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Thinking of getting an SL2(s) - Need help


louca
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Hi Everyone, first time posting here.

I'm aware there's a similar thread just a little below but I really wanted to ask as well for my needs. Any advice would be appreciated.

So I’ve been using M10P & Sony A7iii. Recently I’ve decided to just combine the two and make my kit somewhat minimal. I’ve sold A7iii and am selling M10P right now.  I’m not a fan of Sony and M10P is nice but I can’t shoot anything longer than 135mm with its native M lenses. If I’m going to invest in a Visoflex, I might as well just get an SL2 - I love the grip on that. Plus, I prefer zooms to primes when it comes to telephoto lenses. I mainly shoot urban landscapes and architecture/interior so AF is not important to me. Sometimes I scan 35mm & 120 negatives as well.

With A7iii, I’ve mostly used GM 100-400mm + x2 TC for my landscapes. I do long exposures sometimes during the day but mostly around sunset. So, I consider getting the Sigma 100-400mm and the equivalent TC if I get SL2(s). For anything under 100mm, I’m planning to use M mount lenses and travel with those only. Probably a 28mm, 50mm, and 90mm are the only lenses I can carry when I’m travelling.

(I also considered Fujifilm GFX 50Sii  but Fuji does not have a lens equivalent to those focal lengths and being medium format, the GFX lenses are just way too big. Also I wouldn’t carry a GFX model for travel and I’d hate the idea of an expensive and very capable camera sitting at home).

The reason I first looked into SL2 was because I wanted the higher resolution (anything above 24mp) but so many people have been saying the noise even around 800 is terrible because of that. When I do long exposures, I stay at the minimum ISO (50) but when I take indoor pictures, I can easily go up to 6400.

 

Questions:

  1. I’ve downloaded some sample shots from DPreview and they were all shot when SL2 was first released. The noise does seem pretty bad starting ISO 2000 ish. Have the firmware updates over the years helped the noise performance at all?
  2. How is the battery performance compared to m10P? With Sony A7iii, I never had to worry about it.
  3. Should I just get SL2-s and forget about SL2 if I’m not printing larger than 60-70 inches in length?

 

I live in metro Vancouver (Canada) and the one store that has a SL2 on display won’t put a battery in it for fear of it being stolen….

 

TL:DR - I shoot urban landscapes often with telephotos with focal ranges from 100-800mm. I print as big as 60-70 inches in length. I shoot up to 6400 iso. Should I get an SL2 or SL2-s?

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As an owner of both my SL2 gets little use since the SL2-S arrived. But for prints that size I’d use the SL2. Noise is still good at ISO 6400 if exposure is right. 

Battery life is decent. One spare is enough for a day of shooting. 

If you’re shooting those longer lengths, the Sigma 150-600 might also work. 

Either SL2 option should work for you. While I use the SL2-S more, for your use case I’d get the higher resolution body.
 

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Posted (edited)

Louca,   First, welcome to the forum.  Second, you asked some good questions. I use both the SL2 and M cameras.  I have no experience with Sony albeit I am sure it is a good camera.  The SL2 firmware has improved over the years on good number of fronts.  I also had the SL2-S and it has very good low light capability.  I found the shortfall with the SL2-S is more prone to moire than the SL2.  I moved back to the SL2 due to that factor.  If you are going to print large, either SL2 model will do very well.  The SL2 more so as I often print larger than 4 ft X 6 ft  As for battery life, I found if using live view fairly often the SL2 battery will need a back up or two for a full day of such use.  Plus it never hurts to have a spare.  If you want to look at examples of SL2 and SL lens photographs, I suggest you check out this site.  The photographs taken with the various Leica lenses show the camera model too.  r/ Mark

Try:  https://onfotolife.com/lenses?lens=Leica

PS  If that is the only camera store in town that has a Leica SL2, you might offer to let him hold your drivers license and credit card as hostage while you test the camera with a battery.  I also sent you a PM.

Edited by LeicaR10
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2 hours ago, louca said:

Hi Everyone, first time posting here.

I'm aware there's a similar thread just a little below but I really wanted to ask as well for my needs. Any advice would be appreciated.

So I’ve been using M10P & Sony A7iii. Recently I’ve decided to just combine the two and make my kit somewhat minimal. I’ve sold A7iii and am selling M10P right now.  I’m not a fan of Sony and M10P is nice but I can’t shoot anything longer than 135mm with its native M lenses. If I’m going to invest in a Visoflex, I might as well just get an SL2 - I love the grip on that. Plus, I prefer zooms to primes when it comes to telephoto lenses. I mainly shoot urban landscapes and architecture/interior so AF is not important to me. Sometimes I scan 35mm & 120 negatives as well.

With A7iii, I’ve mostly used GM 100-400mm + x2 TC for my landscapes. I do long exposures sometimes during the day but mostly around sunset. So, I consider getting the Sigma 100-400mm and the equivalent TC if I get SL2(s). For anything under 100mm, I’m planning to use M mount lenses and travel with those only. Probably a 28mm, 50mm, and 90mm are the only lenses I can carry when I’m travelling.

(I also considered Fujifilm GFX 50Sii  but Fuji does not have a lens equivalent to those focal lengths and being medium format, the GFX lenses are just way too big. Also I wouldn’t carry a GFX model for travel and I’d hate the idea of an expensive and very capable camera sitting at home).

The reason I first looked into SL2 was because I wanted the higher resolution (anything above 24mp) but so many people have been saying the noise even around 800 is terrible because of that. When I do long exposures, I stay at the minimum ISO (50) but when I take indoor pictures, I can easily go up to 6400.

 

Questions:

  1. I’ve downloaded some sample shots from DPreview and they were all shot when SL2 was first released. The noise does seem pretty bad starting ISO 2000 ish. Have the firmware updates over the years helped the noise performance at all?
  2. How is the battery performance compared to m10P? With Sony A7iii, I never had to worry about it.
  3. Should I just get SL2-s and forget about SL2 if I’m not printing larger than 60-70 inches in length?

 

I live in metro Vancouver (Canada) and the one store that has a SL2 on display won’t put a battery in it for fear of it being stolen….

 

TL:DR - I shoot urban landscapes often with telephotos with focal ranges from 100-800mm. I print as big as 60-70 inches in length. I shoot up to 6400 iso. Should I get an SL2 or SL2-s?

Multi-shot 96MP with the SL2-S may also be useful, depending on the kind of landscape scenario - you mentioned low ISO, longer exposure - sounds like tripod? YouTube video to illustrate here. More multi-shot examples on the same channel, including "shoot out" vs. GFX. FWIW, the SL2-S pixels are 'higher quality' compared to SL2 - due to BSI sensor and larger pixel pitch. SL2 has more and that is often better, but pixel-for-pixel SL2-S is not just better on noise but also DR and acuity (with the tradeoff of half the resolution).

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If you're printing that large, SL2, no question. Work around the noise (it's not worse than your M10P). The resolution difference is significant and noticeable. 

Then again, I've got to tell you, I went down a similar path earlier (jettisoned my Sony gear for an SL2 to keep everything in the Leica family), and it's not any simpler, really.

I prefer the SL2 when I need that sort of camera (I prefer an M overall), but if you sell your M10P, you're going to miss that. The SL2 is not a replacement in anything coming close to experience or process. So, to be clear, I wouldn't think of the SL2(/s) as a replacement for both the M10P and the Sony - I mean, it could be, but in practice, nah. It's just a replacement for the Sony, with the added convenience of adapting M lenses well - but the inconvenience of less native lens selection that is generally a lot more expensive. 

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I don’t like the iso noise on the SL2 above 1600.  SL2-s up to and over 6400.  It’s grain (noise)  feels like tri-x

the SL2 and SL2- s absolutely replace the need for an M for my work because of features, mainly ibis, and fine tuning exact focusing zoom in…  lots of others.  Multishot mode, and viewfinder are outstanding.  Focus peaking…  

I’ll buy my next new M only when it has ibis.  It is now simply essential.

