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SL2S vs SL2


wdshuck
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I’m planning on selling my Sony gear - A7RIV + GM Primes. I have hardly used it since I picked up an M10 in February. I’ve found don’t enjoy it as much and when I use it and it’s required more post processing to get the colors I want than the M10.

So after some research and handling them in the store I’m planning on picking up an SL2S. Everyone seems to rave about the color science and low light performance, both of which would be important to me for how I shoot. I’m not concerned about the AF - I don’t shoot any sports or wildlife and handling in the store made me comfortable. It would also offer another body for my M lenses.

However I am wondering if I’d wish for the higher resolution of the SL2. I generally don’t print big - usually a few favorites in the 12x18 range. And the SL2 files seem less malleable and I’ve heard the colors are not quite as nice as the SL2S. 

Anyone else go through the same comparison? I feel the ideal would be a combination of both but that is probably a bit away with the SL3.

Also, anything else I should be considering before the move? I have seen a few make the move the SL system then go back to Sony.

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I had a chance to evaluate both the SL2 & SL2-S for few weeks and I ended up going with the SL2-S for the following reasons:

- I do quite a lot of very low light shooting and the SL2-S is made for this.

- I use both AF and MF lenses and I found the SL2-S allowed me to focus somewhat easier with MF.

- I found the SL2-S colors slightly better ( different? ), warmer and more natural.

- I'm not much of a landscape shooter but if I need to I can use Mullti-shot and generate huge files ( 94mb or somewhere around there ).

- I don't usually print much larger than 12X18 so the SL2 larger files are not needed.

 

Either way, they're both great cameras - the SL2-S just fits me better.

 

 

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Having both the Q2 and the S5 I wanted something more akin to the former, I crop a lot and that's where the SL2's 47mp comes in for me

I 'm happy with the low light performance myself and don't find myself ever taking the S5 out in preference to either, it will be moving on

Haven't compared MF focusing of SL2 and (S) directly but it's a delight with the SL2 anyway

Also an element of 'just in case '

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Wdshuck,  First, welcome to the forum.  Second, I owned the SL2-S and now the SL2.  Before that, I used the S system for a decade plus for my business.  I initially thought the SL2-S would be excellent for low light photography and it most certainly does live up to those expectations.  The color for the SL2-S is slightly better as well.  My reason to switch to the SL2 was my need to print 4 ft x 6 ft prints on occasion.  The other reason, I found the SL2-S was prone to moire with the superb and very highly resolving SL lenses.  Personally, I got tired of fixing the moire in post processing.  With the SL2 and it higher MP sensor, I don't have that issue.  The SL2-S wil print quite easily 12X18 prints and with excellent color. If you envision cropping heavily, the SL2 might be the answer for your needs.  I suggest if you live close to a Leica Store, boutique or authorized Leica dealer, go take a Leica SL2/SL2-S test drive for the day.  Leica has program for you try the cameras and lenses before you buy.  Take 2 SD cards, format them in each camera, go shoot the whatever for the day, post process them at home and that will help you decide.  Also Leica has a program now that you can save hundreds fo dollars on SL2 or SL2-S bundles and SL lenses until the end of October.  Try this link to see the Leica program. I am certain you will make the right decision on your own.  Hope this helps.  r/ Mark

Try:  https://leica-camera.com/en-US/family-friends

PS  You can also use your M lenses on the SL system cameras via the M to L adapter too.

Edited by LeicaR10
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I bought the SL2 not long after launch, then traded it in for the SL2-S four months later. Both great cameras but I preferred the SL2-S for its better low light performance and low light colours, for its smaller file sizes and (then) its better video, though the SL2 has partly caught up in video.

You say you don't sports or wildlife, so don't need the best AF (I don't think there's much to choose between SL2 and SL2-S for AF anyway), but what do you shoot? If landscape, then you might be better off with higher res images. Do you actually print large? Most people don't, though there is a solitary pleasure in zooming in to see the detail on screen in a high-res image. 

As someone else has pointed out, if you crop a lot than extra pixels may be useful (I crop to tidy up a composition, but not normally enough to make the SL2 sensor useful to me).

