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Thinking of Trading my Canon EcoSystem for Leica

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I am new to this forum, but I am considering the major step of switching my entire AF from Canon to Leica. While I have never shot with the SL, the simplicity and design are really making me want to make the jump. I currently shoot with a 1DX Mk ii, and I have a Sony A7ii with an M Adapter and an M9 as well that I just recently purchase and love it.

 

Has anyone made the same switch or has shot with both and has advice or insight?

 

Thank you and glad to be in the forum.

 

Note: I got the camera for a Safari and it performed well - but haven't used it much since.

 

Mike

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I went from D4s as my primary camera to SL. This was likely similar to your change from 1DX II.

 

The SL autofocus is much worse. Native selection is much worse. There are no reasonable AF telephoto options outside the 90-280, which is excellent but needs a teleconverter option.

 

Handling is subjective but I prefer shooting the SL after years of Nikon. I enjoy shooting more and end up shooting more for myself than I ever did before.

 

I think Leica lenses are better than Canon and Nikon.

 

The future will bring a lot more lens options with Panasonic and Sigma.

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I read various things about the AF. Some say its great. I would be using my M lenses with an adapter.

 

I would be using the 24-90 mostly, but would eventually get the 90-280 and the Teleconverter in case I do a safari again.

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In single shot the lenses AF is fine, especially the zooms. In CAF they're far behind the Sony's.

 

Depends on how important CAF is. I have no issues even in a commercial environment or at a wedding.

 

Gordon

 

p.s. currently there is NO teleconverter. But perhaps the Sigma longs will get an L mount option.

Edited by FlashGordonPhotography

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I read various things about the AF. Some say its great. I would be using my M lenses with an adapter.

 

I would be using the 24-90 mostly, but would eventually get the 90-280 and the Teleconverter in case I do a safari again.

 

The AF is pretty accurate, though the AF points are fairly large so I often use MF to fine tune after AF.

 

The AF is quick with the native lenses that I own (16-35, 24-90, 50, 90-280). 

 

The continuous AF and tracking are poor compared to your Canon.

 

There is no teleconverter for the 90-280. 

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I am new to this forum, but I am considering the major step of switching my entire AF from Canon to Leica. While I have never shot with the SL, the simplicity and design are really making me want to make the jump. I currently shoot with a 1DX Mk ii, and I have a Sony A7ii with an M Adapter and an M9 as well that I just recently purchase and love it.

 

Has anyone made the same switch or has shot with both and has advice or insight?

 

Thank you and glad to be in the forum.

 

Note: I got the camera for a Safari and it performed well - but haven't used it much since.

 

 

 

I made the Canon (5DsR and 5Dmk iii) to SL switch in 2016. I initially kept a lot of my Canon EF mount lenses (Zeiss and Canon primes, as well as the 16-35), but now only have the 17 and 24 tilt shift lenses in EF mount, which I use with the Novoflex EF mount adapter. Macro solution is the Leica 100/2.8 R lens. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied. Love the simple interface, love the EVF. The EVF compares quite favorably to the newest Fuji and Sony EVFs. Can't say about the Nikon or Canon mirrorless solutions, haven't seen those yet. Based on the specs, the low light capability of the Canon will be better than the Leica SL. The SL is rugged and completely weatherproof when used with the native SL lenses. 

 

A few other random thoughts. If you haven't used the 1dx mk ii since a safari, why do you think you'll use the SL more? If I'm going out for something other than a photo shoot, I usually take my M instead of the SL, and have contemplated getting something the size of the CL as a walk around sized camera.

 

Would I do it again given todays current offerings from other manufacturers?  I'm really not sure. No doubt the SL is still the best built and most rugged of the others. I really do love the menu and interface system on the SL, it's an elegant solution. The SL native lenses are also all fantastic (I have the 16-35, 24-90, 90-280, and 50). Are they worth the 2-3 x price over the competitors? Again, not clearly (at least as we're talking about zooms, primes shot wide open another matter).  On the other hand, the AF in the newest Sony (and Nikon and Canon and Fuji) cameras is superior if that's important to you. There's also a much better selection of native lenses available for essentially all of the other systems out there.

