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Sigma fpL or Leica SL2-S as accompanying camera to the CL?


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I am a very late convert to the CL. Only discovered it a few weeks ago when I bought it as a ‘second camera’ to go with my new Leica M Monochrom 246. I love the small size, simplicity, image quality, ability to use M lenses but also the L mount options. I think it will become my main camera.

I certainly don’t need another camera but as I start to acquire L lenses I can’t help thinking it would be nice to have a full frame L for certain things - in the same way I often used to travel with a small 35mm camera and a MF body. 
 

The specs of the SL2-S most interest me. I rather the high iso and better video possibilities over the higher resolution of the SL2 - in the same way I’ve decided I’m better off keeping my Q than getting a Q2. But I like small and light cameras, and that the SL2-S is not.

I’m very interested in the Sigma fp. It is small and simple. Was put off by the massive viewfinder you had to attach to it but I like the look of the new articulated EVF for the fpL. I could do without the 61mp - I’m happy with 24 - but reviews suggest the camera is still good for high iso and images from it look lovely. So long as I used it sparingly or I’d eat through memory!
 

The attraction of the fpL to me is I could see it easily fitting into a tiny bag along with the CL for walking about and using the fpL just occasionally when I wanted higher resolution or wider shots etc., and for video, whereas carrying the SL2-S along with the CL (and often the Monochrom too) around all day is likely to be more of a challenge.

So for this reason, which is also the reason I’ve fallen in love with the CL, I’m thinking the fpL would suit me better. I’d love to have the SL2-s and it’s certainly a thing of greater beauty, but I think I’d get more out of the fpL and save enough to buy more L glass.

Anyone else having this dilemma?

Edited by Nick De Marco
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  • Nick De Marco changed the title to Sigma fpL or Leica SL2-S as accompanying camera to the CL?

I just bought a new Panasonic S1 as an addition to my SL2 for a very reasonable Price (1336€ net – thanks to the 500€ Panasonic cash back). And with the new Firmware Update (6k internal, ProRes RAW output etc.), it is very very close to the S1H in regards of video features and very close to the new SL2-s regarding image quality.  Even so it is not a Leica, it is built like tank with a great EVF, very good touch-controls (compared to my Sony A7r4) and a very good image stabilization system. I even would say, the components inside the camera are in part very close to / identical to the SL2-s. For a much cheaper price point. 

Of corse it is not a lightweight. 

 

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I only just realised that I could use the fpL like a kind of 'super Q2' couldn't I - with 'digital crop' mode? Say I was using a 35mm lens, I could make it something like a 90 and still have around 24MP. So the options would be endless what with the ability to change lenses....

 

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1 minute ago, Nick De Marco said:

I only just realised that I could use the fpL like a kind of 'super Q2' couldn't I - with 'digital crop' mode? Say I was using a 35mm lens, I could make it something like a 90 and still have around 24MP. So the options would be endless what with the ability to change lenses....

 

I think so. I have downloaded the user manual. From 35 to 90 is a factor of 2.5, so there is around 10 MP left for a picture still. But you should not compare this with the Q, two different cans of beer, they say in Bavaria.

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Yes I downloaded that too and noticed they boast a 5x digital crop - which would give you only 2.4MP files. But for a cropped zoom of 1.53 (e.g. like an APS sensor) you get almost 26MP.

So I can make a 28mm lens a 42mm lens  and still have more than enough MP (I think 24MP is enough) and of course I am not just stuck with a 28mm. Hence I described it as a "super Q2' but of course I don't mean to otherwise compare. I love my Q (1) and wouldn't change it - but I see the fpL as a more general useable camera than the Q2.

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I’ve recently bought a Panasonic S5 to keep my CL company. Plus, they can share lenses, and I have a camera with IBIS too. So far, I like it a lot. It does a lot of stuff I don’t need, but such is life in the digital camera world, and I just ignore what I don’t want to use. 
 

In most cases, the CL keeps up with the newer S5. Leica really got that CL 99% right. 

