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Considering moving to the SL2


rouge_homme
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Hi All,

I'm considering moving to the SL2 and interested in the feedback of other users.

Currently, I have 2 systems:
- M11 with 50mm Summicron
- CL with 35mm Summilux + 18-56mm 

I shoot mostly travel/documentary as well as the occasional landscape and together, the systems cover most of my needs. However, I am warming to the idea of replacing both with an SL2 (or SL2-S). 

While I thoroughly enjoy the manual experience of the M11, I find it somewhat limiting as a standalone camera when travelling and I am beginning to prefer the precision of an EVF. The CL, on the other hand, is wonderfully compact and produces surprisingly great results but lacks some of the features of newer mirrorless cameras (IBIS, weather sealing etc.).

So, my rationale for considering the SL2 is:
- One system
- Higher quality EVF
- Weather sealed
- Ability to adapt M lenses (without the crop factor of the CL)
- Improved low light performance (over the CL)

I've played with the SL2 on a handful of occasions at my local Leica store and really like it but my main hesitation is the size and weight. Ergonomically, it still feels great but coming from the M and CL, the increased heft is significant. 

Interested to hear any feedback from other SL2 owners if this is something you simply adapt to? Or whether it becomes a burden in day-to-day use?

For reference, I would primarily use M lenses but perhaps consider the 24-70mm zoom as well.

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Rouge_Homme,   First, I see you are relatively new to the forum, so welcome.  Second, you will find a number of well intentioned photographers in the forum with years and decades of experience.  I am certain a number will chime in with their thoughts about moving to the SL2, myself included.  Third, IMO you have pretty much answered your own questions by trying the SL2 and owning a M11 and CL cameras.  All excellent for what they are designed to do.  My experience, I use the SL2 and SL lenses for my landscape photography.  Mostly SL primes but have the option for using M lenses too.  The SL2 has many attributes for your intended genre of photography.  For me, the weather sealing and robust reliability not to mention the most excellent sensor and superb SL lenses make my creative passion most enjoyable in challenging weather and terrain conditions.  The M camera and lenses I use because of the remote and often difficult hiking conditions that I encounter depending where I am photographing.  Plus, I can use the M lenses on the SL2 if I so choose to lighten my gear load.  In your case, perhaps you might keep your M11 and M lenses, pickup a mint previously owned SL2 from a Leica Store and save some money. Also Leica has a special offer on their website for the SL2 cameras and SL lenses until the end of October. (I was told Leica may extend the offer, but only Leica knows what they are going to do)  Last, every camera system has pros and cons.  Asking for advice maybe helpful, but keep in mind in the end it is your decision and bank account.  I am certain others will offer sage advice and ideas.  Hope this helps.  r/ Mark

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

Edited by LeicaR10
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I would not use a SL/SL2/SL2-S for casual travel/documentary/landscape. Too heavy and large, which takes all the pleasure out of travel/walking. As pointed out, you do not have weather proofing if you use M lenses.

If I was using it as a serious camera for specific projects or professional/semi-professional then I might consider it, as I would be simply taking it from A to B to do the job/project, and not trying to do other things like enjoy the scenery, carry picnics, guidebooks, wander into shops and museums.

For casual travel and landscape I happily used the CL for many years, and now happily use the Q2. If I am going out to take a great landscape or cityscape, then I take large format. If I am going to shoot an event, performance, portrait session, then I take the SL2-S and SL lenses.

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I’m traveling right now. I carry a SL2-S and a R6.2 with me, the latter for B&W. I photograph people and landscapes, most of it assignments. A part of the assignment is creating a video portrait. For that I use both cameras; b&w portraits will play an important role, and I don’t do them digitally. 
 

But I like to travel light. For the video parts and many of the landscape shots I’ll use a 35mm M lens, for all other shots a 50mm Summicron R, both adaptable to the SL2-S. I don’t do hikes longer than 10km. With a proper strap carrying the SL2/S isn’t a problem, even with the super-sharp and heavy 24-90. When I know I’m going to be in wet conditions I use that lens. But generally, I prefer classic Leica lenses over their modern glass. 
 

I don’t look for resolution, I aim for colour, mood and usability. That’s why I chose the SL2-S over the SL2. The SL cameras do have some heft, and so does the M. With the additional EVF, I’d argue, it’s in the SL2/S ballpark. 
 

