Home Cameras/Lenses Leica S for Speed: Leica’s new SL2-S will please both videographers and photographers

S for Speed: Leica’s new SL2-S will please both videographers and photographers

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The SL2-S can be used with a vast range of L-Mount lenses from Leica (as here), Panasonic and Sigma. It’s now a mature system with Leica occupying the first-class seats at the front of the plane

Leica has today launched a less expensive version of the SL-2 which features an all-new 24MP sensor and is claimed to offer the best of both photography and videography.

The emphasis is on speed, with a continuous shooting rate of 25 frames per second and 10-bit 4K recording with no limit on video length. The camera is likely to appeal particularly to videographers but, with the versatile L-Mount, the camera is an attractive alternative to the 47MP SL2 for stills photographers.

The SL2-S is distinguished by its stealthy all-black Leica branding. Shame about the red dot, but Leica enthusiasts will love the overall impression created by this new camera
The SL2-S is distinguished by its stealthy all-black Leica branding. Shame about the red dot, but Leica enthusiasts will love the overall impression created by this new camera

The camera features multi-shot capturing, where eight shots are combined into one image with a fourfold resolution of 96 megapixels. It also offers sensitivity up to 100,000.

The SL2-S is the same size and weight as the existing SL2, with the only obvious difference being the black inlay in the LEICA branding on the front of the viewfinder housing

Far from being “small”, a lighter-weight version of the SL2, the -S name stands for speed. The body, control layout and multi-axis image stabilisation are all the same as the higher-resolution camera. The one cosmetic difference is the blacked-out LEICA branding on the viewfinder housing. Maybe the S really stands for Schwartz after all.

Emphasis is on video, with unlimited recording now possible
Emphasis is on video, with unlimited recording now possible

I like the appearance, with the less-obtrusive branding, and I suspect it will prove popular with buyers. Priced at just under £4,000, the SL-2 is £1,325 cheaper than the current SL2, and that’s a lot of premium for the higher-density sensor. Many photographers actually preferred the smaller files of the original SL and could now be persuaded to upgrade.

The SL2-S is now available at £3,965 from Leica stores in the UK, including Red Dot Cameras in the City of London.

The SL2-S shares the menu layout and control features with the established 47MP SL2 model
The SL2-S shares the menu layout and control features with the established 47MP SL2 model

PRESS RELEASE

The new Leica SL2-S brings together the best of photography and videography

Wetzlar, 10 December 2020. Leica Camera is delighted to introduce a new addition to the SL family, the SL2-S. For photographers and videographers who seek exceptional imaging performance and a fast operating system, the new Leica SL2-S is a versatile full-frame camera that offers the best of both mediums in one.

The SL2-S can be used with a vast range of L-Mount lenses from Leica (as here), Panasonic and Sigma. It’s now a mature system with Leica occupying the first-class seats at the front of the plane
The SL2-S can be used with a vast range of L-Mount lenses from Leica (as here), Panasonic and Sigma. It’s now a mature system with Leica occupying the first-class seats at the front of the plane

Building on the visionary Leica SL-System that launched in 2015, the Leica SL2-S features a 24-megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor and offers a continuous shooting rate of up to 25 frames per second at full resolution. Equipped with a 25 pro-level video function of10-bit 4K video recordings with no limit in video length, the camera has two separate recording modes for photo and video. Next to the Leica M, the SL range is the only mirrorless full format system camera designed and crafted in Germany, with an all metal, state-of-the art body that is built to last.

High-quality sensor

The core element of the Leica SL2-S is the newly developed BSI-CMOS image sensor with a resolution of 24 megapixels, designed to deliver the legendary Leica look for both photo and video. The data collected by the sensor is processed by the camera’s Maestro-III processor with a 4-gigabyte buffer memory. For the first time, this enables open-ended burst recordings at up to 9 frames per second, whereby the burst length in JPEG format is limited to the storage capacity of the installed memory cards.

Perfect for creative videographers

The SL2-S can perform exceptionally demanding video production tasks recording 4K at 10bit 4:2:2 and C4k at 10bit 4:2:2 video, combined with the superior Leica L-Log and integrated viewing LUTs (Look Up Tables) – which lets the user have full control throughout the recording and makes the compact Leica SL2-S a great alternative to bulkier film cameras. Another pro-

level trait is the camera’s unlimited recording time for videos, which means that the video length is only limited by the respective (internal or external) memory. In the future, the camera will also support the highly efficient HEVC video compression standard for 10-bit recordings up to 4K/60p. This will allow videos to be split into one-minute segments, minimising the risk of data loss. Other enhancing features, such as the integrated waveform monitor and the automatic Follow Focus, will be added with the next firmware update – further enhancing the camera’s suitability for professional applications.

Optimal integration

The Leica SL2-S is the first SL model to enable direct tethered shooting with Capture One 21. This allows the user to fully control the camera remotely via the computer. In addition, the SL2-S can also be tethered to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic. A time-limited Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan is included when purchasing the camera.

Limitless compatibility

The camera’s L-Mount makes the Leica SL2-S fully compatible with not just the SL-System’s extensive lens portfolio, but also with TL lenses and, via adapter, lenses from the Leica M, R and S-System. The L-Mount Alliance provides SL2-S owners with access to over 40 autofocus lenses. In addition, Leitz Cine lenses – which are highly coveted among filmmakers across the board – can also be adapted to the Leica SL2-S.

Image stabilisation

The Leica SL2-S features a suspended image sensor, which provides a highly efficient, multi- axis image stabilisation in connection with any Leica lens. This sensor-shift technology also facilitates multi-shot capturing, where eight shots are calculated into one image with a fourfold resolution of 96 megapixels. The high sensitivity of up to ISO 100,000 – combined with the fast autofocus and in body image stabilisation – enables photographers to capture excellent images in almost all types of light.

The Leica SL2-S is on sale from today at Leica Stores and authorised Leica dealers at £3,975.00.

All images courtesy of Leica Camera AG

SPECIFICATION

6 COMMENTS

  1. My trustworthy SL still serves me well but I am in the market for the SL2-S. That being said, I might wait till that new firmware has been made available… Leica has a tendency to turn early year X into late year X+1…

  2. Mike, thank you for this detailed report here on the new SL 2s.
    I so much agree with Brian Nicol here in terms of an SL 2 CCD and no video.
    I recently traded my M6 Titan for a Leica S2 P with a couple of adaptors for M 645, Hassi/Kiev 88 and P 6 mount.
    Those lenses go so well wth the CCD sensor and enhance the so specific look of these 37.5 MP CCD
    images.
    May be, there is hope at the end of the CMOS tunnel…
    Best regards
    Harry

    • Thanks, Harry. I think it’s unlikely Leica would revert to CCD sensors, although I can see the attraction of such a specialised camera. Yet the M10-D didn’t last, perhaps too niche even for Leica, and I suspect the same would be true of this proposed camera. But you never know!

      Mike

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