Leica SL Announced

Leica SLToday we had the Leica press conference.  I was hoping that it would share the Leica T mount and that is correct, I was also hoping that they would release two bodies, one cropped DX and one full frame, but no, just one body, and for now just one lens, but lots more coming.  With it being compatible with the current T lens you already have a choice of lens and adapters will be available to use your ‘M’ glass, ‘S’ glass and ‘R’ glass.

Leica SL rear

Leica are marketing this, not as a small mirrorless camera, but more like their Medium format camera the S, or in this case an mini S, the SL is a S Lite; full frame sensor with no compromises, more a Nikon/Canon Pro camera competitor and not a Sony A7, and while they state is has the best autofocus of any mirrorless camera I doubt it would keep up with a Nikon D4s or Canon 1D.

With no compromises being taken the lens are large and formidable.  The mount shared by the Leica T and the SL which was the ‘T’ mount is now called the ‘L’ mount.  Lens that are designed to offer full frame coverage will be called SL lens, while lens designed to over APS-C (DX) coverage will be called TL lens.

Leica SL 24-90mm

The spec of the camera is current but not outstanding.  While large it slightly smaller then a Nikon D810 and slightly lighter, the first lens the 24-90mm is about a 100 grams heavy then the equivalent 24-70mm Nikon lens but then this goes to 90mm.

Viewfinder is EVF and the best in class; 60 fps and a resolution of 4.4 megapixels, this is quite ground breaking.  I cannot believe I am saying this but the sensor at 24 MP is good but on paper not as good as Nikon’s 36 MP in the D810 or Canon’s 5DS R at 50.6 MP, but we have seen lower megapixel sensors trounce higher counts before and the Nikon still out resolves the Canon when using the right Zeiss Otus glass.  ISO is interesting as the base is 50 to 50000 so this could make a good studio camera.

Twin SD card slots and a built in 2 GB RAM, it also features wifi as most cameras do now and a GPS receiver.

While on paper it ticks all the boxes a lot of people are going to unhappy for two reasons; the price, but then its a German made Leica, and second its size and weight make it more like a D800 sized camera then a typical mirrorless.

I can see a lot of Leica R shooters loving this camera, its very like an updated R, but with its large size if your after a high quality image possibly the Leica S maybe a better option.

Still it shows that Leica are really developing as a modern camera company; with the T and Q both showing different approaches and the traditional M and the outstanding S we now have a whole range of stunning cameras.

I look forward to reading the reviews.


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