Digital Cameras

Leica SL2's familiar looks mask huge update inside

Leica SL2's familiar looks mas...
Leica says that it's improved ergonomics and weather-sealing, but managed to retain the same overall dimensions as the predecessor
Leica says that it's improved ergonomics and weather-sealing, but managed to retain the same overall dimensions as the predecessor
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Leica says that it's improved ergonomics and weather-sealing, but managed to retain the same overall dimensions as the predecessor
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Leica says that it's improved ergonomics and weather-sealing, but managed to retain the same overall dimensions as the predecessor
The Leica SL2 full-frame mirrorless camera posing with the SL lens system
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The Leica SL2 full-frame mirrorless camera posing with the SL lens system
The SL2 features a 5.76-million-dot EyeRes electronic viewfinder and 3.2-inch, 2.1-million-dot touch panel
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The SL2 features a 5.76-million-dot EyeRes electronic viewfinder and 3.2-inch, 2.1-million-dot touch panel
Up to, the SL2 has a 1.28-inch monochrome display for quick-checking settings
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Up to, the SL2 has a 1.28-inch monochrome display for quick-checking settings
The SL2 features a 47.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and Maestro III image processor
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The SL2 features a 47.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and Maestro III image processor
The camera has been weather-sealed to IP54 standards, making it resistant to dust and spray
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The camera has been weather-sealed to IP54 standards, making it resistant to dust and spray

Leica announced the SL full-frame mirrorless camera way back in 2015, and it looked like an eye-popper. Now the iconic red dot has been slapped on a second generation model, which looks pretty much the same on the outside but gets major upgrades on the inside.

The most notable jump up from the original SL is the sensor, which rises from 24 megapixels to a 47.3 MP full-frame CMOS sensor. It's paired with a Maestro III image processor for 14-bit color depth per RGB channel, light sensitivity up to ISO50,000 and up to 10 frames per second continuous shooting using the mechanical shutter, or up to 20 fps if you go electronic.

The camera has been weather-sealed to IP54 standards, making it resistant to dust and spray
The camera has been weather-sealed to IP54 standards, making it resistant to dust and spray

Leica is promising fast contrast autofocus with subject-tracking available, and there's 5-axis in-body stabilization to counter camera shake up to 5.5 stops – meaning that lenses not having their own IS can be used with this camera. And there's a multi-shot mode that snaps eight frames while slightly shifting the sensor for a merged image of around 187 MP.

Where video capabilities seemed something of an afterthought for the original release, Leica has gone all out this time.

"Activating Cine mode transforms the SL2 into a manually controlled cine camera as ISO becomes ASA, the shutter speed is marked in degrees on the rotary disk shutter, and the f-stops indicating the aperture ratio are replaced by T-stops, which measure the actual amount of light transmitted through the lens," said Leica in a press release.

The SL2 has 5K movie chops at 30 fps, offers Cinema 4K at up to 60 fps and 4K/UHD at up to 60 fps. Dropping the video resolution down to 1080p puts 180 fps at your disposal. The camera also sports a full-sized HDMI port for 10-bit output.

Around back there's a 5.76-million-dot EyeRes electronic viewfinder, up from 4.4 million on the first gen SL, and a roomy 3.2-inch, 2.1-million-dot touch panel. And the top of the camera gets a 1.28-inch monochrome display for quick-checking settings.

The SL2 features a 5.76-million-dot EyeRes electronic viewfinder and 3.2-inch, 2.1-million-dot touch panel
The SL2 features a 5.76-million-dot EyeRes electronic viewfinder and 3.2-inch, 2.1-million-dot touch panel

Though the body looks familiar, and has the same dimensions as the SL, Leica says that it's improved the ergonomics and the camera has been weather-sealed to IP54 standards too, making it resistant to dust and spray.

Rounding out the key specs are Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi for remote control and wireless data transfer, a battery life of 370 stills per charge, and two UHS-II card slots.

The SL2 is due for release on November 21 for a body-only price of US$5,995.

Product page: Leica SL2

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