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Fun with the Leica SL (digital)

jonoslack

New member
Thanks for the gallery, Jono. Even at webscale that's a lot to absorb. I was struck by the fine performance that the 35-70 f/4 turned in. It held up well alongside the 28 and 38 Lux/FLE images. Looking at the specs on that lens that Puts reprints, it seems that it is very good at all focal lengths at f/4 and awesomely sharp at f/5.6. So did you shoot it stopped down a bit, and if so, how hard is it to focus? (Incidentally, how does the "macro" setting work on that one?) Same question with regard to the M-primes that you were using. E-Bay listed 4-5 shiny, little-used ROM 35-70/4s when I looked a few hours ago. I'll be curious to see how many are left in a few weeks.

It would be nice to see more pictures taken with the Macro-Elmarit-R 60. I have a real beater (1.5-cam, doesn't focus out to infinity), but it takes lovely garden pictures on an M[240].

Availability of lenses like the ROM 35-70 and the highly regarded 90, 180, 280 R telephotos makes it really desirable that the R-L adapter, when it finally comes out, includes the cam and actuator to stop down the lens as you shoot. I'm not sure how metering works in this case, but they must have figured that out in the R6-9 series. The only question is why Leica would see a benefit to them (besides making customers happy) since they won't sell more R lenses. Perhaps we should help them understand that there is a springboard effect: the SL[601] will become the center of a cult, attracting great respect and a mystical reputation. Das Wesentliche, right?

scott
So much to talk about!
Well the 35-70 f4 is great - the 'macro' mode is a push button beyond 70mm, and works really well. . . . the centre is excellently sharp, the corners a little less so, but it's a fine performer.

The R-L adapter isn't due (apparently) until this time next year, and it's functionality is very much under wraps. However, you can stack a T to M and an M to R adapter very well (it brings up a list of R lenses in the lens profiles). M lenses are automatically recognised on the T to M adapter.

Manual focusing on the SL EVF is really easy - without any of the focus aids, and personally I prefer to focus it stopped down (although I certainly agree that it wold be great if they produced an AASD adapter - auto aperture stop down) . . . but personally I feel it's more important psychologically than in actual fact. If you have a dSLR, then clearly you have to focus at open aperture or it's too dark . . which isn't the case with an EVF, and especially with this EVF!
 

docmoore

Subscriber and Workshop Member
...what I like about it is that I can take the dogs out in the pouring rain (or whatever other conditions) just with a camera over my shoulder, no bag, nothing but the camera - and the 24-90 zoom does pretty much what I want - very fast and efficiently, but more to the point - without really getting in the way - I like the way it works, the menus are minimal and the options are what I use - no more and no less . . . . If I want to use it in the evening I can stick an M lens on it and expect it to perform properly, without complaint and respecting the 1Xfocal length (speed setting) in the auto ISO.

... I think there are things that are uncompromised . . . for instance the EVF, (which I care about) and the shooting speed (which I don't), then there's the responsiveness (which I also care about).

So, for me it covers a number of bases - I don't envisage buying the 90-250 or the 50 lux for it (never say never :) ). But I can put it over my shoulder with a WATE in one pocket and a 50 'lux in the other and that's all I need for a day's shooting.

. . . and it's really fun shooting with it too!
A good nights sleep and a long day at work can give one a bit of perspective ...

My complaint with mirrorless cameras has been not the concept but the marginal execution ... laggy EVF poor AF limited battery life and a build quality that
is more akin to origami than industrial competence.

If as you have found this camera answers those issues ... I will be in in a heartbeat.

The bond one makes with a camera is profoundly more important than its specs.

I look forward to testing one ... when the initial rush has settled down.

I am pleased that you have the time and concern to share your experience and insight here ... a paragraph from you tells most of us more than all
the web reviews and fluff that tends to be the norm elsewhere.

