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Best Leica Lenses in 2021 (6 Top Picks)

Leica is one of the best camera brands out there, offering exceptionally high-quality kit. For those desperate to get their hand on a new piece of Leica kit, look no further. In this article, we’ll share the latest Leica lens releases for Leica L mount camera systems.

1. Leica APO-Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 ASPH Lens

leica 50mm

Leica announced the APO-Summicron SL 50mm f/2 ASPH lens last year. The lens is now in-stock and is available for purchase.

Construction and Special Elements

The construction of the lens includes a total of three aspherical elements. These take care of spherical aberrations and other distortions. The lens also features an apochromatic design with the use of anomalous partial dispersion glass. This technology helps in reducing color fringing as well as chromatic aberrations. The engineers have also applied a multi-layer coating to ensure that the lens is able to counter flares and ghosting which is commonplace when working with wide aperture lenses, especially when the sun is lower at the horizon.

Important Features

Auto-focusing on the lens is powered by Leica’s Dual Syncro Drive stepping motor. AF performance is very smooth. And speaking of focusing, the presence of ring magnets with alternating polarization in the construction of the focusing ring gives a much better manual focusing experience than ever before.

Best For

The 50mm lens is best suited for shooting anything from the perspective of the human eye. It will serve you well as an all-round shooter covering a broad spectrum of interests.

Pros

  • Powered by Leica’s Dual Syncro Drive stepping motor AF system
  • Weather sealed design
  • Water repellent AquaDura coating
  • Exceptionally sharp at f/2 and more so when stopped down

Cons

  • A high-quality lens comes with a high price-tag
One of the best all-rounders!

This lens is perfect for covering all your bases. If you’re looking for high-quality optics and impressive versatility, this is a perfect lens

2. Leica Summilux-M 90mm f/1.5 ASPH

90mm lens

This fast portrait lens is designed for the full-frame M-mount series camera systems. This is one of the latest Leica lens releases. This lens will also work with SL and SL2 systems via an adapter.

Construction and Special Elements

The lens features two large-diameter aspherical elements. In addition to that, the lens features a floating element system. The benefit of that being that the lens is able to focus more accurately.

Important Features

The lens features an 11-blade aperture diaphragm. It is capable of producing beautiful bokeh. Overall the lens produces stunning image quality.

Best For

The 90mm focal length is suitable for portrait work. And while the best portrait focal length is around 85mm, this is just fine. The wide aperture will make space for some really stunning portraits with a creamy background blur. Yes, we think this is perfect for portraits, but the 90mm focal length is useful so many more ways.

Pros

  • Fast wide aperture of f/1.5
  • 11-blade aperture diaphragm
  • Built-in lens hood

Cons

  • Pricey to the point of being out of the reach of most photographers
A lens for the pro portrait shooters

This is a top-notch portrait lens for professional photographers. The shallow depth of field makes for some stunning background blur in images.

3. Leica APO Summicron SL 35mm f/2 ASPH

latest leica lens 35mm

I love a 35mm prime. The Leica APO Summicron SL 35mm is a fast wide prime with a maximum aperture of f/2. It is one of the latest Leica lens releases for the full-frame L mount.

The SL 35mm f/2 ASPH works as a standard all-purpose lens for everyday photography needs. If you love to travel there are two or three lenses that you could bet your life on to get you stunning shots of the place you are visiting. The 50mm prime, the 24-70mm wide zoom and the 35mm prime.

Construction and Special Elements

The lens features an apochromatic optical design. It uses an anomalous partial dispersion glass which ensures that color fringing (or chromatic aberration) is suppressed. The lens also features a total of five aspherical elements. These elements suppress spherical aberrations. On top of that multi-layer coating has also been used to ensure that the lens is able to handle flares and ghosting when working in difficult lighting conditions.

Important Features

The best feature of this lens is definitely the optical sharpness, even when shooting at wide open. This is why this lens makes sense for someone shooting street photos as a profession or someone covering news events across the world. The second important aspect of the lens is its focusing capabilities. The lens features a Dual Syncro Drive stepping motor AF system. Plus a magnetic full-time manual focusing mechanism which ensures precise manual focusing correction when you need it.

Best For

As suggested above the lens is best suited for everyday photography. Travel photographers will love this lens because it is fast, sharp, and easy to use. The 35mm is also a great focal length for shooting street photography. It is not too wide. And that ensures that there is little or no distortion. A lot of photojournalists love shooting with the 35mm because it is a no-frills lens with sharp results most of the time.

Pros

  • Fast aperture of f/2
  • Weather sealed construction
  • Multi-layer coatings
  • Excellent bokeh quality

Cons

  • Priced much higher that other 35mm primes
A nifty all-rounder!

This lens is perfect for anyone wanting a wider field-of-view and a small lens size. Whether you’re looking to do travel, street, or any other kind of photography, this lens is sure to serve you well!

