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Leica SL or Panasonic S1R?


Ivar B
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This topic will perhaps irritate some, but I will ask it anyhow. The story is that I was looking for a Panasonic Pro 1.4/50mm. Users I have spoken to, claim that this lens and the Summilux-SL 1.4/50mm for all practical purposes are of the same quality Level, but the Panasonic is about half the price. Perhaps the Panasonic is sharper in the centre, but less even than the Summilux. Who knows. A local seller had a Panasonic S1R for sale, with the 1.4/50mm and the 4/24-105mm, and he was unwilling to split the set and gave me a good price for all. The 24-105mm I will no doubt sell as I already own the Leica 24-90, but I can not justify owning two bodies. So one will have to go, either the S1R or the SL. There are pros and cons of either of course, but perhaps there are some users who have experience with both and can share some experience? I have always been happy with the SL, but the S1R of course also has its advantages. 

Edited by Ivar B
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4 minutes ago, wizard said:

When comparing the SL and the S1R, the latter camera is one generation ahead, as is the SL2. Why then would someone want to keep the SL instead of the S1R? If the comparison is between the SL2 and the S1R, that would be another matter, of course.

Cheers,

Andy

I am aware of this, of course. One point, to quote Sean Reid, is that the files from the SL are cleaner than files from the S1R and the SL2, although that difference shrinks a lot when the 47MP files are downsampled to 24MP. Being a generation older, does not by definition make you inferior.

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vor 15 Minuten schrieb Ivar B:

Being a generation older, does not by definition make you inferior.

Ivar, considering ourselves, I wholeheartedly agree :). But with technical items, although older items may sometimes be superior in some respect, my personal experience over (by now way too) many years is that all things considered, newer technical items almost always outperform the older items. That seems to be true in particular for items involving a great deal of electronics, and may be less true for purely mechanical items such as rifles.

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I have had/have and concurrently used the S1R, SL and SL2.

If I was told I could keep only one,  rather sadly for Leica it would be the S1R.

The obvious advantages over the SL are IBIS and 47mpx, which until you have experienced both you think you could manage without and after using them wonder how you did.

Dynamic range on the S1R appears to be as good or better than the SL and SL2, uplifted shadows are clean and the higher ISO performance is also only marginally affected by the increased resolution. As you have remarkably good stabilisation any differences become lost as you can use much lower ISO's anyway.

All the controls and buttons are very well laid out and once you configure the assignable Fn buttons you will hardly ever have to look at a menu. the C1-3 customisable modes allow the fixing of almost ANY menu option, including many submenu items, so I have them set as my own versions of A, S and M ... and if I change anything just a click of the dial and back again resets to my default choices. I have bracketing set so a flick of a Fn switch on the front activates and deactivates it in any mode. On a press of the Q button I have the available aspect ratios with the image shown and can just scroll though and choose what is best. AF shows a magnified central section of the image to confirm focus if needed. AF, AFc and MF are flip of a switch and the different modes a touch of a button. Back Button Focussing works the way it should do, unlike on the SL/SL2 where it causes issues with non Leica lenses. You can lock and unlock the touchscreen with a switch on the back. It's definitely well weather sealed as I dropped mine in Blea Tarn and it worked fine after. Flashes work as they should do. 3rd party remote wireless releases etc. work fine. Battery life is very good (unlike the SL2 which is crap) and you can charge it direct with a USB-C cable or connect a powerpack. There is an excellent articulated screen and buttons can be illuminated for night use. EVF is slightly better than the SL and has 3 settings to allow full view of the screen when using specs. Has a default touchscreen status menu like the SL2 so you can change most things quickly with that if you are button averse. OOC JPG's on the S1R are superb ... you could easily just rely on these and never bother with any RAW processing. The increased resolution over the SL is remarkable when viewed on a high res screen such a 5k iMac and the leeway it gives in cropping is very useful. TL lenses give you 20mpx  images ..... virtually SL level if you want to travel very light. The Firmware appears bombproof .... there have been no hangups, glitches or major issues requiring updates ..... just some minor changes that have improved performance. You can turn LENR off ..... although when you see the results in images with a lot of dark areas you will probably switch it back on .....

