Is the Leica SL Still Relevant in 2019?

Is the Leica SL still relevant in 2019?

By Steve Huff

Pound for Pound, Dollar for Dollar the Leica SL is certainly not a “value” by todays standards. It’s four years old and still comes in at around $6000 for a body only. I have been talking a lot about the “old” SL for a couple of weeks here as I still really love this camera but with the arrival of the Panasonic S1, the SL is starting to show its age in some areas. Even so, this doesn’t mean the SL is outdated or unusable. Quite the opposite. In fact, if you own an SL then it is still just as wonderful today as it was four years ago. As I get older I start to realize that newer is not always better. I have a few cameras here and they all get used for something specific but none give me the all out satisfaction of the SL (The Panasonic S1 gets close though) even after all of these years that it has been out.

I will share images taken with the SL over the years here in this post, so yes, all images here were shot with the SL along with M mount lenses from Leica, Voigtlander and Zeiss. A few with the Canon 50 1.2 and the new Zenit Helios 40-2. 1st image below with the Voigtlander 35 1.2 II, 2nd image with THIS lens. 

The SL is one of those cameras that took a while for people to catch on to. When it was released it was more expensive than it is now ($7500) and most just saw those huge native lenses for it and said WAY TO LARGE and WAY TO COSTLY! As good as those large lenses are, and they are stunning, most did not want a giant 35mm system. With the Sony cameras starting to nestle in as the Kings and Queens of Mirrorless and Fuji rocking it with Leica like designs for APS-C, the SL was overlooked by so many, and I understand why.

It was huge, it was expensive and the glass was also quite large. There is no such thing as a small native SL lens, at least back then.

I fell in love with the SL once I truly learned it’s simple control setup, which took a day or two for me to fully get used to. Once I did though, I found it such a joy to use. Almost an ethereal experience on some occasions. If you are used to a DSLR like a Nikon or Canon, the SL will feel strange to you. If you are used to a Sony A7 or A9, the SL will feel LARGE to you but after a few days, my guess is that it will start to feel REALLY good to you. For me, I fell for the SL build, sleek design and the fact is that it is not that much larger than a Sony A7 series body yet it feels much better and nicer in build (as it should, I mean, the SL even today sells for $6000). It’s solid, and when I started shooting Leica M glass with it, like the 50 APO, the 28 Lux or the 90 Summicron I was blown away and said “THIS is what this camera is meant for”!

Top with the 35 1.2 II, middle was actually with the 24-90 Zoom and the last with a 50 APO. 

The SL to me felt like shooting an M 240 with that GPS grip they used to sell for it. Taller, but thin. Solid but not too heavy. Much like an M but with a world class EVF and no rangefinder to drift off (which happens with all M’s eventually). The EVF was the best of the best at the time (now surpassed by the Panasonic S1) and shooting manual focus M lenses was so much fun but also gave back amazing quality. When I look back at my old SL images it brings a smile to my face. There is a richness to the files, the color, the “look” that I just do not get with other cameras. To me it is more like the M240 (which I loved) in IQ over the more contrasty M10 but the color is superb, especially with amazing glass like that crazy expensive but beautiful Leica 50 APO. It produces a medium format type of look.

Another with the 24-90 SL zoom, 1st image. The 2nd was with a 50 f/3.5 Voigtlander M mount lens, the last two with a Nikon 58 1.4

I have read many comments over the years on forums from those who just hate on this camera because of the red dot. Most never shot with one, especially with M lenses yet there was so much hate coming at the SL. Therefore, sales numbers probably were not amazing but I do know several who still own and use an SL and they adore it. It’s interesting to see hate slung at the SL yet praise of the new S1 which is basically an updated SL in Panasonic clothing. I have the S1 also, and it is one of the best cameras I have worked with for my shooting preferences (concerts, low light) and yes it beats the SL in almost all areas of IQ from High ISO to Af speed to having 5 Axis IS, Eye AF, Lovely video due to that 5 Axis and lovely skin tones. But when shooting the S1 it doesn’t feel anything at all like the SL and I still feel the SL has richer and nicer color than the S1.

