The GetDPI Photography Forum

Great to see you here. Join our insightful photographic forum today and start tapping into a huge wealth of photographic knowledge. Completing our simple registration process will allow you to gain access to exclusive content, add your own topics and posts, share your work and connect with other members through your own private inbox! And don’t forget to say hi!

  • Recently, there has been an increased activity from spammers, which may result in you receiving unwanted private messages. We are working hard to limit this activity.

What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

Godfrey

Well-known member
Do you mean like the Leica DMR?:rolleyes:

Just because a company brings out a new model doesn't mean the current one suddenly stops making excellent photographs. ...
Why yes: the Leica Digital Modul-R for the R8/R9 bodies was released in 2003 and sold until 2009, a period of six years, and there are quite a few still in service (and praised for its quality) today. That's a long run for a digital add-on accessory back for cameras that were introduced in 1998.

And the Leica SL was specifically designed to continue using the Leica R lens system, with dedicated lens profiles optimizing their rendering qualities per the original design intent, thus preserving the investment of Leica R owners in their lens systems ... the expensive part of buying good equipment.

Nothing Sony made before 2012 is even talked about anymore. The only thing that survives from any of their older equipment are the photographs that people made.


Self-Portrait - Tokyo 2002
Sony Cybershot DSC-F707

And your point was...? :D

I'm perfectly happy to spend good money on a camera system that will last me quite a bit longer than a 9 month model-to-model obsolescence plan. My Leicaflex SL, still using the same lenses as the SL and DMR, is now 50 years old and still working well.

G

"Equipment is transient. Photographs endure."
 

fotografz

Well-known member
Why yes: the Leica Digital Modul-R for the R8/R9 bodies was released in 2003 and sold until 2009, a period of six years, and there are quite a few still in service (and praised for its quality) today. That's a long run for a digital add-on accessory back for cameras that were introduced in 1998.

And the Leica SL was specifically designed to continue using the Leica R lens system, with dedicated lens profiles optimizing their rendering qualities per the original design intent, thus preserving the investment of Leica R owners in their lens systems ... the expensive part of buying good equipment.

Nothing Sony made before 2012 is even talked about anymore. The only thing that survives from any of their older equipment are the photographs that people made.


Self-Portrait - Tokyo 2002
Sony Cybershot DSC-F707

And your point was...? :D

I'm perfectly happy to spend good money on a camera system that will last me quite a bit longer than a 9 month model-to-model obsolescence plan. My Leicaflex SL, still using the same lenses as the SL and DMR, is now 50 years old and still working well.

G

"Equipment is transient. Photographs endure."
Actually, I do not understand your point.

If I buy a Sony A7R-II and it does what I need, who cares when the next model comes out? You are creating an artificial problem to fit your argument. Personally, I do not consider anything that still works for me to be obsolete. Some think the Leica S is obsolete ... I'm not one of them.

Likewise, from 2008 I used a Sony A900 and ZA lenses then added an A99 I used them for well over 6 years to shoot a lot of work ... both continued to take some nice minolta lenses from decades ago (some were joint developments with Leica). Those lenses can still be used on the A7R-II and are image stabilized. The guy that bought it is still using that A99, and the A900 is still prized for its out-of-camera rendering.

The only reason I'm not still using the A mount cameras is because I went mirror-less to save size and weight. If that sort of ground breaking technological leadership is grounds for obsolescence, then .... ?

I'm sure the SL is a fine camera.

- Marc
 

4season

Member
It wouldn't surprise me if 90%++ of Leica SL and Sony A9 buyers were not professional users who had need of specific features, but rather, well-to-do amateurs who want some sense that their purchase will bring them lasting enjoyment. In other words, these are not strictly logical decisions :grin:

Think most of you realize at some level that happiness-forever is a myth unless one stops competing with random strangers on the internet! Stop relying on a constant stream of packages at your doorstep for an emotional pick-me-up? (I'm still learning how to do that myself)
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Marc,

Let's review the essence of this train of messages


GDG, responding to "What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?":

Two things I'm sure of:

- The A9 will be gone in nine months for whatever the next gizmo might be that Sony wants to market.
- My SL will be here five years from now, a top notch camera continuing to make excellent photographs.
Marc:
Do you mean like the Leica DMR?
...
GDG:
Why yes: the Leica Digital Modul-R for the R8/R9 bodies was released in 2003 and sold until 2009, a period of six years, and there are quite a few still in service (and praised for its quality) today.
...
And your point was...?
...
I'm perfectly happy to spend good money on a camera system that will last me quite a bit longer than a 9 month model-to-model obsolescence plan.
Marc:
Actually, I do not understand your point.

