USER REPORT: A Leica SL Review by Tomer Vaknin

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USER REPORT: A Leica SL Review

by Tomer Vaknin

Hello Steve and to all Steve’s readers!

Since I made a switch from my Leica M camera to the new Leica SL, I’ve been getting a lot of messages on what do I think about the SL vs the M, so I’ve decided to write this review and share my point of view about the new Leica SL.

The Leica SL is a pill that for many M users will be hard to swallow because let’s face it, the SL is going head to head with the M, so a lot of M users who love and worship their M (which until today have never seen any competition from any other camera), is now seeing competition from Leica itself!  After many days of reading online and looking at my beautiful M sitting on my computer table, while I’m working on a new and old moments that I captured with my M, I’ve decided to let it go… What can I said, I’m just not a two cameras kind of a guy and I know that if I had both the M and the SL, I won’t use any of them… I love to go with my camera to anywhere I go, you can’t catch me without it. The second I’ll sell my M, I’ll feel less of an “artist” and I believe that this feeling is shared by many M users. The M Classic look and the rangefinder it’s just work great!

Now after I deal with my problems, (and I believe with most M users problems) let’s get down to business. The SL is the best camera I have ever used in my life. That’s all. You can stop reading right now and just look at the pictures if you like LOL!

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I’m going to compare it just against the M because the M is in a different level from all the rest cameras out there, so there is no point to start compare it to any other camera just because the SL does not have a rangefinder, and by the way this is the all beauty of the SL it’s M on steroids just without the Rangefinder, simple as that.

It just feels amazing in the hand and gives you the same look and feel of the M with better colors, details, feel and pop. It really gives you the Leica/M look only with better of every thing, And as a tool the SL just feels so right! It’s a camera you just have to hold for yourself and go out and shots with it before you understand what I’m trying to describe here.

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I don’t want to go in to much technical details, but I shot with the master class Leica M 50mm APO on the M and on the SL and the different is just unbelievable, only then I saw how rich and amazing the files that the APO produce are. I never understand what so special about the APO (+7000$ f/2 50mm lens) until I saw what it capable on the SL (three images above were shot with the APO). I remember buying the Leica Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 and return it after one week only. It was heavy and uncomfortable to use on the M, (and I am not talking about focusing with this lens on a rangefinder, this is a different story) The Noctilux just feels so natural on the SL body and so beautiful. And now that all the calibration rangefinder stuff that stuck you without your camera twice a year is history it’s a real pleasure.

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I will summarize it with a something i said to my friend Dan who is a big Leica fan and great artist.  When he try the SL he told me ״this is the best camera in the world but too bad it’s not a rangefinder״.  Then I realized that I’m holding in my hands the new M only without the rangefinder. In a year from now, (when the new M will be release) it will be very easy to describe the SL. It’s just an M without the rangefinder.

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The lenses that I used with the Leica SL for this article are:

Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon

Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH

Leica 50 APO

if you like to see more please come visit me at my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tomer.vaknin.5

Thank you very much.

Tomer Vaknin.

139 Comments

  1. Interesting writing , I am thankful for the specifics ! Does someone know if my assistant would be able to get a fillable CA SLACAL SL-2 copy to use ?

  2. oh i asked leica london could they get me a red 50Apo as i saw a chap with one in a magazine which looked very Kool , the man owns leica and it was his birthday pressie form factory 🙂

  3. I gave in 🙁 lets see what its all about should be here in a few days ,to make matters worse Aperture Photographic in London have a second hand one with about £500 off the original price !!!Fantastic shop ! will try too shoot some street with 35 asph 2version , darn lifes to short , then a blooming m270 will come out :)))

  4. A question of cost vs. usage. I would love to buy and use an SL with the 50mm APO, but would be very uncomfortable taking this beautiful piece of equipment out of my studio. Personally my concern for the equipment would out weigh the pleasure of capturing images around me. The real use of any camera in my opinion. I own very nice Olympus gear that is expensive too, but nothing near the price point of the Leica SL with the 50 APO.

    I am interested in knowing from users their thoughts about taking it to the streets.

