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Sl2 or Sl2-S - Advice Appreciated

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Hi Everyone,

I am looking for some opinions on which version of the SL2 I should purchase.  I know some of you have or had both and was wondering which one you would purchase if you were looking now and had the option to buy either of them.  I currently have a CL with some lenses and an M10R with 35FLE and 50 APO.  I also shoot a Sony A7R4 which i primarily use for wildlife but I am not completely satisfied with images for general photography.   When I compare the output of the Sony to the M10 I really prefer the look of the M10.  The Sony just seems a little flatter to me.  I also find the noise to be higher than I would like when shooting with ISOs higher than 3600.  

I would be using the SL2 for general photography when I wanted autofocus and a EVF.  I am hoping that the SL2 will be more enjoyable to use than the Sony and deliver images more in line with the look of my M10.  I don’t shoot much video at all so the improved video of the SL2-s does not weigh heavily in the decision. I would start with the 24-90 and my M lenses and  see how i like it before investing in any additional lenses.  If i like it I would probably try Sigma 100-400 and one of their smaller primes.  

 lI have been reading all the reviews and the threads here on the forum.  It would seem that the advantages of the SL2-s are improved low light performance, less noise, and a slight improvement in autofocus performance.  With regards to the SL2, I have enjoyed the added resolution of both my M10R and the A7R4 mostly for the ability to crop into an image during post processing although I must admit this may be a result of my framing and composition  skills which I am working on :)  The other advantage of the SL2 is the ability of the using the CL Lenses.  Although if I find I really like the SL2 or SL2S I would be tempted to sell the CL lenses in favor of purchasing additional L mount full frame glass. Any comments on the use of CL Lenses would be appreciated.  I understand that they can be used but is the image quality and handling compelling enough to be a major factor in making the decision? 

I really enjoy shooting in the late afternoon and early evening but find that sometimes challenging with the A7R4 due to noise when shooting at higher ISOs.  I am really attracted to the SL2S due the better low light performance.  I know in controlled tests it is 2.5 to 3 stops better which is huge but does it really translate into better images in regular day to day shooting?    

Also any thoughts on the autofocus performance difference between the two cameras would be appreciated.

I understand that these types of questions are always a little silly as only I know what is important to me but I would love to hear what folks have to say now that a number of you have used the camera for a few weeks now.

Thank you. 

Eric

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I’ve owned the SL and now the SL2-S. I skipped the SL2, choosing to shoot with the Q2 instead, and it’s on this camera sensor that I draw my SL2 assumptions:

1. The smaller files from the SL2-S do make the entire process more pleasurable. I was extremely open minded about the large Q2 files at purchase - it’s just larger & faster SD cards, right? But having now gone back to 24Mb, everything is that bit faster. From AF to camera buffer to download to post. It’s just less of a faff and that all adds to quite a net gain.

2. Ive never owned the SL2, so this next comment is based on limited use in store and also the Q2 sensor. So it may be ill-informed. I find the high Mb sensor harder work to nail the shot and a little clinical. Especially in lower light. This is likely as much my technique, so maybe it’s just less forgiving. The SL2-S is great in low light, for sure, and I’d attribute that to losing the high Mb sensor.

3. AF performance has leaped forwards with the SL2-S versus the SL and Q2. Not quite Sony performance (I still covet the eye-AF on my RX1RII) but the SL2-S is st least aspiring to this level (with further firmware upgrade promised). Maybe think of it as face-AF versus eye-AF. Ironically, these AF gains are somewhat blunted at low light - the camera’s apparent USP. 

Just my three-penneth.

 

Edited by paul.bridges.3388

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I have the CL and SL2-S, and have owned the SL and SL2 (the latter for only a couple of months before switching to the SL2-S). I have never used the Sony A7 series.

It is difficult to get across what I see as the big step up in image quality between the SL2-S and its predecessors. I have not tried the M10R either, but from the comments of those who moved from M10 to M10R I think the effect is the same: Leica has learned a lot recently about getting better images out of the latest sensors - and I'm really looking forward to the CL2 for the same reason.

