The New Leica SL Announced. My thoughts.


The New Leica SL Announced. My thoughts

UPDATE: I received an SL and ate these words as it is beautiful and in a class of its own. It really is. See my 1st look report HERE for the real scoop. 

Hmm. Is it just me or does the new Leica SL seem to be taking aim at the Sony A7 series? Yes, the A7 series that has indeed hurt Leica M sales starting 3 years ago or so.  The new SL, at least from the front,  looks spookily like a larger (and it is larger and 1/2 lb heavier with battery) A7 series body, is full frame and is a new system from Leica that has new lenses as well as fast Auto Focus (for new native lenses) and an adapter allowing you to use M lenses. Oh, $7500 body only or $12,500 k with a 24-90 f/2.80f/4 zoom. Yes. Really.


My #1 issue is that if you take away the Leica logo and red dot and you have what looks strikingly like an A7 series body, FROM THE FRONT anyway. It’s no secret that Leica has been hurt by Sony over the past 2-3 years. When you can get an A7RII for less than half the cost of an M, yet have better specs, features and abilities then something has to happen. I was just shooting my A7RII at ISO 80,000 the other night and it did it with ease. With yet another new Leica CEO on board it seems like Leica is really trying to survive and push ahead in this ever evolving tech market. But they may be too late  to the party with this one, and at this price.

As for specs, well, it can not match the latest Sony A7RII specs nor can it really complete with the A7RII  but Leica is charging MUCH more for the SL than Sony is the A7RII. Since this is nothing really original like an M or T or S I do not understand how Leica could release this for $7500k (without a lens) and think it will sell well as it has none of the MoJo or mystique (on paper and in looks) that I expect from Leica.

Now I love Leica as much as the next guy, and every review I release (Leica T, Leica Q, Leica M) I get accused of being a Leica fanboy. After the buzz wears off, 2-3 weeks later I get accused of being a Sony fanboy or Olympus fanboy. But at the end of the day I use what works for me, and I also appreciate a well made camera that gives you an emotional connection as well as a fantastic photo experience. I am picky, so I use what I feel is the best for ME and will only review and write about cameras that I feel are really good or special.

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In the past, most Leica cameras have done this for me..The M8, M9, M 240, Leica Q and yes, even the T and of course the original X1 and X2 were also faves of mine. The X-Vario was a fail (IMO) as was the new larger X as it was more of a repeat of the X2, just larger. The Q was a step in the right direction I feel with the included EVF and super sensor. So what about the new SL?

Yes, so now we have the Leica SL which I assumed would have a killer Leica retro or vintage design. Instead they might have said “Let’s copy the Sony A7 body design since this is the company who is hurting our sales and selling way more cameras than us”. The body will  be more than 2X the cost of the almost perfect Sony A7RII which has better specs, and an amazing sensor as well as crazy low light abilities that almost reach the A7S ISO abilities (and now loads of lenses to choose from). The Leica SL lenses, two of which are slower variable aperture zooms and one fast prime (50 Summilux 1.4) are HUGE when compared to lenses for the M. Auto focus adds bulk and size (and cost) and these lenses have the same styling cues as the T and it may be a while before we have a wide selection of glass for this system. It took Sony 3 years to do this, and that is with Sony’s budget. How long will it take Leica? Longer, even if the SL is successful.

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As with the Q, the SL has 24 MP.

I am a bit let down this time from Leica. Their big announcement and teases over the past month have been building this up to be some sort of beautiful new vintage retro inspired camera system. I am sure it is beautiful and feels amazing in the hand, but at the price I am not sure what is separating it from the 100% awesome Sony A7RII. I mean, I do not see the SL beating the A7RII. IQ. maybe it will or maybe not but I will bet $1000 that the SL will not even get close to the high ISO capability of the A7RII. It will also not beat the RII in features, video, IS (Sony has 5 Axis), lens availability, and not even speed. So what are we left with? The name and red dot. I see this as a $3000-$3500 camera body so I feel Leica will have a tough time finding wide appeal here at the prices of $7500-$12,500. Sure, you can adapt T, M or even S lenses to the SL (thought the T lenses are not full frame and the S lenses will be cropped) but you can adapt more lenses to the Sony cameras these days. Nikon, Canon, Leica, whatever.

**Oh, and please excuse my I am doing just that..rambling to myself and then writing it down here**

The SL will have to have a totally unique image quality signature (like the Leica M9 did) for me to understand it. Since I have not yet shot with one yet, I have no clue as to how it performs. If it offers something very special, then I may be sold on it after all. No way to tell until I give it a go. I do know that the design, specs and info have me feeling a bit “blah” this time. It’s large, and the lenses appear to be even larger than the Sony offerings.

This one may just be for the Leica die hards but one other note…if Leica can make wide angle M lenses play perfectly well with the SL, as in NO ISSUES at all, they may have something. The Sony A7RII does amazing with Leica glass but if you are being critical, using wide angle lenses like a 15-28 will give you softer corners/edges. It is a non issue with longer lenses or fast primes and glass but if the SL can use a Leica 21 M lens with perfect corner to corner details and sharpness then they will sell more to M customers who want perfection with their M glass, to those who want a faster EVF camera than the M 240 to manually focus their M glass. Seeing that the M can not even give perfect results with some M glass, I do not have high hopes for the SL but maybe Leica has a trick up its sleeve.

So as for me, for the 2nd time in Leica history I am mixed on this. Just as with the X Vario, something about the SL doesn’t sit right with me. I think it is because it just look like a copy of the successful Sony A7 series. While it is in no way a Sony A7 body inside, they should have made the effort to make an original design. I mean, this is premium and it is “cost no object” Leica. We should get something unique for our big money we have to shell out for this.

If I can get a hold of one I will do my normal full review, but chances of Leica sending me one for review after this post is very slim. I may just rent one when the rental houses get these in. If it is something special I will then buy one for a long term review. If not, looks like I will be waiting for the next M, which I know I will love as the M series is in my blood 😉 In fact, I still recommend the M 240 to anyone who asks. It’s a lovely camera and while it can’t beat the latest offerings in the full frame world for IQ, it beats them for usability, pride of ownership and that emotional connection you can achieve with an M.

Bottom line? The SL is $7500 for the body only. The 24-90 f/2.8-f/4 long zoom is $5k. Yes, $5k for a slow aperture zoom that is very large. The camera has no Image Stabilization, maxes out at ISO 50,000 (which I suspect will be very grainy at 50k), is somewhat un-Leica like being large and bulky though it has a great EVF and supposedly blazing AF. You can use T or M lenses, even S lenses (though the S lenses will be cropped) and they managed to create this out of a solid block of Aluminum much like the T. So for the SL and 24-90 f/2.8-f/4 zoom, you will be shelling out $12,500. Ouch.

What do you think of the SL from Leica? Will you buy one? Leave your comments below and tell Leica what you think of this release. DO you love it and want it or does it not float your boat? They do read the comments here when I write about their cameras and lenses so join and and talk about it!

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So you want to order one? Here is how.

For those of you excited by this new SL, and you want one (or even an M), I highly suggest emailing legendary Leica dealer KEN HANSEN. He has been my #1 Leica guy forever now and is as good as it gets, period. You can email him at  You can also pick up an SL when they are in stock at Also check out  Of course, B&H Photo also has the SL up for pre order! 



4.4 MP EVF at 60 FPS – largest, fastest & highest resolution EVF on the market.
Burst rate of 11 FPS at full resolution 24 MP DNG
Fastest AF of any full-frame system camera
24 MP CMOS sensor
ISO ranging from 50 to 50,000
Supports Leica T and SL mount lenses and R, M, S and Cine lenses via adapter
Fastest SD standard (UHS2) with a secondary (UHS1) back up SD card slot
4k Video at 30 FPS (Super 35), 1080HD at 120 FPS (FF) (10 bit via HDMI out)
Weather sealed to protect from spray water and dust
Shutter speed from 30 min (bulb) to 1/8000s
Ultrasonic sensor cleaning
Latest generation of Leica professional user interface with hybrid touch operation
Integrated WiFi and GPS module
Remote control, viewing and sharing App for iOS & Android
Made in Germany and milled from solid blocks of aluminum
Two year warranty 


  1. Forget about sensors, controls etc. It is all in the glass and the mind of the shooter. And at that only very few of us could ever realize what potential a high end of the market can offer in a single shot. The same goes for most pros too.

    Small pocket size cameras are more than enough for 90-99% of the shots any of us have in mind – planned or inspired….

    Right, now someone get me a Monochrom Typ 246 and the Noctilux. Erm… and the Q too if that’s alright! 🙂


  2. I happened to visit the Leica Gallery in West Hollywood last Saturday and they didn’t even have a demo copy of the SL. But they did say that Ebi, the Leica rep might be there on Sunday with his SL sample. So I dutifully dropped in on Sunday.

    I was very skeptical having read the initial reviews. The first sight only reinforced my concerns. This thing is massive for a mirror less camera. After handling the GH series, A7 series and of course the M, this thing is a monster. The lens is massive. I picked it up with trepidation. Yes, it is heavy.

    But once I got to hold it, I was like, hmm, its built like a tank. Build quality is top notch. Controls are well placed. Features like the battery insert are very professional. And then that viewfinder – amazing! I no longer miss the rangefinder, even in indoor light.

    Autofocus was reasonably fast indoors. But the heavy lens made my hands hurt. Used an adaptor and put a Noctilux on it. Yes that Nocitlux that looks ungainly and large on the M looks positively small on this massive SL.

    BUT, I was actually able to focus with the Noctilux. Very quickly. Not an easy thing. Focus peaking works very well, better than the A7S, A7R. Same with the WATE, edges looked good even at 15mm.

    I didn’t take a fast SD card, to get some test shots. Tomorrow I will. But when i think about it 24mp makes sense. Good tradeoff in terms of resolution vs. noise. The S Typ 007 is “only” 37.5megapixels. I bought the A7R when it first came out, resolution is amazing but its collecting dust in my shelf of unused cameras…. Slow, clunky, too many megapixels. he A7S however, I use all the time. Very nice image, a mere 12Megapixels but mighty fine pixels. So MP is not everything.

    On paper the camera doesn’t make sense, but handling is believing. I had high hopes for the A7 series in terms of using my Leica Lenses. But they are I feel best used with the native Zeiss lenses, which are great in their own way.

    I skipped the M240. But I feel that with the SL, now my M and R lenses can finally get used. I think Leica might have a keeper.

    So with a sort of sinking feeling of inevitability, I put my name on the pre-order list. If it comes to pass that they have one for me – I will then figure out if forking out the dough makes sense.

  3. If we base what is a success or failure strictly by sales figures, then perhaps the X Vario is a failure. But I rate a product on how it performs. Mine performs extremely well. Images are incredibly sharp. In image quality it come very close to my M. It’s extremely well made. Unless I’m in an very dark environment, the autofocus has worked well. Unlike my M, the X Vario has never frozen up on me requiring removing the battery. I can’t say that for my M 240.

  4. The X Vario is not a failure. At least not for me. I own an M 240 and a Sony RX1R. The Vario is a wonderful camera. Yes, it has a slow zoom. But had Leica used a faster zoom lens, it would have been too large. I’ve never had a problem shooting in low light because shooting at a high ISO still renders a relatively grain-free image.

    I think the new SL could be a breakthrough camera.

  5. Dear Steve

    I knocked Leica for releasing what seemed to be a lacklustre specd over priced clone of the A7RII. The very thought of the camera left me in disgust in the thought that someone could think this camers is worth the expense and effort to get one. In short, I prejudged the camera and I was wrong.

    I finally got to see the Leica SL in the metal and take a few photos with one. It’s beautiful to look at and hold. The pictures on various websites do not do it justice. Love it’s feel. Pushing that shutter button just oozes quality. In short, after picking up the SL would I buy it over the Sony A7RII? Answer, Yes I would.

    The Leica SL is a professional tool and will take the punishment the A7RII probably won’t. The A7RII is a great camera with great features and superlative image quality but the SL is better in every department as a still image taking camera except image stabilisation (the SL does not have in body image stabilisation).

    In 35mm terms, Leica built the best 35mm based digital system money can buy for professional use. Period. There is nothing wrong with the A7RII. If I was on assignment in an inhospitable climate, in a monsoonal downpour, I can rely on the Leica SL to work where the A7RII could fall apart. If my livelihood depended on the camera performing in all conditions, it would be the SL.

    I can’t comment as far as the video is concerned, I didn’t get to use the SL in video mode. In that area, I am afraid I would still use an OMD EM 5MkII or Panasonic GH 4 because with video, the size of the camera matters if you are up close.

    Image quality is typical Leica. I took the same image with the Leica X2, a Leica T with the 23 f2 and the SL with it’s 28-90 zoom set at 35mm. Steve, maybe you can do this test. I promised the Leica Rep I would not publish any photos I took until the official release date here in the land of Oz on November 16. My observations are:

    The Leica X2 will produce an image that has visibly more barrel distortion. It’s colours are saturated out of the camera. The Leica X2 image quality at 400 ISO starts to look like the SL’s image quality as 12,500 ISO. I think that says it all. It clearly has less dynamic range and less of an ability to pick up half tones than the Leica T or SL

    There is not much between the Leica T with the 23f2 (I used one pre firmware upgrade) and the Leica SL with the 28-90 both shot wide open. The SL’s additional cost shines through in picking up every half tone the T missed but that said, the T didn’t miss much. If anything the value for money bargain here as far as image quality is concerned is the T. The T is pretty darn good against the SL but not as good. The SL will shoot at higher ISO and significantly faster than the T ever could. The SL has focusing data and depth of field indicators in the display where the T doesn’t. The SL is a pro tool.

    That said, I didn’t get to do much of a test.

    Sony’s A7RII is a great camera. It has things such as a tilt screen LED. It’s resolution is fantastic. It has in body stabilsation. It will do it’s owners proud but they will pick up the SL and if they can afford it, they will say, “thanks Sony for the memories but it’s the SL that I want.”

    First the emotional part. Those that buy it, (and I am very tempted) will not be disappointed by it even though there are numerous cameras that many will compare it to that are a tiny “blip” of the price of the SL.

