Leica SL2 Review

It is easy to forget that Leica was the second company to enter the full-35mm format mirrorless camera market after Sony. The L Mount is the brand’s original mounting system amongst all the hype surrounding current full-35mm format mirrorless cameras.

Naturally, it is now jointly owned by Leica, Panasonic, and Sigma as part of the L Mount Alliance. The purpose of this alliance is to, among other things, broaden the attractiveness of Leica’s products outside the company’s conventional consumer base.

Consequently, the brand-new SL2 can be integrated into a line-up of four other L Mount bodies backed by a more extensive and varied lens system.

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Leica SL2 47MP Mirrorless Full-Frame Camera (Body Only)

Last update was on: April 13, 2024 9:55 am

And especially with the SL2, you get the impression that Leica is conscious that it wants to provide a more popular camera while also keeping what makes a Leica camera a Leica camera. This is something that you get the sensation of while using the SL2. However, if you are considering purchasing a camera with an L Mount, you should seriously consider the Leica SL2 because of its qualities as a camera first and a Leica second.

Because the first SL was arguably just a bit too individualistic for some people’s tastes, and Leica admits that it was possibly too “Germanic” in its appearance, the successor to the original SL has been given a thorough makeover.

Leica SL2 Design

When the dimensions are directly compared, the SL2 is slightly larger than the SL1, but it gives the impression of being much smaller because the proportions have been improved. In addition, all of the hard edges and corners have been rounded off, and the housing for the electronic viewfinder appears to have been designed to be there rather than being an afterthought addition. Pretty? Well, almost.

One of Leica’s most famous parlor tricks, performed with its 35mm SLRs ranging from the R4 to the R7, involved parking a car on the pentaprism housing to demonstrate the robustness of the bodyshell. Because both the top plate and the baseplate of the SL2 are machined from a single piece of solid aluminum, it is possible to accomplish the same thing with the SL2.

Machining may take more time (and maybe more expensive in terms of the procedure), but the result is body coverings that are far more durable than pressed goods.

Leica SL2 Handling

Here is where the SL2 has the most potential to persuade those who have reservations. It is unlike any other full-frame mirrorless camera in appearance and handling and offers significant advancements in both areas compared to its predecessor.

Even though it weighs 835g before you add a battery, memory card, or lens (and none of Leica’s L Mount optics are exactly tiny), it is still relatively easy to hold and has excellent maneuverability. However, it is a heavy beast.

The control arrangement is relatively simple, but at least all of the buttons on the back panel have indications on them now. Unfortunately, there are only three of them besides the joystick-style navigator, an unmarked control with a default setting for switching between the EVF and monitor, and the rear input wheels.

Even little information can be found on the upper deck: only the direct dial and two more unlabeled buttons (plus the shutter release). Even though there are two other buttons on the front panel, neither is indicated, so you can’t say that the exterior control arrangement is crowded, especially compared to the Lumix S1R.

However, Leica manages to get everything done with such a limited number of buttons, although it helps that the SL2 is mostly straightforward and unadorned.

On the other hand, all of the rear panel’s unmarked buttons and the ‘Fn’ key may be customized from 29 different options. In addition, you can establish a maximum of six user profiles, which may be accessed via the Favorites menu pages. Additionally, you can set up any one of four different info displays.

Leica SL2 Autofocus

Leica does not shy away from its technological relationship with Panasonic, which especially bears dividends with the autofocusing technology of the SL2 camera. Contrast detection is at the heart of it, and it looks to implement the same Depth From Defocus approach as Panasonic’s cameras employ (although Leica refers to their system as “depth mapping”).

There are 225 autofocus measurement points, providing coverage that is very near the complete frame. The area modes consist of Spot, Field, Multi-Field, and Zone. In addition, the artificial intelligence-based ‘Leica Object Identification’ was designed to improve face/eye detection and subject tracking.

Body, face, and eye detection can be set (and locked) as the default, but additional subject settings exist, including Children/Pets, Team Sports, Runners, and Wildlife. Each subject set has adjustable parameters for Depth Sensitivity, Field Movement, and Shift In Direction (all with a range of settings between Fix and Responsive).

Additionally, you can register the ‘AF Tracking Start Position’ to either Centre, Recall or Last Position. Interestingly, this goes above and beyond what Panasonic provides on its Lumix S cameras.

Another featured brand new to the SL2 is “Smart AF,” which monitors the subject for motion and automatically toggles between single-shot and continuous AF settings. In addition, touch AF may be operated using the display panel’s touchscreen controls, and while using the electronic viewfinder (EVF), there is a ‘touchpad’ accessible for use.

An enlarged picture (with three size choices) or a focus peaking display that can be red, green, blue, or white with one of two intensity levels can aid the user in manually focusing the camera.

Leica SL2 Performance

The SL2 took a burst of 47 JPEG frames (with an average size of 21.6MB) in 4.564 seconds when it was loaded with a Panasonic 64 GB SDXC UHS-II V90 speed memory card. This corresponds to a shooting speed of 10.3 frames per second.

When utilizing the sensor-based shutter and super high-speed photography, it took 1.951 seconds to take a burst of 38 JPEGs at the highest possible quality, equivalent to 19.5 frames per second. Because the sensor shutter produces no audible sound, you won’t realize the exposure is complete until the electronic viewfinder (EVF) or monitor switches back to live to view.