Yes, the SL2-S has a stop or two or more (opinions differ) over the SL/SL2 for similar amounts of noise. The noise in the SL2-S is also easier on the eye. In low light, the colours in shadows do not break out in noisy purple banding when you try to lift them. But beyond that, in dull and overcast conditions the SL2-S seems able to bring out the colours and detail in a scene so much better. For a shot taken on a typically grey English afternoon, I am normally playing with the contrast, saturation and clarity sliders in Lightroom - anything to get a bit of life into the shot. The SL2-S doesn't magically transform it into a gloriously sunny day, but I find I am making far fewer adjustments to achieve the scene I thought I saw in front of me, which is usually my starting point for post processing.

Here is an example, taken as part of a series on new housing developments around the city - it has no particular merit except as an example. It was taken yesterday afternoon; I have done nothing to enhance the clouds - all I have done is adjust the black and white end points. As I wrote above, it is difficult to get this difference across, except to say that to achieve the same naturalistic result with my SL and SL2 would have taken a lot more work. 

In conventional terms I have 'downgraded' from the SL2 to the SL2-S, buying a lower cost camera with fewer pixels. I don't think so. 

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If you want to use your CL lenses, probably the SL2 is the best option for you, since it will leave you with about 20 megapixels and still have room for cropping.

Since you already have a CL kit, you could keep it for when you want to carry a smaller kit, ie holidays, hiking etc.

To deal with noise you can always use Topaz Denoise

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The ISO noise level of the a7R4 is very similar to the SL2, high megapixel camera have become better over the years, but a 24mp will be better at that.

I like the megapixel, give you freedom to crop and furure proof images for year to come. If you think editing is slow, we'll it is for leica like sony, my suggestion is to use photo mechanics and c1p and drop that slow lightroom

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5 hours ago, paul.bridges.3388 said:

I’ve owned the SL and now the SL2-S. I skipped the SL2, choosing to shoot with the Q2 instead, and it’s on this camera sensor that I draw my SL2 assumptions:

1. The smaller files from the SL2-S do make the entire process more pleasurable. I was extremely open minded about the large Q2 files at purchase - it’s just larger & faster SD cards, right? But having now gone back to 24Mb, everything is that bit faster. From AF to camera buffer to download to post. It’s just less of a faff and that all adds to quite a net gain.

2. Ive never owned the SL2, so this next comment is based on limited use in store and also the Q2 sensor. So it may be ill-informed. I find the high Mb sensor harder work to nail the shot and a little clinical. Especially in lower light. This is likely as much my technique, so maybe it’s just less forgiving. The SL2-S is great in low light, for sure, and I’d attribute that to losing the high Mb sensor.

3. AF performance has leaped forwards with the SL2-S versus the SL and Q2. Not quite Sony performance (I still covet the eye-AF on my RX1RII) but the SL2-S is st least aspiring to this level (with further firmware upgrade promised). Maybe think of it as face-AF versus eye-AF. Ironically, these AF gains are somewhat blunted at low light - the camera’s apparent USP. 

Just my three-penneth.

 

Hi Paul,

Thank you for the comments.  I guess I forgot to mention that I have a Q2 as well, and have found that I don’t like the look of the files as much as i did with the original Q.  In some ways they remind me of my A7R4, very sharp and clean when the light is good.  I would say there is better separation/pop and I like the colors better.  

I do not consider myself a very good photographer but I have come to understand what I like and I am now trying to figure out how to be able to produce it in a reliable way.  As I mentioned, I really love the output of the M10 with either sensor  ( I had and M10-P before the R).

I really don’t have an issue with the larger file size as disk is cheap and I don’t do this professionally so the the added time in file handling is not an issue.  I do find the post processing of the M10 files much easier and often times I find myself liking what I see with little effort, short of tweaking the shadows and highlights and sometimes exposure ( I habitually under expose, especially if I pay attention to the in camera light meter of the M10R, if I cheat and look at the histogram things are better ).  

 I am happy to hear that you find the autofocus improved.  I am not expecting performance on par with the Sony as I will keep this outfit for BIF and other fast paced endeavors.  In fact I really like the Sony for birds and wildlife, I love the detail that is revealed.  The clean crisp files are great for animals but I really don’t care for that look when it comes to people.  I prefer the slightly softer and vintage look when it comes to people.  

Again, thank you for the input.

Eric

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I agonized over this decision as well, and went back and forth more than a few times, especially since the price of a used SL2 right now is about the same as a new SL2-S. For me the decision came down to whether the low light performance of the SL2-S was something I really needed. I also own a Canon R5, so I was interested in how the dynamic range performance of the SL2 compared with the SL2-S and the R5 that I owned. The only information I found with a reasonable apples-to-apples comparison was on the Photons-to-photos website where you could graph the performance of all the cameras together:

I rarely 

    Interestingly the SL2-S, Canon R5, and Canon R6 all have similar dynamic ranges at high iso, but the SL2 is only about one stop worse, except for the interesting case of 
ISO400 where the R5 and R6 have an advantage. Since I shoot mostly daylight and stationary objects with the Leica at low f-stop, the one stop disadvantage was not that bad for me, so in the end I went with the SL2, and am very happy with my decision. Having the extra resolution on the sensor has been fantastic when printing large prints. To keep my budget down I only own one lens for the R5 - the 24-240, which covers most of my needs. I shoot it for anything subject that moves, and I shoot the Leica with prime lenses for any subjects that are more or less stationary. And as many others have said, the Leica is way more fun to shoot with!

It is a tough decision though.

 

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I have the SL2 and sold my Sony A7RIV, as I prefer everything about the Leica except the autofocus, which is good enough for my uses. I think the SL2 is worse than the Sony where noise is concerned, but again not a significant factor for me. But it seems in your case that the decision is clear since you dislike the Q2 files and that is the same sensor as the SL2.

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You did an excellent job setting the stage with your current gear and shooting priorities, which really helps in framing our collective experience and response.

I believe on balance the pros and cons of SL2 and SL2-s sort of balance each other out for general photography use. There will be occasions when the extra resolution and ability to crop will clearly favour SL2 and other times when shooting in low light conditions where SL2-s is the better tool.

I’ve owned the SL, CL and Q2 and have now sold them in order to get SL2 and SL2-S. When I sold my CL I kept my TL lens ( 35mm, 11-23, 55-135). I would not have done so if I had kept my SL or just had SL2-S. 

Based on the list of considerations you outlined it seems like your decision regarding future use of your TL lens per earlier comment by Simone_DF could very well prove to be the tie breaker.

If you intend to keep and use your TL lens regularly I believe your will be more than satisfied with the IQ on SL2 ( 20MP) and you’ll retain the flexibility of having light kit for travel or daily use. Under that scenario you retain the advantage of higher resolution only when needed or desired. If on the other hand your intention is to sell the TL lens in favour of full frame alternatives, then the scale may start to tip in favour of SL2-S.

One last thought. You didn’t mention if you shoot landscape and/or if you intend to print large prints. If landscape photography and large prints are part of your intended use then SL2 would seem like the better option. Multishot mode on SL2-S is clearly an option, but can only be used in limited / controlled circumstances.

Edited by NicholasT

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6 hours ago, LocalHero1953 said:

I have the CL and SL2-S, and have owned the SL and SL2 (the latter for only a couple of months before switching to the SL2-S). I have never used the Sony A7 series.

It is difficult to get across what I see as the big step up in image quality between the SL2-S and its predecessors. I have not tried the M10R either, but from the comments of those who moved from M10 to M10R I think the effect is the same: Leica has learned a lot recently about getting better images out of the latest sensors - and I'm really looking forward to the CL2 for the same reason.

Yes, the SL2-S has a stop or two or more (opinions differ) over the SL/SL2 for similar amounts of noise. The noise in the SL2-S is also easier on the eye. In low light, the colours in shadows do not break out in noisy purple banding when you try to lift them. But beyond that, in dull and overcast conditions the SL2-S seems able to bring out the colours and detail in a scene so much better. For a shot taken on a typically grey English afternoon, I am normally playing with the contrast, saturation and clarity sliders in Lightroom - anything to get a bit of life into the shot. The SL2-S doesn't magically transform it into a gloriously sunny day, but I find I am making far fewer adjustments to achieve the scene I thought I saw in front of me, which is usually my starting point for post processing.

Here is an example, taken as part of a series on new housing developments around the city - it has no particular merit except as an example. It was taken yesterday afternoon; I have done nothing to enhance the clouds - all I have done is adjust the black and white end points. As I wrote above, it is difficult to get this difference across, except to say that to achieve the same naturalistic result with my SL and SL2 would have taken a lot more work. 

In conventional terms I have 'downgraded' from the SL2 to the SL2-S, buying a lower cost camera with fewer pixels. I don't think so. 

Hi Paul,

Yes, as I mentioned the files I am getting from the M10R are by far my most favorite and based on your description I hope I will see similar results with the SL2.  You suggested that Leica is sorting out how to produce that look with the higher resolution sensors.  It is interesting, I followed the 24 vs 47 megapixel thread that was posted a bit ago.  In my mind, it has as much to do with the particular properties of the sensor as well as what Leica does with it on its way to producing a DNG. There are a ton parameters that go into this such as, the micro lens stack, the algorithms which turn the sensor data into a .DNG, etc.  At the end of the day the initial look of the output ( as presented by the Adobe processing and presets ) and the malleability of the files is the our first impression of an image.  As the saying goes, the first impression matters ( i do understand that by applying a particular preset on import can alter that first impression but there always remains that original lump of clay ).    I guess it comes down to how the original lump of clay makes YOU feel.  It sounds like you like the lump of clay the SL2-S hands you as it more closely resembles what you see when observing the world around you.

Your post got me thinking, (thank you for that).  My wife and I just moved from the Florida Keys to the North-shore of Massachusetts.  The light is totally different.  In Florida the sun is bright and there is less more contrast.  In Gloucester there is less color but a greater tonal range ( I may not be using the right technical terms to describe this), I am having a harder time capturing and presenting this.  But, the M10R seems to be better at it ( dynamic range?).  It seems that the SL2-S in your mind may produce a similar outcome.

I think your last statement is something that has been nagging me.  I am an engineer by education and I have always strived to make the best technical decision when looking for a solution to a problem.  As I gained more experience ( got older ) I found that I began to lean towards more elegant and simpler solutions.  This may very well be happening as it pertains to my photography.  In the back of mind I keep thinking the SL2S is a downgrade but maybe I just need to let go of that.  I understand I will give up the ability to crop aggressively but maybe it will push me to be better at composition, getting closer, etc.  I will never be one to say that cropping is not “proper” but there are ways to reduce its need .

Thanks for your input.

 

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1 hour ago, Photoworks said:

The ISO noise level of the a7R4 is very similar to the SL2, high megapixel camera have become better over the years, but a 24mp will be better at that.

I like the megapixel, give you freedom to crop and furure proof images for year to come. If you think editing is slow, we'll it is for leica like sony, my suggestion is to use photo mechanics and c1p and drop that slow lightroom

I too have enjoyed the ability to crop the images from the M10R and A7R4, you are right, it sometimes gives you the ability to take a make a photo so much better, especially when you can not frame the subject fully.   I crop a lot and it is one of the reasons I am struggling with this decision.

 I really have no problem with the workflow issues associated with large files, in my mind, processor speeds and storage solution have kept pace and will likely continue to do so.  

5 hours ago, Simone_DF said:

If you want to use your CL lenses, probably the SL2 is the best option for you, since it will leave you with about 20 megapixels and still have room for cropping.

Since you already have a CL kit, you could keep it for when you want to carry a smaller kit, ie holidays, hiking etc.

To deal with noise you can always use Topaz Denoise

That is one of the things pushing me towards the SL2 as I really like the size of the TL zooms.  I am hoping that L Mount alliance will offer similarly sized full frame zooms.  I know they will not be on par with the Leica lenses but they may be good enough.

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1 hour ago, eab said:

Hi Paul,

Yes, as I mentioned the files I am getting from the M10R are by far my most favorite and based on your description I hope I will see similar results with the SL2.  You suggested that Leica is sorting out how to produce that look with the higher resolution sensors.  It is interesting, I followed the 24 vs 47 megapixel thread that was posted a bit ago.  In my mind, it has as much to do with the particular properties of the sensor as well as what Leica does with it on its way to producing a DNG. There are a ton parameters that go into this such as, the micro lens stack, the algorithms which turn the sensor data into a .DNG, etc.  At the end of the day the initial look of the output ( as presented by the Adobe processing and presets ) and the malleability of the files is the our first impression of an image.  As the saying goes, the first impression matters ( i do understand that by applying a particular preset on import can alter that first impression but there always remains that original lump of clay ).    I guess it comes down to how the original lump of clay makes YOU feel.  It sounds like you like the lump of clay the SL2-S hands you as it more closely resembles what you see when observing the world around you.

