Leica has introduced the full-frame mirrorless SL system, including the SL Typ 601 ILC and three compatible SL lenses: the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm F2.8-4 ASPH, Apo-Vario Elmarit-SL 90-280mm F2.8-4 and Summilux-SL 50mm F1.4 ASPH. The SL uses a 24MP CMOS sensor adapted from the Leica Q, and true to form its weather-sealed body is cut from a single block of milled aluminum.

The SL offers a built-in SXGA+ 4.4m dot resolution EVF and a 2.95" touch-sensitive LCD with 1.04M pixels, complemented by a top panel 1.28" monochrome status LCD. A casual glance at the camera will reveal its Leica T-style minimalism and use of 'soft' contextual buttons, rather than labeled hard buttons. A joystick is also provided for quick AF point selection.

The SL is capable of 4096 x 2160 4K video at 24 fps, offering 4:2:0 internal recording or 4:2:2 over HDMI. Continuous shooting is offered up to 11 fps, and the camera makes use of a contrast-based AF system with 49-points that Leica calls the fastest on the market. Built-in Wi-Fi is included, and the camera's battery is rated to 400 shots. 

With the introduction of a full-frame mirrorless system, the existing crop-sensor T-mount will be called TL going forward. All SL-mount lenses will include weather-sealing, and in 2016 an adapter will be offered to convert any Leica lens to the body. Leica says it is developing six more lenses for the SL mount, and two external flash units are planned for release in November.

The Leica SL Typ 601 will be available from November 16th for $7,450 body-only. The Leica Vario Elmarit-SL 24-90mm F2.8-4 ASPH will cost $4,950.


Press release:

Introducing the Leica SL Mirrorless Camera System, Setting Records in Speed, Versatility and Quality 

Lightning-Fast Autofocus, High-Performance Processor and Outstanding Built Quality Combine to Create Yet Another Innovative System From Leica

October 20, 2015 – The much anticipated mirrorless camera system designed for professional photographers is here.From legendary German camera maker Leica Camera comes the new Leica SL mirrorless system portfolio, once again ushering a new era of innovation in the photography world. The Leica SL’s autofocus – the fastest on the market – combined with its high-performance Maestro II series processor and expansive buffer memory, make it possible for photographers to capture images at speeds and resolutions never before attained. Even more ground-breaking, the exceptional compatibility of the Leica SL system allows access to almost every Leica lens ever made. 

UNPARALLELED ADVANCES IN SPEED
Utilizing 2 GB of buffer memory, the processor makes it possible to capture 24-megapixel exposures at rates of up to 11 frames per second, 4K video at 24 or 30 frames per second, and Full-HD video up to 120 frames per second. Pictures can be quickly saved to one or both of the SD memory card slots, in JPEG and RAW DNG formats simultaneously. The primary card slot utilizes the UHS II standard to ensure the main card attains the highest speeds currently possible. The combination of outstanding imaging performance, superior resolution, and the fastest autofocus makes working with the Leica SL the ideal experience for the demands of professional photographers.

STRIKING CMOS SENSOR
The Leica SL’s 24-megapixel CMOS full-frame sensor guarantees impressive dynamic range, excellent contrast rendition, exceptional sharpness, the highest resolution, and noise-free images in almost all lighting conditions, with shutter speeds from 30 minutes to 1/8000 second. The sensor reveals its full potential in combination with Leica SL lenses, especially in available-light situations, creating superior-quality atmospheric exposures at sensitivities of up to 50,000 ISO. What also sets this sensor apart is that it is optimized for use with all Leica M-Lenses; in addition to supporting all their functions, it delivers the excellent picture quality synonymous with Leica for more than a century. 

UNRIVALED VERSATILITY AND ADAPTABILITY
The Leica SL system’s new lenses will boast the superior optical and mechanical precision that users have come to expect from Leica. The ideal standard zoom lens in the portfolio, the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90 mm f/2.8–4 ASPH, encompasses wide-angle to moderate telephoto perspectives at fast apertures. The speedy Leica APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90–280 mm f/2.8–4 will follow in early 2016, and the portfolio will be rounded out by the Leica Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH, the new benchmark lens for this focal length, in late 2016.

The exceptional compatibility of the Leica SL system also allows access to almost every Leica lens ever made, giving photographers the ability to use all of the quality Leica lenses they have invested in over time. All lenses for the Leica T camera can be used without an adapter on the Leica SL. In addition, adapters allow Leica S, M and R system lenses, as well as lenses from other manufacturers, to be mounted on the Leica SL. Additional Leica SL Lenses are set to be released in 2016.

