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Wednesday, 21 October 2015


Actually, the Canon 6D is not a large DSLR, but rather the smallest and lightest full-frame one.

Maybe Leica actually wants to be Kiev?

Mike, you didn't put a "satire alert" on this post - that thing is GINORMOUS!!! How can it possibly be competition for a nicely sized mirrorless when it's so frickin' HUGE! It looks like a soviet-era 6x7.

I'm holding out for the exclusive edition with the wooden grip. The one carved from a piece of the True Cross.

Camera sculptura.

Re you previous post on DoF Zombies the Leica Q is described thus: "the camera utilizes a Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH. lens to allow users to dramatically separate the subject from the background".
Keep the Zombie down for another half decade? More like half an hour...


Cute, Mike. Actually this SL looks absolutely enormous! Big and boxy! Add one of those $4,000 zoom lenses and WOW! For a 35mm frame camera? It looks like a Phase One! It looks like if you dropped it you might crush your foot...as well as your bank account.

No, no thanks. I'll stick with my "more plebeian" (but apparently much better-performing) Sony A7 cameras for most serious 35mm work these days. (But I still love my Leica M cameras for olde world exercise.)

While my first serious camera was an M4 and is still probably my favorite design, I haven't bought an M or equivalent Leica digital camera yet. The SL is certainly not for me, but it seems pointless to review these cameras as they are not intended to compete in the mass market. Think of them as red dot art that will be bought by a very few well heeled Leica collectors. I'm sure their plan is to build a limited quantity and I expect they'll sell out the series. From that perspective, this will be a successful endeavor for Leica. It'll keep the brand in the news, and they'll probably transfer some of the technology into another more mainstream model. Give them credit for being different and not just pushing out the same ole cameras we see from other companies.

The size is a shame in my estimation. The super high rez finder and adapter with 6-bit coding might have allowed M lenses to seem OK while waiting for more SL lenses to come along. But the size looks like it would make using them rather clumsy.

It seems to hark back to the R8 and R9.

The body designer went full Bauhaus on this one.

IMHO, it would have been a better idea for Leica to have taken the Zeiss approach and simply made a line of manual focus lenses for Sony's A7 series. As it is, the market for a mirrorless DSLR-style camera that's also large, heavy, and expensive is small, even by Leica standards.

Well, the SL is smaller than a Canon 5D Mark 3, which is similar to the last full frame DSLR I owned. FWIW...

While the SL is a bigger copy of a Sony Alpha. That Leica T is most definitely a rip-off of the Samsung NX camera series. Samsung's NX system even predates Sony's Nex system too.

[snark alert] For > $7K USD (sans lens) it damn well better have a low ISO of 50! [/snark alert]

It's the closest thing to a pocket camera for those who use Medium Format. Of course, the wardrobe will need some tailoring with the addition xxx large pockets...

You're confusing it as being a competitor to the Sony A7 series. Rather this is competing with the professional Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Watch as the next iterations of CaNikon pro cameras are similarly mirrorless yet full sized.

The fact that Leica made a serous mirrorless camera like the Leica SL, means that it will be hard to ignore mirrorless cameras as a system for amateurs.

And i have a feeling that the EVF/OVF discussion will soon be over. We might not be there yet but with the Leica SL´s EVF, we now know were we are headed for. I can´t wait to see sony´s answer to the Leica SL´s EVF.

Will there be a way to mount R mount glass to this?

Leica introduces a solution to a problem they didn't have.

I can only shake my head and wonder if the Leicaflex/R was so beloved that this somehow made sense in a strategic meeting...

Big, heavy, and expensive. Leica is firing on all cylinders.

I borrowed a friend's M9 with the 50mm F/1.4. Weighed a ton compared to the Fuji. The thought of dropping it worried me twice: 1. It would cost a bunch to replace/repair it. And 2. The medical bill if I dropped it on my foot would also be a bunch.