    Thanks,
    Frank

  5. love the pics here , sounds like a great camera the SL will have to buy one though probably in a few years when prices go down ,had m240 but have a OLD m9 mono now :)) seriously thinking off buying a couple 50mm APO s though as would be a good investment and i aint rich , Its all bought the glass ! the old leica mp film seems not too loss too much , digital is crazy for depreciation , have a great new year all the Huffters out there ! 🙂

  6. What a strange thread. It feels slightly perverse to read so many emotional messages relating more to the hardware than the art. Tomer, I’ve commented favourably on many of your images on Facebook and you take some nice shots. In my subjective opinion, these are not your best (oh, and I don’t really subscribe to the argument that people post shots for their technical value rather than artistic. Really?) I also have to be honest, Tomer, and say that I can’t really tell the difference between the shots you’ve taken with your SL or your other cameras. But that doesn’t really matter. If it ‘feels’ more like an extension of your creative vision, that’s cool. iPhones are doing that for millions of newbie photographers who have never previously picked up a camera, often with astounding results. And that’s cool.
    Steve, I really like your site and admire your enthusiasm and energy. But it can’t just be me who senses a defensiveness bordering on aggression in many of your responses to some reasonable comments. Particularly in relation to the a7 series. Honestly, I have no axe to grind on what you like to use or why, but if you want to host a site like this, surely you need to allow folks to express an opinion without fear of verbal intimidation.
    Listen, all art is subjective. People’s views about what they like or don’t like (as inconsistent as they are) are what makes creativity interesting. I’ve had mediocre shots of mine selected for online ‘galleries of excellence’ and have received negative criticism for others that have been commissioned for ‘000’s. So what? That’s taste. But maybe having spent my professional life creating for a mass audience, I’ve developed a thick skin. On the other hand, I always feel I have something new to learn from criticism.
    To declare an interest, I have a collection of leica camera’s and lenses, both for digital and film, and adore the brand aesthetics. I also love my M9 as my personal camera when I’m ‘off-duty’.
    At the same time, I have the a7r2 which I’ve used for awarded ad campaigns and 48-sheet posters where I would have once only used Medium Format. I think it’s a great little machine.
    So I am ‘camera-agnostic’. I just love the images. In fact, I’ve just shot a film across three continents using Alexa, a7s on Ronin Steadicam, a7r2, Dji drones, GoPro and iPhone. And I love ’em all!
    Anyway, enough of my rambling. Maybe I’ll get an SL, maybe not. All I will say is that – in my own subjective view – I have to see one image shot with the camera that has made my heart beat a little faster or the hairs on the back of my neck tingle with creative envy.
    Happy 2016 all!

    • To Malcolm, I only reply to trolls and those who come here to start trouble with a firm voice as I have a zero tolerance policy for it. For example, if someone comments in a SL post “The SL Sucks, XXX is better” yet they never even TOUCHED an SL, then they can not offer that opinion and they are only hereto be negative and troll. If someone comes here and says “Sony A7RII is a toy and only good for those who like toys” (yes, these are real comments) yet again, they never even held or used an A7rII, then I will let them know they are not welcome to comment here with their troll like responses.

      I try to keep this site negative free. I welcome any and all comments but when they are placed just to be hateful, negative and without any real basis for leaving them (as in, they have zero experience with what they say) they will get a response from me, or deleted. I have been doing the same for seven years.

      In any case, as I have stated hundreds of times, there are no bad choices when one buys a camera as long as the person buying it likes it or loves it. Doesnt matter what anyone else thinks, a camera is a personal decision, and this website is my personal site with my personal opinions. Nothing more, nothing less.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. 😉 Happy New Year as well.

  7. Great shots and helpful observations, Tomer. Is really tempting to go for SL, but for me and perhaps others in terms of economic rationality it might not make sense until we see how much of the SL and Q DNA makes it into the next iteration of the M (assuming there is one planned for 2016, around Photokina time). Of course I could succumb before then and have to eat these words, replacing my M240 w/ SL and just relying on Q when very light, portable and discrete is needed.

  8. I enjoyed the review and I believe that it is surely a great camera. I do however believe and know that a good photo doesn’t have absolutely anything whatsoever to do with 3D pop, megapixels or any other technicality. This camera or one of the Sony A7 cameras won’t make you a better photographer. I used an a7r for my last exhibition and I sold a lot but I’m seriously thinking about doing an iPhone only show next year.