    Second the rational part, will it make me a better photographer? Probably not except to say that every time you use it, you will try to push your skill to live up to the Camera’s capability. Leica is selling a membership to an elite club and it’s members will be as competitive as they can be to command respect in that club.

    Last, can I tell the difference between the SL’s images any other camera? I have to say that you probably can with practice. I believe that there will be half shades and tones of red, green and blue in those images that only the Leica will pick up. Especially in overcast conditions (which are the conditions I shot in, during a rain storm). Steve, please look into this. Maybe I am being too optimistic here. It’s colour signature is completely different from the Sony, Canon, Olympus and Nikon cameras I get to use.

    There are one are I think Leica “dropped the ball”. The SL lens line up. Arnold Schwarzenegger must have told Leica that he wants to do a work out when he takes photos. It’s that heavy. Oh my aching back. I would not carry this monster around with me. I also would not pay $7K for a lens that when I zoom out, some part of the lens extends beyond the focussing ring. I am sure that the quality of the glass is there but it’s not for me.

    I told the rep that Leica is a brand that it’s owners expect exceptional quality. Meaning, I want a lens that only Leica can do. They must be fast. They must be sharp wide open and they must be the best at whatever image they produce. We pay enough for them and I don’t want to think I could match it with an $800 sigma (read Leica 24mm F1.4M). The Leica 21mm f1.4 M is an example. The Leica 28 f1.4M is another. The Noctilux 0.95 50mm is copied but never really equaled. The Leica 35mm f1.4 M Mk II after 10 attempts is such a lens but it has stiff competition (I still like the small Leica Canada pre asph 35 f1.4 because it is tiny and produces great images even though they are not as good as the current 35 f1.4M asph).

    I just do not get the warm and fuzzy feeling with a 28-90 f2.8 to f4 lens. If it was 28-90 f2, it would attract my attention but not a f2.8-f4 that weighs in close to 200 F2 Canon lens. My message to Leica. “You operate in that luxury goods space and charge a lot for what you offer. Give the consumer something they can’t get from anyone else other than the feeling that they bought something with a red dot.”

    The next SL lens should be a 21 f1.4, a 28 f1.4, a 180 f2 or 75 f1.4. What is the first prime SL lens released next year? Ah yes, another 50mm among the hundreds already out there. Why? The basics are just that, basic.

    How about a super 35mm f1.2 that is sharp at f1.2 the likes of which that dwarfs the Voightlander one? If I want the best 50mm I can mount on the SL, I would buy the Noctilux with an adapter. Push the boundaries Leica.

    Thanks Steve
    regards Noel

  6. As always love to read your post. Not sure has any one mention. The SL design just like old R7 may be R8, and it is just looks flatter from the depth, And more refine.

  7. Steve, I agree with most of what you say, most of the time. This time, however, I COMPLETELY agree.

    Also, looking forward to getting the new 24MP sensor, built-in WiFi (and GPS), and potentially the EVF in Q on the next M. Fingers crossed.

  8. Because the SL is put up against the Sony so often, it’s very worthy of note:

    There is a wizard of OZ moment going on right now at Lensrentals, where Roger is testing Sony native lenses, using many copies, to get both performance and copy variance data.

    “The FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA lenses are all over the place. It actually is a bit worse than the graphs look because a lot of the variance is WITHIN a copy, not just copy-to-copy. None of the 10 copies we tested had even corners. And I’ll editorialize and say that none of the dozens we’ve tested on Imatest had even corners either. If you use this lens for centered objects, you’ll be happy. If you want 4 sharp corners, it’s not likely to happen unless your standards for equal sharpness are pretty low.”

    The 90/2.8 has all sorts of copy issues. The 1635 is now famous for it. So is the FE 35/2.8.

    While of course lenses have always had copy variations, the Sony Zeiss lenses are a bit out there, especially considering we asked to pay a significant price.

    Any Sony user who really cares about lens quality and performance should read this blog post carefully:

    I had thought the stock sony sensor with native lenses was a really good option, but these results show it’s no so easy. Caveat Emptor.

    Why bring all this up in a Leica SL thread? Because Sony is the system to which the SL is often compared.

    Also of note in Roger’s bench tests:
    “unlike most of the Canon and Nikon mount tests we’ve already done, we’ve added 2mm of optical glass to the testing path of these [Sony] lenses. Why? Because we ran lots of trial tests and found that at least the first Sony lenses we tested performed much better with that amount of glass in the optical path. It made a big difference with the Sony lenses, while it did not make much difference for most of the Canon and Nikon lenses we tested. ”

    I think this hints about why we see so much better performance with the Kolari Mod on the A7, any A7, and just about any legacy lens, not just RF wides.

    So Sony gives you a choice: go native and deal with some serious quality control issues; or go legacy/ non-native and our sensor will mute performance until you have it modded.

    The Leica SL is ready to go as is, though it still needs more dumb adapters. Nikon is already available. It will not have the Sony sensor issues with legacy/ M or SLR glass.

  9. The more I look at it, the better it looks to me. I am starting to like it a lot. I can see how this can be appealing to multi Leica mount lens owners who also shoot with Canon or Nikon FF. The cost of it to me seems not too far from what it should be, considering that it is after all a Leica, and also the price of top of the line Nikon and Canon FF.

  10. For those who insist on A7r2 vs Leica SL:

    Where is SL superior?

    Way better EVF. WAY better.
    No shutter lag. Read Ming on both these points.
    Multi-step mag box, no giant jumps like the Sony.
    Superior Video to A7r2 (though A7s2 may be better)
    WAY tougher build. FAR more weather proof.
    Real Battery.
    T-mount is 50mm, E is 46, prone to reflection and shading with some lenses.
    FAR more friendly sensor to any lens designed for film. Best legacy lens body ever made.
    Far superior lens set, if you have the money. (S lenses)
    A user interface designed by photographers.
    Leica colors and DNG. Sony files are inferior, though they may get better with uncompressed RAW.

    Where is A7r2 superior?
    It has more pixels. It is lighter (though fragile). It is smaller. It is cheaper. 🙂

    If you crop your photos often, the A7r2 is better (if you have the native lens set). If you don’t crop the SL will kill it with better lenses and far nicer files.

    The secret spectacular camera at the moment is the Leica SL, which is just a bit bigger than a D810 and has a killer AF lenset. Image quality in an entirely different league. Body only: 17.5K

    The SL is not meant to take the Sony market. They could never make enough. It’s a bridge machine for S shooters, all of whom of course have an M kit as well, the new R.

    It’s a gorgeous piece of engineering, which will turn heads and stop hearts at any Camera fair for years. It doesn’t matter id any of us approve or not. Leica R collectors are over the moon about the thing, and they will seduce certain other buyers from all categories, not many, but more than enough to sell out.

    Leica SL is not a mass market camera, obviously.

    Now before everyone pounces on me: I won’t be ordering one, though I wish I had the extra lying around 😉 Daily I shoot M9 and an A7 with the Kolari sensor mod. Mostly M and LTM glass, including ZM18 SEM21 28cron, ZM35/2 50cron 75 lux 90 summarit and 135/34 APO My A7.mod loves all these and of course the M9 shoots them fantastic. Before the mod my A7 sucked with most of them. I have some big lenses also. Many of my friends shoot the Sonys very well, and I enjoy their images.

    The SL is not for most of us. But it’s one hell of a piece of kit, and nobody needs to worry about Leica.

    Love the one you’re with,
    Charlie 🙂

    • SRY: “The secret spectacular camera at the moment is the Leica SL” I meant to say:

      “The secret spectacular camera at the moment is the Leica S” Charlie

  11. @Steve Huff: to me, the sl looks like it has pana guts under its red dot. Video specs bring gh4 to mind. As do several other aspects. Knowing leica they’ll probably only make as many sls in a year what sony would churn out a7s in a week. Just my two cents. cs

  12. This is the first changeable lens camera that Leica made, that has Autofocus.
    This model Leica SL (SL for So Lousy) is a failure that may cause Leica to wind up as a business.
    Just like the hopeless Leica T was a failure. (T for Terrible)
    The form factor is completely wrong. It is too freaking big for a mirrorless.
    It is too heavy. Body with the sole zoom lens, it weighs 1,987g. That is almost 2kg for a mirrorless.
    The sole lens choice is pathetic, too huge in size, not constant aperture and grossly over priced.
    The SL body is grossly over priced.
    You already can adapt Leica R or M lenses to Sony A7 series cameras and to Canon DSLRs.
    Metabones Series 4 adapters will even allow autofocus function of EOS AF lenses on Sony A7 II.
    Cut the marketing crap about SL being from block of milled aluminium to justify the price.
    The SL does not have in-body antishake (image stabilisation).
    The sole over priced zoom lens does not have IS feature.
    The SL body has a serious problem – it lacks many control buttons. That means the poor user has to wade through endless mind boggling nested menus to get things done. Frustrating to use.
    Function has been sacrificed to serve form.
    SL is only 24 MP.
    The Sony 7R II is 42.4 MP at a small fraction of the price . Plus it has 5 axis IS. It has ISO102,400.
    The Canon 5DS is 53MP at a small fraction of the price. Canon has a HUGE range of lenses to choose from.
    In other words, the SL is DOA.

  13. Hi Steve,
    I am not a Leica FanBoy, and I even can’t afford one, and for sure the camera is very expensive. My every day camera is an ordinary Pentax DSLR, and I’m very happy with it. I think the Leica SL was designed for a small group of professionals. Concerning the Sony like design one can argue that the Leicaflex SL was an inspiration source too.


    Here an interview posted by Kristian Dowling examining the marketing points with Leica Designers:

    I think for most of us the Sony A7 will be the better choice, but there is a market for people where money does not matter, I call them Porsche Driver. As I’m German, those people make me happy, they facilitate employment to the expensive engineers and technicians in my country. I have a Swiss watch, it is ten times the price of a Japanese one and less precise, but I like it.

    Excuse for my rudimentary English
    and thanks for the great


    Hopefully the Leica SL Type 601 will find its market to ensure that Leica will stay alive!

  14. There are only three basic elements for shooting photos: IOS, shutter speed and aperture. Why does Leica not give these three controls on TOP of the body like Fuji X-T1, and put these three into the complicated menu? What I really want is a lighter and smaller digital R-8 body which design is a masterpiece.

  15. I’ve commented elsewhere, overall I’m glad they at least tried. But, I think the camera design lacks inspiration, why does it have to look like a 1×4 slab with a three sided piece of wood for the prism, and cut piece of a broomstick for a handle?
    The body is larger than Sony’s A7’s because Leica’s EVF is better because the eyepiece is bigger. Let’s not forget, two card slots take up a bit more space so it’s size, around that of a Nikon DSLR body is because of the tech package. But it does it have to be so…..bland? If Leica is so beholden to the M design and the tradition, why not use more of the great simplistic, minimalist design of the original SL/SL2?
    I’m going too step out on a limb here, Leica has RICH owners and RICH investors and both want a return on that investment, that’s their right. BUT, while it means they own it, does it mean the chain of creativity of the brand is understood by them? Who they hire and fire eventually shows up in product. They were smart enough to stick with the M platform, but that was simple. The S is a fine limited market camera, the Q is an excellent camera, but they’ve had more than their share of stinkers.
    They had to understand that putting anti-vibe tech in the lenses was going to greatly amp size and the prices and as has been mentioned, introducing one lens with the body and two more in 12 months completely contradicts a professional mission. Too, why do they think people want to pay for features they don’t need? Great, it shoots video, but how much does it add to the costs?
    It’s nice that we can use our M and R glass, but without auto diaphragm? So, $7500.00 for an uninspired design, with features not everyone needs that pump up prices and a lens line that likely won’t be competitive for two or three years?
    I hope those Billionaires are a patient bunch.

  16. Here’s an interesting hands-on review:

    Mostly the images were shot using M lenses. Interestingly, with those lenses attached the Leica SL doesn’t actually look that big to me – especially when the author took images of it next to an M.

    To be sure, the SL is not a camera I would buy (my interest is in Ms and, particularly, film Ms), but I think this new camera from Leica is actually going to be a bigger success than many people here think it will. I think they will sell a lot of bodies, and that owners will slap on M and R lenses and be very happy indeed with the results.

    Judging by the way Leica has bounced back into profitability in recent years, they’re not as stupid a company as many continue to claim. 😉

    Also, can we please stop with the ’24MP is not enough’ type comments? 😀

    Not enough for what? What are ‘most’ Pros doing with their finished pictures??? 🙂

    I work in publishing (online and print) and have worked on, and produced, A4+ sized magazines which had some incredible artwork used as covers and full spreads… and said photo work was often taken with cameras offering the same or lower MP specs that Leica’s new offering.

  17. It is nice to see Leica no longer operates in a niche of retro products for the effluent amateur. I wonder whether the target group of effluent pros any longer exists. Heavy users pay a premium for a good and fast user interface, even when nominal specs are behind. To claim the fastest AF is daring, hopefully not only under bright daylight with excellent contrast. I could compensate the steep price by buying less lenses, but important lenses are available not before one year from now. As a happy user after time I may forget the steep price. I will forever feel the weight and bulk of the system. Even in the old days Leica pricing was steep. After the purchase from the dealer the instant loss was about one third. From then there was almost no more depreciation.

  18. Why on earth would I ever want to lug this camera through my assignments in West Africa? I may as well put a satellite antenna on my back because I refuse to use well tried and tested wi-fi. I am a long time Leica M user since 1988, but I doubt I will ever upgrade my limited M9s until Leica starts making cameras for working pros again. This camera will not sell at any price. Stick a fork in the designers, they’re done.

  19. With a black Hermes leather bag at 8250$ it would make a wonderful 20,000$ starter camera kit !

    You live only once…!

  20. Sorry Steve: I want to clarify that I bought the SONY Alpha 7 R II,,,
    Anyway thanks to you and your work – it`s always a pleasure to read your comments about lenses and bodies…Like Parker for Bordeaux wines…


  21. Dear Steve!

    2 days ago I had the feeling to contact my dealer concerning the A / II – also I am a total Leica freak – including M 240/M 9/Monochrome/etc.But I was looking for a high tech product with ultimate solution near to mid format with high speed autofocus. Also I new about the Leica SL rumours knowing it will be announced the same day I decided to buy a A 7 II with Zeiss 16-35mm and 24 – 70mm zoom lenses.

