Jump to content

SL - a quick hands on review!


Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I had the chance to look at the new SL today and here are my thoughts, if anyone is interested! 


 


The first impression - even for someone who uses a DSLR - is that the body and lens are big, the lens particularly so. It's a very hefty lump of metal and glass. I think the 'thinness' of the body (compared to a DSLR) actually makes it feel bigger, due to the body/lens balance. 


 


The focus/zoom rings on the lens have a nice weighty and smooth feel to them. Very Leica-like. I do wonder though, why Leica couldn't make a lens with a constant f2.8 aperture at the size it is. 


 


I have said before that the grip looks like it might not be so comfortable as a more ergonomically designed body, and some others have said they have found it uncomfortable in prolonged use. Well shortly before looking at the SL I had looked at an R8 body. The R8 is often criticised for being too big and bulky, but actually it fits the hands very well indeed due to its shape - it was clearly designed to do so, hence the 'bulk'.


 


It's a pity, IMHO, that Leica didn't follow some of the design cues of the R8/9 with the new camera. That said, the body is very well made and everything has a nice quality feel about it, as you would expect. I quite liked the lack of writing and symbols although it does mean that if you pick up the camera for the first time - as I did - you can't easily find your way as you can with say a Canon or Nikon. Users will need to spend a lot of quality time getting to know their camera to the point where using the controls becomes like touch typing! 


 


I was particularly keen to see how the EVF looked. I'm no fan of EVF's, they have always seemed very laggy and I find it uncomfortable viewing a small TV screen through a small hole! With a compact I actually prefer the LCD screen on the back of the camera as a viewfinder. 


 


I have read comments from some that they have found the SL's EVF so good that it is difficult to tell that it's not an optical finder. Well, sorry to say, I don't agree. 


 


It still is very much an EVF, albeit the best one yet. It's big and clear, a huge improvement over any others I've seen/tried. When you press the shutter there is a momentary blackout which feels very much like using DSLR. So, the SL is impressive as EVF's go, but….it's still an EVF! I accept that will be a big tick for some users though.  


 


Focus on AF seemed comparable to my Canon's as far as speed (on single point AF inside) but certainly didn't feel any faster. 


 


No question the SL is an impressive camera, and it's great to see Leica produce something truly new and market leading. I wasn't able to take any photos but from what we've seen so far the lens/sensor both perform well. 


 


Would I buy it? I can see the appeal of the SL, and it would be fun to try it out properly, but even if the cost weren't an issue for me, I wouldn't choose it. For my purposes, I still prefer the DSLR. I have a film M and some lenses and if I wanted to go digital with those I'd choose an M, for the more compact size and rangefinder focussing. 


 


I don't think the SL does anything better than a DSLR or an M, but obviously it offers the versatility of accepting pretty much any lens on one body, which will be a big benefit for some.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 53
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

It may come as a surprise to many of us on this forum but there are those among us whose interests are greater than their financial resources.

That is because it is a bigger, heavier camera than an A7rII, obviously.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!No amount of closing down the aperture with the Sony will improve the corner/edge performance to match the SL.   After a year of using an A7 almost exclusively, I still could not remember where half the essential menu options were located and had to hunt for them every time. I'

Hi Ian I was wondering about this - slow SD card is the most likely culprit. Having read your remarks I've been doing some careful checking (just to see that I'm not going mad). To me the blackout time is less than any dSLR I've used - it does exist, but it seems more like a punctuation mark than a blackout . . . except very occasionally when it decides to take longer - I haven't pinned this down to any set of circumstances, but it seems more common when you've just turned on the camera.   As

Thanks for that review. I looked at one in the shop and agree the initial size is big - but probably because I am used to the much smaller M models and lenses. In reality any 'professional' DSLR and lens weigh the same or more, but yes it is different to the M or compact system experience.

 

The funny thing I noticed was when I got back home and pulled out my Nikon DSLR to compare weight (D7200), the Nikon suddenly felt like an old technology product. Hundreds of buttons, clunky noisy mirror, no image preview in the finder, slow live view, no touch sensitive screen, and low res top screen. I know the D7200 is much cheaper, but I have owned professional Nikons in the past and it did reinforce to me that the SL definitely feels like a next generation product.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said, I do use SLR's DSLRs's and still the SL seems to be a large camera, or rather the lens which is very bulky and heavy. The tele zoom is even bigger (no surprise). I don't think it's the kind of camera most people will want to just carry around. It's more the type of camera one will use for specific work I imagine. I'd imagine it would be great for a wedding photographer for example, but not so great to lug about sightseeing on your holidays. 

