The Best First Lenses for the Leica SL System


Leica: the name alone can evoke feelings of lust to a photographer who’s held their products. A unique tactile experience, Leica cameras feel like a beautifully machined piece of kit. Coupled with their lenses, they’ll deliver photos you’d never see with other camera systems. In the past few years, the Leica SL system has made the brand a more practical choice for photographers who do serious work. In fact, we use them fairly often here on the site. That’s why we’re rounding up the best first lenses for the Leica SL system.

The Phobographer’s Various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

How We Chose the Best First Lenses for the Leica SL System

Here’s some insight into how we chose the best first lenses for the Leica SL system:

  • Our Editorial Policies don’t allow us to discuss products in roundups we haven’t fully reviewed. So, know that we’ve done thorough and extensive testing on these products. What’s more, we shot all product photos and sample images in this roundup.
  • The Leica SL2-S is meant for speed and candid captures. We think it will do great with lenses that help achieve that. The Leica APO-Summicron-SL 28mm f2 ASPH, for example, is the fastest focusing lens they make. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best prime lenses for the Leica SL2-S.
  • Looking for more resolution? Well, the Leica SL2 is designed for that. We’ve printed ISO 6400 photo at 17×22 inches and found a shocking amount of detail in the prints.
  • Leica trusted us with this piece. This is an officially backed, sponsored article done on behalf of Leica. Indeed, we’ve tested every single Leica SL lens and you can see them all in our guide right here.
  • Wondering why Leica has so many f2 primes? It’s because of the special technology inside that they don’t mention enough. These lenses have apochromatic lens elements that make the subject in focus really pop from the background. On top of that, these lenses are designed to work with a camera that has IP-rated durability.
  • Our Editor in Chief owns the Leica SL2-S and uses it as his main camera most of the time. Its durability helps him shoot in some really tough environments.

Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35mm f3.5-4.5 ASPH

At a Glance

  • Lots of beautiful lens character. It doesn’t feel sterile at all!
  • Built like a prime, pretty much
  • Fairly fast autofocus
  • Great build quality

What We Think

In our review, we state:

The Leica 16-35mm f3.5-4.5 SL is a lens with a ton of fantastic character and versatility. It’s weather-resistant, focuses pretty fast, and simply works. But it’s kind of heavy. To be fair, I don’t like a lot of zoom lenses. However, Leica did their best to make this feel like a prime. And ultimately, it does. I wish it had a constant aperture, but I’ll gladly sacrifice that for durability.

Buy Now at the Leica Camera Store.

Leica APO-Summicron-SL 28mm f2 ASPH

At a Glance

  • The fastest autofocusing Leica lens we’ve used to date
  • Great colors
  • Keeps distortion down
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Does a nice job with portraiture

What We Think

In our review, we state:

This is where I was most surprised. The Leica 28mm f2 Summicron SL was claimed to have some incredibly fast focusing speeds in the press release. And luckily, Leica held true to their claims. Leica went as far as saying that it could travel the entire focusing range in 250 milliseconds. While we didn’t specifically clock that, it’s surely impressive. And the Leica 28mm f2 has to be one of the fastest focusing L mount lenses available. Slow autofocus was a big complaint of ours for a while, but Leica has addressed it. We assume this was done with a major motor upgrade. And if that’s the case, Leica should be commended.

Buy Now at the Leica Camera Store.

Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f2.8 ASPH

At a Glance

  • Not much heavier than the sigma lens
  • Better built than the Sigma variant
  • Faster focusing than the Sigma variant
  • Good colors
  • They basically did what Sigma should’ve done in the first place rather than focusing so hard on just the optics.
  • Weather sealing
  • Very versatile

What We Think

In our review, we state:

But Leica took that to 11. With a minimal weight increase (see tech specs above for reference), Leica improved the build quality. This lens has a metal and rubber exterior. It truly feels like a German-made lens, even though it’s made in Japan. It also just feels terrific on the Leica SL2s.

Buy Now at the Leica Camera Store.

Leica APO-Summicron-SL 90mm f2 ASPH

At a Glance

  • Small size
  • Metal exterior
  • Build quality, it’s weather sealed!
  • Beautiful image quality
  • Fast focus and tracking with the Leica SL2s
  • Nice bokeh that you’re going to love!
  • Sharp, but not overly sharp! Leica strikes a wonderful balance.

What We Think

In our review, we state:

Optically speaking, there isn’t much to say about the Leica 90mm f2 SL besides the fact that it’s pretty perfect. It’s got colors you’re going to love. And that bokeh? Oh, man! You’ll almost feel like you’re shooting with a 135mm lens instead! It’s sharp without being too sharp.

Buy Now at the Leica Camera Store.

This piece is presented in partnership with Leica. We’ve independently and ethically reviewed all the products in this post already without sponsorship. And we worked with them to recommend a few key gems to you.





Source link

Leave a Comment