Leica 16-35 mm lens

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The Super Vario Elmar SL 16–35 f/3.5–4.5 ASPH. wide-angle zoom lens is designed for the Leica SL. It’s protected construction and special AquaDura lens coating are said to make the lens an ideal companion for professional photographers at all times, even in adverse weather conditions.

The lens offers fast and quiet autofocus, driven by a specially developed focusing drive comprising a stepping motor and linear positioning and moves a single, very light focusing element that, due to its low mass, contributes to the high focusing speed.

The newly designed optical system of the lens contains a total of 18 elements in 12 groups. These include two asphericals for the correction of monochromatic aberrations, three elements made from glass with anomalous partial dispersion correct chromatic aberration, while an improved mount geometry and high-quality coating ensure optimum suppression of reflections and stray light within the optical system, says the company.

The Super Vario Elmar SL 16–35 f/3.5–4.5 ASPH. will be on sale before the end of April.


Panasonic Leica 50-200 mm lens

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Panasonic has unveiled the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200 mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH. lens (equivalent: 100-400 mm), with Nano Surface Coating technology to minimize ghosts and flaring, plus a rugged, dust/splash-proof design that is freeze-proof to -10F.

The Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) compensates for hand-shake movement. The lens works with Dual I.S. (Image Stabilizer) and Dual.I.S.2 when mounted on compliant Lumix cameras.

Comprising 21 elements in 15 groups, the lens system features two UED (Ultra Extra-low Dispersion) lenses, two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lenses and two aspherical lenses.

The sensor drive at max. 240 fps takes full advantage of cameras with high-speed, high-precision Contrast AF for video recording performance, and an inner focus drive system ensures smooth, silent operation. A micro-step drive system in the aperture control helps the camera smoothly catch up to brightness changes when zooming or panning, sats the company. The optical design is said to provide exceptional barycentric stability to minimize image shifts during zooming.

The Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200 mm will be available at the end of June.

Leica 75 mm and 90 mm lenses

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75 mm

Leica has announced the first two lenses in a new line of high-performance Summicron-SL lenses for the Leica SL system – the APO-Summicron-SL 75 mm f/2 ASPH. and the APO-Summicron-SL 90 mm f/2 ASPH. Both lenses seamlessly work with the SL-System’s autofocus and, as with all SL lenses, have been designed and constructed in Germany.

Leica says both the construction and design of the new lens line represent the continuing innovation in the development of lenses for the Leica SL-System. State-of-the-art, extremely precise manufacturing methods and measuring technologies were developed specifically for the production of these lenses, notes the company. The results are reflected not only in the more compact dimensions and considerably lower weight of the lenses, allowing for greater portability, but also in excellent imaging performance, it says.

The lenses feature a new, faster autofocus system, as well as a considerably shorter close focusing limit for tight portraits. The autofocus drive of all Summicron-SL lenses employs stepping motors with DSD (Dual Syncro Drive). Thanks to this advanced focusing drive, Leica says the entire focusing range can be fully travelled in about 250 milliseconds.

90 mm

Meticulous attention was paid to the prevention of stray light and reflections in the construction of the APO-Summicron-SL lenses, the company notes. Together with optimizing the optical and mechanical design, the application of high-quality coatings to each lens surface reduces unavoidable reflections to an absolute minimum.

To reduce chromatic aberration to a hardly perceptible minimum, both new Summicron-SL lenses are Apochromatic, or in short, APO, corrected, allowing photographers to capture photos in high contrast situations without a distracting purple or green outline along backlit subjects. Most of the 11 elements of the optical system, one of which is aspherical, feature anomalous partial dispersion and are manufactured from sensitive and specially formulated, high-quality glass.

The APO-Summicron-SL 75 mm f/2 ASPH. and the APO-Summicron-SL 90 mm f/2 ASPH. will be available in February.

Take note: Leica says two more lenses will be available in the second half of 2018, the Summicron-SL 35 mm f/2 ASPH. and APO-Summicron-SL 50 mm f/2 ASPH.

Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm lens

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The name conjurs up memories from the mid-70s of using the Noctilux 50 mm f/0.95 (and that’s no typo), a big lens on an M-series Leica camera, a lens we jokingly said was for shooting black cats in coal bins. Now, there’s a companion lens, the Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH. which, because of its focal length, delivers what the company delightfully calls “gossamer-thin” depth of focus.

The depth of focus of the 75 mm lens is even shallower than that of the 50 mm lens, allowing even more precise isolation of subjects. The close focusing distance is 0.85 m, and the reproduction ratio is 1:8.8, with 11 blades of its iris producing a “soft and harmonious” bokeh in out of focus areas.

The nine elements in six groups that make up its optical design are manufactured from glasses with high anomalous partial dispersion and low chromatic dispersion. Two of the elements are asphericals and reduce other potential aberrations to a hardly detectable minimum, notes the company. A floating element is used within the focusing mechanism to guarantees what Leica says is a constantly high level of imaging performance throughout the entire focusing range of the lens.

In addition to the typical focusing and aperture setting rings, the lens also features an integrated lens hood which can be extended or retracted by a simple twist action. The lens is supplied with a tripod adapter.

Leica says it always was, and still is, unnecessary to stop down a Leica Noctilux-M lens to achieve a great imaging performance.

The company also says the two Noctilux lenses are co-founders of a new family of lenses.

The Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH. will be on sale at the beginning of 2018. While no Canadian pricing has been announced, the suggested price in the U.S. is north of US$12,000.

Leica CL

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With new 18 mm lens

Leica has expanded its APS-C system portfolio with a new camera bearing a name from the past, the Leica CL. (Back in the early ‘70s, Leica and Minolta brought out twin 35 mm rangefinder cameras, the Leica CL and Minolta CLE. Delightful cameras. Now, in a digital era, Leica returns the CL designation.)

One of the features of the Leica CL is its electronic viewfinder with EyeRes technology developed by Leica especially for this camera. With a latency time below the threshold of perception and a resolution of 2.36 million pixels, the final image is visible in the viewfinder before the shutter release is pressed.

In combination with the 24-megapixel APS-C format sensor, a Maestro II series processor and fast autofocus with 49 metering points care claimed to guarantee maximum picture quality in all photographic situations. Video is up to 4K at 30 frames per second.

The CL also equipped with an integrated Wi-Fi module. Pictures and videos can be sent by a wireless connection to smartphones, tablets or computers and quickly and easily shared using the Leica CL App for iOS or Android. In addition to this, the remote function of the app lets mobile devices be used as an off-camera viewfinder or for altering exposure parameters – for example when shooting with the self-timer function or from unusual angles.

All essential controls are located on its top plate. In addition to the electronic viewfinder, there are two dials for setting the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation. Leica says everything is so conveniently located that photographs can be made without taking the camera from the eye. An additional display on the top plate provides information about all relevant settings and exposure parameters.

The camera accepts all TL lenses. SL lenses can also be used without an adapter on the CL and the TL2. Appropriate adapters are also available for using Leica M and R lenses.

Also new, and seen in the photo above, is the Elmarit-TL 18 mm f/2.8 ASPH. lens. This is available not only in black, but also in a silver anodised version.

The black version of the Leica CL will be available at the end of November.

Panasonic 200 mm lens

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Panasonic says its new Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S. (the equivalent of 400 mm), boasts the sharpest-ever corner to corner image quality in Lumix G camera history. The bundled 1.4x teleconverter increases the focal length to an equivalent 560 mm.

The lens consists of 15 elements in 13 groups, featuring two UED (Ultra Extra-low Dispersion) lenses. The use of UED lenses and other optical technology is said to help achieve high resolution, high contrast corner to corner images while suppressing distortion and chromatic aberration.

