VIDEO: Leica SL or Sony A9? My thoughts

VIDEO: Leica SL or Sony A9? My thoughts ; )

By Steve Huff

Just posted this video to my YouTube channel where I give my thoughts on the Leica Sl vs Sony A9. Now that they are closer in price than ever, which would I choose? I also show video AF between the two, and record part of this with the SL and part with the A9.

Video is Below, Enjoy!

Looking for a Leica? I recommend:

Ken Hansen – email him at KHPNY19@AOL.COM 

B&H Photo



  1. Steve, thanks for the great video. When used just for photography, not Video what are your thoughts on the Leica SL with 24–90 lens verses Sony A7rIII with 24-70 GM or 24-105 G lens? Does the much higher pixel count of the Sony make a big difference when compared to the Leica?
    Thanks again for running such a great site.

    • Well, all depends on what you do with the file. I still say the SL has intoxicating color, and I prefer it to Sony color by far. As for resolution, there is not a HUGE difference between 24 and 36 in reality. Unless you are printing HUGE as in 20X30 you probably would not see much difference, and even so, you would have to examine up close to see it in a print. The SL with 24-90 is huge as Leica decided to not compromise on the lens quality. When this is done, the lens will be amazing in performance, as the 24-90 is. The Sony with 24-70 GM will not deliver the same overall look that the Leica will but it will be half the size ; ) Or close to it.

      I will be honest as I can be. The SL is a beautiful camera with rich color and IQ. The Sony beats it in size, speed, low light, video, and lens availability. But there is osmotic about the SL that just always has me wanting it back, even when I have amazing cameras on hand. Ive unwed the SL twice, and each time I missed it. Yes I have a Sony, Hasselblad and Olympus setup but the SL is a wonderful tool.

      The Sony is technically the better camera but the Leica has some soul. As for IQ differences you will see that in the color, bokeh, etc and both are different in that respect. The Leica 24-90 is so good, it may shrink the MP disadvantage between the two.

  2. hello – and thanks for this interesting review steve. for what it’s worth i use a leica SL at work on film sets. previously i used canon 1dx in a soundproof housing, a setup which i built my career on; but big, intrusive, clumsy and not completely silent despite all that hardware. i love everything about the SL except, and it’s a big exception, that it takes forever to write files if i shoot in a burst. its a matter of waiting and waiting before i can shoot another burst. i also feel there is an unacceptable lag between shutter press and shot, when multiple shots are fired. i have watched lots of shots go uncaptured because of this limitation. also there is banding across all images captured with the electronic shutter under any artificial lighting conditions – sometimes it’s usable if the lighting is predominantly tungsten but overall that’s another big disappointment.

    handling the camera, as you say, is beautiful, but i am almost willing to forgo that to have a reliable system for fast, silent shooting. as you say, different priorities for every shooter, i just thought i would share mine with you.

    thanks again and regards,

    ben king

  3. For me the SL is the perfect addition to my M cameras. The EVF is terrific in combination with fast and/or long lenses. Even without focusing aids you can nail focus. If you need AF-lenses, you can buy them (though at a price). Video performance is terrific! Switching between photo and video modes is easy and intuitive. AF-performance for video is not really relevant for me. I never use AF for videos. I have a good follow focus and a great EVF, or an external monitor.

  4. Hi Steve,
    For me great colors are essential in choosing my gear. However, these days one system is not for all occassions. As much as I favour the Leica system and Leica colors, for tele / wildlife shooting, nothing beats the Olympus system.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope to see more “crazy comparisons” in your future posts. These are the posts that really make sense!

  5. Steve, I’ve the Leica SL and the Q too!
    I am thinking to buy the newest 28 Summicron – it performs better with digital cameras – to use with the SL, but I am not sure!
    Is it a bad idea as the sensor is the same and maybe the pictures will be the same too?
    Thank you!

  6. For $600, what camera would u recommend best for travel photos and videos ?

    P.S I have a Canon lens sitting around somewhere if it helps.

  7. Does it really matter what camera one uses? If he or she has no vision, any camera would be useless. Buy whatever floats your boat.