The autofocusing mechanism of the Leica is easily comparable to that of its Japanese competitors’ top offerings. It is quick and accurate, with dependable tracking that can be fine-tuned to the subject matter and the tracked movement.

There is a lot of leeway for modifying selectivity using the Spot, Zone, and Field area modes, which makes utilizing Touch AF and Touchpad AF easier and more effective than using the joystick. According to Leica, its AF is superior to the S1R, and the company promises that future firmware updates will provide even more outstanding performance.

We haven’t made a head-to-head comparison of the two to confirm this but suffice it to say that the SL2 is very competitive and among the finest AF performers now available.

Leica SL2 Image Quality

We’ve already seen good results from the Sony A7R IV, Panasonic Lumix S1R, and Nikon Z7. Leica isn’t the first company to provide an effective resolution of 40 megapixels or more in a camera with a full 35 mm frame. But Leica is the first company to give us this capability.

On the other hand, Leica has worked its brand of magic on the sensor and the data processing to produce clarity and sharpness that is so striking that it immediately grabs your attention.

Of course, the lenses also play a role since Leica’s optical glass formulations have always been known to produce a more nuanced balance of contrast and tone in their photographs.

During the days of 35mm, we were accustomed to referring to it as the “Leica look,” You will undoubtedly get it by pairing the SL2 with a Leica SL lens. The definition has a lot of bite to it, but it’s also more nuanced than simply having everything with a sharp edge, and because of this, the contrast is rendered with a certain amount of smoothness.

Leica SL2 Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Max resolution8368 x 5584
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels47 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorMaestro III
ISOAuto, 100-50000 (expands to 50-50000)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
White balance presets8
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
CIPA image stabilization rating5.5 stop(s)
Uncompressed formatRAW
AutofocusSubject/scene modes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points225
Lens mountLeica L
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots2,100,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.78×
Viewfinder resolution5,760,000
Minimum shutter speed1800 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/40000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
MultiCenter-weighted spotNo
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Continuous drive20.0 fps
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation-3–5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes4096 x 2160 @ 60p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM4096 x 2160 @ 50p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM4096 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM4096 x 2160 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM4096 x 2160 @ 24p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 60p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 50p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 100p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Storage includedDual SD card slots (UHS-II supported)
USBUSB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
HDMIYes (10-bit output)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
Wireless notes802.11ac + Bluetooth
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionBP-SCL4
Battery Life (CIPA)370
Weight (inc. batteries)916 g (2.02 lb / 32.31 oz)
Dimensions146 x 107 x 83 mm (5.75 x 4.21 x 3.27″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes

Leica SL2 Verdict

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Leica SL2 47MP Mirrorless Full-Frame Camera (Body Only)

Last update was on: April 13, 2024 9:55 am

Beyond the extraordinary history behind the brand, it can be challenging to pinpoint precisely what differentiates a Leica camera from any other model.

It may have something to do with European sensibilities and style; the SL2 was conceived in Leica’s design studio in Munich and manufactured at the Leitz Park facility in Wetzlar. Additionally, everything seems to have been designed with high care and attention to detail.

The minimalist concept of Leica is unquestionably extremely unlike the Japanese approach, which consists of “simply adding more buttons.”

The SL was a bit of a rough diamond that you either liked or loathed; in contrast, the SL2 is far less controversial and is typically more widespread in its attitude, making it more approachable.

It is still unmistakably a Leica in appearance and handling, but rather than being different just for being different, it is different in the ways that count.

Leica SL2 FAQs

Is A Leica SL2-S worth it?

Whether or not the Leica SL2-S is worth the money depends on the inclinations and requirements of the individual. The SL2-S is a high-end mirrorless camera with a full-frame sensor intended for professional use. It comes with a wide variety of sophisticated features and capabilities.

What is the Leica SL2 used for?

The Leica SL2 is a flexible camera used for various photographic purposes, such as portraiture, sports photography, documentary photography, and panoramic photography.

Does Panasonic make Leica SL2?

No, Panasonic does not manufacture the Leica SL2 camera. Although Leica and Panasonic have collaborated, and specific models of each company’s cameras share technology and components, the Leica SL2 is a unique model Leica has developed and is responsible for producing.

Is the Leica SL2 heavy?

The Leica SL2 camera weighs approximately 835 grams when it does not have a lens attached. This makes it a moderately hefty camera.

Is Leica SL2 Made in Germany?

The Leica SL2 is, in reality, manufactured in Germany, particularly in the Leica factory located in Wetzlar.

Is the Leica SL2 a DSLR?

No, the Leica SL2 is not a single-lens reflex camera. Instead, it is a mirrorless camera, but rather than having a conventional viewfinder; it has an artificial viewfinder.

Is the Leica SL2 good for landscape photography?

Because of its high-resolution sensor, weatherproofing, and interoperability with a variety of high-quality lenses, the Leica SL2 is, in fact, an excellent choice for photographers interested in landscape photography.

Is Leica SL2 a mirrorless camera?

The Leica SL2 is, in fact, a rangefinder camera that uses an artificial viewfinder instead of a traditional one.

Does Leica SL2 have eye detection?

Yes, the Leica SL2 has an eye detection autofocus function that enables the camera to identify and track subjects’ eyes to achieve a focused, crisp, and precise image.


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