 

It will be interesting to see what Sigma will bring to the table with the new alliance between Leica, Panasonic and Sigma. Once or twice a year, I think it would be really useful to have a 200-400 zoom or 500 mm prime, and Sigma might get me in that price range in a timely fashion. 

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I switched from Nikon to Leica around half a decade ago, and ran the two systems in parallel for a while. Indeed, I still have a Nikon from bird photography. 

 

A short summary of my observations is:

 

1. The SL is a pleasure to use. I had no issues at all with Nikon's ergonomics, but like the SL even more. 

2. Leica's lenses are sharp, render beautifully and have an incredible range to choose from when you take adapter M, R and L mount glass into account. And the zooms... they just blow every other zoom lens I've used away IQ wise. The three zooms and the SL are an amazing package. I've had a few camera systems and my assessment is that the SL's native glass is better than any other system's I have used. 

3. The native flash system is prehistoric compared to Nikon. 

4. Autofocus has been fine for me - I haven't had a problem shooting sport or wildlife, although it is a couple of generations behind Nikon's systems. 

5. With luck Sigma will open this up, but at present there is a serious lack of long telephoto lenses and no teleconverter. I actually use the CL as a teleconverter when I need more reach, but it's a vastly inferior camera in terms of handling and a SL 500 f/4 from Leica with a teleconverter would dramatically change the system versatility. 

6. Once the lust for Leica glass bites it is a very, very expensive addiction. There's no way around it - there is a price to pay for the quality of the lenses. In Australia, if you wanted to buy the SL, 3 zooms, one Cron, handgrip and a few spare batteries you would be up for $40K. If you want to pack out your system it is going to add up fast. Even things like adpaters cost about as much as a lens from another manufacturer. 

7. Once you add M glass to the equation (and I note you have an M9) the SL starts to look far more versatile, just because it packs so much smaller configured that way and has an expanded pallete of lens choices that includes more antique renderings and the ability to get small wide aperture lenses without having to pay the SL50 entry price. 

8. This forum is an excellent source of knowledge and assistance in navigating the Leica ecosystem. For me, it has made entering the domain simpler and more fun. 

 

I absolutely love the Leica ecosystem and came to it via an M, which restored by interest in taking time to make photos and paying attention to the mechanical enjoyment of the art. That led me to explore the SL and eventually convert almost all my photography into the Leica system. There are some exciting developments across the industry at the moment, some of which will see the SL system have more lens options at more attractive price points. Good luck with your decision making! 

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5. With luck Sigma will open this up, but at present there is a serious lack of long telephoto lenses and no teleconverter. I actually use the CL as a teleconverter when I need more reach, but it's a vastly inferior camera in terms of handling and a SL 500 f/4 from Leica with a teleconverter would dramatically change the system versatility

 

 

 

+1.

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I did this step - changing from Canon 5 D III plus a lot of lenses - to Leica SL 2 years ago and did not regret it. Only Canon gear I kept are the macro lenses 180 mm, 100 mm and the MP-E 65 - which I use together with a Novoflex adapter on the SL and give very good results - but without stabilisation. The native lenses I own are the 24/90 and the 90/280. Things might change a bit, when new lenses from Sigma and Panasonic are available -I will see. In addition to this gear I own a CL with the 18-56 and the 55-135. Reason for that is, that I am an old guy and therefore I sometimes like it to carry less weight with me, if I do not need the SL.

Edited by HeinzX

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I am new to this forum, but I am considering the major step of switching my entire AF from Canon to Leica. While I have never shot with the SL, the simplicity and design are really making me want to make the jump. I currently shoot with a 1DX Mk ii, and I have a Sony A7ii with an M Adapter and an M9 as well that I just recently purchase and love it.

 

Has anyone made the same switch or has shot with both and has advice or insight?

 

Thank you and glad to be in the forum.

 

Note: I got the camera for a Safari and it performed well - but haven't used it much since.

 

Mike

 

 

Hi Mike,

 

I did the same at the beginning of last year, switching entirely from a full Canon set-up. 

 

My experience so far is the following:

 

1) The Leica SL is build to last, it's very solid and comfortable to use. It inspires for going out and shoot. I've had the chance to test it under heavy rain and dusty environment. It works as advertised. The EVF is outstanding which makes you forget quickly the optical viewfinder. One single battery lasts one full day for regular shooting, but I would deactivate the GPS function to make it last longer. The sensor gives fantastic colours out of the box, think about Kodachrome palette. I usually set the maximum Auto ISO to 6400, when I do not have the time to properly expose the shots. Otherwise, ISO 12800 gives excellent results as well.