    Even I just startet to test my new camera I was so pleased about speed and solution that set a new standard in my experience.

    The M´s are another thing: Who else built this rangefinder jewels than Leica? They are very haptical and a combination of history and presence: Timeless masters for special pleasure shoots!

    But the A 7 II is a Ferrari for fast AF shoots and has a very good price/quality relation compared to the SL. May be I am wrong but I fear that Leica`s efforts in beating SONY`s A 7 R II will end up in a little disaster though all the capacities that could be used for building Leica Q Models or increase development in Leica M next model runs into the wrong concept:

    Except of the fantastic high solution viewer this camera is bigger, heavier, and much more expensive than A 7 II with less solution. The history of the R design seems to come back, when Leica had to find an answer to the analog mirror flex cameras from Japan. I am sure the pros will not leave their Nikkon, Canon, Olympus or Sony for it.

    And the freaks like me are waiting for the new M to spend huge money for a Leica identity product and not for a small S brother that is limited because of the product line.

    Hasso, from Germany

  22. I’m a little confused about the actual size of the Leica SL 601. The dimensions given are not actually far from those of the Sony A7Rii, about the same height and depth, and less than 1/2″ wider. However it looks much larger in the photos released by Leica. I think there are two things happening. The height does not include the viewfinder housing, which adds about an inch, rather the general chassis. On this basis the size is 4.1″ v 3″. Secondly, the person holding the camera (a woman) had small hands. This harks to the car ads of the 60’s which exaggerated the size of the engine compartment with extreme angles and perspective distortion. Perhaps we need a larger body to take rough handling and large lenses, space for two memory cards and a larger battery. Sadly, the latter does not seem to have occurred. The effect is quite the opposite. We have long respected Leica for compact, rugged and relatively simple bodies. Sony has taken up this challenge magnificently, while Leica dropped the ball without offering much in return.

    I think we will come around to appreciate the new SL 601 more. Even the price is consistent with top of the line Nikon and Canon DSLRs. However, it was not an auspicious beginning.

  23. I would like the SL looks like Fuji X-T1 with full frame and on body IS, or looks like the R body, no matter its price. They should follow or even surpass the technology of Sony.

      • I am an old school man, and have been using the Leica R system for more than 1 decades. Years ago, the Leica CEO replied me that there will be a R solution to let my R-lenses go digital. What a disappointment. I love the retro-look of the Fuji X-T1 but not its sensor; I love the Sony A7II but not its look. Why Leica don’t mix them or even give me a lighter and smaller digital R-body?

  24. at approximately the same price as M240. Leica SL has Much better performance.

    with Leica adaptor (as usual good precision good quality) SL opens the door for almost ALL Leica lens, past-present-future(likely).

    Thus looking at this, it has MUCH more potential than M240.

    currently own M9P. rather than buying M240.. SL seems more interesting.

  25. It is aimed at 1Dc and D4s users not Sony A7xx enthusiasts. This camera is not meant to compete with the Sony A7xx it is squarely aiming for Canon and Nikon 1Dc and D4s. It is competitively priced to those models. This is a pro camera system in its early evolution that we are witnessing. And, it is way ahead of both of those brands as a cine camera. I think a lot of folks are trying to fit this into the A7xx series paradigm. This is clearly not where Leica is trying to compete.


  26. Anyone (and you Steve) consider this is released to tamper down the people who keep asking for a Leica digital R system? The high price suggest (at least to me) they are planning on making very few, and they are not wanting to loose money on it. All costs loaded into the pricing. They can say they tried but no one was interested.

    They wouldn’t be the first company to release something over priced just to quite a few but loud bunch. (Nikon DF comes to mind.)

  27. I totally agree. If it were much smaller and lighter with super quality zoom lenses maybe it would work for landscape photographers but then 24mp may be (for some) a bit limited and no better than the M240 which also works perfectly with R lenses. This new Leica seems to have limitations when competing with existing “pro” sports cameras that don’t needs loads of megapixels. I own and love the M, Q and S cameras and lenses and this camera does not move me at all. If I were shopping in this arena I would consider the Sony but I tried an A7 and I thought of it as a great Japanese camera with a Chinese menu, way too many buttons and options distracting from the joy of making a photo. These Sony cameras also quickly lose value as Sony comes out with a new versions and steep discounts in a heartbeat. This new Leica looks seriously overpriced for what it is, way too much like a Sony and way more expensive.

  28. I agree with Brian…….The Leica lineup is already way too cluttered. This just seems too much like a “me too” product overall. A Leica Q with an M mount is the money shot!

  29. English say the taste of the pudding is in the eating. Therefore what the SL is capable of remains to be seen.
    Designwise it surely lacks a Leica identity apart from the red dot. It is like a Sony on steroids.
    The 24 Mpx sensor is not something fascinating regarding the pixel count. The quality if it is to be judged by the Q and M will surely be of the highest standards but a new body with the same sensor and different electronics (?) is not per se the guarantee that the whole line of Leica current and legacy lenses can be operated and perform successfully.
    The S lenses are extremely bulky and require an over generous price to be paid, just to be used on a smaller SL body. Wisely enough Leica has been refrained from the regular supply of the Hasselblad V and Mamiya adapters for the S, limiting the options of the use of S as an open platform to the Hasselblad H lenses only. Even the Schneider 120mm T&S Macro lens for S has been marked up to more than EUR 10,000 for just engraving Elmar on it. Of course if somebody finds it wise to use S lenses on the SL, will have certain reasons but I personally find the option of the S lenses not appealing.
    The M lenses have their fine M bodies and an unquestionable standard of quality.
    The battered R Lenses, masterfull designs with unique signatures, are today the orphans that very few seem to want. But the Rs are exceptional. Very exceptional and they are working seaminglessly with the M and the new Monochrom.
    So far the existing lenses as above, either belong to another segment or they are in fine use with the M. The Rs are also working perfectly with a7r and assume that with the a7rII will be better.
    For the T I do not know but what’s the reason of using a crop factor, variable f, slow lenses on a FF body?.
    Finally remains for the AF SL lenses to prove themselves.
    Regarding the body I believe that for the designation “pro” it is not at par with a real pro Canon, Nikon, and the excellent APS-C Pentax K3.
    For the rest features, double slots etc there is no big deal to talk about. They are features you can find in most of main stream cameras. If Leica decided to incorporate them now, in an non S body, it is their fault.
    Finally about the viewfinder. I have no idea how it performs. But I do not think that it is easy to beat the Olympus EVF with its 1.48x magnification.
    So is the SL justified? I do not know. For me it is not. I am afraid is not exactly one of Leica’s finest moments. Surely I do not need it. But its virtues remain to be seen.
    Best regards,
    Dimitris V. Georgopoulos
    Photographer at Large
    Athens, Greece

    PS. Unfortunately Leica seems that have followed a bad timinig. Today’s options of top models are many, Sony a7rII being probably the most important one, in the FF EVF class. Especially now featuring the uncompressed 14bit RAW files.

  30. I think basically it is too early to comment at this stage, before anyone (other than Jono Slack) has any shooting experience to go by. The same thing went for the X-Vario (admittedly made worse by Leica’s misleading, botched advance publicity). But it is simply a lovely, lovely camera to work with. Its OOC colour palette is good, its sharpness and micro contrast are brilliant. Together with the Digilux 2, these are the two cameras I shall never sell.

  31. This is the camera R body users have been waiting for. Unfortunately, it’s pretty ugly, despite having some truly wonderful technology built into it. My first thought was, “omigod. they copied the A7 profile AND named it after the first generation SLR series that nearly bankrupted the company in the 70s.” Ugh.

  32. You can have your input on what Leica develops. Send them an email and tell them what you are looking for in a mirrorless camera. That’s what I did. Don’t bash them over the head about price or tell how much better Sony is, they are aware of it. Leica is a camera for a person who wants a Leica. So bashing them won’t do any good. As a company hears from potential customers what they are looking for, they will start developing toward the majority. But, the price will not be any cheaper, or it will up being a rebadged Panasonic at a premium price. So, if you are serious about owning a Leica, send them an email.

    • I don not bash Leica, quite the opposite. I just state my honest opinions. I am called a Leica fanboy almost on a daily basis, so a Leica basher I am not. Did you not read my 240 review, my Q review, my S review or my T review? 🙂 I will always be 100% honest and with a company like Leica, whose products I adore, I have to be honest with my feelings as it is my site I write for. But as I said, when I use one maybe I will change my tune but either way, I’m not a photo pro shooting for money so I guess its not aimed at me anyway 😉

  33. I’m not sure how i feel about this new Leica. I really don’t care about autofocus and super high ISO’s are pointless to me. I do like the dual card slots and weather proofing though. I’m still much more interested in an updated rangefinder with the Q sensor… no EVF please.

    The one thing i am sure of… is that Steve is NOT getting a copy from Leica to review…

  34. I don’t hate the body. I think mirrorless will need to get bigger to have a wider appeal. Maybe not quite this big 😉 . The crazy thing for me is one lens at launch that’s not constant aperture but that’s bigger than a constant aperture zoom. It says a lot that my D810 and 24-70 would weigh less than the Leica SL plus zoom. Precisely no one I know has been crying out for a 24-90mm lens. Nuff said.

    On the flip side, if they found some small, unstabilised F2 primes for this it could be OK. A body close to the Q in size would be MUCH better though. Oh well…

    • A D810 and the new 24-70/2.8 VR is practically the same weight as the Leica SL and 24-90 zoom.
      Today maybe most people associate Leica with the M system and their small lenses. But SL is more like a modern R system replacement. And the R lenses not only was the most well built SLR lenses, but also the most heavy.
      For people who know the Leica history size, weight and price was not unexpected.

  35. I bet Leica DOES have something up their sleeve on this SL. Watch. The IQ will boggle the mind. I dig the bigness. I DON’T dig the pricing!! Not At All. I’ll stick with my M’s and Q until/if I’m boggled

    • What they have is all in the specs. The big thing with SL is the superior 4.4MP EVF.
      24MP is not mindboggling compared to 36-50MP sensors. But it is good enough and allows 11fps as well as being compatible with M WA lenses, unlike Sony A7.

  36. Why didn’t they use the same Leica M lens mount? Then everybody could use old (and new) Leica lenses without a stupid agaptor.

    • Because they wanted to make it usable with S lenses. The S body’s have been a huge sales disappointment. They have loads of inventory, and what better way to try to dump some S lenses than make a cheaper camera that can use these lenses. Only problem I see is that the S lenses are for a much larger sensor, are much larger and heavier than 35mm full frame lenses and you will not even use the full lens with a 35mm full frame sensor. Not sure who would buy an S lens to use on the SL, but those who own a few can use them. Just a bit odd IMO.

    • Because this is not an M camera. The M mount is too old to transform into a modern mount with AF and electronic connections. Leicas own M-adapter is by the way not stupid but will read the 6-bit code.

  37. Oh I like the suggestion of sticking the SL sensor into the T body. Now THAT would be a camera worth dreaming about.

    Of course we all want a Q with an M mount, but the history with the CL tells us this is not very likely. Even a Q with a T mount might further take away sales from the M that Sony allegedly hasn’t already. So a full frame T would be the next best thing for me. Keep the Q and X ranges as fixed lens.

    Once they go full frame T, with all the bells, whistles, AF and video, maybe they could then return the M to what the M-60 concept is: pure photography. No video, no LCD. Just a film M body, but with digital film inside. And as thin as a film M. That would be nice.

  38. A Lamborghini is not for me but I won’t trash it. This camera is not for me but I won’t trash it, either. If they had released an interchangeable lens Q model, my wallet would have been in trouble.

  39. I wish Leica well with this camera which to me seems to be aimed at pros and wealthy enthusiasts -for me Leicas future lies with cameras like the Leica Q and further synergies with Panasonic.

  40. Leica is out of their minds. They should just stick to what they know (the M) and keep on perfecting that. Leave the mirrorless interchangeable game to Sony, who knows the best and already has Leica beat by lightyears on this road.

    Full disclosure: I’m a Canon fanboy.

    • I’m both a Canon & Leica fan-boy. Love my M; use it for about 95% of my shooting, with the Canon comprising the other 5%. Every shooter has in-mind, what would be their perfect camera. My concern about Leica is, they seem to be “reactionary to the market”, instead of evolutionary. The A7 series IMO, has been evolutionary. Leica has had a few product mis-steps in the last couple of years, and you can add this monster to that list. R&D money only goes so far!

  41. I was all set to love me an SL. Then I found out it doesn’t have gull wing doors on the sd card slot area and the i/o area. A pity!

  42. This is perfecto. What’s a not to Leica? Expensive, yes. But its a Ferrari. Like many fine things, it will take time to embrace the aesthetic vision. But, I do have a visceral sense that as soon as I can get this in my hands, it will sweep me away.

    From what I have read over at Kristian Dowling and Meing Thein, it really changes the whole game.

    Now if we could just assure ourselves of regular firmware updates. Ha!

    Anyway, I’m selling everything. Go to eBay this month if you want to pick up some really nice kits.

  43. I seriously believe that SL is for pros instead of enthusiast/hobbyist like me. way tooooooooooo heavy and big. I will definitely stick with my Q and ME for long.
    BTW: have registered for a visit and test of the SL in my local Leica store about 2 weeks later. but will never buy it.

  44. Not interested personally but they do a few things right that frustrate me about the current gen Sony’s. UHS-II and a write speed faster than 35MB/s is the biggest. USB 3.0 (although should have used the new connector) because 42MP shooting tethered over USB 2.0 is silly. 60fps EVF (and higher res!) is also huge. DFD AF is also something I’m surprised Sony hasn’t implemented—although maybe something similar is key to the A7Smk2’s speed increase. Some are saying operationally the SL is much faster too. I hope Sony takes notice!

  45. I think that Leica just gave Sony a huge gift. I predict that sometime next year Sony will release a larger and heavier pro body with: weather sealing, big battery, touch screen, dual SD card slots, fast buffer, etc. And that Sony (A9?) body will cost around $4000. If the Leica SL did not exist, people would scream at how expensive the Sony pro body costs. But now that we have a Leica SL at $7500, the Sony body will seem like a bargain.