  9. I personally owned the new Leica SL, M262, and M9P. I tested them all with many Leica M lens from Summilux 21 F1.4 to Summicron 90 F2 Asph. These cameras showed a different character. They suited a different purpose. I still love the M9P when hugged up with Noctilux 50F1 the most for portrait type. For SL, it’s a really great camera when shooting under a mixture of light. With the new 24-90 lens, the picture outcome becomes extremely sharp and not being flatted out. With M lens, SL becomes really amazaing. You can shoot with the old M lens, and still preserved its character, unlike M240 that the output is not like what I love for M9P. When you shoot Leica SL with the new M lens, Leica SL shows how new M lens are good for; especially for landscape. To me, I used to have MP240 and the picture quality is somewhat disappointed. No offense to Leica, the white balance of M240 is not very good; the skin tone becomes either too yellow or orange like. For Leica SL, this is not the case. Nex week, I’ll travel to ICELAND to test both M262 and Leica SL. Thanks for your input.

    • Yuth, are you going to publish your Iceland pictures online anywhere? If so, please provide a link to your site or photo account somewhere. I’m going there next year too and would appreciate any tips!

  10. This thread about the SL is a bit disturbing, in the sense that Steve seems to have thrown all sceptism over board – the new “Wunderkind” – and others who have never even physicall been close to the SL make expert opinions on something they have no clue about… This is not helpful nor very entertaining. Let’s try to bring the discussion back to the level it deserves.

    On another note, Steve thanks for all your efforts, hard work and a fantastic site for all us photomaniacs 🙂 Merry x-mas and I wish you some peaceful days to enjoy with family and friends and a great start in the new year!

  11. Nothing about performance of M superwides on SL. ZM 15/2.8, 16-18-24mm, Summilux 21/1,4. Any comments?

  12. First, the technical quality of these images is superb, I especially like the rendition of the 0.95 Noctilux and with the SL the results have fantastic 3D effect, great edge sharpness and ‘pop’. Also the bokeh is not distracting, very smooth which allows the subject to stand out beautifully.

    But, can I say, the photos rely on this technical quality for their interest. I am not saying they are bad pictures, just that they are relying on that aspect for their validity. I can see the desirability or covetousness of the camera/lens combination, but when you take a great shot that relies on composition, tonality, subject matter, interest, then these technical things are relegated to the back row.

    To get those great pictures, first you’ve got to get a creative mind that can see, you don’t need a Leica, but if that’s what suits, buy it with the lens you want and use it creatively. Same obviously applies to any other camera.

    • These photos are not going to compete with Annie Leibovitz for artistic merit, but I can understand what the SL is about when I see how amazing the color and pop are with these examples.

  13. Again, the color profile on the SL (along with the Q) is a home run. I think the initial backlash from hardcore Leica enthusiasts regarding the M’s terrible color output, and online petitions to bring back the CCD sensor; really got the engineers to focus on what makes Leicas great…a Leica camera, with Leica glass, produces enviable photos…and the SL further proves that. This camera should completely shutdown the whole CCD vs CMOS argument.

    And I’m really hoping that the new Leica M 262 has a similar color profile/AWB, and if so, I may finally buy into the M system. Wonderful set…and the first photo with the gentleman, simply fantastic.

    • The M 262 is the 240 inside and out. Just without video, and some slight cosmetic changes. It is what the M-E was to the M9, s stripped down more basic M but uses the same sensor as the M 240 along with the same color profile, etc. Its an M 240. We will not see a new sensor in an M until 2016 when the all new M is due near the end of the year.

  14. Bonjour,

    Nice pictures. I switched from Nikon (D810) to Leica SL. Wonderfull camera ! (also thanks to Steve’s review 🙂

  15. Is there any good reason to buy the M240 instead of the SL, apart from a few hundred bucks? I hope Leica gets the next M camera out sooner rather than later!

    • If you want a smaller camera that has an RF, then yes. But, the sensor and IQ of the SL is better IMO, even with M glass. The ease of focus is also wonderful. WYSIWYG.

      • I own a rangefinder, but it seems like an increasingly ancient focussing mechanism. I can imagine the next M could retain the form factor of the M (the sexiest camera design ever made) but with an EVF (maybe the one from the SL), keep the manual focusing, and abandon the rangefinder altogether. That way it would use the smaller M lenses, keep at least some of the hardcore Leica M fans, and mean that Leica offers 2 cameras: the SL with autofocus and the M for traditional manual focusing in the old form factor. Heck, maybe the “M” could stand for manual! But give us this new sensor, PLEASE!!!

  16. Lovely set of images. So vibrant and so much pop like Steve says. Also a very 3 dimensional look to them. If I only had the cash I’d buy one right now.

  17. @Tomer,

    New follower here on FB, liking your images alot!