Warm regards,

Bob
 

ptomsu

Workshop Member
Manual focusing on the SL EVF is really easy - without any of the focus aids, and personally I prefer to focus it stopped down (although I certainly agree that it wold be great if they produced an AASD adapter - auto aperture stop down) . . . but personally I feel it's more important psychologically than in actual fact. If you have a dSLR, then clearly you have to focus at open aperture or it's too dark . . which isn't the case with an EVF, and especially with this EVF!
Jono, great that you mention this!

I was kind of confused when I read Reid's review asking for that AASD and also some other reviewers mentioned the need to focus with open aperture and then stop down, which is nonsense once one knows how one can work with EVFs. No more need to stop down, focus at any aperture, see exactly the DOF you get plus the exact exposure - WYSIWYG!

No doubt the Leica EVF excels here!
 

scott kirkpatrick

Well-known member
With some of the lenses that seem a natural match for the SL, focusing wide open at 4 and focusing stopped down to 5.6 or 8 are probably about the same in accuracy, and the constant illumination of an EVF keeps the scene clear. But with a Summilux, wouldn't you want the extra precision of focusing wide open before stopping down for depth of field? Of course, if the situation is a wedding party in the garden around midnight, framing is more important than focus, and anything goes.

scott
 

docmoore

Subscriber and Workshop Member
But with a Summilux, wouldn't you want the extra precision of focusing wide open before stopping down for depth of field? Of course, if the situation is a wedding party in the garden around midnight, framing is more important than focus, and anything goes.

scott
Scott,

Wide open for framing works but the number of lenses that do not exhibit focus shift can be counted on one hand ....

So as you stop down your plane of focus shifts ... better to know where the focal point exists at the aperture you
are using and frame accordingly.

If you have the option focus bracketing will get you acceptable to great exposures....

Bob
 

Paratom

Active member
But then the more you have stopped down the larger the depth of field and the less accurate framing would be.
I also would assume with stopping down eventually noise in the viewfinder would increase and DR decrease.
However thats more what I know from other cameras and I dont know if it is also the case for the SL finder.

Since I personally like a lot shooting in the f2.0-4.0 these effects would not hurt me much. Still I would use a camera like the SL much rather with AF lenses, even though for stills and landscape manual focus might work very well.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
With some of the lenses that seem a natural match for the SL, focusing wide open at 4 and focusing stopped down to 5.6 or 8 are probably about the same in accuracy, and the constant illumination of an EVF keeps the scene clear. But with a Summilux, wouldn't you want the extra precision of focusing wide open before stopping down for depth of field? Of course, if the situation is a wedding party in the garden around midnight, framing is more important than focus, and anything goes.
I know from extensive use of my R lenses on the A7 that focus shift is very well controlled. It makes sense that it has to be for auto diaphragm SLR lenses —because how many SLR shooters really do spend the time to do DoF preview as a normal part of their shooting routine? And isn't the control of focus shift one of the reasons for the more complex, larger SLR lens designs anyway? I always thought it was.

There's always been more focus shift with RF lenses and their simpler designs, and photographers have always learned to compensate for it with experience and practice. That was always one of the selling points of the SLR too—easier to use with a broad range of lenses. RF users tend to use fewer lenses and really learn their lenses and cameras over a longer period of time. Prior to digital, we had to learn these things so that we could work in the future, pre visualizing what we'd get. We should always keep these things in mind.

Live View and EVF full time shooting with digital capture and instant review changes things in profound ways. All these flaws that were a subsumed part of the photographer's experience become open to examination. We operate in the present rather than the future. The EVF brightens up the dark stopped-down world so we can see what's happening, clearly, and check it immediately. Auto diaphragm become a nicety, a nuance, rather than a functional necessity: with good lenses that don't focus shift, it allows an even brighter view with even more pinpoint accuracy in focusing, but stopping down does not rob us of the ability to see so severely.

I so look forward to the SL and to the dedicated R Adapter SL accessory. I'm almost certain the Leica will provide AASD .. Why else take a year to produce a tube with flanges? But it won't degrade my enjoyment of the camera and my lenses in the meanwhile because I truly believe AASD is more a nicety and convenience with a viewfinder that has the SL's quality and responsiveness.