Your post got me thinking, (thank you for that).  My wife and I just moved from the Florida Keys to the North-shore of Massachusetts.  The light is totally different.  In Florida the sun is bright and there is less more contrast.  In Gloucester there is less color but a greater tonal range ( I may not be using the right technical terms to describe this), I am having a harder time capturing and presenting this.  But, the M10R seems to be better at it ( dynamic range?).  It seems that the SL2-S in your mind may produce a similar outcome.

I think your last statement is something that has been nagging me.  I am an engineer by education and I have always strived to make the best technical decision when looking for a solution to a problem.  As I gained more experience ( got older ) I found that I began to lean towards more elegant and simpler solutions.  This may very well be happening as it pertains to my photography.  In the back of mind I keep thinking the SL2S is a downgrade but maybe I just need to let go of that.  I understand I will give up the ability to crop aggressively but maybe it will push me to be better at composition, getting closer, etc.  I will never be one to say that cropping is not “proper” but there are ways to reduce its need .

Thanks for your input.

 

Just for clarification, my comment was that Leica was sorting out how to deal with recent sensors, not necessarily high res sensors. I find the SL2-S better than the SL2 in that regard.

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2 hours ago, eab said:

I too have enjoyed the ability to crop the images from the M10R and A7R4, you are right, it sometimes gives you the ability to take a make a photo so much better, especially when you can not frame the subject fully.   I crop a lot and it is one of the reasons I am struggling with this decision.

It's not just about better composition. At least in my case, I found out that I don't need anything longer than 90mm (ie a 70-200) because I can just crop.

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3 hours ago, ualbertin said:

I agonized over this decision as well, and went back and forth more than a few times, especially since the price of a used SL2 right now is about the same as a new SL2-S. For me the decision came down to whether the low light performance of the SL2-S was something I really needed. I also own a Canon R5, so I was interested in how the dynamic range performance of the SL2 compared with the SL2-S and the R5 that I owned. The only information I found with a reasonable apples-to-apples comparison was on the Photons-to-photos website where you could graph the performance of all the cameras together:

I rarely 

    Interestingly the SL2-S, Canon R5, and Canon R6 all have similar dynamic ranges at high iso, but the SL2 is only about one stop worse, except for the interesting case of 
ISO400 where the R5 and R6 have an advantage. Since I shoot mostly daylight and stationary objects with the Leica at low f-stop, the one stop disadvantage was not that bad for me, so in the end I went with the SL2, and am very happy with my decision. Having the extra resolution on the sensor has been fantastic when printing large prints. To keep my budget down I only own one lens for the R5 - the 24-240, which covers most of my needs. I shoot it for anything subject that moves, and I shoot the Leica with prime lenses for any subjects that are more or less stationary. And as many others have said, the Leica is way more fun to shoot with!

It is a tough decision though.

 

Note the triangle down icon on the R5 graph, which means that Canon R5 applies noise reduction to raw files to raise the DR (by 2/3 of a stop). Also, note that R5's electronic shutter has a much lower DR than the mechanical shutter.

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2 hours ago, SrMi said:

Note the triangle down icon on the R5 graph, which means that Canon R5 applies noise reduction to raw files to raise the DR (by 2/3 of a stop). Also, note that R5's electronic shutter has a much lower DR than the mechanical shutter.

 

Good catch! Presumably the noise reduction will have an effect on the sharpness of the image. What's interesting is that the noise reduction appears to be applied only in the low iso range, and doesn't appear to be applied at high iso where the triangles turn to circles, unless I'm reading the graph incorrectly. The graph also refers to the SL2 as applying some scaling at higher iso, but I don't know what effect that would have. In any case I think I'm liking the SL2 more and more :) .

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In the UK the price difference is £1350 so that may come into the equation. At £3950 it thought to justify the extra just for the resolution. 

