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Do I Need an SL2-S?


Laharrier
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So, first a bit on me. I am an M shooter. I have owned almost all of the film M bodies. I own an M8 and an M-P 240. I have a nice collection of M lenses and some great R lenses too. I use my 240 most of all as it just works really great for my casual snapshot style of photography. I love rangefinder focus and just love the form factor. Feel very little desire to buy a newer digital M body especially considering my 240 was purchased for only $2000. Id likely spend money on glass before buying an M11. 
 

Now to my main question. I work in marketing and media, and for my commercial work I use a canon body. Works fine but, being the consummate leicaphile that I am I have been considering a better “work” camera with autofocus and video and the SL is obviously something that intrigued me. All The While I know I can get a Sony body that outperforms my canon and can also be used with my M lenses, for less money than an SL kit would cost me. My question is, could the SL2-S work as well for “work” and also give me something in the area of image quality that my 240 does not. I’m thinking it could be a bridge for me between my work photography and my fun photography, I just don’t know if *need* it. So I am looking to hear from owners about why the SL2-S would be a good choice and what advantages it will have over my current rigs. I like that it has a much higher performance ISO range than my 240, and as always the L Leica glass is a big contributor to why I’m considering this over a Sony of Panasonic. 
 

thanks in advance! Look forward to your thoughts. 

 

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51 minutes ago, Laharrier said:

I work in marketing and media, and for my commercial work I use a canon body. Works fine but, being the consummate leicaphile that I am I have been considering a better “work” camera with autofocus and video and the SL is obviously something that intrigued me. All The While I know I can get a Sony body that outperforms my canon and can also be used with my M lenses, for less money than an SL kit would cost me. My question is, could the SL2-S work as well for “work” and also give me something in the area of image quality that my 240 does not. I’m thinking it could be a bridge for me between my work photography and my fun photography, I just don’t know if *need* it. So I am looking to hear from owners about why the SL2-S would be a good choice and what advantages it will have over my current rigs. I like that it has a much higher performance ISO range than my 240, and as always the L Leica glass is a big contributor to why I’m considering this over a Sony of Panasonic. 

thanks in advance! Look forward to your thoughts. 

 

commercial work for print > go with the SL2

commercial work for video > go with the SL2S

Don't depend on its AF too much especially for video

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I also work in media but entered photography (stills) from the cinematography side; thus, looking through a ground glass feels natural to me. That's why I don't own an M nor have any range finder experience. I'm a Leica-phile because of their lenses, the colours their sensors render, and the build quality. 

It depends much on what your commercial work is. I don't do fast sports action, nor am I a professional birder. If that's on your plate and super quick and hyper-accurate focus on a bird's eye is what you want, don't look any further in Leica land. Their continuous AF sucks. But if portraits, events, packs, cityscapes and landscapes, anything storytelling is your game, the SL2-S is a wonderful camera. 

To my eyes, the SL2-S renders colour better than any other mirrorless camera. That counts even more so for its excellent video mode, which I regularly use and for that, I own a set of R primes. So what does better mean? It's the skin tones which don't look particularly healthy (Canon) but render the unique complexion of us humans distinctively. It's the sky blue that isn't ultramarine but a tad colder (like Arri Alexa). It's the foliage that renders cooler without that yellowish tint I often see elsewhere. 

In Leica's lineup, the SL2-S has the largest pixels, which allow for saturated shadows even at high ISO. So, no greyish shadows, no desperate saturation pushing and denoising when a shot is underexposed. You will find yourself in a much safer zone when in a pinch compared to anything else I've shot with.

The AF works nicely in standard mode. Eyes are recognised, and the focus works astonishing well in low-light conditions. I own the 24-90 zoom. It's a heavy beast but, hands down, the best standard zoom on the market. AFs works as expected; the keeper rate is way above 90%. But as said above, continuous AF is the SL2-S' Archilles heel. If you rely on that, stay with the big brands.

The EVF itself can be seen as a huge selling proposition. It's the best EVF in the industry. Period. Focusing manually gets as easy as possible when using focus peaking (the exact right amount-I use white) and magnification. You'll be in AF territory with little training regarding speed and keepers.

