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Hi all,

a couple of months ago I decided to sell my Leica M 240 and Nikon digital AF gear on the assumption a Leica SL would fulfil both those needs. I put down my thoughts in a mini-review on my blog if anyone is interested. I'd love to hear your experienced thoughts on this subject.

 

Can a Leica SL replace a Leica M?

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Fortunately I don't have to choose between the two.  I have an M240, M246 and an SL and intend to keep them all.  For street photography I'm still able to focus more quickly with the rangefinder than with the SL (using M lenses).  I also find that after a couple of hours walking around with the SL, my hand starts cramping.  I typically hold the camera with my right hand with the strap wrapped around my wrist.  I'm able to do this comfortably with my Ms seemingly indefinitely.

 

SL does offer benefits for street, specifically very fast electronic shutter for using fast lenses in sunlight (without ND filter) and a stop or so improvement in high ISO over the 240.  I intend to enjoy them all for years to come.

 

I do hope that once I'm able to acquire a 90-280, I'll be able to sell off my Canon gear.

 

-K

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Interesting to read your personal take on this question. 

 

Here's mine: yes, except when I want to shoot with an M. 

You might say I'm waffling, but I'm serious about it. 

 

In the days of shooting film, I always had a Nikon SLR as the workhorse camera that could do everything. The F/F2/F3 were solid, a bit large, and rugged as an anvil. The FM/FM2/FE2 were lighter and easier to carry. Next to them, I nearly always had a Leica RF camera ... Barnack or M ... for when I wanted to shoot with an M. I nearly always had little more than a 50, a 35, and a 90mm lens for the Leica, and regardless that I used the Nikon for everything anyway, I used the Leica for when I found it to be the camera I wanted to use more. 

 

Roll forward to last year. I'd acquired the M-P, ditched the Sony A7, and fell back in love with my Leica gear. And I had all these wonderful Leica R lenses sitting there. They work on the M-P but the camera isn't really designed for them. The SL comes out, I buy it immediately, and ... Ah, Satori! The SL is the digital R camera that I'd been wanting, regardless of the fact that it also has its own superb lens as well. 

 

Over the months since, I still take out the M-P but I find I only fit a 35 or 75mm lens to it, love using its rangefinder, and (recently) occasionally fit the WATE and a 21mm optical finder. The rest of my shooting (other than the instant film obsession that consumes me from time to time) is with the SL. It's the best digital camera for my needs I've found yet. BUT, occasionally that M with a 35mm lens is just "the right camera". I don't need all the other M-P features; just the rangefinder, the ability to use my 'Lux 35 and 'Rit 75, occasionally the WATE. 

 

I've ordered an M-D typ 262 and will likely sell the M-P. That will be all I need: the SL and my R lenses, the SL24-90; the M-D and its 35, 75, and WATE. The SL gets used 90% of the time. The M will be there when I want it. 

 

That's my personal take on this question. If I couldn't afford an M, the SL would be just fine. Since I can, I like one to use when the M is the best camera for my photography. 

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Using what, may I ask?

 

 

Polaroid SX-70, SLR670a by MiNT, SLR670m by MiNT, Impossible I-1, Pinhole Instant 66/6, Polaroid Spectra Pro ... etc. 

 

Impossible I-1

Impossible 600 Yellow Duotone film

Edited by ramarren
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Is Polaroid film still around?  I think I remember reading something about 'Impossible Project' as a last source.

 

At a large format workshop I attended many years ago, one of my favorite creative exercises we did (to start the workshop) was using some inexpensive Polaroid cameras.  I always felt that I should keep one around....but never got around to buying one, after only using my dad's many years before.

 

Jeff

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kkcsm: good observation regarding the fast electronic shutter however when I'm street shooting, I rarely use anything less than f5.6 which rarely requires a fast shutter...

 

ramarren: we seem to have similar shooting requirements, I too love my polaroids and own a Polaroid 600SE although wish the impossible company would improve their formula as it is NOTHING like the Fuji film getting more and more expensive and harder and harder find... The SL will serve me just fine although as soon as Leica release the Leica M-H (Hybrid)

I will be the first in line for sure.....! I would love to hear your thoughts on the M-D typ 262 once you've been able to 'absorb' it. 
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The Impossible Project has successfully managed to re-invent the SX-70/600/Spectra film manufacturing, is currently selling generation 2 B&W and generation 3 Color film for all these cameras. The Impossible I-1 is their first, all new 'general purpose' camera; it is based on their Instant Lab processing engine. The Instant Lab is a camera device allowing you to make SX-70 type instant prints from smartphone images. Impossible also sells refurbished Polaroid cameras. 

