UPDATE: The Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–70mm f/2.8 ASPH (opens in new tab) has been officially announced, but only in Japan. There is no mention of its status as an "economy line" lens – but no pricing information either.
UPDATE 04 May: An image has leaked of Leica's first "economy line" lens, the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–70mm f/2.8 ASPH, which is rumored to be a repurposed Sigma 24-70mm optic.
The Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–70mm f/2.8 ASPH is, according to reports, an upcycled version of the brilliant Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 AF DG DN (opens in new tab). The latest story by Leica Rumors claims that (opens in new tab) the lens will be announced on 06 May, and will carry a price tag of $2,750. It will also be sold as a kit with the Leica SL2 (opens in new tab) for "just below €6,500 (around $7,800 – US prices are usually lower)."
You can see the 'new' Leica lens side-by-side with its Sigma counterpart below.
ORIGINAL STORY (23 Apr): Leica is set to launch a new "economy line" of lenses, starting with the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–70mm f/2.8 ASPH – which, according to a new report, is actually a rebranded Sigma optic.
The words "Leica" and "economy" aren't typically uttered in the same sentence, but the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–70mm f/2.8 ASPH could be set to be the first budget optic in the Leica lens lineup.
The new lens would provide a constant aperture alternative to the existing Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. However, it will apparently be a rebodied version of the brilliant Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 AF DG DN (opens in new tab) optic (which we awarded five stars in our review (opens in new tab)).
Leica Rumors, which broke the news, was initially skeptical. "The optics of the new lens will be based on the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art lens," wrote the website (opens in new tab). "This is hard for me to believe – Leica will take a Sigma lens and put a red dot on top of it?"
As it posted later (opens in new tab), though, we have seen this from Leica before. "A reader reminded me that this is not the first time Leica is rebranding Sigma lenses. Back in the 90s Leica offered the Vario-Elmar 28-70/3,5-4,5 as a kit lens for the R7 – this was a Sigma lens, but the body and mechanics were totally different from the original Sigma lens that had plastic-like housing."
And of course, Leica has a tradition of rebadging Panasonic products, including the Leica D-Lux 7 (opens in new tab) (Panasonic LX100 II (opens in new tab)) and Leica SL2 (opens in new tab) (Panasonic S1R (opens in new tab)).
Whether or not it's a repackaged product from another manufacturer, according to Leica Rumors this is what we can expect from the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–70mm f/2.8 ASPH:
- The Leica VARIO-ELMARIT-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 ASPH lens will be a part of a new “economy line” from Leica (not sure for the exact name of the new product line)
- The official announcement should be in May
- The lens will be priced just slightly higher than the Panasonic Lumix S PRO 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for L-mount (still under €3,000/$3,000?)
- The lens will not have an all-metal body like other Leica SL lenses
- The design and construction will be very similar to the current Panasonic Lumix S PRO 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for L-mount: