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SL2 + 24-90mm is it for prosessionals?


Photoworks

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It has been months since I purchased the Vario 24-90 mm lens and mounted on the SL2.

Leica describes on there website: “Leica SL-Lenses focus from infinity to the closest focusing distance with exceptional speed and achieve absolute top performance ratings in the demanding professional camera segment."

I was using the SL2 for a fast-paced fashion shoot it’s serious of shoots and that usually takes to 2000-3000 photos on the session.

The constant pulsing of in and out of focus of the camera lens combination left me with much of uncertainty if any of the pictures where going to be in focus, I had a sensation that I was only seeing blurry pictures in my viewfinder all the time and find myself often checking if any are in focus.

That led me to experiment with different focusing systems between single and continuous focus and face-detect.
I think 80% were in focus, sometimes it would lock in the background for 5 frames.

My point is that this was a terrible experience as a photographer, the contrast focus system has the need of going in and out of focus constantly, in addition to that the when half-pressed shutter the image in the viewfinder just blurs just a little.

The capture was also lagging from waiting to be in focus.

Is it for Professionals if you can't control your tool to capture with confidence?

That left me reflecting and deciding that the camera-lens is "no Bueno" for this shoot.

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Maybe the question is "is it for all professionals?" The answer should be obvious. Hint: it's always the same answer the same, no matter which "professional" camera system.

I have used the original SL for a few years. I don't think that the SL2 would be any less suitable to professional work, but then again I never use AF. For me it's a perfect system.

The answer might be different if my workflow depended on having the fastest AF. In that case, the latest 1Dx (or Nikon equivalent) would be more suitable.

 

I realize that my answer isn't very helpful, but I wanted to add context. What you really want to know is "Is the SL2 right for me?"

The other suggestion is to make sure that you have the latest firmware loaded, and that you take the time to test all AF modes (of which there are many) before your next job. The worse time to experiment is when the clock is running, and a whole bunch of expensive people are looking.

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I know exactly what you mean. It’s not a working camera for action based imagery. Hopefully things will be improved in firmware. This issue remains, if it was going to be for still life and portraits, I can get a better image shooing my Hasselblad.

So, if Leica was intending this to be a professional camera, it really has missed it’s mark. It’s autofocus, tracking, and lack of eye detection are out performed by many cameras. When you have the additional stress of being paid to produce results, I would rather choose a camera that I don’t have to worry about lack luster performance, or glitching.

Moreover, if you have a trained eye, and can see the difference in Leica colors, image fidelity, micro contrast, and roll off, then you probable have the skills to mimic these effects in developing competitors files in whatever editing software you choose to use. If not, you can buy Leica Look presets.

From a monetary point of view, 12k for one body and one lens.  For about the same, You could get a medium format Hasselblad X1D, and a Sony AR4 and be covered for both studio and action.

So where does it fall in my line up of cameras? I wanted a Leica and the Noctilux, and APO optics.  So that’s what I got.

Does it perform better than my other camera’s?  No. Was I hoping it would? Yes. It’s years, and years behind in some of the technical aspects. Camera autofocuing systems can now not only detect the eye, but can also differentiate between animal and human. That’s a lot different than detecting a head.

Leica claims to be top quality, unfortunately it’s just a claim.... 

My advice to them is, I would go buy one of these “inferior” Asian made cameras and reverse engineer it, and apply some of the technology.

Quite frankly, the SL2  focuses about as good as a Pentax K1. Just take a look at all the forum users that have an SL2 and went and bought an S1R.....I’m sure they will tell you the S1R performs better....

The SL 2 is the best “M” camera because you can use the bigger M lenses that block half the rangefinder on a regular m body. 