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7 hours ago, ualbertin said:

I agonized over this decision as well, and went back and forth more than a few times, especially since the price of a used SL2 right now is about the same as a new SL2-S. For me the decision came down to whether the low light performance of the SL2-S was something I really needed. I also own a Canon R5, so I was interested in how the dynamic range performance of the SL2 compared with the SL2-S and the R5 that I owned. The only information I found with a reasonable apples-to-apples comparison was on the Photons-to-photos website where you could graph the performance of all the cameras together:

I rarely 

    Interestingly the SL2-S, Canon R5, and Canon R6 all have similar dynamic ranges at high iso, but the SL2 is only about one stop worse, except for the interesting case of 
ISO400 where the R5 and R6 have an advantage. Since I shoot mostly daylight and stationary objects with the Leica at low f-stop, the one stop disadvantage was not that bad for me, so in the end I went with the SL2, and am very happy with my decision. Having the extra resolution on the sensor has been fantastic when printing large prints. To keep my budget down I only own one lens for the R5 - the 24-240, which covers most of my needs. I shoot it for anything subject that moves, and I shoot the Leica with prime lenses for any subjects that are more or less stationary. And as many others have said, the Leica is way more fun to shoot with!

It is a tough decision though.

 

Ualbertin,

Thank you for the comments and the graph.  Yes, the graphs show a difference of one stop but when you hear the folks like David and Josh at Reddot Forum, they are suggesting around 2.5 to 3 stop difference between the SL2 and SL2s.  I suspect that their methodology is not as well controlled as the data found in the graph but I don’t think I know enough about their methodologies to comment on them.  I also think there is a difference between the data presented in a graph and how it manifests itself in an image.  There was one thing that Josh said that rang true for me, not only is it about the noise but the freedom it gives you when shooting.  For instance if there really is a 2.5 to 3 stop difference I can close down my shutter a bit more if I want to increase my depth of field for a particular shot later in the day.  I have noticed that sometimes later in the day when I am shooting with the Sony and using an f2.8 lens that my ISO starts getting a little higher than I like.  

7 hours ago, Rob L said:

I have the SL2 and sold my Sony A7RIV, as I prefer everything about the Leica except the autofocus, which is good enough for my uses. I think the SL2 is worse than the Sony where noise is concerned, but again not a significant factor for me. But it seems in your case that the decision is clear since you dislike the Q2 files and that is the same sensor as the SL2.

Hi Rob,

Thank you for chiming in.  Your comments on the SL2 being worse than the A7R4 are very helpful as you have had the opportunity to compare them.  I am beginning to wonder if my expectations are to high.  It may be that I am cropping to much and therefore the noise becomes a lot more obvious.  Maybe it would make sense for me to figure out how to come to grips with the A7R4 before making this decision.  if i were to crop less and stop pixel peeping maybe I would be happy with the sensor in the Sony and ultimately the SL2.  I think I will spend a little time looking at some of my Sony images again.  I am also going to revisit my Q2 files as they are a good indicator of what to expect from the SL2.  

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9 hours ago, NicholasT said:

You did an excellent job setting the stage with your current gear and shooting priorities, which really helps in framing our collective experience and response.

I believe on balance the pros and cons of SL2 and SL2-s sort of balance each other out for general photography use. There will be occasions when the extra resolution and ability to crop will clearly favour SL2 and other times when shooting in low light conditions where SL2-s is the better tool.

I’ve owned the SL, CL and Q2 and have now sold them in order to get SL2 and SL2-S. When I sold my CL I kept my TL lens ( 35mm, 11-23, 55-135). I would not have done so if I had kept my SL or just had SL2-S. 

Based on the list of considerations you outlined it seems like your decision regarding future use of your TL lens per earlier comment by Simone_DF could very well prove to be the tie breaker.

If you intend to keep and use your TL lens regularly I believe your will be more than satisfied with the IQ on SL2 ( 20MP) and you’ll retain the flexibility of having light kit for travel or daily use. Under that scenario you retain the advantage of higher resolution only when needed or desired. If on the other hand your intention is to sell the TL lens in favour of full frame alternatives, then the scale may start to tip in favour of SL2-S.

