Leica SL2GET IT
One of my photography professors in college once told me that if I truly wanted to understand what it takes to shoot a proper photograph, I needed to shoot images for one full year with a Leica M3, 50mm lens, and B&W film—Nothing else. I was intrigued, and I took the challenge, and I must say, it was the most fun I’ve ever had shooting photos in my entire life… until recently.
You see, the whole experience of shooting Leica hinges on the simplicity. Very few buttons to get in the way, just the camera body, prime lens, and an eye for the often-overlooked extraordinary little pieces of everyday life. And having sold my beloved M3 to another photography student 20 years ago, I was elated when I got the opportunity to get my mitts on the Leica SL2. However, I was skeptical. My favorite part of shooting with the M3 was that it was just me and a couple finely crafted, wonderfully positioned buttons to deal with. Could the mirrorless full-frame SL2 provide a similar experience? The answer is a resounding “Yes. Yes, it can.” But let’s break it down.
Equipped with a 47-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, this badboy also boasts state-of-the-art sensor-based Body Image Stabilization (meaning, that your subjects remain tack-sharp, and your videos stay steady when not mounted on a tripod). This is a huge improvement when it comes to image stabilization, when the camera body itself has the control, not the lenses. Its guts are centralized around a new powerhouse Maestro III processor that pumps out up to 20 fps for still images and 4K video up to 60 fps. These specs are beyond impressive.
It has a vibrant backlit LED 3.2-inch LCD screen, and the electronic viewfinder is as true to real life as we’ve ever seen—No lag that we could detect at all. But all these digital tech specs aside, this camera still feels like a true Leica. And that’s the whole point, in our humble opinion. The Leica experience should be a bond between the lensman and the tool. Eliminating the fuss of buttons and gimmicks has always been Leica’s mantra, and this photographic tool lives up to that in fine fashion.
During our short time spent with this camera, we paired it with the Leica Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, for a full-frame match made in Heaven. While the price tag is well-beyond what most casual photographers might budget for, we think that this is a camera that has set the bar for just about everything “walk-around photography.” If you’re in the market for—hands down—the best, Leica is the best. And the SL2 is quite possibly the best from Leica at the time of this writing. This is a damn-fine camera.—Jon Perino, senior editor
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