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New mirrorless 24x36 camera from Leica: SL (Typ 601)

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
I wonder whether or not one can select to have more than one flavor of jog processed in the camera for the same shot?

Not in-camera, but I think that the Sony derawtiser can process the raw data to emulate the various color engines of the camera. I am not sure, though, I have not used that software in ages.

Doug Herr

Indeed the camera looks very large compared to the size of the hands.

When I saw this fantastic and pricy camera I asked myself how will it compare to the Sony A7R... ;)

Mirrorless cameras are the future aren't they ?

I'm a little late to this discussion but I've been using the Leica SL and Sony a7II side-by-side for about a month (the loaner SL has to go back in a few weeks :( ). I agree that mirrorless cameras are the future. For an increasing number of us they're also the present, and the SLR is 20th century technology.

My general impressions: the SL is a very solid, well-made camera. It's significantly heavier than the a7II, and it fits the hand extremely well especially when wearing gloves (which I cannot say for the a7II). The viewfinder is outstanding, with one complaint which I'll get to. The camera overall is very responsive and reasonably quiet, the files have rich full color and will take a lot of abuse without falling apart and the noise at higher ISO settings is manageable. The noise pattern, unlike the a7II, is quite pleasing.

The stuff I don't like: the viewfinder's default mode is 'automatic brightness', which can be overridden temporarily to 'exposure preview'. It always reverts to 'automatic brightness' after each exposure. I'd much prefer the 'exposure preview' mode to be sticky. This is how I've set up the a7II; this way I can use the entire viewfinder as an exposure meter in manual mode. It makes spot, full-field and matrix modes look primitive and IMHO is among the really big advantages of an EVF. Leica needs to do a firmware update to fix a few other issues notably lens profiles so I hope they fix this as well and SOON.

My biggest complaint about the SL: no sensor stabilization. I'm smitten with the a7II's sensor stabilization. I can use all of my old lenses, stabilized. It's allowed me to push a lot of boundaries while my old muscles have weakened and are no longer as steady as they used to be. The Leica SL doesn't have sensor stabilization. In good light when I use a big Series 5 Gitzo my FD 500mm L is brilliant on the SL. Gorgeous colors, easy to focus, and with software correction for lateral chromatic aberration it's sharp sharp sharp sharp sharp. Using the lens on the a7II, I can brace the lens against my truck's window frame in sh!tty rainy light and the images are nearly as good as with the SL in good light on the Gitzo. The Sony's colors aren't as rich, the files don't take as much abuse, but they're sharp in conditions that don't work with the SL. I can partially compensate with the SL's excellent high-ISO capabilities, but... the Sony's stabilization makes magnified focussing with the 500mm lens much easier.

What the SL can do the Sony can't touch: the camera is quick and responsive at all shutter speeds. I can make the a7II adequately responsive by enabling electronic first shutter curtain but with my mechanical lenses it's good only up to 1/1000 sec. At faster shutter speeds I get uneven exposure. The SL is quick, quiet and responsive at every shutter speed.

The Sony is a sturdy, reliable camera, the SL will take a beating that would destroy most other cameras.

The SL's LCD doesn't show nose prints. It's a little thing but little stuff adds up.

The Sony leaves a lot more stuff in my wallet. Aside from the purchase price, spare batteries don't cost $250 each and I can get them at Fry's.

Both of these cameras have numerous capabilities that I haven't begun to try, but for my uses the Leica SL isn't quite "there", and I say this as a die-hard Leica user for the last 35 years. A firmware update with an option to make the 'exposure preview' mode sticky would be a serious threat to my wallet; given a hardware upgrade with a stabilized sensor, resistance would be futile.

For a first-generation product it's outstanding and with the two fixes I've mentioned I'd be ecstatic.

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief

Doug Herr

This is a dream adapter for those of us with a great collection of Canon lenses and a lust for the fine Leica SL. But, which combination is most desirable, EF lenses and SL body or Real Leica glass on a Canon 5Ds camera?

Where would each combo excel?


Another choice is a Sony a7rII with Metabones adapter for EOS lenses along with an adapter for Leica-R lenses, all with sensor stabilization. OTOH the Leica SL does quite well with Leica-M lenses, which cannot be said for the Sony or Canon. The Sony and Leica also offer viewfinder magnification at the touch of a button which in my experience is great for precise manual focus. Six/half dozen.

I summarized my experience with the Leica SL here: http://www.wildlightphoto.com/SL/index.html