    These pictures are fabulous. I am laughing at the comments above. Yes subject centre is very Rangefinder-esque for a very good reason – focus patch anyone? – but yes, have a go at manual focussing a lens then recomposing while the subject is moving, then come here and criticise composition! lol…

    My issue now, is I see this and what I get from my A7Rii and M9 and think my god how can I get this 3D pop. The answer of course is the Noctilux! so thanks mate for making me crave an upgrade from my Summiluxes!

  18. Hi Steve delighted to see you are enjoying your new camera. Am I understanding you correctly -have you dispensed with the auto zoom in favour of a M 50? I read some where that a new auto focus 50 is on its way. They say it will be a world beater. I would have used the zoom and my old Summicron 50 if I were lucky enough to own an SL!

    • The 50 Lux that comes out in almost a year for the SL will be 5X larger than the 50 APO and no where near as close to its performance. It will match the 50 Lux formula and look like a 50 Lux, just larger with AF. The 50 APO will be in a class of its own, even then. For color, bokeh and rendering it absolutely kills the old 50 cron. Night and Day. No lens like it, and I am happy to own it again.

      • Ive been told by a couple of people that own and use the 24-90 is very close to the APO output…and thats in a zoom! The lux coming will obviously be much larger but it’ll go close to the APO at the very least..it’ll be 3 years on in development since the APO came out.

  19. Nice photos from a absolutely amazing camera. My favourite Leica is the Monochrome but I know Leica enthusiasts will love the SL as a platform for their lens collections not to mention the new auto focus lenses present and soon to come-!

  20. Great image quality! I also use my SL only with M lenses (Nocti 1.0 and 50APO) and one 23mm T lens for quick work. Might sell my DSLR stuff next year and get the 24-90mm as well, but I assume that I will mostly attache the APO lens. Thanks for this interesting user review!
    John

  21. Your set of photos are the first set of Leica pics that make me say
    ..Oh that’s what they mean…the pics just look better than what I see from other cameras. Just too expensive for all but working pros and very rich hobbiests. I’m shooting Oly EM1 with pro zooms and primes. If I was still making money doing food photography (veggiepowerburgers.com) I’d get one like yours…hands down.

  22. Tomer! You rock! Thanks so much for the gorgeous artwork. Truly artwork.

    Since you are using manual lenses, could you please explain in detail how you nailed focus on these images? I guess I’m asking for your thoughts on hit rate.

    Surely you are using magnification and not focus peaking on the .95, right?

    Thanks again for such insight. I believe I’ll have to stick with my Sony gear but it’s fun to learn what Leica is doing. Btw- I’m renting the Q and it’s fun but so far the IQ doesn’t even approach the RX1Rii. I’m going to take some side-by-sides tomorrow.

  23. Very nice photos, but why should the 24MP SL sensor render more details than the 24MP M240 one (both AA filter free) when used with the same lenses. Some miracles of physics or users cognitive dissonance to justify the new purchase?

    • Actually you should know that the “guts” of new cameras do miracles with IQ. RAW isn’t pure raw and Leica knows how to pre cook things to achieve the maximum IQ. There’s a distinct/visible difference between a M240 and the Q or SL. Best wishes.

      • Yes as the sensors are 100% different, which is why the M is much different than the SL and Q, the sensor. The new sensor is much much better in every way.

        • Resolution is resolution, simple math and laws of physics and with the same lens the level of micro contrast revealed is identical.

  24. Wow, these photos have that pop that I have not seen since some of the early M9 reviews from Steve and maybe Ashwin IIRC. Awesome!!

  25. Simply beautiful photos! Funny because I just started using Leica cameras. If you would have asked me a year ago if I’d ever spend the kind of money Leica cameras cost, I would of told you how crazy that sounds. I understand now…

    I just received the M262 (coming from the Q). Getting use to it..but I already know I will love it. I can only imagine what the SL can produce.

    Thank you for sharing

  26. Yes, almost all these images are “richer” hue-wise. They seem saturated plus, not saturated neutral as say Olympus OOC jpegs usually are. They do have “pop” but I wonder if this is more related to shallow depth of field and high contrast than some subjective “pop.” I myself prefer colors/hues to be rendered more naturally, less saturated than these, more as-is. But it seems nowadays “pop” and saturation are more popular (no pun intended.) Does anyone else share my hue impressions for these images?

