Home Cameras/Lenses Leica L-Mount Deals: Time for a bit of contrarian gear buying?

L-Mount Deals: Time for a bit of contrarian gear buying?


Buying a new camera or lens isn’t currently at the front of our minds. With many of us living under lockdown, the opportunities for photography are shrinking. And, along with our lives, I assume, our spending plans for new equipment have been put on hold.

This is understandable. But taking a tip from Warren Buffet’s theme of contrarian investing, could now be the ideal time to splash out on a bit of new equipment? It’s also a good opportunity to support some of our favourite dealers who will struggle to stay afloat in the coming months.

Most camera stores in Europe and North America are now closed, but many of them are keeping the flag flying with an enhanced mail-order business and some tasty offers. Overall sales must be dire, I should imagine, but that can only mean more and better deals for those brave souls who can see beyond lockdown.

Our friends at London Camera Exchange are currently offering a stunning deal on Panasonic’s L-mount camera, the S1. While the body, at £1,890 (after cash-back) is about par for the course, the kit, including the versatile Lumix S 24-105mm F4 Macro OIS zoom, is very attractive at £2,300. That’s just over £400 for a lens which has a recommended tag of nearly £1,300.

Kit lens though it may be, it isn’t half bad. It isn’t in Panasonic’s Pro range and it cannot be compared with, say, Sigma’s f/2.8 24-70mm Art or Leica’s f/2.8-4 24-90mm. But in my opinion, it performs above its pay scale and offers a relatively compact and light (700g) zoom with a very useful extended range.

However, you may prefer to put up with the shorter Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art lens which costs around £950. This is a professional-quality lens which compares well with the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 but at a quarter of the cost. Of course, you do lose than extra 20mm of reach although it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker, especially if you intend to use it on a 24MP camera where cropping opportunities are that much greater.

If you wish to put your toe into the L-mount market and don’t want to shell out for a Leica SL and matching lens, then LCE’s Panasonic S1 kit deal is a good place to start. Despite having a lower-density 24MP sensor, the S1 is an excellent camera and, as I’ve said already, don’t ignore that bargain of a “kit” zoom.

I bought this kit last year but sold the S1 body to make way for the SL2. I held on to the 24-105mm zoom since it wouldn’t have fetched a fortune, and I’d glad I did. It’s proved to be a very versatile and lightweight complement to the new Leica, particularly since I prefer mainly to use prime lenses.

The advent of the L-Mount Alliance has definitely opened up new vistas for us all.

All images in this article were taken with the Panasonic S1 and Lumix S 24-105mm

More on the L-Mount Alliance

More on the Panasonic S1


  1. After getting Email from LEICA Miami I think longer Virus deal goes on prices will drop somewhat and with Stimulus $ coming camera companies US are going want any part that $ they can get!

  2. Its been interesting to see quite a few emails come in from various camera retailers in Australia over the last few weeks. So far, i’ve fought the urge! One yesterday from Sigma Australia has me thinking though, they’re trying to clear stock of the new FP with 45 Prime, and some old stock of the Foveon sensored SD Quattro. I’m sure the G.A.S will pass in a day or two…..

    • I’ve heard reports that the fp isn’t selling well, despite its qualities. I suspect the lack of an EVF if the killer non-feature. That 45mm lens, though, is well worth having if you ever intend to buy an L-Mount camera. It transforms the SL2 into a relative lightweight.

      • The fp’s more of a video shooter’s basic building brick. You stick it in a frame (a ‘rig’ to hold it) and add a lens, a monitor on the top, a filter box and ‘barn doors’ on the front, a focusing wheel on the side, and you’ve got a good quality, smallish, easily-handled, semi-pro video camera.

        For stills – although Tony may differ – I found it (..and was surprised, as I’d thought that I’d like it..) it’s rather silly, as – like any other pocket point-&-shoot – you have to hold it out in front of you to see what’s on the screen, unless you bulk it up with its add-on handle and add-on finder. But then it’s not as small as you thought it was going to be. And it doesn’t have enough adjustment dials (shutter speed, aperture, over/under exposure) to make it as handy as, say, the Sony A7 series ..or – forgetting where I was for a moment! – a Leica M10.

        It seems that the concept behind the fp was “World’s smallest and lightest box with a full-frame sensor inside” rather than “World’s most ergonomic small-box full-frame sensor”. It reminds me of those little Chinese ‘build-it-up-as-you-get-the-money’ rural tractors: first you buy the motor unit, then you buy your first two wheels, then you buy two more wheels ..and you gradually build a Lego-style agricultural mechanical horse.

        Such a shame; I really wanted to like it!

        • I agree with all this, David. It is clearly intended primarily for video work and, as you say, the modular approach is common. Perhaps they are working on a more conventional version which would appeal to stills photography. Perhaps….

      • I have owned the fp/45 kit for about 3 weeks now and absolutely love it with the optional viewfinder using the rear LCD. Once set up all Leica like options of exposure control including exposure compensation are readily available. The viewfinder experience is breathtaking and makes manual focus a joy. The image files are among the best and I love the colours. I have used my Leica SL 35/2 on it and it is a joy to carry around being so much lighter than the S1R/SL2.

  3. I recently bought an ‘ex demo’ TL2 body over the phone from Leica in Melbourne at a 20% discount with $100 of accessories thrown in. I got the feeling this deal wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t in our current circumstances. I haven’t got it yet (I’m waiting on the weekly mail plane) but I’m feeling positive about the purchase.

    Regarding the L mount alliance, that definitely played a large part in the decision. Being able to pick up a good Sigma 24mm L mount lens, for example, for $895 or so really moves the needle on pricing. Not to mention that little 7Artisans 55mm (not in the alliance but still L mount). Having bought one of these I will now have a TL2 system up and running for less than the normal cost of the body alone.

    • Congratulations. The 7Artisans is a native APS-C lens of course. Sigma has such a wide range of full-frame Art lenses that the 36mm-equivalent 24mm becomes a good choice. The 45mm (68mm) Contemporary is particularly interesting because it is so small and light that it perfectly complements the TL3 or CL.


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