Contrary to Canon, highlights recovery is less forgiving, but shadows can be lifted up without worries. I rather prefer this approach. In any case, the amazing EVF simplify everything and it's never an issue to judge the shots exposure and sharpness. I found that I use much less the LCD screen for evaluation, as I stick to the EVF almost all the time, even for quickly reviewing the pictures.

 

2) SL 24-90 = the first lens I got and possible still my favourite one, for flexibility. It's far from being a "kit lens". There's no 24-70 lens that can match its optical quality and rendering. I'm considering it as a "freedom lens" for daylight photography. No need to choose a particular setting for optimum performance at a specific focal length. It's not a zoom. It's a series of prime lenses packed together. Autofocus is fast and always accurate.

 

3) SL 50 = it's the best 50mm lens I've shot with, out of Noctilux (due to the particular rendering of that lens). Better than the M Lux, same as M APO at f2. There's acutance in the rendering and a a fall off that reminds medium format. Weight and size is quickly forgotten when checking the images that produces. Autofocus is ok with the latest update, something in between the 50L and 85L II on a 1DXII. Like all the SL lenses, the balance is fantastic and really helps to reduce the feeling of the weight in practical shooting.

 

4) SL 90 = it's the best portrait lens I've shot with, in the 85-90 range. Autofocus is very fast and accurate. My favourite lens with Canon was the 85L II, but I ended up not using it often due to balance issues on many of the Canon bodies. The SL 90 is lightweight, fast and a joy to use, but it gives a tridimensional look at the images which is unseen in "full frame" world. It's a hair sharper at f2 than the SL 24-90 at f4. 

 

5) SL 75 = all the above comments applies here. Possibly the autofocus is a hair faster, but I prefer the 90 as a focal length, as a complement to the SL 50

 

6) SL 16-35 = again another masterpiece. Leica is targeting landscape and architecture photographers with this lens, giving a lens that has no vignetting at any aperture, no flare in any shooting conditions, no distortion, no CA...I find it extremely useful for street and documentary photography. The micro contrast of this lens is the best among the 3 vario zoom lenses. I don't find the slow speed of this lens a limitation at all, considering the optical performances wide open, even in the corners. 

 

7) SL 90-280 = in Canon world the longest lens I had was the 70-200 IS II, sometimes coupled with the 1.4x teleconverter, for the few times when I was requiring a bit more reach. Although I'm not a sport or wildlife photographer, I can say that with the SL 90-280 you will get the same response in autofocus speed, but with much better optical quality and balance. Especially the balance makes you forgetting the 1.7 kg of this lens. Whoever has used a Canon rig knows how good the 70-200 zooms are. Here you get better optical quality than the the 70-200 IS II, but with more reach. 

 

Other considerations on the system:

 

1) No HSS flash compatibility with the well known professional brands of studio strobes. I'm using Priolite system which gives HSS with zero problems up to 1/2000s and a slight shadowing all the way up to 1/8000s, which required a 2% frame cropping. It's never a problem for me, and I've found Priolite strobes at par with Profotos in light quality and consistency.

 

2) Availability of lenses is somehow limited, with frequent delays on the release of new lenses. It looks like there won't be any Summilux lenses up to 2020, all the upcoming lenses will be Crons (in 2019, only the SL 50 and SL 35 will be released, basically with one year delay)

 

3) Thanks to the excellent EVF, the Leica SL can be considered the best universal platform for adapting pretty much any lenses available in the market, from any maker. It also has the best sensor for adapting rangefinder lenses out of M cameras. I have tried several Leica M lenses on the SL and the results are generally very good. But for the best performances, M cameras are still the best option, with the exceptions of the 2 Noctilux and the 28 Lux. I will not buy into the M lens system just to adapt those lenses on the SL. If you already have the lenses or planning to use them also on M bodies, then the story is different. I won't be shy using the SL for adapting certain Canon glass in FD mount, for the look some lenses are known about (think FD 85 Aspherical or FD 55 Aspherical). 