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I’m not in the more resolution camp. I’m a member of the better pixel party. The smaller the pixel pitch, the more difficult it is to design great colour in the shadows, low noise, and high sensitivity. 24MP at full frame seems to be the sweet spot if juicy shadows and high sensitivity are of importance. 

Now printing. In former times, when all was shot on film, we had to live with grain. The question was, does the grain obscure information, and how do empty spaces look? How is the overall acutance? How high is the perceived sharpness?

The latter depends very much on the subject. A portrait has a higher perceived sharpness than a landscape shot because the blurry BG creates a stark contrast to the subject’s sharp eyes. Landscape usually don’t have that and hence rely on the detail of the subject. Here, as we learned from godfather Adams, resolution and paying attention to the detail can make the difference. 

But in that equation I still find the grain important, although in digital we don't have that anymore. But we have texture. In principle it's noise, only not identified as such. As grain, it helps the eye to stick to the screen or print because grain/texture remains sharp even if the image is out of focus. If we don’t have that, the image will look clinical.

At ISO 800, with a little help from C1, I find the SL2-S texture pleasing and the sharpness and acutance good without any sharpening added. 
 

Because landscapes don’t end up printed in large sizes in my work, I went with the SL2-S. 

 

 

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Really appreciate all of the thoughtful replies. Helpful to know how the SL2 and SL2-S color compare to other Leica cameras.

I mostly shoot images of my family, with the occasional landscape if I have time. I used to shoot landscapes 1-2 times a week, now I am lucky if it is once a month. However, with my family I find I am not needing the megapixels as much. It is more important to have a higher shutter speed so I don't get blurry shots :) and sometimes this requires pushing the ISO.

I used to print larger / enjoy zooming into files, but find I am doing that less and actually enjoying the smaller files to work with on the M10.

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2 hours ago, hansvons said:

But in that equation I still find the grain important, although in digital we don't have that anymore. But we have texture. In principle it's noise, only not identified as such. As grain, it helps the eye to stick to the screen or print because grain/texture remains sharp even if the image is out of focus. If we don’t have that, the image will look clinical.

 

 

A very interesting post, thanks. I’m more coming from a film background, and typically try to get towards a more filmic look with digital. In that regard, my definition of filmic is more to do with a “gentler” acutance. Indeed, my 5x4 sheets printed to just 20x16” are completely grain free, clinical in that sense, one could say …..and yet my (also grain free) digital file might still render differently to that 5x4. I think (not clear always) that it’s more to do with the inherently high acutance of digital and/or different mid-tones between film and digital (the latter before post processing).

Where I’ve dialled in a post processing for digital that I really like it is from my 24mp M240 — which I suspect might work for the SL2-S too  — where (for a 20x16”) I have zero sharpening in ACR but use, for the grain sliders, amount +25, size +25, roughness +50. The size +25, to my eyes, adds a little blur to soften the accutance, even with a very sharp M 50 APO.

The perceived grain in the print is really slight, but the overall image seems gentler and more filmic to my eyes.

Anyhow, to answer the OP’s question, for that smallish print size you cited, I’d personally be happy with a 24mp SL2-S, especially because I now know what settings I like in post processing to “tame” the high sharpness / acutance to my personal taste.

I’ve yet to get quite there with SL2 files, however, still work in progress in gauging what settings to achieve that same look - if it’s even possible in terms of aesthetic given 24mp vs 47mp!(?)

 

Edited by Jon Warwick
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I had the SL2 firat, added SL2-S later for low light. For my taste I dont find see the SL2-S color better than SL2. A little different , but not better. For my part I use the SL2-S in low light (family events, indoor for example) - for travel, vacaion and everything else I rather use the SL2. I dont print big, but some room for cropping doesnt hurt and in daylight I really dont see disadvantage of SL2 vs SL2-s. (maybe minor when pushing shaddows afterwards). I dont know, one gets used to higher resolutions, so 24MP feels slightly low (just a brain thing).

 

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1 hour ago, wdshuck said:

Really appreciate all of the thoughtful replies. Helpful to know how the SL2 and SL2-S color compare to other Leica cameras.