If the 28mm would work for you, the Q2 is a no-brainer. But I’m a fifties guy, and I guess you are too, which rules it out. 
 


 

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The SL2-S is the best low light camera I have every used and does work very well with M lenses; I bought it to be the ultimate night shooter with a 40/1.2.

I have tried to use it in casual situations, adding a 35/2 Sigma for that purpose; it was viable outdoors but too large to stay in the background during indoor gatherings.

The CL with 35/1.4 is still the champion indoors and the 18-56 a brilliant lens for walkabout use. If Leica had stuck with the program, I would have bought a CL2 immediately.

After my winter holiday trial with the SL2-S, I bought a X100V for its weather sealed and compact benefits ; I am now enamoured with this camera and it has for the last six months replaced my Leicas in 75% of my daily use. The OOC jpegs are ideal for most casual use ; unlike the CL I have back button AF ; the flip screen is very useful ; the OVF works well and even the EVF does not seem to have the bright light eye seal issues I encountered with the CL. 

The Q3 would need to have back button AF and a flip screen to temp me away from the X100V. I will keep the SL2-S but its use is reserved for specific tasks. The CL I will use with the 18-56 alongside the X100V for travel.

Edited by FrozenInTime
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Rouge_Homme, I can tell you from my point of view the SL2 is the best camera and most enjoyable camera I have ever owned. I as well have shot with assorted M's the last I bought was the M10 and had bought a CL though seems the wife thought her name was on it. 😳 I bought into the original SL Type 601 system never having seen or used it, sold off a lot of Nikon SLR gear to buy the SL and the 24-90mm and 90-280 mm, never any regrets for a second and the image quality as to be expected is outstanding. What I like about the SL's is not as many bells and whistles as other systems especially since one does not need much of it though of course some folks needs may differ and the manufacturers want everyone to believe they need it. One thing that I just love  about the SL is the back focus selector point toggle switch is combined with the focusing mechanism so can move focus point around press the toggle to focus then press button on top of camera to take the photo. I know if I recall correctly Nikons and Canon SLR's had separate switches to achieve the same thing, this is a far better way of doing it in my opinion. Do not know if other manufacturers offer it now the way Leica has but if not they should.

I have had the system out in brutal weather conditions as extreme cold, torrential rain, brutal heat and never a problem. I as like you shoot a majority of travel/documentary, and also a lot of landscape and some wildlife. Has been great for that though as you will read in posts here and elsewhere the focusing system is not as fast as some other brands which could be a hindrance in shooting fast moving stuff but one can still get some nice photos--there were great photos years ago when cameras were nowhere as sophisticated and had manual focus!

The only downside I see to the system is it is bigger and heavier than some other systems, but everything is a tradeoff. It just feels real good in my hand in actual use, have played with other systems where the camera was smaller but the lenses were not and ergonomically it felt awkward to me. As you know you can use M lenses on the SL and those are great, yet with my aging eyes I am spoiled with the autofocus especially in low light. Yes love my M and small glass, but the SL is more versatile for my needs. 

 

 

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So many people talking about button, switches, vintage a looks...

I assume you more un enthusiast photographer than a professional.

I use SL2, Q2, and M11 most days...

For my work I use 2 SL2 and M11 at the same time. 

SL2 is great working machine, great resolution, IBIS and multi shot are great, and video does not disappoint .  It is power hungry, and it is heavy. All the Lenses are heavy, once you have a bag full it is a pain on your back.

I see you have the M11. I think M11 has the best sensor for most application that Leica is offering, excellent colors in highISO and excellent resolution in any situation. Much better DR than SL2, in many cases at 3200 iso the M11 images are amazing.

If I am not working I travel with one SL2 with 24-90 zoom, a faster M lens for low light and bokeh shots, often a 50mm and M11 as a back up.

Many Leica product in my collection have been acquired used. you can get lots of camera/lenses in new condition and a good price. My suggestion is to get a used SL2, try it for few months, If you don't like it sell it for the same price.

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I'll start of by saying I'm VERY biased here, having used SL & SL2 systems for the past 5 years. I mostly shoot on the street and walk around with the body for 5 or 6 hours at a time. Sure for casual use, a Q2 would be easier. But by that logic, an iPhone would be even easier. How casual do you want to be?