Yes, they are about the same size, same shape, use the same mount and are more similar than different with the EVF but the Leica to me just “feels” better in my hand. The joystick has a more confident click when pushed to expand the manual focus area, the sleek back without buttons makes it feel more comfy in my hands. It seems to just make me smile more. The diopter is brilliant, just twist the dial behind the massive viewfinder. Solid clicks set it into place. Large and easy to rotate to dial in the perfect focus for your eyes.

The first three images below, I believe were take with a 50 Summilux f1.4. The last with a Voigtlander 35 1.2 II

The dilemma is that the Panasonic is better in most areas of IQ and tech AND is less than half the cost of the SL. The SL is $6,000 and the S1 is $2500. That is a tough pill to swallow but now that the S1 is out I feel more and more will get a small taste of what the SL is like. I am keeping my S1 as it’s just so so good in so many ways. To me, it really may be the ultimate 35mm format camera. It is larger but after shooting the S1 or SL for a few weeks and then going to something else in mirrorless, well, those something else cameras feel too small, and some of them toy like. The S1 is serious and for those who spend $2000 or more on a mirrorless, this is one serious camera to consider as just like the SL, you can use adapters to shoot M lenses, Canon lenses, Nikon lenses. It’s versatile and fun, and can deliver some very artistic results via unique lenses. I also found it renders with M lenses better than something like a Canon EOS-R or Nikon Z (neither I would recommend for shooting M glass).

The SL with the Zenit 85 1.5 40-2 Lens (It’s Cheap but Good)

I know most will be looking at the Panasonic native lenses like the 24-105 which I also have here, and it’s a good lens (but f4) and it feels like a kit lens. There is the 50 1.4 and 70-200 but they are large. We will soon see glass from Sigma for this mount as well, which many will embrace but if you own an S1 or SL, I urge you to at least try one small M mount lens, even from Voigtlander. Something like the small 35 f/2 Ultron is beautiful on either of these cameras. A jewel for under $1000.

More from the SL…

Image one with the Voigtlander 50 f/3.5. Image 2 with the older original Leica 50 Summicron, image 3 with the Voigtlander 35 1.2II, the 4th image was shot with the Leica 50 APO (which the voigtlander 50 f/3.5 renders like, just with a slower aperture and for only $529. The last image was taken with a beautiful Zeiss 50 f/1.5 Sonnar. 

But going back to the SL… I feel its time is nearing the end for being able to buy it as there will be an SL2 coming, and reports say this year. Unfortunately (for me) if rumors are correct the new SL will be using the 47 MP sensor which is not a bad thing of course, but for me, I prefer 24 megapixels as it delivers the lowest noise levels and will also offer faster AF and possibly better DR (but don’t quote me on that). I just love that 24MP sweet spot. As you can see in my Leica Q2 review, that camera also uses the 47MP sensor and it was not very good in low light. In daylight it was beautiful though.

So the SL2 that may be coming this year may have that 47MP sensor! This makes sense as it will be there big bad ass 35mm mirrorless and many feel “more is better” so it should generate some excitement. I am just not sure how they will compete price wise with the Panasonic S1R. That’s another story for another day when the SL2 is official. We will see. Actually I should say I do not know how they will compete for the masses, as those who love Leica will understand it’s more than what’s inside, it’s also how its built, designed and the minimalistic approach to the camera body. The reality is that the SL2 will be a hard sell if it is 2X the cost of the S1R.

If someone asked me today what my perfect “desert island” camera would be I think it would be the current SL body but with the new EVF and new 24MP sensor. Add in 5 Axis for smooth video and call it a day. It will never happen but that’s because its an oddball idea and not many would buy it (but I would)!

All shot with the SL…the first two with the Zenit 85 1.5 40-2 Helios in Canon mount using a cheap adapter. The third with the Canon 50 1.2 EF, manually focused. The next image with the Voigtlander 35 f2 Ultron, then the 50 1.2 EF again and finally one with a Zenit 16mm f.28 fisheye. 

Yes the “old” Leica SL has been a camera I have come back to time and again. It pulls me back like it has some kind of mystical magic mojo, a hold on me that I can’t shake. I used to feel this way about the M line of cameras but after never having one issue with an SL (focusing or otherwise) and experiencing that EVF, well, I was sold. With all of that said, the SL is not the greatest in low light. Most cameras today trounce it there. I mean, it is good by the standards set five years ago, but not by 2019 standards. The Panasonic S1 on the other hand is crazy good in the darkest of situations. The way that camera deals with noise is beautiful. Expose correctly and you can get 51,200 ISO shots at night with acceptable noise levels, if you like the 1600 film look.