Downsides ..... 60 seconds exposure .... longer and you need to use a timed release. Bulkier (but no heavier) than the SL/SL2. Menus are well laid out and sensible but the possible options and permutations can be bewildering. It took me 2 weeks to get the camera set up as I wanted it ..... but I haven't changed it since. One SD card (cheap) and one XQD card (ridiculously expensive) slot. Loads of buttons, dials and switches, although you can avoid most if you wish. Doesn't look as nice as the SL/SL2 and you don't have a Red Dot. The SL/SL2 metering extends further in low light than the S1R which just stops at 60 secs so you have to do some mental arithmetic to guesstimate exposure in very low light and use B. 

I spent a week this month in the Lake District with both the S1R and SL2. I used the S1R 90% of the time. Image quality is identical. OOC colour is possibly a little bit more natural on the SL/SL2. I don't think you could tell SL2 and S1R images apart.

I'd try both for a while. I had no regrets on selling my SL. It got very little usage after I configured the S1R to how I wanted it to work. I do however have some niggling doubts about buying an SL2. If the forthcoming firmware upgrades don't look like they will address some of the things I dislike I may cash it in and get a second S1R and put the spare cash towards another lens. Can I really justify it as a second body just because of the odd time I want to do multi minute long exposures and are too lazy to dig out my remote release ? Time will tell. 

After trying and absolutely loathing an A7R because of the awful menus and fiddly buttons I thought I would have misgivings about the S1R, but Panasonic have produced a very ergonomic and usable camera. It may be an ugly duckling, but I have grown very fond of it and it consistently produces super images with little fuss and bother. 

Edited by thighslapper
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32 minutes ago, thighslapper said:

I have had/have and concurrently used the S1R, SL and SL2.

If I was told I could keep only one,  rather sadly for Leica it would be the S1R.

The obvious advantages over the SL are IBIS and 47mpx, which until you have experienced both you think you could manage without and after using them wonder how you did.

Dynamic range on the S1R appears to be as good or better than the SL and SL2, uplifted shadows are clean and the higher ISO performance is also only marginally affected by the increased resolution. As you have remarkably good stabilisation any differences become lost as you can use much lower ISO's anyway.

All the controls and buttons are very well laid out and once you configure the assignable Fn buttons you will hardly ever have to look at a menu. the C1-3 customisable modes allow the fixing of almost ANY menu option, including many submenu items, so I have them set as my own versions of A, S and M ... and if I change anything just a click of the dial and back again resets to my default choices. I have bracketing set so a flick of a Fn switch on the front activates and deactivates it in any mode. On a press of the Q button I have the available aspect ratios with the image shown and can just scroll though and choose what is best. AF shows a magnified central section of the image to confirm focus if needed. AF, AFc and MF are flip of a switch and the different modes a touch of a button. Back Button Focussing works the way it should do, unlike on the SL/SL2 where it causes issues with non Leica lenses. You can lock and unlock the touchscreen with a switch on the back. It's definitely well weather sealed as I dropped mine in Blea Tarn and it worked fine after. Flashes work as they should do. 3rd party remote wireless releases etc. work fine. Battery life is very good (unlike the SL2 which is crap) and you can charge it direct with a USB-C cable or connect a powerpack. There is an excellent articulated screen and buttons can be illuminated for night use. EVF is slightly better than the SL and has 3 settings to allow full view of the screen when using specs. Has a default touchscreen status menu like the SL2 so you can change most things quickly with that if you are button averse. OOC JPG's on the S1R are superb ... you could easily just rely on these and never bother with any RAW processing. The increased resolution over the SL is remarkable when viewed on a high res screen such a 5k iMac and the leeway it gives in cropping is very useful. TL lenses give to 20mpx  images ..... virtually SL level if you want to travel very light. The Firmware appears bombproof .... there have been no hangups, glitches or major issues requiring updates ..... just some minor changes that have improved performance. You can turn LENR off ..... although when you see the results in images with a lot of dark areas you will probably switch it back on .....

