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Leica SL First Look: Overview plus Aperture Series at 24mm: Pescadero Creek Upstream

Leica SL

See my Leica SL wishlist at B&H Photo.

The Leica SL started shipping in November 2015. The SL is Leica’s first foray into a fully modern interchangeable lens mirrorless camera. Related products fall short of the fully modernized digital approach:

  • The Leica M240 is a hybrid rangefinder + optional (and low-res) EVF system in which the rangefinder lenses for the most part are not optimized for digital.
  • The Leica S is a DSLR lacking an EVF option (2015 model does have Live View finally).
  • The Leica Q has a fixed 28mm lens.

The Leica SL is offered at present with only one lens: the Leica 24-90mm f/2.8-4 Vario-Elmarit-SL ASPH zoom lens. Delivery of prime lenses seems to be planned for late 2016 or 2017; Leica does not get specific.

At about $7450 for the camera body alone and about $4950 for the 24-90mm lens, the minimum starting price before any accessories is thus $12400, a price which surpasses the used market for a Leica S with lens (last fall, even for a new Leica S with lens).

With the 24-90mm lens and camera weighing in at nearly 5 pounds, and no lens choices at its debut, an S system with 36 megapixels and a much larger sensor may be something to ponder, although the S system lacks an EVF.

Leica SL
  • 24MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • Leica Maestro II Image Processor
  • Internal DCI 4K Video & L-Log Gamma
  • 0.66" 4.4MP 0.8x Electronic Viewfinder
  • 2.95" 1.04M-Dot LED-Backlit Touchscreen
  • Contrast AF System with 49 Fields
  • Up to 11 fps Shooting and ISO 50000
  • Two SD Card Slots; 1.3" Top LCD Screen
  • Weather-Resistant Milled Aluminum Body
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity and GPS

Initial commentary in my review:

Overview of Leica SL

Leica SL: Ergonomics

Lens performance of the 24-90mm

The Leica SL has one lens option, the Leica 24-90mm f/2.8-4 Vario-Elmarit-SL ASPH.

This first looks checks out its performance at the 24mm end:

Aperture Series @ 24mm: Pescadero Creek, Upstream View

Includes images from f/2.8 through f/13, with up to full-resolution images (24 megapixels).

Pescadero Creek Upstream, After Heavy Rainfall
f5.6 @ 1/5 sec, ISO 100; 2015-12-25 15:48:13
LEICA SL (Typ 601) + VARIO-ELMARIT 1:2.8-4.0/24-90mm ASPH. OIS @ 24mm

[low-res image for bot]
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