  8. For me, it is simple: when I want really “good” photos, I decide to carry my havy (and large) SL+24-90, when the focus is on travelling or only walking around (I’m a path-photographer) my Sony A7rII (with 24-70GM or 16-35) is the favourite. But everytime, I look on the 4K-Screen, I hate me, if some good photos were NOT taken with the SL and after all not with the wonderful 24-90. The Sony 24-70 GM is one of the best lenses, but in direct comparison with the Leica SL 24-90 you want shot only with the SL 24-90. So why I use two cameras? I couldn’t decide, but now I really know, what is the best for photos…. SL… nothing else. This said, only between the Sony A7rII and the SL with the the very best lenses for the two systems. I don’t have any experiences with the new A9, but I think the 24-70 GM will not become better on this body.
    For sports and video only I think the sony would be the better choice, but never for photography compared tho leica (and I also mean M10)

  9. Lulu, I am surprised the coolness of the colour makes it a deal breaker, surely a custom white balance would sort the issue, no?

    • I didn’t find it to be that easy when I had the A7ii and when I thought I’d nailed it, there was still something missing compared the Leica. Thx though )

  10. The SL’s got the best EVF in the business (and great build and design), great glass.

    Why would anyone want an A9?

  11. The A9 is becoming less and less appealing to me. The SL IQ (especially colors) are far superior. You mentioned “keeping the system smaller with small lenses”. This is a weakness in the Sony Alpha series as evidenced by the 35, 50 and 85 f1.4 which are huge. Nikon’s new mirrorless system is purported to have a curved sensor which would allow for small fast lenses, which was the original point of mirrorless. If Nikon is able to produce a mirrorless camera that capitalizes on the weaknesses (huge lenses and toy-like haptics) of Sony’s system, we might be in for some more good times with gear… 😉

  12. Hi Steve!

    According price difference you mentioned – in central Europe the gap is much closer as it is 5300 Euros for A9 and 5900 for the SL.

    best regards

  13. Steve, Thank you for your video. Just 10 hours before you posted this video, I’ve put a deposit on leica sl second hand mint condition with unregistered warranty and full $60 body sticker for $4880.

    I came from nikon, Olympus, fuji, leica m240, and the latest one, Sony a7rii that I sold 2 weeks ago. I just didn’t feel any connection at all with the Sony. The menu is making me up to the point where I gave up trying to set my preference because for unknown reason it got reset. I own batis 85mm, 18mm and sony 35 1.4(thanks to your review. And you’re right, what an amazing lens!).

    The last camera that I’ve feel an emotional attachment and making me want to use it is leica m240. However I hate using my glasses everytime I want to shoot. And the evf was a dog…

    Coming from the outdated tech in it to sony a7rii was a dream come true.. At least on paper.. Because at the end, I didn’t enjoy it after the initial months. It feels too much like a computer. The output is great and the high ISO capability is what I’ve always wanted. However everything from the looks of the lenses, body, and operation feels too much uninspiring for me. I hate the grip, it didn’t fit in my hand and I had to use a battery grip to make it comfortable. The evf for some reason got me excited when I heard the spec but it was OK. Certainly didn’t amaze me from the beginning I’ve used it.

    At the end, I want to change before the price went down too severe. I lost 37% from my initial buying price within 10 months of usage. I’ve never been so shocked when I got many offer at that price mark. Sony body depreciation is real after all.. I always thought that people exaggerate it.

    Almost pull the trigger on fuji but afraid that I won’t like it again because of the build quality (xpro1 I tried feels odd and hollow, xt1 is too thin and I’m afraid of dropping it) and overall feels.

    At the end, I found that deal on sl and I decided that’s it. I don’t have much budget on camera this time, so I couldn’t afford getting the 24-90. I just getting sl with 50 sonnar (lens I’ve always wanted but too afraid to get when owning m240 due to the focus shift.). I hope one day I can buy the 24-90 to complete my kit.

    Reason I went with sl. I just recently got married and my wife insisted on me stopping my habit changing camera so often. So she said the next one will need to last at least 2 years! So I mulled over and I thought if it’s gonna be the lasting long it got to be a camera that can impact me emotionally. So far only leica manages to do that. Also I love the longer grip. I bet I could fit my hand without battery grip needed.
    Great Evf for manual focusing? Yes please.
    Build like a tank? Of course.
    Great and clean design including its lenses? Absolutely!
    4k video? Exciting!
    Finally, half joking, red dot and huge leica logo on top to inspire me shooting(after the fact I spent a lot of money on it)? Give me!

    Hehe.. So hopefully this camera will last me a long while. Thank you Steve for giving leica sl a chance and admit that you were wrong.. Because of that review and sl+50sonnar combo review, I am confident that I got the camera that I’ve always wanted.

    Cheers to you!
    PS: please review voigtlander, zeiss lenses for us on budget to go with the sl. Would be very appreciated!

    • The cooler colour rendering from the Sony makes it a deal breaker for me. It’s a shame because in every other way the camera looks so good. Probably a daft question but why don’t Sony design their sensors to produce warmer colours?

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