Downsides ..... 60 seconds exposure .... longer and you need to use a timed release. Bulkier (but no heavier) than the SL/SL2. Menus are well laid out and sensible but the possible options and permutations can be bewildering. It took me 2 weeks to get the camera set up as I wanted it ..... but I haven't changed it since. One SD card (cheap) and one XQD card (ridiculously expensive) slot. Loads of buttons, dials and switches, although you can avoid most if you wish. Doesn't look as nice as the SL/SL2 and you don't have a Red Dot. The SL/SL2 metering extends further in low light than the S1R which just stops at 60 secs so you have to do some mental arithmetic to guesstimate exposure in very low light and use B. 

I spent a week this month in the Lake District with both the S1R and SL2. I used the S1R 90% of the time. Image quality is identical. OOC colour is possibly a little bit more natural on the SL/SL2. I don't think you could tell SL2 and S1R images apart.

I'd try both for a while. I had no regrets on selling my SL. It got very little usage after I configured the S1R to how I wanted it to work. I do however have some niggling doubts about buying an SL2. If the forthcoming firmware upgrades don't look like they will address some of the things I dislike I may cash it in and get a second S1R and put the spare cash towards another lens. Can I really justify it as a second body just because of the odd time I want to do multi minute long exposures and are too lazy to dig out my remote release ? Time will tell. 

After trying and absolutely loathing an A7R because of the awful menus and fiddly buttons I thought I would have misgivings about the S1R, but Panasonic have produced a very ergonomic and usable camera. It may be an ugly duckling, but I have grown very fond of it and it consistently produces super images with little fuss and bother. 

Wonderful - this is just the kind of advice I was looking for. Nothing beats experienced users. 

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I bought the S1-R when it was first announced. I intended to sell my SL but kept it as a backup and I am happy I did so. I should add that I simply loved the SL for the four years I used it, but not it gets little use.

The S1-R has been my camera of choice ever since I got it and I see no reason to move to the SL2. I find the S1-R just more pleasing in terms or ergonomics, button layout, tilting screen, and battery life. Yes, it has more buttons than the SL /SL2  but this means I can get to certain things quicker. In fact just by looking at the camera I know what certain settings are before I switch it on. For example, I see what the battery status is, I see that it is in A or M mode, I see that I am in MF or AF settings, and I see if it is still set for a 2 second shutter delay.  With the SL turning it on, and going into the menu settings to see if you are on MF or AF, -  2 second shutter delay, or not. With the S1-R you cannot accidentally change it from A to M, or S mode as I have done on the SL many times. 

My appreciation for the S1-R begins the moment when I pick up the camera. The extended lip on the grip feels so good, and helps balance the camera when heavy lenses are mounted.

The Lumix bodies now accept Profoto Air devices. Leica will never get there, and their electronic flash options have been severely limited.  I do have the SF 60 (Nissan) flash and controller which are nice enough but a little too feeble.

The flip out screen is absolutely fabulous. As Sean Reid says the technology allows you to do this so why not do this. I can use the S1 like my old Hasselblad 500C if I want.

When I bought the S1-R I tried several M lenses on it. They were the 18 Super-Elmar-M,  the 28 Summicron,  the 35 1.4 FLE, and the 50 APO M. These were not the problematic Leica M lenses. With my lenses, I could see no smearing at the edges, or any fall off in image quality. Still I have not used them that much as I prefer the L mount lenses.

When doing landscape I use manual focus, but rely almost completely on the depth-of-field scale in the viewfinder. The Sl has this as well but is on the little top display. I think the S1-R just works better. The depth of field scale changes, as you know, when you adjust aperture. This feature gives me the best focus control of any camera I have ever had.

Many complain about the complexity of the menu system. My feelings are that you simply get more options. For example, the front function button is set to shown 'Night View 'mode when the screen shows the image in shades of red. This helps maintain your night vision. Not that critical, but nice to have.