I’d recommend the sl2-s for your needs and use a tripod and multishot mode for any very large prints.  You can’t always have your cake and icing so you have to pick highest iso, or highest resolution.  That’s why I have an sl2 and an sl2-s.  But I’ve never once wished I had an m camera anymore in any type of work using m lenses on SL bodies.  They are simply that good with new essential features and nearly the same form factor.  

Robb

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Posted (edited)

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Questions:

  1. I’ve downloaded some sample shots from DPreview and they were all shot when SL2 was first released. The noise does seem pretty bad starting ISO 2000 ish. Have the firmware updates over the years helped the noise performance at all?
  2. How is the battery performance compared to m10P? With Sony A7iii, I never had to worry about it.
  3. Should I just get SL2-s and forget about SL2 if I’m not printing larger than 60-70 inches in length

 

1. NO

3. yes, especially if you're using a tripod and multishot, but read the threads that detail the grid-like-artifacts that are sometimes visible

 

keep in mind, there are no native tilt shift lenses [for architecture] for the SL series

Edited by frame-it
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Recently picked up a used SL and SL2.  I am not concerned about the ISO noise in the SL2 since I was an early adapter on the Nikon D850.  Initially I was unhappy with its high ISO noise compared to that of my 24 mpx bodies.  What I discovered was that resizing the 45 mpx D850 images to 24 mpx produced identical noise performance. to that of my 24 mpx bodies.  While I have not yet tested it I expect my SL2 to perform in the same fashion.  

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13 minutes ago, Luke_Miller said:

Recently picked up a used SL and SL2.  I am not concerned about the ISO noise in the SL2 since I was an early adapter on the Nikon D850.  Initially I was unhappy with its high ISO noise compared to that of my 24 mpx bodies.  What I discovered was that resizing the 45 mpx D850 images to 24 mpx produced identical noise performance. to that of my 24 mpx bodies.  While I have not yet tested it I expect my SL2 to perform in the same fashion.  

Resizing to equal resolution is the most common approach to evaluating noise/DR. It is also known as comparing at the output level. However, even at the output level, SL2-S has less noise than SL2 (P2P). Furthermore, SL2-S produces excellent results when lifting shadows by a lot, but this may not matter to some.

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20 hours ago, mzbe said:

Multi-shot 96MP with the SL2-S may also be useful, depending on the kind of landscape scenario - you mentioned low ISO, longer exposure - sounds like tripod? YouTube video to illustrate here. More multi-shot examples on the same channel, including "shoot out" vs. GFX. FWIW, the SL2-S pixels are 'higher quality' compared to SL2 - due to BSI sensor and larger pixel pitch. SL2 has more and that is often better, but pixel-for-pixel SL2-S is not just better on noise but also DR and acuity (with the tradeoff of half the resolution).

Thank you for the link. I’ve watched it and it seems a stellar function! Do you know if it’s possible to use the Multishot for exposures longer than a minute? I think in the video, he said the exposure time is limited to maximum 1 min. Sometimes I do long exposures for up to 5 min. SL2-s does seem to have clearer pixels in the video.

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I could have written your entry post 😉 just that I had the experience with Sony (A7II) a few years ago and I wouldn't get back there, just doesn't give me any thrill.

Apart from the size, I don't regret switching from the M10-P (well, I still have it, but it's up for sale).

I didn't even hesitate and went with the SL2-S over the SL2. For me, 24 MP is plenty as long as all is sharp. If you want to make the most out of your files, you'll use Lightroom anyway. For larger prints (or extreme crops) there's also an AI-based upscaling method which is working perfectly if your base-image is tack-sharp (which it usually is given the lenses, the EVF and the stabilizer). Don't worry about the Megapixel-Count, the better ISO performance is much more relevant for most of us. 

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sl2s is super fun, cheaper and great to shoot. 24MP are plenty, battery is ok-ish. the battery will last less if you use autofocus, stabilisation and wifi. if you do not it is good. but I have 2 batteries just in case. 

shooting is fast, if you are used to focusing with the rangefinder, it can be odd at first as you need to 'zoom in' by pressing the joystick. then you adjust position.focus and finally shoot. I got used to it, but was not easy at the beginning. Now, it is almost second nature. 