  46. Don’t know how Leica can bring out a camera and no lenses with it. Where is the benefit of the fastest AF with M-Glass? And the price for the zoom is just ridiculous.and a 20MP sensor was lame when Canon brought the 5DIII. There is nothing professional about a 20 MP sensor. If it would have been 40MP+ and some primes than this would have been interesting. This would have been a DMF alternative. Way better would have been a Leica-S with that EVF. So many people are asking for a Mamiya7 for years. Nice try, but 3 years to late and bad executed. Even for Leica the price is too much, for what is offered. Stying with my M9, Canon, Phase System.

  47. IMAO, this is the most ugly camera body Leica ever made. I can’t believe this is the same Leica that made all those beautiful and elegant cameras.

  48. Yes, at first glance it looked like a Sony-did-it-me-too camera but second thoughts on this tell me it probably isn’t.

    Frame Rate, Weather sealing (!), Double Card Slot (!), a superb and superior EVF and – hope it’s actually true – a very fast AF are pitting the SL against professional DSLRs. And, let’s face it, the ambitious amateurs that love a piece of camera art, again, a typical Leica audience.

    Another big difference to the A7x series: Leica says the sensor is optimized for Leica M lenses where Sony lacks – Vignetting, discoloring is an issue even with the latest A7, if decreasing. Yes, you can compensate in post processing, but this isn’t a true virtue of the A7. So another plus for Leica lens owners.

    What you get is a: Fast AF (Q.E.D.) professional camera that welcomes your M lenses with a really good EVF with magnification and focus peaking for manual focusing – takes S-Lenses, another huge argument for this community as well T (probably not a really big group as of yet).

    Ok, we don’t have an optical RF, but is this going to be the future of Leica? Really?

    Last, the price difference is a mere thousand bucks between the current M and the SL. Not much at this fairly high price range, I find. I consider it an alternative to my current M9, I really do.

    • Not sure how good SL is going to be with M wides (hope it is better) but the A7x images with M wides cannot be corrected in post. Smear is also a problem for big prints. It may not show up in small print and in images with many out of focus areas but a real problem in images that require corner to corner sharpness.

  49. This is what happens when managers from business schools without any passion, if just rough business itself, rule companies that sell product for people with a real passion for things. I am not a digital Leica user (altough I like a lot Leica M and Q) but I fell hurt and offended by this camera for how it ridicules the Leica brand.

  50. Sure there’s a hint of a design similarity but saying a Leica SL is a copy of Sony is like saying a Canon 5D looms like a Nikon D200, or an Olympus trip looks like a Leica M.
    The Sony is an evolution of earlier design cue’s, and the Leica is too – in some ways from earlier Leicaflex designs. I think the only thing which makes people erroneously think that the Leica SL is a copy of the Sony is the grip – forgetting that Sony’s grip style is an evolution of other designs including that of the Minolta.

    A Leica SL has it’s own history and lineage and the name sort of gives it away.
    Those buying the Leica SL will buy the Leica SL even if the Sony was sold with a free laptop mobile phone and tablet plus free holiday to the Bahamas, those people will still buy the Leica SL.

    They’re different cameras with a different market base and different lenses and lens mounts etc.

    Personally give me a Canon any day of the week, blows either out of the water in most ways, and especially where it counts, photo quality and colour.

  51. Well, Leica made an afordable “Mini”-Leica S for Professional and hobbiest! What do we clan?
    If someone want a little one, so there is enough alternative with Q, X and T!
    If you compare with the Leica S, then you will see, that SL is real near.
    So, if I am professional and I need good hardware, then with the SL I would be happy. And the service apter purchase is also an fact.
    And do not forget the wounderful lenses and it is interchangeble. The summilux 50/1.4 AF will come end 2016 and I do thin other with AF will come!
    That is what I clame every time to Leica. I went to Wetzlar and spoke with them. Why they not come with a “hardbulid” body and interchangeble lens with AF!!!
    Now it is here.
    Much bother about the price! But, if I see how many money people give out fot the Sony a7-series!! At the end the spent more and do not have the same quality!
    I admit, if Leica would give the Leica Q, when someone buy the SL ($10K), that would be amazing.

  52. Leica sure stirred up a hornets with this one. From inital comments around the interweb (excluding obvious trolls) the consensus seems to be more negative than positive, unlike the launch of the Q.

    My first thought was that it was aimed at the ‘Pro’ market… given it’s size, supposed fast AF, twin cards slots, weatherproofing etc. But then it’s missing some of the most basic ‘pro’ stuff… like proper dials. Doesn’t sound like it’s going to be very useable/user friendly. Like a giant T, but with a built in viewfinder.

    No flip out screen… so can’t see it appealing to videographers.

    As big as a Nikon D810 or Canon 5D, so not really going to be bought by the fashionistas/celebrity/dentist market as it’s just too darn big.

    And why no in body IBIS? It could have meant smaller lenses and then work for ANY legacy glass.

    I’m all for out of the box thinking… it’s what companies like Apple do very well. Despite their current status as ‘sheeple’ products they have had a knack of taking existing products (MP3 players, Phones, laptops etc) and turning them into devices that just work. And where people think ‘Oh wow, I didn’t think I needed that… but I do now’.

    I don’t see many people thinking that here…

  53. I wasn’t going to reply and echo everyone how terrible the design is… But what caught me after reading all the comments, here and on other sites, was that how people are so proud of their Sony A7R2.

    Really? Tell yourself how much you have loved your a7r2 next year when Sony releases the replacement in 5 months time.

    For those who can afford a brand new Leica M or S or SL, they won’t feel this paint every 6 months…

    • “Really? Tell yourself how much you have loved your a7r2 next year when Sony releases the replacement in 5 months time.”

      I’m 100% sure that i still very much in love with a7RII because i don’t see any major problems other than battery life that doesn’t as good as DSLRs and I can solved the battery life problem with vertical grip it will also improve the ergonomics when using big & heavy lens.

      But even if i decided to upgrade to the newest version it’s because there is something innovative and really usefull.

      Next year i’m sure my used a7RII still worth between $2000-$3000 and since Sony camera is not overpriced like leica cameras i will have no problems if i decided to upgrade to the newest & greatest camera.

      • Just a note…Sony replaces the A7 models every 1 1/2 to 2 years. From A7 to A7RII was just over 1 1/2 years. It’s the same for every A7 body, they just have three of them to choose from. The Leica SL will cost you $7500 today, and in 2 years will be selling for about $4000, same as the M. Took two years for the M to go from $7000 to around $4000 on the used market. Ive even seen some M 240’s go for $3800 recently. About a $3200 loss in 2 years. Leica bodies never hold their value, ever. Lenses do great though if you hang onto them for at least 10 years you can’t lose.

        If I sold my A7RII in two years it would sell for most likely around $1800-$2000 about a $1200 loss (vs a $3200 loss of a Leica). So you will always spend and lose more with Leica digital bodies, every time due to the excessive initial cost, and then much lower resale 1-2 years later.

        The SL will be amazing I am sure, but since they are aiming for the pro market with this one, not sure how that will go. I see maybe .5% of Canon or Nikon people leaving for the SL. Why? No native lenses, will not be as fast with AF tracking, ISO will not meet Nikon or Canon (at higher levels) and Leica is not known for their speedy service and repairs, quite the opposite. I wonder if the SL comes with any kind of Pro service agreement? That would be good if so.

        In any case, the SL will be fantastic in IQ and experience for those who want to shell out the big bucks.

        After all of this discussion and thought I am tempted to just buy one for al one term review, side by side with an A7RII and all of that good stuff.. then sell it to someone here for a great deal. Hmmm.

      • Hi Yudi,

        You are not getting my point here – for those who can afford a brand new Leica, they are not “worrying” about how much the camera can be resold for $xxx in the next year or two. They only buy the BRAND NEW one because they can. I, for one, have only bought one brand new Leica X1 (because that’s all I can afford) but have had many second hand or third hand Leica Ms with legendary M, ZM, VM glasses.

        Sony is targeting a different group of people. I remember the day I bought my A7, which was only a few weeks before they announced A7II. Oh that hurts… You could say it was my fault not to jump on the A7 boat on the day it was released.

        All I am trying to say here is that Sony hasn’t had a meaningful firmware upgrade for the A7II – they have done it for the A7RII because the latter is the new king in town. What will happen to all the A7, A7R, A7s, A7II, A7RII, A7sII when they come up with a new model?

        On the other hand, I just had my new sensor replacement for my second hand Leica M9. It is not ideal to use a faulty camera with faulty sensor but Leica still cares about its customers after 6 years.


    • I bought the A7Rii for specific reasons, mainly silent running. Extra resolution was both a gift and added responsibility. I kept my A7ii as a backup, and expect it will meet all of my needs in that role except where silence is a requirement. Not every camera needs to handle sporting events, and not every vehicle needs to climb over tree trunks in the road. It’s not obsolete until it no longer meets your needs, or matches the product of your direct competition. If I use every bit of value by the end of its life, that’s less I have to refund to the government when the depreciation is done.

  54. To me this looks like the spiritual R successor that many have longed for. There’s more than a hint of Leica R/Minolta in that pseudo pentaprism. It may be big, but not bigger than an 810, more 750 like, as is the weight. It would have been better if it would have come straightaway with a set of 1.4 primes instead of that zoom. Many here would have reacted differently.

    As for the looks? It certainly isn’t uglier than an A7x (not my cup of tea either), looks sort of the same, just bigger. The hand holding ergonomics appear similar.

    Let’s see how it works in practice.

  55. Paying a lot of money for lenses is pretty much OK I think, because they last so many years, Although the Leica prices are way of, also in the lens department, it still is justifiable in a way IMO.. But 7500 for a body is flat out crazy, these days, since you can bed that you’ll (have to) upgrade it every 2 to 3 years. Maybe 4. The depreciation of any body is significant, due to the rapid technological evolution.The target group that is prepared to spend (throw away) that kind of money is very thin indeed. So what is the target group of the SL? The DSLR user? One could think so, regarding the size. But not regarding lenses and budget. The M owner? One could think so, regarding lenses. But not regarding feel and concept. The A7 series shooter? One could think so regarding style, but surely not regarding size weight and budget. So who’s left? Probably only a few of the very rich, who still believe the Leica name will add to their status.
    I surely hope that I’m very wrong. But I see no way how.

  56. I think that it is a stunning camera and the next home for my Leica M lenses.
    Ming Thein was quite impressed with this camera.

  57. Oh, are we witnessing the next step in the demise of Leica. The beginning happened with the M240 and its vulnerability to be attaked by better techies with far more clout, which has turned out to be Sony, in conjunction with Leica’s old nemesis Zeis.

    With their core M user market now very successfully attacked by Sony, they seem to have seriously lost the plot. They may think that the fashionable rich will buy Leica at whatever price, but frankly are there enough of them who will see any cool appeal in this… Or continue to buy enough ‘exclusive packaged titanium stuff’… To keep them in business, now Sony has won so many of their M customers.

    Not sure with all the investment that had gone into Leica to produce enough M240s in Portugal and lush facilities in Germany and shops elsewhere, along with new managament, that this SL is the way out for the business. Looks like another millstone IMHO.

    All I wanted was a simple M9 with really great ISO performance and superb colour signature, dedicated to photographers who want it kept simple (no video). Instead they are wasting huge sums designing and producing products that are off piste. In this case, again, at risk of putting them in avalanche territory.

  58. Size is too big in my opinion size is very important to me love the feel of the M9 and M7 still and for happy snaps the Q. .
    Im sure there will be buyers out there for it however i will wait for the next version of the M240 with all the new features of EVF built in and GPS ? Not that long to wait…

  59. Shocked they didn’t make it natively M mount compatible. What is the point of having a different flange distance if they’re releasing a bunch of new leases. What a stupid product! Hope the next M is inspired by this slimness but keeps more of the simple, not overthought Leica mystique.

  60. One thing that is attractive is the frame rate. I sold my em1 system for an a7rii stem. Much better high ISO in the Sony. Focus is almost as fast. But 5fps just won’t do sports. I shoot daughters indoor volleyball. Love the a7rii is nd high ISO. But if the sl had lenses, it would replace my Sony tomorrow, for frame rate alone. After 4 weeks of shooting sports with a7rii, I ordered a canon 7d with two lenses. I want a better solution to low light action

  61. I guess Leica went into this system not without a profound analysis of the market. And obviously they found enough potential for the SL. I guess they don’t have in mind to sell millions of this cam, maybe some 10 thousand. It’s definitely not a cam for me, as I don’t like big cameras (and do not have the budget) but I have to say that I am impressed by the courage of Leica to go for such a modern design. Like it or don’t like it – courage is what brings us to the next level. And then I am curious to see if Panasonic (it seems that Panasonic Tech is under the hood) will jump on the Full Frame train. And I bet they will do so. Let’s see what 2017 will bring or maybe even 2016 🙂

  62. The place where this camera might work is in China. It is the perfect camera to be able to show off and express your wealth. Since Leica’s biggest market is China, that might be their strategy.

  63. They should have kept the Q design and just added a small grip. A couple of small, autofocusing primes (35 and 50 Summicron’s) would have been nice.

  64. Aesthetically this camera has zero curb appeal, IMO. And the price is far too high, for too little performance.

    If it had looked like a Q with further upgraded features and interchangeable lenses, it could have been a huge hit. I don’t think this will be, however.

  65. I think the main flaw with this camera is the most obvious one: the placement of the EVF. It should be in the left corner, exactly how it’s done on the Q and the M.

    If the S is anything to go by, the SL will out-perform any DSLR in terms of image quality. Those lenses are not big or expensive for nothing. You won’t match them with anything, prime or zoom, from either Canon or Nikon – you’ll need the Otus line to do that. Of course, if I’m wrong, it means the SL is already redundant.

    I suppose $7K is expensive, but the D4s is not much less and offers specs which belong in 2012, not 2015 (and any DSLR is already a white elephant). Mind you, Leica will probably not evolve this system as quickly as it should – that is my only worry for them.


    And Steve, I cannot wait for your review. 🙂

  66. I am confused. Who is this for: the working pro – and if so for what genre? the enthusiast – but considering size & cost why not just get MF? Very big and heavy, super expensive and resolution wise already old tech.

