The Leica SL2 is a new professional full-frame mirrorless camera targeted at both photographers and videographers.

It includes a 47-megapixel full-frame (24x36mm) CMOS sensor without an optical low pass filtration system, the most recent Leica Maestro III series processor, 4K/60p video recording, a class-leading digital viewfinder with an answer of 5.76 megapixels, and a 3.2-inch LCD screen with 2.1 megapixels and touchscreen control.

The SL2 offers in-body image stabilization, a continuous shooting rate as high as 20fps, a 187-megapixel multishot mode, built-in wi-fi, NFC, and Gps navigation connectivity, a highest ISO environment of 50,000, and dual UHS-II SD memory card slots.

Leica SL2: Price

Leica SL2: Features

The Leica SL2 comes after on from the SL, which was first announced in 2015. It’s a full-frame mirrorless camera, which uses the L mount. Thus has since been adopted by the “L Mount Alliance” between Leica, Panasonic, and Sigma.

In terms of the entire design, Leica has held the size and fat of the SL2 nearly the same as its predecessor. However, there were a substantial number of changes beneath the hood, in addition to some changes to button design and layout (start to see the build and handling section).

In the centre of the Leica SL2 is usually a 46.7 million pixel sensor, which makes it very near to the 47.3 million pixel sensor of the Panasonic S1R (which also offers the L Mount). Because of the Sony A7R IV, it’s not the best resolution sensor in the mirrorless marketplace, but it’s still higher than most – and nearly double the quality of the 24 million pixel SL.

A new processor chip, a Maestro III, makes its debut in the Leica SL2. It’s had a need to facilitate other new features including improvements to video recording, 20fps capturing via the electronic shutter and a fresh Multishot mode (which isn’t available from launch but should come with a firmware update later in the entire year).

The 3.2-inch screen is bigger and higher resolution compared to the predecessor, at 2.1m-dots, while a 5.76m-dot viewfinder is class-leading.

Leica SL2: Video

Video is another area that has noticed some dramatic upgrades from the prior generation – unsurprisingly given just how much development has been manufactured in this area since 2015.

The SL2 is capable of documenting 5K/30fps in the MOV setting, or 4K/60fps when shooting MP4 files. Professional videographers may also be pleased to remember that it could shoot 4K 30fps 4:2:2 straight in-camera, or at 60fps via an exterior recorder.

A good touch is that whenever shooting in Cine mode, all of the terminologies which shows up on the camera changes to film recording equivalents, so f stops become t stops, ISO turns into ASA, and shutter acceleration becomes shutter angle.

Leica SL2: Build and Handling

Although the physical size and dimensions of the SL2 have become similar to the first SL, Leica has reworked the construction of the camera somewhat to make it more pleasant to hold. For example, there exists a recess in the camera grip where your fingertips sit to help make the hold feel better.

The trunk of the camera views a fairly comprehensive reworking, with Leica looking to make the SL2 comparable to other versions in its line-up, like the Leica Q2 or the Leica M10. Compared to that end it’s a fairly simple setup, with just three buttons following to the touch screen. Also on the trunk, you’ll look for a joystick, and another scrolling dial which shifts function with respect to the shooting setting you’re in (for instance, adjusting aperture in aperture concern). The on/off change is found left of the digital viewfinder.

Unlike a great many other cameras where all the buttons are gathered together on the right-hand side for an easy one-handed procedure, you have to carry the camera with both of your hands to create most settings adjustments with the SL2.

At the top of the camera, there’s an LCD screen that ultimately shows you some key settings, plus two customizable control keys and a dial may also be customized to fit your particular preferences (for example, adjusting ISO). Two fresh customizable buttons are located on the leading of the camera, simply next to the lens mount as well.

At 875g (body just, without a battery), this is among the heaviest mirrorless cameras out there. I’ve been using with the 35mm f/2 lens, which can be fairly bulky at 750g – in a nutshell, this is simply not a camera I’d recommend for all those with problems about travelling light.

There are two memory space card (SD) slots – similar to the SL. However, a noticeable difference comes from the actual fact that both of these support the quicker UHS-II format, which pays to for a few of the high-speed features of the camera, such as for example 4K/5K video recording and fast frame prices.

