The Best Leica Lenses for Architecture


Architecture is incredibly fun to photograph. At the right hour, sunlight can hit a building and make it look completely different with hard shadows and more. If you’ve ever read Architectural Digest and been smitten with the photos, you’ll understand how easy it is to love all the design features. If architecture photography is your passion or career, consider the amazing things Leica can do for you. Here are the best Leica lenses for architecture.

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

As a further Editor’s note, the reviews aren’t sponsored content. Sponsored reviews: are against our ethics. Over the past year, we’ve done a lot of sponsored roundups for Leica. To provide variety, we’ve reviewed a ton of Leica cameras and lenses, which helped us create this guide.

Nomenclature for Leica SL Lenses and Understanding Them

Some things about Leica SL lenses might not be very clear. So here are a few things worth explaining:

  • Summicron: Leica’s design for a lens with an f2 maximum aperture.
  • Summilux: Leica’s design for a lens is faster than the f2.
  • SL: A lens designed for full-frame L-mount cameras. For reference, all Leica SL lenses can go onto the smaller system cameras like the Leica CL.
  • ASPH: Aspherical lens elements.
  • APO: Apochromatic design.
  • Check out our guide to all the Leica SL lenses or just their primes if you’d like more.

Pro Tips on Using Leica Lenses for Architecture

Here’s what you need to know about Leica SL lenses:

  • The Leica SL system has a special feature called Perspective Correction. It works with the focal length, focusing distance, and scene to help you figure out how to get the most distortion-free photos. It works by creating a RAW image and a JPEG reference image. This will make the post-production process simpler.
  • All Leica SL lenses have weather sealing built in. Considering that Leica SL series cameras have an IP-rating attached, you can guarantee the lenses will be just as durable.
  • These lenses have a metal exterior, so they’re durable enough to handle abuse.
  • Leica has a series of f2 prime lenses that are pretty much the same size.
  • Leica SL lenses are autofocus. There are no zone focusing or depth of field scales like their M-variants. This means if you’re shooting a portrait, you can use the face and body detection built into the cameras.
  • A lot of these lenses have an apochromatic design. In our findings, this is what helps give Leica lenses a bit more “pop” than regular lenses. These are the universal findings of our entire reviews team.
  • On the Leica SL2, Leica SL prime lenses will render their sharpest images because of the resolution of the sensor.
  • On the Leica SL2-S, Leica SL prime lenses will focus faster and help passionate photographers in low-light situations.
  • This guide has tech specs provided by Leica’s website listings, snippets from our reviews with links to the full review, and e-commerce links.

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

In our review, we state:

Something I adore about the Leica 16-35mm f3.5-4.5 SL is the color. Combine that with stable white balances, and you’ll be very happy. Part of that comes from Leica’s sensors and processors.

Essential Tech Specs

  • Improved frame geometry and high quality coating
  • High flexibility
  • High product quality and exceptional imaging performance with specially developed focus motor
  • Newly developed optical design
  • Wide-angle photography
  • Focal length of 16-35 mm expands existing portfolio
  • Fast and almost noiseless autofocus
  • L-mount bayonet

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

In our review, we state:

The Leica 24-70mm f2.8 SL is in this beautiful place between being standard and saturated regarding colors. It’s beneficial as a photographer. I like it, and when combined with the right sensor, it will mean your colors are much better.

Essential Tech Specs

  • 19 elements (3 with ASPH surfaces on both sides) in 15 groups
  • Consistent f2.8 maximum aperture through full zoom range
  • Fast internal focusing with a single, lightweight lens element
  • Compact dimensions and lighter weight thanks to the omission of OIS
  • Lens is stabilized by the SL2 and SL2-S IBIS systems
  • Excellent sharpness across all f-stops and focus distances with creamy bokeh and the Leica look
  • Metal body with weather sealing
  • Durable in any environment, making it suited for even the rigors of outdoor landscape and adventure photographers or the hustle and bustle of a pro wedding photographer

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Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f2.8-4 ASPH

In our review, we state:

One of the reasons you pay for a Leica is that they don’t play around with build quality. Leica IP rated their cameras, but not their lenses. However, the Leica SL 24-90mm f2.8-4 is very weather sealed. We’ve taken it out into the rain, snow, and other conditions and the lens kept working. This is a very reliable lens.

Essential Tech Specs

  • Ideal standard varifocal lens
  • High imaging performance from infinity to near range
  • Optical image stabilizer
  • Creative use of sharpness and blur for the plastic detachment of motif details
  • Fast and quiet focusing
  • Seal against dust and spray water
  • Leica Aqua-Dura ® The coating effectively protects the outer glass surfaces from dirt and scratches
  • Elaborate coating of all lens surfaces effectively minimizes reflexes and stray light
  • L-mount bayonet

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Leica APO-Summicron-SL 28mm f2 ASPH

In our review, we state:

What’s to hate about the Leica 28mm f2 Summicron SL’s image quality? Honestly, nothing. Leica’s colors are always outstanding. The bokeh from this lens is beautiful and surely has a bit of character. On top of that, it’s an incredibly sharp lens.”

Essential Tech Specs

  • Fast wide-angle lens with f2 aperture
  • Excellent optical performance
  • Extremely fast and reliable autofocus with Dual Synchro Drive
  • Close-focusing down to 0.24m
  • Same dimensions and filter size as all APO-Summicron-SL lenses
  • L-mount

Buy Now

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





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