Through the Looking Glass – A In-Depth Review of the Leica SL By Ashwin Rao

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Through the Looking Glass – A In-Depth Review of the Leica SL

By Ashwin Rao

Dear friends, I am here with a review of the Leica SL, Leica’s latest system camera and its first serious foray into the mirrorless digital interchangeable camera market – if you don’t count its rangefinder cameras. By now, you know that the SL is Steve’s 2015 Camera of the Year. He praises the camera for its design, build, utilization, and amazing VF, as well as its overall implementation. I wanted to offer my own experience with the camera, having spent several weeks using the camera with its native 24-90 lens, a variety of modern and vintage Leica M lenses, and several Leica R lenses. I have found the Leica SL to be the modern evolution of Leica’s ethos and vision, representing both its present and its drive to create a bright future.

Leica’s marketing campaign for the SL highlighted its professional attributes and its ‘mirror-less’ designation. For Leica, this is much like viewing the story of Alice in Wonderland “Through the Looking Glass”, in which Alice climbs through the mirror into the new and fantastic alternate world beyond. This turns out to be a very appropriate analogy for Leica’s effort with the SL.

If you are not interested in reading past this first paragraph, I will say this: The Leica SL is a highly useable, well-built, well-conceived, functional camera that targets both M users and new users seeking the Leica brand with autofocus implementation. Its clean design harkens to such well-designed cameras as Leicaflex and subsequent R system cameras. However, some of its design queues come from the M system. Its layout, once learned, allows the user to meld his or her photographic style and eccentricities with the camera’s functionality. In many ways, as I will come to discuss, the Leica SL represents Leica’s ultimate bridge camera, a “Jack-of-all-trades” device that ties together many systems into a cohesive package. And, you know what? It does a great job accomplishing this task in a way that only Leica can achieve.

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At first glance….

I first caught wind of the SL like many of you, in the weeks preceding its official announcement. Reading the tealeaves and given the recent release of the incredible Leica Q, I presumed that Leica was set to release an interchangeable Q or something of a Q/M hybrid. It only made sense to carve out a niche aimed squarely at Leica’s base, that is many of us who enjoy quality craftsmanship coupled with the Joy of photography. Given Leica’s install base of rangefinder users, many of us who are not getting any younger, a mirrorless camera, less reliant on the RF focusing mechanism, made sense to permit its users to focus their manual focus lenses with precision while being afforded an opportunity to use newly designed AF lenses. A compact, sleek competitor to steal back those of us, including myself, who had taken to using our M lenses on Sony A-series bodies for a compact solution.

Well, Leica certainly threw most of us a curve ball when they officially announced the SL. At first glance, I was dismissive. Here was a camera, that looked much like an overweight Sony A series body. It seemed boring in its design, offering nothing new that others had not already designed. I was doubtful that it would be ergonomically useful for M lenses. I was uncertain that a camera/lens system using contrast-detect focus only could achieve reliable and quick focus. As much as I love the size and functionality of many Leica cameras, including the M series, I also am a huge fan of a camera’s haptics (how it feels in hand) and design cues (how it looks). With the Leica SL, I was far from convinced on first viewing. However, coming from my overwhelmingly positive experience with the incredible Leica Q, I decided to reserve judgment and keep my order in place with Ken Hansen (honestly, one of the best Leica dealers on the planet) to see what Leica had up its sleeve.

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In the weeks that followed, the initial reviews by such great reviewers as Jono Slack, Kristian Dowling, Sean Reid, Jeff Keller (DP Review), Jim Fisher (PC Mag), and Lori Grunin (CNET), who had the privilege of first trying the camera, were overwhelmingly positive Despite its new release, it was never described as a limited first generation product. Very few bugs were encountered, other than those described as issues related to user preference (grip size, for example). The camera was described as operationally fast, built to the highest standard, and remarkably facile as an image-maker.

I was able first to test out the Leica at the Leica Store Bellevue (another great dealer) when the regional representative, Brad Weeks, brought in the camera for a first look. My first impression on holding the camera was…doubt. Yes, on first handling, I admit that I became even more uncertain about the camera. While I found that it was incredibly well built, it felt immediately larger than expected. The body itself is not much bigger than a Leica M, until you factor in its large grip. At first, the grip was a turn off, to be honest, but over time, I have found it to be very well implemented (more on this later). Further, as I attached the SL 24-90 mm lens, the only lens available for the camera on launch, onto the SL, I was daunted by how large the camera felt…It felt like a bulky SLR!!!!

I had given up on such cameras due to size years ago, as I found that I could produce more pleasing images with smaller cameras. Now, here in my hands was Leica’s SL (minus the R)…a funny play on words/letters/what have you, but drats, it felt like an SLR. Next up on my concern list was the button system and menu layout. On first handling the camera, I found the lack of clarity and definition around the buttons to be frustrating. I was not sure what buttons to press, or how to press them to get the camera to do what I wanted. I was quickly told how to focus magnify, and then futzed around, taking a few shots, leaving me with an uneasy sense that I was not sure how to use the camera…
Bummer, right?

Well, not exactly. In fact, not at all… Read on…..

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Learning the interface, and giving the camera second chance

I must say that the Leica elves in Wetzlar sure had magic up their sleeves. The more that I ended up using the camera which I first doubted, the more I began to see an output that is a genius of design implementation. Let’s get into this a bit more….
Let me come out and say it right away. The Leica SL is not an immediately intuitive camera. However, in the case of useability, all good things come to those who wait and who actually use this camera. At first, I was daunted by the camera’s “4 button” (IT’s actually got a few more than 4) interface, but as I began to sort the camera out things became clear.

1. Each button has different purposes. A quick push gives you one level of access, primarily allowing you to get into the camera’s menus. A LONGER push & hold allows custom assigned tasks to come to light. Even better, one can custom-set each of the button’s functions to suit one’s user preference. For me, I set the camera’s principal 4 back buttons to select: 1) ISO, 2) Exposure Comp, 3) lens selection – to choose what M lens or R lens, if such a lens was not coded), 4) white balance. I set the front black button to select metering mode.

2. The rear scroll wheel, if pressed and held, allows access to P, A, S, M modes. When shooting with M or R lenses, I generally use aperture priority or manual modes (with aperture set to whatever I want). In Aperture priority mode, the camera can be set to recognize the 6-bit coding of a lens and correspondingly set minimal shutter speed to 1/focal length or other options. I personally chose 1/2x-focal length)

3. The top scroll wheel is not active for aperture priority mode with manual lenses, but in manual mode becomes a shutter speed dial. Nice implementation again…

4. The joystick: Another great way to move around in the menu systems, as well as a way to review and zoom through images. It also functions as an AEL button. Now, with an updated firmware, the joystick is repurposed to allow focus magnification with Manual lenses mounted…This is a great update and allows one to use his/her thumb to zoom in without having to use his/her other hand to magnify field of view and achieve critical focus.

