My Take on the Leica SL2

Started Nov 6, 2019 | Discussions thread
BostonBoy Senior Member • Posts: 2,386
Re: My Take on the Leica SL2

Jono Slack wrote:

BostonBoy wrote:

I had tried AF-S, AF-C, and the new AF-I, and all modes show to a lesser (AF-S) or more (AF-C), AF-I in between, a wobble in the Viewfinder. Not a small wobble - a really annoying wobble, worst in AF-C, as the camera acquired my target. I tried Spot, and also the 5x5 grid AF. Same, less so on the grid though. Maybe it's amplified for me with eye-glasses, but the wobble really put me off. I have other cameras with Contrast-based AF detection only (e.g. X1D) which do not show this behavior.

I also tried what I would call the 'maximum problem' test (for a contrast based system) by focusing on flat fields w/o edges and the acquisition was problematic as I expected. At least that I expected (and you can work around it by traditional 'recompose'). However, the wobble I hope Leica acknowledges and is able to correct in future FW updates (which I expect). Worst scenario would be that this is a systematic problem, which I don't hope.

I ended up NOT placing an order. I want so see how this develops first, and there is a 2 months wait period here in DE as well. Great camera overall, but you should put it through your own paces first. Maybe it's just me or my specific eye correction.

Hi There

I quite agree about the 'wobble' (I think I'd call it a flicker) in AF-C, but I haven't seen it an AF-s or in Manual focus - it doesn't make any difference whether you use spot or grid AF (quite agree). It does happen also in AFi - but I think that's only when it has decided to use AF-C (so that it's the same problem). I'm sure that Leica are aware of this.

As I say, I've seen no problems with wobble using AFS - except once in a very nasty mixed lighting scenario - is it possible you might have mixed up here?

I also agree on the flat field focusing (although I think that is actually better than I'd expected).

I've still only used beta firmware, and as I am primarily a camera tester I report faults to Leica, and it isn't fair to put things like this in a report if they may be fixed (always a conundrum).

As for Michael S and the battery life issue - I fear they were in a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation here - Either change the battery and induce the fury of SL users who have 5 batteries already - or else suffer from the reduced battery life. I'm actually hoping that this might be improved a bit in firmware; I've managed over 1000 shots on one charge in an intensive shooting situation where I'm not doing a lot of chimping . . . but less than 200 in a casual situation with the power saving turned off, and I wonder if that couldn't be improved later? I think the CIPA value is 3 hundred and something. Of course if you double the processing power and shift much more data you are going to shorten the battery life.

At any rate - I hope the 'wobbling' issue is fixed for those who want to use AFC

All the best


Jono - thanks for responding directly. I agree - it's worse in AF-C, and depending on light conditions very short (1-2 swings max) to non-existent in AF-S. I managed to confuse the AFs system at one point by focusing on a big red Leica sticker in the shop window in 'center point AF' (smallest AF point), which resulted in no-focus acquisition at all...quite an abusive test, w/ non-controlled conditions, and I'm not sure that any Phase Detect AF system would have faired better here… are always tricky. Just one data point for me, that's all. I'm an Engineer, and tend to look at things from different angles.

I'm sure Leica is aware, and will continue to improve the AF with each FW iteration. I also agree that SL2 AF-i seems indeed to make a situational decision to switch between AFs and AFc...unfortunately this intelligent mode becomes only so-so useful (for me) then as AFc shows the continuous wobble. I still believe that my eye-glasses (I do wear bifocals) have something to do with the fact that it seems to be 'amplified' for me. I think I make another test with the beautifully crafted SL2 Diopter-Adjuster w/o glasses next time.

Just to be clear: This is still an exceptional camera, and has a huge attraction to me from it's overall qualities. I also do believe that if you work with this camera extensively (as you did)  a certain focus technique will become a "natural habit" which will increase keepers significantly. You 'get to know your tool'.

It's all in the operators hands, and a fool with a tool will remain a fool. That's why it is so important to understand your equipment, and how to put it to best use.

Lastly: I have all confidence that Leica Engineers will figure this out. When they do, I'll get on the ordering list. For 10K+ (with a single prime lens here in DE) I expect also exceptional performance.

Thanks also for your insightful article.

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