#1, 2 and 4 with the Leica 50 Lux, #3 with the 24-90 and the last one with the Leica 50 APO


So this article was just one to write as I sit here on a Friday morning looking at the SL and S1 on my desk. It is lovely how far we have come since I first reviewed the old Panasonic GF1 so many years ago. The SL to me is one of the greats, in my top 2-3 cameras of all time, again, for me, my tastes, and what I shoot and how I shoot. You may hate it, or hate shooting manual lenses but for me it is like therapy to do so. It makes me feel like I am doing the work, and not the camera. A Leica is simple and gets out of the way of the photographer or creator and says “You must master me, and when you do, I will reward you”. It’s a lifetime camera, or as long as it may last. The S1 on the other hand is new, still unproven for reliability (but mine has been good so far) and it has the DNA of the SL all throughout and gets close to the SL experience, but not quite. I can not put my finger on it but it has to be the Leica Mojo drawing me in. Sleek, sexy, smooth, solid, minimal and beautiful. I am torn as I see the benefit in IQ and PRICE with the S1 but at the same time, to me a camera is more than a sensor so yes, I still adore the SL even with the S1 being here.

With that said…

If you are looking at full frame options, want something that has a pro solid build and FEELS solid yet nice, want the latest sensor tech and tech features, you must look at the S1. Do not discount it as anything lesser than a Sony or Nikon or Canon. At least give it a try in a shop, or even rent it for a few days. I urge you to also try it with an M lens of some sort, any brand, to see how lovely the experience can be. Grab a Voigtlander 50 1.2 or Canon 50 1.2 EF with adapter and manually focus for a day or two. Set those lenses wide open as well, and your S1 shutter selection to automatic to allow full sun shooting wide open. (This auto chooses electronic shutter when in bright light). You may be surprised! Also shoot RAW & JPEG as the JPEGS may surprise you from the S1 (they are much nicer than the SL JPEGS).

Two with the lovely little 35 f2 Ultron from Voigtlander in low light. 

Anyway, just wanted to share some of my love for the SL and now the S1. Lovely lovely cameras that can stand the test of time. As for the title of this post, “Is the Leica SL Still Relevant in 2019” I say YES, 100%. If you love Leica and have the cash and want a solid simple body that is easy to use and is lovely with adapted lenses, the SL is a camera that will still be as good in 5 years as it is right now, and it is still VERY good. As long as you do not need 5 Axis IS, Eye AF, or fancy gimmicky features the SL will be a treat. For me, the magic lies with using these small, manually focused lenses. This keeps the camera lighter and well balanced as well as one of the best manual focus digital cameras on earth today.

Steve

INFO ON ALL I USE HERE

You can check out the S1 at Amazon HERE or B&H Photo HERE.

I use this adapter for M lenses on the SL and S1

This is the BEST M adapter for the SL (as it reads the 6 bit Leica Lens code)

I use this cheap adapter for Canon EF lenses.

You can check out the Leica SL HERE at B&H Photo. Also at Amazon. 

59 Comments

  1. Steve you have used this camera with a Nikon mount Voigtlander 58mm f1.4. What adapter did you use? Thanks!

    • I reviewed that lens on the SL, but I just bought one of those cheap $30 adapters from Amazon. Do not remember the one I bought. Any cheap one will do.

  2. Is the Leica SL still relevant? It is for those who want fantastic IQ from the world’s best lenses. It is understood that it will be outdone by newer cameras, but the SL will still be capable of producing fantastic images. It is largish, especially with native lenses, so some users might prefer using the SL with M lenses, as I do. Few of us have need for more than 24MP, so I have no intention of upgrading to an SL2. Nor am I considering either of the Panasonic L offerings, though I do not doubt that they are excellent.

  3. FWIW I use the SL with my R ROM lenses. Ergonomically it works well and some of those R lens produce amazing results, even though they are @ 20 years old.

