Leica launches their new 24-70mm f/2.8 L and it looks like a rehoused Sigma Art lens

May 6, 2021

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 launches their new 24-70mm f/2.8 L and it looks like a rehoused Sigma Art lens

May 6, 2021

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 now officially unveiled the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 ASPH lens and, well… it looks like it’s basically the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art lens in a different housing. The specs of the two lenses are virtually identical, except the one with Leica written on it is more than two and a half times the price at $2,795.

The number of elements, groups, minimum focus distance, magnification factor, everything is basically the same. The only real difference seems to be that the Leica uses a metal housing instead of Sigma’s carbon-composite housing.  What other changes there may be internally are unknown. But it almost certainly seems to be using Sigma’s optics.

The obvious advantage, and so far the only known advantage, of the Leica over the Sigma, is the durability that comes with a metal housing. Beyond that, though, I’m not sure what the extra $1,696 gets you in the $2,795 Leica over the $1,099 Sigma. Here are the specs for the two lenses side-by-side.

Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 ASPHSigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art
Focal length24-70mm24-70mm
Max aperturef/2.8f/2.8
Min aperturef/22f/22
Lens mountLeica LLeica L / Sony E
FormatFull-frameFull-frame
Angle of view82.3-35.3°84.1-34.3°
Minimum focus distance18cm18cm
Max magnification1:2.9 (0.34x)1:2.9 (0.34x)
Optics19 elements in 15 groups19 elements in 15 groups
FocusAutofocusAutofocus
StabilisationNoneNone
Filter size82mm (front)82mm (front)
Dimensions88 x 123mm87.8 x 122.9mm
Weight856g835g
Price$2,795$1,099

Other than the exterior dimensions and weight (for which there’s very little in it between the two) the only slight difference is the field of view. This, too, however, is close enough that it won’t really make any difference in the real world. It is possible that the electronics and motors inside the Leica lens provide faster and/or more accurate autofocus, although the Sigma is no slouch on L mount, from what I’ve been told by friends who own one.

Is it a metal housing really worth more than two and a half times the price for what is effectively the same lens?

I’d be very curious to see how the image quality of this compares to the Sigma once it becomes available and I’d definitely be keen to see how the performance stacks up on L mount bodies from Leica, Sigma and Panasonic.

The Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 ASPH lens is available to pre-order now for $2,795 and is expected to start shipping in the next few weeks.

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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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3 responses to “Leica launches their new 24-70mm f/2.8 L and it looks like a rehoused Sigma Art lens”

  1. Paul Monaghan Avatar
    Paul Monaghan

    I always wanted to try a Leica lens… now I might actually have one? ?.

  2. g_discus Avatar
    g_discus

    Yes, it is

  3. Vavinov Alex Avatar
    Vavinov Alex

    The only “metal housing” difference is between zoom and focus ring, where Sigma has plastic with MF/AF switch, Lock and AFL function button.