Leica has announced its new L-Mount full-frame mirrorless camera. The Leica SL2 features a 47MP full-frame CMOS sensor with 5-axis image stabilization. It is capable of recording 5K video at up to 30fps, 4K video at up to 60fps, and FullHD video at up to 180fps, all in 10-bit H.264. The camera features a high-resolution EVF, full-size HDMI port, two 3.5mm jack ports for headphones and microphone, and an all-metal magnesium body. It will be available from November 21st, 2019 for $5,995.
It has already been four years since the German premium brand introduced its Leica SL full-frame mirrorless camera. Our Leica SL review and Lab test articles from 2015 are a good reminder of its video capabilities. The newly announced Leica SL2 promises to bring even more video-oriented features. Let’s take a look!
Leica SL2 – 47MP Full-Frame Stabilized Sensor
The new Leica SL2 features a 47.3MP 3:2 full-frame CMOS sensor and Maestro III image processor, which enables up to 20 fps continuous stills shooting with an electronic shutter, 10 fps with a mechanical shutter, and 6 fps with a mechanical shutter and AF-C, for up to 78 consecutive DNG files with a color depth of 14 bits per RGB channel. The sensor features a 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization system, which minimizes the appearance of camera shakes when shooting handheld.
Using sensor-shift stabilization technology, the SL2 features a Multishot mode to capture and compile eight separate exposures to create a single 187MP (16736 x 11168) RAW or JPEG file. This is suitable for static subjects and when working on a tripod.
Leica claims that the new SL2 offers a 14-stop Dynamic Range. The sensor’s design omits a low-pass filter for high degrees of sharpness and resolution. The ISO range is 50-50,000. Like its predecessor, the SL2 also uses Leica’s L-mount. Compared to 2015, however, thanks to the L-mount alliance, there are now much more affordable native lens choices from SIGMA and Panasonic.
The new Leica Object Detection AF, which uses 225 selectable AF areas for fast and accurate performance, ensures a fast and reliable autofocus. In addition to an array of modes and features, including face recognition, the SL2’s AF system also automatically detects whether a subject is stationary or in motion, and subsequently switches between motion and focus priority.
Leica SL2 Video Capabilities
We can really see that filmmakers are a very important segment for Leica. The SL2 seems to be a capable video camera with its 5K (4992 x 3744) 10-bit color depth video recording. The high-speed recording modes sound impressive as well – with UHD 4K60 (with 30 fps playback, 2x slow motion), and Full HD 180 fps (with 30 fps playback, 6x slow motion).
The list of internal recording modes looks impressive, too. All of the following modes are in H.264 with 10-bit color depth, with MOV quicktime codec (UHD and Full HD are also available in MP4):
- 5K (4992 x 3744) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p
- DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 24.00p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p
- UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p
- Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p/180p
The camera, unfortunately, has a recording limit – up to 29 minutes. We don’t know yet whether the SL2 uses 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 subsampling and what the exact bitrates for the recording modes are. We will update the article once we get this information.
There is a “Cine mode”, which (when activated) 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.
The camera offers a dedicated Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) Photo Style mode and L-Log gamma profile for higher Dynamic Range and greater flexibility for color grading. The Leica SL2 also outputs video signal (in DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) 10-bit up to 59.94p) over its full-size HDMI port, so using an external monitor or recording to an optional external recorder is possible. Finally, there are also dedicated 3.5mm jack ports for a microphone and headphones.
Leica SL2 Ergonomy
Another great feature is a high resolution electronic viewfinder – the Leica SL2 includes a new 5.76m-dot EyeRes OLED EVF with 0.78x configurable viewing magnification, along with 120 fps refresh rate, 0.005 sec lag, and 10,000:1 contrast ratio. On the back, there is a large 3.2″ 2.1m-dot touchscreen LCD with durable Gorilla glass. Last but not least, on the top there is a 1.28″ top status LCD, which can be used for quick recognition of shooting settings – even when the camera is powered off.
Leica SL2’s durable, weather-sealed magnesium-alloy all-metal body is splash-, dust-, and freeze-proof with an IP54 certification. The SL2 is actually the only mirrorless camera designed and manufactured in Germany. The BP-SCL4 rechargeable lithium-ion battery is rated for approximately 370 shots per charge when working with the rear monitor.
The camera offers dual UHS-II-compatible SD card slots. The USB Type-C port allows for fast file transferring, as well as high-speed in-camera battery charging. Additionally, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work in conjunction with the Leica FOTOS app (iOS and Android) for wireless file transferring and remote camera control.
Leica HG-SCL6 Battery Grip
Along with the launch of the Leica SL2 camera, the German camera manufacturer also announced a new battery grip for this camera. As one would expect, the HG-SCL6 grip offers both, extended battery life and a more comfortable grip when shooting in vertical orientation. It accepts one additional BP-SCL4 battery to effectively double the overall battery life. The grip’s design maintains the same layout, fit, and finish as the camera body itself for seamless use, and incorporates a secondary shutter button and control dials.
Price and Availability
The Leica SL2 will available from November 21st 2019 on. It can already be pre-ordered now. The price for the camera has been set to be $5,995.
I suppose the battery grip will be available at the same time. It is priced at $995 and can be pre-ordered now, as well.
What do you think of the new Leica SL2? Have you worked with the original Leica SL? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.