Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Olive Oyl, auto blogging and a new SL arrival from Leica

Olive Oyl, auto blogging and a new SL arrival from Leica

Olive Oyl and Bluto getting up the nose of Popeye the Sailorman at Malta's quaint and unpretentious Popeye filmset (Leica Q2)

Last week, you will be interested to know, Macfilos was on autopilot. The entire editorial staff was away in Malta for a pre-Christmas bash. More on that later when the snaps have been developed. As a teaser, though, I can say that we wished we had discovered Malta sooner. One can even drive on the left of the road as the gods ordained.

A coy Olive Oyl and an amorous Bluto getting up the nose of Popeye the Sailorman at Malta’s quaint and unpretentious Popeye Village film set (taken with the Leica Q2)

Thanks to sterling efforts of contributors, including Tom Lane and William Fagan, and a bit of advance planning, I was able to leave the site untended and no one noticed. Perhaps I should try it more often.

Back in London this morning, I was summoned to Red Dot Cameras to collect a very early copy of the Leica SL2, the long-anticipated successor to the SL. I believe this is one of just a few SL2s to have made it across the Channel. For the moment, SL2s have sold out, thanks to Macfilos.


Our contributor John Shingleton in Australia (who prefers to see photos rather than read news of cameras) has threatened to commit seppuku if I so much as mention the SL2 again. However, I have to disappoint, and please, John, don’t do anything hasty. We need you.

Some perverse readers, against all advice from the antipodes, seem to show an in interest in new cameras. Me, I can’t resist them. So bear with me.

A brand-new SL2 with the Sigma 45mm f/2.8 Contemporary lens attached is now sitting on my desk in Macfilos Towers, looking purposeful and ready for action.

I have quite a few lenses to try with the SL2, including manual M-mount optics, Panasonic’s unpretentious 24-105mm “kit” lens and the really rather wonderful Sigma. This one little lens complements the SL2 perfectly, just as it does the CL. Sadly I don’t have access to some of Leica’s great SL lenses. But who knows, I might be able to put some pressure on Ivor at Red Dot.

SL2 with the Sigma 45mm f/2.8. The latest arrival at Macfilos

TL lens outings

In addition, I’m looking forward to trying the SL2 with the full range of TL lenses.

These are all excellent optics and will work well on the SL2, especially with the additional benefit of in-body stabilisation which the TL/CL APS-C cameras lack.

For anyone worried about the migration to that 47.3MP sensor, using TL lenses is the ideal way to avoid large files.

On the SL2 these crop-frame lenses produce 20.2MB files, not much smaller than those from the old SL or the M10. The lenses have the benefit of small size and low weight. Even the 55-135mm TL zoom is a real featherweight when compared with equivalent full-frame auto-focus lenses.

All this highlights the fun to be had by mixing and matching the now extensive range of L-Mount lenses. It’s the reason I’ve decided to concentrate on L-Mount for the future. It seems to be an obvious choice for anyone bred on Leica.


I had a brief spell (about 2 minutes) with the SL2 at the recent press launch in London, but it’s only today I’ve been able to check out the theory that it feels lighter than the SL.

Despite rumours to the contrary, the SL2 is actually heavier than the SL. Someone issued misleading news comparing the SL2 without battery with a fully batteried SL. This has been published throughout the internet, leading to misapprehension. Nevertheless, the subjective feeling of lightness is there.

As a matter of interest, the Panasonic S1 or S1R with the same Sigma lens weighs 100g more than the SL2 outfit.

The SL2, whether because of its more rounded contours or that well-designed new grip, does actually feel more comfortable and less brick-like in the hands. With the Sigma 45mm upfront, the rig tips the scales at 1120g but it certainly feels lighter. The balance is perfect with such a small lens, but the contours and grip bode well for handling with heavier native SL lenses.

More on Malta and the Q2 and London with the SL2 to follow.


  1. I hope you feel refreshed from your secret break. I am jealous of your SL2. They are rare as hens teeth. I am on a wait list for the SL2 ( number 5). I am selling my amazing S1 and S1R to fund the SL2. I found both the S1 and S1R (much worse than S1) to have too much smearing for me. This is in comparison to the Leica M-E (typ 220). The usage of the m-mount is important to me so I have decided to sell them. But I did love them and would have not gotten some of my photos while waiting for the SL2. The sensor on the SL2 is thinner and has microprisms so is supposed to work much better with m glass as the SL did. Also, the SL2 can do m glass corrections. I just hope I am not L mount camerless too long. I am very excited to hear about your experience with your new tool.

    • Thanks, Brian. Recently I have been using the Q2 a lot and becoming more and more impressed with the results. For the 28mm focal length it is ideal. I suspect the SL2 will produce equivalent results over all focal lengths and I am looking forward to trying it with all those M lenses. I don’t think the SL2 will ever be the sort of camera I would just carry around (unlike the Q2 or CL) but for events and special occasions it should be a first choice.

    • I meant to say micro lenses instead of micro prisms but it was either auto correct or I need a break in Malta.
      By the way, even my G9 is for special occasions such as taking photos. enough humour, I will pay you 25% off for your mint SL2!

  2. “One can even drive on the left of the road as the gods ordained.”

    When I was last there (..for a Polaroid launch, so you know how long ago that was!..) everyone drove IN THE CENTRE of the road (the last to swerve left or right was chicken). And you never knew which way they’d swerve..

    • I know the feeling, having driven many tens of thousands of miles over the years in Greece, especially the more remote parts of Crete. But the Maltese (with some exceptions) seem to have reformed. But then, I suppose, November is quieter than mid-summer.

  3. I’m #3 on Ivor’s list, so I haven’t got my camera yet! And like Brian I had bought the S1 to replace my old SL, sold when I decided that prices were likely to collapse on rumours of the SL2. The S1 is a good camera, but I miss the Leica simplicity and design of the SL. Hopefully not too long to wait for its successor!

    • Now I feel guilty, Patrick. If I hadn’t had the SL2 you would have been No.2. I hope deliveries arrive speedily and, when you do get your hands on it, let us know what you think. I too liked the S1, I really couldn’t fault it ergonomically but, as you say, it doesn’t have the simplicity of the Leica.

      One thing I have found out this evening is that the menu system isn’t the same as the CL or Q2 — it is arranged in pages with an index at the top. Initially I find this confusing and rather irritating but, then, it is very early days and I have no doubt I will get used to it. Jono Slack bonded with it, so I am sure I will. What I do like, however, is the quick menu which seems to replace the Favourites menu of the other cameras. It is a more graphic display, similar to those used by other manufacturers, and contains all the important settings. So far I haven’t started to customise my settings, just had an initial play. But it all looks very promising.

      Above all, I do like the feel and appearance of the camera. The more rounded edges are very subtly done but they transform the image of the camera. The leather cover improves the feel but also, cosmetically, it helps soften that slab appearance of the original SL.

      The next morning: having had a further play with the menus I realise to suggest they differ significantly from those in other Leica cameras is misleading. The appearance is different, and the quick menu is new, but the page arrangement is the same as we have seen previously. It is possible to scroll down so that, if you wish, all options are in one continuous list. I am very happy with it all so far.

  4. I look forward to seeing what images the new SL2 produces. Always nice to see what the latest tech can do.

    Glad you enjoyed Malta, I am always grateful to hear of the adventures of those lucky enough to escape at this time of year when the cold and wet, and the poor grey skies are settling in. Lucky so and so.

    • Thanks Dave. It was certainly a nice break from London weather, not that it’s particularly cold at the moment. Feels like I never went, though.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.