If I buy a Sony A7R-II and it does what I need, who cares when the next model comes out? You are creating an artificial problem to fit your argument. Personally, I do not consider anything that still works for me to be obsolete. Some think the Leica S is obsolete ... I'm not one of them.

Likewise, from 2008 I used a Sony A900 and ZA lenses then added an A99 I used them for well over 6 years to shoot a lot of work ... both continued to take some nice minolta lenses from decades ago (some were joint developments with Leica). Those lenses can still be used on the A7R-II and are image stabilized. The guy that bought it is still using that A99, and the A900 is still prized for its out-of-camera rendering.

The only reason I'm not still using the A mount cameras is because I went mirror-less to save size and weight. If that sort of ground breaking technological leadership is grounds for obsolescence, then .... ?

I'm sure the SL is a fine camera.
So what don't you understand? And ...
  • What was the point of your initial comment about the DMR?
  • What was the point of the question in the first place? You know, "What's the rationale for SL after the Sony A9 announcement"? Why does the A9 announcement require a response from Leica regards the SL, from owners and users of the SL ... Why are they even related at all? Who gives a darn what Sony announces if you have an SL and are happy with it?
  • Why should Leica care what Sony announces when they already have a camera that is still state of the art?

I honestly, truly don't care one wit what Sony announces. I haven't even looked up what the A9 announcement was. That's why I said:

Two things I'm sure of:

- The A9 will be gone in nine months for whatever the next gizmo might be that Sony wants to market.
- My SL will be here five years from now, a top notch camera continuing to make excellent photographs.
In essence, what that means is: "Sony hasn't made a single camera product that lasted in production more than two years yet. If you miss the A9, the next new Sony will be here soon enough."
And: "I'm happy with my gear and intend to keep using it for at least another five years (or more)."

Is that so difficult to understand? I thought it was pretty simple.

G
 
V

Vivek

Guest
It would be interesting see/hear if someone records a video with sound of the 10fps of SL and the 20fps of the A9. :grin:

Would there be the dreaded "ker ching" shutter noise attributed to the A7r and elicited a thread of its own "why i am not keeping the A7r..".
 

fotografz

Well-known member
Marc,

Let's review the essence of this train of messages


GDG, responding to "What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?":



Marc:


GDG:


Marc:


So what don't you understand? And ...
  • What was the point of your initial comment about the DMR?
  • What was the point of the question in the first place? You know, "What's the rationale for SL after the Sony A9 announcement"? Why does the A9 announcement require a response from Leica regards the SL, from owners and users of the SL ... Why are they even related at all? Who gives a darn what Sony announces if you have an SL and are happy with it?
  • Why should Leica care what Sony announces when they already have a camera that is still state of the art?

I honestly, truly don't care one wit what Sony announces. I haven't even looked up what the A9 announcement was. That's why I said:



In essence, what that means is: "Sony hasn't made a single camera product that lasted in production more than two years yet. If you miss the A9, the next new Sony will be here soon enough."
And: "I'm happy with my gear and intend to keep using it for at least another five years (or more)."

Is that so difficult to understand? I thought it was pretty simple.

G
I'd agree that I initially thought the original question was a little odd. I think most of us are experienced enough to make gear decisions based on personalized need ... or at least need balanced against how much we want to invest in any given system ... especially when we already have a complete system.

However, I don't think the question was aimed at those already invested in either system. If a photographer were about to buy into a new system (like those thinking of switching from a DSLR to Mirror-less), then weighing these two cameras could been seen as more logical. In that regard, the A9 announcement as it relates to the SL could pique some interest from anyone less familiar with either system.

So, you are right, the A9 announcement probably means nothing to SL owners and doesn't require a response or rationale. The only reasonable response should be to align a photographers needs against the abilities, specifications and related costs of FF mirror-less options. The best SL owners can speak to is how their choice meets their needs.

BTW, your history timeline is off. The FF Sony A mount cameras have all had lifespans much longer than 2 years ... more like 4 years+. The Sony mirror-less models appear to have come faster, but in reality the different FE mount models are what make that seem faster. Sony markets more variations (like Canon and Nikon do) to cover a broader market share than Leica does. Their intent is to become a major player ... which they have accomplished in less than 10 years!

The exception to that may be the short span between the A7R to A7R-II ... but the A7R was the first of it's type ... I consider it similar to Leica's first digital rangefinder the M8 ... far from optimal, but better than nothing ... followed by a better iteration of the same concept.