5. Menus. Once you get used to moving around in the menus, using both the 4 buttons and the scroll wheel, things become gradually more and more easy.

The Leica SL represents a product of clean, modern, minimalistic design. I found that it took me a few days to adjust to the menu design and layout of the camera, but once set, I have not had to make any changes, save for updating the firmware and thus permitting use of the joystick for focus magnification, making the camera even more pleasurable to use.

In the end, I settled on the following configuration for my assigned custom functions:

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Key feature – the viewfinder

Many of you have experienced the Leica SL’s incredible 4.4 megapixel “EyeRes” electronic viewfinder. In my opinion, the SL’s viewfinder represents the state of the art as of 2016. In decent light, the viewfinder’s refresh rate seems fantastic, and there’s no lagginess. Even in low light, the EVF performs admirably. Leica has even implemented a focus aid that many have not talked about. When magnifying the image (when an M or L lens is mounted), the image is artificially brightened. This effective trick is effective even in the lowest of light, and such enables accurate focus with M and R lenses in circumstances in which focusing may not be otherwise achievable.

When you first stare through the EVF, you’ll be amazed. It’s much like viewing a 4K TV for the first time. The experience is a bit overwhelming, and while it’s not quite as clear as looking through an optical viewfinder in good light, the benefits of being able to “see” in any light with the added perk of additional focus aids or shooting information makes the EVF spectacular.

Further, the viewfinder feels HUGE, providing a 0.8x magnification, one of the best available on the market, far surpassing the EVF’s produced for Sony and Fuji cameras. Thus, we have a huge viewfinder, capable of providing the user with accurate and precise focus in any light. Might this sound like a great non-rangefinder solution for your M lenses? Um, yes!

On further use with M lenses, I found that I could achieve my post precise focus with lenses with narrow depth of field. Lenses such as the Leica Noctilux, Konica Hexanon 60 mm f/1.2, and all Summilux lenses, have dramatically shallow depth of field that is incredibly easy to focus using the EyeRes view finder. In fact, it could be said that slower lenses with deeper depth of field (particularly wide lenses), take a bit more effort to focus critically, and one should be sure to focus-magnify to confirm critical focus.

Speaking of focusing aids, the EyeRes EVF permits focus peaking. However, when enabled (somewhat awkwardly by selecting different views by quick pressing the bottom right button), focus peaking effects are quite light. For me, using the “red” focus peaking permitted the easiest-to-see focus peaking effect. That being said, I am not sure that most people would need to use focus peaking to confidently achieve focus with their manual focus lenses on the SL. The viewfinder is that good, and the EyeRes viewfinder sees the plane of focus quite easily.

Manual focusing with the SL is a true joy, and the SL’s viewfinder is a convincing complement for autofocus composition as well.

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Haptics (How the SL feels in hand with SL, M, and R lenses)

In hand, The Leica SL is a surprisingly comfortable and responsive camera. It’s equally nimble working as an autofocus camera, when the SL 24-90 mm lens is mounted, though in this manner, it become a large, hefty camera, very similar in field to most medium size SLR cameras. Thankfully, it’s as responsive as most of its SLR cousins, though I’d imagine that a Nikon D3 series or Canon 1D series may be more responsive for sports shooting.

Make no mistake. The SL 24-90 mm f/2.8-4 lens is bulky. It’s not terribly heavy, though when mounted on the camera, the set up does feel somewhat front heavy. I certainly do hope that Leica future lens efforts for this system balance somewhat better and are somewhat smaller, though I suspect that Leica is not going for a size win with the SL. The upcoming SL 50 mm f/1.4, which is rumored to be the optically best 50 mm lens ever made, looks rather bulky. Certainly with all of the extra real estate, Leica can really push the performance of these lenses to the bleeding edge.

The camera does change character when using Leica M lenses. Instead of feeling large and voluminous, as it feels with the 24-90, it becomes far more nimble. The SL body in fact occupies a footprint that’s not all that dissimilar to a Leica M with half case added (with grip), and thus, after using the camera with M lenses via the M-adapter-T accessory, the camera began to feel like a great option with larger M lenses, such as the Noctilux. Even smaller M lenses, including the 50 mm f/2 APO Summicron, feel like nice fits for the camera, though truth be told, they seem slightly small on this body.

With R lenses, the difference is split. R lenses seem, in many ways, to be a natural fit for the camera. They are mounted using a slightly awkward dual lens adapter setup, coupling the M-adapter T to the R-adapter-M. Doing so then permits access to the R lens menu, which allows the camera to correct appropriately for any lens specific aberrations. Thankfully, the dual adapter set up works well, though I am personally waiting for the R-adapter-SL to be introduced to make things simpler and potentially to enable additional features in ROM lenses. With R lenses mounted, the SL is transformed into a “small SLR” in terms of feel. R lenses seem to be appropriately sized for the SL, particularly its prime lenses, and are a joy to use on this camera. For those of you looking for a more permanent set up for your R lenses, the SL is a far better body for your lenses that the M240 body.

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Image quality

So how does the Leica SL perform? How is image quality? I can say convincingly that the camera’s sensor performs admirably, producing fantastic, beautiful, natural colors in outdoor/natural light. Some inconsistency is encountered, particularly in skin tones, when certain indoor lighting or mixed lighting is present. Skin tones, as with many digital sensors, tend to take on an orange hue, and the red channel seems overemphasized. Some have commented on a “tomato face” tendency of recent Leica sensors (M240, in particular), and at times, in artificial light, the SL does not escape this. It takes a bit of effort to adjust colors to obtain pleasing skin tones. Yet the possibilities are there. All of that said, I continue to prefer the M9’s color palette to the current Leica offerings, but the SL does reasonably well to produce nice colors most of the time.

Such affects are generally abated through careful selection of white balance. The SL adds a nice “Grey Card” white balancing feature which can be very helpful in achieving consistent white balance. Colors coming from the sensor behave much in the same way as output from the Leica Q, and as many have postulated, I suspect that the sensors are very similar or exactly the same.

However, I will say that the high ISO and shadow performance of the SL surpasses the Q, with less banding when underexposures or shadows are lifted. In general, the camera does a great job at suppressing noise or producing tasteful grain-like noise through ISO 3200. At ISO 6400, dynamic range is noticeably decreased, through grain is reasonably controlled and detail remains crisp.