 

Sure a conventional DSLR will seem to be 'old technology' because it is, just the same as any AF camera makes the M look like old tech - but old tech isn't always worse and new tech isn't always better. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I walked for an hour today with my Billingham L2 bag containing SL, Leica adapter stack, a Summicron R 90 and a Summicron R 35 lens. It felt no different from carrying the same setup with my Nikon F6 or R8; with the Leica M-P, I could add a third lens and it is again the same. 

 

The he big SL zoom is what makes the SL seem large and heavy, to me. It's not a lens I would ever carry casually; it's a work lens for when it's needed. Outfit the camera with a traditional two or three lens kit and it becomes just another fine, pro-grade camera in size and weight. 

 

The more I use it, the more comfortable the controls become, the more I want to keep using it. 

Edited by ramarren
Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked at one in the shop today. With kit lens: far too heavy. With M lens: much more bearable, but still feels bulkier and heavier than a Sony A7r ii (and, of course, 2x the price). 

 

In in terms of functionality, it produces better edge / corner performance than the Sony on wide angle lenses, but the Sony's in body stabilisation means that you can close down further with the Sony. Also the Sony has an articulating rear screen, which is a surprisingly useful feature. The Leica's controls are more cryptic than the Sony's, but  better arranged in the menus. I did not get as far as figuring out how to switch on focus peaking and zooming in away from the bottom left button.

 

In the end, the bulk of the system means that I will pass on this model. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I looked at one in the shop today. With kit lens: far too heavy. With M lens: much more bearable, but still feels bulkier and heavier than a Sony A7r ii (and, of course, 2x the price). 

 

In in terms of functionality, it produces better edge / corner performance than the Sony on wide angle lenses, but the Sony's in body stabilisation means that you can close down further with the Sony. Also the Sony has an articulating rear screen, which is a surprisingly useful feature. The Leica's controls are more cryptic than the Sony's, but  better arranged in the menus. I did not get as far as figuring out how to switch on focus peaking and zooming in away from the bottom left button.

 

In the end, the bulk of the system means that I will pass on this model. 

 

That is because it is a bigger, heavier camera than an A7rII, obviously. 

No amount of closing down the aperture with the Sony will improve the corner/edge performance to match the SL.

 

After a year of using an A7 almost exclusively, I still could not remember where half the essential menu options were located and had to hunt for them every time. I've had the SL in hand for four days and already know where every single menu option and command is, and what it does. That's why I sold the Sony and am delighted with the SL, along with the improved performance and improved handling, and despite the increased cost, bulk, and weight. 

Edited by ramarren
Link to post
Share on other sites

A slightly counter "shop" review

 

The first, and last, thought i had with the SL was that it is simply the best made camera I have ever picked up. Even the M seemed less so.

 

Its truely a single lump of metal beauty. The controls are wonderfully smooth and the lens is as solid.

 

The focus and responsiveness is extremely good.

 

The weight is in the 5D + 24-70 f2.8 range, so no weight advantage, but the feel is a different league

 

If I was a pro (i.e. I got paid to take photos) i would consider this, but at £8k a basic pop its just not possible,

Perhaps I'll wait for the used market ...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I attended the NZ launch of the SL last night at Progear in Auckland.  Kristian Dowling presented his images and talked about using the camera.  

 

I got a brief opportunity to hold the camera - no SD card, and as I'd just got off an aeroplane, I didn't have adapters or the time to try any lenses, other than the 24-90.  My first impressions were:

  • as others have said, beautifully made camera.  There is no point tin comparing it to dSLRs - this camera is smaller in the hand and quite different from any Nikon or Canon pro dSLR; but it is heavier.  I don't mind that solid feeling in the hands (actually I prefer it to a lump of plastic), but there is no denying it is heavier than an M.
  • the EVF is very good.  It might be a stretch to say that it matches an optical system like an SLR from days gone by, but it is very good - big, bright and the refresh rate is excellent.  I would have no trouble using it at all.
  • the 24-90 (my biggest concern) is not as big in the hand as many fear.  It balances nicely and fits well in the hand.  As a walk around combination, this will work well for me.
  • I was interested in Kristian Dowling's comment that he does not use any in camera metering.  I found this strange, but when I set the camera on M, the reasons became clear - because it is genuinely what-you-see-is-what-you-get, you can assess the exposure directly from the viewfinder - it doesn't compensate in M mode.  This hadn't occurred to me, and struck me as a very interesting way to expose.