Edited by Jim B
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The SL2 does have quite a lot of options in how focus is operated.  Certainly more than I have ever used with previous cameras. The fundamentals don’t change of course. From your description it sounds like you have used pre focus? Personally I don’t use that. The additional power drain is one reason, especially if you are shooting a large number of exposures in one session
My experience  using the SL2 and 24-90 for three quarter lengths, duos and some group shots was very positive. Studio space, tripod mounted, zone AF, Pre-framed with zoom, just observing and communicating without using the screen or EVF.

 

 

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Edited by hoppyman
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1 hour ago, Jim B said:

I know exactly what you mean. It’s not a working camera for action based imagery. Hopefully things will be improved in firmware. This issue remains, if it was going to be for still life and portraits, I can get a better image shooing my Hasselblad.

So, if Leica was intending this to be a professional camera, it really has missed it’s mark. It’s autofocus, tracking, and lack of eye detection are out performed by many cameras. When you have the additional stress of being paid to produce results, I would rather choose a camera that I don’t have to worry about lack luster performance, or glitching.

Moreover, if you have a trained eye, and can see the difference in Leica colors, image fidelity, micro contrast, and roll off, then you probable have the skills to mimic these effects in developing competitors files in whatever editing software you choose to use. If not, you can buy Leica Look presets.

From a monetary point of view, 12k for one body and one lens.  For about the same, You could get a medium format Hasselblad X1D, and a Sony AR4 and be covered for both studio and action.

So where does it fall in my line up of cameras? I wanted a Leica and the Noctilux, and APO optics.  So that’s what I got.

Does it perform better than my other camera’s?  No. Was I hoping it would? Yes. It’s years, and years behind in some of the technical aspects. Camera autofocuing systems can now not only detect the eye, but can also differentiate between animal and human. That’s a lot different than detecting a head.

Leica claims to be top quality, unfortunately it’s just a claim.... 

My advice to them is, I would go buy one of these “inferior” Asian made cameras and reverse engineer it, and apply some of the technology.

Quite frankly, the SL2  focuses about as good as a Pentax K1. Just take a look at all the forum users that have an SL2 and went and bought an S1R.....I’m sure they will tell you the S1R performs better....

The SL 2 is the best “M” camera because you can use the bigger M lenses that block half the rangefinder on a regular m body. 

You best describe my feeling.... I had a Noctilux already and waited few month to get the SL2, that is a killer combination.

I got the 24-90 to use as backup when I shoot in the studio  with portraits on the song A7R4 and A7R3. the reality in many of this shoots zooms are necessary for speed on celebrity shoots, often you have less the 30min to deliver working photos and changing lenses is not an option.

I do like the SL2 and my clients like to photos they get from it.

I hope the firmware will address some of this issues so that you can focus on a model walking to you.

Is is a bummer that I have to return to my sony canon equipment for that.. 

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1 hour ago, hoppyman said:

The SL2 does have quite a lot of options in how focus is operated.  Certainly more than I have ever used with previous cameras. The fundamentals don’t change of course. From your description it sounds like you have used pre focus? Personally I don’t use that. The additional power drain is one reason, especially if you are shooting a large number of exposures in one session
My experience  using the SL2 and 24-90 for three quarter lengths, duos and some group shots was very positive. Studio space, tripod mounted, zone AF, Pre-framed with zoom, just observing and communicating without using the screen or EVF.

 

 

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I am not worry about battery, I shot over 2000 images in 1 1/2 hour with one battery.

It looks like you models don't move much walking in your direction and you are using more f8

My intent is getting shots at F4  1/250s in single shot and AFs, I probably shot in a rate of an image every 2-3 sec. it should be something possible for most cameras. if this 24-90 would shoot at f2.8 I would use that most of my shoots.

 

happy shooting!

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You are reporting much better battery life than I see then, shooting at a similar rhythm for sets. I don’t tend to shoot until the battery is flat though, just change it at a card change.

The point of my post and image was to show my context ( our described shoots are different) and the method that worked for me. I am an enthusiast, not professional.

Several things in your shoot description made me think how I might address them myself is all. Formerly my primary system was the S, so the SL2  offers much more capability for me for this style of photography.