    • Agreed re “pop”, it appears that selective focus with wide open aperture at a subject relatively close to the camera was a technique, with saturation on the in-focus subject. It would seem this is a technique also available for any 135 format digital camera with fast lens

  27. interesting… we go from m to SL with 24-90 and then we switch to SL+primes because 24-90 is too big. But I really can not see any advantage to use the Sl in the 28-50mm prime range.
    I see the advantage of the SL for the Zoom, AF and Tele, and maybe for Noctilux or for M-lenses wich are not calibrated well.

    • You may be right my friend. at the bottom line it’s all about what you like the most. i buy the SL to use it ONLY with M lenses (I know it’s sound crazy) but i just love the combo of M lenses with the SL body. i don’t going to move to the SL lenses because i don’t care for autofocus (but the first SL prime will be available only in a year from now so until we try it nothing can be 100% sure)

  28. Maybe they might put the new CCD sensor in the new M to get cross sales happening! Two very different cameras then!

    Leica have a way of playing on the people that can afford multiples of their brand.

  29. I like this quote from your review:
    it’s M on steroids just without the Rangefinder, simple as that

    So M is a considerably small rangefinder camera, with a classic controls layout and SL is big non-rangefinder camera with modern controls layout. Yeah, it’s totally the same thing like you said. It’s just completely different.

    • If you read again my friend you see that i was talking about the M files. not the camera. thy both have great grip, and great Leica look files and just make you want to go out and use the camera.

    • Thank you!
      The only PP i did is in Lightroom. the SL make an unbelievable JPG files so all i do is try in Lightroom to compare the RAW to JPG by adding a little more contrast to the RAW and some blacks.

  30. Tomer
    Great pictures. I just preorder the SL based on the review from Stuff. Again it is very reassuring that SL really doing great with M lens. I probably will keep the M240 along with the SL at least until the new M comes out next year.

  31. It is called Rule of Thirds. The SL even displays it for you. Put the subject on one of the intersections of the grid lines. I don’t want to knock anyone’s photography. UNLESS a multi-thousand dollar setup is used to make shots like these. Composition is very important.

    • Rules of thirds are more like suggestions…you don’t need to stick to them. Yes, the OP was a little ‘centercentric’ in these shots but they are still good photos.

    • It’s called real photography with f/0.95 lens wide open in a street moving subjects. You should try it sometime.

      (Im sure you work with nikon zoom f/16 autofocus and You buy a nice photography book that teach you the rules of thirds?)

      • Exceptional photos? Nice snapshots with a high quality camera, yes. Exceptional, not in my opinion.

        On the other subject – 3d pop – I’m old enough to remember the phrase “Euroglass Snap.” That was back in the 80’s and 90’s when it was thought that only medium format glass from a European lens maker was good enough. Of course, the lenses from Mamiya were equal to, and in some cases (50 mm for Mamiya 6 and 7 rangefinders) much better. Times change but not the human penchant to compare and contrast, I guess.

    • Dear Corvus leave your new photography for dummies book at home and maybe you Nikon autofocus zoom 70-300 f/8 and go shot some street with Manuel focus f/0.95 and then leave a new command 🙂
      Thank you

    • Corvus before commenting, at least do a google on Tomer, he’s a fine photographer. You post is inappropriate to say the least. Regards

    • That’s what I’m wondering, too. The M240 and the SL use different sensors. I would expect that if you used the same lens and sensor combination, you’d get the same result, at least with a DNG file. These results really have me interested in the next release of the digital M.

  32. These look wonderful. Where can I find more of your work? Also I’m curious which lens was used for the girl with the glasses eating the popsicle? I’m debating which 50 to go with if I buy an SL. Currently I have the 50 Lux ASPH which I love.

    • Im not the author of this post but I have the 50 Lux, 50 APO and had a 50 Noct for a day to test with my SL. Winner by far for me was the 50 APO and I traded my 50 Lux and 24-90 for a 50 APO and 28 Elmarit. The Elmarit cant match the zoom for IQ or versatility but it almost does while being 40X smaller and lighter 😉 The 50 APO is just stunning as it always has been. IMO, Leica’s best lens. The 50 Lux though is also incredible on the SL, much better than it is on the M 240.

      • Steve,

        Did you decide to sell the 24-90 lens? I have a question on the 50 APO. You really love this lens. I currently use the SL with a 50 Lux. Will I see that much of a difference on the SL with a 50 APO compared to the Lux? I’ve owned the Noct 0.95 in the past but wasn’t in love with it. Thanks.