One last thought. You didn’t mention if you shoot landscape and/or if you intend to print large prints. If landscape photography and large prints are part of your intended use then SL2 would seem like the better option. Multishot mode on SL2-S is clearly an option, but can only be used in limited / controlled circumstances.

Hi Nicholas,

Thank you for your comments.  So I see you have ordered both, do you plan on keeping both or using them for a while and then deciding which one to keep?  Other than the resolution and the ability to crop, do you feel there are significant differences in the images they produce in lower ISO images?    Was there a specific reason you chose to purchase both or is it primarily to have a back up in the event that one fails? 

With regards to the TL lenses I would definitely keep them if I purchased the SL2 as I agree, the 20mp crop would be sufficient.  I guess I would try them out and see how I liked them.  My other thought was if I would be better off selling them in favor of purchasing the more compact and lighter full frame offerings from Sigma or Panasonic.  Have  you found that you are using your TL lenses a lot or just occasionally.  I saw in another thread you have been using the Sigma 100-400, have you tried any of the other zooms or primes and how do they compare to the TL zooms?  

In regards to what I shoot, I would say I am all over the board.  My wife and I travel quite a lot by camper both domestically and internationally so we end up in the woods and in the city.  I would say that I mostly shoot “travel photography” which for me is a combination of street photography mostly focused on what we see when we wander around cities as well as “landscapes”.  I have learned that good landscape photography is a lot harder than it looks to get a really good image from a composition perspective.  I also enjoy wildlife and bird photography which is what I use my Sony gear for.  

 

have you tried any of the Sigma lenses as an alternativeor is it turning out to be one of those things that sounds better than it really is.  

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11 hours ago, eab said:

Hi Nicholas,

Thank you for your comments.  So I see you have ordered both, do you plan on keeping both or using them for a while and then deciding which one to keep?  Other than the resolution and the ability to crop, do you feel there are significant differences in the images they produce in lower ISO images?    Was there a specific reason you chose to purchase both or is it primarily to have a back up in the event that one fails? 

With regards to the TL lenses I would definitely keep them if I purchased the SL2 as I agree, the 20mp crop would be sufficient.  I guess I would try them out and see how I liked them.  My other thought was if I would be better off selling them in favor of purchasing the more compact and lighter full frame offerings from Sigma or Panasonic.  Have  you found that you are using your TL lenses a lot or just occasionally.  I saw in another thread you have been using the Sigma 100-400, have you tried any of the other zooms or primes and how do they compare to the TL zooms?  

In regards to what I shoot, I would say I am all over the board.  My wife and I travel quite a lot by camper both domestically and internationally so we end up in the woods and in the city.  I would say that I mostly shoot “travel photography” which for me is a combination of street photography mostly focused on what we see when we wander around cities as well as “landscapes”.  I have learned that good landscape photography is a lot harder than it looks to get a really good image from a composition perspective.  I also enjoy wildlife and bird photography which is what I use my Sony gear for.  

 

have you tried any of the Sigma lenses as an alternativeor is it turning out to be one of those things that sounds better than it really is.  

You bring up some excellent points. I’ve been doing a complete rethink in terms of re balancing my priorities when it comes to camera equipment.

We find ourselves at a particularly interesting time in digital photography.  The technological “gaps” that defined the highest quality from the very good in different areas is rapidly closing. 

By way of example the qualitative gap between full frame and medium format is closing so fast where the choice appears to be between 1) wanting “marginally” better file quality above all else in which case medium format still gets the nod or 2) Near medium format file quality with a superior user experience, portability and features such as ISIS in cameras like the SL2. It won’t be long before even these distinctions all but disappear as the physical size of the sensor becomes less and less important in determination of the ultimate quality of the output.

The same could be said for the narrowing differences between crop sensors and full frame.

Another gap that’s been steadily closing is the margin of quality difference between top lens providers like Leica and third party offerings by companies like Sigma. A few years back personally I wouldn’t have remotely suggested that a Sigma lens as a serious/viable option to owning Leica glass. In the last few years Sigma in particular has stepped up their game in a serious way.