Lastly, the user experience is second to none compared to any other hybrid camera. That alone is a massive plus because it motivates you to experiment and shoot for your delight without assignments, using the same gear as you would for your professional work. In a way, the SL2-S is your personal trainer.

I wouldn't say that the SL2-S will send your M into retirement. But it can happen, so beware.

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I also prefer Ms and the rangefinder for 95% of my shooting.  However, I do own and use an SL2 for one major reason - the glass.  I rarely need zooms but the 24-90 is an amazing lens for its intended purpose.  The SL Summicron primes are stellar, best in class optics.  The 35, 50, and 90 round out my kit.  I only use the SL2 for landscapes and portraits, but it definitely delivers.  I can’t speak to video at all.  I see it more of a companion to my Ms that gives me decent autofocus when I want it and ridiculously sharp optics when I want those. 

But my M10M will always be my primary digital camera, at least until a worthy successor is released. 

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19 hours ago, hansvons said:

I also work in media but entered photography (stills) from the cinematography side; thus, looking through a ground glass feels natural to me. That's why I don't own an M nor have any range finder experience. I'm a Leica-phile because of their lenses, the colours their sensors render, and the build quality. 

It depends much on what your commercial work is. I don't do fast sports action, nor am I a professional birder. If that's on your plate and super quick and hyper-accurate focus on a bird's eye is what you want, don't look any further in Leica land. Their continuous AF sucks. But if portraits, events, packs, cityscapes and landscapes, anything storytelling is your game, the SL2-S is a wonderful camera. 

To my eyes, the SL2-S renders colour better than any other mirrorless camera. That counts even more so for its excellent video mode, which I regularly use and for that, I own a set of R primes. So what does better mean? It's the skin tones which don't look particularly healthy (Canon) but render the unique complexion of us humans distinctively. It's the sky blue that isn't ultramarine but a tad colder (like Arri Alexa). It's the foliage that renders cooler without that yellowish tint I often see elsewhere. 

In Leica's lineup, the SL2-S has the largest pixels, which allow for saturated shadows even at high ISO. So, no greyish shadows, no desperate saturation pushing and denoising when a shot is underexposed. You will find yourself in a much safer zone when in a pinch compared to anything else I've shot with.

The AF works nicely in standard mode. Eyes are recognised, and the focus works astonishing well in low-light conditions. I own the 24-90 zoom. It's a heavy beast but, hands down, the best standard zoom on the market. AFs works as expected; the keeper rate is way above 90%. But as said above, continuous AF is the SL2-S' Archilles heel. If you rely on that, stay with the big brands.

The EVF itself can be seen as a huge selling proposition. It's the best EVF in the industry. Period. Focusing manually gets as easy as possible when using focus peaking (the exact right amount-I use white) and magnification. You'll be in AF territory with little training regarding speed and keepers.

Lastly, the user experience is second to none compared to any other hybrid camera. That alone is a massive plus because it motivates you to experiment and shoot for your delight without assignments, using the same gear as you would for your professional work. In a way, the SL2-S is your personal trainer.

I wouldn't say that the SL2-S will send your M into retirement. But it can happen, so beware.

Amazing reply!!! Thank you for this. 

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I love my M cameras, but I would not use them professionally so much unless as a compendium .

 

I got the SL2  over two years ago and been using it ever since. I had the Noctilux and the SL2 was a natural fit.

I have added Leica zoom and primes and a second SL2. I have a full Sony kit and a full canon kit.

Most of my work is Portraits and interior architectural, still and video. I have only used my other systems 2-3 time in the last year.

One side effect of Leica is the weight. The lenses are heavy. If you take a full kin on location it disclose to twice what the equivalent is in Sony.

But the quality is amazing, the experience is amazing, and SL are the best companion for M lenses. M lenses on the Sony can still not perform great at the borders and corners.

One consideration is focusing M glass on SL2. The viewfinder is amazing and most fast lenses on the SL2 vide open does not require any magnification. If you are shooting at F8 you will find yourself trying to focus and opening and closing to focus, alternatively with focus peaking. that works well too, but during portraits it is hard to see if the eyes are open or closed when focus peaking is active .