All in all, I was very impressed.  It looks like I owe Al a cup of coffee after all ...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am very impressed with the 24-90. It has hit focus every time with me even with thing like birds flying past. The performance with ultra wides like the 18SEM, is excellent as well with edge/corner softness better than the M240 and vignetting correction better as well. I have had a couple of electronic glitches with button customisation not working, which was sorted by a full camera reset and re-naming of profiles, where there seems to be an issue with handling spaces in the name. Otherwise very impressed with both SL and Zoom. Yes it is heavy but not a huge amount heavier or larger than an M240, MF grip, EVF and Zeiss 28-85 lens. The GPS works properly at last - hurrah!! This is very important for the travel photo work I do, where having a correct GPS is extremely helpful, when you are sorting through 2,000+ images. 

 

Wilson 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Apparently, my camera and the zoom will arrive in the next couple of weeks (I'm not holding my breath, though, I have to say).

 

My R to M adapter arrived from B&H this morning, along with a couple of fast UHS-II cards (boy that was quick!).  I am looking forward to testing the M lenses I have on the camera.  So far, I'm not expecting any issues with the APO-R 180/2.8. the 28 Summilux, 0.95 Noctilux, 75 Summilux or 90 Summicron.  The 21 Summilux is going to be interesting; I'm not holding my breath for the 15 Distagon ...

 

I keep reading that the M cameras are better for M lenses than the SL, and I have to wonder if this is little more than sophistry (sorry, Michael).  The thing is, we're told at length that the CMOS Max sensor on M(240) is the best thing for M lenses, with its shallow buckets for its pixels off centre, and its micro lenses.  We then read that the Q has an updated version of the Leica specified 24MP sensor which improves on the one supplied by CMOSIS for the M; and the SL sensor is an "upgrade" on that sensor.  There's a bit of an inconsistency here between how we're told that the SL sensor is an upgrade on the M sensor, yet somehow the sensor in the M(240) remains better for M lenses.

 

So far, we've had an achingly detailed test of problematic M mount lenses from Sean, which shows a level of detail that causes me no concern whatsoever.  On the one modern M lens he's tested so far, the SL outperformed the M sensor.  I should add that in the centre, every lens Sean has tested, including the problematic ones, the SL has (marginally) performed better than the M camera.

 

Now, I don't make this observation to cause further angst to M owners, but to make the point that I am over comparisons between the performance of the M sensor against the SL sensor.  If you need that level of reassurance, good for you.  For all intents and purposes (unless my lenses turn out to be dreadful on the SL camera), I see this as a non-issue.  The difference between these cameras is not about the sensor - it's purely a question of functionality for me.

 

Cheers

John

Edited by IkarusJohn
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just picked mine up 

I'm taking up the challenge of learning to use it without reading the manual 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The manual is terrible. You'll probably be better off not reading it.

 

I swore I wasn't getting this camera. I certainly don't need it. I've already got every flagship body from every mirrorless manufacturer except Samsung and Panasonic. And yet I have one sitting on the desk next to me and I'm thinking about when I can get the 24-90, which I also don't need.

 

 

 

Gordon

Link to post
Share on other sites

.............................................................

 

Now, I don't make this observation to cause further angst to M owners, but to make the point that I am over comparisons between the performance of the M sensor against the SL sensor.  If you need that level of reassurance, good for you.  For all intents and purposes (unless my lenses turn out to be dreadful on the SL camera), I see this as a non-issue.  The difference between these cameras is not about the sensor - it's purely a question of functionality for me.

 

Cheers

John

 

I think that's wise.

