Leica has announced the new SL2 full-frame mirrorless camera, a ground-up redesign of the four-year-old SL.
The new model boasts the same CMOS sensor which first appeared in the Leica Q2, almost doubling the original SL’s pixel count from 24 to 47 million. Also worth shouting about is an ISO range of 50 to 50,000, and IP54 dust and water resistance.
Some of the spec sheet is shared with the Panasonic Lumix S1R, including the 225-area contrast autofocus system with face recognition and depth mapping, plus the SL2’s ability to stitch eight images into a 187-megapixel composite.
But where the Leica stands on its own two feet is with the company’s in-house Maestro III processor, which lets the camera shoot bursts at up to 10fps with the mechanical shutter, or 20fps with an electronic shutter. Images are fed to two UHS-II SD card slots, enabling the camera to simultaneously save raw files in DNG and JPEG format.
The camera uses Wi-Fi to connect to Leica’s FOTOS smartphone app, which lets you transfer images instantly from camera to phone for editing or sharing. Bluetooth is also included, and the camera can share your phone’s GPS signal to geotag images as you shoot.
What also sets the Leica SL2 apart from its rivals - and relatives, in the case of the Panasonic - is its beautiful design and Leica’s famous build quality.
Made from magnesium and aluminium for strength and lightness, the SL2 offers improved ergonomics and a more comfortable leather grip over its predecessor, along with a simplified three-button control layout. Settings are also adjusted using the 3.2-inch, 2.1-megapixel touch screen, click wheel and joystick.
As well as the touch screen, images and video can be framed using the 5.76-megapixel electronic viewfinder.
Video can be shot at up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, or Full HD at 120fps. There are microphone and headphone slots, plus an HDMI port for connecting to external monitors.
The Leica SL2 uses an L bayonet lens mount which is compatible with SL-Systems lenses, as well as Leica’s APS-C lenses. Leica’s M, S and R-System lenses can also be fitted when using an adapter, meaning more than 170 Leica lens options for the SL2, plus any other L mount-compatible lens from Panasonic and Sigma.
The SL2 is available for pre-order now and goes on sale on November 21. Anyone familiar with Leica will be expecting a high price, and you’d be right; the body alone costs £5,300.