 

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

We share a conundrum...   I too have a CL and am thinking of a second camera to have FF capability...   in my mind re attributes that resonate with me  (and I'm very much a non-expert):

Sigma vs Leica SL2S:

- weight 536g (includes the 114g evf-11) vs 931g

- size 156 x 91x 56 (with evf-11) vs 146 x 107 x83

- cost $2,999 (with evf-11) vs $4,995

Leica SL2S vs Sigma Fp-L:

- IBIS, better ISO, better menu system, more rugged/sturdier, better complement with Leica glass

My big worry about the Leica SL2S is mostly weight - will it end up being left behind too often.   I too was thinking about the Q/Q2, but the Sigma (or SL2S) is a better option for me because interchangeable lenses.

I actually already have the Fp, but am waiting for the EVF-11 (and using the EVF-11 on the original Fp requires a yet-to-be-released firmware upgrade).   One tiny detail/snag re the Sigma M mode:  the preview exposure mode in manual (where the LCD screen dims/brightens to reflect exposure) doesn't work if set on Manual with Auto ISO... so you have to use manual ISO and Manual aperture and exposure in order for that to work.   Maybe there's a work-around, but I haven't found it.   

I reckon the SL2-s will be more fun/rewarding to use, and I like the idea of using two cameras that share a menu/interface philosophy.    So it's really the weight that's holding me back, and yes arguably the Panasonic S5 could be a good middle ground (at 734g and $1,700).   And that $1,700 is quite a big difference - one could argue the difference makes it easier to buy an S5 now and its successor down the road, and still be ahead $-wise.

Someone pointed on another post that the SL2-S will recognise 6-bit coded lenses with Leica's M-to-L adapter and will also let you manually code other M lenses.  I don't have M-lenses but the idea of getting some to either use on the CL or and SL2-S has some appeal too.

 

decisions decisions decisions...

Edited by tonyr100
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Posted (edited)

I ended up buying the fpL AND the LUMIX S5. half by accident, I was going to send one back. But actually they both compliment each other and having used both for a couple of weeks now I can’t decide which I prefer:

I love the quirkiness of the fp4 and its lightweight. With a small lens it’s perfectly balanced. I should learn to use it without the EVF more. The EVF is great and very easy to manual focus. But it ends up being an unusual shape fine for carrying - no real weight, but odd in a bag.

The S5 has image stabilisation of course. But it’s also very light and portable. I don’t like the EVF much but it’s useable. The articulated live view screen is fantastic. I’m now using the S5 for larger lenses or more telephoto.

You can carry both around with each other with little weight. But I will get back to the CL. I’ve used both with M lenses, and they work fine, but I think the M lenses live best on the CL.

I’m still quite sure that from the point of view of handling I would prefer the SL-2 to either of them. But I doubt the image quality would be noticeably better and the size and weight are the main things that put me off. Plus I can have the S5 and fpL both for the price of the SL2 and it’s useful to have the different qualities of both cameras.

I have used various Sony A7s series cameras before and been very happy with the image quality but was always put off by the complicated menus. Made using them just annoying. While neither the S5 or the fpL have menus quite as simple as Leica’s, they are both pretty simple to use and far less confusing than a Sony.

Edited by Nick De Marco
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On 5/28/2021 at 12:33 PM, Nick De Marco said:

I ended up buying the fpL AND the LUMIX S5. half by accident, I was going to send one back. But actually they both compliment each other and having used both for a couple of weeks now I can’t decide which I prefer:

I love the quirkiness of the fp4 and its lightweight. With a small lens it’s perfectly balanced. I should learn to use it without the EVF more. The EVF is great and very easy to manual focus. But it ends up being an unusual shape fine for carrying - no real weight, but odd in a bag.

The S5 has image stabilisation of course. But it’s also very light and portable. I don’t like the EVF much but it’s useable. The articulated live view screen is fantastic. I’m now using the S5 for larger lenses or more telephoto.

You can carry both around with each other with little weight. But I will get back to the CL. I’ve used both with M lenses, and they work fine, but I think the M lenses live best on the CL.

