Leica APO-Summicron-SL 50mm f/2
The autofocus system shared by the Summicron-SL lenses is fast, precise, and nearly silent. Their outstanding AF performance figures are thanks to the autofocus drive unit they both utilize. These are limited only by the mass of the glass elements moved when focusing; the speed of moving from infinity to the closest focusing distance. In order to preserve the compact dimensions of the lenses, the integration of these components must be perfectly optimized within all design constraints.
With a maximum aperture of f/2, the SL-Summicron lenses are significantly more compact than even faster lenses, but still allow photographers to work with similar depth of field. The reason for this is contrast: the area of highest contrast is incredibly sharp, while zones with lower contrast are unsharp or beautifully blurred.
In the construction of the Summicron-SL lenses, particular attention has been paid to the prevention of stray light and reflections. The optimization of the optical and mechanical design was carried out in elaborate simulations before the construction of the first prototype lenses. Unavoidable reflections are reduced to the lowest possible level by high-quality optical coatings of the lens surfaces.
The focusing and aperture setting functions of a SL-Summicron lens are based on a multitude of control systems and mathematical operations. The demands on the electronics are particularly high in the case of the dual-synchro drive focusing system.
SL-Summicron Lenses feature a totally new manual focusing ring construction concept. In this concept, a ring magnet with alternating north-south magnetization is embedded in the manual focusing ring. The magnetic field changes its polarity when the ring is turned. A sensor monitors the status of the magnetic field and sends the data to the main processor. The drive then shifts the lens to the corresponding focusing position on the basis of the angle of rotation and the rotational speed.