Reviews Next Week: Leica SL with 90-280 and more!

Reviews Next Week: Leica SL with 90-280 and more!

Next week I will be posting two new reviews and one of them is giving me the best IQ from a non medium format camera that I have ever seen.

Yep, the Leica SL with the new 90-280mm f/2.8-f/4 lens was sent to me by Leica to check out and while it is the largest lens I have ever worked with, personally, I feel it is also one of the best quality lenses from a color and IQ standpoint that I have ever used, next to the Leica 50 APO! We can argue all day about its size, and believe me, it is MASSIVE. Like a Cannon (NOT the Camera company, but rather a real CANNON)…take a look.



This lens is heavy, large and makes the 24-90 look like a baby, but if QUALITY is #1 on your list above all, this lens will NEVER EVER disappoint anyone. It’s quite amazing, and even during my day one silly test snaps, it just has that Leica feel, that quality and smoothness, the bokeh quality and the way the subject just pops a bit. This is why many love Leica. The SL is a camera I LOVE and while many do not care for it due to size, it is a true “pride of onwership” kind of camera for me. Feels amazing, the design is very cool (IMO) and the battery life is superb, dual SD cards is nice to have and the EVF…the EVF makes it for me. Nothing else like it in 35mm format digital today…yet.

I am heading out today to shoot, and will be using all of what Leica sent so I can review this lens next week for you guys. Below are a couple of test snaps.. CLICK THEM for larger versions and to see that 100% crop of the bird.




I also just started working on getting the Sony A6300 reviewed where I will use the 28 f/2, 50 1.8 and 70-300 along with the Voigtlander 15 f/4.5. for E mount.

I also have the Sony RX10III to shoot more with, the Olympus PEN-F and 7-14 and 300mm pro, and quite a few other goodies here to put to use! Soon!

So check back next week for  these and much more!


PS- If you are interested in the Leica 90-280, give Ken Hansen an email at 

Can also be found at and B&H Photo


  1. You own the SL. I wonder if you’ll also buy this lens. Shooting with it means holding on to more than 2,5kg. I see you more use the SL with M-glass. Right?

    • I would not buy this lens, as beautiful as it is. Just would never use it, but that is me. I think that many who do not care about size or weight but instead absolute quality, would really enjoy this lens.

  2. It may look like a bazooka in this shot, but let’s put things in perspective. LOTS of serious FF shooters have 70-200mm pro lenses. Check out these specs (from BandH)

    Nikon 70-200 F/2.8 – 3.4″ x 8.1″, 3.4 lbs
    Canon 70-200 F/2.8L – 3.5″ x 8.0″, 3.28 lbs
    Leica 90-280 F/2.8-4 -3.5″ x 9.3″, 4 lbs.

    So it’s 12 oz or less heavier.
    It’s a bit over 1″ longer.
    It has 40% longer reach.
    It’s a Leica.
    (I admit the Canikons are 2.8 at 200mm and the Leica is not)
    Note that the Canon minimum focus distance is 4′ and it is 2′ (!) on the Leica. I’m unable to determine if that is at all focal lengths. That would make it a “reasonable” substitute macro for basic shooting.

    For people used to carrying these kinds of lenses, the Leica physical specs are just no big deal.

    • I don’t think Sony or anyone else should really pay attention to this monstrosity. At this focal length even mediocre lenses perform just fine. Sony has managed to create some great glass recently without turning the photographer into a tripod by giving him or her an extra leg. Really, do you want to carry a refractor telescope attached to you camera? By no means is this practical in anyway whatsoever. Next thing you know, this will be their 300mm lense

      • @jtorral: The 300mm f2.8 lenses from Canon and Nikon are larger and heavier. Yes, those lenses have a wider constant aperture, but they are also single focal length lenses. We all know fast zoom lenses are inherently large and heavy, so having an f2.8-4 aperture range, the Leica, at 90-280mm was bound to be large. What other brand has a zoom of this range and speed?

        P.S. You think Sony is exempt from the laws of physics? They don’t have a lens this large and heavy because, well, they don’t offer lenses of this range and speed.