Incorporating a triple linear motor system and maximum 240 fps sensor drive, the lens achieves high-speed, high-precision AF in both photo and video recording. In addition, the micro-step drive system as part of the aperture control helps the camera to smoothly manage brightness changes while panning.

The lens boasts a rugged, dust/splash-proof design and is freeze-proof up to -10C.

The Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S. will go on sale in December.

Leica 90 mm Thambar-M

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Quick, which one is the new lens? It’s the one on the right.

What’s that line: everything new is old again? Leica has reached back into its classic lens bin and come up with the Thambar-M 90 mm f/2.2, the modern version of a 1935 soft-focus lens, designed for portraiture. The optical design of its ancestor remains almost unchanged. The only difference is that the four elements in three groups that make up the design have now been single-coated to protect the glass against environmental influences and surface corrosion. The 20 blades of its iris deliver a unique bokeh with perfectly round rendition of point light sources.

The soft look of the Thambar is the result of intentionally accepted under-correction of spherical aberration. This under-correction increases towards the edges of the optical system with the consequence that not only the depth of focus, but also the degree of softening can be precisely controlled by means of the stepless aperture setting. The effect is more pronounced as apertures increase, and is continually reduced as the lens is stopped down to smaller apertures.

The design of the original lens has been almost completely preserved. The black paint finish, the proportions of the lens and its aperture engravings in red and white correspond to the appearance of the original. In addition to this, slight modifications have been made that bring the lens into line with the current, minimalist design of modern M-series lenses. These include the knurling, the lettering and scales and the specific use of sharp edges and bevelling.

The Leica Thambar-M 90 mm f/2.2 will be on sale from mid-November.

Leica TL2

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Leica has unveiled the next model in its TL series, the TL2, which the company notes are machined from a single block of aluminium (or aluminum, as we in N.Am. say).

The TL2 is equipped with a newly developed, 24-megapixel CMOS sensor in APS-C format that, in combination with an equally new Maestro II series high-performance image processor, are said to guarantee outstanding picture quality with impressive dynamic range, excellent contrast and colour rendition, exceptional sharpness and finest resolution of details.

The camera also offers various video recording modes, such as 4K (3840 x 2160p at 30 frames per second), full HD (1920 x 1080p at 60 frames per second), HD (1280 x 720p at 60 frames per second or slow motion [SLOMO] captured at 120 frames per second).

The TL2 is said to offer “enormously improved” AF speed and precision. For instance, the camera focuses sharply on subjects in around only 165 milliseconds, and thus focuses up to three times faster than the previous model. The new image processor not only plays a significant role in its faster autofocus, but also to the considerably shorter start-up time. Another new development is an electronically controlled shutter that enables silent exposures at shutter speeds up to 1/40,000 sec. and an increase in the continuous shooting rate from 7 to a maximum of 20 frames per second.

Thanks to the integrated Wi-Fi module of the TL2 and the function for setting up a mobile hotspot, pictures and video can be conveniently transferred by wireless to smartphones, tablets and desktop PCs from anywhere and then, for example, be shared by email, on Facebook, Instagram or other social media. Data can also be transferred by cable with the camera’s integrated HDMI and USB 3.0 ports. The USB port also enables recharging without a battery charger – for example from a laptop computer or an external power bank.

With the TL App available for both iOS and Android devices, smartphones or tablets become electronic viewfinders and offer remote control of various exposure-relevant parameters such as the shutter speed and aperture. The TL App also makes it much easier to capture photos and video from unusual angles, with a self-timer or with longer shutter speeds.

By grouping menu items according to related functions, the menu of the TL2 is now more clearly and logically structured and makes camera handling easier and even more intuitive than before. With the MyCamera menu, the user interface can be further personalized to meet the photographer’s preferences or particular needs.

Thanks to significantly increased reactivity and up to eight times faster response when using the 3.7-inch LCD touchscreen, camera handling is said to be even more efficient and intuitive. The only other controls are four ergonomically positioned control elements that are intuitive in their operation.

