UPDATE: Added a new comparison to my Leica SL Review with the Sony A7RII

UPDATE: Added a new comparison to my Leica SL Review with the Sony A7RII

By request I added a new comparison to the Leica SL review with the Sony A7RII! This time using the best E mount lens Sony makes (IMO)..the Zeiss 35 1.4. I added two new comparisons in the review, one of them can be seen below. The other is in the review HERE.

Using the Sony/Zeiss the results should fare much better for the Sony as the 16-35 fell behind the Leica 24-90 in the initial comparisons. 

Click each image below to see the larger size and full crop. Both were at 35mm, tripod mounted, ISO 100. 



To see the other new comparison, check the review HERE. 


  1. So why not try:

    – SL with 35mm f1.4 v Sony with Sony/Zeiss 35mm f1.4
    – SL with 24mm SEM v Sony with 25mm Batis
    – SL with 50mm [APO] Summicron v Sony with 50mm f1.8 Zeiss?

    and you can try the zoom on the SL at these focal lengths too and the Leica lenses on the Sony body. Now that would be a crazy test.

    To me, the Sony has better features (weight, AF lenses, IBIS, articulating screen, resolution). The Leica is not much easier to use with manual lenses (lots of button pushing) but the raw files that it generates are much closer to the final product than what comes from the Sony because the SL seems to guess exposure better and has better white balance. For example, night time shots are correctly exposed, unlike those on the Sony, which need to have -2EV compensation and a good deal of color tweaking to look natural.

  2. Hi
    Image on Sony 35mm/f1.4 show comma aberration shining speckles on box not perfectly circular but leica zoom lens is and both shot at f3.5 not bad for a zoom lens.
    Shadow penetration in leica is better.

  3. Very negligible differences to be fair. What stands out to me is one is an image from a huge zoom and one is from a huge prime! The fact the prime is stopped down more than the zoom speaks volumes on how good the leica zoom actually is.
    As far as colour goes. A quick preset can turn any file to look like…well any file? Right?

    • The Leica 24-90 is hardly a regular zoom. In Australia, it sells for $7000 while the Sony 35/1.4 sells for $2300. I would expect the Leica to be at least as good, if not better. Otherwise, how is $7000 justified?

      • the fact that the Leica Zoom equals the Zeis prime is amazing. It’s like owning a 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm, and 90mm prime… actually saves you money if you don’t mind the size/weight.

  4. If you are trying to compare the bodies and take the lens out of the equation, why not put the APO50 on both cameras, set to f8 instead of shooting at wide open, and then see what happens?

    • Because then people would complain and say it is unfair “The Sony does not do as good as the Leica with M glass” – the nature of most people these days is to complain and that is what would happen. Can’t please everyone.

  5. Off topic here Steve, but was inquisitive if Leica has apps like sony does? also i didn’t see any review for any apps for a7rm2 or others in a7 series or a6000, do you happen to use them? people have reviews about timelapse and photopaint app but wanted to see your view on it. btw appreciate your good work, keep it up! thanks!

    • I do not use any camera apps as I dislike them greatly. What I have seen so far has not been a good user experience and I am more into photography than turing my camera into a computer. Not a fan of these camera apps. Leica does not have any that I am aware of, and hopefully they keep it that way.

  6. Firsteval, there is more DOF in the leica shot. The Leica shows moire and looks like oversharpened at 100% this is default jpeg?

  7. There is most definitely more detail in the Sony shot…which is to be expected with almost twice the megapixels…. Color seems a bit more punchy too… Which is actually closer to real color?

  8. Zeiss used in this test on A7r2 shows there is very little if at all between the SL & A7r2.

    Whereas using comparatively rather poor 16-35 in the A7r2 was guaranteed to show SL as better ( in the large well weitten review).

    Therefore it would be better to redo the comparison photos on the SL large review with the best glass on A7r2 or putting adapter on Leica 24-90 to fit on A7r2.

    In future comparisons between cameras must be done with either best glass for both cameras or average glass for both cameras.

    Rather than crippling one camera with average glass whilst extolling another camera with superior glass.

    • Exactly. The 16-35 to was also shot at the extreme end of the zoom range (35mm) while the 24-90 was shot in the middle of the zoom range, which further compromises any comparison.

  9. I scaled the Leica file to the size of the Sony and they look so similar that it is hard to see any difference. At least to me. Coloriwise the Leica has more of a magenta tone. The SL seems to deal better with the highlights. Detail-wise the difference so minimal that I won’t see anything in real world shooting. D!RK

      • When I attended a Leica product ‘sneak peak’ here in Europe the presenter stated that one of the advantages of the SL, when looked at from the Leica “Old glass owner” point of view was that the on-board processing allowed for lens corrections calculated into the RAW (DNG) seamlessly – “Nobody knows Leica lens characteristics better than us (Leica), so we can _properly_ optimise in camera…”. So, I am not convinced that the SL images are ‘true RAW’ without a fair amount of pre-cooking…

        Now remains the question if that person was telling tales, or the truth…

  10. Your other review included a lot of comparisons, and the Leica files looked a lot better than Sony. It might be due to camera shake, or bad IS or something, because the biggest difference was in the fine details, where the Sony should have matched or beaten Leica.

    Still, I will stick with my A6000. The Leica is only worth the extra $6k if you happen to have an extra $6k. Which I don’t.

    • Was the lens. The Zeiss 16-35 was no match for the 24-90 of the SL. With Sony’s best lens, the 35 1.4 the results are closer. I still prefer the Leica color, AF speed, AWB, build. feel, shutter, EVF..well, everything over the Sony. That is not to say teh Sony is bad, it is saying the Sony is incredible for a $3200 camera and the Leica is well worth the $7500.

  11. Both look good to me, but as we are nitpicking, I notice as someone said above that the Leica looks “sharper”. It also looks a little darker. I wonder if the increased “whiteness” we see in the A7RII in what I assume is a blue box is due to more detail (more MP) and DR and is more accurate to reality or not.

  12. The SL, at first inspection, appears to be “sharper” (“sharper” as in more acuity, not necessarily sharper as such), which is to be expected from the lesser Mp number. Larger Mp numbers tend to appear less sharp (they are not), smoother, and to give more detail. I experienced the same when comparing a DF (16 Mp) with a D800/E (36 Mp).

    I would have appreciated appreciated a comparison with the A7II; 24 Mp as well, different sensor and different tweaking; different 35mm. It would have made the comparison a bit easier, more level field.

    • So, Michiel953, if I were to take the SL file and “res it up” in LR to approximate the pixel dimensions of the A7RII, what would be the result in your opinion? Would the SL file look mushy, and lacking that acuity seen before the interpolation?

      • Mushy doesn’t come into it Chris. I don’t really see how you can “res up” an SL file to approximate the A7RII’s pixel dimensions. Anyway, I was only making a general statement regarding the relationship between pixel size and number and perceived sharpness and acuity.

        I prefer the smooth sharpness that 36 Mp give you over anything I”ve used before, but that’s just personal.

        As I’ve mentioned before I think a comparison of the SL with the A7II (same pixel size and number) would have given more useful information.

  13. I find the white balance to be remarkably better with the Leica. Comparing both images, and the Crayola images as well, it seems to me that the Leica is a bit more sensitive to moire. (I reduced the Sony image in photoshop to get the same relative dimensions befor comparing). The Leica images are very powerful, indeed leaving the kind of impression that the M9 used to do, when this camera was hot. I think that probably the Leica files are offering more instantly pleasing results.

      • With some extra days of retrospect, I’m really glad with the release of the SL. So far the only camera that plays more or less in the same league is the A7RII indeed. And still, their target groups will overlap just a little bit, mainly due to the difference in price (and size/weight).
        But I’m very glad that the high IQ mirrorless landscape has two big players now. It’ll spice up the scene, and make the landscape the more interesting.
        For me, it’s gonna be Sony, because I could never justify Leica money and Sony has come with the perfect solution to me.
        Judging those two systems over all aspects, they are really not far from one another, their score for each parameter or vérrry good, or brilliant. IMO
        The main strong points of the Leica, to me, are: the sheer feel of the sleek design (the back, indeed, for example) and material with its buttons and knobs. Both give the user a constant joy of operating. This may seem like not being objective, but still it’s very real. Secondly, the Leica files have that little something to them, that pleases the eye immediately. It’s hard for me to describe, but I find the images to be immediately very strong and warm. The M9 had this, the SL has it as well. No wonder of course, with the legacy of this company. And indeed, for such a price, I guess they can push the envelope just a bit further.
        But Sony still continues to surprise the world with inventivity and bravery.
        Well, I like both very much, I guess. But I only can afford one. Which is 100% good enough for me!

        • Take a Pentax 645Z (or even the 645D, but in this case at the price of slightly lower DR) into the fray, and you may note that in this price range there is still significantly better IQ available than with either of the two cameras used in this comparison…

  14. Man I shouldn’t bring up this old “can of worms”, but the SL files have more acuity than the others, similar to my M9 CCD files compared to my M240 CMOS files. It’s more than just sharpening, it’s that CCD look 🙂 I have not been able to duplicate that look from my M240, using any LR settings. It’s just different.

  15. Steve,

    When you do your 100% zoomed crop, can you make the object in the frame the same size when viewed? As in, zoom the A7Rii @ 100%, and the LS @ ~176% (42.4 MP / 24 MP) to get closer to the same zoomed in Image size, which should be a better “Resolution” comparison? Or, the opposite – the SL @ 100%, and the A7Rii @ ~57%?

    I have to believe that the SL will show less “sharpness” when zoomed in further to match that of the A7Rii in ‘size of print’. Or, maybe upscale the SL photo to match the resolution output of the A7Rii?

    I don’t really have a dog in this fight, as I own neither camera, nor am I loyal to any specific brand. I still shoot with an M9 & love the CCD sensor. But, not having either of the two cameras you’re reviewing, I think the above may make the “Comparison” more apples-to-apples for readers.

    I believe most people may want to choose the A7Rii for resolution, size, versatility, and cost when compared to the SL. But, others may care only about the final image, irrespective of the other factors. For those people, I think the above would help us further delineate if there is indeed a difference that puts the SL > A7Rii in terms of the final produced image.


  16. If anything this goes to show what an awesome lens the Leica zoom is….compares favorably to the a higher resoluition sensor with one of the best Zeiss primes. It will be interesting to see how the new primes perform that Leica is currently working on for the SL.

      • The SL image has visible false color/moire while the Sony image is artifact free. Scaled to the same size, the Sony image will be superior.

      • Wider dynamic range typically presents as a flatter image straight out of camera. Regarding perceived accutiy, higher resolution images can and do sometimes appear to be less sharpened than lower resolution images on a monitor. However that does not mean they are less sharp as there is more detail present to resolve they tend to look more naturally sharp. Note the fine detail of the bow and moire present….

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