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Leica unveils $5K 35mm SL prime

Luxury camera manufacturer, Leica, has announced mid-April availability of the APO-Summicron-SL 35mm f2 ASPH prime lens, for a steep US$4595.

The lens is available for L-Mount systems, which includes full-frame mirrorless cameras such as the Leica SL, Panasonic S1 and S1R.

So what’s inside this lavishly-priced lens? It has a construction of 13 ‘extremely complex’ lenses in 11 groups, including five asphericals. Leica says this ensures high levels of image quality attributes – natural skin tones, soft transitions into the bokeh, contrast in details and consistent sharpness from corner to corner.

‘All glass elements in an optical imaging system – for example lenses – refract light in certain colours to a different extent. This leads to the effect that not all rays of light from a multi-coloured subject are focused at a single imaging point – the result of this is chromatic aberration. These chromatic aberrations are minimised by apochromatic correction. For this, the majority of the thirteen lens element used in the construction of the lens… are made from specially formulated high-quality glass types with anomalous partial dispersion that push even the innovative manufacturing methods of the Leica Factory to the limits of the technically possible.’

A coating to all lens surfaces reduces avoidable reflections, and an Aquadura coating has been applied to the exposed lens surfaces to repel dust, moisture and water spray.

The lens is equipped with DSD ‘Dual Syncro Drive’ stepping motors, allowing auto focusing to be achieved in around 250 milliseconds.

Manual focus is also fast, Leica says, thanks to a ring magnet within the focus ring that has alternating north-south magnetisation. This magnetisation changes its polarity when turned, and a sensor records the magnetic field status and sends the data to the main processor. The drive then shifts the lens to the corresponding focusing position on the basis of the angle of rotation and rotational speed.

Leica says the lens is lightweight and compact. It weighs 720 grams and is 102mm long.

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