  4. Hi Steve, I would like to ask you if the yield of the m and r preasferential optics on the s1, in your opinion are similar to the sl or are there obvious differences, like the yield at the edges? or for a greater three-dimensional rendering, which made these lenses famous. I for now use these optics adapting them to the sony a7III, but the yield does not satisfy me too much. Thank you

    • Personally I found the lenses I own and use did better on the S1 over the SL. Keep in mind I am using mostly Voigtlander M lenses. They were sharper, and had less vignetting on the S1 over the SL. They are better on the S1 and SL over the Sony.

      • Since the Canon doesn’t have manual f stop ring how do you set the f stop on the 50mm
        EF L lens?

        • With an adapter like the Novoflex (expensive) you can have AF and Aperture control (from the camera dial just as yo would on a Canon body) but the Novoflex is $650 – https://bhpho.to/2GDG2qn

          The adapter I use is $35 and doesn’t offer AF or aperture control. Lens is always wide open, which works for me as that’s the only way I shoot ; )

  5. Thanks for the great review on the SL Steve. I have both the Q and the SL and take both with me when on photo-oriented trips; e.g., Venice Carnival, SoEast Asia, etc. The SL comes out for the serious shots and the Q complements the street photography when just walking around. Like you, I love shooting with the SL, either the 24-90 or the 50mm. One issue have though I have with the SL is the tendency to have the camera go into other modes such as P or S Mode when in A without much effort when shooting, especially in the midst of shooting in a very quick, rapidly changing situation; sorta like in the shooting in the midst of battle. Have you had this issue or can you suggest a work around (besides checking the settings regularly?) It’d be nice to have a stop button before changing modes as commonly found on the DSLR’s.

    • Hey Stephan, thanks for the comment. I have never once, in four years had the SL go into another shooting mode. Strange that you have this issue! I set mine to A mode, and it has never changed..unless I changed it to M which I sometimes do.

  6. S1 : Simple 1 …… Few buttons. Zen : stills only.

    C1 : Cinema 1 …… Buttons buttons moooore buttons 4K60.

    Is there a niche for such ? Who knows.

  7. “Is it still relevant?” …well I don’t know the answer to that question because in today’s world of camera technology, it has become increasingly difficult to justify the premium price the red dot is commanding unless you just GOTTA HAVE a Leica 😉 The question; in a new purchase scenario, is the SL worth $3,500 more than the S1. For me, the answer is emphatically and categorically no, the S1 for the money is the smarter choice. If, on the other hand, you bought the SL back in 2015/16 as an early adopter, then you’ve already taken the depreciation with fun and the joy of ownership factored in and in that case your SL is still extremely relevant 😉

  8. Thanks Steve,
    actually I’m looking for a camera body to shoot M glass with (without spending $$ on a M body…) I understand that the S1 is better than Sony or Nikon mirrorless options and does work as well as the SL for this purpose? (Not interested in those huge new lenses) Thanks agains

    • The S1 is fantastic with all of the M glass I have been using, even the 15mm Voigtlander. Love this camera with M lenses, and of course you can also shoot native glass. Even the Leica 25 1.4 TL mount lens is amazing on the S1. One I may even buy for use on it for an auto focus 50mm f.1.4 equivalent. The color, contrast and bokeh of this lens is outstanding. Also one of only two TL lenses made in Germany. Will talk more about it in my full review of the S1.

  9. Hi Steve,

    I enjoy reading your posts. Your approach to photography, cameras and lenses resonates with me. I’ve a question, please, because I’m considering a Leica SL — I’m a lapsed Leica user — and I’d like your advice. If you could have one Leica 50mm lens, would you choose either the LEICA NOCTILUX-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH or the LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2 ASPH? Perhaps your answer may come with a caveat about the type of photography one is most engaged in — but I’d rather leave it open for your comment.

    Regards,

    Andrew

  10. Steve,
    Thanks again for a great review. Since going with an X1D I’ve been leaving my M10 at home and using a Q for backup. That said, I’ve been thinking of replacing the M10 with an SL primarily due to my aging eyes. Your review of the SL and Panasonic have given me two alternatives.

    BTW, I agree with you on the 24MP sensor for full frame 35 mm cameras..