My DMR remark is based on experience. I had a ton invested in R gear, with film quickly becoming a non-option for the clients I served. Hanging onto a discontinued 10 meg, crop frame, low ISO camera and discontinued lens system with batteries that became rarer and rarer, forced a decision. I could not wait indefinitely for an R digital replacement with R lenses sitting fallow on a shelf. I'm not a lens collector, I'm a lens user. To me, that is the very definition of "obsolete" for a working photographer. It felt similar to the debacle I experienced with Contax: the Contax 645 with ProBack and Contax N to ND system being discontinued and Kyocera exiting the camera business. No path forward at a time when digital was just getting going and lots of advancements on the horizon.

I'm no Sonyphile. Yet, I have to admit that after living with the A7R-II system it has proved to be extraordinarily versatile and adaptable to a wide variety of job and personal applications ... with no service issues or lack of any lens I may need ... including AF for the Leica M lenses that work well on this camera.

- Marc
 

Bernard

Member
It wouldn't surprise me if 90%++ of Leica SL and Sony A9 buyers were not professional users who had need of specific features, but rather, well-to-do amateurs who want some sense that their purchase will bring them lasting enjoyment.
Reminds me of the old saying, which I first heard in the 1980s: "90% of professionals use Hasselblads. 90% of Hasselblads are sold to amateurs."
The second part of that statement is probably still true of all professional cameras. Maybe PhaseOne has a higher percentage of professional users, but they cost as much as luxury cars.

I'm sure it's true of most hobbies/professions. There aren't enough professional bicycle racers around to justify the hundreds of carbon fiber bikes I see every summer weekend.

Professional photographers should thank the well-to-do amateurs who subsidize their gear, and then curse those same amateurs for getting in the way of their shot...
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Sorry to take so long to respond, Marc. I was busying doing tabletop work and readying my Nikon equipment for sale most of yesterday. :)

... So, you are right, the A9 announcement probably means nothing to SL owners and doesn't require a response or rationale. ...
Thank you.

... BTW, your history timeline is off. The FF Sony A mount cameras have all had lifespans much longer than 2 years ... more like 4 years+. The Sony mirror-less models appear to have come faster, but in reality the different FE mount models are what make that seem faster. ...
I stand corrected. Frankly, my experience with Sony was well-tainted with disgust by the time the FF A mount cameras came out due to owning and being frustrated with their other products before that. Never bought or used any of them as a result.

I bought the A7 hopeful that it would work well with my R lenses, but after a year and a half using it, and seeing the results with the same lenses that came out of the M-P, I just couldn't deal with the A7 system anymore and opted out.

... My DMR remark is based on experience. I had a ton invested in R gear, with film quickly becoming a non-option for the clients I served. Hanging onto a discontinued 10 meg, crop frame, low ISO camera and discontinued lens system with batteries that became rarer and rarer, forced a decision. I could not wait indefinitely for an R digital replacement with R lenses sitting fallow on a shelf. I'm not a lens collector, I'm a lens user. To me, that is the very definition of "obsolete" for a working photographer. It felt similar to the debacle I experienced with Contax: the Contax 645 with ProBack and Contax N to ND system being discontinued and Kyocera exiting the camera business. No path forward at a time when digital was just getting going and lots of advancements on the horizon.
...
So you were frustrated by your R8/R9/DMR experience. However, relative to my statement, the DMR was available for six years (longer than anything Sony has made) and brought those bodies forward into the digital era pretty competently ... to the point where people still remember them fondly despite the five years from when they were gone to when the SL happened along. And there seem to be a number of folks still using them despite being well obsolete now.

Obviously the Leica DMR was not the solution for your needs. A Nikon or Canon ... or Sony of course ... suits your needs better. Nothing wrong with that. When I was in the business, I followed my needs and bought/sold whatever gear got me where I needed to be to get jobs and a paycheck. That was Nikon for the longest time, with dalliances into Contax and Canon. And then when things turned digital, it was Pentax, then FourThirds with both Panasonic and Olympus, and Micro-FourThirds at the end when I closed the business in 2010. Since then, I do photography without considering jobs and assignments other than the ones I assign myself, and use whatever equipment gets me where I want in that.

But this business about the DMR is neither here nor there in the context of my response to the question of this thread, just as how good or bad one might consider the Leica SL to be. I'm happy with the gear I have now, it does what I want and produces the photos I want to make very nicely, and I'm in the process of getting rid of all the excess that I've gone through along the way to figure that out. The Sony A9, for good or bad, is completely out of my radar and I have zero interest in it. The only reason I responded on this thread at all was because it seemed to be posed as a challenge to Leica and SL owners: What I wrote should be read as a dismissal, not a disparagement, because I don't see the point of such a discussion.