Added benefit is that preview exactly preview of the image. When shooting wide open you can see what the lens does, in some situation I see to much CA from the Noctilux at 0.95 and the exact preview shows me to close it 1/2 stop or 1 stop to remove the CA

 

2 more consideration. I mostly use SL2 but SL2s has great sensor resolution and ISO performance.
The added ISO performance make it much easier to focus with M lenses. Color is now the same in the 2 cameras.

You will need an M adapter, Get the Leica one, it will add the lens correction to the raw files if you have 6bit coded lenses.

Keep in mind that the SL2's are power hungry , Yesterday I was shooting with 2 SL2 and Leica zooms and I went true 12 batteries... long day.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Photoworks said:

one more bit of information.

The Leica M to L adapter can focus past infinity when setting the M lens to infinity.

This is by design to take in account temperature changes that can affect the material of the adapter.

The M-Adaper-L is the best M adapter with regard to hitting infinity at the hard stop. Absolute perfect infinity focus may hit just a hair before the hard stop, but it’s impossible to see that even focusing wide open at f1.4. That said, even on my M11, with an f/1 lens I could see that infinity was achieved just a hair before the hard stop. Point being, in my experience the Leica adapter is as close to perfectly machined for true infinity focus of M lenses at the hard stop as possible.

Another option is to use an adapter like the Hawk’s Factory macro adapter that has an adjustable infinity position: loosen the two screws on either side of the lock, put the lens to the hard stop, and using the magnified EVF view, move the macro ring until infinity focus is achieved. then tighten down the screws. Provided your M lenses are properly calibrated, you should be good to go for an M experience as far as achieving optimal infinity focus at the hard stop. This has the added benefit of allowing you to change the infinity position should it vary due to extreme temperature changes from summer to winter.

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On 8/24/2022 at 1:18 AM, hansvons said:

I also work in media but entered photography (stills) from the cinematography side; thus, looking through a ground glass feels natural to me. That's why I don't own an M nor have any range finder experience. I'm a Leica-phile because of their lenses, the colours their sensors render, and the build quality. 

It depends much on what your commercial work is. I don't do fast sports action, nor am I a professional birder. If that's on your plate and super quick and hyper-accurate focus on a bird's eye is what you want, don't look any further in Leica land. Their continuous AF sucks. But if portraits, events, packs, cityscapes and landscapes, anything storytelling is your game, the SL2-S is a wonderful camera. 

To my eyes, the SL2-S renders colour better than any other mirrorless camera. That counts even more so for its excellent video mode, which I regularly use and for that, I own a set of R primes. So what does better mean? It's the skin tones which don't look particularly healthy (Canon) but render the unique complexion of us humans distinctively. It's the sky blue that isn't ultramarine but a tad colder (like Arri Alexa). It's the foliage that renders cooler without that yellowish tint I often see elsewhere. 

In Leica's lineup, the SL2-S has the largest pixels, which allow for saturated shadows even at high ISO. So, no greyish shadows, no desperate saturation pushing and denoising when a shot is underexposed. You will find yourself in a much safer zone when in a pinch compared to anything else I've shot with.

The AF works nicely in standard mode. Eyes are recognised, and the focus works astonishing well in low-light conditions. I own the 24-90 zoom. It's a heavy beast but, hands down, the best standard zoom on the market. AFs works as expected; the keeper rate is way above 90%. But as said above, continuous AF is the SL2-S' Archilles heel. If you rely on that, stay with the big brands.

The EVF itself can be seen as a huge selling proposition. It's the best EVF in the industry. Period. Focusing manually gets as easy as possible when using focus peaking (the exact right amount-I use white) and magnification. You'll be in AF territory with little training regarding speed and keepers.

Lastly, the user experience is second to none compared to any other hybrid camera. That alone is a massive plus because it motivates you to experiment and shoot for your delight without assignments, using the same gear as you would for your professional work. In a way, the SL2-S is your personal trainer.

