Hands-on with the Leica SL (Typ 601)
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Hands-on with the Leica SL (Typ 601)

Let's get this out of the way now: the Leica SL is big - especially with its 24-90mm 'kit lens' attached. The body alone (which of course is crafted from a solid block of aluminum) measures 147 x 104 x 39mm (5.8 x 4.1 x 1.5 in.) and weighs 847g (1.9 lbs) with battery and memory card installed. Those measurements don't include the grip, which adds 28mm (1.1in.) to the depth.

Given its bulk and general front-heaviness when the lens is attached one would expect a large right hand grip, but the one on the SL is neither particularly deep nor does it offer any indentations for your fingers. Button placement could be better as well, and especially the buttons on the top right of the camera seem to require a stretch to access. On the plus side, the body is sealed against dust and moisture.

Getting into the 'guts' of the camera, it has a 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor, and although the company would not disclose the manufacturer, we understand that it (alongside the SL's Maestro II processor) is very similar to the hardware used inside the Leica Q. Unlike the Q, and Sony's a7 II-series, there's no onboard image stabilization, so it's up to the lens to provide it. The 24-90mm lens has IS built-in, though unusually, it lacks a physical switch on the barrel. Instead, stabilization is turned on and off from within the camera's menu.

The image processor provides an ISO range of 50-50000, with the latter being on the low end for a full-frame camera. On the other hand, the SL has a very speedy burst rate of 11 fps (with fixed focus and exposure). The shutter speed range is 60 - 1/8000 sec with an available bulb mode.