Now if the OP had written "Leica SL or Sony A9 ... Which should I choose?" that's a subject worth of some discussion since the A9 is, for all intents and purposes, Sony's response to the Leica SL. It's not automatically a better or more desirable piece of equipment, but the two cameras are similar in specification and could stand to be compared objectively and with a thought to what each offers as advantage and disadvantage.

But that never seems to happen any more. The discussion always seems to become this absurd religious recitation about how snooty Leica owners are, how expensive and behind the curve Leica equipment is, and how state of the art Sony equipment is. I'm kinda sick of it.

G
 

fotografz

Well-known member
Godfrey, we are probably hogging this thread to much, but a competitive comparison was probably inevitable sooner than later ... in this case sooner ... so soon that no one can evaluate the A9 verses similar choices other than on paper.

Perhaps all this "brand angst" can be attributed to simple human responses based on personal preferences?

Sony chose to position themselves as a technological innovator for the crowd that demands relentless change ... ever forward, never look back. Not surprising in a digital age with photographers that enjoy mastering such gear. Also not surprising given the entrenched market dominated by Canon/Nikon that Minolta or Contax could not dislodge. So, Sony paved its way forward by changing the marketplace with innovative sensors and mirrorless cameras.

However, that doesn't mean that everyone has to participate in every step they take. One can reach into that rushing river of change, snatch out what fits their needs and stick with it ... which is what I've done ... so, I do not care what's next until my needs change. I contend that constantly swapping out your equipment like a change of underwear makes it difficult to really get to the point that it is second nature ... especially with complex cameras like Sony makes. Yet, I will acknowledge that there are those who are more tech savvy and faster on the uptake than I am.

You certainly do not have to explain the Leica backlash to me. I've been a M shooter forever and collected screw mounts (which I also shot with). Used Leica SLR cameras for a zillion years (including all Leicaflex and Rs up to the R9). I always loved the feel in hand and sense mechanical perfection ... and of course the lenses ... all at a hefty-hefty-hefty premium ... which every Leica basher loves to point out and attribute as photographic gear for the indolent rich ... which in some cases they are, and that pisses off the real photographers who do use Leica for real reasons to do serious photography.

This conflict between the more traditional approach using technology in measured doses verses technological upticks in heaping helpings became very apparent to me as Leica struggled to find its way in the digital age ... as evidenced by the progression of the M camera. The influx of people wanting all sorts of add-ons to the M became a loud voice in conflict with the simple rangefinder lovers like myself. The result was an ever bloated camera with all sorts of abilities most of which were technologically still-born compared to competitive cameras including Sony. Thankfully, the M10 signals a return to sanity on the part of Leica ... which of course others who liked all the tech stuff would dispute. Then there have been all the struggles with technology that Leica has experienced that impacts value perceptions. This has even put off many die-hard Leica users, which is too bad.

- Marc
 

DB5

Member
I honestly can't say what the rationale for any Leica gear is these days. The M is really the only thing that is offering something you can't get elsewhere, but not in any significantly meaningful way for most. The SL is weird and IMO, redundant. The S is relatively under performing and seemingly dead. The M is the only thing that looks alive and interesting, but crippled in it's usability.
 

Paratom

Well-known member
I honestly can't say what the rationale for any Leica gear is these days. The M is really the only thing that is offering something you can't get elsewhere, but not in any significantly meaningful way for most. The SL is weird and IMO, redundant. The S is relatively under performing and seemingly dead. The M is the only thing that looks alive and interesting, but crippled in it's usability.
I can only say why the SL makes sense for me:
1) As someone who likes the Leica M I have he advantage to use the M glass on the SL in cases when I go out with just one camera. When I had Nikon and Leica M at the same time I had to own a Leica M 21mm and a Nikon (Zeiss) 21mm, today I can put the M 21mm on the SL when my 24-90 is not wide enough. I dont know any other digital body which delivers as good IQ with M lenses (except the M itself)
2) The SL Zooms are not small but for my purpose they offer a very useful range combined with excellent IQ. I do prefer the flexibility of the 24-90 over the 24-70 lenses I had owned before for other systems
3) I can use the SL as a backup for the S and as a backup for the M
4) I have comparable user interface between S and SL
5) I like the slimmed down user interface of most Leica cameras
6) I like the colors and IQ I get from the Leica lenses (valid for M/SL and S)
7) I like the viewfinder of the SL, and I like the top display of the SL, and enjoy the build quality of the SL at least over Sony A7 (I cant comment on A9)