        • The 50 APO is a unique lens. It will offer more contrast, detail, micro contest and perfect corner to corner sharpness all while never rendering in an analytical way. The Bokeh is nice snd overall offers insane pop and 3D depth. The Noct will give the most 3D pop but its such larger, more expensive and hard to focus. But yes, there is a pretty large difference in the APO vs LUX, especially in color. Its the only lens that made the M 240 files appear to be medium format.

  33. Yes, I was thinking the exact same thing. Maybe a hangover from rangefinder focusing without recomposing.

    I tried an SL and I think it’s missing the “manual-ness” of the M ie visible shutter speed dial, simple labelled buttons. This incessant “abstraction” of functions really annoys me. Still, I didn’t use it in anger so the author above has much more knowledge than me.

    • Andy, I completely disagree with your take on missing the shutter speed dial. I shoot in Aperture Priority 99% of the time…just adjust my aperture/ISO as needed. I read a recent poll that said something like 80% of photographers do the same.

      Obviously it depoends on your style of shooting but for me I like to control my DOF and the quickest way to do that is shoot AP and just adjust the aperture ring…nothing faster.

      • I do the same. A mode 100% of the time for me, no matter what camera I use. I prefer to control DOF and let the camera control the rest. Makes life easier 🙂

      • I like the shutter speed dial on the MM and M9!

        But I don’t miss it on the A7RII, dialing with the wheel is easy too, once you got used to it.
        And I don’t use A so often, I prefer M, especially for studio flash shooting or stitched panorama and for situations with difficult light situations.

      • Usually I am a dial fan. I like to set f and A in manual mode. But I have to confess that I often have trouble reading the dial. Numbers on the M are so small and hard to read in dark spaces. That’s when I check the speed with the info button. What I really dislike on the M, maybe there is a solution that I haven’t found yet, is that the settings, especially ISO, are displayed really small on the screen. The display is large, mostly unused, and Leica puts the tiny numbers in a corner. I always have to get my reading glasses. While I like the manual dial, I see the benefit of the screen based interface. DIRK

  34. Tomer,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and i must confess that i also made the switch from the M 240 to the SL.Whilst i did like the formfactor of the M i never did bond with this camera because of numerous freezes and the dislike of the colors. Got a very good offer for the M which made it easy to switch to the SL. I love the SL with my M lenses and indeed the SL is after the Q the best camera i owned. An additional bonus is that i can use the 2 T zoom lenses. I know that i am left with only 10 mb but on A3 prints it is difficult to see the differences. The 18-56 and 11-23 T lenses are exceptionally good and perfect for documentary type of work. With the latest firmware update it is very easy, fast and accurate to focus the M lenses. I share your enthusiasm for the SL.

  35. “which until today have never seen any competition from any other camera” ask Leica what they think about the A7 series Tomer, they don’t agree with you. The original A7 was the first alternative to the FF M’s and the A7RII is more than an alternative, even voigtlander offers truly unique features to Leica users with the close up adapter only available in e-mount, hopefully in SL mount soon. The SL is just one more, Leica users need to chill a bit, otherwise Leica wont give us a modern view of a M. There’s no reason why Leica can build a M with an hybrid viewfinder. Let’s hope the pressure from Sony cameras keep up… Best wishes.

    • The modern M has been under development for 2 years already and will appear in 2016. My crystal ball says this is true, and its never been wrong. So the new M will come in 2016. Mark my words, and it will be much different than what we have had in the past. The A7RII is the ONLY competition for the SL, but it cant match or beat it in any way that i have been able to find, besides smaller size. The SL is in a class of its own, in fact, it has created a new class of Mirrorless with it that others will have to play catch up on. If you do not have one, you couldn’t understand, I know I didn’t until it arrived. The SL is absolutely incredible. The A7RII is as well, but to a lesser extent. For 90% of us, the A7RII is the best choice due to cost, lenses that can be used, and the fact that it has no real down sides. The SL is for those who have the cash, want the best mirrorless ever created and have some M or the 24-90 to use with it.

      • They are made here in Portugal Steve, maybe one day you can visit us. 🙂 Meanwhile I have a very different opinion of the SL and the A7RII, let’s just say I don’t agree and have find the sensor on the Q and SL quite limited for my work and editing. I’m sure in some years Leica will address it, but in the meantime for those that pay rent with photography investing in a 6.000€ digital camera is definitely a no go, be it Leica, Canon or Nikon. It’s not a thing against any of them, but there are better and cheaper options and for my work I depend mostly on size and discretion. I know for a fact that they are working on it for a few years and they even had conversations with Sony and other players, I just hope i all comes right since I don’t feel that way with the SL. I believe in the Barnack camera not the Graflex version of it. Best wishes.

