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Leica SL: Evaluation of Focus Shift at 90mm for Leica 24-90mm f/2.8-4 Vario-Elmarit-SL

Leica 24-90mm f/2.8-4 Vario-Elmarit-SL

See my Leica SL wishlist at B&H Photo.

The Leica SL has one lens option, the Leica 24-90mm f/2.8-4 Vario-Elmarit-SL ASPH. In many ways it is a super premium lens. Well...

I experienced consistent problems in the field with both autofocus and focus shift. Both issues are extremely serious in that they destroy image quality.

This studio evaluation confirms my findings. I deem it alone worth the price of Guide to Leica for anyone considering the Leica SL.

Leica SL + 24-90mm f/2.8-4 Vario-Elmarit-SL: Focus Shift and Autofocus Evaluation at 90mm

Includes images from f/4 - f/8 including actual pixels.

UPDATE: I’ve added a second series from f/2.8 - f/11, this time using manual focus to ensure sharp eyes to start with. Combined with the AF example, the practical value of the operational behavior is even higher.

This is not a one-off issue: Ming Thein found the same problem in his review of the Leica SL.

This study is at a reproduction ratio of 1:16.3 as determined my measuring the subject. It corresponds to a loose head and shoulders portrait, thus it is a critical operating distance. Since the 24-90mm focuses down to 1:3.8, this is a far greater distance than its closest focusing capability.

Dolls and Rulers
f4 @ 1/6 sec, ISO 100; 2016-01-03 13:34:49
LEICA SL (Typ 601) + VARIO-ELMARIT 1:2.8-4.0/24-90mm ASPH. OIS @ 90mm

[low-res image for bot]

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