The image that immediately came to my mind when I first saw this camera was this scene from the 1958 cult sci-fi film "Colossus of New York".

Colossus of Leica

It's neither enormous nor ginormous. The photo on DPReview is *deceptive* — it's too bad they posted it. If the camera is the size of a Canon 6D, that's not very big.

Should every mirrorless camera be small? Some mirrorless cameras are paired with larger lenses, for which a larger body provides better support.

The SL seems to be perfect for Leica's R lenses, which are not that small. At the same time, it can be used with very small M lenses, which no DSLR can can use.

Like Sony, Leica has built a full-frame mirrorless that can use a broad range of lenses. But I disagree with the idea the "Leica wants to be Sony". Look closely and see that the design ethos is quite different. Not necessarily better, but certainly different.

To be fair, the Leica with attached grip is a hair smaller in most dimensions than a Nikon D810, so the size will not come as a huge surprise to users of large DSLRs. I think DP Review did something a little unfair in its photos -- the woman holding the camera seems to be small and slender, so you might get an incorrect impression of its size. The one dimension in which the Nikon is notably smaller is price -- with the top-end Nikon 24-70 lens, you'll pay about $5200 for the combo; the Leica with the 24-90 will set you back more than $12,000.

So Leica as finally come up with a "Texas Leica" of its own? Wow...

The SL is by far the ugliest camera I have seen in recent years. I had hoped for something along the lines of the Q.

Cameras as "art." A _camera_ is not a work of art. It is a tool for making works of art.

This thing is not "as big" as a DSLR, it's bigger than some of the biggest 35mm frame DSLRs. Bigger than a D810.

And that kit lens is the size of a football.

Feels like a strange direction to me.

High resolution images of the new camera actually show that it is orbited by two small moons. And has its own theme song.

/satire off

I could try actually complaining, but I think if I one the lottery tomorrow, it would be part of my conspicuous consumption. Actually, I took some side by side pictures today with the Sony Alpha-6000, the M9, and the Fuji X-Pro1 . . . the Leica images were my favorites. Go figure.

. .. or "two" the Lottery. Make that "won the lottery."

I took a look at the camera with the new 90-280, and laughed myself hoarse.

I too admired it's design.
But seeing it in somebody's hands, I must say it loses, for me, the status of Art, being so ridiculously large. You can't be *that* large and be elegant at the same time.

That's a "normal zoom"??? Holy mother. It's bigger than most of my telezooms.
And the telezoom is the most exaggeratedly phallic object I've seen. Where is Seabiscuit when we need him?

This thing is likely to have about the same level of popularity as the Leica M5 enjoyed among the Leica faithful on its introduction in 1971. And for many of the same reasons!

Since your post did not have satire stickers all over it, I'll give fair warning to all you youngsters out there that the previous paragraph was snarky and smart-alecky.

The shame here, and with all recent Leicas, is the prices are almost guaranteed to make them collectors items that may not even make it out of the box. Decades ago I bought my first M at a small store on L.I. that had a huge selection of Leica equipment, they were a dealer, and sold a lot of stuff. I met people who were trying to own every little piece of M-ware they could. Sadly, they didn't use them because they would lose value (and cachet).

I am sure that the SL, if used, will take lovely pictures and the lenses will be superb. How sad that so few will be used by someone who loves photography and cameras.

In relation to the American Market, and not Americans individually, this is the camera that will give mirrorless cameras credibility.

We are talking about the market that buys more F150s as 'cars' than Corollas.

The American market views mirrorless camera with a slight tinge of toy status. The only way to fix this is to produce a mirrorless camera that is bigger and more expensive than a DSLR, and oozing prestige.

Mission accomplished.

Where tools are concerned (and cameras ARE tools!), I go by the philosophy that 'Beauty is as Beauty does'. I don't see any technical reason to prefer Leica, at twice the price, to Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc. when the difference will pay for Zeiss, or other high quality glass. The Leica is no ugly duckling, but I just don't get the value in a fancy name.