Whether an Art series lens is the functional equivalent of Leica glass doesn't feel like the relevant question. Leica continues to enjoy identifiable advantages in either color rendition, sharpness, overall rendering, micro contrast, bokeh or some combination of these factors. That said, it’s hard to argue with the IQ per dollar invested in Sigma glass i.e. there is clear / tangible value particularly with Sigma's most recent offerings. Whether one shoots with Sigma’s new 24-70 F 2.8, the Sigma 100-400 or any of the wonderful new I-series lens, it becomes increasingly clear that the image quality, handling, weight/size considerations at affordable price points is hard to ignore i.e. Sigma L-mount lineup is in fact as good as it sounds.

With that backdrop I’ve concluded that in current photography landscape with ever shrinking gaps in quality / performance, a “blended” camera and lens strategy is the one that makes the most sense, that is unless of course one has an unlimited budget.

What does a mixed strategy really entail?

I believe it all starts with an objective analysis of our real needs as photographers, both in terms of resolution, focal range preference, zoom flexibility versus prime quality/simplicity and many other factors. This is easier said that done since most of us (present company included) suffer from some level of GAS, with visible symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

Once we’ve determined our basic needs we can then narrow our focus by comparing the strengths and weaknesses of more affordable offerings (like Sigma) with the strengths and weaknesses of the best in class glass (like Leica).

By way of example the new Sigma 24-70 F 2.8 is one the best L mount options in terms of price for performance. It's almost universally considered to be equivalent in terms of performance to the Panasonic and Sony offerings at twice the price. The Sigma 24-70 F 2.8 L mount has many strengths, but one of its weaknesses is that it’s a little “soft” wide open at close focusing distances. If I thought this particular weakness was a deal breaker in my photography, I simply wouldn’t have purchased it. I’m mostly shooting landscape (and travel when conditions allow). Close focus performance while desirable in all lens, is far more important to me in the 16-35mm range as I’m very often looking for a layered composition with well defined subject in the foreground. I therefore need best possible overall IQ performance in almost every respect in 16mm to 35mm range. This is what ultimately led me to select Leica’s SL 16-35 on one hand and Sigma 24-70 F 2.8 on the other. Would I like to own Leica Sl 24-90 to go with my SL 16-35? Of course.

Many recent Sigma L mount lens have the added benefit of being considerably smaller/lighter increasing the chances that I will actually have the lens with me when opportunity presents itself. I owned the 90-280 which may be the best zoom lens I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. In practice I found that it spent most of its time gathering dust on a shelf. Its a wonderful lens and it even looks good on a shelf, but one can certainly can find better (and cheaper) shelf ornaments. The Sigma 100-400 on the other hand while not in the same league in terms of performance, is way way better than its price would suggest and most importantly I find that I take it with me me on almost every outing, except on those occasions where I’m limiting myself to 1or 2 lens.

Possibly most important advantage of a blended OEM /Third Party lens acquisition strategy, is that it allows one to invest in few select lens (primes?) i.e. the real “keepers” in the long run. For many Leica shooters that may be M glass. In my case it's the SL primes. I own the SL 50 F2 as well as the SL 90 F2. They happen to combine really well with Leica’s SL 16-35 (again no quality penalty by saving money with Sigma 24-70) as I can always fall back on the primes when circumstances dictate.

Would I have invested in the SL 50 and SL 90 if I simultaneously owned the SL 24-90 and the SL 90-280? The answer is no. Relying on Sigma for 24-70 and 100-400 freed up sufficient funds to purchase these incredible primes. The lens purchases are very personal decisions. The thought process and how it gets applied to each photographers priorities is what feels more universal.

As a final aside, when it comes to use of primes and the challenging choice between SL2 versus SL2-s. In current setup where I own Sigma zoom in 24-70mm range as well as Leica SL 50 F2 and SL 90 F2, anytime I chose to rely on the SL primes instead of Sigma zoom, I know that with SL2 I can effectively get the equivalent result across the entire equivalent zoom range using the 2 primes and cropping as required. The result will effectively be the same (or better) than if I was using SL2-s with prime lens and no cropping. Clearly the exception would be in very low light conditions, where SL2-s will outperform SL2 whatever lens one is using.

I tackled your last question first. In order to avoid turning this into the online equivalent of “war and peace”, I think may already be there :), will cover SL2, Sl2s and TL lens questions/comments in a separate post later in the day.

Edited by NicholasT

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