The TL2 will be offered in a choice of two different colours. The design of both the silver and black versions of the camera has been slightly revised in comparison with its predecessor. In addition to chamfered edges the body also features redesigned control elements that have been modified not only in visual style, but also provides what Leica terms “a new haptic experience” – great for those of us who get our jollies touching things.

Panasonic 8-18 mm lens

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Panasonic has announced a new Micro Four Thirds zoom lens, the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18 mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH., the equivalent of a 16-36 mm lens in full format.

The lens features Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating technology to minimize ghosting and flaring. The lens also boasts a rugged, dust/splash-proof design and is freeze-proof.

Filter size is 67 mm.

Comprised of 15 elements in 10 groups, the lens system features an aspherical ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens, three aspherical lenses, two ED lenses and an UHR (Ultra High Refractive Index) lens. The use of these lenses, according to Panasonic, effectively suppresses spherical distortion or chromatic aberration to achieve high resolution and contrast from centre to corners.

The company also notes the new lens excels in video recording performance. In addition to silent operation achieved by an inner focus drive system, the micro-step drive system in the aperture control section helps the camera to smoothly capture brightness changes when zooming or panning. The optical design achieves exceptional barycentric stability to minimize image shifts during zooming, says the company, which also notes the AF tracking performance when zooming is also improved thanks to high-speed frame analysis for focus control.

Leica M10

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leica-m10Let’s let the folks at Leica lead things off with an overview of the new M10. It, they say, “embodies the essence of everything that is truly important for photography like no other camera before.” My!

Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts. With a top plate depth of 33.75 mm, four mm less than that of its close relative, the Leica M (Typ 240), the M10 is the slimmest digital M.

The rangefinder’s field of view has been enlarged by 30 percent and the magnification factor has been increased to 0.73. Eye-relief – the optimum distance of the eye from the viewfinder eyepiece – has also been increased, by 50 percent, making it much more comfortable to use, particularly for photographers who wear glasses.

Inside the smaller body is a 24-megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor developed especially for this camera, with “significant improvements” in all parameters relevant to imaging performance: dynamic range, contrast rendition, sharpness, and resolution. Its pixel and microlens architecture enables a particularly large aperture – even rays of light arriving at the sensor from oblique angles are precisely captured by its photodiodes, notes the company; this has been further improved in comparison with the previous generation. The glass cover plate of the sensor acts as an infrared cut-off filter and thus also avoids undesirable refraction of incoming light by additional layers of glass. There’s no low-pass filter.

Thanks to the new design of the sensor, the ISO sensitivity range has been expanded, now allowing exposures at values between ISO 100 and 50,000 with considerably improved noise characteristics at higher ISO settings.

The camera sports the latest-generation Maestro II image processor, a 2 GB buffer memory and offers sequential shooting at up to 5 frames per second at full resolution. The M10 is the fastest M-Camera ever made, says the company.

In addition to this, the processor allows the loupe function to be freely positioned for even better assessment of sharpness. This new function can be used not only on the camera’s monitor screen, but also in conjunction with the Visoflex electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 2.4-megapixel resolution. The viewfinder features a swivel function for shooting from unusual angles and an integrated GPS module that can be switched in for geotagging image files.

The controls on the camera’s back are limited to the joystick control and just three buttons for Play, Live View and Menu. The M10 also offers a freely-configurable Favourites Menu for the definition of a profile of personally relevant functions.

One of the most distinctive features of the M10 is the ISO setting dial on the top plate. For the first time in a digital Leica M, all essential shooting parameters such as focusing, aperture, shutter speed and ISO value can be selected manually without using the menu – or even switching on the camera.

The M10 is the first M-Camera with integrated WLAN connectivity. This enables fast, wireless transfer of pictures to Apple mobile devices. The Leica M-App also enables the direct transfer of RAW data in DNG format to mobile devices for further processing with suitable apps from iOS Version 10.2. The M10 can also be remotely controlled by WLAN from a smartphone or tablet.

The Leica M10 is available now.