In the mirrorless camera world smaller, lighter and packed with buttons is the trend. But with their pro end mirrorless camera, the SL, Leica decided to provide fewer buttons and go bigger and heavier than any other mirrorless camera in the 35mm format on the market. Milled from a solid block of aluminum, featuring as few buttons as possible with no labeling on any of them and an awkward power switch, the Leica SL seems to kick to the curb any feature commonplace or desired in a mirrorless system, with one exception. The EVF. DSLR users flock to Sony or Fuji for a smaller lighter system that is packed with features but doesn’t force them to make huge compromises in quality.
Some users regret the move and some users are quite happy, but one thing they all agree on is lighter is better and they love the EVF. I even made the jump from DSLR to mirrorless in part to cut weight. So why do I now find myself using the absolute heaviest mirrorless 35mm format option out there? Because of the EVF.
More on that in a moment, lets first take a broader look at the Leica SL…
Leica has unveiled their rumored update to the TL, the TL2. The heavens opened, light shined down through the clouds from those very same heavens upon this wondrous marvel from Germany. Well… Not really. Actually, it’s quite underwhelming. Although the TL2 features upgraded specs such as USB 3.0, 20 frames per sec, 4k video, the new 24 MP APS-C sensor and the Maestro II processor, the TL2 is still lacking the single most desired and requested feature in the TL… A built-in EVF.
The Nikon LTM glass, classic by any standard. But how good have they held up? This is what I set out to discover as I collected good examples of these lenses and got to work. Testing for the 35mm and 28mm was conducted on the Leica M9-Monochrome and Leica SL with Leica adaptors. I was let down by the 50/f1.4, finding it to be very soft wide open and what’s the point in having fast glass if you can’t shoot it wide open?
Just some quick thoughts on the recently released SL 3.0 update. First, it went smoothly and seems to be running well. I’ve waited for this update before formally reviewing the SL and just glancing over the improvements, it seems that any issues I have had with the OS have been resolved. The biggest of which was the shutter speed limitations on manual lenses.
I shoot the Leica SL not just with the 24-90mm zoom, but with M glass. The limitations on shutter speed meant that I had to throttle down the ISO and in some cases use a ND filter to shoot with a fast aperture in bright light. One of the wonderful things about the SL is it’s extremely fast electronic shutter. That combined with the ISO speed of 50 means you should’ve been able to shoot very fast lenses like the 50/f1.4, 35/f1.4 or even the 50/f.95 in bright midday light wide open. However the SL limited your shutter speed with manual lens, making this feet impossible. Thankfully these shutter limits on manual limits are gone! Continue reading “Improved AF Tracking, Manual Lens ISO Limit Removed and More In Leica SL Update 3.0”