Leica APO-Summicron-SL 75 f/2 ASPH Lens (11178)
A review of the Leica 75mm SL 75 lens.
Note: To view any of the images full size, just click on the image
Lets start with the specs:
Field angle (diagonal, horizontal, vertical): 31.8°/26.7°/18.0°
Number of lenses/groups: 11/9
Number of aspheric lenses: 1
Entrance pupil position before bayonet level: 35.9 mm
Working range: 0.5 m to infinity
Smallest object field: 120 x 180 mm
Largest reproduction ratio: 1:5
Aperture Setting/function: Electronically controlled aperture, set using turn/push wheel on camera, including half values
Aperture setting range: F2 – 22
Bayonet/sensor format: Leica L bayonet, full-frame 35 mm format
Filter mount: E67 or 67mm
Length to bayonet mount: 102 mm
Largest diameter: 73 mm
Published Weight: 720 g
Bag Weight: Includes Hood, Caps, and 67mm UV Filter – 813G
In the Box
Box, lens, hood, caps, canvas case – folded, & manuals
You may have read my review of the APO Summicron SL 90mm Lens. It will be of no surprise that the Leica APO Summicron SL75 F/2 Asph lens is also a reference quality 75mm lens. But there is a little more to the story, as 75mm is different from 90mm and is intended for different uses. Leica knows this and that is why they have gone to the trouble to consistently support the 75mm focal length. Witness the new M mount 75mm F1.25, the M 75mm APO Summicron, and the legendary Mandler designed 75mm Summilux M. So why does Leica do this? Why do they put great 75mm lenses alongside their respective 90mm counterparts?
First lets talk about the new SL75mm (for short). Its a great lens, and did we expect anything less from Leica at this price point – no. But we should remember that this is Leica’s first autofocus 75mm, and just like the 90mm, its fast accurate and accurate. The 75mm focal length shot wide open will yield nice out of focus backgrounds.
The Autofocus is a joy to use. Personally, I prefer AF to manual focus for commercial work, as it helps me “get the shot”. Their are plenty of folks who love their manual focus lenses, and so do I. But, given a choice, I’ll reach for the AF lens every time.
Manual focus with these “fly by wire” lenses does feel natural and consistent. I found that compared to the 90mm SL Summicron, the AF of the 75mm, seemed to take an ever so slightly longer time to achieve focus lock. This is predictable because the 90mm will have a shallower plane of focus than the 75mm. If they use the same focusing algorithm, then naturally the 75mm will take slightly longer as it will step more to achieve maximum focus. Was it noticeable in day to day use – not really. I only noticed, because I had recently shot the 90mm on the same kind of subjects. The AF is consistent, and still very fast. I tried it in continuous, and dynamic as well as face recognition. Most of the images were actually shot in dynamic.
The images in this post tell the bokeh story – its simply superb! You can expect little to no chromatic aberration, purple blooming and defects in the bokeh. The lens shows very nice fall off, and the foreground bokeh is smooth and very good. The lens is much the same as the 90mm, with slightly more definition in the bokeh due to its shorter focal length.
As with the SL 90mm, the lens handles flare completely differently from the M series of lenses. Obviously, this is due to improved lens coatings, and design. The flare is pleasing wide open, and will yield nice stars around spectral highlights at night. I have yet to shoot the lens at night, but as soon as I do there will be samples added to this ongoing review. For now here is my initial flare test:
|Flare at F/2.0||Flare at F/8.0|
Weight & Handling
Leica claims 720 grams for the bare lens, and that is accurate. Bag weight is 813 grams, which is slightly lighter than the 90mm. This number includes a B+W slim MRC filter, caps and the hood. The lens balances nicely on the SL, and it is quite small. The hood is your standard bayonet style, and it can be reversed for storage.
The lens has all the Leica build quality, it is metal and built for professional use. The finish is tough and not easily scratched. The rubber grip has good adhesion, and does not retain dust. The lens is almost identical to the 90mm.
The 75mm focal length is one that you are a fan of or not. I previously preferred 85-90mm lengths, but now this lens has a place in my arsenal. The 75mm focal length is perfect for close-in street portraiture, where the photographer wants additional ambient visual cues to provide the viewer with context. The lens allows beautiful images of people and place.
The AF free’s the photographer to concentrate on composition and getting the shot. Continuous AF will maintain focus on your subjects even while they ae moving. This lens is definitely Leica’s best 75mm Summicron! I have not yet shot the 75mm F1.25 Noct, so I cannot comment on that lens.
The 75mm SL mates well with a 35mm lens. Quite often I will carry a 18mm SEM, 35mm Asph and a 75mm three lens kit for street shooting. This lens is highly recommended.
Make sure that you periodically check back in on this review, as I will be adding flare images and sun flare images along with additional images from the lens. If there is anything that you would like to see added, please leave a comment below.
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