In good light, the SL is a dream camera, producing some of the most natural and convincing images, regardless of lens used. I have used modern and vintage M glass, R lenses, and the SL24-90, and the sensor seems to play quite well with many types of glass from many different eras. In darker, muddier light, the SL tends to perform well through ISO 6400, and I generally have avoided ISO’s higher than 6400.

Many of you would ask if I prefer the output of the SL at base ISO to the venerable Leica M9? For me, finally, I have found a camera rivals the M9 in its color and crispness reproduction and sensor that suits me so well for my M lenses. I loved my M9, using it steadily for 5 years, but ultimately moved on to try new gear due to the limitations and issues with the M9’s sensor (limited ISO, corrosion). I was first impressed by the output of the Q, and now, I am equally impressed, if not more so, by the SL, which improves upon the Q’s sensor performance while performing admirably with SL, M, and R lenses. Colors are natural, and white balance is more consistent than the M9. Images from the SL do pop in that 3 dimensional way, much like M9 files. And to benefit the SL, ISO performance FAR exceeds the M9’s CCD sensor output. Summicron lenses are capable in low light. Noctilux lenses can see in the deepest and darkest of nights, in the shadows of this mirrorless world.

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Autofocus performance

The Leica SL achieves accurate autofocus of daily life activities without any issues, as long as a scene is reasonably light with reasonable contrast. I would say that AF is quite convincing in bright light almost all of the time. I have only occasionally had issues achieving infinity focus when shooting low contrast images (such as a hazy horizon), but this is a rare occurrence.
The Leica SL’s focus algorithms are challenged by very fast moving subjects coming in and out of plane (such as a sporting event), and I am yet to be sold on the camera as an autofocus option for fast moving sports (US football, soccer, basketball) That being said, it’s quite possible that my own technique is the limiting factor, though my hit rate, using both AF-S and AF-C, with various frame rates, was variable at best. I suspect that for slower moving action (such as fashion shows, slower moving sports, and weddings). Ultimately, I do not believe that the SL is designed with sports photographers in mind. After all, how many sports photographers would shoot a 1 lens rig (24-90 is all that’s available) at a 12,800 price tag? Not many that I know, especially when Canon and Nikon offer so many more options.

That being said, there are many professionals who will adore the SL and will find its autofocus capabilities to be exemplary. I suspect that the camera may well be aimed at professional wedding photographers, particularly those who can afford an expensive rig. Destination photographers and fashion photographers would be likely added targets. In fact, most pros that have invested in a Leica S system may well be suited for using the SL as a back up or second body, particularly when an S lens adapter is made available.

All in all, I have found autofocus performance with the Leica SL and 24-90 to be more than adequate for most shooting circumstances, save very fast moving sports in which the action is unpredictably moving in and out of the plane of focus.

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SL lens performance

While I can honestly say the the SL 24-90 lens deserves its own review, I will say that performance of the SL is equal to having a selection of primes within the focal length range. If you are willing to live with the size of the SL 24-90 and its variable and somewhat slow aperture, the lens produces incredible results on the SL, with pleasing out of focus (bokeh) areas and critically sharp in-focus areas (save at 90 mm, were there’s a subtle drop off in sharpness, which I’d call minor).

A camera with Multiple Personalities

The Leica SL is truly a camera with multiple personalities, depending on what system of lenses is employed on the camera. As mentioned earlier, the system feels very much like a pro SLR rig when the 24-90 lens is used. I can see this as a perfect camera set up for wedding and landscape or wildlife photographers, who benefit from weather sealing, fast autofocus, and incredibly image quality of the SL lens.
The camera becomes a “big” M camera when using M lenses. With R lenses, the camera feels like a compact SLR.

As mentioned above, performance of the Leica SL 24-90 mm lens is admirable. Similarly, Leica M lenses perform very well on the SL, and I have yet to see any images, which would have been improved by using the M240/9/Monochrom sensor, in terms of edge performance. I have found that using the SL with M lenses provides a different, yet equally effective way of seeing the world with M lenses. Many will prefer the rangefinder focusing method, particularly those with good eye sight and familiary with RF focusing, but for most others, it will be easier to focus your M lenses on an SL body with far more consistency.

R lenses perform equally well. To date, I have tested the 50 summicron R, the 80-200 Vario Elmar f/4, the 60 mm f/2.8 Macro-Elmarit R, and the 180 mm f/3.4 APO-Telyt lenses. Leica R lenses are known to be exemplary performers and will surely do well on this 24 megapixel sensor, which does not stretch the lesnes’ resolving powers to the max. Given the telecentric design of R lenses, they are likely to perform marginally better at the corners than M lenses, though many, including Sean Reid and Jono Slack, have tested M lenses and found them to perform well on the SL (and not as well on Sony full frame bodies).

All in all, the Leica SL performs admirable in all of these venues. It’s truly Leica’s bridge camera, allowing users to tie many systems together, use any number of lenses on the body with adequate to admirable performance. Leica should be applauded for managing such a feat in a body that’s designed to be its own high performance pro camera. Color me impressed…

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Who is this camera for?

I can see the Leica SL as an appealing camera for several types of customers.

1. Leica brand loyalists who wish for a bridge camera with the Leica badge
2. Individuals with reduced eye-sight and a large install of M lenses or R lenses
3. Previously abandoned R lens users
4. Wealthy amateurs or pros who want the Leica brand in a pro rig
5. Leica S users wanting a second body
6. Individuals not pleased with M240 image rendering (preferring the M9’s rendering…this camera is closer to that)
7. Landscape and destination photographers who benefit from weather sealing
8. Wedding photographers seeking brand identity and the highest possible IQ

Ultimately, the market will dictate the case regarding who the SL is aimed at. I consider myself to be a Leica brand loyalist, and I am a dedicated M camera shooter. My eyesight (so far) is fine, and I don’t have a large install of M lenses. I occasionally shoot professionally, but most of what I shoot is for my own pleasure. Leica’s are my one life’s guilty pleasure, and thus, I am inclined to try what they offer as long as their offerings provide a new appeal. The Leica SL is a camera with great appeal, a camera that will likely grow on you with time. I imagine that a mature SL line may eventually steal some M users, but at the end of the day, may create more fans of the Leica brand by offering a camera that’s capable of broad appeal and impressive functionality.