 

You can also buy a selection of refurbished and upgraded Polaroid cameras from MiNT Camera  in Hong Kong; they also make cameras that use the Fuji Instax film.

 

There's a lot of activity in the "instant film" niche in the past couple of years. It seems to be thriving. 

 

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we seem to have similar shooting requirements, I too love my polaroids and own a Polaroid 600SE although wish the impossible company would improve their formula as it is NOTHING like the Fuji film getting more and more expensive and harder and harder find... The SL will serve me just fine although as soon as Leica release the Leica M-H (Hybrid)

I will be the first in line for sure.....! I would love to hear your thoughts on the M-D typ 262 once you've been able to 'absorb' it. 

 

I am happy with what I see from Impossible's generation 3 color films. The gen 2 B&W is a bit more contrasty than I like; I understand they're working on that now. It's not like the Fuji pack film at all, I agree, or Instax, or like the Polaroid pack films either, but the latest color is really really close to SX-70 Time Zero when you get the exposure just right. 

 

I've seen all the ruminations about an M with EVF rather than rangefinder but ... for me, it just doesn't really fly. I want the M to be different from the SL, not the same. I'm looking forward to working with the M-D. It should arrive tomorrow, and I'll probably comment on it in a month or so after using it a bit. Other than first impressions, of course. 

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Interesting to read your personal take on this question. 

 

Here's mine: yes, except when I want to shoot with an M. 

You might say I'm waffling, but I'm serious about it. 

 

I am pretty much in agreement with this sentiment.    I am more likely to sell my Nikon gear and use the SL instead than I am to sell my M-P 240.  But I am not one of those who think the optical viewfinder is the only way to go for street shooting.  Indeed, I was surpised at how easy the transition was for me from OVF to EVF.   I use the SL far more often now, including with M lenses (and a Q from time to time as well).  I think if I could afford to keep only one it would be the SL because of its versatility and the files it can produce but right now I am keeping all the Leicas.  The Nikon stuff is most at risk to go.  I do not have the same attachment to it as to the Leica gear.

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I'll have to try the latest gen 3 colour films. I recently played around with some transfers with the Fuji fb3000b stock which I found very interesting...

But I think I digress

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An SL and a M246 are enough. If the SL had been announced before the M246, then maybe just an SL.

 

If Leica had made a non-AF SL, then probably just this. And an SL later, if there was a wider choice of AF lenses (and shorter times of delivery).

As the M262 is attractive for some users, I think an SL without AF functionality (but maybe smaller body) - a SL 662 - could be attractive for die-hard manual shooters.

Edited by steppenw0lf
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If you only have one camera & lens, you make do" if you are lucky enough to be able to afford 2 cameras with different lenses you are less confined.. Whatever cameras & lenses you use you each and every camera will always have a plus and a minus..no one camera has a magic switch to make it all things to all photographers..

I would love an S with a nice set of lenses & my M-P240/35mm Cron ASPH for pure fun photography..

Edited by Manoleica
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To be honest, while the SL is a superior camera, it is also very disappointing in terms of user experience. And it is being felt in this part of the world, as since I bought mine 4 months ago, the prices have dropped 15%. I believe if the next M will offer a similar quality EVF, then many will revert back.

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I wonder if that's currency related. SL prices in the US are same as at launch.

 

Jeff

I don't think so as the local currency has been very stable vs the euro and usd in the last 6 months. To give you an idea, the SL was officially sold for 8250$ incl. taxes. I got a very good deal from my regular dealer at 7200$ in March. The prices now are around 6500$. You can also get it from Hong Kong for 5500$.

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From what my dealer friends tell me, the SL has been selling well since introduction in the USA with little slowdown. It may even be picking up a bit. 

 

"Disappointing user experience" seems rather vague. What do you mean?

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From what my dealer friends tell me, the SL has been selling well since introduction in the USA with little slowdown. It may even be picking up a bit. 

 

"Disappointing user experience" seems rather vague. What do you mean?

I'm talking strictly from the M user perspective, with adapted M lenses.

 

The M is a much more enjoyable camera to use, and is much faster for focusing M lenses, except for the few situations where an EVF is needed, in which clearly the SL is better.

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