Leica SL2: Screen

The two 2.1m-dot display is a set device. Not being tilted or articulated isn’t very useful for shooting from awkward angles, but on the addition side, it really is bright and sharp.

Further very good news is that it’s ideal for changing configurations. It uses “haptic touch” for several settings – such as keeping down your finger on the display to improve the focus stage size, so it’s quite similar to using something similar to the iPhone 11 Pro.

Pressing the “menu” switch only once will bring up sort of quick menu, with immediate access to a number of key settings, such as for example AF type, ISO, capturing mode and so forth. In the event that you press the menu key again, you’ll be studied right into a deeper menu with additional, less commonly used, options. This second menu can’t be navigated via contact, and instead needs the joystick and/or the scrolling dial.

Leica SL2: Performance

It’s worth mentioning at this point that I’ve only had a reasonably limited time with the SL2, therefore there are some areas I’d prefer to test further totally ascertain the product quality. The sample I’ve been using is also not carrying the final version of the firmware, so there may be some inconsistencies with how certain aspects perform, as well. We’ll look to update this review when the completed samples become available.

During my period with the SL2, I’ve discovered that it targets static objects rapidly and easily, with an excellent degree of accuracy. Even in lower light circumstances, there’s not too much hunting.

There are many of new focusing choices for the SL2, which includes Leica Object Recognition AF, along with face and body recognition – which goes a stage beyond face detection, to greatly help people in focus even though they turn their encounter from the camera.

A few different autofocus (AF) profiles could be selected – including kids and pets (which can be the more general-purpose choice), team sports activities, wildlife & runners. I haven’t had a chance to test all of these settings extensively, but I didn’t have an excessive amount of luck with attempting to photograph my pet running along a seaside. It may be a firmware concern, or maybe some deeper configurations need tweaking – we’ll become keen to check this further when complete samples become available.

Leica SL2: Image Quality

It’s again worth noting that picture quality might not be exactly as it’ll be on the ultimate firmware edition, but I’ve been able to obtain a very good notion of what the SL2 is with the capacity of in my small amount of time with it.

As I’d be prepared to find from a Leica camera – specifically one with such a higher price – image quality is great. I’ve been using the 35mm f/2 prime zoom lens, which is among five different proprietary primary lenses available from Leica because of this system.

Colours are nicely saturated, without having to be offensively vibrant. It’s well worth experimenting with the many film styles which may be applied to JPEGs if you would like to find something that suits your unique style – for instance, Vibrant if you like things with a bit more punch, or Natural if you want things to become a bit more muted.

Overall, exposures are well-well balanced with the all-purpose metering program doing a good work of judging the picture to protect both shadows and highlights.

Leica says that the powerful selection of the SL2 is especially evident in its natural documents. Although the SL2 uses DNG data files that are readable by Adobe Camera Natural, an official profile hasn’t yet been distributed around take full advantage of the files. That is another region we’ll be seeking to expand upon when the last sample cameras become obtainable.

Leica SL2: Conclusion

I’ve had the opportunity to utilize the Leica SL2 for a few days but it’s the type of camera that will require in-depth testing to make a definitive verdict.

However, it’s easy to come quickly to a few early conclusions. This being truly a Leica camera, it’ll only appeal to a particular sector of the photographic community. At £5,300 body only, it’s not really likely to have the same sort of mass-market appeal as various other full-frame mirrorless cameras available – but Leica won’t brain that.

Many photographers can look at the specifications of the Leica SL2, then consider the specs of the Panasonic S1R and question whether it’s worth spending the excess outlay to obtain what is essentially an extremely similar camera.

Conversely, there are several photographers for whom only a Leica can do. And while it’s accurate that the construction is exquisite, for the common customer, the Panasonic is a more wise choice. With them both having a similar amount, you may even consider taking a Panasonic body and “upgrading” with Leica lenses.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Features
Image Quality
ISO Performance
Viewfinder
Performance
Video mode
Connectivity
Value
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Paul Landscape Photographer and YouTuber. He is taking photos all over the world but the main focus is the cold, rough, northern part of Europe. His style is somewhere in between dramatic and colorful fantasy and Scandinavian minimalism. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel for epic landscape photography videos from around the world.

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