Leica SL2-S Announced – 10-bit 4:2:2 4K & 25fps 14-Bit DNG Raw Photos, Under $5K

December 10th, 2020 icon / message-square 6
Leica SL2-S Announced – 10-bit 4:2:2 4K & 25fps 14-Bit DNG Raw Photos, Under $5K

Leica SL2-S full-frame mirrorless camera has just been announced. It features a 24.6MP sensor with IBIS, ISO up to 100,000, and it sports an L-Mount, of course. The camera can shoot up to 25fps 14-bit DNG raw continuous stills (no audio) internally without limit. Furthermore, it also does regular stills of course, and video up to DCI 4K 30fps in 4:2:2 10-bit or DCI 4K 60fps in 4:2:0 8-bit. The Leica SL2-S can now be pre-ordered for $4,895.

Roughly a year ago, Leica introduced the SL2 full-frame mirrorless camera. It made headlines with its impressive video specs, like 5K30p, 4K60p, and 10-bit internal video. Shortly after the announcement in November 2019, Johnnie spent a short time with the camera – make sure to check his Leica SL2 First Impressions. Today, the German camera company announced a new full-frame mirrorless camera – Leica SL2-S. Let’s take a look at its features and specs.

Leica SL2-S – 24.6MP with IBIS

At the heart of the new SL2-S, we find a full-frame 24.6MP (6072 x 4056) 3:2 BSI CMOS image sensor paired with Leica’s Maestro III image processor. This is, of course, less resolution than the 47.3MP in the Leica SL2, but for us filmmakers, it is an advantage to have fewer, but larger pixels as they promise better low light performance. The light sensitivity is available from ISO 50 to 100,000. The sensor features a 5-axis Sensor-shift IBIS.

Logically, the Leica SL2-S utilizes the Leica L lens mount. Thanks to the L-Mount alliance, there are more native lenses to choose from. Naturally, thanks to the short flange distance of L-Mount, virtually any lens can be adapted.

Autofocus

When it comes to autofocus, a huge topic for video-oriented mirrorless cameras in 2020, Leica SL2-S features a contrast-based Object Detection AF system. It can refresh at up to 480 fps and works in both still and video recording modes, as well as subject tracking applications through the use of a Body Detection mode. It features 225 selectable AF areas.

Leica SL2-S Camera Announced. Source: LEICA

Up to 25fps 14-Bit DNG Raw Photos

When it comes to stills functionality, the camera can shoot up to 25fps full-res 14-bit raw DNG photos with an electronic shutter (9fps with a mechanical shutter). A very interesting thing for me is, that the camera should be able to maintain these 25fps in raw DNG for unlimited frames (or nearly unlimited? – the marketing materials are not specifically clear on that) with the built-in 4GB buffer. That means in theory, that the camera is actually capable of shooting 6K 25fps 14-bit DNG raw video. That sounds incredible on paper. The real-world usability would need to be tested first, however. There won’t be any audio recording in this mode, of course.

Leica SL2-S Camera Announced. Source: LEICA

Video Recording

When it comes to internal video recording modes, there is no 5K30p mode which we have seen in the SL2. The SL2-S tops at DCI 4K and all internal recording modes are available in H.264 only. There is no time limit on video recording. The camera can internally record in the following resolutions and framerates:

  • DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 24.00p/25p/29.97p – 400 Mb/s MOV 4:2:2 10-bit
  • DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 50p/59.94p – 150 Mb/s MOV 4:2:0 8-bit
  • UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p – 400 Mb/s MOV 4:2:2 10-bit
  • UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 50p/59.94p – 150 Mb/s MOV 4:2:0 8-bit
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p – 200 Mb/s MOV 4:2:2 10-bit
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 100p/119.88p/180p – 200 Mb/s MOV 4:2:0 8-bit
  • UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p – 100 to 150 Mb/s MP4 4:2:0 8-bit
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p/180p – 20 to 150 Mb/s MP4 4:2:0 8-bit
Leica SL2-S Camera Announced. Source: LEICA

The camera utilizes a dual memory card slot for UHS-II SD cards. There is a dedicated Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) mode and L-Log gamma profile. Externally, the camera can output up to DCI 4K 59.94fps in 4:2:2 10-bit over its full-size HDMI port.

Leica SL2-S Camera Body

The camera body features a durable and weather-sealed magnesium-alloy design. The weight of the camera body with battery and memory card is 2 lb (931 g). There are a 5.76m-dot EyeRes OLED EVF and a 3.2″ 2.1m-dot touchscreen LCD at the back. Unfortunately, the LCD cannot be moved in any way. Additionally, there is a top status LCD. The SL2-S has two 3.5mm jacks for an external microphone and headphones.

Leica SL2-S Camera Announced. Source: LEICA

The built-in USB Type-C port can be used for fast file transferring, tethering, or high-speed in-camera battery charging. Leica SL2-S uses 1860mAh BP-SCL4 lithium-ion battery packs.

Price and Availability

The camera can be pre-ordered now. Pricing is an interesting chapter with the SL2-S. Sure, it is still Leica and their prices have always been in the premium segment. The camera body retails for $4,895 which is more than a $1,000 less than what the SL2 currently sells for. It is also not that far from the other full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market anymore. As an example, the Canon EOS R5 and LUMIX S1H both currently retail for slightly less than $4,000.

What do you think of the new Leica SL2-S? Do you have any experience shooting video with Leica cameras? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section underneath the article.

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