Leica SL2 Mirrorless Camera
Leica SL2 Mirrorless Camera Body
The new Leica SL2 body has been released, four years after the previous version mirrorless camera was announced. It hosts a brand new cleverly designed high resolution 47MP CMOS sensor, which minimises stray light reflections and provides almost twice the resolution of the previous camera. This amount of pixels lend themselves to large, professional quality printing as well as the opportunity to crop images, creating the precise composition required without sacrificing image size.
The most immediate difference from the previous camera body is the updated design, with Leica’s classic minimalistic approach being even further developed. Build quality remains impeccable with the entire top cover section of the camera being machined from a single block of solid aluminium. This allows the casing to retain a rigid, compact form whilst providing improved ergonomics and being easier to grip. The entire SL2 body is covered in a stylish leather wrap also improving grip and handling over the previous smooth finished body. It is worth noting that this is the only mirrorless camera available on the market today entirely designed and manufactured in Germany.
Leica L-mount lenses offer access to a growing number of highly acclaimed L series choices, including Panasonic’s equally new Lumix S PRO 16-35mm f/4 and S PRO 70-200mm. Expect to see even more high quality lenses being introduced from all three members of the Leica, Panasonic and Sigma alliance. With optional mount adapters there are now up to 170 lens options for the Leica SL2 camera, including legendary M,S and R system models. This makes for an extremely versatile ecosystem with endless options covering all styles of photography.
Leica have further improved usability with a completely updated rear panel, which now hosts a large LCD screen and three button layout (similar to the rangefinder-style Leica M10). These buttons provide ready access to playback, quick function menu and the main camera menu. The menu system itself has also been updated, now clearly distinguishing between photo and video settings, as this camera is designed to excel at both. There is more about updated video features below.
Further enhancements include a multi-axis in-body stabilisation system. This works exceptionally well with non-stabilised prime lenses, ensuring more keepers through the continual alignment of glass elements with the sensor. The SL2 records data in Leica DNG RAW format and still provides an excellent 50-50,000 ISO range. The new sensor also boasts 14 stops of dynamic range providing extra detail not only from the higher resolution, but within deep shadows and bright highlights, all from one dynamic frame. The EVF, which is called EyeRes® is also new, with a high resolution 5.75MP glass design for crystal clear viewing. With this level of resolution it is becoming harder to distinguish between optical viewfinders and EVF’s.
Despite the increased sensor resolution this camera is certainly no slouch and overall speed has been improved with the new Maestro III processing engine. The body is now capable of up to 20fps continuous shooting, perfect for capturing the precise moment. Autofocus utilises Leica’s Object Detection advanced AF system for quick and highly accurate results. A new multi-shot high resolution function has been introduced, which can capture stills by combining images at up to 187MP of incredibly rich and detailed photographs.
Video users producing movie content will be pleased to learn that the Leica SL2 is dual-designed for video as well as stills photography. Dedicated microphone and headphone jacks have been added without the need for any adaptors. Movies can be recorded in 4K at 60fps and 5K at 30fps as well as ultra high speed 180fps in Full HD mode for slow motion playback. HDMI recording is introduced at 10 bitrate, with 8/10 bitrate recording onto high speed SD cards. A new cine mode automatically adjusts camera settings when shooting in manual, adjusting the camera to adopt cine-specific functions such as ASA (from ISO) and T-stop aperture with a SUMMILUX-C cine lens attached. Recording modes include Video gamma (HDTV) L-Log and HLG, providing ultra high definition recording and more post processing options for footage.
Other notable upgrades for this new version include convenient USB charging of the BP-SCL4 high capacity lithium ion battery. The camera also easily pairs with your mobile device. This will prove particularly beneficial with the pending update to Leica’s Fotos app, with new features for smartphones and tablets allowing remote camera control, large image reviewing and more useful features.
Leica are world renowned for producing high quality camera equipment steeped in tradition, yet offering innovative functionality together with their unique and understated design language. The new SL2 mirrorless body continues in that tradition with a completely redesigned metal body and improved ergonomics, which will appeal to experienced Leica users as well as newcomers to the system. A new high resolution sensor, updated EVF and simplified rear panel provide easy to use and intuitive shooting of both stills and video.
With huge 47MP to play with, large prints or image cropping are now readily available. This will appeal to many photographers with more versatile shooting capabilities as well as enthusiast and professional print production. In-body image stabilisation assist photographers and videographers in capturing the best possible images using any of the 170 lenses available to this system. For those wanting German minimalist design and first class build quality there are very few competitors to Leica.
|Sample Leica SL2 Images|
Copyright © Steve McCurry
Copyright © Oliver Vogler
Copyright © Oliver Vogler
|Sensor Type||CMOS Sensor|
|ISO range||ISO range 50 – 50.000|
|Continuous shooting||Multishot (up to 187MP)|
|Video resolution||4K/60fps and 5k/30fps|
|LCD Screen||LCD monitor 2.1 million dots|
|Viewfinder||Upgraded EyeRes Viewfinder – 5.76MP|
|Lens compatibility||Best compatibility with M-lenses|