Leica has launched the APO-Summicron-SL 50mm f/2, a full-frame L-mount lens that prices $four,495. Panasonic, a member of the L-mount Alliance, additionally has a 50mm lens accessible for the system — with a sooner f/1.four aperture and cheaper price of $2,300. We’ve used it, and it’s a fantastically sharp lens. So why purchase the Leica? As a result of it’s a Leica.
Leica has at all times been the king of overpriced understatement, particularly with the SL sequence. Proudly owning a Leica digital camera is a manner of speaking to pictures nerds that you’ve got subtle style and doubtless some huge cash, however any non-photographer will cross you by with out even noticing. The APO-Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 matches that mildew, with a refined black exterior free from any buttons or dials, save the focusing ring. There isn’t even focus distance scale; the one labeling is a gold “50” on the outside and the standard title and specs encircling the entrance aspect.
Because of the f/2 aperture, it’s additionally comparatively small, measuring a hair over four inches lengthy and simply 2.eight inches vast. It weighs 1.6 kilos; hardly a light-weight, however actually lower than the two.1-pound Panasonic S Professional 50mm f/1.four talked about above. This can be a premium lens that really appears to be like prefer it was constructed for a mirrorless system, bucking the considerably unusual pattern of producers introducing monstrously massive lenses for these compact cameras.
That’s to not say this new Leica lens received’t even have some technical benefits. APO stands for apochromatic, which means the lens is designed to right chromatic aberration in all three shade channels, focusing crimson, inexperienced, and blue mild to the identical level — one of many largest challenges in optics. The 50mm f/2 makes use of three aspherical parts to perform this aim. Assuming the lens holds as much as its claims, that ought to imply sharper, extra true-to-life pictures with out coloured fringing round high-contrast edges, rendering particulars in issues like textiles and hair very clearly.
However many fashionable lenses, with or with out an APO designation, have gotten excellent at suppressing chromatic aberration (the $1,400 Sigma 40mm F1.four Artwork, additionally accessible for the L-mount, is an effective instance). Add in digital correction, and the issue turns into even lesser.
All of this leaves us proper again the place we began: The APO-Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 might be a superb lens, however its actual worth is within the Leica title. And that’s OK. It’s not just like the SL sequence wasn’t already prohibitively costly for all however a small area of interest of photographers. And if $four,495 isn’t wealthy sufficient in your blood, there’s at all times the.