I’m still quite sure that from the point of view of handling I would prefer the SL-2 to either of them. But I doubt the image quality would be noticeably better and the size and weight are the main things that put me off. Plus I can have the S5 and fpL both for the price of the SL2 and it’s useful to have the different qualities of both cameras.

I have used various Sony A7s series cameras before and been very happy with the image quality but was always put off by the complicated menus. Made using them just annoying. While neither the S5 or the fpL have menus quite as simple as Leica’s, they are both pretty simple to use and far less confusing than a Sony.

you might enjoy this ... Matt talks about SL2 vs S5 pic quality/sensor-wise, amongst other things

 

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Thanks Tony - in fact I was just watching that...

I agree with much of what he says (from what I have watched so far). I must admit I was. ore skeptical about the S5 at first - I am not sure why. I was much more excited about the fpm. But as an all round easy to use high quality full frame L mount camera I am beginning to really appreciate the S5.

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I use the S1 in addition to the SL2. I had it first and keep it around for certain video work. But I have not used it much since I got the SL2. The M lenses do work much better on the SL2. As he says in the video, he is a portrait photographer, so the smearing corners do not affect him as badly. I think also it depends a lot on whether you actually print. It is unlikely that most M lenses are going to be that bad when stopped down a bit and shown on a screen or an A3 or smaller print, but if you print larger than A3, the problem will be clear.

I have not used the S5, but the S1 is a very impressive professional tool. I think it has great color, a great sensor and a very good interface. If someone took the SL2 away from me and replaced it with an S1R, I would not be happy, but I don't think I would lose much from an image standpoint. The clear advantage of the SL2 and SL2S is more in interface and in cross-platform compatibility. They work better with M lenses, both in terms of results and in terms of ease of use, and they are also the only bodies that with autofocus with the S lenses. The S1 will stop down, but not AF those lenses, so if you are an S shooter (one of the ten of us?), then the SL series is a no-brainer.

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  • 3 months later...

Having bought the fpL and S5, and liked them both, especially for low weight, as you have seen I ended up getting the SL2-S and fund it so much nicer to use it’s now the one I reach for. I can’t say I regret getting the other cameras, I’m sure I will still use them a d I wouldn’t know they were not perfect for me without using them, but if I had the time again I would go straight for the SL2-S

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On 8/29/2021 at 10:48 PM, Nick De Marco said:

Having bought the fpL and S5, and liked them both, especially for low weight, as you have seen I ended up getting the SL2-S and fund it so much nicer to use it’s now the one I reach for. I can’t say I regret getting the other cameras, I’m sure I will still use them a d I wouldn’t know they were not perfect for me without using them, but if I had the time again I would go straight for the SL2-S

Can you elaborate why the SL2-S has been your favorite? Is it the image quality, how it operates or is there something else? I personally try to focus on lowering the weight of my kit, as I find it helps me use it more often, and  I find the SL2/SL2-S are a bit on the heavy side. I recently found the fp used at a good price and got it. First impressions are good (I only used it once) but I would like to hear what you found missing in it if you have the time. 

Edit : I enjoyed very much your blog on Modernist architecture, thank you!

Edited by Daedalus2000
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9 hours ago, Daedalus2000 said:

Can you elaborate why the SL2-S has been your favorite? Is it the image quality, how it operates or is there something else? I personally try to focus on lowering the weight of my kit, as I find it helps me use it more often, and  I find the SL2/SL2-S are a bit on the heavy side. I recently found the fp used at a good price and got it. First impressions are good (I only used it once) but I would like to hear what you found missing in it if you have the time. 

Edit : I enjoyed very much your blog on Modernist architecture, thank you!

Sure. I explained some of it in this last blog post: https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/1383094986304741224/3041415016625884525

Basically it is about usability/functionality rather than image quality. I don't think there is much between the fpL, the S5 of the SL2-S in terms of image quality. They are all superb, and the fpL has the advantage of 60-mp if you want that. But I just found shooting with the SL2-S much easier and more enjoyable. It's a combination of (1) the amazing viewfinder, which is so easy to see and focus with, (2) the size and shape in the hand and (3) the easy, basic menu.