It looks huge in pictures, but it's roughly the same size as a Pentax K1000. That hardly seems excessive.

$12,900 for body and "kit" zoom. Ah, if only I were not unemployed right now... and had a salary of about $250,000 a year if I was actually working.

No-one except a few online guru's have shot with the Leica SL. Yet people have commented " ... (but apparently much better-performing) Sony A7 cameras ..." How would anyone know this?? I've seen nothing online that shows either quality, or the lack there of.

One comment I don't think we'll hear is: "it's too small for my large hands." Leica has built a 5D3 without a mirrorbox. When Canon goes mirrorless they will do the same thing.

The super-size-me crowd is already complaining that the SL has too-few megapixels.

Wake me up when Leica builds a Pro M4/3 camera.

Strange that Leica decided to go so large with their 35mm format cameras and lenses. It seems antithetical to their whole gestalt. I like the minimal external controls, assuming the guts are well designed.

Not sure who this is geared towards but it's not in my future. A Leica rangefinder may justify a premium because it's the only one on the market. I'd have a hard time making the same argument for this new system.

I really don't get why so many people think mirrorless cameras have to be small.
As for M5 comparisons, I recall that the Leica M5 was fairly popular with photographers who used cameras just not with photographers who bought Leicas. IE if you were a staff news photographer using the company camera to shoot in quickly changing conditions it was a worthy alternative to a Press 23 , or Nikon FTn As a walking around with a camera just in case something catches your eye, or as a symbol of conspicuous consumption proposition it was a failure.

I love the new Leica SL. I think the size is just perfect, the controls in just the right spot and I'm excited about the new lenses. (Ok Leica I did my bit, now send me my free camera and lens.)

I still admire the simple beauty and elegance of the first 30 years of Leica cameras from the III to the IIIg. They were all compact, precision made, capable image makers, and with occasional cleaning and lubrication can still make remarkable images 85 years later.

The M-series got bigger and heavier, became more functional, but still had class.

I just don't see that from Leica's digital product line, someone (not me) said that "Fuji is the new Leica", and I have to agree.

Someone described the design as Bauhaus, but Bauhaus or beautiful industrial architecture, I like the design better than the other companies' plastic lumps. Still too big and too expensive for my use, however.

Yes, and it has the same 24mpix that Sony 900 had, what, seven years ago? Time flies. But SL is not allowed to compete with S, and I suppose not with M either, so Leica thinks it is now in same boat with Canikon and does not want to disturb its established camera lines with a mirrorless one.

For what it's worth, the new Leica has already been added to the camerasize website:


You can wear a Hermes scarf to keep your neck warm, use a Vuitton bag to haul around your stuff, and take your photos with a Leica. But people buy these brands for reasons other than utility.

Like the other brands, if Leica charged less or made their cameras look and work more like everyone else's, they would lose their best customers.

You didn't know it was coming?

You should have read my comment that you posted in your October 16th post on the A7ii...

"Rumors of a new Leica 'SL' announcement on Tuesday.....stay tuned....gear lust comes in many forms."

Posted by: Jeff | Saturday, 17 October 2015 at 08:20 AM

I wanted it. Then I hated it. Now I want it again, I think....

Certainly the lens is big but not the body, which looks like it's been made to match the lenses. It's no bigger than an M with a grip and EVF which is kind of what it is.

There's been a couple of better "reviews" done that show the size without the obvious bias inflicted by DPReview. So far no one is complaining about the file quality and they're positive about the EVF and the speed. Unless you're one of the chosen few, you really are just making it all up.

Personally I'm grateful for a larger body. Most mirrorless are absolutely unwieldy for those of us that use a hotshoe flash in anger. I have to put a grip on mine anyway, just to make them handle better in the real world. There's already a dozen little mirrorless cameras available. Nice to see one for the rest of us for a change.