I tried/owned both Leica and Sony and FOR ME the Leica works better, I do admit though that there also some Sony features I would love to have in the SL - specially the AF of the A9 if it is as good as it is reported, also some native smaller lenses would be nice.
 

jdphoto

Well-known member
The SL lenses were just too big for me. I like to carry light and the Sony's just fit that criteria. The Leica Q has amazed me as a travel camera though. It's has the fastest AF i've ever used and I achieve fast flash sync in a really nicely built, simplistic design. I added an Arte Dimano case to pimp it out too. Personally, I think Leica will expand on the Q concept as the M has kinda reached it's top design platform. Look for more AF Q's with different focal lengths and/or interchangeable lenses. I like Leica for it's film-like feel and basic concept. I've never pimped out my Sony and I think that says something.
 

4season

Member
"Leica magic" is a mental state of feeling incredibly fortunate just to have one. But this can work equally well with other brands, and other areas of life! And if that doesn't make your photos glow a bit more, I don't know what will :)
 

kinok1

Member
I enjoy reading personal justifications for one brand over another. I really do.

The fact of the matter is anyone who needs to rely on their equipment should not even glance in Leica's direction. It's a fool's errand.

Just a tip from a pro who was burned three too many times.
 
V

Vivek

Guest
"Leica magic" is a mental state of feeling incredibly fortunate just to have one. But this can work equally well with other brands, and other areas of life! And if that doesn't make your photos glow a bit more, I don't know what will :)
You can always add a piece of shiny aluminum foil behind the lens! :LOL:
 

fotografz

Well-known member
I honestly can't say what the rationale for any Leica gear is these days. The M is really the only thing that is offering something you can't get elsewhere, but not in any significantly meaningful way for most. The SL is weird and IMO, redundant. The S is relatively under performing and seemingly dead. The M is the only thing that looks alive and interesting, but crippled in it's usability.
"These Days" is the operative term here. "These days" is what the camera marketers count on to keep revolving demand for their expensive products up front and ever present. The tech oriented "Wants and Gimmes" is the siren song. That is all that is talked about and argued about non-stop.

The M is a rangefinder. People saying it is "crippled in its usability" are the ones that wanted it turned it into a techno Swiss Army knife. IMO, Leica should have gone straight from the M9 to the recent M10 ... either they can sell a rangefinder and promote the rangefinder way of photography or they can't ... it should live or die on that merit. Build a different modern camera if they want to cover their bases ... oh, wait ... they did ... a whole bunch of them including the SL.

The S relatively under-performing is a relative comment. Now that they have fixed the AF issue, it does what it needs to do for the range of work it was designed for. Works for me, because I bought it for what it was designed for. I left a MFD system with more this and more that ... didn't need it anymore. Still don't.

My use of Leica rangefinders and the S doesn't preclude using something else like the Sony A7R-II for certain work. Amazing piece of gear that does fit the techno Swiss Army knife definition ... and that is exactly how I use it. If I suddenly had to narrow all my gear to one tight kit and STILL had to do commercial work and paying jobs I'd either ... 1) stop doing commercial work and just shoot with a M like I did before getting in so deep ... or 2) dump all Leica stuff knowing that there is nothing commercial that I could not do with the Sony A7R-II and my Zeiss, M and A lenses, or rented lenses for speciality assignments ... including pro strobe work since Profoto just released the Sony AIR TTL/HSS transmitter.

Glad I do not have to make that decision yet ... hope I never will.

No justification needed for any of this, no disparagement of other people's choices, or odd snide comments necessary. All this is a product of corporate need to sell more and more and more and more and more stuff ... while no one's seems to question if their work has gotten any better because of it ... and if it has, when does it stop?

- Marc
 

bensonga

Well-known member
I am looking at this from a perspective that asks not A9 vs SL but A7RII vs SL, primarily as a platform for using my R lenses. It is really hard for me to rationalize spending $7500 for a new SL when I can now buy a new A7RII for $2700.

I would love to have an SL, but the price difference is really hard for me to rationalize.

Gary
 

iiiNelson

Well-known member
I am looking at this from a perspective that asks not A9 vs SL but A7RII vs SL, primarily as a platform for using my R lenses. It is really hard for me to rationalize spending $7500 for a new SL when I can now buy a new A7RII for $2700.

I would love to have an SL, but the price difference is really hard for me to rationalize.

Gary
$5k buys a few premium lenses or a trip or two to enjoy your current gear on.
 
Top