Firstly, you can get a barely used SL2-S for under 4K (often well under that number). For that money, you get IBIS & the ability to use M or SL/L-mount alliance lenses, which means weather sealing and of course, auto focus. Plus an EVF that enables you to focus critically even with Nocti glass, and see what the photo will look like before you even take it. The tradeoff here is a heavier, somewhat larger body (than the M).

But then you see many M users add an EVF to their camera, and a handgrip, and while it is still a smaller, lighter camera than the SL with the accessories added, the gap is far narrower. Sure, you don't have to add these accessories, but then you're relying on the rangefinder for focusing (enjoyable, but not anywhere near as easy to get accurate results as you can with the EVF), or you can use the backscreen to compose - although buying an M to use the backscreen to compose to me is just pure comedy. 

The SL2 is a wonderful tool that will enable you to capture images that you simply cannot with the M (because of IBIS, autofocus, weather sealing, EVF, and the ability to see the shot before you even take it and adjust to get the exact end result you want). These aren't opinions, they're facts. And yeah, it's a little heavier, a little bulkier than an M, and it's not a rangefinder. It's also MUCH less expensive than recent used M bodies. Buy one used, take good care of it and then sell it if it's not your thing. You won't lose much money and you can see for yourself if it works for you.

Don't get me wrong, I love M cameras, but there's almost this cult-like devotion to the platform by some that forgives the limitations of the camera (and denigrates the SL2 because it's bigger). And I say this knowing that in many ways the limitations of the M body can sometimes also be a strength.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After using M's for years I've gone over to an SL2-S.  It was more for the IBIS & Autofocus to get sharper images as I was finding it harder to get nice clean exposures with the M10-R.  Nothing against the camera, but to make a long story short, I just needed to make life a little easier.  I weighed the pros and the cons and the amenities that the SL2-S offers are something that works well for me at this time.  I was concerned about going back to 24mp but I don't print big or crop heavily and that turned out to be a non-issue.  

Yes, it is big, especially with a 24-70 lens on it but I consider that to be one of the trade-offs.  Never thought I'd like the zoom that much, but it is nice especially at the many car shows and events I do.  I also like the multi-shot feature that I use at times for landscapes.  I also got the 35 APO and these two lenses seem to cover all my needs at the moment.

I still have a Q2 for when I need to go small & light, and most all my situations are covered with this pair.  It was tough saying goodbye to my M kit, but as a practical matter this was a good decision.  

Edited by Camaro5
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The M system is not weather proof, so its a moot point. An M11 with a grip and EVF, will be very close in weight to the SL2. The SL2 has one huge advantage over the M11 - IBIS.

There are lighter lenses available for the SL system, for example, I use the Panasonic 16-35mm F4 all the time - its very good. The SL2 will be noisier than the M11, but deniose Ai is so good these days its not a deal breaker.

SL lenses are heavier, but the flexibility of the 24-90mm is superb. 

I would see if you can get a SL2 loaner, and try it out with your M lenses. Make sure that you use the Leica adapter, as it will tell the camera which 6 bit lens that you are using. You can select non 6 bit lenses from the menu. In both cases the appropriate corrections will then be applied.

Edited by Planetwide
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23 minutes ago, Planetwide said:

The M system is not weather proof, so its a moot point.

How many of you really go out in a situation that it makes a difference, I went to the desert with it and into a snow storm on skies, no problem.

I only had a Canon 5D die in a hurricane. But M camera have been around for a long time and I don't think it was always a problem.

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Coming from micro4/3rds, the SL2 feels ridiculously massive. I am still not convinced it makes a great travel/documentary camera, kind of depends on the type of travel you do and how big a part photography is in your travel plans. Weatherproof is important for me, not because I go out in torrential rain storms to take pictures, but  because I can be out for weeks at a time on remote canoe trips that can get very wet and despite using pelican cases and precautions, accidents happen and I have witnessed several dead cameras and lenses. I’ve gotten to like the camera weight in the hand, not so much on my back all day while hiking, but can live with it. Road trips/canoeing, also not an issue, or going for a walk for a few hours. I have yet to take it on an vacation involving a commercial flight. More then the weight, the bulk is the bigger concern if the goal is to travel with no checkin luggage. For that, the Q2 makes more sense if the focal length works for you. It works for me. 
 