 

4) The whole system will expand with the partnership with Panasonic and Sigma. More options will be available for faster prime lenses from Sigma (think Sigma Art with L mount) and Panasonic. Nobody knows how successful this synergy will end up being, but for us end users, more options are always better. Camera bodies from Panasonic (Lumix S) in L-mount as well as Sigma camera with Foveon sensor will further expand the flexibility.

 

Hope this help.

 

Cheers,

 

Andrea

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Hi Mike,

 

I did the same at the beginning of last year, switching entirely from a full Canon set-up.

 

...

 

Hope this help.

 

Cheers,

 

Andrea

Andrea - your lengthly and well presented reply deserves many thanks - it must be the most extensive reply on this side of Photokina... (and I happen to agree on all of your points, shooting with SL and Nikon, the latter for long reach and ultra-fast AF).

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I too moved from Canon (5DS3) to Sony, and then to Leica. There are a few very good reasons to move to Leica: 

 

- small size

- high quality lenses

- superb build quality

- (if you prefer shooting manual, like me): Leica is much easier to use. It's not a horrible button fest like most other cameras. 

 

For everything else, the Canon system (and also Nikon, Sony) are superior. You have to give up: 

 

- a much larger selection of lenses, including specialty lenses. 

- a vastly superior AF system

- vastly superior flash 

- a system which is relatively affordable

- image stabilisation available on the body for Sony, and for most "luxury" lenses if you shoot Canon or Nikon

- generally superior sensor performance, especially if you are chasing high ISO and low noise

 

I had to carefully weigh up what my priorities were when I moved to Leica. Nearly all my photography was done between 28-50mm, with primes, and my main priority was high quality and light weight. I had to decide to give up everything else. 

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I want to thank everyone for their feedback.

 

This is a hard choice giving up gear that I have spent a lot of time and money acquiring. It saddens me that trading/selling Canon gear, even L lenses, doesn't bring NEARLY the amount I was hoping for - so it's going to be a somewhat painful process - but I am about 98% sure I will be doing the trade and acquiring the SL.

 

I know it's not the most advanced camera, or has all the bells and whistles, or even performs as well as Canon/Nikon/Sony in terms of AF or High ISO performance, but I am learning that IQ, the experience of taking/making photographs and having the versatility of using almost any current or modern lens MF are points I am finding to be the most important to what is speaking to me at this point in my photographic journey.

 

I have an M9 for the rangefinder experience, but I would like to have an option for AF (my wife is running the Boston Marathon in April - and I had BETTER get AMAZING pictures of her, so the 24-90 will be a must after Xmas).

 

Again - I really am thankful for everyone taking the time to respond and help talk me off the cliff (or over cliff depending on your POV).

 

Mike

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I want to thank everyone for their feedback.

 

This is a hard choice giving up gear that I have spent a lot of time and money acquiring. It saddens me that trading/selling Canon gear, even L lenses, doesn't bring NEARLY the amount I was hoping for - so it's going to be a somewhat painful process - but I am about 98% sure I will be doing the trade and acquiring the SL.

 

I know it's not the most advanced camera, or has all the bells and whistles, or even performs as well as Canon/Nikon/Sony in terms of AF or High ISO performance, but I am learning that IQ, the experience of taking/making photographs and having the versatility of using almost any current or modern lens MF are points I am finding to be the most important to what is speaking to me at this point in my photographic journey.

 

I have an M9 for the rangefinder experience, but I would like to have an option for AF (my wife is running the Boston Marathon in April - and I had BETTER get AMAZING pictures of her, so the 24-90 will be a must after Xmas).

 

Again - I really am thankful for everyone taking the time to respond and help talk me off the cliff (or over cliff depending on your POV).

 

Mike

I think you’ll enjoy the SL. However, in your situation I would probably buy a Canon EOS R and use an adapter for now.

 

I’d wait until the Panasonic, Sigma, Leica alliance yields new cameras before taking a big loss on the Canon lenses. You’ll lose less reselling the EOS R and the lenses won’t change much if you wait a year. The SL2 may be announced by then.

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I think LD_50's advice is sound. 

 

Moreover, you may find that you can use a Sigma adapter for your Canon glass on the L Mount, which could mean you don't need to sell your Canon glass - or only sell that where you have a like for like replacement from Leica already. 