Pros
1. Incredible EyeRes EVF – 4.4 megapixels, 0.8x magnification, minimal lag – best in class (for now)
2. Build quality – Built like a tank
3. Weather sealed for use in all conditions (with SL lens mounted)
4. “Jack-of-all-trades camera” – Can take M, R, SL, Cine and eventually S lenses. Works well in many settings, using different approaches to imaging focus and composition.
5. Clean interface (once you are used to it)
6. Color reproduction, particularly in natural light
7. Robust high ISO images.

Cons
1. Bulky if thought of as an M camera replacement
2. Grip may not suit everyone. Best for big hands
3. Haptics with small M lenses is a bit unusual, though functional
4. Learning curve. The camera is not immediately intuitive
5. Very limited native lens selection

Pride of Ownership

Over the years, I have owned and used many camera systems from many manufacturers. Each camera that I have used has had its merits and weaknesses, and some have engendered an intense pride in ownership, given a number of factors that made me excited and motivated to take photos. For me, the ultimate example of such a camera for me was the original M Monochrom. I found intense joy from this camera, as it both challenged and inspired me to become a better photographer. I was and am proud to own one, and when showing off photos taken with the camera, I will happy report that the image was made with this camera.

Each camera engenders a joy of ownership for different reasons. It’s the rare camera that engenders a pride of ownership. The Leica SL is such a camera. When you use it, you feel the confident build of the camera. You experience the detail and effort that was put into designing a tool for you, the photographer. You sense the history of the Leica brand as it stands by this product, with Leica’s incredibly rich history to back up and substantiate the camera’s existence. Yes, the Leica SL is a 1st generation product. While it may be the natural successor to the Leica R system, it’s really a unique system with its own strengths and weaknesses. Sure, it’s not as compact as an M system camera. Yet, it uses M lenses with aplomb. Sure, it does not have the R system’s amazing optical viewfinders, but this mirrorless camera offers a novel way of seeing, with a clarity not seen before. The fact that you can use literally any Leica lens within Leica’s own ecosystem engenders further confidence that this is a camera that has enormous capabilities. In your hand will be a camera that can handle many styles, many perspectives. IT can serve as a color solution for your M lenses. It can serve to give re-birth to your dormant R lenses. The SL 24-90 may be the best performing normal zoom lens ever designed.

All in all, I am proud to own the Leica SL. I am excited to present the images here as representations of how the camera has inspired me. I am sure that if you elect to pay the steep price for this camera, you will be similarly motivated to go out and shoot, and that you will be impressed by the results coming from the camera. I hope to see you out and about, Leica SL in hand. Ready!….Aim!….Image Capture!

Best,
Ashwin

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81 thoughts on “Through the Looking Glass – A In-Depth Review of the Leica SL By Ashwin Rao

  1. Thank you for a great review an fantastic photos. I would love to have the SL but Its too expensive, I have the Q and I love it so very much. I must say that I do really love my Nikon D810 as well even though Im not using it as often. I do understand from Steve that the Sony A7rII is a very good camera but it seems to be extremely boring to shoot with it? How do all of you look at that camera as an option if you don’t afford the Leica M or SL?

  2. Ashwin, this is a fantastic review! I’m not the target for this type of camera, but I really appreciate your thoroughness and the beautiful images you included. I’m interested to see where this camera and the r&D that went into it leads Leica in the coming years. Also interested in what it will mean for other makers of Mirrorless cameras. It pushes some different envelopes than those Sony is pushing.

  3. I’m late as usual to these discussions – work just seems to get in the way. Excellent and very entertaining review(s) and comments. It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a post this much.

    Cameras are tools, and different users prefer different tools to accomplish the same task. A cheap knife will cut up pineapple just fine. BUT, I can reduce a whole pineapple to edible chunks in a minute with little effort and enormous satisfaction using my carbon steel Kramer! The SL is a precision tool which some will find worth the cost, perhaps just for the joy of its use.

    I migrated to Leica because I found my Nikon DSLR kit too large and heavy for my aging bones, and because my Leica IIIf, M7 and M9 are so much fun to use. The M240 didn’t do it for me; the SL is Nikon-sized. I’m waiting for the next M since autofocus typically chooses something other than what I think is important, but I can definitely see the appeal of the SL.

    CaNikon have figured out skin tones much better than Leica or any other manufacturer IF you use auto white balance. Expoimaging, WhiBal and other manufacturers make excellent aids for custom white balance adjustments (use Steve’s link to check them out at B&H). I use an Expo disc with my M9 and am very happy with the results.

    Many blessings for the New Year!

  4. Great review, Ashwin–a real tour de force–and Happy Holidays. Given my investment in multiple platforms I am not sure I can make the leap… yet! May start down this path with a Q first, if I can find one. I have never quite adjusted to the M240 rendering…

  5. Ashwin,

    Good to see a well balanced review of the SL.
    Not for me, though…

    I actually sold all my Leica’s except for the M3 and old glass.
    Heading to Thailand and Laos in a couple of weeks to continue the project 🙂

    I’m now on Instagram as of last week.

    @sfstreetz
    @aliveinhere

    Cheers m8 and have a Happy New Year!

    ~Colin

    1. Colin, it’s wonderful to hear from you. I presumed that you had found your way comfortably in film. I miss your digital posts on FB, but I will keep an eye out on your instagram! Happy new year to you.

      1. I got fed up with Facebook and eventually deleted both my photographic and private accounts.
        It took several attempts because they don’t make it easy 🙁

        Still shooting film but heading to Thailand with a pair of A7r II’s and a full compliment of Loxia and Batis lenses 🙂

    1. Well, I only review things I love, so you are correct. This has been stated around 100 times in 7 years. I try IT ALL. I only review what I love. Why waste my time writing negative thoughts in a long winded review to tell people to NOT buy a camera. If its not reviewed on my site, I did not care for it. Anyone who has followed my site for any amount of time knows this already.

      1. I’ve followed your reviews for years and they arn’t sugar coated, thats part of the appeal and honesty. You laid into the SL at first, I’d seen one day before press release, won’t say how or where so knew you’d change your mind as you love quality. Fuji is a case in point, the failings you point out are there, I still like the cameras but XT1 is the first with usable AF. It’s also a Jpeg camera, using the extensive camera settings, High Light etc. Makes a nice change to just download and crop. I don’t always agree with you but don’t change a thing (which I know you won’t). As we’re on a SL review, Love the SL except for me the skin tones.

  6. I think what many Leica shooters want is a M Gestalt camera with that SL sensor, image processor, and EVF. Many current M users may jump on the SL because of these features, despite the form factor that is ok but not ideal. If Leica introduces a M with these features, sans auto-focus, the current SL buyers will feel that GAS again, because the camera will embody what Leica users want. Personally I will wait a bit, the M240 is still a great camera, and will see if Leica will make my wish come true in 2016. It would be a logical step for a M240 replacement, adressing the image and rangefinder concerns that many users have. In the end they may have a new M with EVF and video, a classic, simplified M like the M262, and the SL for autofocus shooters.

