I hesitated writing my thoughts about the Leica SL after just 2 days after the announcement. Mainly because i didn’t touch a Leica SL, YET.
In my previous post, I posted the rumored news about the Launch of the SL with one Question: the death of Range Finder? and it seems many Leica fans didn’t like my Question. Well Range Finder is still alive thanks to the M and M9 , and who knows what Leica plans for the M future.
WHO IS IT FOR: Personally, I was expecting Leica to respond to Sony A series with the SL. In some ways it does. but as I see it, it is more addressed to heavy DSLR users who want a top of the line modern camera. Yes it is mirrorless. and Yes mirrorless cams could be more compact because of the reduced flange distance between the sensor and the lens. on the other hand, Full Frame mirrorless lenses , can’t be much smaller than DSLR lenses. And this is because of the optics physics ;unless one day they can invent a lens with a different kind of glass or material ; am I dreaming ? 🙂 In fact some of the mirrorless lenses are larger than their DSLR lenses today, but generally lighter. If You really want a compact Mirrorless cam, get one of the A7 series: The SL is not for you. As i have mentioned I don’t see the SL as a direct competitor to A7 even if it might be in some aspects. The Leica M series have no real competitor to date: it’s the only digital RF FF camera in the world available today, and some photographers really like shooting with a RF; I am one of those. I only want to say that using the Sony A7 series with large fast zooms is NOT comfortable. the body is so tiny to be used with 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 lenses. Sony didn’t make such lenses to date. They opted for f4 equivalent zooms instead, because they are more compact and lighter than equivalent f2.8 zooms and thus balance better on the A7 with grip; and for some the f4 zooms are more than enough.
WHY ALL THE BASHING? In the last two days, i have read all over the net, people bashing the SL, and for my surprise most of them are M users !!!! If you want a Range Finder, enjoy your M and forget about the SL instead of attacking it : Isn’t the M good enough? I bet some S users will like the SL, and some M users will do too (who like Leica glass and can skip the RF for eye sight problems or other reasons). And even it can interest some Nikon and Canon users who always wanted a Leica camera but find the M very limiting for their professional work.
WEIGHT: Leica SL weights 847 grams (battery included), it’s about only 150 grams heavier than an M240. It is also in the same weight range of the Nikon Dƒ or D750. it’s thinner, due to the reduced flange distance between the sensor and the lens.
FUTURE OF FF MIRRORLESS: Nikon and Canon have some plans to launch a mirrorless FF in 2016. And in my opinion, these are the main competitors to the SL. But a Leica is a Leica and Leica glass is one of the best in the world today …. with Zeiss ! Zeiss have an excellent line up of heavy OTUS lenses and recently introduced MILVUS lenses too. Those lenses are Manual Focus lenses. On modern DSLRs it’s not so easy to Manual Focus: No Focus Peaking, No Focus Split screen: just the green dot ! Nevertheless an OTUS with a D810 for example can produce astonishing results, comparable if not sometimes better than a Leica glass on an M240.
In my opinion, Future Mirrorless Nikon/Canon cameras with a set of OTUS – MILVUS lenses should (more or less) be what the SL is today.
PRICE: Yes it is expensive if you find the M240 expensive, or if you find that the Canon 1Dx or Nikon D4s expensive. Leica glass is expensive and we all know that … OTUS glass is expensive as well. Let’s compare apples to apples before saying if it is expensive or not. For some, it sure is… so you can simply skip. For others, you can enjoy.
WILL I GET ONE: No, I personally will skip for 2 reasons. The SL doesn’t fit my photographic needs, and it’s not in my budget today. I will stick to my A7II, M9/240 and Dƒ and will eagerly wait for Nikon FF mirrorless in 2016 (Nikon, Please do it, You are already late). This might bring life to all my Nikkors again.
Lots of speculations in this post … all what i can say is let’s wait and see …