    • “the A7RII is more than an alternative” that is true!!

      Since I got the A7R and now the A7RII I don’t use the M9 and the MM any more. It is a matter of fact, that I am selling the M9 and two Super-Elmar right now.

      I am surprised, that nobody mentions the difference in the sensors.
      The SL has and old 24 MP sensor compared to the 42 MP back lit sensor with IBIS of the A7RII.
      For less than the money of the SL you get the A7RII AND the A7s, one with IBIS and the other one with extreme high ISO capability.

      And you can mount ANY lens on the A7x, many with full support of EXIF and aperture and some even with AF.

      BTW: my M9 has the third sensor now including the first original one!

          • The sensors are extremely different, as the Leica sensor is optimized to work with M lenses. The design of the sensor stack on Sony cameras makes it impossible to use wide angle M lenses without smearing and color shift. A lot of research has gone into the Leica M, Q and SL sensors to ensure these old lenses work perfectly.

            That’s far more important of a difference than comparing test charts on DxO.

          • Lovely photos, Tomer. I really enjoyed this set. You have a good eye and the camera/lens combinations you have used render wonderfully. Nothing speaks as much for gear quality as real-life photo examples that are stunning like these.

            On the other hand I don’t see anything that couldn’t have been done with a basic A7 + Loxia and/or Mitakon 50/0.95. Many of the shots reminded me a lot of what comes out of the 50/2 Loxia. This is not to put down the Leica – it is clearly fantastic – but rather how far Sony/Zeiss have come to deliver IQ at a fair price.

          • Steve it’s not superior by any means. You like it, but it doesn’t offer things most of us really need. But try to work in a low light scenario where you lift the shadows and do the normal editing you would with any Sony or modern Nikon at high ISO’s and things get ugly very fast. Banding is also a serious issue, one that shouldn’t appear in 2015, and it appear, maybe you didn’t saw it but it’s there from ISO 3200 and above. I’m not speculating, use one on those real conditions, it’s there. I’m not even mentioning Video, AF capabilities or the unique features of the A7RII. You just don’t have any of these problems on the A7RII sensor, indeed superior to the Q and SL, you know there are serious flaws in that sensor. And the difference in resolution using the right lenses (not the FE 35mm f1.4 (QC is quite weak or the Zooms) between the two is significantly visible. I’m talking about the RAW’s. I love Leica, I’m not bashing it, quite the contrary other brands get flak when they do mistakes. But with Leica we rarely see any constructive criticism, only petitions asking for a CCD comeback. The SL is a good step, but by any means a revolutionary camera, maybe for Leica…but we had hints about it years ago. We know what they can do, they just need to concentrate on getting things on the right time. Like you say “The SL is for those who have the cash” but the best mirrorless right now is the A7RII it does everything and offers a real alternative to the 5DMKIII and D810 in Photo and Video. Photokina will be exciting, everyone is joining the mirrorless evolution even Canikon.
            Again Steve don’t get defensive, it’s only my opinion and experience with these cameras.
            It is a great article, specially if you follow Tomer site and work and understand where is coming from.

            Best wishes

          • No clue what you just said as most of it is not even true. Odd. Low light, the DR of the SL sensor is fantastic. No issues pulling out details from shadows or vice versa. Less noise than my A7RII when doing it as well. These files are rich, hardy and offer plenty of room to work with. Have not seen an SL file get UGLY at all, fast or slow and remember the SL files are much different than the Q files (yes, with the same sensor). Sounds like you do not know the facts and are making things up in your head for some reason. Again, no serious flaws in the SL sensor that I have seen…just gorgeous color, details and a richness I have not seen in most others. The SL is the best mirrorless camera made today, period. I should know, I have one. I have the Sony, all of the current models and the RX1RII. I use them all. I know them all extremely well. I love them all, but I will not lie and make things up to please a Sony shooter (of which I am as well). It is what it is.

          • Thank you very much Mike.
            I can tell you that i used Sony a7 + 50mm Loxia for more then a year and trust me that it’s very different. I don’t say it’s better or worse only different. I personally prefer the SL/M with any 50mm Leica more then the Sony + Loxia combo in most pictures.
            I show some pictures from great photographer that was captured with an Iphone 6 too that was better then the pictures i was caputers with a 12000$ kit.
            At the end the tool you use are pnly good as your skill and how good you know to use your tool and your environment.

