Previous news story    Next news story

Leica launches Elmarit-S 30mm f/2.8 ASPH fast wide-angle lens for S system

By dpreview staff on Oct 27, 2011 at 17:18 GMT

Leica has announced the Elmarit-S 30mm f/2.8 ASPH fast wide-angle lens for its S-system medium format DSLR. The lens, which offers a 24mm equivalent field of view, can focus down to 0.5m. The company suggests the lens is likely to find use for interior, architectural and landscape photography and that its fast maximum aperture also enables 'available light' shooting.

Press Release:


Leica Camera expands S-System with new wide angle lens

Solms, Germany (October 27, 2011)  - Leica Camera AG expands the range of lenses for the Leica S-System with the new Leica Elmarit-S 30mm f/2.8 ASPH wide angle lens. With this latest addition, the portfolio of lenses for the professional S-System is now comprised of five focal lengths. The fastest medium format lens in this focal length, the Leica Elmarit-S 30mm f/2.8 ASPH will be available beginning December 2011.

The field of view of this new S-Lens corresponds to a 24mm lens in 35mm format and this wide angle of view opens up a multitude of new opportunities in creative composition, particularly in the fields of interior, architectural and landscape photography. Additionally, a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 makes the Leica Elmarit-S 30mm f/2.8 ASPH ideal for available-light photography and the conscious use of selective planes of focus. Thanks to outstanding imaging performance from close focus to infinity at all apertures and brilliant color rendition, the Leica Elmarit-S 30mm f/2.8 ASPH guarantees perfect results in a wide range of photographic situations.

The highest priority in the development of all Leica S-Lenses is the dedication to creating tools that fulfill the stringent demands that professional photographers place on a camera system in their everyday work. Even wide open, the Leica Elmarit-S 30mm f/2.8 ASPH fulfills these demands and offers high resolution and extremely low distortion throughout its entire focusing range. Software-driven image optimization is unnecessary with this lens, allowing photographers to concentrate purely on the creative side of their work. A further highlight of the Leica Elmarit-S 30mm f/2.8 ASPH is its excellent control of flare to ensure high-contrast images, even when shooting a backlit subject.

The design and construction of the Leica Elmarit-S 30mm f/2.8 ASPH is tough, reliable and built to last a lifetime, a characteristic found in all Leica S-System products. The lens features an extremely robust bayonet mount and is fully sealed against dust and spray, ensuring absolute dependability even under the harshest shooting conditions.

The Leica Elmarit-S 30mm f/2.8 ASPH will be available from authorized Leica dealers beginning December 2011. The lens is supplied complete with a rectangular hood designed for optimum suppression of extraneous light. For further product information please consult the Leica Homepage at and

Leica Elmarit-S 30mm f/2.8 ASPH specifications

Lens Type: • High-speed wide-angle lens with two aspherical lens surfaces to ensure superior imaging performance
Compatible Cameras:  • All Leica S-Models}
Image View: • Approx. 84°, 74°, 53° (diagonal, horizontal, vertical), corresponding to approx. 24mm in 35mm format
Optical Design: • Number of elements/groups: 13/9; aspherical surfaces: 2; position of the entrance pupil: 33.3mm (from 1st lens element)
Distance Settings: •Distance range: 0.5m to ∞, combined scale meter/feet, Smallest object field/largest repro ratio: approx. 330 x 495mm/1:11
Aperture: • Electronically controlled diaphragm, selection dial on camera, including half values, Lowest value 22
Bayonet: • Leica S quick-change bayonet with contact strip for Leica S-Models
Filter Mount:  • Internal thread for E82 filter; filter mount does not rotate
Lens Hood: • Lens hood (included), adjustable by bayonet
Surface Finish: • Black anodized
Length to bayonet mount: • approx.128/156mm (approx. 5.04 /6.14in) (without/with lens hood)
Largest diameter: • approx. 88/132mm (approx. 3.46 / 5.20in) (without/with lens hood)
Weight: • approx. 1060g (approx. 37.39oz)
I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums


Total comments: 30
By RobertSigmund (Nov 5, 2011)

Where is the depth of field scale? Is it on the camera screen?

By Samyaza (Dec 7, 2011)

What depth of field scale do you expect on such a wide lens? The shorter the focal length the bigger the depth of field. Look at the notations for the distance for example! Can you draw depth of field notation? Back to the books!

By RobertSigmund (Dec 19, 2011)

Leica systems used to have good depth of field scales. Very useful for landscape photography as well, and don't they say the S-system is for landscape photography.
The answer to my question does not matter insofar as the system is pricewise out of my reach but it does interest me nevertheless. Will have to do some research elsewhere as no answer is available here. :)

By maico (Nov 1, 2011)

I hired a S2 and 3 lenses when it first came out. The results were superior to may usual Canon gear which includes L series lenses.
I'm not sure why people are saying not wide or fast enough, for a medium format lens a 30mm f2.8 is excellent.
Compared to Zeiss motion picture lenses the price is good.

Shelly Glaser
By Shelly Glaser (Nov 1, 2011)

Ism't it time DPreview will publish reviews of medium format cameras, begining with this S@?

By yabokkie (Oct 30, 2011)

not wide enough nor fast enough.
how will this lens compete against
Canon or Nikon 24/1.4 stopped down to f/2.2?

