Leica launches 45mm f/2.8 S-mount prime lens, lightweight carbon tripod and ball heads


posted Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 2:53 PM EST


Photographers shooting with the Leica S-system today have a new lens option to choose from, taking the total number of S-mount optics offered to eight. Like all but one of the existing Leica S lenses -- and in keeping with the medium format mount's focus on image quality -- the new lens is a prime.

The Leica Elmarit-S 45mm f/2.8 Asph. (CS) lens slots into the lineup between the existing 35mm and 70mm optics. After taking into account sensor size, its actual focal length of 45mm equates to a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 36mm. Its optical formula consists of twelve elements in nine groups, with three of these being crafted from anomalous partial dispersion glass, two using high refractive-index glass, and one -- the rearmost element -- being an aspheric. Focusing is achieved with the rear group, and the lens can focus as close as two feet (0.6m).


Two variants are offered -- one with a central shutter, capable of flash sync at 1/1000 second, and the other without a central shutter for 1/125 second sync. Weights is 36.3 ounces (1030g) without a central shutter, or 39.2 ounces (1110g) with one. Dimensions are 5.4 inches (136mm) long with a diameter of 3.5 inches (88mm), excluding the lens hood. 82mm filters are accepted, and a lens hood is included in the bundle. Leica is claiming monochromatic abberation to be "virtually nonexistent", and chromatic abberation is said to have been "reduced to an absolute minimum". The company says its new optic is ideally suited to landscape and architectural photography, as well as studio work.

Alongside the new lens, Leica has also revealed a lightweight, 2.64-pound carbon tripod and two new ball heads. The tripod folds to surround the ball head when collapsed, and will be compatible with an optional Cordura shoulder bag. The Leica 24mm and 38mm ball heads are designed to take the load of a camera such as the Leica M rangefinder with a light lens. The smaller of the two heads weighs just 4.8 ounces. Weight isn't stated for the larger head, but it adds a tilt button which locks and prevents motion in all but the vertical axis when depressed. There's also a 15-degree Stop button and selectable click-detent option which allow capture of panoramic image series with precise, 15-degree increments between images.


Pricing for these new products hasn't been disclosed, but the Leica Elmarit-S 45mm lens is available immediately, while the tripod and ball heads will follow from November. More details on Leica's website.