Leica Apo-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90-280mm launches at £4,650
The second native lens for the new Leica SL will be with dealers in Britain on March 24. It's the 90-280mm f/2.8-f/4 with a name and a price to match its considerable length.
The Apo-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90-280 f/2.8-f/4 is a fast telephoto lens to cope with everything from close-up portraits to sports photography, something that the M system has not previously been noted for (although Don Morley did wonders back in the 1950s). It has a price tag of £4,650 including VAT.
Together with the original SL offering, the Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90 f/2.8-f/4, the SL system now has outstanding capabilities from a wide-angle 24mm through to a sports-ready 280mm. For a long zoom, the 90-280 is very fast and, according to Leica, offers outstanding optical and mechanical precision. It has an integral optical stabilisation system capable of adding 3.5 stops and "guaranteeing solid hand-held photography even at maximum focal length".
The lens features a new design with dual internal focusing to ensure fast and quiet autofocus and is capable of consistent imaging performance through the range of focal lengths. It features a 60cm minimum focal distance at 90mm, increasing to 140cm at 280mm, and a reproduction ratio of 1:4.8-1.5 making it particularly suitable for close-up photography. It is sealed against dust and is splash proof.
Designed and manufactured in Germany, the Apo 90-280 comprises 23 elements (in 17 groups, 7 moving groups), seven of which are made from glass with anomalous partial dispersion, ensuring minimal chromatic aberration. The movement of the two focusing elements is provided by newly developed drive technology with linear positioning of the lenses by stepping motors. Mercifully, this means that the overall length of the lens (238mm without hood, 310mm with) does not increase when zoomed. Weight of the lens is 1,850g without the supplied tripod shoe which adds an extra 100g.
Later this year the two SL zooms will be extended by the addition of a relatively compact 50mm f/1.4 Summilux prime. In the meantime, an adapter permits the use of most manual M lenses while all TL lenses made for the Leica T will fit without adapter (although they address only the central portion of the SL's sensor so you are losing a lot of real estate). In the summer an R adapter will allow full-frame R lenses to be used on the new digital.
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NOTE ADDED 22 March 2007 after further information from Leica: We queried with Leica the fact that the press release refers to "23 elements, 7 groups" when the specification sheet (below) says "23 elements, 17 groups". The factory has replied to the effect that there are 17 groups but 7 moving groups.
Leica press release
New telephoto zoom lens for the Leica SL-System:
LEICA APO-VARIO-ELMARIT-SL 90-280mm f/2.8-4 versatile zoom lens designed for a wide range of situations, from close-ups to travel to sports photography
Available from 24 March 2016, this fast telephoto zoom lens offers a range of focal lengths that follows on directly from the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90 mm f/2.8–4 ASPH., which launched with the SL camera at the end of last year. Together, these two lenses cover focal lengths spanning 24 to 280mm, providing the versatility to shoot a multitude of subjects and situations – from close-ups to travel and sports photography.
The Leica APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90–280 mm f/2.8-4 is characterised by its incredibly high speed and offers outstanding optical and mechanical precision. Its integrated optical image stabilisation (OIS) enables exposure times to be increased by up to 3.5 stops, and guarantees shake-free hand-held photography even at telephoto settings.
Furthermore, this exceptional zoom lens features an entirely new design, with dual internal focusing that ensures extremely fast and quiet autofocus, and delivers consistently impressive imaging performance at distances from infinity to its close focusing limit.
With a close focusing distance of 0.6 metres at 90mm and 1.4 metres at 280mm, and a reproduction ratio of 1:4.8 to 1:5, this versatile lens is particularly useful for close-up photography.
As with all Leica lenses, the Leica APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90–280 mm f/2.8-4 was designed and developed by Leica’s optical specialists in Wetzlar, Germany, combining outstanding optical expertise, cutting-edge technology and premium materials – guaranteeing the consistently high quality that Leica photographers have come to expect. The design of the Leica APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90–280 mm f/2.8-4 comprises 23 elements (in seven moving groups), seven of which are made from glass with anomalous partial dispersion, ensuring minimal chromatic aberration. The movement of the two focusing elements is provided by newly developed drive technology with linear positioning of the lenses by stepping motors.
This means the overall length of the lens does not change when either focusing or zooming. In addition, the lens hood supplied with the lens suppresses undesirable reflections and stray light, and prevents the risk of flare.
Furthermore, the Leica APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90–280 mm f/2.8-4 is sealed against dust and splash-proof, to protect it from the elements.
The Leica APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90–280 mm f/2.8-4 features a detachable tripod plate to connect the lens to a tripod for easier handling. Its ergonomic design makes the lens easier to carry by hand and also allows the attachment of a lens belt. A lockable rotating tripod collar ensures the lens can be fixed at any angle, and features detents every 90 degrees for rapid switching from landscape to portrait format.
The current Leica SL-System portfolio will be extended later this year with the addition of the Leica Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH. prime lens (available in Q4 2016). Furthermore, the extensive compatibility of the Leica SL-System gives photographers access to the majority of Leica lenses ever produced. For example, all Leica T lenses can be mounted on the Leica SL without an adapter, while the M-Adapter T enables the use of almost all Leica M-Lenses constructed since 1954. In addition, Leica S-Lenses can be mounted with the S-Adapter L (available in May 2016), and the forthcoming R-Adapter (available Q3 2016) will allow Leica R-System lenses to be used with the SL camera.
Availability and pricing
The APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90–280 mm f/2.8-4 is scheduled to be available in the UK from authorised Leica stockists from 24 March 2016, at a suggested retail price of £4,650 including VAT.
Additional information can be found at uk.leica-camera.com