I mostly shoot images of my family, with the occasional landscape if I have time. I used to shoot landscapes 1-2 times a week, now I am lucky if it is once a month. However, with my family I find I am not needing the megapixels as much. It is more important to have a higher shutter speed so I don't get blurry shots :) and sometimes this requires pushing the ISO.

I used to print larger / enjoy zooming into files, but find I am doing that less and actually enjoying the smaller files to work with on the M10.

Well the SL2 and SL2s have the same color signature since the last update.

I feel your pain, I have been using SL2 for almost 3 years now and love it. the noise was never a big issue for me, most of the time I don't shoot over 6400 ISO. I am coming from Sony a7r4's and Canon and still have them. in the last 2 years I have used the Sony 2 times for events.
You can get use to Sony menu, but what a tourer ! even after making favorites there are options that don't make any sense and are hard to find. It must be the lost in translation from Japanese .

The Leica's are not that god with on flash photography, bounce flash give inconsistent exposures, and struggle to focus in dark situations.

I think 24MP is good for most people, I just like 47MP for future proofing and be able to crop. Cropping give you 2 version of the same photos and it is amazing with SL lenses.

I get many of my Leica gear used, there is a big 2nd hand market out there with people that keep their gear pristine. I am a professional and use all the gear daily and con't care if it has marks, it is always dependable .

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I chucked all my Sony stuff last Jan for an SL2. My primary/favorite camera is also (still) my 5 yr old m10. 

I do print large enough to where the 47 mp was a selling point to me - esp as wanting a versatile addition the M10, the sensor resolution change makes a lot of sense. 24 MP from SL2s is not the same as the M10's - it is better in the eyes of most, but for me it's still too redundant. 

I have no issue manual focusing/ using M lenses on my SL2 (this was a partial reason for the switch), but I also think it's worth noting that if you downsize SL2 files to the SL2's 24 mp, then, um, the noise advantage becomes a lot less pronounced. For me the color argument is pretty moot. It's a lot better than sony, and if you know your way around C1/LR you can get great results. I think that last 1% difference only functionally matters if your work is so specifically about color that everything else is secondary. TBH I've seen very few photographs in my life where I think that this sort of difference would actually be a practical problem to address for the photographer. The rest is user pref but doesn't impact image success one way or another. It depends on your uses in the end, but the few differences the SL2s for me don't matter compared to how much better a large file is when printing at a size over 20-30." And yes, uprezzing software is pretty good but it's still not the same as getting it in capture. 

I am happy with an SF-40 on my SL2, yeah it's a little quirky and I am hopeful a third party makes something stronger but I make it work just fine, and I use flash a lot. 

Edited by pgh
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5 hours ago, Photoworks said:

Well the SL2 and SL2s have the same color signature since the last update.

 

Very interesting, I didn’t know that, albeit I have been out the SL loop for a while. You’re saying that the SL2 color has now become closer to the SL2S (I assume not the other way round)? 

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If I was printing over 20-30" I would also go for the SL2. I made the swap from SL2 to SL2-S in the middle of a project (old slate mine workshop interiors) and I found the extra low light performance, in noise and shadow colour, noticeable at the sizes I was working at on a large monitor. I wasn't directly down-ressing the SL2 images, as that happens automatically on screen, but the difference was noticeable in the small scale blurring of detail in shadows. I hesitate to offer strong advice about what others should do, though - we all photograph different things with different practices, and have different criteria for 'success', and the best I can offer is what drove my choices.

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This is just up to personal pref. I've printed that (and larger) from Fuji's. They work, in a way, for a general viewing experience, esp if the image isn't that dependent on detail (mine weren't), but next to a print from the SL2, it really does let me down - if it didn't, I'd still use it tbh, those aps-c fuji's are great for what they are and if you're happy with the prints, I can't see using anything else because the x pro series, for example, is probably the best designed mirrorless out there while still being super versatile, and adding another great but even more versatile body is a small expense compared to Leica. But when it comes to prints, am M10 print at that size is better even than one from an x pro, but from the SL2 it's even more striking - again, just depends on how much you care about it. Most general viewers will not, to be sure. 

Edited by pgh
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