Leica SL2 – 47MP Full-Frame Sensor with 5K/30P and 4K/60P 10-Bit Video Internally

November 7th, 2019 Jump to Comment Section 2
Leica SL2 - 47MP Full-Frame Sensor with 5K/30P and 4K/60P 10-Bit Video Internally

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.

Leica SL2 full-frame mirrorless camera. Source: Leica

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.

Leica SL2 full-frame mirrorless camera. Source: Leica

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).

Leica SL2 full-frame mirrorless camera. Source: Leica

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.

Leica SL2 main display. Source: Leica

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 top display. Source: Leica

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.

Leica HG-SCL6 battery grip. Source: Leica

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.


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