    Regards,

    Sanford

  11. Steve, thank you for all the great in-depth information. Was wondering if you’ve shot the S1 with either the 21mm f/2.8 or 28mm f/2 aspherical lenses? Use these two a lot on my M-E and M6 film camera. Are there corner/edge issues?
    Much thanks in advance.

    • The only wide angle I have is a 15mm Voigtlander and it does great on the S1 without any issues I have seen. I do not own the two lenses you mention, so have no way to test them.

  12. The SL is still very reliant in 2019 but it looks expensive today as it did when it came out. I had one until Oct 2018, loved it and only used it with Leica M glass, had a 50mm limited edition f1.4 on it most of the time. Wonderful files from it as you say Steve, I believe the sensor is from the same Israeli company that makes the Nikon D850 sensor which is also a fantastic camera and gives wonderful files. At the end of the day its hard to find a bad camera these days, it’s down to what works for you and your needs and your budget, whether you have a brand you favour or will give any company a try.
    I have been shooting Nikon and Leica and Hasselblad since my first Nikon in 1980’s and my first Leica a M6 in 1997.
    To be honest I cannot think of any cameras that I have owned that have been a dud, well I did have the first Sony Mirrorless but it was awful with Leica glass, but they have sorted it out now.
    My advice is don’t keep changing cameras for the latest new thing every year but spend that money instead on a trip that inspirers you to take photos and enjoy using the camera you already own.
    The new SL2 may well be fantastic but the SL will still perform for many years to come and is still relevant in 2019.

  13. still love my SL, don’t see what a newer camera will get me
    thanks for the wonderful article Steve

  14. I feel you….and like you I love my SL (typ 601) soooo much…the joy of using, the joy of looking at the files I get, you name it..It never is a justifiable camera from “spec” perspective, even way back then when it competes with Sony A7R with sexier specs. With all digital cameras now are excellent tools that can take good pictures, the decision to pick a camera becomes more subjective, and closing in on preference which comes to the joy of use, our sense and bonding with the equipment. To me, that would be SL.

  15. Steve, Thanks as always for the thoughtful article. I have been using the SL for several years and really enjoy it. Will be returning the S1R this week. While a wonderful camera, the gestalt does not compare to shooting with the SL. The simplicity and quality of the SL, at least in my mind, outweigh the features and function of the S1R.

    • I hear you and agree with what you say. I feel I will keep the S1 as it does things in low light that no other camera I have seen do (even A7SII). But nothing touches the SL for design and usability IMO. Thank you.

  16. Your article is spot on as the camera is most definitely relevant!
    As a hobbyist, I’ve owned every version of the M since the M6 TTL and have always upgraded to the latest version. I always bought black models so the spouse would not be prompted to offer a challenge. As increasing age weakened my vision I bought the SL along with the 24-90 when first released and then sold it some 18 months later due to the size and weight argument. After all these years (and with the long awaited arrival of common sense), I decided enough is enough so no more changes. However, a recent vacation in Cape Town, South Africa with my M10-P left me with a certainty. The SL was the camera to have had on that trip if only in terms of the versatility it offers in a single unit.
    After reviewing my library of ‘old’ SL images, the fundamental conclusion is that overall, the SL delivered more consistent & better results than my M’s. It appears my ‘common sense’ is due for an upgrade, but the fear is the wife will spot ‘LEICA’ emblazoned on the front of the SL!!! So, if the SL2 were to go with a ‘stealth’ theme……….

      • YES, an M with built in EVF is my dream camera! I’ve been saying this ever since the SL was first released. I don’t understand why Leica refuses to do this. The higher resolution sensors will only further expose the shortcomings with rangefinder alignment etc. If Leica can make an M with just a B&W sensor, or with no rear LCD panel then surely they can make an M with a top notch EVF. This would outsell everything else in their lineup, guaranteed.

        In a perfect world Leica continues to make an M rangefinder but adds an EVF in an M style body to their collection.

      • Thats what i thought. I am getting older as well and with me my eyes, so manual focus is not as accurate as it used to be. I bought the Visoflex type 020 for my M10 and i really like it. It is not an par with the best in class (not for panning around but who does that for stills anyway) but its sharp and bright. Maybe with the next itaration of the M there will also be an new evf. this time most likely to be downwards compatible with the M10. I thought about the SL, too, but now i stick with the M. I played with the SL and i would agree, that it is really a joy to use with M lenses from any brand. Just like the Q, a used SL is really something to consider today.