My strategy in acquiring lenses has been to go with R primes for adaptation and wait on zooms for native lenses. I'm more comfortable with primes in the first place and they adapt more easily, for me, being simpler. When I want the versatility and complexity of a zoom, the added features of full integration, aperture control, and image stabilization are welcome benefits. I haven't yet decided whether to include the 24-90 in my SL order mostly on the basis of money spent in one lump, in one year, and I have all its focal lengths covered by R primes already, but I just might anyway.

Can't wait for my SL to arrive so I can begin to contribute photos... :)

G
 

scott kirkpatrick

Well-known member
...

Can't wait for my SL to arrive so I can begin to contribute photos... :)

G
+1. Hoping to have pictures in December. I don't own R primes in the wide or normal range, but I have some gorgeous long telephotos, so based on Jono's gallery I went to E-Bay for a 35-70/4, which is close in quality to the first SL AF zoom, and weighs a heck of a lot less.

When I said that in a crunch, framing is more important than focus, by framing I meant including the essentials of the shot, excluding distracting elements, and timing for the best expression, and by focus, sharp eyelashes.

scott
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
+1. Hoping to have pictures in December. I don't own R primes in the wide or normal range, but I have some gorgeous long telephotos, so based on Jono's gallery I went to E-Bay for a 35-70/4, which is close in quality to the first SL AF zoom, and weighs a heck of a lot less.
I have R primes from 19 to 250 mm... (19, 24, 35, 50 x2, 90, 135, 180 x2, 250). More than I need really, but that didn't stop me from acquiring the Macro-Elmarit 60mm this past week, and the Macro Adapter R. Gods, that's a gorgeous lens! Call me weak-willed, but I'm happy. :)

I think I've convinced myself that I should have the 24-90 as well, anyway, despite its bulk. It just means I'll sell off my Hassy 500CM kit sooner rather than later to recoup some of the money, and I'd rather put $5K into a dedicated zoom than $1.5K into an adapted one, no matter how good.

When I said that in a crunch, framing is more important than focus, by framing I meant including the essentials of the shot, excluding distracting elements, and timing for the best expression, and by focus, sharp eyelashes.
I'm with you there, except when the essentials of the shot do include excruciating detail capture as it is for some of my still life work. Speaking of which, I'm going to have to get the folks at Really Right Stuff on the stick for a couple of dedicated tripod adapter plates for the SL ... And I think I need one of Acratech's Universal L-Bracket gizmos for the early Elmarit-R 180 and Telyt-R 250 lenses since they have fixed tripod mount points.

G
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Would the SL replace the Nikon D810 for you?
I have the D750, with never an intention of buying a D810, but yes: I'm expecting that I'll put the D750 up for sale shortly. I think the D750 is a fine body, but it doesn't make me smile the way the F6 does, which is what I bought it to complement. I'm inverting my camera strategy ... I was going to keep a Leicaflex SL and a couple of lenses because I enjoy it so much, but now I'd rather keep all my Leica R bodies and lenses while keeping only the F6 and a couple of favorite lenses.

The SL kit has more future to it, and I love the design from what I've seen and studied in the manual. I'll get a chance to handle one on Friday; hopefully it will feel the way I expect it to in my hands.

G
 

ptomsu

Workshop Member
I have the D750, with never an intention of buying a D810, but yes: I'm expecting that I'll put the D750 up for sale shortly. I think the D750 is a fine body, but it doesn't make me smile the way the F6 does, which is what I bought it to complement. I'm inverting my camera strategy ... I was going to keep a Leicaflex SL and a couple of lenses because I enjoy it so much, but now I'd rather keep all my Leica R bodies and lenses while keeping only the F6 and a couple of favorite lenses.

The SL kit has more future to it, and I love the design from what I've seen and studied in the manual. I'll get a chance to handle one on Friday; hopefully it will feel the way I expect it to in my hands.

