Leica has introduced the next version of my favorite camera, Leica SL. The Leica SL2 is likely to be shipped on November 21. I had the camera for aa couple of weeks and took it out on photo adventures. However, I didn’t have enough time with it to form an honest opinion about the camera and its capabilities. When Leica asked me what I liked about the camera, this is what I said:
Extra megapixels allow for better cropping even when carrying a single lens — which in my case is a Leica Summicron-SL 50mm lens. I would normally carry a longer lens to get more zoom-in images, but I find that I don’t need to do that anymore. I tend to shoot wide open at f2 and with a 3-stop ND filter, I get an amazing look from the camera during the day time shooting. Additionally, the in-body stabilization is a godsend, especially when shooting in low-light.
What I like about the Leica SL2:
- 47-megapixel full-frame sensor brings new levels of image quality
- Built-in Body Image Stabilization which gets you about 5 stops when doing handheld photography. I was able to do 1/40th of a second shot without any blurring.
- The new EVF has 5.76 million dots.
- The option of turning off Long Exposure Noise Reduction.
- I love the option to charge with USB-C cable and my new iPhone 11 Pro charger does excellent double duty.
What I don’t like about Leica SL2:
- The subtraction of GPS from the camera is a big step back and decreases its utility overall. This is a non-starter in my books.
- The three-button system – Function, Menu, and Play — might make fiscal sense, but is a design disappointment compared to the four-button user interface and the Bauhaus minimalism of the original. Again, it forces me to unlearn my SL usage and this too is a non-starter for me.
- The new camera strap lugs jut out of the body, which makes it easy to attach the straps, but reduces the aesthetic sleekness of the body. It was a poor design decision, considering how good the old SL was from a design perspective.
I have not had enough time with the camera to have a definitive opinion — I am not a reviewer and it would be a while before I can form an intelligent user review that is worth your time. In the limited time I had with the pre-release software, the camera was able to perform all the functions that are claimed in the Leica’s press release. If you want the latest Leica, then go ahead and spend $6000 — you don’t have to worry about the quality of the product and its capabilities, at least on paper. Just think of it as M-System with EVF instead of an optical range finder.
Personally, I remain quite delighted by my original SL which feels as robust today as it was when I bought it years ago. It still feels fresh and is more capable than many other mirrorless cameras out in the world.
If you are lusting to get into the L-system, then this is an opportune moment. The Lecia SL prices are going to tumble in the pre-owned market — I would suggest getting one and buying some exciting autofocus ART lenses from Sigma instead. I personally am stoked about the Sigma glass — it is more affordable and as a result, we are going to have a lot more variety. I hope those guys at LensRentals are paying attention. Panasonic glass is quite worthless and whenever I have tried, I have been disappointed by the results. So I highly recommend you avoid their lenses, at least for now.
As for my long term impressions on SL2 — you will just wait for it.