Not intending to debate technique/ methods with you in any case. The more I use and learn the SL2 the more impressed I am.

 

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Contrast detect is and always has been pretty average for tracking focus. I’m not sure why anyone in the industry is still surprised by this.

That’s not going to change with the SL3, if they keep CDAF. It’s not better on the S1R (almost identical, actually). They might up the refresh speed for the CDAF to 360 times per second and it’ll still be behind any PDAF system. SO if you’re a sport or action photographer the SL2 isn’t the right choice.

However...

An AF system isn’t all there is in a camera that makes it suitable for professional use. (Cameras aren’t *professional*. People are.)

It seems interesting that some photographers think that ALL professional photography is about chasing LeBron or that a walking model has gotten faster over the years. Pro portrait, wedding, street, architectural, arial, product, travel, etc, etc don’t need PDAF or eye focus on a camera. Saying that the SL2 isn’t professional is the same as saying the Phase One system isn’t for professionals. Or tilt shift lenses. Or macro. These things don’t do well with moving subjects either. I shot with the SL601 and made most of my income off that camera for three years. I did the same with a pair of M9’s before that. Didn’t have any issues tracking a bride walking down the aisle, ever. I have a shed full of Sony, Nikon, m43 and Fujifilm cameras. Plus Hasselblad, Pentax and Leica in miniMF. And a few drones... 90% of my income come from the L mount. It’s plenty professional, *if* you choose the right tool for the job. There is no better camera to strap a Canon tilt shift lens onto than a L mount camera. Not even a Canon. When shooting in a dark reception the SL2 is a better choice than the A7R3 because when really grabbing the shadows you don’y get the occasional PDAF banding the Sony can show. I’m far more likely to trust my SL in the rain than any Sony body. And I’m still not onboard with the tiny body huge lens balance equation. The SL2’s IBIS is better than Sony’s.

On the rare occasions I NEED PDAF, I keep a small Sony kit (A9, A7R3) because it’s the right tool for the job. But Son’y’s questionable build quality/weatherproofing, awful handling and ergonomics, disgraceful menus and loud shutter (no silent shutter with flash, in case you want to point that out) make it a thoroughly undesirable camera much of the time, for me. Currently I’m holding a Nikon Z7 to see if it can replace the Sony’s *for MY needs* because I dislike the cameras so much. So far the Sony is still better but makes no real world difference where I use them. Really though, what *I* need is no more than an EM1 mk2.

You would be better off with a Sony system, for sure. Doesn’t make it more professional though. Just the better tool for that particular application. The SL2 is also far below average for off camera TTL flash. I never use TTL off camera, only manual, so again......

We’re fast approaching a point in time where we’ll frame grab from eye detecting PDAF tracking 8K bursts and every shot will be in pin sharp focus. But it isn’t really photography is it? We’re all being slowly replaced with video grabs. Thankfully, I’ve been successful enough to be able to retire any time I want and be OK. I do miss the times where it took more than technology to be a decent photographer though. There’s a certain satisfaction in being able to get the shot with skill, experience and anticipation over just letting a computer algorithm work it all out for you.

Gordon

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25 minutes ago, FlashGordonPhotography said:

Contrast detect is and always has been pretty average for tracking focus. I’m not sure why anyone in the industry is still surprised by this.

That’s not going to change with the SL3, if they keep CDAF. It’s not better on the S1R (almost identical, actually). They might up the refresh speed for the CDAF to 360 times per second and it’ll still be behind any PDAF system. SO if you’re a sport or action photographer the SL2 isn’t the right choice.

However...

An AF system isn’t all there is in a camera that makes it suitable for professional use. (Cameras aren’t *professional*. People are.)