G
How times and opinions change! Some weeks ago you were planning to sell most of your R glass and go Nikon, now vice versa and buying an SL. Great decision anyway!

Interesting that I will get a D810 as my workhorse camera, as Nikon does have some nice cash backs in Austria and I am really looking forward to that! No other system gives me the lens options like Nikon, especially in the tele-zoom range!

Having said that I am also planning to get an SL, but not before next year, with the 24-90, but mainly also for using my M glass. and maybe I can find one or another R lens for a good price, which is always great fun!

For me at least, both the D810 and the SL will be able to give me that smile you refer to. The D810, because of all its modern and advanced features in a DSLR body, the SL because of the full integration (at least for me) in the Leica system, where I am really home.

All the best

Peter
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Yes ... The SL was the camera that I heard rumored about three years ago, which is why I looked at R equipment and found such tremendous bargains compared to what it would have cost me in the 1990s. I've purchased 11 lenses at an average prices of about $450 apiece (a couple quite a bit more, several significantly less, in the 1990 it would have been $36-40K to acquire this lens kit where I have barely $5000 into it!). I'd lost heart about it somewhat with the A7 experiment, but shooting with the Leicaflex SL and the R8 brought back to me just how much I love these lenses.

Leica shot me a broadside by announcing the SL a whole year earlier than I'd expected. I was/am already invested and prepared for it, so inverting my strategy was easy. :)

I'll keep the F and F6, the 18mm, 35mm, both 50mm, either the 85 or the Micro 105, and the 180mm in Nikon gear. Still not a small kit, but I have sentimental attachment to the F and a couple of those lenses.

Most of the rest of my gear will become Leica M and SL. I have too much M stuff at the moment, so that will be pruned down a bit. Maybe once I prune it down, I'll replace the Nokton 50 with a coded Summicron or Summilux. Two bodies (one film, one digital) and four lenses is truly all I want in M gear.

I'll keep the E-M1 around for a little while, want to see the Firmware 4.0 update through, and then I'll sell it off.

As well my Hassy 500CM kit and the Nikon 9000 scanner ... I'm not getting much use out of that gear and it sells at a good price. To feed my occasional 6x6 need, I'll keep the SuperWide and the Perkeo II ... I don't care if I don't use those very often and I've worked out the details of using copy-camera techniques to scan 6x6 very nicely instead of the 9000. For the volumes I have in mind, that will work well.

As I've said before, "Equipment is transitory. Photographs endure." Once I'm done, I'll have a few nice 35 and 6x6 film cameras to work with occasionally, a couple of nice Polaroids to work with for the instant film experience, and an integrated Leica kit with all the bodies and lenses I could want. And I think I'll be done and set for a good, long time so I can work on my book ideas without playing the equipment juggle and "next new great one" game.

Now I have to go into the closet and find out where I've stashed all my SD cards ... I know I have two Sandisk Extreme Pro 64G in there somewhere! :)

G
 

Paratom

Active member
Can anybody here confirm if the 24-90 SL lens would extract when zooming or if it will be a constant length?
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Sorry, I did not measure it and do not have one with me. Less than a Canon 24-70/2.8, was my impression. Perhaps Jono will have a better answer. I only used it for a few minutes.

--Matt

Actually, a google image search turned up a picture from Jono's review of the camera sitting in very wet grass with the lens extended. Looks like about 2cm.
 

algrove

Active member
Jono
You are really wearing on me now. I mean this in a good way.

When I first saw the SL, I thought, Oh no!, another Sony A7 for US$7500. Then I heard of the lens size/weights and drawn out time schedule. Because of all the above I nearly pulled the trigger on an A7R2. I just cannot bring myself to do that even though all but one of my Leica shooting buddies have opted for the A7R2 which they all universally love. They still own M's, but might divest themselves of them if the Sony keeps performing as it currently does for them and they acquire some good Zeiss Batis or Loxia glass, even though they still use some M lenses on the Sony.

