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Super-APO-Summicron-SL 21mm: First Experience - Quality Meets Wide Angle


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9 hours ago, MediaFotografie said:

It will be more than 1,600 days at least from the announcement on 15.09.2018 to the own Super-APO-Summicron-SL 21mm - or almost 80 days per millimetre focal length. It was great to use the new lens for five weeks in June and July 2022 during the field test. Summary: It is indeed worth the wait.

During these five weeks, I took more than 2,400 professional and private photos from all the usual areas of application for a 21mm, real-life use. What I had planned to do – but did not: Comparison shots (for example with the SVE 16-35) and exact "pixel comparison"; I only invested the time in real use, that was more fun and the results confirmed it that way.

Exterior and AF

Externally: It is - fortunately - an APO-Summicron-SL like the previous five. Same size, around 750 grams in weight, same feel as the previous ones. My own set will then be 21/35/90. The lens hood was not included in my test.

The autofocus of the 21mm on the SL 601 and SL2 is as fast as usual, it has a slight noise when focusing, which bothers some, but is not really noticeable to me. All in all, "everything is the same", a break would also be a pity.

The APO-SL 21mm in use

As I said, the demo lens was used intensively for five weeks, I was allowed to drive or fly to events and also to see many things of the world and politics. My main use can be described as "reportage", plus architecture and (too little) landscape. Conclusion: I think it's an excellent lens for this, especially on the SL2, whose high-resolution sensor allows a lot of cropping.

I haven't tested it on the SL2-S, but on the SL2 and also 601. At 24 MP, unfortunately, the advantage of "strong cropping" is lost. Since the SL2 with IBIS can handle very well with slow shutter speeds at 21mm, the advantage of the SL2-S with high ISO is not so important for this lens.

The sharpness performance is exceptional across the entire field of view, at the top of what the great APO-SL optics give us. A dream. So extreme that I had never noticed so many moiré patterns with a lens before - that's just part of it without a low-pass filter in front of the sensor.

My specimen came for the field test without a lens hood - but that was no problem despite the short focal length, the new APO-SL is extremely insensitive to stray light, ghosts and reflections even without a lens hood. I didn't explicitly look for distortion - but didn't find any either; whether with the help of software correction or not I didn't analyse, result good in any case.

It's finally here - will make happy many here in the forum. Today, even in the L-mount alliance - unlike 2018 - there are some good alternatives. For me and my typical use together with the SL2 or an even higher resolution successor, the APO-Summicron-SL 21mm is an extremely universal lens.

More image examples (with metadata) here, all with the 21mm (except the one where it can be seen itself):


The DNGs of a selection of them are here:



+1 - and good to see that your mascot(s) are happy with the SL21!

Without having personal experience with the SL21 yet (on order), the SL APO 21-35-90 looks like an outstanding and versatile triple (holdes for any combination of the APOs, I guess...). Add the SL 50 Lux - that I see you have included in one of the photos - and you get some Mandler-like magic mixed with the APO superiority.

(My only concern is related to electronic lenses in general, but I guess bits 'n pieces can be repaired well into the future.)

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