It seems interesting that some photographers think that ALL professional photography is about chasing LeBron or that a walking model has gotten faster over the years. Pro portrait, wedding, street, architectural, arial, product, travel, etc, etc don’t need PDAF or eye focus on a camera. Saying that the SL2 isn’t professional is the same as saying the Phase One system isn’t for professionals. Or tilt shift lenses. Or macro. These things don’t do well with moving subjects either. I shot with the SL601 and made most of my income off that camera for three years. I did the same with a pair of M9’s before that. Didn’t have any issues tracking a bride walking down the aisle, ever. I have a shed full of Sony, Nikon, m43 and Fujifilm cameras. Plus Hasselblad, Pentax and Leica in miniMF. And a few drones... 90% of my income come from the L mount. It’s plenty professional, *if* you choose the right tool for the job. There is no better camera to strap a Canon tilt shift lens onto than a L mount camera. Not even a Canon. When shooting in a dark reception the SL2 is a better choice than the A7R3 because when really grabbing the shadows you don’y get the occasional PDAF banding the Sony can show. I’m far more likely to trust my SL in the rain than any Sony body. And I’m still not onboard with the tiny body huge lens balance equation. The SL2’s IBIS is better than Sony’s.

On the rare occasions I NEED PDAF, I keep a small Sony kit (A9, A7R3) because it’s the right tool for the job. But Son’y’s questionable build quality/weatherproofing, awful handling and ergonomics, disgraceful menus and loud shutter (no silent shutter with flash, in case you want to point that out) make it a thoroughly undesirable camera much of the time, for me. Currently I’m holding a Nikon Z7 to see if it can replace the Sony’s *for MY needs* because I dislike the cameras so much. So far the Sony is still better but makes no real world difference where I use them. Really though, what *I* need is no more than an EM1 mk2.

You would be better off with a Sony system, for sure. Doesn’t make it more professional though. Just the better tool for that particular application. The SL2 is also far below average for off camera TTL flash. I never use TTL off camera, only manual, so again......

We’re fast approaching a point in time where we’ll frame grab from eye detecting PDAF tracking 8K bursts and every shot will be in pin sharp focus. But it isn’t really photography is it? We’re all being slowly replaced with video grabs. Thankfully, I’ve been successful enough to be able to retire any time I want and be OK. I do miss the times where it took more than technology to be a decent photographer though. There’s a certain satisfaction in being able to get the shot with skill, experience and anticipation over just letting a computer algorithm work it all out for you.

Gordon

thanks Gordon..

I get your points. I was not actually complaining about the final result. I am ok with the amount of in focus photos from the SL2.

What I can't see it what I don't like. I look true the view finder and I see and image going in and out to grab focus. the camera will shoot when it is in focus. 
But I have no confidants in what I see true the view finder, the camera is just to busy with in and out focusing. They sell the 24-90mm Lens to be the fastest focusing motors in a lens, this doesn't reflect my experience .

If you have a slow shoot I am sure the system will do better..

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18 hours ago, FlashGordonPhotography said:

Contrast detect is and always has been pretty average for tracking focus. I’m not sure why anyone in the industry is still surprised by this.

That’s not going to change with the SL3, if they keep CDAF. It’s not better on the S1R (almost identical, actually). They might up the refresh speed for the CDAF to 360 times per second and it’ll still be behind any PDAF system. SO if you’re a sport or action photographer the SL2 isn’t the right choice.

However...

An AF system isn’t all there is in a camera that makes it suitable for professional use. (Cameras aren’t *professional*. People are.)