    1. I totally agree with D!rk opinion. I hate the SL at the first sight (it looks so bulky and ugly in my opinion) and even keep thinking to sell my M system (around USD50,000) as i was disappointed because they introduced the SL instead of the new M with improved sensor and EVF. I hope Leica will soon introduce new M camera so i can still be its huge fan

  7. Great review, and thank you, Ashwin. I’d like to ask the same question I asked Steve recently. If one were considering moving into the M240 at this time (late 2015), the new SL would seem like a serious competitor, for not a lot more money. I suppose if one really wanted a rangefinder, the choice would be obvious, but otherwise, the SL seems to offer so much more, including the possibility of using auto-focus lenses in addition to traditional Leica RF glass. How do you see the M240 today, particularly with respect to the SL?

    1. Tony, great to hear from you. Generally, I think the SL surpasses the M240 in many ways (design, build, sensor, ISO sensitivity, color, sharpness), using a newer generation sensor. However, it’s not a rangefinder, so if that is your preferred way of seeing, then the 240 will not be substitutable (other than for the M9, which is a great alternative, M8, or film camera).

      If I had to choose, I’d choose the SL. However, if I had to choose between an SL and an updated M with a similar sensor and build, then it would be a much more challenging choice dictated in part by my shooting needs..as an M nut, I’d likely choose an updated M.

  8. Great review, as for the skin tone boys, yes the Leica is red, the Sony is orange, the Canon id meh and the Nikon isn’t too bad…just pick your poison.

    1. Agreed, Vinny. Most companies have their skin tone preferences…Leica’s seem to have changed a bit from time to time. I like the current incarnation (SL), but still prefer the M9’s skin tones and CCD medium format sensors seemed to be most accurate to me.

  9. Ashwin
    As I know this article took some time for you to write and assemble and it was worth it for all of us on the fence. Thanks.
    I love my Q and as a result just might get the SL once more native lenses become available.

  10. Great review. I’d like to respond to your statement below.

    “However, I will say that the high ISO and shadow performance of the SL surpasses the Q, with less banding when underexposures or shadows are lifted. In general, the camera does a great job at suppressing noise or producing tasteful grain-like noise through ISO 3200. At ISO 6400, dynamic range is noticeably decreased, through grain is reasonably controlled and detail remains crisp.”

    With with the latest firmware 1.1, it seems the Q is now the same as the SL in that regard,

  11. I too made the early order based on faith, reinforced by my Q experience, then the long dark snack of doubt, made worse by the first release pics, and Steve’s brief moment of SL Leica apostasy. Then it arrived, and for me its the best digital Leica yet, each day that I use it, the more I like it , but boy there is a lot to learn . Still it does what a truly great camera does it inspires one to use it. Its the one Leica that really makes sense of all the Leica glass ever made, for any thing. Ashwin is right having used M s for 40 years the old fading peepers rejoice at such focusing ease. That said with the zoom it ain’t small, but the zoom is great but its auto focus ease makes one cry out for the 50mm 1.4 that is not available, why is it not available ? I know Leica is a small capital constrained company but really it needs the 50 mm auto focus now. Leica never quite gets launch execution right, insufficient UV filters for the Q at launch; the wait for M accessories, the lack of SL lenses. If the owning Ven Cap wants to exit it needs to get this stuff sorted. However the SL is so good it makes one over look these foibles. Examples with 50 mm M apo… https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/23880349851/in/dateposted-ff/ or https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/23595010369/in/dateposted-ff/ or the zoom https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/23595010369/in/dateposted-ff/

  12. Fantastic review Ashwin! I’ve been a camera junky for a while now (some people like buying cars, I like cameras). When I shoot with a camera I’m not only looking for IQ but for an emotional feeling to using it. The M9 was the first camera I ever had this feeling. The Monochrom (first version and the latest) also have a similar feeling. I’ve tried variations of the Sony a7 series and even though it’s hard to deny IQ, especially on the a7rii I just can’t find an emotional feeling with it. The sony’s just feel like toys too me. I was skeptical of the Leica SL at first but once I got it in my hand, it’s truly an amazing camera. It’s what all cameras should be, quick, accurate, smooth shutter, exceptional EVF, and just a delight to shoot with. I definitely find an emotional attachment to the camera compared to any other EVF style camera out there.

    By the way, I think when people start talking about color output from images it’s very subjective. I always felt that the M9 had a red tint to skin tones but no one else agreed. I can see it in the SL but it doesn’t bother me. When pictures get uploaded to the internet, I find that the image uploader for the website routinely makes changes to the color output of the image. Also, each of our computer screens output colors difference. I bet the majority of people on these sites don’t calibrate there monitors on a weekly basis. I routinely use VSCO presets to give my images a film look and thus my skin tones are always incorrect. Using the VSCO presets, like the camera add an emotional component to my images (in my opinion). Heck, I also shoot with a medium format and without question, has the most accurate skin tones of all cameras and I still use the VSCO presets for a more film look. At the end of the day, it’s about the “picture taker” and what he likes.

    gage

    1. Hey Gage! This is Steve and I agree with much of what you say. I also go for the camera that can give me that bond, that emotional connection. The M9 did it (and I agree with you on the M9 color) for me. The new SL is also doing it for me, and not many cameras give me that emotional bond like certain Leica Cameras do. The SL clicks all of my boxes as it’s like a larger M with a gorgeous EVF and larger size and the sensor is fantastic.

      1. Hi Steve,

        I think Sony had made a big impact to your current bonding to the SL as subconsciously you liked the mirrorless system while still having a strong bonding to Leica (to which at that time has no mirrorless offering).

        Enjoy your honeymoon.

        Cheers

        Louis

        1. I always have and always will love Leica cameras and lenses. Been shooting with them for many years before this site even started. That’s no surprise. Also, there is no honeymoon as you say. The SL is to me, THE BEST 35mm format digital camera made today. FOR MY tastes. It will remain so until something comes along from Leica that beats it. Maybe the next M? Even so, the SL is stunning in every way when it comes to how a camera should be made and how one should perform.

    2. Gage, great to hear from you. I second all that you have said, and I am in full agreement. I heavily post-process and try to get an emotional look that can change over time. The M9’s output was close to perfect once WB was dealt with. The SL, while different, provides me with a similar, enjoyable, palette.

