Leica SL2 Comparison Review
The Leica SL2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was revealed to the public in November 2019 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 46.7 megapixel.
Is the Leica SL2 a good camera? The SL2 has a Camera Elo of 3042. This very strong rating puts it among the elite group of camera grand masters. The SL2 ranks among the top 10 percent of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the SL2 also ranks among the top 10 percent.
|Mirrorless system camera|
|Leica L mount lenses|
|46.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 50 000|
|Electronic viewfinder (5760k dots)|
|3.2 LCD, 2100k dots|
|10 shutter flaps per second|
|370 shots per battery charge|
|146 x 107 x 42 mm, 953 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Leica SL2 vis-à-vis a credit card. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Leica SL2 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|Leica SL2||146 mm||107 mm||42 mm||953 g||370||Y||Nov 2019||5,999|
|Leica SL2-S||146 mm||107 mm||83 mm||931 g||510||Y||Dec 2020||4,895|
|Leica Q2||130 mm||80 mm||92 mm||718 g||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995|
|Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Nikon Z7||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||330||Y||Aug 2018||3,399|
|Olympus E-M1X||144 mm||147 mm||75 mm||997 g||870||Y||Jan 2019||2,999|
|Panasonic S1||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1017 g||400||Y||Feb 2019||2,499|
|Panasonic S1R||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1016 g||380||Y||Feb 2019||3,699|
|Panasonic S1H||151 mm||114 mm||110 mm||1052 g||400||Y||May 2019||3,999|
|Pentax K-1 II||137 mm||110 mm||86 mm||1010 g||670||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|Sony A99 II||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Leica SL2 was launched in the US market at a price of $5,999. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
The Leica SL2 features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Leica SL2 among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|Leica SL2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica SL2-S||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|Nikon Z7||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.3||14.6||2668||99|
|Olympus E-M1X||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic S1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.2||14.5||3333||95|
|Panasonic S1R||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||26.4||14.1||3525||100|
|Panasonic S1H||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||6K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Pentax K-1 II||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The SL2 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the SL2 can use is 4K/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SL2 has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 5760k dots. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.78x. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Leica SL2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Pentax K-1 II||optical||Y||3.2||1037||full-flex||n||1/8000s||4.4||n||Y|
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
One useful feature of the SL2 is a presence of a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Leica SL2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Pentax K-1 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the SL2 has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the SL2 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).
|Leica SL2||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Nov 2019||5,999|
|Leica SL2-S||..||..||..||..||..||Dec 2020||4,895|
|Leica Q2||..||84/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995|
|Leica SL||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Nikon Z7||+||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||3,399|
|Olympus E-M1X||o||..||4.5/5||5/5||..||Jan 2019||2,999|
|Panasonic S1||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Feb 2019||2,499|
|Panasonic S1R||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||3,699|
|Panasonic S1H||..||90/100||..||..||..||May 2019||3,999|
|Pentax K-1 II||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|Sony A99 II||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Leica SL2 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the SL2.
What technology is the imaging sensor in the SL2 based on?
The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Leica equipped the SL2 with the Maestro III image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the SL2?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000, which can be extended to ISO 50-50000.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Leica SL2?
Leica mentions a shutter rating of 400 000 actuations for the SL2. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the SL2 over, say, three years, one would have to take about 400 pictures each and every day.
Is completely silent shooting possible with the Leica SL2?
The camera has an electronic shutter option, so that it is indeed feasible to capture images without any shutter noise.
Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?
No, the Leica SL2 has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.
Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Leica SL2?
The SL2 offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.
Does the Leica SL2 feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The SL2's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.
Does the Leica SL2 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?
Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-II cards, which provide for data transfer speed of up to 312 MB/s, in both of its card slots.
Which battery does the SL2 use?
The camera gets its power from the BP-SCL4, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.
Is there a vertical grip available for the SL2?
Yes, Leica offers the HG-SCL6 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
|Camera Model||Leica SL2|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica L mount lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 5 999|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||46.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8 368 x 5 584 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.41 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50 000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 50 000 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro III|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||5760k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||2100k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||400 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||Electronic Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||Intervalometer Built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||Dual UHS-II|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||full HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||BP-SCL4 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging|
146 x 107 x 42 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||953 g (33.6 oz)|
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