  67. Yes, it’s expensive, but on par for Leica. It’s only about $400-500 more than the M-P, so placed in context, not really out of line. It’s not for me because I prefer the usual M form factor, but it will appeal to some people.

  68. Leica just built a camera that no one needs. Larger and more expensive than class leading DSLR’s with huge very expensive lenses. The specs seem mediocre by today’s standards. It’s all very disappointing. I think most of us where expecting an interchangeable lens, AF enabled Leica Q variant.

  69. Its a very interesting release thats for sure, now i notice the part that you go on about the 2 zooms being slow aperture, the 28-70 Zeiss lens for the A system is slower again than the Vario-Elmarit 28-90, and Sony do not produce ANY lens natively for FE that is longer than 200mm in length. yet this is 80mm longer and is f2.8-4, makes it faster at the wide end than the FE 70-200 f4 while maintaining a similar aperture at tele despite being 80mm longer. Sure the A7RII is 40+ megapixel and the SL is only 24, but pixels do not mean anything but larger file sizes and the ability to print ginormous images. There are some very good things in the SL, its weather sealed, as will ALL SL lenses, The SL has 14bit DNG RAW files natively, can record 4k video at 30fps and Full HD at 120fps plus the fact it will shoot RAW + JPEG files at 11fps and split them between the 2 SD card slots.
    There is a lot to like about the SL, sure the price is not one of them, but if i had the $$$ to buy one i probably would buy one of these over an M

    • Also one other point, not every one wants to shoot at ridiculous ISO settings, The last time i bumped up the ISO on my gear was shooting sport inside and even then i only needed to bump it to ISO 6400

  70. Steve, totally agree with you, disappointing design. Someone wrote ” let’s hope it feels better than it looks”. With Leica Q they created a very sexy and cute object of desire. This SL has some simplicity but not excellent one like Apple’s Jonathan Ive masterpieces, it looks just a bit primitive design.

  71. Give them a chance; Leica is not for everyone and Leica knows this. Yes, $7500 is a lot of money, but it’s a Leica and it’s made in Germany. I don’t expect them to beat Sony. I’m willing to give them a chance. They have my attention, it will cost me big $$$! Nikon and Canon are not even trying in the mirrorless market. You have people that insist on driving a Mercedes, so they pay for it. But, you could get the same job done driving a Japanese made car…

  72. Perhaps Leica is simply trying to position a parallel and “equal” alternative to the rangefinder “M” line. So pricing appears to inline for both body and lenses. This way, they cover both the rangefinder and SLR markets.

    Having said this, I will not go back to Leica after my last experience, and the overall pricing is certainly out of whack.

  73. Very disappointing ,for a start looks ugly but secondly expensive for something almost obsolete. Pity that Leica glass and Sony not a great match. If it hand been styled more like a Leica R and had in camera stabilization together with upgrade able sensors and processors I’d be interested. I’m sorry to say this but I think Leica are dropping the ball,too many cameras and not well sorted,definitely won’t me selling my monochrom and 240 to buy one

  74. The SL is aimed at the professional market, has a lot of pro input, and the professional reviewers like Kristian Dowling and Ming Thein seem to really rate it.

    Perhaps your rather silly, amateur, and overly emotional rant is because you didn’t get to review it?

    • Maybe you ought to read Steve’s opinion. Every point he raises is valid, even if he ends up liking the camera. And if all his initial opinions were positive, would that have made you happy?

      IMO, he’s too generous with comments like yours. I would have deleted it without blinking. But that says a lot about Steve – and a lot about you.

    • Ouch, nothing like a bit of dummy spitting ;0) Ming Thein’s review states as many negatives as positives (weight, handling, price to name a few). Again, I don’t see how this is going to dent any professional market? It’s not going to shoot sports with Contrast detect and a $5K kit lens. The telephoto isn’t out yet but will be at least another $5k but more likely $8-10 being a re-badged Panasonic (sorry, Leica)!

  75. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. I look forward to a side-by-side comparison to the Sony A7Rii, including photos of the same subject taken by both cameras (anonymously) using the same lens, and viewers can guess which is which. I think the Sony’s new sensor will be best, or if not there will probably be little difference. Either way, in my opinion buyers of the SL will be spending literally thousands and thousands of dollars just to have that Leica red dot next to their right forefinger!!! So let’s be honest here: we are dealing with status symbolism v pragmatism. I know what I would choose.. and Steve would agree!

  76. I’ve been very happy with the A7’s, particularly the A7S and A7RII. I glanced over some of the SL stories earlier today to see what the price was going to be. It wasn’t until Steve’s story that I saw a price. I thought Leica would have sense enough to be competitive. Apparently not. They’re going to keep going down the road of selling cameras on the elite name factor and one of these days, the cool factor is going to turn into the emperor has no clothes.

  77. Really disappointed by this announcement. The lenses are way too big for the body. Not sure how its size compare with the S system, but it is certainly not a compact system. If I want leica quality and don’t care about size, i would go with the S; thus, it doesn’t make sense to me for Leica to enter into this already crowded market. Instead, I think Leica should focus on making small manual focused rangefinder style bodies. They can make an M with a superb EVF, and some manual lenses that work like the Zeiss Loxia line. With this combo of camera and lenes can be as fast as auto focus cameras, but remain compact.

  78. Honestly I’ve only owned two Leicas: a Digilux 2, and a d’lux 4. These aren’t at the top of Leica’s line, I know. In fact they are probably Panosonics. That being said, I ordered a Sony RX1, and love it. Leica has positioned themselves out of my, and many others price ranges. I wouldn’t pay the premium to own one, as I feel Sony makes better cameras overall.
    They should get out of anything other than M bodies and start making more lenses for their competition,to stay alive.
    Just think, someone will have this displayed with their Hasselbald Lunar and Sigma SD1 Merrill, and go shooting with something else

  79. Over priced, under spec’d and underwhelming.
    Leica has gone from an innovator in photographic to a jewelry manufacturer that produces nice accessories without substance.

    Have they forgotten what Oscar Barnak did? He created something that no one else had. Have they forgotten what the M9 was? It was the first full frame mirrorless digital camera on the market in large numbers (assuming you could wait that long).

    Now Sony has trampled on Leica with the A7R II and this is the best response they have? Dr Kaufmann, I think you will be bailing out Leica again. Soon.

  80. The only reason people use A7 series with Leica lens is that they want to use their old leica lens but can’t afford paying 7,000 USD M body. This SL body won’t change a thing for Leica unless they sell it 1/2 price. And by the way, it looks like Leica copy exactly the A7 body design. I was thinking that at least it has body design of GX7 instead of this A7 looks 🙂

  81. Steve, I couldn’t agree more with you. I own several Leicas, from the IIIc to the M240 (my favourite is the M3) and I plan to buy someday the MM 246 but I would NEVER buy that ugly monster.

  82. Reading and thinking about this, I’ve concluded that I’m very fortunate to have acquired the MP 240 Safari. And I think anyone who owns an M variant, or similar should feel similarly.

  83. I have always loved the clean and minimalist design of modern Leica cameras, but there is something ugly looking about this one. There is a huge lack of symmetry about this camera. They are now trying (very late to the game) to produce a mirrorless camera in a hurry/panic to get in on a current trend which is something I never thought that they cared about as they produced cameras for a certain type of niche market !
    I guess it happens to all companies who start off with strong values but the suits eventually take over and margins, profit and share price takes over, eventually all that’s left is the brand name !

  84. It looks like a full frame Leica T. I would not be interested too much money and I fear it would be outdated in no time. The life span of the SL would drop to fast. My value in Leica is still in film cameras, lenses and my M9.

  85. I predict that someone will make a lot of money selling cases for the A7RII to make the Sony look like a Leica SL. That way professional photographers can tell their clients they are using the “best possible camera”, and actually be doing so…

  86. I am astounded that the lenses are not constant aperture throughout the zoom range. At that price point and for the size I would expect no less. I have a M Monochrom and I also have all of my Canon gear on the market to switch completely to Leica. I was was waiting for the SL to see if it would be worth considering, but I don’t see the benefit. Those lenses are huge and the body is too, I’ll be running with the original plan of an M240 or wait for the next M… I have a soft spot for the rangefinder so the SL would have had to be something really special. Why dump the heavy DSLR and big lenses for another big camera and big heavy lenses? The M and M lenses are what I am after…

  87. Yes Steve You are 100% right. I tought the same. The price is a mindfuck. Not everybody is a rich Chinese or Russian. The SL will not sell in large numbers. It will share the same destiny as the T, a failure….
    when Leica goes this way they will be bancrupt in 5 Years. Exorbitant price for a gadget. I will not buy one. I use my M and will buy son a Sony A7II.

  88. There is one spec on which you can see that Sony Ax is a toy and Leica SL is for pros: ISO!

    The Sony can ISO 100000
    The Leica can ISO 50 (native)

    • Sony the toy? Sony goes from 50 to 102,400 and everything in between – MUCH more usable ISO range and you can actually shoot the RII at ISO 51,200 and get very little noise without using any NR.

      • but ISO 50 and 102,400 not native. The SL can ISO 50 to 50000 native so ways more usable. And who needs ISO 102400??

        • I really want to see a comparison between ISO 50 from the SL with Summilux-SL 50mm F1.4 ASPH vs ISO 100 from the a7RII with Zeiss 55mm F1.8 at the same aperture.
          I hope the quality from the SL is worth the price, Because otherwise it would be very embarrassing if a professional camera can’t be better than a toy camera.

          • Well, this test would not include any toy cameras. Sounds like you never used an A7RII, as it is currently the best 35mm full frame camera I have ever used, and i have used them all. For versatility, IQ, ISO, video, and lens section (can use hundreds of lenses). It’s an IQ monster and in no way a “toy”. It’s my camera of the year so far for 2015, and well worthy of that title..not sure if something else will knock it out of that spot before the end of the year, but maybe. 😉 Also, the Zeiss 55 1.8 at under $1000 will not compete with a $5000 Leica 50 1.4. Lenses would have to match up price wise for a true comparison. So Id have to use a 55 1.4 Otus on the Sony, which is still quite a bit less than the Leica lens, but would be closest in fairness. So expect this test when I can get an SL… Sony A7RII with 55 Otus VS Leica SL and 50 1.4 Summuilux. ISO 50. Will be interesting for sure 😉

          • He only pointed this out because some manufactorers like to impress their audience with more mp and higher iso numbers regardless if that is really needed (or even useful). amateurs are much easier to impress with such numbers, he is not saying the A7r2 is a bad camera 😉

  89. If i was buying any Leica stuff in a well known fake market in China i would say ” Are you kidding me ? ” For sure i will stay for years now with my Sony A7RII and my M-P 240 ( rip the sensor of my M9). As i was having a coffee in Shanghai, a man came to me and say ” I recognize your camera, i use the same and he showed me a Leica Q as i have my silver M. I said, same brand but not same model, this is a M. He looked at me, the M and answered ” This is for senior !….. And can you help me ? do you know how to use my menu because i only shoot 3 pictures in the same time ? ”
    Told him to do a factory reset !

  90. What is important to keep in minx is like that even though M lenses are expensive, they keep their value really well. You can always recover your investment by selling them.

    These SL lenses on the other hand are risky. What if it leaks out that they are Panasonic? What if Panasonic releases cheaper copies?

  91. On the bright side- hopefully the tech from this camera (the EVF, faster AF, video, faster processor, burst rate, iso 50, etc) will trickle down to future Leica cameras.
    And that’s a good thing!

  92. What a pitty! Far too big and heavy for a Leica! Nothing for inconspicuous street photography. In my opinion the design is ugly, it is really almost like a Sony. And also the price is out of reach for most of the photographers.

  93. Love the looks of this Leica body very much. And that it will be expensive, ok, we could expect that. But the body should be around €3600 max and the lenses not more as 1/3 of this price.

    Just don’t understand their price settings. Make this gear accessible to more customers and you will sell twice or triple the amount of Leica gear.

  94. If I had so much money that 12k felt like $500 for the average person, I’d be all about it. Too bad 12k for me is literally my savings account lol.

  95. Wow that camera is MASSIVE!
    Almost cartoonish in size!
    And with that gigantic $5k slow kit zoom…

    I… I don’t even know what to say.
    I don’t get this camera at all. It almost seems like a joke.

    This camera better take some world beater images.

    • It will take images that may be a bit sharper than the D750 and A7II due to the lack of an AA filter.

      Resolution and DR are unlikely to be up to the standards of the A7RII, D810 or 5DSR.

      Of course moire may well be an issue. Look at the instances of it in the images shown on some reviewers’ sites.

  96. I am waiting for a digital Solution for my wonderful Leica R Glas since the digitalmodul ends…now I find one:

    the Sony Alpha 7r MK2 and I can buy the camera, the Zeiss Batis lenses and the Otus 50 mm for the nearly the same price like the SL with one zoom

    Sorry Leica, i am not a rich fool.

  97. Leica is for sure NOT aiming at the A7x crowd but at Canon 1Dx or Nikon D4s which cost 6 – 7000 $. Look at some specs – aiming at pros:

    11 fps for 36 pics JPEG and DNG (!)
    2 SD-Card slots
    Very sophisticated video capabilities including V-Log L gamma plus USB 3.0 (A7R II: 42 MP and USB 2.0) and full-size HDMI 2.0 port
    top-plate LCD
    centered tripod mount
    a body, that balances the lenses! The A7x are tiny bodies but the lenses are huge, horrible to shoot with teles!

    • “centered tripod mount” – Is that really pro feature?
      “waterproof” – reading the Leica release it looks more like splash/dust proof
      “a body that balances the lenses” – When the kit lens weighs 1Kg it looks like even with the ridiculously huge body, the Leica will still want to tip forward (check out Ming Thein’s review to see that)

      Also, why would a CaNikon pro move to the Leica for one lens?

      • 1) yes!
        2) I mean what you mean, English is not my mother language, sorry. No A7 is splash/dust proof
        3) Ways more worse is a little A7-body mounted to a huge Zeiss!

      • I think that’s the key; a pro buys into a system, not one camera. There is no way any pro worth his/her salt is going to switch from Canon or Nikon for this camera and one lens (at least not without being paid by Leica to do so).