By draschan (Oct 28, 2011)

the lenses for the S2 are of much higher quality than Hasselblad HD lenses as far as I could find out in comparison tests. So why do people here complain. It might be expected that this lens surpasses other medium format camera lenses in optical quality. S2 need much less software correction thanks to their superior glass which makes it a system of it's own rights. So let's see and wait what this lens will be capable of. I'm sure it will be at least VERY interesting.

By AlanG (Oct 28, 2011)

I doubt if many will be using a 30mm f 2.8 lens to try to isolate focus on a subject, but I suppose this lens would be useful to any advertising shooters who use the S2.

For architecture the Canon or Nikon 24mm tilt shift lenses would be more useful.

And for low light shooting, you probably wouldn't be using the S2 anyway.

I guess you'd have to really be a dedicated and wealthy "street shooter" to justify an S2 for that use. Maybe landscapes...

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
Shelly Glaser
By Shelly Glaser (Nov 1, 2011)

Today you can correct perspective (and other) distortions digitally, and get enough resolution if your original picture has high pixel count. With 36 Mpixels, the quality of the S2 images will be far better than optically (PC lens) corrected Nikon D3X+24mm-PC.

Add to this the better quality of the S2 sensor and optics...

And BTW, the S2 isn't heavier or bulkier than the D3X. People do travel photography with it.

By obeythebeagle (Oct 28, 2011)

Noblesse oblige. Sadly, how many of them will be crushed by Ferrari California doors after their masters have drunk their fill of Petrus?

I had my share of M-Series rangefinders (film), and Leica's lenses are great, but the prices for their digital offerings are comical in the most pompous, high-falutin' way. The only person I know who has the M-9 system works for Goldman Sachs. 'Nuff said.

1 upvote
The Customer
By The Customer (Nov 1, 2011)

If they work for Goldman Sachs, then could you maybe convince them to buy me one, pretty-pretty-please? :)

By Tape5 (Oct 28, 2011)

Ok I can think of one other..Grandma.

By Tape5 (Oct 28, 2011)

Great ! A super expensive lens that fails against the competetion for a super expensive camera that also fails against the competetion ! If my grandpa gave me a check in his death bed for a hundred grand and told me to use only Leica S2 I would get it I guess. Right now I cannot think of one other scenario.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
By tkpenalty (Oct 28, 2011)

This would be awfully unbalanced given how light a S2 body is...

A S2 for street photography? You guys must be nuts; this thing's only for studio work.

By Lan (Oct 28, 2011)

That's a strange choice. Why make a 24mm (effective) without tilt/shift, and then suggest architectural uses?

I guess they couldn't get the image circle large enough without making it completely unliftable. 1kg is a lot for a 24mm prime.

fad: I think the weight is the main drawback for street photography, S2+30mm = 2.5kg. Not exactly unobtrusive either. I'd say the final nail in the coffin is the rather high potential resale value; I know I wouldn't want to be walking around a sketchy area with it in +daylight+ let alone at night.

1 upvote
By Alberto6674 (Oct 27, 2011)

A bit off topic, but in this day of lens announcements is it possible to ask why dpreview stopped reviewing lenses? It's over a year since the last full review was published...

By fad (Oct 27, 2011)

I could afford this camera. And it would be a gas to see what it could do for street photography. And since the form factor is not very different from FF Canikons many people shoot with, it might be the way to go. And the thought of playing with such lovely images.

It is ISO limited to daylight shooting.
I don't know anyone using this camera for that purpose. So there is no feedback.
It really is not designed for this purpose.
I very possible would only use it once or twice and go back to 35mm cameras that are actually made for this kind of shooting.

But I am left with a sense of curiosity and longing.

1 upvote
By jamesfrmphilly (Oct 28, 2011)

you have heard of the M9?

By Mescalamba (Oct 28, 2011)

Its not for streetphoto, thats what is M9-P for.

S2 is landscape, studio camera.. very similar to all MFs, except its quite small and easy to handle like regular dSLR (tho you need bit faster shutter speeds than with FF dSLR).

By Jogger (Oct 28, 2011)

24/1.4 on Canon or Nikon FF will give you the same focal length and probably shallower dof... at 1/10 the cost

By CFynn (Oct 28, 2011)

Yes the S2 body is smaller and lighter weight than a D3.

It is too bad they don't also make a model with a sensor suitable for available light photography - to go with the lenses "suitable for available light photography".

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
By schorscho (Oct 27, 2011)

It's a wonderful system (and I'm not a Leica fan at all) unfortunately I will never be able to afford it.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
By chlamchowder (Oct 27, 2011)

Even though I'm not a Leica fan, this does look like a beautiful lens, and it probably performs quite well.

I'm guess whoever has enough money to buy an S system will be happy with this.

Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Oct 27, 2011)

Leica used to be king of small system, but Medium format ... well I would have to go for the Hassy, or even Pentax, and that from a Leica owner / user

1 upvote
By Miwok (Oct 27, 2011)

I probably can afford the hood ($400?)

Artur Kozlowski
By Artur Kozlowski (Oct 27, 2011)

Cameron - it should be astro - freaking - nomiCal, no? Sorry for nitpicking.

1 upvote
By smallcams (Oct 27, 2011)

Exactly my thoughts, Cameron! And BIG, too.

1 upvote
Cameron R Hood
By Cameron R Hood (Oct 27, 2011)

and the price is....?



By Mescalamba (Oct 27, 2011)

Price is normal for medium-format-ish Leica lens.

By Tee1up (Oct 27, 2011)

Yikes ... $7,495

Total comments: 30