4. Leica Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH

Leica Summilux-Sl 50mm F/1.4 ASPH. Lens (11180)
Leica Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH

This 50mm prime lens has been designed for essentially all kinds of everyday photography requirements. At f/1.4 it is faster than the APO-Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 ASPH (listed above) by a full one stop. And that means a huge advantage when the time comes. In a dimly lit room your Shutter Speed can be double of what you could shoot with the f/2 ASPH and that is a big advantage in terms of noise reduction and hand-holding capability. Imagine shooting portraits in candle-light or shooting night time street photos with no tripod. Between this one and the f/2 50mm lens listed above I would pick this one on the forefront as one of the best Leica lenses and certainly the better of the two 50mm listed here.

Construction and Special Elements

The lens represents design elements necessitated by the short flange system of the L mount system. Construction of the lens includes two aspherical elements and a total of four anomalous partial dispersion elements. These two keeps lens aberrations down to a bare minimum. The lens also comes with multi-layer coating for better color accuracy and clarity of images.

Important Features

However, the best feature of the lens is definitely the super sharp result that the lens produces. Plus, the lens comes with a fast f/1.4 aperture that is perfect for background blur.

Best For

Low light photography work is definitely one area where this lens excels. But it also works as your everyday photography lens. You could shoot group images, parties, celebrations. Even take it outdoors and shoot street photos and photos on your next vacation; whenever that comes after the current pandemic crisis blows over. Another advantage of the lens is that it allows you to produce those beautiful background blur – Bokeh. So definitely portrait photography is one area where the Leica Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH excels.

Pros

  • Super sharp results across the frame and even wide open.
  • Standard prime gives almost the same perspective as the human eye
  • Dust and moisture resistant
  • Works with the Leica T mount system as well with crop factor

Cons

  • This is a large build. Weighing more than 1 kilos.
  • Filter size is 82mm.
  • No image stabilization

5. Leica Vario-Elmarit SL 24-90mm f/2.8 – 4 ASPH

Leica Standard Vario-Elmarit-Sl 24-90mm F/2.8-4 ASPH. Lens
Leica Vario-Elmarit SL 24-90mm f/2.8 – 4 ASPH

This Leica L mount vari-zoom lens has a focal length range of 24mm all the way to 90mm. What it means is that the lens will work in a large number of photography situations. These include portraits, street, architecture, landscape and a bit of sports.

Construction and Special Elements

The lens’ 18 elements include four aspherical elements and 11 anomalous partial dispersion elements. The result of these elements combined is reduced chromatic aberrations, better color saturation and sharpness.

Important Features

One of the main USP’s of the lens is its great image quality. The lens has built-in image stabilization. Which gives 3.5 stops of stabilization when shot hand-held. The lens is fully weather sealed and comes with a special coating to prevent smudges to the front element.

Best For

At 24mm the lens will be perfect for architecture and landscape photography. When the lens is zoomed in all the way to 90mm it assumes the perfect focal length for portrait photography on a 35mm format such as the Leica L-mount system. And just because the maximum aperture is f/2.8 you can expect very good low light performance. Plus, lovely bokeh for your portrait images when you are zoomed out and at f/4.

Pros

  • There is built-in image stabilization built into the lens. At low light and when fully zoomed in you will find it a bit easier to make clean captures.
  • Internal focusing mechanism
  • Filter mount does not rotate during focusing for accurate dialing of filter
  • Comes with Leica’s AquaDura Hydrophobic coating
  • Fully weather sealed

Cons

  • Being a variable aperture lens, when fully zoomed in the aperture closes down, and there is a drop in low light capability of the lens.
  • 82mm filter size

6. Leica super-Vario Elmar SL 16-35mm f/3.5 – 4.5

Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH. Lens 11177
Leica super-Vario Elmar SL 16-35mm f/3.5 – 4.5

I love a good 16-35mm. The reason is these lenses are so versatile. Especially, when I am travelling. A 16-35mm gives me a lot of flexibility to capture street shots using the wide angle capabilities of the lens. Then again I can use the same wide-angle focal length to shoot nature and landscapes. This lens is also great for shooting group photos and weddings. One of the best Leica lenses in terms of wide angle photography.

Construction and Special Elements

The construction of the lens includes two aspherical elements as well as three low dispersion elements. The first takes care of spherical aberrations and the second takes care of chromatic aberrations. The end result being less distortions, less color fringing, better clarity and better sharpness. Additionally, multi-layer coatings have also been used that limit flares and ghosting. AquaDura Coating has also been applied to the front element of the lens.

Important Features

The lens features Leica’s stepping motor auto-focusing technology. This is quiet when engaged and works very smoothly. Plus, the lens features a floating elements system. The result is an excellent image quality across the focal length range.

Best For

Best for a wide range of photography requirements really. Street photos, group shots, landscape, architecture and weddings. The only drawback is that in dimply lit environments and when fully zoomed in the f/4.5 aperture would struggle a bit. Especially when compared to something like a Leica APO-Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 ASPH.

Pros

  • Stepping motor powered AF system
  • Water repellant AquaDura coating
  • Weather sealed design

Cons

  • Image stabilization is absent.
  • Large 82mm front filter thread

Author

  • Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. He loves to test and review new photography gear. He has been writing about cameras and lenses for over 10 years now. You can consider him as your "master guide" here at PhotoWorkout.


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