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

Let's take a closer look at the top of the SL. Over on the far left is the rather pronounced fairing for either the camera's Wi-Fi or GPS receivers, followed by the hot shoe with a stereo microphone just in front of it it. The hot shoe - one of two ways in which you can attach an external flash - provides a top x-sync speed of 1/250 sec. Leica will be offering a pair of external flashes this Fall.

It's hard to ignore that LCD info display on the top of the camera. It's large, easy to read, and displays all of the information you'd expect to see. To the right of that is the shutter release, video recording, and one of many unlabeled buttons. One of two control dials sits in-between them. 

Ergonomically, the SL owes a lot to its 'S' class medium format forebears. And not in an entirely good way. Buttons are customizable but as a consequence they're almost all unlabeled (Leica did make an exception for the on/off switch) and there's no exposure mode dial. It took several DPR staffers to finally figure out how to change exposure modes. You do that by pressing the rear dial inward and then rotating it. In addition, only one dial is active in shutter or aperture priority, and we found no way to change that.

Both are good examples of our issues with the control system as a whole - the first time you pick up the SL out of the box you'll likely spend some time figuring out which unlabeled button does what.