The long-awaited monochrome version of the Leica Q2 is due for release in November, according to information received by Leica Rumors (link below). It has been on the cards for the past twelve months and, I suspect, would have been with us sooner if it had not been for the pandemic.
A monochrome Q looks like a good idea to me. There are many attracted to the idea of the Monochrom who, for reasons of deteriorating eyesight or dislike of manual focus, will welcome an AF monochrome camera. They will, I suspect, be prepared to put up with the 28 mm focal length, just as Q and Q2 owners have done.
With this news, however, comes a glimpse of something even more intriguing, an SL2-S. Now, what could this be? We can’t get many clues from the “S” suffix except, perhaps, to note that Sony uses this letter to denote its low-megapixel, light monster, the a7S. Nor is it an SL Monochrom, otherwise it would surely be an SL2-M. But now that the 47MP sensor has been adapted for the Q2M, I wouldn’t be surprised to see such a camera in 2021. It would be yet another niche product, something which Leica is very good at.
Return of the twenty-four
My money is on a return of a 24MP sensor in the new body of the SL2, with the now-standard control set. I always thought it odd that Leica dropped the 24MP version of the SL, in direct contrast to Panasonic which appears to sustain both 24 and 47MP versions in its S range. It was logical to discontinue the old SL and then resurrect it with a new body and controls, a suitable companion for the SL2. While I’m fairly certain this camera will have the SL2 body, I will be disappointed if Leica doesn’t grasp the opportunity to re-skin the Panasonic S5 and give us a lighter SL.
From Leica’s point of view, however, with no lightweight lenses to marry well with an S5-sized camera, a chunky body is probably a foregone conclusion.
So, having pencilled in the SL2-S as a 24MP version of the SL2, what can we make of the “-S” suffix, either in English or German. Knowing Leica, it won’t be a random letter.
We all know that the -P suffix is supposed to stand for “professional”, while the -M is definitely for “monochrome”. That -S must mean something to someone. It could, for instance, refer to the –Sensitivity benefits of a lower pixel count in comparison to the SL2.
In the same way, as mentioned above, Sony makes a virtue of the a7S having a mere 12MP sensor. In this case, the S is supposed to refer to “sensitivity mastered.” But, with the old SL 24MP sensor in the SL2-S, this would be clutching at straws. The 24MP sensor, unless it is a completely new design, is unlikely to be dramatically better in low light than that of the SL2. Perhaps the odd stop or so, but nothing more. So I throw that one out of the window.
We can, I think, rule out motorcar-based S associations (Super, Supercharged, Superb, Sport) and other branding clichés where S is a popular initial. Leica doesn’t do that sort of thing. But SE or ‘special edition” gets my attention. That would be -S for Sonderausgabe, special edition. And special editions are a staple of Leica fare, are they not?
Of course, the rumour-mill could have it wrong; the name of this new camera could be something entirely different. In which case, I’m wasting my words. Please remind me to ask Leica when they announce the camera.
What are your thoughts? If you are a German reader, put your mind to descriptive words beginning with S. Yes, I know; but please, not that one. Ditto for English-speaking readers, because the origin could be in either language. And, again, please not to mention that one.