        And boy, this thing looks huge and ugly, esp. with that monstrous lens. I never thought I’d see the day when a Leica looked ugly. Of course I’ll reserve final judgment when I actually see one at my local camera shop.

    • Hardly. Unlike the D4S and 1DX, it:

      1. doesn’t have a complete AF lens system
      2. doesn’t have a complete flash system
      3. doesn’t have a developed professional support network
      4. (probably) has a slower and less reliable contrast detect AF.

    • Reaching for the Pros? There are no lenses. Canon, Nikon I’ll always have the long 400 and 600 lenses. And for the rest it is either to expensive, to less MP or missing primes. Looks like Leica is not understanding a professional Photograoher at all. When the Leica S came out, some people had to wait a year for some lenses. This is not a professional camera supplier. I am waiting 2,5 month for my Leica M9 sensor replacement. This is the worst service ever. The only good thing about Leica is the existence of the M.

    • 11fps is with AF locked. Leica is conspicuously quiet on how many frames you get with AF. If the camera checks your boxes, great. Doesn’t check mine. I do agree about the USB spec although Sony’s video capabilities are better (on paper) in all ways except 10bit external recording.

  98. You mention “The Leica SL lenses, two of which are slower variable aperture zoom”. Slow compared to what? Sony’s fastest zooms for the A7 series are f/4. This 24-90 is an f/2.8-4. So it is FASTER than all of Sony’s zooms. Also in general f/2.8-4 is a faster variable zoom. All of Sony’s variable zooms are f/3.5-5.6.

    You also mention “The Leica SL lenses…one fast prime (50 Summilux 1.4) are HUGE when compared to lenses for the M.” Ok, but this camera competes with the Sony A7 like you said. Compared to the Sony A7 lenses, this 50mm isn’t too far off. That Sony 35mm f/1.4 is huge. Sony doesn’t yet make a f/1.4 50mm, so you can’t compare it to Sony’s 55mm f/1.8.

    You did get something right. This is definitely a clone of the A7, but somehow they made it even more ugly. The A7 isn’t attractive, but this design is terrible. Amazing a company that makes a timeless camera like the M’s could spit out something so hideous. The pricing is well out of the realm of even most serious enthusiasts. Not sure who they market these camera’s too, but it isn’t the same audience as those who can afford even an expensive A7R2. Most can’t afford the Sony A7R2’s $3K price. I expect that less than 1% of the camera market can afford a $7.5K camera.


    • There will be an all f/2.8 line of zooms coming from 😉 Also, they will be much less expensive with the Zeiss name. Less than half the cost for a full f/2.8. The f/4 series out now comes in from $900-$1300. 1/4 the cost often Leica lens. Yes, it is a slow aperture zoom for $5k. The Sony 24-70 Zeiss f/4 is a slow aperture zoom that is priced accordingly.

    • No. You have to compare the 24-90/2.8-4 to the Nikon 24-85/3.5-4.5.

      The difference is negligible.

      You have to remember Sony launched with the legendary 55/1.8. Nobody really cares for the zooms…

    • > Compared to the Sony A7 lenses, this 50mm isn’t too far off.

      It seems you haven’t even noticed that Leica’s 50mm takes a 82mm filter…

      • Close enough to an Otus. If Leica says this 50mm is going to be the best lens they ever made, then…

        BTW. Ever wondered why the Batis 85mm can only manage f1.8? Likely to keep size, weight and price down. But even so it already has a 67mm filter, the same as the old Contax Zeiss 85mm 1.4. How big would a Batis 85mm 1.4 be?

  99. 20-25k for the complete package…ridiculous…just ridiculous…i still love using my leica m7 and my leica m9…both beautiful cameras…i also own a sony a7rII which i use most often, for stills an for video (best of both worlds)…for this crazy price i’d try to go for used digital medium format to complete my kit.

  100. I seriously thought it was a joke. I would have hoped they partnered with Panasonic using this mount and worked together to create a full frame Sony Competitor and next generation Leica which this is not.

  101. It’s ENORMOUS!!! And soft buttons/dials instead of physical aperture/shutter. I was expecting an interchangeable lens Q, but this thing is like a house brick. Oh dear – fail.

  102. I just replied to the Leica user forum, so I might as well repeat my thought here… “I love my M240; use it for 95% of my paying jobs as a freelancer. That said, M240, to Q to SL is too little, too late. Ignoring the rangefinder experience which I love, the standard bearer now is the Sony A7 mirrorless system. For the price of this monster, I could get 2, A7RII bodies and still use most of my Leica (and Canon) glass. Huge (no pun intended) mis-step from Leica IMO.”

  103. Why the disappointment without having tried it? Leica brings out a full frame milc, with specs that look good, at an Mp level that should be more than sufficient for most, with a Leica price tag. Is it the looks?

  104. Meh as my son would say why bother putting this thing out and a zoom for 5 k ?.I’m actually selling all my Leica gear and moving to Sony Leica is really starting to annoy me they are becoming like the Louis Vuitton of cameras overpriced and out of date.

  105. Steve this is not aimed at the A series apparently but at Canon and Nikon 1DX and D4s market.

    Not sure why Leica would want to take on the pro market at this price. You start to throw in Phase One, Hasselblad and over cross over pro gear if this is the case at certain points.

    A pro travel or sports photographer perhaps…shallow market really.

    I’m personally struggling to see where this product fits at this price. I get the M obviously, I get the Q and the S.

    AF is apparently super quick, though did read in lower light it starts to struggle.

    • It’s not aimed at the ads or Nikon pro bodies, not at all. It can not compete in any way with them in real world performance and there are simply NO LENSES worth buying except for the 50 1.4.. in no way would someone choose this over a ads or Nikon pro body if they need a pro body.

      • Just the messenger and from a very reliable source. That is who this camera is targeting…pro to serious enthusiast DSLR users.

        Sure there will be a Sony element no doubt.

      • 11 fps DNG + JPEG for 36 photos? I guess the SL can. And it has more MP than 1Dx und 4Ds. The SD-card slots alone show that Leica is aiming for Pros and not for Sony A customers.

        • No pro will ever switch from their Nikon and Canon to the SL. Won’t happen. Maybe a few here and there but no way..they do not have the lenses, the service or support or the rep for that market, at all. If that was their goal, they will fail miserably. Also, why would they make it look like an A7 if they wanted to make it a new “pro DSLR” style camera. Hmmm.

          • For sure, Pros do not tend to switch easily to a new system. But the SL has some very innovative features the others don’t have. Regarding service: the SL has a worldwide 2-year warranty (all the others: 6 month or 1 year) and Leica support is class-leading. Lenses: yes, this will be a problem the next 2-3 years but you can add nearly every M, T, R or S lenses ever produced. And that’s more than something.

          • I am waiting 2.5 month for a sensor replacement. This is not class leading service. Canon and Nikon got a service booth at every major sports cup.

          • I forgot to comment on the A7-style of the SL you mentioned: I don’t think that Leica is copying the A7 style. Leica always gave a sh*t on that. In fact, the SL just looks like a FF non-DSLR simply can look. Nikon or Canon DSLRs look very similar as well – but hey, they are DSLRs!
            The SL has some design features that are simply stunning, e.g. the rubber dial for moving the focusing point very fast (everbody who used it rave about it). I’m pretty sure Sony will copy here Leica. So the opposite will be true, you will see!

          • I tend to agree with you on that Steve. I’m not convinced enough will move if (and it is what I have been told) that is market they are after. I suspect they are after both really.

            Looking forward to what they do with the M next year.

          • Agreed with pulling pros away. I shoot a D800 for work and even Sony can’t pull me away yet. Although the gap is getting very close, low light focusing, gaps in lenses and the flash systems are still keeping me away. At $18k I could get all three a7-s with a lens on each for that price. That price is too boutique even for the thickest of pocketbooks.

            And sorry to inform the non-pros out there, the vast majority of working pros don’t make the kind of money to blow $18 on a system just because. And especially one that is already long in the tooth on tech.

            All camera (& lens) prices are rising at an astonishing rate. Quality is rising as well, but the increase in quality output is really not that much more and doesn’t justify the increase in prices. The M Monochrome is unique- although I don’t like the price, it is unique and can demand it. This camera, the unique isn’t there. Too much of the photo market is catering to fewer people with deep pockets.

            To me, make a Leica M out of aluminum or hell even gun grade polycarbonate, put a dx sensor in, add a permanent speed-booster lens over the sensor to remove the crop factor and charge $2,500. Bam, you have an instant block buster.

          • Exactly, Steve. No lenses, expensive, 11fps but cannot follow a running Quarterback. And there is a horrible Support. How long do you wait for a new M-Sensor? If the SL is aimed to pros, waiting for 3 or 4 days for a repair is less than acceptable. So may be they upgrade their service and that is part of the high price of the camera?
            But even so a pro needs two bodys either for backup or for use at the same time. That is the price-range for a Leica S System that offers much more in terms of image quality. The first 100% images of the cam I’ve seen in internet are not so special i think.
            So if i had the money i would go with a used S. The lenses are in the same price-range even if the S-lenses are fixed focal ones and the SL-lense are zooms.
            So lets see how leica fares with the new system.
            Looking forward to see your review, Steve.

        • No sport photographer would go for that camera, as:
          1.) It only has Contrast AF, no PDAF.
          2.) the high ISO capabilities are nowhere near that of the Nikon 4ds
          3.) it doesn’t have good zoom lenses (yet)

  106. I’ll never buy one because I will never have that much money to spend on one camera body, but I don’t think it’s a totally stupid idea. I’m guessing its biggest appeal will be to owners of R-series systems who have been hanging onto their lenses hoping Leica will provide a good digital platform for them. These people wouldn’t be comfortable putting their Leica lenses on a Sony (and have forgotten, after years of therapy, that some of the best R-series film cameras were built on Minolta chassis) so this camera will have a lot of appeal to them.

    And the only reason the price sounds crazy is that it’s hard for us regular people to get our heads around just HOW rich the rich really are. For example, says the average American major-company CEO’s annual salary is $13.8 million per year, which works out to just over $265,000 per WEEK. That means a nice new $12,000 SL outfit would cost Mister CEO 4.5% of a week’s pay.

    Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median full-time wage earner makes $801 a week. 4.5% of that is about 36 bucks. So, for a CEO, a new Leica SL and lens is the same caliber of expenditure as taking the spouse to a movie is for the wage earner. In other words, it will be easily affordable for its target market.

  107. It does have some nice features, such as 11 fps in FF mode. WiFI and GPS. The EVF looks to be very good indeed. In some features it beats Sony and comes close to the big Nikon and Canon bodies, in others such as image stabilization, sensor resolution , high ISO it falls short. The lenses are not constant f/2.8 but are faster with a longer zoom range than the Sony standard FE zoom lenses which are f/4. It may be overpriced and it will take some time for the lens family to grow, but it does look to be a nice camera. Now just need to win the Lotto.

      • Patrick I think you’ll find that is changing re Ming. Ever since the Q came out he’s building a stronger relationship with Leica Asia. Leica know people who buy camera’s read reviews and they’ll jump on Ming’s audience in a heart beat.

    • The Leica S 30-90 3.5-5.6 zoom is considered by many to be the best zoom lens ever made. An incredible piece of engineering that will cost you 10k. By all accounts these new zoom lenses are made of the same stuff. Not cheap by any standard but shouldn’t solely on the fact it’s not a 2.0 across all ranges.

      • Compare it to a Thales Angenieux or Zeiss Cine zoom – and revise your statement.

        OK, the price tag is a bit different…

  108. I see this as exciting news for Leica, but only for them. Way TOO much $$$$ and the Sony does have better specs and many, many more lenses to chose from (Yes including Canon, Leica and etc.) Would love to play with one for a few days but not going to buy one at that price.

  109. Looks fantastic, but also more than I would spend on an all-electronic camera.

    At least with the M series you know that a lot of the money goes into that glorious mechanical rangefinder.

    I do hope it sells very well, but this one appears more aimed at professionals than serious and (and wealthy) amateurs as the M series is.

    My M-E shall remain for a few more years.

  110. Oh man! They designed the Lada of cameras! I can’t believe it. I think with the Q they showd how they can bring Leicas design philosophy into the future, but this one looks like a cardboard model or rather cardboard parody of a russian 60ties camera. And variable f-stop zooms? A mirrorless 50 that’s the size of a medium format lens? I don’t care that it is expensive, Leicas always were, but they offered something others don’t. But this one sucks. And I can’t help, it has a bit of a Hasselblad Lunar aftertaste.

  111. Leica new sensor is better then Sonys. Not talking megapixels but the actual images coming from the sensor. You asked what Leica had over Sony except a red dot. Better looking photos. IMO of course. The Leica ethos has never been to cram as many MP on a sensor as possible.

    Something happened. You use to really be into the heart and soul of Leica shooting, especially with the rangefinder. Now you seem to be decidely against them even though they are pushing their own boundaries and trying to keep up with the Sonys with limited resources. You use to defend Leica and lets be honest, you were a fan boy. Thats perfectly fine. Your site was heavy on Leica and we loved it. Leica has always been expensive but you always said that was the price of owning a Leica but now you use it as a negative. The Q is an incredible camera but you barely raised an eyebrow. I know you’ll say you were positive about it and all that but go look at your Q review and then look at your A7R2 review or your past M reviews. Its a blip comparatively. I just think something happened, it’s can’t just be the A7. Maybe you had a falling out with them? It’s too bad that you would bag on this camera before even trying it. I the past you’d be like a kid on christmas.

    • I have to agree with John here. The camera, albeit expensive, seems to have some really awesome features for pros going for it, such as a path breaking EVF, excellent FPS, weather sealing, superb IQ (from those who have shot with it and the sample images I have seen), touchscreen LCD to name a few. Leica is innovating, no doubt. Steve does make some great points around price, IS, and the sony lens ecosystem but I would like to see Steve post a full in-depth review after actually using the camera.

    • Thank you for this statement – I have the same impression!

      Why should Leica sell the SL body not on the level of an M body?

      • The M is unique, nothing exists like it in the world. If you want a full frame digital Rangefinder, the M is the only game IN THE WORLD. It warrants the $7k price tag because if you want an RF, and you want it digital, there is NO OTHER option. The SL, there are MANY cameras just like it for much much less money, more lenses available, and smaller for full frame 35mm. The SL looks like a mini S, so a 35mm format S. But the A7RII could be considered this as well, or the Nikon D800 series, or the Canon 5D series… The SL is NOT an S, but basically a mirrorless DSLR style system (like the Sony). It will have to be above and beyond in IQ, performance and all of the good stuff for ME to shell out $12500 for a body and one big fat zoom lens 😉

        The M price was warranted, and they sell well. The Leica S, the big one, was a failure due to cost and competition to who they aimed at (Medium format big guns) and the fact that they priced their system and lenses 2-5X of what competing systems would cost.

        The X Vario was a failure as they released it, again, as some sort of mirrorless solution but no one wanted the slow zoom without the possibility of ever shooting a fast prime or faster glass. It was also hard to hold, not comfy at all.

        The T failed as many Leica die hards could not get past the new menu and screen system..too high tech. Again, also the cost. The lenses felt nothing like M lenses in build but commanded near M prices. And it was APS-C.

        The M and X1 and Q were huge hits for Leica, as was all of the M line (M9, M 240, Mono, etc).

        So this SL is very very risky as they could face the same problem they had with the S. Lack of native lenses, price of the three native lenses at launch and price of the body as well as the size and weight (and cost of accessories) will in no way bring loads of Canon and Nikon and Sony shooters to Leica. I’m sure they will sell many of them, but not enough to be a massive hit like the M, Q and old X1 were. I see it doing numbers a somewhat better than the S but no where near M numbers.

        Leica is a small company compared to the others, so I think they are trying to find their way into modern Digital and i feel their next M, which I am betting will be out in 2016, will be just what the doctor ordered. This one, while I am sure it is beautiful, just do not see the market for it when there is way too much competition for what it offers.

        So the SL which is like many other competitors, should not be $7500 for a body as you can buy an A7RII or Nikon or Canon for less than half the cost that beats the specs of the SL. The M on the other hand, well, if you want an M, there is only one game in town until Sony or Nikon or someone makes a new digital RF. When that happens, and if it happens, then the M will be in the same situation as Leica’s S and now SL. Priced too high for mass sales, and yes, they did mass sales with the M9. That was the digital glory days for Leica so far, that M9.

        • I think they’re expecting the buyer to be someone who either 1) already has significant investment in Leica glass and wants to use it on a mirrorless, or 2) the first time camera buyer walking into Willoughby’s wanting that style of camera.

          I can’t see pro wedding shooters going for something like this, but a pro shooting S might try adding one as a alternative, smaller body to use with his $30k lens arsenal.

        • When the Leica SL was announced, I was not willing to add another lens systems into my collection. In the last few days, I am changing my openion.

          I have M8, M9 and M. They are essentially confined to 24mm to 90mm. Any lens wider needed an external view finder or the EVF. I cannot focus with the 135mm with any certainty. Technically, one is able to use EVF for manual focus. Try it a couple of shots, you will give up. Too many buttons to push to take 1 picture. I’m OK with the M camera if I give up the longer telephotos. As a travel photographer, I need the wide angle more than tele.

          I have been testing the Sony A7rII against my Leica M, R & Sony FE lenses. There are only 2 wide angle lens that showed acceptable distortions. The Sony Zeiss 16-35mm and the Leica Super Elmar 15mm F2.8. The 2 standard lens Sony Zeiss 24-70 F4 at 24mm has some distortion around the edges as well as being a little soft in general. The Leica R Vario-Elmarit 28-90mm is also soft around the edges at 28mm. By 35+mm, it is super sharp. The Leica R Vario-Elmarit worked perfectly with the Canon 5DII. Somehow, the micro lens design on the Sony sensor should be causing the distortions. What is the point of getting 42mp sensor if you don’t have glasses to match.

          Conclusion, I have issues with both with the Leica M and the Sony A7rII. I like the images from the M. The M’s 24mp have been very good even blown up to very large size. The Leica SL should have the same M sensor. The built on EVF will make manual lens workable. I would certainly buy a SL but not the M’s replacement. No more range finder camera.

    • > Leica new sensor is better then Sonys. Not talking megapixels but the actual images coming
      > from the sensor. You asked what Leica had over Sony except a red dot. Better looking
      > photos. IMO of course.

      IMO you are off. I have a lot of Leica glass, and a number of analogue Leicas, been using M since the 1980ies and R since the 1990ies on film.

      I tried to like the digital Leicas (and still own an M8 – the other digital Ms only came for transient visits – not enough output quality for the price tag, even the M240. The MM may have stayed, but I found it too limited for the tag, in the end.

      I had the Q for a two week tryout (and bought something else instead) – the output was in no way superior to the output of an RX1(R) or the A7R (for the latter two, processed RAW with Capture one or DxO Optics 10… even the sexy Q would be wasted money, I think, if output quality were my primary goal.

      • I have not seen any photos from the SL yet that beats the A7RII but will see for myself in 2-3 weeks. It surely will not and can not match it for higher ISO. Not possible. Ive seen high ISO shots from the SL, no contest there. With that said, the Q has better output than the RX1, maybe not the RX1RII.

        • For my typical use (base ISO – 100) and print to 40x60cm, the output of the RX1 was preferred by the viewers – but then, I may have been comparing apples with oranges, as I had to use another processing tool (the Q was/is not supported by DxO Optics 10 Pro.

    • That`s what it is made for, and they built the adapter. But I am not sure that the “prehistoric” R glass will deliver even on a 24 MP Sensor and you lose the AF. Sure a lot of people will buy it for their S lenses but again you`re stuck with an adapter…

      • A lot of those ‘prehistoric’ R lenses perform quite respectably on modern sensors… try the Summilux 50 and 80, the Summicron 50 and 90, the Elmarit 135, the Apo-Telyt 180, the second generation 180 f/2,8, the second generation 19 f/2,8, all the macros – you will _not_ be disappointed.

  112. It’s very sad to hear indeed. I love Leica for their heritage, passion and original Oskar Barnack vision. I don’t like the idea of them putting themselves into a bad place from a bad business decision.

    Right now I feel this camera is not competing with the A7rii; instead it is competing with the A7ii 24mp sensor and IBIS system that has better potential IQ than the M240 sensor that is likely found in this body (based on your A7ii review ).
    You can get the A7ii for 1698 us dollars, no doubt Sony are hard at work on an A7iii !

    The A7ii is cheaper than the Leica, includes IBIS, great video, great build quality, speed, good high ISO etc… You could get the A7ii, loxia and batis line up for the price of the Leica SL and standard zoom. That native zeiss glass is already punching at Leica standard and quality and in some cases even better. Possibly the only area the Leica may be better than the A7ii is the viewfinder. However does that viewfinder justify the price differential???

  113. I’m so very sorry! But everything that makes a mirrorless camera appealing to me is missing here. Except the EVF, which is a very important item and seems to be top notch. And of course, I reckon that the M lenses will work perfectly on this body. It simply must be. I don’t think Leica is that stupid, not to have taken care of this. So this will finally offer all Leica M lenses owners a mirrorless body for ALL their lenses, also the WA ones. But at what a cost! MUCH too expensive. MUCH too large. MUCH too heavy. NOT ENOUGH pixels. NOT ENOUGH ergonomics (I don’t see any customizable buttons). NOT ENOUGH low light capabilities. NOT ENOUGH style and appeal. So I can only say, I’m so very, very sorry! I fear this will not work.

    • After reading some more about the SL on other websites (yes I firstly read about it on this one), I’m glad to have found out that Leica has added some really good features. Like the joy-stick that will surely add to a fluent operation. And quite some other things…
      But, it appears to be even bigger than I thought at first. It’s more like a DSLR, which makes me think that it will probably appeal to another public than the RF shooter who wants to go mirrorless – more the DSLR shooter who wants to go mirrorless. But the latter generally doesn’t own M-mount lenses…
      Well, we’ll have to see. But I think, just maybe, there’s a chance. I guess this camera will indeed have quite some serious pro’s. But it’s surely not for me. Just not a concept that I’ll ever like.

      • If it contained a medium format sensor within its vastness I could understand the monstrous dimensions of this bland yet extravagantly priced behemoth.

        Doesn’t even have a front control wheel from what I can see.

  114. I have to admit that I agree with Steve. Leica M is just enough to cover a small market of amateur ready to spend 6 to 7.000 $ for a camera without lenses . Another camera priced in the same way looks weird.

  115. From the original teaser, I’d been waiting to see if this was going to be something with the
    Leicaflex form factor, that would allow the adapted use of all the Leica-R lenses that they so ungraciously orphaned years ago. Now, that would have been bold, and a welcome mea culpa to all those R body fans, and would have sold better than this will. But, no.
    Can anybody say Hasselblad Lunar, or Lunarcy or whatever that thing was?

    • > Can anybody say Hasselblad Lunar…

      YES, I can. (…with a smiley…:)

      I have two of them, bought cheaply, now that these are sold off for below 1k – new in sealed boxes… make nice extras for my NEX-7 collection…

  116. Here’s what I think: I think I’ll use my Leica M lenses on my Sony A7RII and have a much more capable camera that produces images with much higher IQ than the SL.

  117. So, if you have an M, Monochrom, and Q; is there anything that this one can possibly do that you don’t have covered already? It sucks that just as I’m starting to get used to the Q, this one materializes out of nowhere.

    • The Q is a fantastic camera that makes astoundingly beautiful images. I wish I could afford one. This camera doesn’t make the Q obsolete.

  118. I think you’ve probably just said what most people are thinking Steve. I’m a big Leica fan (have owned and used for 25 years) and have been waiting patiently to see what the big announcement was going to be. Frankly I’m extremely disappointed. I’m looking to switch systems next year and this has made my decision slightly easier, Sony or Fuji

  119. If I would ever get a Leica it would be a film and/or digital body, but not a first generation camera (remember how fine tuned the M8 was?) for this amount of money. Going to ‘conventional’ mirror-less camera Leica has no advantage of special features (like mechanical rangefinder) – it is looking eye-to-eye at Sony and I can hardly imagine the Sony will blink first. Even if the camera would cost as much as M240 I would not consider it. Should I really want one (and managed to buy one AND stay married) I would wait and see how it performs and give Leica a couple more years to get details figure out – and get more lenses for the system too.

    • I’m pretty sure they are doing fine sine Q was off the shelves for months. Same will happen for this camera.

      • Disagree re this camera. It won’t sell like the Q. Main buyers were M owners. Can’t see M owners flock to this camera like the Q at this price.

        • Agree. Just too big, heavy and expensive. And pros will want more than 24MP. Although, I guess if you had a bunch of R lenses it could make sense.

          • For the Leica R lenses, an A7/A7R/A7II/A7RII (and the S/SII) will do just fine. I know – from experience…

        • I guess we’ll see. Crazy two years ago you would never hear 24mp was not enough. The Sony A72 has the same amount as this camera but it seems like everyone is hung up on the R and its 48.

        • Totally wrong. This new camera System is not aimed at the typical M user and it wont replace the M. Completly different beast for professional usage.

    • Looks like they are trying really hard to.

      Leica is (was) all about small form factor full frame lenses and bodies with exceptional IQ. If they go away from that strong formula they’re not really Leica anymore.

      As mentioned, something like an interchangeable lens Q is the direction they should be going, not this.

  120. The Q design was a door-opener for Leica to introduce a really really sexy camera (with smallish lenses).

    Am I being a bit unfair if I said that this camera looks like an ugly and overpriced tank ?

    A red dot against a low self-esteem ?

    I have the A7RII and it looks almost the same (it’s also not beautiful in my opinion), is twice as good (I guess) and half as expensive. Come one Leica.

    In Switzerland you get used T’s for almost half the price already…. I think that’ll be the destiny of this device too. A Sony A7 is now 600Fr used and probably not much worse.

    But wait: maybe there’s something magical I am not seeing yet.

    • No comparison to the A7 series except for somewhat identical design. but even that is only at first glance.

      This camera will be much better build and sealed. It will shoot faster (11 fps for as long as you need it), will have much better color rendition (shure you will not see this but do the comparison of the studio shots at dpreview for example), dual card slots, better evf, on camera display, better compability to Leica lenses of all kind, etc. etc.

      In fact there is lots to like about this camera apart from the price tag.

      • Possibly better built…. but you can buy a plastic slieve for most cameras for 30 bucks that tends to give better weather sealing than any of them.
        BTW I’ve taken A7ii out in -30 and in both heavy wind and downpour rain. It’s never missed a beat.
        Regarding the 11fps comment – that’s likely fixed focus 11fps. Meaningless for sports shooters. It’s why many sports photographers stuck with even 5d mark iii when the 8 or 9fps mirrors options were available as it is not just about how fast the shutter fires, more importantly is how accurate the focus is. Without phase detection points on the sensor I struggle to see how this will provide good AF performance. Certainly the A7rii will likely have vastly superior performance.

      • I agree Leica SL is interesting product. I can’t wait for Steve do a side by side comparison and IQ test.

        I have been shooting years on M9. Done some great shots using the M9, but as my requirement changed (new baby turning toddler), the M9 just couldn’t keep up.

        I almost gave up on Leica, honestly all the other releases (Leica X, Q, T) weren’t exciting. IMO, Leica was lost in the market direction for some time.

        The SL definitely looks interesting, and I think a step in the right direction.
        Now, Let’s just hope the IQ has that Leica magic to it.

  121. The Leica lineup is already way too cluttered. This just seems too much like a “me too” product overall. A Leica Q with an M mount is the money shot!

  122. Steve, I am not disappointed in the physical design. It’s actually somewhat cleaner than the A7R2 and I like the UI design of the back much more – they borrowed the interface from the S. I hate lots of tiny buttons. I am disappointed that there’s no IBIS, but this is a heavy block of aluminum and shouldn’t shake too much. I can manage with 24MP if they’re good ones but I do enjoy the 42MP from the A7R2. I appreciate the no-holds-barred approach Leica took with the performance of the camera and I look forward to trying one. The weather sealing is supposed to be top-notch. It’s hard to make full-frame fast zooms small and Sony does no better than Leica here. I think the SL will be a huge hit with people already shooting Leica glass of any flavor. Remember, each of the M cameras started out with a price in the $7500 range and now it’s possible to buy many of them for around $4K. I hope Leica sends you one to try – perhaps using one will sway you. I have no doubt you will give us your honest and valuable opinion in any case.

    • 5d mark II
      sigma 50 1.4 art

      second hand : 500 + 500

      1000 euros …

      some great photographers a magnum even use a 5d mark I with canon 50 1.4 and make incredible pictures.

      some of them don’t even have a full frame camera.
      we’ve seen on this site a great documentary all made with a sony rx100 II …

      in fact, gear is of no importance for most of us. so, i agree with you steve, it’s time to be humble

  123. I wholeheartedly agree Steve. I think Leica did miss the mark here due to market pressure. I can relate this to Apple’s mishap with iPhone 5C (same situation, market satisfaction). I hope Leica does course correction with next M.

  124. Steve, I think that you’re way off target here, and am surprised that you would write even this initial conclusion without having either handled or shot with the camera or or even processed files from it. Of course, I haven’t either but I have read Jono Slack’s report on his experience of using the camera extensively for 4,000 shots with a variety of lenses. My impression is that this is a rugged, well-made, weather-proof camera that allows shooting with all Leica lenses ever made, including the M, R, T and S-series (and Leica ciné lenses as well!), with a lot of the handling characteristics adopted from the S cameras. If the files are really good and the color rendition is also good (i.e., not like the M240), this is could be one a really great camera. That Leica designed the SL as a copy of the Sony A7 look, strikes me as particularly — I have to say it — silly. I would have thought that the look and form of the camera was driven by the need for housing the large EVF.

    • If you read what I wrote, I clearly state I have not shot it and this is why I only talk about things such as specs, design, size, weight, lenses, etc. I never talk about IQ as I have not shot it yet but when you have a camera that looks like a larger and heavier A7, less impressive specs, $7500 without a lens and $5k for a slow variable aperture zoom..well..doesn’t really matter what happens when I shoot it as it will be heavier, larger and would cost me $30k to buy the camera and 3-4 amazing lenses for it. If I had a few million, wouldn’t be a problem. Leica is now officially for the uber rich and they have been increasing their prices over the past 10 years to the point of ridiculousness. Even if it has the A7RII beat in base ISO IQ by 10%, it would not be worth the extra size, weight, cost and lack of native AF lenses. It may surprise me when I do use one, if so I will report on it. But it will have to really be extra special for me to recommend something like this one. I will get a hold of one and so a side by side comparison with M glass with the A7RII. Also native lenses. Will be fun to see how it goes. But even so, this release makes no sense other than that they are trying to release an A7 style camera with a Leica badge as the A7 series is VERY popular and did in fact hurt Leica’s sales over the past year and a half.

      • Quite right, Steve. There is little to recommend this cameras over its competitors. It’s not just competing with the Sony A7RII, but at that size, also the Nikon D810 and Canon 5DSR, both of which cost far less, have greater resolution, a complete lens and flash system and (probably) faster and more reliable AF.

      • Just wanted to add Steve, in the article you said it had taken Sony 3 years to build the lens ecosystem they have, in fact it has only taken 2 years… pretty impressive IMO.

      • Maybe once you actually shoot with it and give it your run-through, you may change you impression and thoughts, like the other 35 reviewers whom have shot with it but we’re not impressed by the specs. Every review I’ve read have been pleased with the camera. Can’t wait to read your thoughts after you handle it.
        Also too many people compare it too sony, maybe one should just review the camera and not compare it to anything.

      • If this was basically a Leica Q that took Interchangeable lenses then I’d agree with you, but I think this is aimed at a different segment of the market. It’s not for me (too large and heavy) but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go negative on it either.

        • As I said, I may love it when I shoot it, but if they are going for the pro market..not gonna happen unless this the IQ was above ad beyond the competition. From what I have seen so far, that is not the case..but id have to use it myself. I am stumped at who they are hoping buys into this system. So they say its not for the enthusiast.. not for the hobbyist..but for the pros who shoot Canon and Nikon and have hundreds of native lenses to choose from, pro support, blazing continuous Af, etc. I just do not see it, and as beautiful as it may be… converting pros is one tough job as most are set in their systems and will never switch unless a system is mature, has many lenses and pro support. Going to be tough for Leica to pull that off.

      • “Leica is now officially for the uber rich …” Exactly! Leica is an aspirational brand, and has been for some time now.

        Leica began losing professional market share when Nikon introduced the F: a camera capable of utilizing very short focal length lenses without an auxiliary viewfinder, focal lengths greater than 90mm at all, built like a tank, and with a line of rugged, great (mostly) glass to match. I know photographers are doing great work today with Leica M cameras, film and digital, but that’s because the M is the best camera for their way of working, not because it’s the best camera ever.

        Sony may have taken market share from Leica, but I think that was from those looking for “full-frame + mirrorless,” not those looking for “Leica.” Design decisions are what they are: one could as readily argue that Leica’s original film SLRs copied from the Pentax Spotmatic. Leica might have tried to copy their own R8 for their new MILC, but I think the electronic viewfinder circuitry would have distorted the lines of the top cover/viewfinder housing.

        I think most pros will avoid this, for the dual reasons of price and availability: being able to afford multiple bodies, and the ability to replace lost, stolen, or broken gear on a moment’s notice, are not minor considerations. Other pros, looking to differentiate themselves, at this price may opt for one of the medium-ish format options now available. What’s left are a few well-heeled pros, but mostly wealthy amateurs.

  125. The new SL looks like the old Leicaflex SL… I’ve used and still have the Leica R 6.2 and R8.
    I don’t know why they make this new heavy beast. For press photography a re-designed Digilux 2 would be superb: fast zoom lens and a master of full focus at F 2,0. That is needed, cause the old Digilux 2 can’t be serviced any longer. :-((
    I use Leica glass, Zeiss, Voigtländer and Angenieux lenses on my M240 – have two Digilux 2 and a V-LUX 3 as black up.
    But 49.000 DKK for the SL ? No way !
    M with R-adaptor and EVF will be a better solution and R-lenses are cheap now and high quality.
    Ok, this set up is 55.000 DKK – but I love it and it’s practical. It’s a great hybrid!

    I’m sure, the SL will not find it’s way into my camera bag, if I’ve to pay it myself.

  126. It is good to see that Leica finally offers a full-frame mirrorless. People have been asking for this for years. So now it is here. Personally I have stopped comparing Leica by price. They are more expensive and have always been more expensive. But it usually leaves enough people that are willing to buy a Leica over any other brand because of its exclusivity. I am mostly disappointed by its design. Yes, it looks like a Sony A7 and I never liked the viewfinder bump on the A7. So on the Leica it looks as stupid as it does on the Sony. I wish they would have done something more unique and useful. Like the new Panasonic viewfinder that allows you to shot from the hip. Visually the camera is missing the attention to unique design details that people love so much on Leica cameras.
    Something that you look at and you really want it. This feels a bit like the cheaper SLR-style cameras, like the Vlux. Spec-wise it may not touch the Sony A7R2. But I prefer the clean interface on the back. This alone would make me prefer the camera over a Sony. I gave up on the A7 because I never got used to the button clutter. Overall I wish Leica would rethink the design and find its own identity, as they have done in the past many times.

  127. Looks very much like another potential failure, just like the X-Vario, but with a broader impact in case it does not sell … I am a big Leica fan, have spent a lot on Leica camera and glass but will not buy this one.
    Leica, dear Mr Kaufman, I hope your next announcement will be an extrapolation of the Q (a GREAT camera BTW) or the 246-Monochrom in silver chrome.

    • This camera is everything the Q is and more. All the same features, same sensor (improved even). Maybe you’re talking about the styling? I wish they would have kept the Q body as well but I guess they couldn’t call it the SL then. Seriously though, Leica doesn’t do anything to be stupid. The X-Vario was their last camera built without the help of someone else like Panasonic. That camera, while underrated, showed them that if they want to compete they have to implement faster AF. That’s what really hurts the XV. This camera will most likely be better then the Q which we both agree is one of the best cameras ever made.

  128. Its body price actually is similar to Canon and Nikon’s top full frame cameras. If Leica aims at professionals who currently use Canon/Nikon’s best cameras, the price actually makes sense.
    Just the lens are too expensive and looks huge on the body.

    • You’re on to something, raining… this is aimed at the wedding photography market, where price is a a minor concern behind reliability and cutting edge features. Wait and see…

  129. When I saw the leaked picture and price, I just laughed. Then, 5 minutes later, I got an email telling me my new Zeiss Batis 25mm is finally in the post … so I’m gonna get over it pretty quick.

    Will wait for an M with an EVF or a Q with an M-mount … could be a while.

  130. Steve, you hit it right on the nail…I’m not seeing anything worthwhile here. Like you said, if this was priced at around $3500 maybe… just MAYBE some people might consider it, but at 7500, i’m not too sure. Specs wise… meh.
    It’s actually sad seeing this release… it’s almost like they have no idea how to move forward in this industry…

  131. i think the price is just ridiculous. i have been an M user for over four years but i switched to Sony and i am very happy with my move. i sold most of my leica glas except the 50 lux f1 and the 75 summilux. i am now using an a7ii and an a7r for all my work and i very happy. for sure i will not be buying into this system. the price of 7500 for the body and 5000 for the zoom makes me shake my head. i cant see them selling a lot of these… least not at these price.

  132. So it looks like a Sony! I don’t care much about that. It’s ALL about IQ and ergonomics for me.

    Great that M and S lenses can be incorporated but Leica may have shot themselves in the foot with the pricing this time and I’m sad about that.

  133. Maybe we were all expecting a ICL Q or a EVF only M…. FWIW, my first thought was that Leica must of been as high as a pair of Giraffe tonsils* to think that this was a good idea… But now I wonder if it’s more aimed at S users, I’m not up on S line specs and pricing, but I SUSPECT that compared to medium format this might be considered small, portable and cheap….

    IMO this biggest issue with it (price aside), is that it just looks so generic, if someone posted a de-badged picture of it and asked users to guess who made it and what it was, what answers would you expect….? Sony A7iii or Fuji XT2 or Oly M1ii. Right?!!!!

    The spec’s ok… in a “not really different than anyone else is doing, but hey at least they’re doing it” sorta way (FF aside for most I guess…)

    They’re making some bold claims RE AF speed & subject tracking… and if I read correctly, it’s CDAF only…. Hmmmmm looking forward to some real world reviews on that one….

    I’m kinda struck by this strange notion that the sensor from this should of been used in the T, that would of created something unique and special, small and possibly even affordable (in context of the big L)

    At the end of the day I’m sure it’ll take great pictures.


    *for the purposes of wit I’ve gone with tonsils, but I truly have no clue if Giraffe’s have tonsils.

  134. Unfortunately I agree 100 %. I love my M and Leica, but just the size kills it for me. If I can live with a system that big I would get a D810 and save a lot of money. This time the sony offer looks way more attractive. Now I hope for the new M….

    • I agree it is super to have a canera that can take all leica lenses, have super fast AF, no gimmicks like soft corners from other cameras, weather sealed, high frame rate, no clutter from buttons. it sounds very promising. It is a pros tool.
      Good Job Leica once more you lead the pack.

    • I agree using all Lieca lenses without soft corners compromising (like A7 and others), having the fastest AF, uncluttered interface with what is needed for buttons, weather sealed, 11 fps, basic ISO 50, superior EVF, excellent sensor, pro package. The price is almost inexpensive, I would say a bargain.
      Again after all these cameras out there Leica manages to lead the pack.

      Good Job Leica.

        • It is a hypothesis for no soft corners. As far as I know there no soft corners in Leicas or at least better to what it exists in the market. This is one of the advantages. It is not a secret. However, there are already reports shown the optical excellence.

    • To all the people banging on about the SL having the fastest AF in the world so sports photographers (prefereably those with rich parents..) will flock to it, Leica actually haven’t stated how fast the AF is with continuous AF/metering? The 11fps headline figure is with fixed focus/exposure so I don’t see how that’s any use to a sports tog?

      You could shoot with a manual lens and just hold the shutter open to get the same performance and equally blurred shots. I assume Leica are leading the pack of ridiculously overpriced kit backed by over-hyped marketing?

      • I’m sure we’ll find out when the reviews come pouring in. This isn’t just Leica though, no way they could pull these specs off on their own. This is a interwoven partnership with Panasonic that may allow this camera to live up to the fastest AF claim. If the Q is any indication then I wouldn’t say it’s out of the real of possibility.

      • @stevelloyd1978, I think Leica has said in meetings that the Leica SL has the fastest focus ‘in its class’. So, the Leica SL has the fastest contractdetection af-system in the world. But it’s probably not as fast as the latest cameras with phasedetection-af…

        • Nope. If you watch the Leica video release it states, “Fastest autofocus of all professional cameras”. To me that seems like a pretty clear claim along with the 11fps claim but without constant AF/exposure I can’t see many photographers being bothered by 11fps when all but the first are blurred.

          • @Steve lloyd: I looked at their website and they indeed claim that. But they don’t specify if that is with single or continous focus… Big difference ;).

      • It is quite a bold claim about AF.
        from the limited hands-on reviews I’ve seen, the AF doesn’t seem to be anything special, and the word ‘struggles’ has even been mentioned a few times as well.

        One reviewer said:
        “I found it frustrating at times to be able to lock onto a spot quickly at 24mm or 35mm, and then to miss a shot at 75mm or 90mm because the lens took upwards of 4 seconds to achieve focus lock in low light.”

    • Hi Steve, Thanks for your thorough overview of the Leica SL. Overall I agree with what you wrote. The two main issues with this camera is price and size. I will comment on the overall feel and handling of the camera once I get my hands on one to try same with image quality.

      I think the EVF is the main draw of this camera alongside the build, the lenses and the factory adapters. If it performs at a high level it might make a solid pro platform from Leica alongside the Leica S.

      That said, I would have loved for Leica to release a Leica Q with an interchangeable lens mount and priced it below the current Q. That would be a HOT seller even at $4k.

    • The new Leica SL will allow the use of S, T, and M lenses as well as its own. If wide angle M lenses perform well, then right there that beats the Sony.

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