  13. Thanks, Ashwin. There are some fantastic photos here. I love that football shot near the bottom with that huge flare. Awesome.

    I have a question about the EVF. What sort of frame lines are there to choose from?

  14. A Contrarian’s View of the Leica SL

    I thoroughly enjoyed Ashwin’s review of the Leica SL and I have the highest respect for him (and he’s a great friend too.) I have a different take on the SL and I thought it might be helpful to share some thoughts here on SteveHuffPhoto for people in the prospective market for the SL.

    Let me set the stage by saying that I am a true fan of Leica. I have owned two M8’s, two M8.2’s, two M9’s, two M240’s and two Monochrom’s along with up to 22 Leica lenses at one silly point. I am now down to a more reasonable set of lenses and still have the Mono and the M. I also have a Sony A7R2, Nikon D4 and Leica D-Lux 109.

    I had a chance to use the SL for a while and decided not to buy one. Initially I was confused by the positioning of this camera. Here was a full frame 24mp sensor much like the M240’s in a body significantly larger. I think Leica’s top goal was to produce an autofocus camera that could lead the company forward for the next decade. Since many Leica shooters are getting older and their eyesight isn’t what it used to be, I have seen several “for sale” ads for manual focus Leicas giving this reason for the sale. The first lens Leica introduced for the SL is the 24-90mm f/2.8-f/4. This lens is HUGE. It is similar in size to my 70-200 lenses for the Nikon. I enjoy using my Leicas to take photos of people in lots of situations and the compact, unthreatening nature of the camera/lens allows people to relax, giving me more natural shots. This is impossible using the 24-90 lens. People see this just like they see a large DSLR.

    At this point there is only one AF lens available for the SL, so we don’t know what the future holds, but if the 24-90 is setting the stage I do not hold out hope for small AF lenses from Leica.

    The SL body itself is extremely solid and well made, but no more so than the Nikon D4, a benchmark in rugged usability. The lower edge of the Leica SL is quite sharp, and my broad palms bring that edge to rest just inside my palm – very uncomfortable. The battery grip adds the extra depth I need, but makes the already large body even larger. Just look at the type of camera bag you need for the SL compared to the M and that tells an interesting story. Where I would sling the M on my hip and go out shooting, now I need a huge bag. This is one reason I don’t use my Nikon D4 for this purpose.

    So how about using M lenses? Fortunately my eyes still work so I can easily focus the M240. Does the SL make better photos with M lenses than the M? I am not sure anybody could tell when looking at prints up to 20×30. On a screen it would be impossible to tell. The SL with M lenses becomes much larger for the shooter, more intimidating camera to the subject than the M.

    How about autofocus? There’s no doubt the SL wit the 24-90 is quite good at autofocus, but nowhere near as good as the Nikon D4 with it’s library of dozens of fast lenses. I shot fast moving sports professionally for three years and there’s no way the Leica could keep up with the D4 or the Canon 1D Mark X. Having exactly one lens to choose from also removes it from consideration as a serious sports camera, although that’s not what Leica was going for with the SL.

    How about using other lenses, like Leica R glass? I don’t own any R glass, but if I did I could do that today with my Sony A7R2 and focus them quite easily.

    What if I am after the ultimate image quality in a full frame 35mm digital camera? It’s too early to tell, but I suspect that using lenses that are native to the system it would be hard to pick a winner between the SL and the Sony A7R2. Certainly with M lenses the SL will do a better job at the corners, but as I said earlier unless you’re looking at large prints you won’t see the difference with native glass.

    In summary, I am not sure for whom the Leica SL is designed. There are better cameras for sports, smaller cameras for M lenses and candid portraiture, and several other cameras for mounting R glass. There are certainly other cameras that make superb images. All of them are cheaper than the SL and SL lens.

    Please don’t think of me as Scrooge, it’s just one photographer’s opinion. Merry Christmas all.

    1. Great commentary, Brad, and a fair viewpoint. I would refer you back to whom I think the camera is for. I do not think the camera suits you, and for those in which there’s a debate between the A7RII and this camera, the debate itself tells me something….it’s not a camera for them. Ultimately, I think that this is a Leica camera, done the Leica way, at a Leica price. I too will be very curious about how the system develops, particularly with regard to lens size and function. I think that the M system will continue to be more compact, effuciuent, but the SL is a great alternative within the Leica ecosystem for the brand loyalists and those who like the system.

    2. Great points. I am puzzled by this camera as well. For street work, the M works better with it’s size. For sports or nature, CaNikon still rules. For landscapes, Sony edges out with it’s huge DR and growing selection of excellent lenses. A Leica sales person said pro’s are buying the SL for studio work, as a backup for the Leica S. That made total sense. This camera is a poor man’s Leica S.

    3. First, I want to thank to Ashwin for the great review, but I also agree with bvhleica here. I don’t argue about SL versus other systems or about it’s usability, performance, price etc. It is clearly an outstanding camera, the most capable Leica body ever produced. My only questions is, why so large? Looking at A7RII, I can’t imagine that all this wonderful SL tech couldn’t fit into a smaller body. I also can’t imagine that given the SL in a smaller body, someone would prefer the larger one. Is Leica anticipating large AF lenses, like bvhleica fears, and has scaled the camera up to make it a more balanced system in hand? I just don’t understand the choice.

      1. A great review. I was ready to take the plunge before the announcement hoping this was a Q with a mount. After the announcement I was disappointed (due to size of lens and overall price) and if there is a purchaser that still can cope a big camera, that is me – I am younger compared to a lot of other LEICA a users and don’t mind as much holding a larger camera as it makes me feel (you get the recognition) like I’m using a real tool and identifies you as the lead photographer when you’re shooting at a function (I do a fair bit of that). People will give more attention to look into your camera for the shot (this is a feature of bulk cameras that people don’t talk much about).

        After reading some of these ‘favourable’ reviews on the SL, I went down the shop the 2nd time to try convince myself that I wanted (or needed it). I have owned extensively Nikon/Olympus/Sony and my conclusions are the same as some of the users above. The Leica SL is a great camera and a love to use (I’m fully on board with paying premium for quality and pride of ownership of the leica brand) however I think the pricing and success of Q has somewhat gone against the SL. Think about it – the Q is priced at $4250. I a more realistic progression may be $5K for the SL body and $4k for the lens. Keep it under $10K mark – which is a mental barrier many don’t with to cross. I know some are saying when compared to the M etc the pricing is fair and you pay for what you get – that’s why I mentioned the Q. The SL may have been more of a success if they haven’t released the Q yet. I am from Australia and all the camera stores here have SLs in stock while the Q is still on a waiting list.

