Leica has introduced the SL2, the successor to the mirrorless SL1 professional system camera introduced four years ago, which features many improvements such as image stabilization, a new, revised autofocus and a higher resolution of 47 megapixels (8,368x5,584 pixels), almost doubling the 24 megapixels of the SL1.
In so-called multishot mode, the SL2 even combines eight shots into a single 187 megapixel RAW image using the new image stabilizer, which moves the sensor by a minimum of half a pixel between the individual images.
The SL2 has a wide dynamic range, a colour depth of 14 bits per RGB channel and a sensitivity of up to ISO 50,000. The SL2 records at 20 frames per second with the electronic shutter and at 10 frames per second with the mechanical shutter. A new option to turn off noise reduction allows better long time exposures.
The new image stabilization is achieved using 5-axis sensor shift technology, a moving suspended sensor that adjusts its position to compensate for camera shake. This camera-internal method even allows image stabilization for lenses that are not equipped with it.
AF The new Leica Object Detection AF provides fast AF and offers a range of modes and functions, including face detection and the ability to automatically switch between motion and focus priority depending on whether an object is moving or stationary. Many other improvements include the new fast Maestro III processor and the first IP54 protection class of the 835g heavy housing, which offers protection against dust and splash water.
L-Mount With the L bayonet, the Leica SL2 is not only compatible with the ever-growing portfolio of SL lenses, but also with the lenses of the TL system and, via adapters, with the lenses of the Leica M, S and R systems - a total of over 170 Leica lens options. The L-Mount Alliance further expands these capabilities by enabling SL2 photographers to use L-Mount lenses from Panasonic and Sigma.
The sensor readouts published by Leica have been named less video-centric as 35mm (full format readout) and APS-C (S35 readout). And the 4K and HD formats in the APS-C readout are larger than the specified video resolutions, but whatever .... Here are the original Leica specifications for the SL2 video resolution:
35 mm - 5K 8368 x 5584 (Full scan) 4992 x 3744 35 mm - C4K 8192 x 4320 (Pixel mix) 4096 x 2160 35 mm - 4K 7680 x 4320 (pixel mix) 3840 x 2160 35 mm - Full HD 8368 x 4712 (Pixel mix) 2790 x 1572 APS-C - C4K 5504 x 3096 (Full scan) 5504 x 2912 APS-C - 4K 5504 x 3096 (Full scan) 5504 x 3096 APS-C - Full HD 5504 x 3096 (Pixel mix) 2752 x 1548
The SL2 also brings some improvements in the video sector, for example it can now record 5K at 29.97/25 or 23.98p and DCI or UltraHD 4K at up to 60 frames per second (with 1.5x Crop or almost FullScan), in FullHD mode at up to 180 fps. 60p as well as 50p video is recorded as 8-bit 4:2:0, 30p and below as 10-bit 4:2:2 stream - the latter can be recorded using Leica&s proprietary L-Log gamma curve or standard HLG.
Activating cine mode gives the SL2 manual controls: ISO becomes ASA, exposure time is given in degrees of orbit, and aperture steps indicating aperture ratio are replaced by T-stops indicating the actual amount of light passing through the lens onto the sensor. Connecting audio devices to the Leica SL2 no longer requires adapters, as the camera now has built-in headphone and microphone jacks, complemented by a full HDMI port for external monitors. Recording is done using the two SD card slots, both suitable for UHS II speeds.
Display and operation Operation is via the 3.2" touchscreen display with 2.1 megapixels (960x720 pixels), which shows the most important recording parameters that can be changed by touch, as well as a click wheel, a joystick and three individually configurable buttons. Two special status menus for photo and video allow the parameters for both recording modes to be set completely independently of each other. There is also a large electronic viewfinder with 5.76 megapixels (1,600x1,200 pixels) and a small status indicator on top of the camera that displays important recording information.
Operation via App The Leica SL2 can also be controlled by Leica&s FOTOS App (Android/iOS) directly like Wi-Fi. The Live View function can be accessed via smartphone or tablet and settings such as aperture, ISO, shutter speed and exposure correction can be changed remotely or the image can be taken.
The Leica SL2 will be available from 21 November at a list price of around EUR 6,000.