Leica has announced the new SL2, the latest version of its full-frame mirrorless camera system. The new SL2 follows the SL from 2015 and introduces a sensor with a higher resolution, an improved construction, a new touchscreen and an improved electronic viewfinder. It will be available from November 21 for $ 5,999.
The design of the SL2 will be familiar to anyone who has seen the SL, although there are some subtle changes. The center chassis is now magnesium, with aluminum for the top and bottom and an artificial leather cover that runs around the center section. The SL2 is classified for IP54 dust and water resistance and has an updated rear control scheme that matches the Q2, M10 and CL.
A new 3.2-inch, 2.1-megapixel touchscreen and 5.76-megapixel OLED electronic viewfinder are mounted on the rear. Between the new touchscreen and the operating system, the SL2 offers three different ways to communicate with its menu system: touch, joystick or thumb wheel. It also has many customizable buttons that can be programmed for any desired function. The whole system feels much more modern than the non-touch LCD on the SL.
Inside, the SL2 has the same full-frame sensor of 47.3 megapixels that debuted in the Q2, but slightly modified to work with an interchangeable lens system. That sensor is connected to a new 5-axis in-body image stabilization system (IBIS) that offers up to 5.5 stops shake reduction, making Leica stand out with the IBIS systems from Sony, Panasonic, Nikon and Canon camera & # 39; s for years. The sensor supports ISO settings from 50 to 50,000 and records up to 14 stops of dynamic range.
The SL2 is run by Leica & # 39; s Maestro III image processor and can photograph up to 10 images per second with its mechanical shutter or up to 20 images per second with the electronic shutter. It can record 4K video using the full width of the image sensor at up to 60P and 5K trimmed video at 30P. The SL2 can also record 1080p video at a maximum of 180 frames per second for slow-motion effects.
A new autofocus system with contrast detection includes eye, face and body detection and automatically switches between taking a photo only when the focus is locked (focus priority) and simply lets you capture as many frames as possible, focused or not (shutter priority), depending on the recording situation.
The SL2 has about the same size and weight (928 grams) as the SL, but that does not mean that it is a compact mirrorless as you would expect from Sony or Fujifilm. It is a heavy, angular camera that is less concerned about compactness, but about a good ergonomic experience. If you were considering reducing from a DLSR to a smaller mirrorless system, the SL2 would probably not be on your list.
Apart from the new possibilities of the higher resolution sensor and the IBIS system, perhaps the biggest change of the SL is the new menu system of the SL2. A new quick-setting screen provides access to commonly used controls, while the new Cine mode, which takes effect when recording video, changes the camera to video-specific settings such as ASA, t-stops, and shutter angle.
Leica & # 39; s lens system with SL mount has grown since the launch of the SL four years ago and now includes eight total lenses with three zoom lenses and five prime lenses. The intention is to release three more lenses next year, and Leica's participation in the L-Mount alliance with Panasonic and Sigma has resulted in the release of a number of other lenses that are compatible with the SL2. All lenses, including manual focus Leica lenses with mounting adapters, will benefit from the camera's new IBIS system for sharper images at slower shutter speeds.
I had a chance to shoot for a few days with the Leica SL2 and a $ 5.295 50mm f / 1.4 Summilux lens for the official announcement. Although the SL2 is very similar to the SL, the new viewfinder and improved performance are immediately noticeable and appreciated. The OLED viewfinder in particular is wonderful to look through, with a large field of view, fast refresh rates and sharp resolution. Similarly, the camera's new autofocus system can be perfectly connected to portrait subjects, even in low-light situations. This performance was certainly helped by the 50 mm Summilux, an absolute beast of a prime lens that would be at the top of my shortlist of lenses on an uninhabited island.
Of course you can get comparable performance and resolution from much less expensive cameras made by Sony, Nikon, Canon or Panasonic. The reason why you might consider the SL2 has a lot to do with how it feels and the recording experience. The SL2 is a rock of a camera that, although expensive, certainly feels the part of a professional tool. It is also flexible enough to work for different shooting situations, whether in a studio, at a wedding or in a photo session.
If that seems interesting enough for you to share the value of a decent used car for a camera, you can do this later this month.