Your posts here have been rethinking my approach to what I might want in the future, but even though I am #1 on my Leica dealers list for an SL, I just might pass until the R-SL adapter becomes available. (I remember waiting for the M_R adapter which was a simple tube with 6 bit coding) I love the Q which based on your reports I bought. For me it is often just a bit too wide as I prefer 35mm FL for street work. I have an RX-1 and have never disliked the images it produces. AF was made for me what with one eye and even the good one getting worse from time to time. I keep defying the doctors.

I am in a hurry at my late age to get more prints onto my print shelves before I go totally blind or just plain "go". I had 25 R lenses and sold most except for the 28-90 and APO180/2.8 in favor of keeping a full range of M lenses for my 3 M bodies which I use almost exclusively with the EVF (eyesight again). I find these R lenses work beautifully on the M's.

Personally I do not see myself getting a huge lens for walk about shooting and since I use a MF 50MP sensor camera for most landscape I am trying to see how this latest "tool" will fit into my shooting needs. You sure have me rethinking everything once more Jono.
 

jonoslack

New member
Hi There

Jono
You are really wearing on me now. I mean this in a good way.
Sorry!
When I first saw the SL, I thought, Oh no!, another Sony A7 for US$7500. Then I heard of the lens size/weights and drawn out time schedule. Because of all the above I nearly pulled the trigger on an A7R2. I just cannot bring myself to do that even though all but one of my Leica shooting buddies have opted for the A7R2 which they all universally love. They still own M's, but might divest themselves of them if the Sony keeps performing as it currently does for them and they acquire some good Zeiss Batis or Loxia glass, even though they still use some M lenses on the Sony.
Well, there's clearly an argument for it, and of course you have the extra resolution to go with the nice new Zeiss lenses. . . . . I just don't think it's the answer for M lenses . . . but I'm not sure that's terribly relevant to very many Sony users.

Your posts here have been rethinking my approach to what I might want in the future, but even though I am #1 on my Leica dealers list for an SL, I just might pass until the R-SL adapter becomes available. (I remember waiting for the M_R adapter which was a simple tube with 6 bit coding)
I'm using the T to M adapter and the M to R adapter stacked - it's firm and absolutely without wobble, and it reads the 6 bit code on the R adapter, so you can put the Lens Profile menu on one of the buttons - I have it on the bottom right - this means that when you attach a lens menu - tap the bottom right button and choose the lens from the menu (it remembers the last one you used). It's hardly a hassle, and the lens profiles and Auto ISO are adjusted accordingly.

6 bit M lenses are just recognised and corrected for.

I am in a hurry at my late age to get more prints onto my print shelves before I go totally blind or just plain "go". I had 25 R lenses and sold most except for the 28-90 and APO180/2.8 in favor of keeping a full range of M lenses for my 3 M bodies which I use almost exclusively with the EVF (eyesight again). I find these R lenses work beautifully on the M's.
To be honest - if you're using R lenses on the M . . . . . the SL is a bit of a no-brainer, the EVF is so fantastically improved, and they handle really well with the larger body. Incidentally the 24-90 is a little larger than the 28-90 R (but I think it's probably a little lighter).

Personally I do not see myself getting a huge lens for walk about shooting and since I use a MF 50MP sensor camera for most landscape I am trying to see how this latest "tool" will fit into my shooting needs. You sure have me rethinking everything once more Jono.
Worth getting a play with one with your R lenses to see (the missing adapter really is a no-issue - especially as you'll be getting an M adapter anyway). I'm in Venice at the moment with an SL, an A7ii and an M, and the A7ii feels like a rather ponderous computer in comparison. But hey - that's probably just me, and it's certainly lighter!

All the best
 

jonoslack

New member
Here are a few from today
SL with 24-90 Vario Elmar in Venice

L1000429.jpg
Trucking

L1000503.jpg
Camel Love

L1000512.jpg
Window Shopping

L1000465.jpg
Venice

L1000427.jpg
It's a dog's life

L1000533.jpg
Talk Talk
 
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