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Leica has announced the Vario-Elmar-SL 100-400mm F5-6.3, a telephoto zoom lens for L-mount. It’s also announced a 1.4x teleconverter that’s compatible with the lens to deliver a combination that extends to 560mm F9.

The rather modest maximum aperture range allows the lens to be relatively compact for such a long telephoto optic. It comes with a detachable tripod base compatible with the Arca-Swiss system. The ring to which this attaches has a thumb dial to allow it to rotate and lock every 90 degrees.

The lens delivers up to 0.24x magnification at the 400mm setting’s minimum focus distance of 1.59m (5.2ft). It’s 198mm (7.80″) long at its shortest, and 88mm (3.46″) in diameter. As the first few comments on this story highlight, the optical specs and 22 element / 16 group formula are remarkably similar to those of Sigma’s 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS, albeit with metal construction.

The Leica version weighs 1530g (54oz) without the supplied hood, and 1620g (57oz) with.

The lens is compatible with the Leica Extender L 1.4x teleconverter that’s launched alongside it, to deliver a 140-560mm F7-9 zoom. The extender is currently only listed as being compatible with the SL 100-400. It adds 182g (6.4oz) to proceedings.

The 100-400mm lens goes on sale immediately with a recommended price of $2195, with the teleconverter adding a further $875.

Leica expands the SL-System lens portfolio with a compact 100- 400mm telephoto zoom lens and a new 1.4x extender allowing a focal length increase up to 560mm.

Teaneck, March 9th, 2023. For over 150 years, Leica Camera AG has been crafting lenses that stand as pioneering precision tools, continuously pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible. Creative people rely on Leica cameras and lenses to capture their view of the world in outstanding image quality with the unmistakable Leica look. Now, the new Leica Vario-Elmar-SL 100-400 f/5-6.3 telephoto zoom lens and the new Leica Extender L 1.4x once again expand the freedom and flexibility of photography and videography with the SL-System.

The new Vario-Elmar-SL 100-400 f/5-6.3 offers the widest and longest zoom range of the SL-System and combines high-end technology with all the advantages of a particularly compact and lightweight design. Its range of applications is extremely versatile. Above all, it shines in nature, wildlife, sports and action photography. It is characterized by its high performance and high image quality over the entire zoom and aperture range. The optical image stabilizer ensures blur-free images and the autofocus focuses precisely on moving objects.

The Vario-Elmar-SL 100-400 f/5-6.3 has an ARCA-SWISS compatible, detachable tripod base that can be inserted directly into a suitable coupling system without a quick-release plate. This provides a secure hold at all times when photographing or filming with a tripod. A lockable tripod clamp also allows the lens to be fixed securely at any angle. The clamp locks every 90 degrees for quick changes between landscape and portrait formats.
As an additional option, the new Leica Extender L 1.4x extends the focal length of the Vario-Elmar-SL 100-400 f/5-6.3 even further to a range of 140-560mm. With its compact dimensions, it fits in any bag to quickly and flexibly form a powerful unit with the lens. Both the extended focal length and the aperture are written into the image data as usual, to ensure that they show the actual settings used.

The new SL lens, whether on its own or in combination with the Leica Extender L 1.4, complements the SL-System, as well as the L-Mount portfolio, with a versatile, powerful and compact lens that captures images and videos in unique quality.

The retail price for the new Leica Vario-Elmar-SL 100-400 f/5-6.3 is $2,195 and the retail price for the new Leica Extender L 1.4x is $875. Both products are available globally at Leica Stores, the Leica Online Store and authorized dealers starting March 9th 2023.

Leica Vario-Elmar-SL 100-400f/5-6.3 specifications

Principal specifications
Lens type Zoom lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Focal length 100–400 mm
Image stabilization Yes
Lens mount L-Mount
Maximum aperture F5–6.3
Minimum aperture F22
Aperture ring No
Elements 22
Groups 16
Minimum focus 1.10 m (43.31)
Maximum magnification 0.24×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Stepper motor
Full time manual No
Focus method Internal
Distance scale No
DoF scale No
Weight 1530 g (3.37 lb)
Diameter 88 mm (3.46)
Length 198 mm (7.8)
Sealing Yes
Zoom method Rotary (extending)
Power zoom No
Zoom lock No
Filter thread 82 mm
Hood supplied Yes
Tripod collar No

Richard Butler
Source: Dpreview

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