Leica announces two new lightweight 35mm and 50mm f/2 Summicron lenses for L mount

Feb 12, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Leica announces two new lightweight 35mm and 50mm f/2 Summicron lenses for L mount

Feb 12, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Leica has announced two new lightweight Summicron-SL lenses for Leica L mount at 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/2. You might be wondering why Leica’s announcing two new 35mm and 50mm f/2 lenses when they already have the Leica APO-Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/2. But when you compare those to the two new lenses, the size and weight saving, not to mention the massive cost saving, make it quite obvious.

The new Leica Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 and Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 lenses are significantly smaller and lighter than their APO counterparts. In fact, both of the new lenses share identical dimensions, making it easier for video shooters to swap between them without having to rebalance gimbals, etc. They also cost less than half of the APO versions, making them a financially viable option for a lot more L mount photographers.

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Leica Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 ASPH. Lens

Both lenses share a number of elements, such as their maximum aperture and overall exterior design. Both lenses measure 74.5 x 83mm, both take a 67mm filter thread, one (the 35mm) weighs 400g while the other weights a very similar 402g. But there are obvious differences between the two. Starting with the focal length. The 35mm f/2 provides a nice wide angle, ideal for a lot of things such as street photography, weddings and events, or as a general walkabout lens when travelling.

One of the reasons for the light weight of this lens is the lack of optical stabilisation. Of course, the APO-Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 also doesn’t have stabilisation and that beast weighs a whopping 750g, almost twice as much. The 13 elements in 11 groups have also shrunk down to 11 elements in 9 groups, providing a minimum focus distance of only 24cm.

LensSummicron-SL 35mm f/2 ASPHAPO-Summicron-SL 35 mm f/2 ASPH
MountL MountL Mount
FormatFull FrameFull Frame
Focal length35mm35mm
Max aperturef/2f/2
Min aperturef/22f/22
Optics11 elements in 9 groups13 elements in 11 groups
Minimum focus distance24cm27cm
Angle of View63°63.4°
Diaphragm BladesUnspecified11
Filter size67mm67mm
StabilisationNoneNone
Dimensions74.5 x 83mm73 x 102mm
Weight400g740g
Price$2,195$5,195

Leica Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 ASPH. Lens

While retaining many of the qualities of the Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 ASPH, the 50mm f/2 presents a more “standard” field of view common to all full-frame cameras. The versatility of a 50mm lens is well-known, and this new addition offers L mount shooters – whether they be Leica, Sigma or Panasonic – another option at that range. But it features the same internal focusing as the 35mm f/2, along with the same dimension and design.

Leica says that this lens and the 35mm both offer excellent sharpness across all f-stops and throughout the focusing range from minimum focus distance all the way to infinity. The compact design of this, like the 35mm, is also attributed to the lack of stabilisation but again, the APO-Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 didn’t have it either and weighs almost twice as much. So, yeah.

LensSummicron-SL 50 mm f/2 ASPHAPO-Summicron-SL 50 mm f/2 ASPH
MountL MountL Mount
FormatFull FrameFull Frame
Focal length50mm50mm
Max aperturef/2f/2
Min aperturef/22f/22
Optics9 Elements in 8 Groups12 elements in 10 groups
Minimum focus distance45cm35cm
Angle of View47.4°47.2°
Diaphragm BladesUnspecified
11
Filter size67mm67mm
StabilisationNoneNone
Dimensions74.5 x 83mm73 x 102mm
Weight402g740g
Price$1,895$5,095

As you can see in the comparison tables above, there’s a massive price difference between the older APO-Summilux-SL and the new Summilux-SL lenses. It will be interesting to see how the lenses compare once they start getting into the hands of more people. Is there a noticeable difference between the two pairs of lenses in terms of image quality and handling? Or has Leica finally realised that they need to set somewhat more realistic prices to appeal to the masses?

The Leica Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 ASPH is available to pre-order now for $2,195. The Leica Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 ASPC is available to pre-order now for $1,895. Both lenses are expected to start shipping any day.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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