ADVANCED VIEWFINDER AND TOUCHSCREEN DISPLAY
Developed especially for the Leica SL, the electronic viewfinder is the first of its kind to feature Leica EyeRes technology. With a refresh rate so high the view is always smooth and consistent, an impressive resolution of 4.4 megapixels for amazing detail, and a magnification reminiscent of a medium format camera, this electronic viewfinder reveals an entirely new visual experience. By offering a preview of how the settings will apply with just a partial press of the shutter release, the viewfinder provides optimum control over the final picture in any situation. The EyeRes viewfinder is activated simply by looking through it. In addition, the Leica SL also features a 2.95-inch rear display with a viewing angle of up to 170 degrees that enables reliable viewing of pictures and intuitive touchscreen menu navigation.

PROFESSIONAL VIDEO IN CINEMATIC RESOLUTION
Much more than a still-picture camera with video-recording capability, the Leica SL fulfils the most stringent demands of professional cinematographers, enabling the production of professional videos in 4K resolution. Videos can be recorded in Ultra-HD at up to 30 frames per second, or in Cine4K at 24 frames per second. In Full-HD, the Leica SL can record video up to 120 frames per second, using the entire sensor area, for beautiful and smooth slow-motion effects.

The Leica SL’s logical and intuitive handling allows seamless switchover from stills to motion-picture recording. As soon as the camera is in video mode, the display shows only relevant information for video, such as safe area, aspect ratio, zebra function and the recording level of the microphone. An optional audio adapter allows users to connect an external microphone; the audio-recording level can be set without accessing the menu. Videos can be output in 4:2:2 10-bit format in 4K resolution over HDMI 1.4, allowing cinematographers to get the highest color and video quality and control needed from the camera.

BUILT FOR DURABILITY
The “Made in Germany” seal of quality for the Leica SL system guarantees that only the finest materials and craftsmanship are used in its construction. The SL’s solid-aluminium body components, and precisely engineered weather-resistant seals around controls and in the lenses, provide optimum protection against dust, moisture and splashes. Meanwhile integrated ultrasonic sensor cleaning removes dust and dirt, preventing them from showing up in images. The glass covering the back panel display is extremely scratch-resistant and features an anti-glare coating. All these properties make the camera an ideal tool for use in the unpredictable conditions professional photographers face. 

The Leica SL (Type 601) body (SRP: $7,450) and Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90 mm f/2.8–4 ASPH zoom lens (SRP: $4,950) will be available beginning November 16 at your local Leica Store, Leica Boutique or Leica Dealer. Additional Leica SL lenses and accessories are set to be released throughout 2016; the Leica APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 1:2, 8-4/90-280mm ASPH will be available in Q2, and the Leica Summilux-SL 1:1, 4/50mm ASPH will be available Q4.

Leica SL Typ 601 specifications

Price
MSRP$7450
Body type
Body typeLarge SLR
Body materialAluminum
Sensor
Max resolution6000 x 4000
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorMaestro II
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 50-50000
White balance presets8
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
File format
  • JPEG
  • DNG
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points49
Lens mountLeica L
Focal length multiplier1×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.8×
Viewfinder resolution4,400,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Shutter speed priority
  • Aperture priority
  • Manual
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe and PC sync)
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modes
  • single
  • Continuous S/M/F
  • Self-timer 2/12 secs
  • Interval
  • Exposure bracketing
  • Time (up to 30 mins)
Continuous drive11.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 12 secs)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3, 5, 7 frames at 1 EV, 2 EV steps)
Videography features
Resolutions4096 x 2160 (24p), 3840 x 2160 (30p), 1920 x 1080 (120p, 60p, 30p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (120p, 60p, 30p, 24p)
FormatMPEG-4
Videography notes4:2:o 8-bit (internal), 4:2:2 10-bit (HDMI out); supports V-Log L gamma
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesDual SD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-II supported on slot 1)
Storage included2GB
Connectivity
USB USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
HDMIYes
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n
Remote controlYes (via smartphone or shutter release cable)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionBP-SCL4 lithium-ion battery and charger
Battery Life (CIPA)400
Weight (inc. batteries)847 g (1.87 lb / 29.88 oz)
Dimensions147 x 104 x 39 mm (5.79 x 4.09 x 1.54)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSBuilt-in