I'm going to the launch party in Sydney next month. I'll leave my judgement until I've actually played with one. It'll have to be good because I have a Sony a99 which is almost identical in specifications (GPS, megapickles, dual slots, thumb thingy, great EVF). Remarkably the a99 and 24-70 Zeiss is "remarkably" similar in size to the new SL kit. Even as a Leica tragic, it'll need to be good.

We'll see.....


Simple controls? In the opinion of the user, of course. Michael Reichmann over at LuLa doesn't like the interface, just as he didn't like the similar controls on the S...


I'm with Michael. The Leica S and SL controls look great, but are not intuitive IMO. Different strokes.

Dang, that "thing' looks about the size of a Pentax 6x7 on steroids.
And probably just about as useless!

In this digital era one may ask why?
Because they can!

@ c.d.embrey: "How would anyone know this?? "

First comparative samples. Enjoy.

Man! Just type Leica into the title of a post, and you blow up the comments. Love 'em or not, Leica gets attention, right? I'd like to see their viewfinder image, but I'm not paying the price of admission for the opportunity. "Heresy alert" - pretty much all modern enthusiast cameras' capabilities exceed the capabilities of their owners. Spend your precious time on using what you have and learning the elements of composition. You'll take better photos than you will by continuously buying new toys. New toys are nice, and new toys are fun. New toys are not talent. Talent takes work. And the work is fun.

Like it! Can't afford it, but I do like it.

My criteria for any camera (assuming it can hold film flat, or the sensor+RAW is decent) is how great is the viewfinder/EVF. Only then can I have confidence about what I'm seeing with my chosen lens.

That the camera is aesthetically pleasing to me adds emotional value to the process.

It may simply be proof that Leica too can make a dud of a camera, reports of the extraordinary viewfinder notwithstanding.

This looks huge, the way the Rolleiflex 6000 series SLRs were huge. It's massive for a full frame 24 megapixel camera.

The output and handling had better be extraordinary, or this will be a money loser.

And only two lenses contemplated in the 2 years after release?

Truly, they wish to emulate Sony.

Mike, when my 6x7 kit was stolen years ago along with my remaining Pentax gear, I looked to you for advice. You made some very favorable comments about the rather large and then newly-introduced Nikon 24-70 lens, and I bought it along with the also then-new D300. That combination is larger than the Leica kit that you say includes a camera that is "as big as a large DSLR" with a lens that's "a bazooka." I blame you. (Don't write a favorable review of the new lens. I don't want it--it's too heavy.)

@ Kenneth Tanaka "Enjoy."

DPReview is owned by Amazon, and Amazon isn't a Leica dealer, but they are Sony and Nikon dealers. So the question is would Jeff Bezos' policy be to fake tests to increase Amazon's profits?? Got me—but profit can be a great motivator.

We all have different ideas about who's opinion/testing is best. Three sites I pay no attention to are LuLa, DxO and DPReviev. YMMV.

Of course it looks enormous when you compare it to the Sony A7 series. But it is actually not that big when compared to cameras that it should be compared to, FF DSLRs.

When Canon and Nikon come out with their FF MILC "DSLR replacements", they will be big too. Why? Because FF lenses dictate so.

And this is good, too small can be too bad and cumbersome.

Designer to manufacturer: “ Not Imperial… Metric!”

Don't have the dough so it's academic but I'm not feeling the love. At least not yet.

Why is everyone comparing this to Sony mirrorless? It's huge as many others have said. The Sony gestalt is smallness. That's why I bought an A7r2 and traded in my 5D3 kit. This is the big Canon and big Nikon killer. It's where Canon and Nikon should have been years ago with their big DSLRs. And it's a legitimate contender in that space. But it's no Sony killer.

Plus, like all Leicas, it's too darn expensive.

It ain't all that big, but didn't Leica have the smallest full frame digital camera crown first? Now they can, and are, doing something else.

Leica seems to be emerging as the Mercedes-AMG division of Sony.