 

In any event, as you sort of suggest, I can't see why you (or anyone) would buy the SL if its primary use were to be with M lenses unless its results prove to be visibly superior, which no one has claimed to be the case, or functionally easier to use, which it may be but is likely to differ from person to person.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The manual is terrible. You'll probably be better off not reading it.

No problem so far. Now | have to decide how to customise the buttons - not using the SL lens, and only using manual focus makes it simpler.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some lenses do appear to perform better - Sean Reid shows the 28 Summilux performs better on the SL than the M(240), though it's marginal.  He also shows centre performance is better across the board, so far; and Kristian Dowling showing the way the SL appears to deal very effectively with purple fringing on the Noctilux was an eye opener.  So I don't necessarily see the requirement as "visibly superior" so much as visibly as good as or no worse, provided there are other benefits ...

 

I'll leave it to others to work out what those benefits are for themselves.  So far, my interest has been to challenge some of the initial criticisms (too big, too heavy, too expensive, not enough lenses and no good with M lenses), and to make up my own mind.  Holding the camera in my hands, with the 24-90 zoom lens to be honest, blew away any residual doubts.  This camera certainly won't replace the M for when I want a light, compact camera in the 28-90 range; but be under no doubt that  the SL actually does everything the M does just as well.  In terms of the quality of the product, and the images it delivers, the SL is worthy of the Leica name, its price and reputation - neither the M or SL is better than the other.  They're just different.

 

Cheers

John

Edited by IkarusJohn
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was fortunate to be very high on my dealer's list and picked up my SL on Monday.  The build quality is superb and with the 24-90, as others have said, it is a lump but that's due to the lens rather than the SL.  I was immediately impressed by the EVF, which is hardly worse than the M240's rangefinder, and better when using a magnified view or enhanced brightness in low light.  I was able to instinctively nail focus with my 80 Summilux-R wide open straight away and without magnification so even if some feel that the EVF doesn't match a Leica OVF it's good enough for me.

 

With the behemoth 24-90 removed the SL itself is only slightly larger than the M240 but a bit heavier although nicely balanced in the hand.  Leica has done some excellent thinking, design, and innovation with the SL and for me it's the R camera I've been waiting for and then some since it'll take all my M and LTM lenses and a few more.  They've done a little better this time with the instruction manual but it still has the hallmarks of a classic Leica manual that's not really written from a user's point of view but from a manufacturer's point of view so things can be hard to find and it's not intuitive - but I've come to expect that from Leica manuals.

 

All in all, very well done, Leica!

 

Pete.

Link to post
Share on other sites

.. I keep reading that the M cameras are better for M lenses than the SL, and I have to wonder if this is little more than sophistry (sorry, Michael). ...

 

My tests this morning proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that when I have the choice to use an R lens or an M lens on the SL, the R lens is the right choice, at least when it comes to my available lenses 50mm and shorter. No sophistry, just the results of my tests with my lenses. 

 

I'm keeping the M lenses for the M-P and M4-2. I plan to sell the Voigtländer lenses and get a Leica 50mm of one type or another. If I happen to feel wealthy enough to buy a used Noctilux, I'll use that on the SL occasionally, I imagine. But that's a stretch. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

And that is probably the point - I really only see a need to use M mount lenses on the SL where there is a real advantage.

 

The two wides wider than the zoom - 15 & 21 (if they work), 28 (if I want sharper than the zoom), Noct & 75 Summilux (if I want that rendering) & 90 (for tack sharp). Then, the R tele.  If there isn't a real benefit, then the zoom seems to do an excellent job from looking at Kristian's images. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Kyros Moutsouris
      Dear all,
      I've noticed recently that when I set EVF-LCD on Auto the EVF doesn't work when I lift the camera to my eye.
      When I lower it, the LCD works fine, so the proximity sensor isn't an issue.
      Selecting EVF only mode I can see my subject.
      Then when I select EVF extended mode EVF is black again.
      In LCD mode the LCD screen works fine.
      If my  memory doesn't err  this appeared after upgrading to FW v2, however it's still there after upgrading to  FW v2.1...
      I could not find similar topic in the forum, so should I take her to the doctor?  She's only 11 months old...
      Thank you in advance
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Phil1066
      In the last few weeks I've noticed an increase of fuzzy shots coming from my SL.
      I was mostly using M lenses adapted using the Leica M-L initially, shutter speeds were kept more than high enough. Focus was acheived using the peaking/zoom, which I've always had as a successful technique. So I thought initially it was me not paying attention to my camera skills etc. Then today, I was using a Panasonic 20-60mm and I changed the focus point to the single cross-hair and ensured I took at least two of every scene, and mostly this worked, with me taking the first shot then recomposing the focus point to get the second shot.
      There were still a few occasions where the fuzzy look was still present. I'm not sure what has changed or why the issues all of a sudden.
      The attached images show the fuzzy look (orange car - with M lens) and the hotrod with the Panasonic 20-60 - 100% zooms provided.
      I did a search and couldnt find any related issues, hence this post