I wouldn't say that the SL2-S will send your M into retirement. But it can happen, so beware.

.

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Thanks all. An additional question here: 

 

What about the original SL 601? Still worth a damn in 2022? Seems to be another camera that people absolutely love or absolutely hate. Is the autofocus actually that bad? How about in-camera 4k? I know there are some very fresh software updates for the old SL that I am told have improved it. Thoughts?

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37 minutes ago, Laharrier said:

Thanks all. An additional question here: 

 

What about the original SL 601? Still worth a damn in 2022? Seems to be another camera that people absolutely love or absolutely hate. Is the autofocus actually that bad? How about in-camera 4k? I know there are some very fresh software updates for the old SL that I am told have improved it. Thoughts?

It’s a good camera, and it had some really nice advances for its time, including one of the first ultra-high res EVFs. Today, however, it doesn’t hold up well next to its successor, the SL2-S (in my opinion, of course). A mint used SL costs about half what a new SL2-S does: some would see that as saving money, but I see it as being halfway to something much better. The only use case I can think of where the SL still has an advantage would be easier use of the rear buttons while wearing heavy winter gloves.

Look through the more current posts is this forum — this was discussed recently in more detail from multiple perspectives.

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4 hours ago, Laharrier said:

Thanks all. An additional question here: 

 

What about the original SL 601? Still worth a damn in 2022? Seems to be another camera that people absolutely love or absolutely hate. Is the autofocus actually that bad? How about in-camera 4k? I know there are some very fresh software updates for the old SL that I am told have improved it. Thoughts?

IMHO SL 601 is perfect, except for lack of IBIS which I feel is essential esp with longer FLs. If that doesn't bother you, then go for it. On the flip side, given where the prices of used SL2-S are, why bother with the SL 601? 

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5 hours ago, Laharrier said:

Thanks all. An additional question here: 

 

What about the original SL 601? Still worth a damn in 2022? Seems to be another camera that people absolutely love or absolutely hate. Is the autofocus actually that bad? How about in-camera 4k? I know there are some very fresh software updates for the old SL that I am told have improved it. Thoughts?

the 601 only has 8bit video. the 10bit video on the SL2s is a big upgrade if you are serious about video. plus IBIS and the rest...

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Big question is what kind of commercial work do you do ?  On line And video or print and publication ?  
if print and publication, I would suggest skip both and look for an SL2  
 

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1 hour ago, Artin said:

Big question is what kind of commercial work do you do ?  On line And video or print and publication ?  
if print and publication, I would suggest skip both and look for an SL2  
 

I do e-commerce and online video work, and primarily e-commerce photo work. Currently using a canon rig for video and sometimes for stills, and often using my M-P240 on the photo side although its slower. 

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1 hour ago, Photoworks said:

the 601 only has 8bit video. the 10bit video on the SL2s is a big upgrade if you are serious about video. plus IBIS and the rest...

Good point. This is my quandary at the moment. Future proof myself a bit with the SL2-S or try out the SL 601 first to see if I like the system. 90% of the video work I’d use it for is in-studio. 

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1 hour ago, Photoworks said:

the 601 only has 8bit video. the 10bit video on the SL2s is a big upgrade if you are serious about video. plus IBIS and the rest...

Good points. The IBIS is a big attraction. 

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2 hours ago, ravinj said:

IMHO SL 601 is perfect, except for lack of IBIS which I feel is essential esp with longer FLs. If that doesn't bother you, then go for it. On the flip side, given where the prices of used SL2-S are, why bother with the SL 601? 

Very good point!! I am wondering primarily if I even need the SL system at all or if I should just “cheap out” on a Sony rig since the video capabilities of those are seemingly much more state of the art. 

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9 minutes ago, Laharrier said:

I do e-commerce and online video work, and primarily e-commerce photo work. Currently using a canon rig for video and sometimes for stills, and often using my M-P240 on the photo side although its slower. 

Simple answer , E commerce  SL2s, Using M lens’s   sL2s , Great camera feel, less useless frills and good IQ.  A Sony will never feel like an Leica 

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