        Once again, I love the SL, but it still just misses out a little to rationally convert a user like me (who actually wants to be converted). Don’t get me wrong, I still love this camera and wish all the best to those that actually own one.

  15. Great review Ashwin! Thank you for taking the time! I’m new to Leica (have a M and had a Q)…I get it! My camera makes me want to go shoot. I’m excited to see the output every time. I’m still getting use to the “rangefinder” experience but the Q was a joy as well.

    I’d love to rent the SL to try; however, I’m fearful I may love it and sell everything to own it!

    Again, thank you for your review. It was a great read!

    Merry Christmas!

    – Jason

  16. Great review Askwin.

    Would like to share my view on the SL…

    The only advantage (apart from the high res EV) that SL has over the Sony A7Rii might be its proprietary algorithm that accommodates various Leica lens systems.

    Jack of all trades approach :
    There is no obvious advantage should we use non-SL system lenses (except Leica’s other systems as mentioned above) as hardware sensor technology wise the SL is at least a generation behind Sony’s (how one’s rendering is better than the other is a personal preference IMHO). For whom considering using various lens brands, Sony’s A7Rii packed with much better credentials as proved by tests published on the web).

    A true Leica deliver (like me) :
    If one can’t live with the M body/system (I’m so happy with my M-P240 & the Sony A7ii), why bother having all your M lenses to be mounted on the SL body…not making any sense to me. Lastly, I’m not convinced that SL’s output is any better than the M240/M9 just rendered differently. M is still the heart and soul of Leica…period, IMHO.

    You may disagree with the above and that’s only my personal view.

    Cheers

    1. But my guess is you have not shot the SL (not talking about holding it in a shop). Having an opinion on and comparing a camera that you never shot with is tough to do. The SL is leagues higher than the Sony in usability, speed, build, EVF (which ties in with Usability), speed, response, control and design. It’s a step up from the M and the A7RII and about equal in build/quality to the S system, just smaller. The sensor in the SL will be different from the one in the Sony with the Sony offering higher resolution and superior high ISO when it gets high. From ISO 50 to ISO 6400, they are about the same just the different rendering. I looked over 40 of my favorite A7RII images, and then 40 of my fave SL images (many never posted) and love both sets. They are quite different though in the way the images will look. Can’t go wrong with either for IQ but if you also value everything else (EVF, LCD, AWB, BUILD, FEEL, CONTROL, SIMPLICITY, MOTIVATIONAL (makes you want to use it), and as Ashwin and I both pointed out, pride of ownership, then the SL is something you should look at. The IQ is personal. For my tastes, the SL IQ beats the M, and the body beats the M. No contest. Shooting with M lenses is a joy on the SL, never frustrating. Of course, many will think it is odd to shoot M glass on an SL when they are made for the M, but it’s still a Leica and they made the SL with M glass, R glass and the new lenses in mind. It’s a jack of all trades in Leica land and while it’s price is insane, so is the price of the M, the S, the Q, and all Leica products. That should never be a surprise. The only difference this time is, teh SL is well worth the cost..as in, when you shoot it you feel that $7500. Nothing lacks in quality with it, in any way. Well, none that I have found after thousands of frames with it and daily use. I look forward to more using it and sharing their thoughts.

      For the masses, the Sony is the best choice as it offers so much for half the cost. It’s also more reasonable at the $3k range than the $8k range. So the Sony will always be my recommendation to 98% of those wanting a full frame mirrorless. The Leica, I recommend to those who are already Leica fans or want to move to Leica. Everyone else the Sony would be the better choice. With that said, I still feel the SL is leagues above the Sony in all ways. I own both, and love both brands. But I look at a camera from all angles, not just IQ.

      We live in a fantastic time for tech. Tough to make a wrong choice when it comes to quality. If we go with our gut, it usually brings the most happiest results. Merry Christmas!

      1. Steve, your guess is right, I have not even seen the SL in real life and my comments just came out from my rational analysis.

        Totally agreed with you on your view on SL as there are rationales balanced between rational and emotional aspects and I won’t argue on that.

        To me, a camera (even though I’m just a normal amateur) is just a tool and once you’ve got used to it’s characteristics then it will be as transparent as a crystal and the rest is just focusing on taking photos. I seldom refresh my tools (like my road & mountain bikes, I’ve been having them for over 12 years) once I take ownership of them but that’s only me.

        Even though I owned both Leica M-P 240 & a Sony A7ii while the latter has much more functions that the M, I am just confined to a very selective functions that would help on taking a photo while using the Sony. It serves me well (before I bought the M middle of this year) with my three M lenses (which I’ve bought around this time last year along with the Sony A7ii) and 100% of time I was using the magnifier function for focusing.

        I can understand the excitement of having a new tool like the SL, especially an offer comes from a brand like Leica, that a lot won’t able to resist taking the plunge and that is an important part of the world of gadgets. Owning a Leica (regardless what model) is something special and of course the SL is the latest interpretation [of technologies] from the brand and that worth a deep look from all of us.

        Cheers

        Louis

  17. “Leicas are my one life’s guilty pleasure” Thanks for that wise comment I know some Leica users whose only indulgence is their love of their Leicas ! My opinion ENJOY and no guilt -there are worse things you can spend your money on! Happy Christmas to all the photographers out there whatever brand you choose to use!

  18. Ashwin,

    Appreciated your contribution and this review is an excellent and accurate addition to the reviews currently available.
    I did like the M9 and regretted the switch to the M 240, this triggered the purchase of the SL.
    Got used to the manual focussing capabilities of the Q which i loved and preferred over the rangefinder experience. I am really enjoying the SL with my M lenses and got great results with the T 18-56 and 11-23 lenses. Love the colors and the rendering.
    My compliments to “the story” telling pictures you added to your review.
    The review of Jono Slack and your contribution to it did contribute to my decision to move to the SL.
    I enjoyed the review of Steve but he is in a permanent honey moon period and i need others to take it a step further.

    1. My “Honeymoon Period” as you call it is my love for the camera. Ask me in a year what digital camera is my fave of all time. Unless someone steps up to the level of the SL in all areas this is the camera that will stick with me (just as I stuck with M’s for 6+_ years), as I have said a few times. I’ll be in my ‘Honeymoon” for years to come with this one, again, unless someone steps it up and improves upon it (which I do not see happening anytime soon though I will predict a Sony pro A9 to take it on). When I love a camera, I share that love and never hold back which is why my site thrives and has grown for 8 years, it’s real talk and real world and I do not hide my personality or excitement, and the majority appreciates this. It is what it is. The SL is, to me, the best full frame 35mm digital camera ever made. It’s a special one, and I can say that I have used every 35mm digital camera made over the past 8 years from $800 and up. I have shot with all other formats as well (Besides most MF cameras, only shot with three of them in 2015). I’d take the SL over ANY camera made today, any format, any brand. My A7RII would be my 2nd goto.

