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  1. Watching these conversations about the Leica SL have been instructive and entertaining. How a product launch can release so much passion is beyond me. It's a product. It might succeed. It might fail. The company made its bet and now will see how it fairs in the market. Being a brand new product, the company owes no allegiance to existing customers of any of their other product ranges. So there's no need for the passion. You either like it or you don't. A lot of the discussions seem to revolve around one Question: who are the target customers for this new range? Answer: Me. And, hopefully, a few others... Why me? Foremost, I have always enjoyed quality. It inspires me. Outside of family and work, I only have two passions: photography and scuba diving (and the combination of the two). I've worked hard all my life and achieved some level of success. So, spending some money on quality products to support my passion does not seem unreasonable. For the last 25 years, I have been a Hasselblad user, but, in that whole time, I have only ever used two of their cameras and five lenses. I believe in buying a system and using it for years so that I become familiar with its every nuance and can know how it'll respond in every circumstance. (I realise that in today's world that's not so easy anymore, as product cycles are significantly shorter). But, recently two things changed as I become older. I struggle to carry a huge backpack of camera gear. And my eyes do not focus as well as they used to, taking longer to determine if an image in the viewfinder is sharp or not. For a couple of years, I left the Hasselblad in the dehumidifier and I used the Leica M9 but never did get comfortable with RF focusing - nothing wrong with the system - just took me too long to find the focus. I recently tried the Sony A7Rii. I was very excited at first. Almost there! Light weight, AF, EVF, 42 Mp, almost as many as the 'blad. But the Sony zoom lenses do not match that sensor. Possibly some good prime lenses coming - if Zeiss ever sort out their production issues. But, the Sony cameras just feel wrong. Too much clutter. Too many useless functions (e.g. detect a smile then automatically take a photo). Scene modes, yuk! Buttons all over the place. Symbols that flashes at you in the viewfinder for no good reason. Seems like they are trying to be all things to all people. Yes, you can try to ignore the clutter but that does not appeal to my love of quality and simple design. The Sony A7Rii is not a bad camera and I have taken some great images with it - but it's not a camera you could ever fall in love with - it feels like the camera you own for a year or two until the Sony A7Riii comes along. Then, just as I was stocking-up on Sony lenses and accessories, I heard about the SL. Sounded like it fit most of my criteria. Quality, AF, Weight1, Size2, Lenses3,... 1Yes, you read it right, weight. For me, its weight is a positive. Anyone who has schlepped a backpack with a Hasselblad and 3 lenses around all day will see the SL weight as "reasonable", even with the initial SL lens on-board. 850 grams for a camera body is about right. 2kg for a whole camera system is fine. Solid enough to be stable. Light enough to carry all day. 2The size is right. The Hasselblad was big, really big. But, as it was well designed, I could walk for hours with it in my hand - although it did get a bit heavy with one of the larger lenses on. For me, the Sony A7Rii is too small. My little finger slips off the bottom. The SL is a comfortable size. 3And, what a lens, for 95% of my photographs, that one lens will fit the bill. One body, one lens, one extra battery - total of 2kg - lovely - and light (by comparison to my equipment of the last 25 years). Will I hanker for some primes, especially for portraits? Maybe. Time will tell. So, last week, I went into Leica Store Singapore and touched a Leica SL. That touch was the tipping point. The minute I had it in my hands, I knew that I had to have this camera. Not optional. Slapped down the card and got myself onto the pre-order list. Will this be my main camera for the next few years? I hope so. But, if not, I can always sell it and try something else. I am not all starry-eyed about the SL. But I am excited about the next few months of using this new Leica product to see if will become my new camera system for the next few years. I'll let you know how it works out. Final thought: My advice to anyone who wants to stay angry at Leica for not producing the camera that they wanted, is this: Do not touch one of these SLs. You'll be sorely tempted to ignore all the grumbling, forget about its affordability and slap down your plastic too. Regards Peter http://www.peterwalker.com Quote MultiQuote Edit
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