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LEICA VARIO-ELMARIT - SL 1:2.8-4 / 24-90 ASPH. THE BEST LENS I'VE EVER USED

It's not light, it's not small and it's certainly not cheap, but it is the best lens I've ever used. It's the LEICA VARIO-ELMARIT - SL 1:2.8-4 / 24-90 ASPH.

For the above reasons I had decided that I would probably not get this lens and consequently used a lot of alternative lenses, via adapters on my Leica SL (Typ 601) camera. And the Canon, Leica R and Nikon lenses I've used have produced excellent results. However I have always wondered if I was getting the best out of my SL and it's excellent sensor. I also made the 'mistake?' of looking at some samples with this lens, which were seriously impressive. I was slowly coming to the decision to get one and try it out. A few weeks ago I saw one at a good S/H price from a reputable dealer so I decided to bite the bullet, warm up my credit card and go down the gym to build up my muscles (NOT!!) I have to say I was pleased with my decision and when I did a few test shots and viewed them on my Macbook Pro's Retina screen an involuntary WOW! left my lips. Picking my jaw up from the floor I realised I was in for a treat with this lens.

Why is it so good? Well it's super sharp across the frame including wide open, but has a velvety smoothness at the same time. Difficult to explain, but the files it creates are things of beauty. The colours are again just beautiful. Leica colour is legendary, punchy without being gaudy and I'm convinced I can see more shades than with any other camera / lens combination. Construction is seriously heavy duty and as usual with Leica it's the details that count. The focusing and zoom rings are smooth, yet with that light resistance that makes them feel that they will last forever. Putting on the lens and locking it feels super firm without having to use any force.

When I first tried the AF I thought the lens wasn't working properly, but then realised that it was focusing so fast (and completely silently) that my brain took some catching up to see it hit focus. It is the fastest focusing lens I've ever used and while I rarely need that kind of speed, it's handy to have it.

Now I'm not going to provide any samples or comparisons. If you want to see what this can do on an SL with some full size raw files here's a link to Dpreview and a gallery with lots of 24-90 images. - https://www.dpreview.com/sample-galleries/8280161083/leica-sl-real-world-samples-gallery/3249953552

Now whatever you might of read about this camera and lens, I can only say that in my experience this combination produces incredible images and the best technically I've ever created. I upsize all the shots I take to 50MP and I've done a comparison with this and the native files from my Canon 5DSR and I like the Leica images more and I think they are even slightly sharper, even though upsized. The SL (Typ 601) is after all the first mirrorless camera aimed directly at professional photographers and with Leica's reputation with lenses it SHOULD be very good indeed. I'm pleased to say that is indeed the case. And in some ways considering the build the bulk and the price there would only be an issue if the SL / 24-90 didn't perform.

Would I like it to be cheaper, smaller and lighter? Of course I would, but then this kind of quality doesn't come in compact size and price. And I'm prepared to put up with using this beast of a lens to get the results it produces. These days, with the amount of images on stock photography sites, I do need an edge. And no smartphone, budget DSLR or mirrorless camera can come close to the resolution the the SL / 24-90 combination produces. For me, with this lens, Leica have put all their competitors in the shade in terms of a 'standard' zoom lens. Those invested in other systems might not want to agree and indeed for most uses of imagery it probably doesn't matter. But if I want the ultimate in full-frame quality (which I do) this is the camera lens combination to provide it. A totally silent camera and lens with premium built quality, super fast AF and image quality to die for, what's not to like? (Apart from the size, weight and price!!) However it's my money and my life so I'll use what I want. Who knows I might even get some fitness benefits from carrying this around.

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