Startup is super fast, all operations are fast.

The sl2s is great at high iso, plenty of latitude, video is excellent (really so) and colours fabulous.

I think it is one of the best leica cameras of the past few years.

However I also use the M series, as they are lighter and classic in operation

G>

 

 

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I seem to be an outlier but I find I rarely need iso greater than 1600 and practically never greater than 3200 as I tend not to shoot at night.

The SL2 is my choice as a result , lots of leeway for cropping and sort of ‘matches’ the output of my Q2

I do have an S5 which has the same sensor as the SL2 S I believe but I don’t get on with the ergonomics, though the output is fine and I keep it as a spare, so I expect you’ll  be happy either way

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1 hour ago, geotrupede said:

shooting is fast, if you are used to focusing with the rangefinder, it can be odd at first as you need to 'zoom in' by pressing the joystick. then you adjust position.focus and finally shoot. I got used to it, but was not easy at the beginning. Now, it is almost second nature. 

 

With native SL lenses, I’ve set my SL2 to back button (joystick) AF, with magnification initiated by turning the focus ring.  I keep M lenses on my M bodies, using RF without issue.  Lots of different possible user approaches.

Jeff

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4 hours ago, louca said:

Thank you for the link. I’ve watched it and it seems a stellar function! Do you know if it’s possible to use the Multishot for exposures longer than a minute? I think in the video, he said the exposure time is limited to maximum 1 min. Sometimes I do long exposures for up to 5 min. SL2-s does seem to have clearer pixels in the video.

Multishot is limited to 1 second exposure max.  So it takes 8 images at 1 dev each and that’s the longest it can currently do.

I wish it was up to one minute each…

Robb

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On 8/5/2022 at 2:38 PM, LeicaR10 said:

Louca,   First, welcome to the forum.  Second, you asked some good questions. I use both the SL2 and M cameras.  I have no experience with Sony albeit I am sure it is a good camera.  The SL2 firmware has improved over the years on good number of fronts.  I also had the SL2-S and it has very good low light capability.  I found the shortfall with the SL2-S is more prone to moire than the SL2.  I moved back to the SL2 due to that factor.  If you are going to print large, either SL2 model will do very well.  The SL2 more so as I often print larger than 4 ft X 6 ft  As for battery life, I found if using live view fairly often the SL2 battery will need a back up or two for a full day of such use.  Plus it never hurts to have a spare.  If you want to look at examples of SL2 and SL lens photographs, I suggest you check out this site.  The photographs taken with the various Leica lenses show the camera model too.  r/ Mark

Try:  https://onfotolife.com/lenses?lens=Leica

PS  If that is the only camera store in town that has a Leica SL2, you might offer to let him hold your drivers license and credit card as hostage while you test the camera with a battery.  I also sent you a PM.

Hello Mark,

I was able to persuade the previously mentioned local store to stick a battery in the SL2 they have on display. They didn't let me take any photos with a memory card but I was able to play with it for about 10 minutes until the said battery died. The viewfinder wasn't as mindblowing as I'd expected but I really loved the controls. The touchscreen was made things very easy to maneuver. I think I really need to go to WA with the voucher you suggested, haha. Thank you again. 

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3 hours ago, frame-it said:

really?

I know. I'm not saying it was subpar. It was good. Just not as great as I thought it would be. Maybe the florescent lighting in the store was bothersome. However, I really liked the focus peaking. It was easy to read, for sure!

By the way, there's absolutely no shift lens (or adapters) option in SL series? Then I guess I'll have to rely on photoshop... But it's not something in my priority list for now.

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53 minutes ago, louca said:

I know. I'm not saying it was subpar. It was good. Just not as great as I thought it would be. Maybe the florescent lighting in the store was bothersome. However, I really liked the focus peaking. It was easy to read, for sure!

By the way, there's absolutely no shift lens (or adapters) option in SL series? Then I guess I'll have to rely on photoshop... But it's not something in my priority list for now.

For the best viewfinder experience, you have to make sure the setting is at its quickest (fastest) refresh rate…  that makes a big difference and it may not have been set that way in the store.

Robb

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