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I appreciate the feedback. I just want to move on from Canon. I don't think they have much of a "soul" and both Nikon and Canon had their chance to impress me with their mirrorless releases, but they honestly fell short of the mark. They knew what Sony has and they just didn't go as far as they needed to - in my opinion.

 

I want simple. I want to enjoy the experience of shooting images. While may go on a wildlife safari again, I doubt it will be in the next two years - and by then the SL2 should be out (hoping). I am find with the SL1 for now and it will give me reason to acquire more L-mount lenses over the next year to two years in the mean time.

 

I am going for the Noctilux, the SL and the 24-90 for the Holidays and I should be finished.

 

For those who have the 50 f/0.95 Noctilux (m), how much better is it than the 50 f/1.4 Summilux (m)?

 

Mike

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I am new to this forum, but I am considering the major step of switching my entire AF from Canon to Leica. While I have never shot with the SL, the simplicity and design are really making me want to make the jump. I currently shoot with a 1DX Mk ii, and I have a Sony A7ii with an M Adapter and an M9 as well that I just recently purchase and love it.

 

Has anyone made the same switch or has shot with both and has advice or insight?

 

Thank you and glad to be in the forum.

 

Note: I got the camera for a Safari and it performed well - but haven't used it much since.

 

Mike

I have switched from Nikon to Sony to Leica M240 followed by M10. I had some Canon gear left which I am not trading in for the SL system. After L mount alliance it's become clear to me that this is the system to be in. I used Canon for Landscape and M10 for everything else as I did not have the courage to use M10 in freezing and dusty enviornment. I feel that buying SL allows you to explore into M lenses or any other lenses Leica made plus now 14 new lenses are coming in from Sigma and not to forget Panasonic lenses. Question is why would you buy a Leica body for sigma lenses. You shouldn't but it's an option when you want to buy any special focal length that other wise would cost you 5k. Leica is very rugged stable and the pics are amazing .. quality is very subjective but it's like going from point a to point b in first class vs economy. And sometimes you just do it for the love of it. Once you go Leica you won't to back to Canon. Your gear will hold value much longer than your 5d versions ..2 cents. I asked a similar question earlier today

Edited by bozu_shutterbugger

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I appreciate the feedback. I just want to move on from Canon. I don't think they have much of a "soul" and both Nikon and Canon had their chance to impress me with their mirrorless releases, but they honestly fell short of the mark. They knew what Sony has and they just didn't go as far as they needed to - in my opinion.

 

Some Canon lenses are superb, like the 85/1.2 of which I owned and sold 2 copies of the Mk.1 and then owned a copy of the Mk.2. But you are right, the rest of the line-up does not have much of a soul. They were best used stopped down, and then the image became clinical.

 

As for their mirrorless releases, you get the feeling that Nikon tried their best but were held back by it being a first generation product and maybe lack of resources after their downsizing or lack of access to technology. As for Canon, they have no excuse. They are back to their old ways of holding back features to avoid cannibalizing sales of their other cameras, so the camera seems strangely underwhelming. As I remember someone else in another forum saying, "Remember - you are in it for the photos and the gear. But Canon are in it for profit". 

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... I am going for the Noctilux, the SL and the 24-90 for the Holidays and I should be finished.

 

For those who have the 50 f/0.95 Noctilux (m), how much better is it than the 50 f/1.4 Summilux (m)?

 

Mike

The Noctilux 0.95 is superb on the SL. It’s beautifully balanced, and doesn’t suffer from the purpole fringing it had on the M9. Compared to the 50 Summilux-M? Actually, not a great deal, except the extra stop and it is definitely softer wide upen. From f/4 down, not much distinguishes them (Puts makes this comment also).

 

The real alternative is the 50 Summilux-SL. Sharp acros the frame, creamy bokeh and cheaper than the Noct, and has AF. And it has weathersealing. I have the three zooms (the 90-280 behemoth really only gets used for birding and when I really need the extra reach - for all it’s qualities it is huge and heavy as any lens of that range and quality will be). For a travel or walk around kit, I’m drawn to the 16-35 zoom and a 50 (either Noct or 50 Summilux-SL) or the 75 Summilux-M.

 

Spoilt for choice! Good luck.

Edited by IkarusJohn

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