        • Great reply! Don’t think anyone could have said it better. It’s also been my experience that tele and tele-zoom lenses are the least forgiving and that you get what you pay for. Leica doesn’t relent one inch against image quality and I respect them for that. It’s the same standard that led to the much derided but optically incredible X-Vario. I know first hand the trials of shooting 75 mm at f/7.2 but at least I know I’m getting prime lens quality from the far end of a zoom.

  3. Steve

    I bought the Leica SL after reading your review (and Kirk Tuck’s).
    I’ve been using it with my M lenses. (I’m selling my M240 body.)
    The 90mm f/2 with the macro-adapter works very well with the SL body.
    I assume that Leica will eventual make a SL-macro lens, meanwhile I have lots to do with the M lenses. The fabulous EVF makes it easy to focus on tiny subjects, like a bee working on a flower.

    Using that set up with video at 120 fps produces real Leica quality nature macro filming.

    I am so impressed with the Leica SL video at 4K and 2K
    that I am selling my Canon 4K video camera.

    Looking forward to your review of the SL 90-280mm zoom.
    I have one on order. You will no doubt convince me to push the BUY button.

    Thank you for your excellent reviews. Keep up the good work!


    • I’m in the exact same boat as you, have the SL and using a 90 Cron with macro adapter and loving it. I’m sure you know the wider you go, the closer you can get. My 24 Elmarit gets so close that it can’t escape it’s own shadow. The results are surprisingly good for non macro lenses. The SL is the second coming of cameras. Best ever.

  4. Thank you Steve you’re back. For a while it was going so slow in your site. Anywhere I go I try to visit your site. It is a fun site.

  5. Those sample images back up every word. Can we just be honest and call this camera what it is? The best digital camera ever made, period. That doesn’t mean every function will beat every function of other cameras, even medium format, but overall with the Leica lenses both native and adapted there is nothing else out there above it. I’ve shot and owned my fair share of Leica cameras as well as Sony, Fuji and Canon. Even shot with the new A7’s though I’d been off Sony for a while. Other cameras take great pictures but the SL is the pinnacle. All other cameras and Leica itself will use this as the starting point for the next generation of cameras. Cameras without compromise. (Cameras slightly bigger then the normal mirrorless fare is not a compromise if you have adult appendages and strength)

  6. Hey Steve, any chance for us to see a Fuji X-Pro2 review made by you? Would be really exciting what’s your opinion on it.

    • No, not this one. I had one for a week, did not win me over. Tried it with some great lenses as well, just wasn’t my thing (no fan of the X trans for low light or high dynamic range or in general). I then asked Amy Media to review it, and she did a great job. Thank you.

      • Martin I’ve been looking extensively at images posted on reviews on the web in jPeg and Raw and although it’s a great form factor as far as cameras go the end file, if you want the file to hold up for printing, is much better coming from a FF sensor. The files seem to fall away fairly quickly and out of focus rendering cam bring on fringing to the eye more than a FF image.

      • Wait, it didn’t win you over because of dynamic range and low light?

        Compared to what other Cameras?

        Sounds like a Cop-Out.

        Did you even get a review copy, or did you have to buy one? You did say you were going to review it. Why have one for a whole week and not even give it a brief write up?

        Not that I was looking forward to your review, I knew you would hate on it… I made a bet that you wouldn’t review it. Haha, I was right!

        • As I have said over 20 times on this site over the years, If I do not like a camera, I will not review it. Not into negativity (as you are), or spending 30-40 hours writing up a negative review. Plain and simple as that. Again, I am not a fan of the X-trans sensor. Not my cup of tea, and while other sites will review all cameras, and make them all sound wonderful, I am honest and if I do not like something for ME, I do not review it. Same goes with straps, bags, lenses, etc. It is what it is, and its also my site 😉 Plenty of reviews on this camera to read elsewhere but since you own it and are being a fanboy you do not need to read them anyway. Thank you. Since you must know, I prefer my Pen F to the X Pro 2. In every way. As do I my Sony A7S, A7RII, and Leica SL. Add to that my RX1RII, my Sony A6300, Leica M, etc etc.

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