-end L-mount prime lenses. An APO-Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 ASPH is also expected out this year. While Leica’s L-mount has been around for a while, the lenses are also now compatible with cameras like the Panasonic S1 and S1R, thanks to the new L-Mount Alliance. Because of Leica’s longer history with the L-mount, the company has the most available lenses, but Sigma is also expected to launch compatible lenses soon.

The Leica APO-Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 ASPH is expected to launch in mid-April. The lens will retail for $4,595 at Leica Stores, boutiques, and dealers.

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