I had a Sony with several "soft", programmable buttons and it was annoying. Leica is now going completely with such soft buttons and I can say for sure I would hate it compared to dedicated buttons. Seriously, this camera is not a tool, it's a showpiece despite having many nice innovations such as an apparently market leading EVF. And it's a shame.

In a way it makes sense to have such a big and solid body. My Eos M3 feels much to light and flimsy attached to my Ef 70-300L zoom. Not that its not usable but I can see where Leica is coming from and these big new Leica zooms need a big beefy body. I can see Leica selling a ton of them to existing M owners..

Ok the price is steep, it's a Leica. Mr Kaufmann has a good sense of what will sell and who will be buyers, he has successfully brought the firm back from the brink of bankruptcy as well as shaking off the straight jacket of reliving Leica's past glories. This camera is not for me but I can see that the concept is well thought through. It's size should be considered in comparison to the even larger Leica S camera, the very camera I believe a certain new NYState resident recently singled out as being his cost no object camera of choice. It's an S "Light" for people for whom 24mpx are enough, who want or need a robust camera that can take world class lenses including M mount (Leica or Zeiss), R mount and S lenses or its own L mount lenses for people who may value or own a collection of those lenses as well as presumably Canon, Nikon etc. I think there will be a professional and advanced consumer market for this camera, I think it will fill a niche for Leica. And that EVF. Want!

Just looking at it made me break at least one commandment.

If this camera looked more like the S2 (the WIFI bump next to the viewfinder of the S bugs me), and had IBIS, PDAF, articulated screen, and central shutter lenses, the Internet would break.

Driver, get the Rolls out of the carriage house now! Get me to the camera shop to pick up one of these new, larger, better Leicas. And lets get a few lenses for it as well. Bring the shopping cart.The boys at the club will all be so jealous.

Picture yourself owning the new Leica

Someone described the design as Bauhaus...

Not so much Bauhaus, as brick outhouse...

From your readers response to the SL it is obvious that many
are very disappointed in the new Leica that they were planning to purchase.
All those hours at work...meeting expenses...putting food on the table for the wife (husband) and kids but still managing to put away just a little bit of money each paycheck so they could plan on purchasing the camera of their dreams....their Leica...the Leica SL.
The most important consideration in their rich and exciting lives...and now...such disappointment.

I believe Linhof is the oldest German camera maker....

just took a look at the Leica SL at b&w. IMHO , it is one of the most butt ugly cameras I have ever seen. The evf, and image quality could be great,...but, it has no character.

it is obvious that many are very disappointed in the new Leica...

Au contraire.
We're delighted, for once, not to want a camera that we can't afford.

I was, like almost everyone else, initially shocked by just how huge the new camera appears to be, especially with the 24-90 lens. Then I went to the camearsize.com and did this comparison with Canon 6D (that I have), plus Canon 24-70/2.8 II (that I do not have): http://j.mp/203VVd2. More or less the same.

There was a crying need for a camera with a body carved from a solid block of aluminum. And if you have to ask how much this achievement costs, you can't afford it and therefore you do not count.

"Not so much Bauhaus, as brick outhouse..."

Yes. Though I once thought the Leica R8 was ugly, until I handled it ... Then I realised what a superb SLR this was with excellent direct controls. It is a pity that design concept seems to have been abandoned.

As regards size. I was also very disappointed, wanting an interchangeable Q, but I have looked at the Camera Comparrison site, and the Leica SL is substantially smaller than the Nikon 810 or the Canon 5DII or III. It is about the same size as the Canon 6D, though heavier and edgier. Even the enormous 24/90 is substantially smaller than Nikon's 24/70, though it weighs more than any standard zoom I know - 1.2 kg!

They also want to be Pentax - I believe the Leica Q is now available?

I've just bought a 1999 Mercedes SL for slightly more than this camera costs. The car is more beautiful by far!

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