  36. Thanks for the post. I really like the way those lenses render an image. I especially like the way the Noctilux looks. I stand firm on the excellence of the Minolta Rokkor 58mm f/1.2, but I must concede that the Leica has that same magic in spades.

    Cheers
    Tom

  37. Nice pictures, but isn’t it possible to move the focus point? Why all subjects are center? Images do have a huge amount of pop! About the vignette in some of the images, is it add in post? Thanks!

      • Why would you want to? Even with AF lenses on any camera I use center point and have for 15 years. I would never use a moving focus point for MF as it is right where I have always used it, and I have never in life had a focus issue with manual as I foucs where I need to.

          • George, I think what you mean is that the focus plane is flat, not curved. If it was perfectly curved to a sphere then focussing and recomposing would keep the focal spot in the exact plane. But since the focus plane is ‘generally’ flat then focusing and recomposing can put the subject out of alignment with the plane. This is all in theory of course, but for everyday shooting it rarely comes into play. If one was using a 0.95 lens and shooting close up facial portrait then it’s more of a factor, and using a focus point closer to the eye is recommended to prevent it. For most distances and depth of field it is a non factor. I know a lot of lenses have a bit of a focal plane curve right near the edges, but again this should not affect a focus and recompose technique due to it not being near the golden ratio area of the frame.

        • Focus-and-recompose is sloppy at best.

          It assumes a curved focus plane, and a subject that remains static while recomposing.

          With AF lenses this sloppiness can be alleviated with focus tracking, which is especially powerful on firmware upgraded A7II/A7RII bodies. On MF lenses it is far better to set your default focus magnification point to the left or right somewhere along the golden ratio, and to know your control dials/buttons.

          • I focus and recompose and have for 15+ years, never a missed or off image because of it. In fact almost every image ever posted on this site from me I used focus and recompose as I only use center point focusing no matter the camera I have or own or am testing, even my old galleries here from SEAL tour shows to my Homeless project. All F&R. It’s not sloppy at all when done correctly.

    • Thank you very much. it is possible to move the focus points. most of the shot’s that i share here was street photography that was shot at 0.95 so it’s not really relevant at this speed of lens. (for me any way)
      and about your post question i add a vignette only in one of the pictures

      thank you!

    • I think you totally missunderstood the point here. What Tomer was trying to show was the quality of the images, the Leica colour look and the quality of this camera. Not long ago many of us Leica lovers thought the CCD was something the CMOS could not compete with.Took me some time to realize it renders no less than the CCD, and this goes for the SL as well. Tomer was not bringing artistic photos to declaire what a fantastic photographer he is ( he is a very good one) he just wanted to show what a great camera the SL is

      • Not sure if its CCD vs CMOS or simply how the modern technician choses the colour array, but the warmth of the current Leica’s although great for many occasions sets the skin tone for Caucasian skin too warm, compared to the M9 etc. These are great images but the skin tones look a little flushed for me. On a side note I tried the SL with APO, and boy oh boy its so easy to focus, I don’t like the Peaking and you don’t really need any aids but with the zoom in, as much as I love the M, from a shooting perspective if it doesn’t have a evf like this one it will feel like a step backwards. And I’m not even sure I mean an attachment, those things looks ugly. Tough choice ahead, finally I found moving the zoom point very useful for some shoot’s. Mostly not needed, but hey. One pain though, you zoom out and then when you zoom back the point moves from where you had it back to the centre. I’d like it to stay where I put it, simple FW update. You really do need to hold the camera. It’s the quality of a M3 coppered to a M9.

      • I don’t think he misunderstood anything. He said they are nice pics and only mentioned that focus subjects are centered in all pictures, which is true. RF Leicas focus in the center and many leica shooters (as well as many dslr’s shooters) tend to focus and compose what’s in the center of the frame. That is not so obvious in close ups or scenics, but is very obvious in portraits with open angles. Tomer never said his pictures are works of art, and they are nice, but I don’t see any disrespect in commenting compositional aspects like those of any picture anyone decides to show. Maybe Tomer did it because he likes it that way, maybe because Leica SL focus in the center, I haven’t used it, while I have used M’s extensively and I’m very aware of the tendencies it induces in users. You have only to peruse Flickr.

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