      1. This is getting to be a bit funny. I easily agree with everything that’s been said about this new camera so far, mainly because the images just speak for themselves. Not just the ones here, but Steve’s as well and those on other web sites. What’s funny is that the SL appears just after another marvelous new Leica camera, the Q. The Q benefited from the S and the rangefinder M, the SL benefitted from all three. Leica is on a great roll here. But wait. Isn’t the next generation Leica M rangefinder due to be released in 2016? And won’t it benefit from all 4 of these predecessors? And very likely/hopefully a bit smaller than the current Leica M. In one year. Cannot wait to here Steve and Ashwin’s review of the next Leica digital camera. How could it miss the mark either. Nothing wrong with Steve having two endless honeymoons over the next 5 years. Everything coming looks good to me. I like the current M, the MM (which I own), the M 240 M, the Q (which I own), the new S, the and now the new SL. Keep ’em coming, Leica. “The next ‘best ever’ 50mm lens” is also funny. How can they keep making the best ever 50mm lenses over and over? But indeed, they do that as well. Okay, gotta pay. But they’re one of the few camera companies still making a profit.

  19. Nice review. Looks like most pictures were taken hand-held with slower shutter speed. They were not sharp enough to justify the high cost of this system. (maybe ok with tripot or monopot).

    Can you retake some of them with faster shutter speed? Thanks.

    1. I’d recheck the EXIF data. Many are shot with plenty of shutter…the sports shots are examples, and they are plenty sharp, as are those taken at slower shutters…web compression may be affecting sharpness, as might your monitor or choice of web browser.

  20. Ashwin, as usual another great review and of course as always beautiful images. I am so glad to see that Aswhin added the “pride of ownership” peice to his review. I personally have no where near the talent of Ashwin yet there is something to be said about the pride of ownership of all Leica gear. For now I still enjoy my M240/MP and S2 yet the SL is next on my list.
    As Steve pointed out you will never meet a nicer guy than Ashwin Rao and I feel lucky to have met him in pepsin

    1. Steve, great to hear from you. It was an honor to meet you and get to spend a day with you and Lloyd, now 3+ years ago (can you believe it)? We will need to find time again to visit NYC!

  21. Ashwin, thanks for a terrific review, accompanied by some really outstanding photos. You and Steve have helped me see this new camera for what it is. I got rid of my M9 a couple years ago, and I just couldn’t see anything from Leica that was compelling enough to get me to re-invest (I never did accumulate an arsenal of Leica glass, was a one-lens M9 shooter). But now the SL seems like it might be the Leica I didn’t know I was waiting for. I think for me I’ll get either the SL or the RX1R ii in the new year, and try to do my own version of one lens, one camera, one year. Sounds like I couldn’t go wrong with either.

    1. David, great to hear from you. Neither choice is wrong. The SL offers the versatility of many types of lenses in a substantially larger package than the RX1R2, which is versatile based on its size and high MP count, allowing substantial cropping comfortably down to 50 megapixels

  22. Dear Ashwin, this review is a great gift to all Leica lovers within this community. Like always, your opinions are extremely well balanced, stating pro’s as well as con’s, to your best ability.
    Personally, there is not a single statement that I can’t fully agree with, and this is as far as my véry limited experience with the SL counts and the way I can imagine applications and usability of products from what I read, out of my vast experience of testing music equipment in my profession. Of course one always needs to take clear reservations, when formulating opinions without extensive experience. But it’s clear you have this experience regarding the SL which resulted in an exemplary report.
    Often, I feel the urge to to nuance some statements in the reviews I read. And like always, while reading, I have noted quite some remarkable thoughts, but again, there’s no need to comment on this list, since I can only say: “Absolutely!”. I just like to mention a few key words out of my list, that really sum it up for me: 1) ties together many systems into a cohesive package, 2) craftsmanship coupled with the joy of use, 3) feels like a bulky SLR with the zoom lens mounted, 4) not immediately intuitive (bùt this is not at all a con, IMO, since everybody should give such a new tool a bit of time to get used to), 5) although not the same, the color palette brings reminiscences to the M9.
    Only one thing remains to me to comment on: the top scroll wheel is not active for aperture priority mode with manual lenses. IMO, a future firmware update needs to turn this into an exposure compensation wheel for direct access to this important function.
    My personal conclusion: although not for me (mainly due to price and size), I absolutely admire this camera and its achievements. IMO it has every reason to earn its place in the market. And I’m very curious to see what Leica will come up with as their next M-mount body (mirrorless, RF or hybrid). Exciting times indeed! Although Leica will always remain for the happy few, what makes me have even more respect for what Sony does, since it brought FF to the masses

  23. That tomato colour in the skins tones is the drama for me, after Mr Prosophos pointed it out I have been looking at skin tones with this camera.

    Wedding photographers would find this a annoyance.

    1. Ario

      I suggest you visit you local dealer with an SD card and give the camera a try. My favorite dealer will let you take the camera outside and yours may also. This will give you the opportunity to see if the white balance or skin tone effects are an issue for you and the subjects you photograph. It will also give you an idea of what work flow changes you will need to adapt to the camera.

      Concerning how a wedding photographer will find this situation is hard to say. Though given the wide variations that exist in natural skin tones and make up use, color correction for each client is probably already part of the workflow. So this would be a minor set up adjustment for a working photographer.

      PaulB

  24. The portraits look great with the Leica look, but I gotta say I’m used to looking at sports photos with the traditional digital SLR look, so those above of the game day actually looked weird to me. But that’s just my own opinion. I’m sure there will be plenty who will love them.

  25. Very nice review Ashwin and lovely pictures. Can’t wait to get mine… It is actually on its way for delivery… Not received today so Hoping to get it by the 27th as unfortunately, here in Scotland, the 26 of December is also an official holiday. Waiting is killing me

    Merry Christmas to all

  26. Beautiful images and a great review. These are some of the best SL images that anyone has yet posted. And Ashwin is truly one of the treasures of the photography blogosphere.

  27. Another giant push! Pushing me over the SL bridge that is! Great review Ashwin, it is good to hear your different voice on this amazing piece of kit.

    1. Agreed, Bob. Happy to get together, so that you can test it out. It’s a great camera…It checks many of the right boxes. Now it’s up to Leica to fill out the system a bit more

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