Leica SL Review
The Leica SL is a high end 24MP full-frame mirrorless camera that has an astonishing 'EyeRes' high-resolution viewfinder, an incredibly high level of build quality and weather sealing, and unconventional though effective controls. Perhaps most significantly, this is the first non-rangefinder style 35mm full-frame digital camera Leica has made, and the company's first full frame mirrorless camera in the modern sense.
- 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor
- 0.8x magnification electronic viewfinder with 4.4 million dots
- 11 fps continuous burst shooting
- Maestro II image processor
- Native ISO range of 50-50000
- 529-spot point (or 49 field) contrast-detect AF system
- Dual SD card slots
- 4K video recording with 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI out
- Sturdy, weather-sealed construction
Leica, for all its cachet, mystique and eye-watering price points, has been consistent in its manufacture of somewhat unconventional digital cameras. There's the X-U, which is the only camera with an APS-C sized sensor that's designed to be submersible right out of the box. There's the T and TL, which, at the time of its release anyway, was fairly distinct in its heavy reliance on touch control. And then there's the M Monochrom, the only digital camera on the market that only shoots in black and white.
Enter the SL. Priced body-only higher than an M10 but (far) less than the company's S line of medium-format bodies, the SL is aimed squarely at professionals and advanced amateurs with deep pockets. The SL is a blend of the S, M and Q cameras in terms of specifications, overall design aesthetic and controls.
|The sensor performance of the SL isn't quite class leading, but the native lenses are lovely. Out of camera JPEG, Leica Summilux-SL 50mm F1.4. ISO 500, 1/100 sec, F2.2. Photo by Carey Rose|
Although the SL shares a lens mount with the T (whose lenses are now designated 'TL' while the SL's are, predictably, 'SL'), you'll really want to use full-frame lenses to get the most out of it. At the time of this writing, that means you're limited to just three native autofocus lenses, which include two variable-aperture zooms and a fast fifty. You can, of course, adapt M-mount glass to it, and though you'll be potentially slowed by manual focus, the incredible viewfinder makes that process about as easy as can be.
Let's take a look at how the SL compares with the Sony a7R II, part of the family that represents the only other full frame mirrorless camera out there currently.
|Leica SL||Sony a7R II|
|MSRP (Body only)||$7450||$2899|
|ISO Range (native)||50-50000||100-25600|
|AF Point control||Joystick/touchscreen||Four-way controller|
Dual SD, 1x UHS II
|Single SD, UHS I|
|EVF (magnification/resolution)||0.80x / 4.4M dots||0.78x / 2.36M dots|
|Continuous Shooting rate||11 fps (7 fps with AF)||5 fps|
|Rear screen||Fixed touchscreen||Tilting|
|Autofocus||529 spot point (49-field) contrast-detect||499-pt on sensor phase-detect|
|Video||Up to 4K/30p||Up to 4K/30p|
So who is the SL for? It shoots nearly as fast as a Nikon D5, but with focus locked and a much more limiting lens lineup. It has rugged, go-anywhere construction and weather-sealing, but with the native lenses, it makes for a heavy and bulky companion. You could lock it down as a studio camera, aided by its 1/250 sec flash sync, but then you're stuck with 'only' 24MP of resolution.
So far as I can tell, there just isn't a strictly rational reason to recommend this camera to any particular type of photographer, but when has purchasing a Leica ever been a strictly rational decision? The Q, M and even the T to a certain extent are 'special' in some way, particularly in the eyes of their owners. So the question really is, is the SL 'special?' It's certainly less limiting than any of Leica's other cameras, but in many cases its those other cameras' very limitations that contribute to their distinctiveness.
The SL is the 'cost-no-object' all-rounder for people who want the most practical camera that Leica currently makes. People will notice it. People who know what a Leica is may know just how expensive and exclusive it is. But practicality and luxury don't always go hand-in-hand, and using the Leica SL as an all-around photographic tool brings it down to Earth more than its Leica stablemates. To see if its exclusivity and luxury appeal can transcend its utilitarian leanings, let's dig in.
|Can the capabilities of the SL justify the Red Dot premium? It's a tall order, but let's find out. Leica 24-90mm F2.8-4, image processed and cropped slightly to taste. ISO 50, 1/200 sec, F5.6. Photo by Carey Rose|
Sep 20, 2017
Sep 19, 2017
May 31, 2017
Feb 17, 2017
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.