    • I think cameras have achieved a sort of “nash equilibrium” at 24mpix and generally excellent performance from all ILC cameras. You can get better performance in specific areas in one camera over another, you can get higher resolution from some cameras, but overall, a modern 24mpix camera and good lenses could keep most any still photographer working today happy for a lifetime.

      That Nikon, Canon, and Panasonic have 24-26mpix cameras released along with their higher-res sisters tells you all you need to know about the relevance of this level of photographic capability. It will take a while before other needs pile up sufficiently to make today’s 24mpix cameras feel limited and obsolete.

      So the SL is, to me, still relevant. It has taken years for a better EVF to finally surface, and it is still capable of amazing quality.

  17. Steve,
    Thank you for the reassurance that the SL is “still relevant.” I almost sold mine to get something more modern, which would have been a big mistake!! As you having pointed out of the last 4 years, it is a wonderful camera, especially with small, manual focus lenses. I’m thinking of getting a CL, as a smaller complement to the SL, with the same philosophy of using the small but beautiful M mount glass (Voigtlander and Leica). The SL will be my “Go To” camera, but when I need something smaller and lighter, I will pick up the CL.
    Thanks again for the great insight!!

  18. Maaaaan I’m irrelevant.

    Leica SL sure thing seeeesh was Leica Q style small interchangeable 27MP ever in Leica’s pipe dream :
    some may say CL is it but butt aaaand its a Biiiig BUTT CL ain’t FF.

    Checked out once more SL yesterday yeah it’s sleek it’s zen still its a Monsterr Truck when M lenses placed on it.

    • I am using a cheap one I found on Amazon but it is very limited. No auto focus, and I cannot change the aperture. It’s wide open for any lens. It was a $35 adapter and they seem to have all sold out a couple of weeks ago. There is a Novoflex adapter but that is a $650 adapter. It gives AF and all function but it’s pricey.

  19. I am planning to transition from my m9p to something. Due to economic changes, i have to weigh my choices carefully. I have a few M lenses that I am using and would like to stick with them. I rarely shoot in extreme light or speed situations. While it is tempting to look at the spec sheet on the S1, I love the look of the SL. It may just be me, but based on prior experience with panasonic, I am seeing shades of a yellowish cast in the images I see, especially the highlights. I don’t see those on the SL. Still, is it worth paying an extra $2000 for a used SL or should I just stick with getting an S1?

    • After shooting both side by side, my brain says S1 as it has a better sensor for most aspects but if you never shoot in really low light or High ISO past 6400 the SL will IMO offer better color and overall IQ. The SL body IMO is nicer as well. If I did not shoot at higher ISO I would spend an extra $2k for the SL. I would have a hard time justifying $3500 extra for a new body because the S1 is a fantastic camera.

      • Sometimes I have to hand my camera to other people. While it is well known that the sl lenses behave like native lenses on the S1, is the reverse true? Based on your advice, I am thinking of getting an SL, albeit used. I was planning to get the 24-105 S lens to keep the cost down. In the few times I need AF, especially when someone else is taking the picture, I was wondering if the 24-105 would work?

        • Sure, the 24-105 is AF and will work just like any other AF lens on any other camera. Just with a much nicer EVF to look through. It is also much larger than most other lenses, so it will be large!

  20. I would say it is still completely relevant. In fact when you get tired of it, just send it to me! Heck I still shoot with a Canon 5dmkII and T1i.

  21. As a M, CL, SL user I purchased the Lumix S1 to compare against the SL. I am impressed by this 1st generation FF product from Panasonic. Although the S1 is a fairly complex camera (500+ pages for the user manual). It’s main asset is the EVF viewfinder as the in body image stabilisation and better high iso performance. This camera, as the SL, is an ideal camera for adapting older manual focus lenses. The image rendering of the S1 is great but if you compare it against the SL, I find the S1 rendering more “sterile” the SL paired with Leica glass has something special that I can not reproduce on the S1 (with Leica M glass). Do I like the S1, yes I do. Will I sell the SL? Absolutely not.
    These are just my first impressions as I only have this camera for a couple of days. I played around with some SL and TL glass and can confirm the TL glass works on the S1 (at a lower res) the S1 kit lens works on the CL.