I have been a Leica user for four decades and love the brand, especially the the lenses. Still I am pleased that today I have another option for a body that, in my opinion, is very well thought out, and considerably cheaper and, dare I say, might be better for my type of shooting.

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52 minutes ago, thighslapper said:

I spent a week this month in the Lake District with both the S1R and SL2. I used the S1R 90% of the time. 

ps ...... and this is why you won't see many posted images ...... the 'images with Panasonic Cameras' bit of the forum is a bit of an unfrequented graveyard so I have given up. In fact the whole forum is a complete mess with regard to posting images, with everything going to sub threads of threads in subsections rather than the traditional Photo Forums. Most of the 'Favourite Images' come from 'I like Film' which paradoxically is open to any equipment. 

Personally I think they should have a single page/thread that combines all the posted images from everywhere,  with scrollable screen of thumbnails so you can pick and view what looks interesting. As it is, the forum is useless for posting images of any value. 

Edited by thighslapper
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I have all three. SL, SL2 and S1R. I wholeheartedly agree with the posters above.

For me the only downsides are the shorter exposure times but not many people regularly shoot longer than 60 seconds and the set up time. Set up is daunting and the menus are endless. However once set up to your liking (every button seems to be able to be assigned to nearly anything) it never needs to be done again and it is a sensational camera in the hand. I think it’ll take two weeks to get used to but after that you’ll wonder why other cameras feel so wrong compared to it. Genuinely a camera designed by photographers for photographers.

I took two cameras to Myanmar last year and it was possibly the best user experience I’ve even had with a camera. eveything was where I wanted it to be. The camera is very fast. The single shot AF is amazing, even in very low light and the image quality was stunning. I only use SL lenses as I already had them, except for the fantastic Sigma 14-24.

Gordon

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I own SL, SL2, and S1R and, except Sigma 45, Leica lenses. S1R is rarely used as I find SL2 much more appealing. My SL is also unused and will have to find a new home soon, :-(.
It is much harder for me to pick between SL and S1R than between SL2 and S1R. Whichever you choose, IMO, you cannot go wrong.

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The only downside I have seen is with the S adapter L...it controls aperture and records metadata, but it will not autofocus. If you have any S lenses or ever will consider them in the future, the SL or SL2 will be a better option for you. 

I have never owned an SL or SL2, but I have used an SL on a trial. I have had the S1 since it came out, primarily using it for video work. I agree with all its users above. It is one of the most satisfying to use cameras I have used in a very long time. The Lumix cameras are remarkably good and really seem to be directed towards professional photographers. The Leica SL cameras are also wonderful. I have not spent enough time with the SL2 to see whether I would prefer it in use. In comparing the SL to the S1, I would prefer the SL to shoot with, but the S1 as a camera...

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My comparison of the colors between the SL and S1 indicated to me that they were very close. I prefer the camera natural profile on the S1...that gives me the results I like the most...better than the Adobe settings in Lightroom or Camera Standard, which is too contrasty and saturated for me. If you emphasis is skin tones, I think that is the one to go for. Both the SL and S1 have lovely colors, light years ahead of what I remember with the Sony A7RII and A7S that I used to have. 

My caveat for the above is that I tend to do more landscape than portraits, but that being said, I have done a number of casual portraits with the S1 and it has rendered skin tones quite pleasingly, without the ruddiness or yellow/sallow complexion that some digital cameras can give. 

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2 hours ago, LocalHero1953 said:

Are there downsides to using Leica L lenses on the S1R?
Has anyone with a stock of Leica L lenses deliberately chosen to swap them for native Panasonic equivalents?

The S1R does not currently support the OIS on the Leica lenses. The Leica L lenses are not currently supported by the Panasonic's Focus Ring Control (only the default Leica non-linear focus by wire option works)--and their is no feedback to indicate this.  Perhaps when/if the SL2's promised implementation of linear focus ring control comes to a firmware upgrade this will work on both cameras.