It seems interesting that some photographers think that ALL professional photography is about chasing LeBron or that a walking model has gotten faster over the years. Pro portrait, wedding, street, architectural, arial, product, travel, etc, etc don’t need PDAF or eye focus on a camera. Saying that the SL2 isn’t professional is the same as saying the Phase One system isn’t for professionals. Or tilt shift lenses. Or macro. These things don’t do well with moving subjects either. I shot with the SL601 and made most of my income off that camera for three years. I did the same with a pair of M9’s before that. Didn’t have any issues tracking a bride walking down the aisle, ever. I have a shed full of Sony, Nikon, m43 and Fujifilm cameras. Plus Hasselblad, Pentax and Leica in miniMF. And a few drones... 90% of my income come from the L mount. It’s plenty professional, *if* you choose the right tool for the job. There is no better camera to strap a Canon tilt shift lens onto than a L mount camera. Not even a Canon. When shooting in a dark reception the SL2 is a better choice than the A7R3 because when really grabbing the shadows you don’y get the occasional PDAF banding the Sony can show. I’m far more likely to trust my SL in the rain than any Sony body. And I’m still not onboard with the tiny body huge lens balance equation. The SL2’s IBIS is better than Sony’s.

On the rare occasions I NEED PDAF, I keep a small Sony kit (A9, A7R3) because it’s the right tool for the job. But Son’y’s questionable build quality/weatherproofing, awful handling and ergonomics, disgraceful menus and loud shutter (no silent shutter with flash, in case you want to point that out) make it a thoroughly undesirable camera much of the time, for me. Currently I’m holding a Nikon Z7 to see if it can replace the Sony’s *for MY needs* because I dislike the cameras so much. So far the Sony is still better but makes no real world difference where I use them. Really though, what *I* need is no more than an EM1 mk2.

You would be better off with a Sony system, for sure. Doesn’t make it more professional though. Just the better tool for that particular application. The SL2 is also far below average for off camera TTL flash. I never use TTL off camera, only manual, so again......

We’re fast approaching a point in time where we’ll frame grab from eye detecting PDAF tracking 8K bursts and every shot will be in pin sharp focus. But it isn’t really photography is it? We’re all being slowly replaced with video grabs. Thankfully, I’ve been successful enough to be able to retire any time I want and be OK. I do miss the times where it took more than technology to be a decent photographer though. There’s a certain satisfaction in being able to get the shot with skill, experience and anticipation over just letting a computer algorithm work it all out for you.

Gordon

Well said Gordon! I totally agree 

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43 minutes ago, Jim B said:

Yeah well, in 1978 I was able to manual focus, and shoot sports with a film autowinder that got 2 frames per second..... But it’s no longer 1978 now...

Absolutely. But it’s likely you didn’t turn up with a Pentax 6x7 or a K1000 either. Or a 501. 

The SL2 is not the ideal choice for a working sports photographer. There are three significantly better options for those who shoot lost of movement with long lenses.

For a lot of other disciplines the SL2 is an ideal choice for the working photographer. Of ten replacing areas where medium format would have once been used. As an example the Australian arial and landscape photographer Christian Fletcher has just replaced his Phase system with a SL2.

Gordon

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20 hours ago, Photoworks said:

thanks Gordon..

I get your points. I was not actually complaining about the final result. I am ok with the amount of in focus photos from the SL2.

What I can't see it what I don't like. I look true the view finder and I see and image going in and out to grab focus. the camera will shoot when it is in focus. 
But I have no confidants in what I see true the view finder, the camera is just to busy with in and out focusing. They sell the 24-90mm Lens to be the fastest focusing motors in a lens, this doesn't reflect my experience .

If you have a slow shoot I am sure the system will do better..

I agree with you 100%. No system is perfect and it’s necessary to point out the weaknesses as well as the flaws. The fluttering viewfinder is awful, to me and you’re sure not going to see it mentioned in the marketing materials. . Sure there’s a decent but not stellar hit rate but I find tracking really unfriendly in use. I consider the SL2 a SAF camera only not because you can’t get some frames but because of the user experience and the fact there are better options out there.

In single shot I’ve found the SL2/24=90 to be essentially the same as other systems in focus acquisition. Technique is a bit different but the result is the same. When any of these companies make speed claims they can be safely ignored as they usually have so many conditions they’re really only comparing to themselves.

