with CLIPREVIEWED learn the articleLeica Introduces SL2-S Mirrorless With 24MP Sensor
Just about a year after the debut of the SL2, Leica is back with a second edition of its full-frame mirrorless camera. Dubbed the SL2-S, the new model is, aesthetically, an exact match for the SL2. The differentiating factor is the image sensor—the SL2 is built for high resolution imaging, with a 47MP sensor, while the SL2-S drops the pixel count down to 24MP.
It’s a welcome decision. Like other models from Leica, the SL2 is as a functional tool as it is an example of the high concept design. It’s a luxury item, but one that’s doesn’t eschew function for form, a camera that’s beautiful, but will get the job done.
Project Vader Strikes Back
We took a close look at the concepts and decisions that contributed to the SL2’s design last year, and every bit of attention and care that went into Project Vader, Leica’s codename for the project, carries forth to the SL2-S.
The chassis is a mix of magnesium and aluminum, with IP54 weather protection, and the sensor is mounted on a 5-axis stabilization system. The camera is compatible with L-mount lenses, and can accept Leica M lenses for rangefinders via an adapter, and the sensor uses thin cover glass for better performance with rangefinder optics, just as with the SL2.
But a thinner-than-normal layer of cover glass is where the two sensors part ways. The SL2-S has a 24MP sensor, a good fit for photographers who don’t need to make huge prints or crop aggressively. Its ISO range goes higher, it’s twice as sensitive to light at its top ISO 100000 setting.
If you do need to make images with more pixels, a multi-shot 96MP capture mode is included, but does require you to bring a tripod and find a perfectly still subject. The multi-shot mode, along with improved support for tethered capture using Capture One Pro 21, make the SL2-S a good fit for use in studio. The SL2 is also getting support with the new edition of Capture One, and the cameras work with Adobe’s Raw processing powerhouse, Lightroom, as well.
As for lenses, the SL2-S works with L-mount glass, available from Leica, Panasonic, and Sigma. It’s an autofocus system—the SL2-S can track subjects at 6fps, and fire at up to 25fps with focus locked and exposure in at the first shot—setting it apart from Leica’s rangefinder cameras, which are manual focus only.
Leica’s Best for Video
The SL2 has been Leica’s most capable video camera since its release. The SL2-S promises to be a bit better. It records 4K (UHD and DCI) at up to 30fps internally with 10-bit 4:2:2 sampling. If you use an external recorder you’ll be able to record at 60fps; Leica plans to add internal 4K60 with a firmware update, due in the first half of 2021, along with additional compression options, including Long-GOP.
There are a number of color profiles built into the camera, used for JPG stills and for video. And, while the SL2-S doesn’t offer Raw video support, it does include a low contrast L-Log profile, suitable for color grading. Leica has developed two LUTs for the sensor, a good starting point for color grading, and you can opt to preview your flat footage with either when recording.
Price and Availability
The SL2-S is priced at $4,895 as a body only, and is available to purchase starting today. The SL2 remains in production, on sale or $5,995.
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