Fast and wide L-Mount prime: Leica launches APO-Summicron-SL 28 f/2 ASPH lens
posted Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 11:30 AM EST
Leica has announced a new L-Mount lens, the APO-Summicron-SL 28 f/2 ASPH. The new lens joins the existing APO-Summicron-SL primes available in 35mm, 50mm, 75mm, and 90mm focal lengths, making the just-announced lens the widest in its series. Leica states that the APO-Summicron-SL 28 f/2 is suitable for reportage, interior, and architectural work thanks to its focal length and fast maximum aperture. As an L-Mount lens, the optic is compatible with cameras such as the Panasonic S series and Leica's SL and SL2 cameras.
Leica promises maximum optical performance even when shooting wide open at f/2, making it the case that 'reducing the aperture is only necessary for compositional and creative purposes.' In addition to soft transitions from in-focus to out-of-focus areas, Leica promises that the APO-Summicron-SL 28 f/2 ASPH produces images with strong contrast, edge-to-edge sharpness, and minimum distortion.
In total, the lens incorporates 13 elements in 10 groups. The lens includes an unusually high number of aspherical surfaces, six in total. The lens is more distinct due to its apochromatic correction, hence the 'APO' in its name. It's notable for a lens this wide to include apochromatic correction. What this ultimately means for the user is superior correction of chromatic and spherical aberration. The elements in the APO-Summicron-SL 28 f/2 ASPH are organized such that different wavelengths of light are brought to a common point of focus, thereby greatly reducing or outright eliminating issues of color fringing and chromatic aberration. Of course, real-world testing will be required to evaluate Leica's latest lens to see if it truly lives up to its 'APO' billing. Leica's APO lenses have been well-received, so we have high expectations for its newest prime.
Considering autofocus performance, the APO-Summicron-SL 28 f/2 ASPH lens includes stepping motors with Leica's Dual Syncro Drive (DSD) to enable fast autofocus performance. The lens racks through its entire focusing range in about 250 milliseconds, per Leica. With respect to manual focus, the lens incorporates an entirely new focus ring construction with an embedded ring magnet with alternating north-south polarization. When the ring is turned, the magnetic field changes polarity. There is an internal sensor that monitors the magnetic field and sends accompanying data to the main processor. A drive shifts the lens to the corresponding focusing position based on the angle of rotation, and rotational speed, which Leica promises delivers 'faster and more precise manual focusing.' The lens has a minimum focus distance of 9.45" (0.24m), resulting in a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.
In terms of physical construction, the lens is approximately 4" (102mm) in length without its lens hood. Its maximum diameter is 2.9" (73mm) without the lens hood and 4.1" (105mm) with the hood attached. The lens weighs 24.7 oz. (700g) without its hood and 26.5 oz. (750g) with the hood. The lens has a 67mm filter thread. Leica states that the lens 'is extremely durable' and can be used in 'nearly any weather condition without any cause for concern.' To this end, the lens is sealed against dust, moisture, and water spray. The exposed lens surface includes Aquadura coating as well.
The Leica APO-Summicron-SL 28 f/2 ASPH lens is available now at authorized Leica dealers, including Leica's stores and boutiques. The price is $5,195 USD. For additional information, visit Leica.
If you'd like to see sample images, Leica published a story, 'Lens of Tokyo,' with photographer Akihiko Nagumo. He shot with the Leica SL2-S and the new APO-Summicron-SL 28 f/2 ASPH lens. Additional sample images are also available here.