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Thank you all for the valuable feedback - there certainly seem to be a lot of satisfied SL2 owners, which is always reassuring.

For a bit more clarity, I would certainly classify myself as an enthusiast (rather than a professional) but I still generally plan my trips with photography in mind.

I have also owned the Q2 and it's so close to being the perfect package but found the 28mm to be a bit too constrictive. My ideal set up is usually a 50mm prime plus a mid-range zoom and I just couldn't quite get acquainted with the 28mm focal length.

As some have suggested, I think my best bet may be to pick up a lightly used SL2 before I decide to make the switch. It's hard to get a true impression of a new camera within the confines of the Leica store. I may end up keeping the M11 and simply replacing the CL with an SL2 for the best of both worlds.

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33 minutes ago, rouge_homme said:

I may end up keeping the M11 and simply replacing the CL with an SL2 for the best of both worlds.

My approach is similar, albeit with the M10-R along with the SL2. Different tools, different experiences. M lenses stay on the M, using only the RF with 28/35/50mm. The 24-90 does most work on the SL2 (90-280 likely to be sold due to infrequent use).  Best of both worlds, indeed.  Actually three worlds, as my Monochroms (M9/M10) never get used simultaneously with the color-based cameras; different mindset altogether. 

Jeff
 


 


 

 

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16 hours ago, rouge_homme said:

Thank you all for the valuable feedback - there certainly seem to be a lot of satisfied SL2 owners, which is always reassuring.

For a bit more clarity, I would certainly classify myself as an enthusiast (rather than a professional) but I still generally plan my trips with photography in mind.

I have also owned the Q2 and it's so close to being the perfect package but found the 28mm to be a bit too constrictive. My ideal set up is usually a 50mm prime plus a mid-range zoom and I just couldn't quite get acquainted with the 28mm focal length.

As some have suggested, I think my best bet may be to pick up a lightly used SL2 before I decide to make the switch. It's hard to get a true impression of a new camera within the confines of the Leica store. I may end up keeping the M11 and simply replacing the CL with an SL2 for the best of both worlds.

I find the SL2 + M11 makes for a great pair! 

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Edited by LBJ2
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11 hours ago, Artin said:

I sold my 1st SL2 and bought an M11.  Missed the SL2. So much. So sold the M11 and bought an SL2.   4 weeks later missed the M11. Now I have both and it’s a perfect combo.   However I hardly use my AF. Lenses. 95%. Of time M Lenses on both

Interesting re subsequently missing the M11, especially given it sounded like you were really delighted to be back with the SL2. What aspects did you most miss about the M11 in the end ....size / weight; viewfinder; colors etc?

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Can't speak on an M11 but the M10 is my favorite camera I own.

That said, if I had to go to one body, I would keep my SL2 instead - and I do find myself using my M less and less (and also, being relieved of any desire for an M10r or M11).

Personally, I don't find the SL2 with an M lens to be noticeably bulkier or heavier. It is by a touch, but as the above photo indicates it's primarily the viewfinder bump on the body making part of it a bit taller, and then the grip (I have never tacked any grip accessory on to my M's). If you use a grip accessory then this is even closer. In practice, I don't have an issue using them in the same situations. Then again, I never have been one to just stick a camera in my coat. 

SL lenses are bulky, but you don't have to use them as you noted. Sigma's Contemporary line are also a good value option for relatively smaller AF lenses. They don't have the sharpness of an M/SL lens - but they're still on balance quite good. I'll likely never purchase an SL lens due to the price and the size and my overall preference for the M glass - the Sigma lenses for me do a great job when I really need AF.  

The IBIS alone makes the SL series much more versatile in practice - and then if you're one who needs critical focusing assistance it does this better too. The SL2 sensor is a little rougher at higher ISO's, but with IBIS I find this much less necessary (you may if you're shooting a lot of movement). The SL2s sensor is great - but less resolution, and not a whole lot better really than if you shrink down the SL2 sensor images to 24 mp. I bought my SL2 early this year just to cover me for specific work situations (I hated, but needed my Sony cameras on occasion) - it's done that nicely, but unexpectedly it's become the most enjoyable EVF I've used - I actually like using it more than any SLR too. It's only behind the M's for the intangible "joy" factor in use. 

Edited by pgh
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