Credit: Leica

In the midst of all the NAB video news, Leica has unveiled a little something for the photography crowd. Meet the Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35mm F3.5-4.5 ASPH lens, an ultra-wide angle zoom lens that promises "performance and versatility, coupled with quick and quiet autofocus" for users of Leica's full-frame mirrorless Leica SL.

Leica hopes the Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35 will be a "go-to" lens for a variety of uses: from landscapes and architecture, to weddings, concerts, and even reportage and documentary photography.

Inside the lens barrel you'll find 18 elements in 12 groups, including two aspherical elements and three elements "made from glass with anomalous partial dispersion." This optical formula is paired with a specially developed focusing drive with stepping motor and linear positioning that, paired with a single dedicated focusing element, promises to deliver fast and quiet autofocus.

Here's a closer look at the lens from all angles:

The Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35mm F3.5-4.5 ASPH joins two other zoom lenses in the Leica SL system—the Vario-Elmarit–SL 24-90mm F2.8-4 ASPH and the APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90-280mm F2.8-4—which now cover a combined focal range of 16mm to 280mm. The lens will be available at Leica stores, boutiques, and dealers worldwide starting April 23rd for $5,495.00.

Press Release

Leica Camera Announces Expansion of SL-System with an Ultra-Wide Angle Lens

The highly-anticipated Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16–35/3.5–4.5 ASPH provides unparalleled imaging performance and versatility, coupled with supremely quick and quiet autofocus

April 9, 2018 - Leica’s new Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16–35/3.5–4.5 ASPH. ultra-wide angle zoom lens perfectly rounds out the current zoom lens portfolio for the Leica SL, offering what is sure to be a go-to lens in the full-frame mirrorless Leica SL-System kit. While this ultra-wide angle lens is well-versed at capturing everything in a scene, its range of focal lengths makes it ideal for a diversity of uses, including landscape and architectural photography, wedding, event, and concert photography to reportage and documentary photography. The lens’s versatility and ability to capture not only wide scenarios, but also zoom in on a subject’s details, make it the most accessible, easy-to-use wide-angle lens in all of Leica’s impressive line-up.

In addition to excellent imaging quality throughout the entire range of focal lengths and at all apertures, the high-performance lens also offers simultaneously fast and quiet autofocus. This is driven by a specially developed focusing drive including a stepping motor and linear positioning. In combination, this moves a single, dedicated glass focusing element that, due to its low weight, allows for a very quick autofocus.

The camera is also crafted to perform well in challenging situations. The lens features protected construction and special AquaDura® front lens coating that can withstand adverse weather conditions. Additionally, the lens’s barrel does not extend when zooming, which further helps the lens endure more rugged scenarios.

The newly designed optical system of the Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16–35/3.5–4.5 ASPH. contains a total of 18 elements in 12 groups that work to control distortion incredibly well. These elements include two asphericals for the correction of monochromatic aberrations and three elements made from glass with anomalous partial dispersion correct chromatic aberration. An improved mount geometry and high-quality coating ensure optimum suppression of reflections and stray light within the optical system.

With the addition of the Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16–35/3.5–4.5 ASPH., the portfolio of zoom lenses for the Leica SL now covers a range of focal lengths from 16 to 280 mm. Together with the Vario-Elmarit–SL 24–90/2.8–4 ASPH. and the APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90–280 f/2.8–4, this trio of exceptional lenses are able to expertly capture all genres of photography and enables photographers a high degree of flexibility and versatility with their craft and creativity.

The Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16–35/3.5–4.5 ASPH. will be priced at $5,495.00 and available worldwide in Leica Stores, Boutiques and Dealers starting April 23.

A new firmware update for the Leica SL, Version 3.2, will also be released April 23rd to address improvements specifically requested by Leica SL photographers:

  • The joystick can now be deactivated from the menu to prevent inadvertent changes to settings while the camera is in use
  • Eco Mode can be set to reduce the power consumption of the camera
  • The standard white balance value for daylight has been changed from 6600 K to 6500 K
  • Various improvements have been made for entering text and numbers (e.g. at WiFi password)
  • Compatibility with the Leica SF 60 System Flash and the SF C1 wireless flash controller
  • Other bug fixes

Technical Data:

Lens: Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35/3.5-4.5 ASPH.

Field angle (diagonal, horizontal, vertical)

  • Focal length 16mm: 105,6°/ 95,3°/ 72°
  • Focal length 24mm: 84,7°/ 74,4°/ 53,7°
  • Focal length 35mm: 64,6°/ 55,5°/ 38,7°

Optical Design

Number of lenses/groups: 18/12

Number of aspherical lenses: 2

Entrance pupil position:

  • Focal length 16mm: 105,9mm
  • Focal length 24mm: 101,5mm
  • Focal length 35mm: 105,0mm

Distance setting

Working range: 250mm to infinity

Smallest object field: Focal length 35mm – 90 x 135 mm

Largest reproduction ratio

  • Focal length 16mm: 1:7,7
  • Focal length 35mm: 1:3,7


Setting/function: Electronically controlled aperture, set using turn/push wheel on camera, including half values

Aperture setting range

  • Focal length 16mm: 3,5-22
  • Focal length 35mm: 4,5-22

Lowest value: 22

Bayonet/sensor format: Leica L bayonet, full-frame 35mm format

Filter mount: E82

Dimensions and weight

Length to bayonet mount: 123mm (without lens hood)

Largest diameter: 88mm

Weight: 990g