Leica has recently released a new line of Summicron-SL lenses, which are not to be confused with their APO-Summilcron-SL counterparts. These new optics provide more options for the SL line of cameras at a more affordable price point. Unlike the APO lenses, these Summicron-SL lenses are produced in Leica’s Portugal factory and do not include APO correction. This is similar to what Leica has done with their M-Lens line with the 35mm/50mm Summicron-M and APO-Summicron-M.
At nearly half the price of the APO lenses, the Summicron-SL lenses are a lightweight alternative with fewer optical corrections, making them a great option for many current and future Leica SL photographers. They are ideal for video and have a new linear direct drive that ensures fast, smooth, and quiet focusing.
The APO lenses offer ultimate image quality on a 35mm sensor due to their electronic connections to the body. Their optical design uses APO elements that register color wavelengths and light perfectly, resulting in a sharper, color-accurate image. They also have software possibilities only available on Leica SL Cameras and an AF System with Dual Syncro Drive™.
In terms of weight, the 35 APO and 50 APO lenses weigh 750g and 740g, respectively. On the other hand, the 35 Summicron and 50 Summicron weigh 400g and 402g, respectively. While the APO lens felt like it weighed the same as the non-APO lens with the camera attached, the non-APO lenses felt lighter, and the autofocus felt just as responsive as the APO lenses.
We tested all four lenses at various apertures and found that APO lenses rendered complex lighting situations evenly, while the ASPH lenses have more of a natural rendering similar to the Summicron M lenses.
The APO lenses outperform the ASPH lenses in terms of sheer image quality, making them perfect for anyone looking for an ultra-sharp high-performing lens. Meanwhile, the ASPH lenses are great for everyday photographers or videographers looking for a lightweight, reliable, and sharp lens at half the cost of the APO lenses.
Overall, Leica's new Summicron-SL lenses provide a lightweight alternative to their APO-Summilcron-SL counterparts. While the APO lenses offer ultimate image quality and greater division of tones, the Summicron-SL lenses are more affordable, lighter, and great for everyday use. Whether you choose the APO or ASPH lens, you will not be disappointed with the quality and performance that Leica is known for.
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