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!
    • By ChrisGA
      Erfahrung und Meinung gefragt zu meiner Ausrüstung
       
      Hallo,
      mein Name ist Chris, habe mich an anderer Stelle bereits vorgestellt.
      Zu Leica gekommen bin ich über die Leica Q, vorher hatte ich eine Fuji und davor eine Canon-Ausrüstung.
      Mittlerweile hat sich hier folgende Ausrüstung angesammelt, die ich nun gerne auf das Nötigste zusammen streichen möchte. Da ich mich überhaupt nicht entscheiden kann, suche ich neue Impulse. 
      Was fotografiere ich?
      - Natur, auch mal Makro (mit Q2 oder M-Zwischenring), Menschen, auch mal Street, Reise, Hunde, Autos, auch mal Portrait-Serien, Familien-Portraits. Selten Stativ aber gerne low light, nie Blitz
      Kameras in der Reihenfolge der häufigsten Verwendung:
      - SL mit M auf L-Adapter
      - M9 Monochrom (behalte ich auf jeden Fall, M10 brauche ich nicht, hatte ich bis vor Kurzem)
      - Q2 
      Objektive in der Reihenfolge der häufigsten Verwendung:
      - 50 mm Summilux Version I, 1966
      - 35 mm Summilux Version I, 1967 (Verwendung an der SL eingeschränkt... verstärkte Vignettierung)
      - 21 mm Voigtländer F1,4
      - 50 mm Summicron, 2000
      - 35 mm asph. Summicron 2002
      - 90 mm Elmarit F2,8 (gerne gezielt bei Portrait)
      Welche Begehrlichkeiten gibt es? 
      - SL2-S
      aber brauchen tue ich die nicht zwingend. Glaube nicht, das ich damit bessere Bilder mache. Es reizt gegenüber der SL der IBIS und das noch bessere Rauschverhalten sowie das viiiiel bessere Fokus-Peaking....  Da ich die Sl für 1500,- Euro gekauft habe, würde ich seeehr viel für diese Reize zahlen.
      Hat jemand spontan einen Impuls, Ideen, die mit weniger Objektiven. Eine Überlegung war schon mal auf neuere Summiluxe umzustellen und dafür aller 35er und 50 er zu veräußern. Sind die neueren Summiluxe bei F2 oder F2,8 so scharf wie die Summicrone? Die älteren sind das erst bei F4 und dass ist mir dann schon zu wenig Licht und/oder Freistellung.
      Danke für Eure Impulse ich bin gespannt.
      Viele Grüße
      Chris
    • By jheroun
      I recently was thrown off when shooting a location portrait with the sun behind my subject. The flare in the SL viewfinder made critical focusing or even viewing impossible. Shooting into the sun with its rim light effect on the hair is one of my go-to tricks in bright sunlight. It’s never been an issue with DSLRs. I’m thinking that because light is directly hitting the sensor in a mirrorless camera, this is an insurmountable problem. Has anyone experienced this?
    • By calidre
      I currently have an MP (240) and a 35 summilux.  I was at the leica store today and the employee mentioned when I decide to upgrade my camera I should look at the M10 or SL.  He then said the SL was probably best because of cost and proceeded to show me a sample of the SL with 35 lux (with adapter) The focusing was great to me but did feel bulky. 
      My question is - If I'm really just going to use it with my M lens does it make sense to go SL route?  I know it would be alot cheaper; but not sure on performance difference etc.
      Apologies if this was asked previously in another post and thank you for any response.
×
×
  • Create New...