The Leica 28mm f2 APO-Summicron-SL ASPH will run you around $5,195 and is making a huge claim.
Before writing this article, I spent some time researching the big claim Leica is making in the press release. Today, they’re announcing the Leica 28mm f2 APO-Summicron-SL ASPH for the L mount. It’s been a long time coming, but we expected it. It’s the widest prime that they make for the system. And like all things Leica, it’s expensive. In fact, it’s going to cost you $5,195. We can expect that with a Leica lens in terms of image quality. The SL system is also incredibly well weather-sealed. The cameras are IP rated, and the lenses can hold their own with the cameras. But what’s sort of shocking us is their big claim in the press release.
Leica 28mm f2 APO-Summicron-SL ASPH Tech Specs
- 28mm f2
- L mount
- 13 elements in 10 groups
- 0.24m minimum focusing
- 6 aspherical elements
- 67mm filter thread means this lens won’t be that large
- 102mm long without the lens hood
- 700 grams without the lens hood. That’s around 2x as heavy as a can of soup and 1 and 1/10ths as heavy as a basketball.
The Big Claim
I adore the look that Leica lenses give me. But the autofocus of the entire L mount alliance has always driven me bonkers. And in Leica’s press release, there’s a whole section dedicated just to their autofocus and the focusing. Here’s the section we’re talking about:
“The autofocus drive of all APO-Summicron-SL lenses utilizes extremely robust and high-performance stepping motors with DSD® (Dual Syncro Drive™). This enables the AF to travel the entire focusing range in around 250 milliseconds. Leica Camera also takes an innovative approach to manual focusing technology, including an entirely new manual focus ring construction in the form of an embedded ring magnet with alternating north-south polarization. When the ring is turned, the magnetic field changes its polarity. A sensor monitors the status of the magnetic field and sends the data to the main processor. The drive then shifts the lens to the corresponding focusing position based on the angle of rotation and the rotational speed, delivering even faster and more precise manual focusing to match the lens’s quick and accurate autofocus.”
250 milliseconds! That’s pretty fast. Admittedly, I did a good 10 minutes of research looking up competing products. There really isn’t a lot. No one has done official timing tests of Sony’s 28mm f2. And the Nikon 28mm f1.4 for F mount wasn’t measured either. This means that the Leica 28mm f2 APO-Summicron-SL ASPH can focus from minimum focus to infinity in no time flat. If it has that potential, then I’m thrilled. But I’ll be even more thrilled when the autofocus is at least a bit smarter. Sometimes it’s told us that a face is in focus, but it wasn’t totally in focus. The system is still a bit odd to work with for sure. But Leica has promised firmware updates to fix that in the future. If those come soon, and you bundle that with incredible durability, this will probably make more sense.
The real test of this lens, I think, is going to come with the Panasonic S5. At the moment of writing this, it’s the fastest camera within the L mount alliance. It’s also had a whole lot of improvements. Plus, it’s the lightest of the bunch. I mean, why wouldn’t you pair a lightweight camera with a lightweight lens? What’s more, said lightweight lens is very well built. Of course, the Leica SL2S isn’t all that much of a slouch either. In my review, I still rate that camera a bit behind Fujifilm.