The fpL without EVF is much smaller and lighter, which is an advantage. But when you put the EVF (which is a very nice EVF) on it, it's a funny shape to hold (or out in a bag). I think it's fine with small lenses but balances badly with bigger ones. I also seem to manage to knock buttons or dials on the back of the camera too often messing op things like focal point or exposure compensation which then delays me, fiddling about trying to correct it. I don't have that problem with the SL2-S. So it's really about ease of use.

I am totally with you on size and weight, that is exactly why I resisted the SL range for so long. But it's not that bad (so long as you don't have the big heavy Leica SL lenses). I find it fine. At the same time I am currently thinking of getting a Ricoh GR III for those days I literally want no more than a pocket camera but quality at the same time.

Nick

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I have both an SL2 and an FP-L. The SL2 is great as a studio camera but way too heavy to carry around for long (i do strength training at a gym 2-3 times a week but I’ve found that a heavy camera or bag over one shoulder will eventually cause pain… and my physical therapist has pointed this out too!). The FP-L is a fantastic landscape camera (the resolution gives it a big advantage over the SL2) but it isn’t any good for interior shots in the evening due to the damn rolling shutter effect interacting with LED lights. Hiking with the FP-L would be fine as long as it was in a bag like the Peak Design slings. The EVF can work itself loose and I’ve found myself lunging for it during a short hike. 

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13 hours ago, intermediatic said:

I have both an SL2 and an FP-L. The SL2 is great as a studio camera but way too heavy to carry around for long (i do strength training at a gym 2-3 times a week but I’ve found that a heavy camera or bag over one shoulder will eventually cause pain… and my physical therapist has pointed this out too!). The FP-L is a fantastic landscape camera (the resolution gives it a big advantage over the SL2) but it isn’t any good for interior shots in the evening due to the damn rolling shutter effect interacting with LED lights. Hiking with the FP-L would be fine as long as it was in a bag like the Peak Design slings. The EVF can work itself loose and I’ve found myself lunging for it during a short hike. 

I agree with that (not that I do enough hiking I am afraid). Each camera has its strengths - I'm pleased to say - so I don't feel it was a waste of money buying the fpL - and for what it is it is very good value. I just prefer the SL2-S to use, and for most, but not all, things. If I was going to use a tripod to photograph the moon, for instance, I would use the fpL because the 60mp resolution gives me so much more cropping facility it would be like having a 3x telephoto extender on the SL2-S, without losing any light.

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On 9/4/2021 at 8:56 PM, Nick De Marco said:

Sure. I explained some of it in this last blog post: https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/1383094986304741224/3041415016625884525

Basically it is about usability/functionality rather than image quality. I don't think there is much between the fpL, the S5 of the SL2-S in terms of image quality. They are all superb, and the fpL has the advantage of 60-mp if you want that. But I just found shooting with the SL2-S much easier and more enjoyable. It's a combination of (1) the amazing viewfinder, which is so easy to see and focus with, (2) the size and shape in the hand and (3) the easy, basic menu.

The fpL without EVF is much smaller and lighter, which is an advantage. But when you put the EVF (which is a very nice EVF) on it, it's a funny shape to hold (or out in a bag). I think it's fine with small lenses but balances badly with bigger ones. I also seem to manage to knock buttons or dials on the back of the camera too often messing op things like focal point or exposure compensation which then delays me, fiddling about trying to correct it. I don't have that problem with the SL2-S. So it's really about ease of use.

I am totally with you on size and weight, that is exactly why I resisted the SL range for so long. But it's not that bad (so long as you don't have the big heavy Leica SL lenses). I find it fine. At the same time I am currently thinking of getting a Ricoh GR III for those days I literally want no more than a pocket camera but quality at the same time.

Nick

Thank you very much for your input. I will try the fp soon with my M lenses and I will try to post some images.

I highly recommend the GR III. I use it when I want to have minimal weight with me and I have to say it has positively impressed me in terms of image quality. I am not a 28mm guy, but it has enough megapixels if I feel the need to crop. A little negative is that I find the AF a bit slow in low light. But overall great camera.

 

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