In addition to the official announcement of the Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH, Leica today also released a lens roadmap for the next 12-18 month, showing four primes and one zoom. If you read the official press release below, it sounds like the three f/2 Summicron SL primes are going to be incredible, with truly outstanding optical performance. Likewise, the 16-35mm f/3.5-4.5 ultra-wide zoom should set a new standard, especially when you look at the prime-lens performance from the existing 24-90 and 90-280.
I'm sure some will be disappointed that Leica isn't fleshing out the SL line-up with wall-to-wall Summiluxes. And, I'm fairly certain there will be some wondering why the 16-35 doesn't offer a constant f/2.8 aperture like Nikon and Canon equivalents. I'm curious about these decisions as well, and hope to get some answers over the next few days here at Photokina. I will be speaking with Stephan Schulz, the Global Director of Professional and a will find out where he sees the SL System headed.
NEW LENSES EXPAND THE LEICA SL-SYSTEM
The mirrorless Leica SL-System successfully launched in October 2015 underlines the positioning of Leica Camera AG as a premium-segment provider of professional tools and services for all areas of photography. Its impressive electronic viewfinder features EyeRes technology, a concept developed by Leica especially for this camera. With a latency time below the threshold of perception, an impressive resolution of 4.4 million pixels and magnification reminiscent of a medium format camera, this electronic viewfinder offers an entirely new visual experience Whether shooting still pictures or Cine 4K video, the 24 MP resolution of the camera’s full-frame sensor makes no compromises in terms of imaging quality. At the same time, the Leica SL sets entirely new standards with its intuitive handling concept, logically positioned, individually configurable controls and outstanding versatility. Reasons enough for the top ratings and outstanding reviews the dust and spray sealed camera received not only from its users, but also from specialist photographic and technical media around the world.
In perfect time for photokina 2016, Leica Camera AG now provides an outlook on the coming lens line-up for the innovative camera system. Within the next eighteen months, Leica SL photographers can look forward to the expansion of the SL-System lens portfolio by an ultra-wide zoom and four prime lenses, granting a whole range of new usage scenarios.
The Leica Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH. is the first prime lens for the Leica SL-System and sets a new standard on the market. Its large maximum aperture makes the high-performance lens the ideal partner in situations with challenging lighting conditions and enables the use of shallow depth of focus as a creative tool. Fast, precise and reliable autofocusing guarantee that photographers can concentrate fully on composition and creativity rather than on the search for optimum sharpness. The imaging performance of the lens fulfils the most stringent standards. Particularly when shooting at maximum aperture, the combination of its resolving power and soft bokeh in unsharp areas clearly isolates subjects from their surroundings. Thanks to uniform contrast rendition throughout the focusing range, this applies at all distance settings.
Leica employs the latest manufacturing methods, testing technologies and quality assurance measures in the construction of the three other primes, the Leica APO-Summicron-SL 75 mm f/2 ASPH., Leica APO-Summicron-SL 90 mm f/2 ASPH.and the Leica Summicron-SL 35 mm f/2 ASPH. Both their construction and their design clearly illustrate the next step in the development of lenses for the Leica SL-System. The result is reflected not only in more compact dimensions, but also in the significantly lower weight of the lenses. The already exceptional performance of the lenses already available for the Leica SL has actually been surpassed, not only in terms of resolution, colour and contrast rendition, but also in the homogeneous centre-to-edge sharpness at all aperture settings. A further new highlight is a significantly shorter closest focusing distance that lets photographers get closer to their subjects. The fast maximum aperture enables their use in challenging lighting conditions, whereby the lenses already deliver perfect imaging performance when shooting wide open. With the Leica APO-Summicron-SL 75 mm f/2 ASPH., Leica APO-Summicron-SL 90 mm f/2 ASPH., and the Leica Summicron-SL 35 mm f/2 ASPH., stopping down becomes merely a useful tool for creative photography.
The Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35 mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH. ultra-wide zoom rounds off the currently available range of two zoom lenses and offers a zoom range ideal for a diversity of uses ranging from landscape and architectural photography, wedding, event, and concert photography to reportage and documentation. In addition to its typically high quality and imaging performance, the spray and dust sealed construction of this zoom lens make it an ideal companion in unfavourable conditions.
The Leica Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH. will be launched in January 2017 and will be followed by the Leica APO-Summicron-SL 75 mm f/2 ASPH. in summer 2017. The launch dates of the Leica APO-Summicron-SL 90 mm f/2 ASPH. and the Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35 mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH. are respectively scheduled for autumn and winter 2017. The Leica Summicron-SL 35 mm f/2 ASPH. will then appear in spring 2018.
The Leica SL and Leica T share the L-Bayonet, which means that both systems can use each other’s lenses without the need for an adapter. The Leica SL thus enjoys the advantages offered by the currently available range of six TL-Lenses: the Summilux-TL 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH., the Leica Vario-Elmar-TL 18–56 mm f/3.5–5.6 ASPH., the Leica Summicron-TL 23 mm f/2 ASPH., the Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-TL 11–23 mm f/3.5–4.5 ASPH., the Leica APO-Vario-Elmar-TL 55–135 mm f/3.5–4.5 ASPH. and the new Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 60 mm f/2.8 ASPH. With this, Leica once again underlines the company’s fundamental principles of system-compatibility and sustainability, and offers users access to an even more diverse portfolio of Leica products.
A wide range of dedicated Leica adapters also allows the use of the Leica SL with the medium format lenses of the Leica S-System, the legacy lenses of the analogue Leica R-System, and the legendary precision lenses for the Leica M rangefinder system. The exceptional compatibility of the Leica SL-System thus grants photographers access to almost all Leica lenses ever made. Further adapters from third party providers allow a wide range of other brand lenses to be mounted on the bayonet of the Leica SL.
Also new, and available from today, is the new handgrip for the Leica SL. The handgrip makes camera handling more comfortable in portrait format orientation and features a shutter release button, two control dials and a joystick controler that enable access to all essential functions of the Leica SL. The handgrip also offers storage space for an extra camera battery that considerably extends the time available for photography before batteries need to be replaced or recharged.