Gordon

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After 2-3 years with  mainly mirrorless cameras, SL2, I just aquired a D500 1 week ago. I was able to get some action shots with the SL2 but wow, how easy it is to shoot action with the D500. I am amazed. IMO the SL2 is a great camera system, but even for kids, dog etc. in motion  mirrorless is still not there.

 

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30 minutes ago, FlashGordonPhotography said:

Absolutely. But it’s likely you didn’t turn up with a Pentax 6x7 or a K1000 either. Or a 501. 

The SL2 is not the ideal choice for a working sports photographer. There are three significantly better options for those who shoot lost of movement with long lenses.

For a lot of other disciplines the SL2 is an ideal choice for the working photographer. Of ten replacing areas where medium format would have once been used. As an example the Australian arial and landscape photographer Christian Fletcher has just replaced his Phase system with a SL2.

Gordon

It could be King, if they wanted it to be. Major improvements can be made though firmware development. Many manufacturers have already proved this. While they are developing high res mode, I hope they delve deeper into tuning the focus and tracking.  Unless we ask, they would be unaware. 

I am happy to have the camera, and it would be great to have operate the best as well. 

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4 hours ago, tom0511 said:

After 2-3 years with  mainly mirrorless cameras, SL2, I just aquired a D500 1 week ago. I was able to get some action shots with the SL2 but wow, how easy it is to shoot action with the D500. I am amazed. IMO the SL2 is a great camera system, but even for kids, dog etc. in motion  mirrorless is still not there.

 

I don’t know if I’d box *mirrorless* as a whole group because of the SL2. It’s the poorer of the CAF systems. At the top is the Sony A9II which is a direct competitor to the best CAF DSLRs out there including the D5 and 1DX3. Even the high res A7R3 and A7R4 have really really good tracking abilities.

To be fair though it’s worth noting that in Single shot AF the SL2 and Panasonics focus REALLY well in low light and are stronger than most other systems there. Wedding photographers, for example will find that more important than CAF.

Gordon

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vor 12 Stunden schrieb FlashGordonPhotography:

I don’t know if I’d box *mirrorless* as a whole group because of the SL2. It’s the poorer of the CAF systems. At the top is the Sony A9II which is a direct competitor to the best CAF DSLRs out there including the D5 and 1DX3. Even the high res A7R3 and A7R4 have really really good tracking abilities.

To be fair though it’s worth noting that in Single shot AF the SL2 and Panasonics focus REALLY well in low light and are stronger than most other systems there. Wedding photographers, for example will find that more important than CAF.

Gordon

I assume the A9 is a good example what is possible (I have no own experience though). And I agree that many CAF systems work very very well at S-AF. It is also not impossible to get action shots with the SL2, it is ok.

However.... using the D500 for some days... made me clear that IMO mirrorless does not have advantages only. Indeed it has been a lot of fun for me to use an DLSR viewfinder, and the camera feels very instant and quick and reliable. Just to make clear, the SL2 is and will be my main system for overall photography.

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A while ago I shared a link to a Sony review that said: "it's great if all you want is speed, because it doesn't do anything else well...".

I won't bother looking for the link, but it should tell you that there is no perfect camera with all the features. Other than the M-A, of course!

One thing about professional photography is that nobody cares if your camera focuses fast, or had a great DxO score, or if you spent five days digging a ditch to get your shot. All they care about is images. I think that qualifies the SL2 as a professional camera, especially if it turns-out out to be extremely reliable, like the SL.

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There is a television advert on at the moment for toothpaste which ends with the streamline 'brush like a pro' ...... go figure!

I use Leica M9s, Sony A7IIs and even a Canon 60D professionally. Does this make any of these cameras better than others or suitable for every sort of photography? I think not. They just happen to be usable tools for the  image making I undertake.

And FWIW I gave up buying the latest and greatest with the Nikon F5. I use what I like and what produces the images that I like. No camera is perfect (the Sony A7IIs are anything but - they are capable of fine images though, sometimes).

Edited by pgk
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