If the next SL2 firmware update doesn't have DOF preview, I may very well swap out to the Panasonic zooms.  They perform very well and don't weigh as much, plus would offer linear focus by wire. I've really come to hate the Leica implementation of non-linear focus by wire, but I guess that's because I've been manually focusing lenses for 40 years.

I find the default renderings on the SL2, using post in Adobe LR, to be a (slightly) bit more pleasing for skin tones, color, but the the SL2 and S1R are very similar. I suspect I'd have a hard time telling blinded side-by-side images from the SL2 and S1R apart, though.

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19 hours ago, Ivar B said:

This topic will perhaps irritate some, but I will ask it anyhow. The story is that I was looking for a Panasonic Pro 1.4/50mm. Users I have spoken to, claim that this lens and the Summilux-SL 1.4/50mm for all practical purposes are of the same quality Level, but the Panasonic is about half the price. Perhaps the Panasonic is sharper in the centre, but less even than the Summilux. Who knows. A local seller had a Panasonic S1R for sale, with the 1.4/50mm and the 4/24-105mm, and he was unwilling to split the set and gave me a good price for all. The 24-105mm I will no doubt sell as I already own the Leica 24-90, but I can not justify owning two bodies. So one will have to go, either the S1R or the SL. There are pros and cons of either of course, but perhaps there are some users who have experience with both and can share some experience? I have always been happy with the SL, but the S1R of course also has its advantages. 

I'm also fortunate enough to have (or had) all 3 cameras. I sold my SL about a month or two after I bought the S1R (at release). I think Gordon did a great job summarizing the S1R. 

The one place where the SL2 clearly outshines the S1R is with Leica M lenses, particularly the wide angles. There is a readily discernible difference with the 18 and 21 mm lenses in terms of edge performance, and I'm not a pixel-peeper. I also personally like the less button-cluttered interface of the Leica cameras, although the ergonomics of the buttons on the top plate in particular are terrible.

I've only had the SL2 for a few weeks, haven't quite gotten used to it. There are a few deficiencies in it's a current firmware that I find frustrating: (1) a lack of DOF preview (a truly WTF moment for me) and (2) lack of the promised linear focus by wire implementation. Lack of an option to have electronic first curtain shutter is also a potential shortcoming, but I haven't tested this personally.

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3 hours ago, LocalHero1953 said:

Are there downsides to using Leica L lenses on the S1R?
Has anyone with a stock of Leica L lenses deliberately chosen to swap them for native Panasonic equivalents?

No ...... and yes I have substituted my 90-280 with a Lumix 70-200/4 pro ..... and the accompanying x2 extender giving 400mm. Much more compact and the quality is not significantly inferior. I don't think there will ever be a Leica extender. 

There are however some idiosyncrasies the other way round using other L mount lenses on the SL/SL2. 

Edited by thighslapper
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7 hours ago, LocalHero1953 said:

Are there downsides to using Leica L lenses on the S1R?
Has anyone with a stock of Leica L lenses deliberately chosen to swap them for native Panasonic equivalents?

The only downside that I could think of is the unclear interaction with Leica's OIS and Panasonic S1R's IBIS. I typically enable only one of them. Theoretically, if both OIS and IBIS can work together you could expect more stops of stabilization.

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I had S1 and using SL2 now. I prefer SL2’s simple I/O and menu. However, the only reason I go to SL2 is because of Panasonic take care of most stuff I need but SL2 simply offer better M and S glass support. (Not only AF for S glass, it also offer noticeable less Shutter delay with S glass) and for M glass(21/28/50), SL2 is simply better than S1 I had. 


However, I do miss many feature Panasonic offered such as Better pin point focus implementation, PIP zoom, liner control focusing, better integration of 70-200 OIS, DOF preview, Long exposure view effect change, EFCS etc....

S1 has many quirks also, complicated menu as well but it is one of most enjoyable cameras I ever used. It remind me of Nikon D700, a modern classic. This is A true well built camera. For people not after fancy AF, there is no better digital camera. 
 

for none Leica M or S users, No way I would recommend SL2 over it, even SL2 is definitely simple to operate, I just can’t. 

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