The Phoblographer’s Guide to the Wonderful Leica SL Prime Lenses

At The Phoblographer, we work diligently to produce the most lens reviews of any independent photo publication. Our small team takes the lenses into the field to put them to the test. We use them the way passionate photographers would. And we take our passions seriously. With so much interest in the Leica SL system, we dove into our Reviews Index to lend a bit of guidance. Are you ready to make the Leica commitment so many of history’s best photojournalists have? Then take a look at this guide to Leica SL Prime Lenses.

This piece is presented in partnership with Leica. We’ve independently and ethically reviewed all the lenses in this roundup already without sponsorship. And we worked with them to recommend a few key gems to you. The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product.

Nomenclature for Leica SL Prime Lenses and Understanding Them

Some things about Leica SL lenses might not be very clear. So here are a few things worth explaining to you folks quickly:

  • Summicron: Leica’s designation for a lens being an f2 maximum aperture
  • SL: Meaning the lens is designed for full-frame L-mount cameras
  • ASPH: Aspherical lens elements
  • APO: Apochromatic design

Pro Tips on Using Leica SL Prime Lenses

Here’s what you need to know about Leica SL lenses:

  • All Leica SL lenses are for L Mount. They work with any Leica L-Mount camera and any Leica TL camera. 
  • All Leica SL lenses are weather-sealed. And they’ve done a great job with that too!
  • These lenses have a metal exterior, so they’re durable enough to handle lots of abuse.
  • Leica SL lenses are all autofocus. You can zone focus with them, but they’re not going to work the same as Leica M-mount lenses.
  • Leica sticks with their classical focal lengths when it comes to prime lenses.
  • Pretty much the entire f2 prime lens range are the same size. 
  • On the Leica SL2, the Leica SL Prime Lenses will render their sharpest images because of the resolution of the sensor.
  • On the Leica SL2-S, the Leica SL Prime Lenses will focus faster and help passionate photographers in low-light situations better.

Leica 28mm f2 APO-Summicron SL ASPH

In our review, we state:

“What’s to hate about the Leica 28mm f2 Summicron SL’s image quality? Honestly, nothing. Leica’s colors are always outstanding. The bokeh from this lens is beautiful and surely has a bit of character. On top of that, it’s an incredibly sharp lens.”

Essential Tech Specs

  • Fast wide-angle lens with f2 aperture
  • Excellent optical performance
  • Extremely fast and reliable autofocus with Dual Synchro Drive
  • Close-focusing down to 0.24m
  • Same dimensions and filter size as all APO-Summicron-SL lenses
  • L-mount

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Leica 35mm f2 APO-Summicron SL ASPH

In our review, we state:

One of the best things about this lens is the color it can produce. It’s truly stunning. In my tests, I felt I got better colors straight from the Leica SL2s’s RAW files in Capture One. That’s pretty much in line with what I find with every camera system, though.

Essential Tech Specs

  • High performance in a handy format
  • Classic reportage focal length
  • Quick and quiet focusing thanks to precision autofocus system with Dual Syncro Drive TM
  • Precise production “Made in Germany” under the highest quality standards
  • Reflection and scattered light optimization through high quality coating and optimized frame geometry
  • AquaDura ® coating for dust and spray protection for use in everyday photography under extreme conditions
  • The eye detection enables sharp, pinpoint portraits, even with very shallow depth of field
  • L-mount bayonet

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Leica 50mm f2 APO-Summicron SL ASPH

In our review, we state:

“While it’s not the brightest nifty fifty for L mount shooters, the Leica 50mm f2 SL still delivers beautiful bokeh, solid contrast, and minimal distortion. The lens offers an ideal balance of the things modern photographers are looking for without eliminating the potential for a bit of character. The lens mixes minimal distortion and good sharpness with the potential for some flare.”

Essential Tech Specs

  • High performance in a handy format
  • New dimension of visual aesthetics
  • Versatile standard focal length extends the lens portfolio of the Leica SL and other L-mount systems
  • Quick and quiet focusing thanks to precision autofocus system with Dual Syncro Drive TM
  • Precise production “Made in Germany” under the highest quality standards
  • Reflection and scattered light optimization through high quality coating and optimized frame geometry
  • AquaDura ® coating for dust and spray protection for use in everyday photography under extreme conditions

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Leica 50mm f1.4 APO-Summicron SL ASPH

In our review, we state:

“The image quality from the Leica SL 50mm f1.4 Summilux is arguably the best thing about the lens. Despite its big and heavy build mixed with slow focusing, it’s got incredibly image quality. The bokeh is gorgeous. Further, we couldn’t find a single problem with fringing or distortion. So, in post-production, that means you can focus less on the flaws and more on the images. Then there are the gorgeous colors and the sharpness that is better realized on higher megapixel camera bodies.”

Essential Tech Specs

  • Powerful high-performance lens
  • Creative use of sharpness and blurring
  • Fast and quiet focusing
  • Sealed against dust and splashes of water
  • Leica Aqua-Dura coating effectively protects the outer glass surfaces from dirt and scratches
  • Elaborate coating of all lens surfaces effectively minimizes reflections and stray light
  • L-mount bayonet

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Leica 75mm f2 APO-Summicron SL ASPH

In our review, we state:

“The Leica 75mm f2 SL has SPECTACULAR image quality. Part of this is because of just how versatile this lens is. However, there’s a lot to really like about the Leica 75mm f2 SL. It’s sharp, got nice bokeh and really beautiful colors, and there are no optical issues with it. Best of all, it’s an odd focal length. So, it means you’re working in a different way. But at the same time, it’s not that unusual of an optic.”

Essential Tech Specs

  • High performance in a handy format
  • Quick and quiet focusing thanks to precision autofocus system with Dual Syncro Drive TM
  • Precise production “Made in Germany” under the highest quality standards
  • Reflection and scattered light optimization through high quality coating and optimized frame geometry
  • AquaDura ® coating for dust and spray protection for use in everyday photography under extreme conditions
  • The eye detection enables sharp, pinpoint portraits, even with very shallow depth of field
  • The high detail contrast in combination with the maximum magnification of 1: 5 provides impressive images
  • L-mount bayonet

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Leica 90mm f2 APO-Summicron SL ASPH

In our review, we state:

“Optically speaking, there isn’t much to say about the Leica 90mm f2 SL besides the fact that it’s pretty perfect. It’s got colors you’re going to love. And that bokeh? Oh, man! You’ll almost feel like you’re shooting with a 135mm lens instead! It’s also sharp without being too sharp.”

Essential Tech Specs

  • High performance in a handy format
  • Quick and quiet focusing thanks to precision autofocus system with Dual Syncro Drive TM
  • Precise production “Made in Germany” under the highest quality standards
  • Reflection and scattered light optimization through high quality coating and optimized frame geometry
  • AquaDura ® coating for dust and spray protection for use in everyday photography under extreme conditions
  • The eye detection enables sharp, pinpoint portraits, even with very shallow depth of field
  • The high detail contrast in combination with the maximum magnification of 1: 5 provides impressive images
  • L-mount bayonet

Buy Now

This piece is presented in partnership with Leica. We’ve independently and ethically reviewed all the lenses in this roundup already without sponsorship. And we worked with them to recommend a few key gems to you. The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.