  22. I’ve owned countless cameras from Canon, Sony, Fuji, Mamiya and yes Leica. For me the SL is my favorite camera hands down. I loved shooting an M but there were a lot of limitations if it was one’s only camera. The SL is really a do everything rig, at least for me. Works well with M glass, world class AF lenses and whatever else you want to adapt to it.

  23. Thank for your description of the SL. I have been using Leicas M for some decades now, and I was glad to be reassured that M lenses work very well on the SL. But my question is: what about R lenses? I use some to complement the focal distances of the M (180 and 280 Apos) on the M (240), but although usable is not optimal, mainly because of shutter lag.So what about the SL with those kind of lenses, so you have any experience (or know somebody who has)? Thank you very much. Rui

    • Maybe for you, but that is only partially true for me. I enjoy finely made things and for me the experience of using my SL makes me want to go out and shoot. A $2000 Sony might produce similar images but I find no joy in using the equipment. I am not alone in this thinking which is why Leica, Panerai and other high end companies exist.

  24. Hi Steve, I have a lot of leica stuff M and R. Leica manufactures different cameras now and seems to have som kind of flow. So I wonder (and don’t a lot of you out there should also) “Leica please make a simple full frame house with a 20-30 mp sensor for the R lenses.” There must be hundreds of thousands of them out there and they’re so good. No adapters just a house. Please! Dick Ps. My son has Leica SL and likes it the way you do Steve.

  25. Well you’ve got a lot to answer for Steve.
    Been a pro photographer all my working life graduating from large format Sinar in advertising photography to press photography for the last 30 years.. Use Canon in my day job and gave what some people would describe as a dream kit of every prime and zoom L lens right through the range probably well in excess of £30,000 worth. But that’s the day job. Been niggling me that I wanted something to reignite the passion for weekends and holidays. Loved the idea of an M Leica and the simplicity of old lenses but wasn’t sure I could make the seismic jump back to rangefinder etc. Your review of the Q when it came out was enough to convince me to buy one. Loved it and think it’s the ultimate street camera. Can’t say enough good things. Then you reviewed the SL and I could see the benefits of having that body with a 24-90 lens that could do 90% of what I needed on certain jobs. So I took the plunge and also bought the voightlander 12mm for architecture etc. Last 2-3 years you’ve cost me a bloody fortune! However here’s the rub; about 18 months I suffered a detached retina in my right eye losing a considerable amount of vision. Fortunately my camera eye is the left one for the DSLR’s that earn the bread and butter so not affected. However if I’d bought the M I’d have been in trouble. Your recommendation for the Q and SL means I can still use those easily and with manual lenses on the SL to boot. When I bought both Leica’s I knew they’d bring out MK 2 versions but very importantly I knew I’d be happy with these two models for years to come, perhaps for ever. No need to upgrade unlike the DSLRs which get upgraded regularly. What I’m trying to say is thanks for the advice Steve and I won’t be needing to upgrade to the MK2 versions because these do what I need and I can live with what they can’t.

    • You shoot architecture? I have a question! I’ve been thinking about the fact that maybe we don’t need shift lenses for digital cameras (assuming sufficient resolution). We can either crop half the frame away, or apply keystone correction, and we still have a very good file that can be enlarged to big sizes.

      Personally I think that shift lenses do not play well with digital cameras, and I don’t think I will ever use one again (I shot mirrors with one and it was acceptable but very annoying).

      • I am not that sure about digital correction solving all the perspective problems. Fot the first you would need very high resolution camera as the software interpolates while keystoning. The other problem is that taking pict with extreme wide causing extreme covergence the result is tha object seems to lean back as the lens is not parralel to object. Software can corect keystoning but cannot cannot rise backward tilt. All in all, yes you can use this metod with moderate distortions but with extreme ones is a diffrent story. Correct me I misunderstood something.

  26. The SL is/was wonderful….one of the nicest cameras I have used…. Sold it several weeks back and got the Leica M10P… even nicer.. smaller … quieter… and with the little visoflex a SLR when desired but really a leica in the truest respect.

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