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Thread: Two different views on the Leica SL

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    Two different views on the Leica SL

    Ashwin Rao (a great friend of mine and a super guy) just wrote a really comprehensive article on Steve Huff Photo about the Leica SL. He really likes this camera.

    I have a different opinion and I'll share it here for further discussion.
    -Brad

    A Contrarian’s View of the Leica SL

    I thoroughly enjoyed Ashwin’s review of the Leica SL and I have the highest respect for him (and he’s a great friend too.) I have a different take on the SL and I thought it might be helpful to share some thoughts here on SteveHuffPhoto for people in the prospective market for the SL.

    Let me set the stage by saying that I am a true fan of Leica. I have owned two M8’s, two M8.2’s, two M9’s, two M240’s and two Monochrom’s along with up to 22 Leica lenses at one silly point. I am now down to a more reasonable set of lenses and still have the Mono and the M. I also have a Sony A7R2, Nikon D4 and Leica D-Lux 109.

    I had a chance to use the SL for a while and decided not to buy one. Initially I was confused by the positioning of this camera. Here was a full frame 24mp sensor much like the M240’s in a body significantly larger. I think Leica’s top goal was to produce an autofocus camera that could lead the company forward for the next decade. Since many Leica shooters are getting older and their eyesight isn’t what it used to be, I have seen several “for sale” ads for manual focus Leicas giving this reason for the sale. The first lens Leica introduced for the SL is the 24-90mm f/2.8-f/4. This lens is HUGE. It is similar in size to my 70-200 lenses for the Nikon. I enjoy using my Leicas to take photos of people in lots of situations and the compact, unthreatening nature of the camera/lens allows people to relax, giving me more natural shots. This is impossible using the 24-90 lens. People see this just like they see a large DSLR.

    At this point there is only one AF lens available for the SL, so we don’t know what the future holds, but if the 24-90 is setting the stage I do not hold out hope for small AF lenses from Leica.

    The SL body itself is extremely solid and well made, but no more so than the Nikon D4, a benchmark in rugged usability. The lower edge of the Leica SL is quite sharp, and my broad palms bring that edge to rest just inside my palm – very uncomfortable. The battery grip adds the extra depth I need, but makes the already large body even larger. Just look at the type of camera bag you need for the SL compared to the M and that tells an interesting story. Where I would sling the M on my hip and go out shooting, now I need a huge bag. This is one reason I don’t use my Nikon D4 for this purpose.

    So how about using M lenses? Fortunately my eyes still work so I can easily focus the M240. Does the SL make better photos with M lenses than the M? I am not sure anybody could tell when looking at prints up to 20×30. On a screen it would be impossible to tell. The SL with M lenses becomes much larger for the shooter, more intimidating camera to the subject than the M.

    How about autofocus? There’s no doubt the SL wit the 24-90 is quite good at autofocus, but nowhere near as good as the Nikon D4 with its library of dozens of fast lenses. I shot fast moving sports professionally for three years and there’s no way the Leica could keep up with the D4 or the Canon 1D Mark X. Having exactly one lens to choose from also removes it from consideration as a serious sports camera, although that’s not what Leica was going for with the SL.

    How about using other lenses, like Leica R glass? I don’t own any R glass, but if I did I could do that today with my Sony A7R2 and focus them quite easily.

    What if I am after the ultimate image quality in a full frame 35mm digital camera? It’s too early to tell, but I suspect that using lenses that are native to the system it would be hard to pick a winner between the SL and the Sony A7R2. Certainly with M lenses the SL will do a better job at the corners, but as I said earlier unless you’re looking at large prints you won’t see the difference with native glass.

    In summary, I am not sure for whom the Leica SL is designed. There are better cameras for sports, smaller cameras for M lenses and candid portraiture, and several other cameras for mounting R glass. There are certainly other cameras that make superb images. All of them are cheaper than the SL and SL lens.

    Please don’t think of me as Scrooge, it’s just one photographer’s opinion. Merry Christmas all.
    Brad Husick
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Having recently used the a7II in cold weather I'm curious what users' experience with the SL is when using gloves.
    Last edited by doug; 27th December 2015 at 07:11.

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by doug View Post
    Having recently used the a7II in cold wether I'm curious what users' experience with the SL is when using gloves.
    I love how this comment, in on sentence, sums up why the SL is better 6 months of the year for most North Americans


    Brand, I to have owned everything Leica has made for the past 15 years. Along with almost all other DSLR/MFD gear that was relevant to my needs/curiosities. I do not share your views on the SL though. I actually dislike the SL for completely different reasons. And like it for others. I'm still on the fence, but I think time will fix that. Waiting on the S-adapter, the 90-280, the 50luxl and of course waiting to see what Leica does with the M. Those items will either tip the camera in my favour, or make me sell it. For now, it's fun when I need AF and want to use my M lenses without having to bring multiple bodies out.

    The problem with ANYTHING new from Leica. It's a waiting game to see how things unfold.
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    I keep looking at the SL and thinking, if I am going to have a camera that big and heavy, why don't I just go the whole hog and get a s/h S system with one lens instead?

    Maybe that is the marketing ploy here by Leica?

    All credit to Leica for not giving in to the obvious: a Q based interchangeable lens system camera.

    LouisB
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Always good to have contrarian views.

    I have my own that are contrary to yours. However, I am 90% sure I'll not be buying a Leica SL (I'd never say never given that I DO have a lot of S glass).

    I have never bought into the notion that a smaller camera is more stealthy than a bigger one. IMO, it has much more to do with "how" you shoot candid work verses "what" you use. The presence of the photographer is the constant … and people are bigger, more obvious, more predominate than what they have in their hand. The difference between a A7 and a Pro DSLR is nothing compared to how a person melds themselves into a situation. How you go about that, is what makes the difference.

    I also believe that the difference between a rangefinder and a DSLR or Mirrorless camera is more about the photographer's shooting experience than the subject's experience. A rangefinder simply eliminates many distractions regarding what an image will look like, allowing the photographer to place more attention on what the image is about. IMO, it is easier to concentrate on content with a rangefinder than with any TTL camera. This doesn't mean it cannot be done with a DSLR, it is just fraught with more visual distractions, like the effect of focal length and DOF, which are nonexistent with a rangefinder.

    What the SL brings to the party is a simple interface that is sorely lacking in most other competitive choices. IMO, Sony is the most egregious violator of simplicity and elegant workflow, and seems impervious to the concept of simplicity no matter how many whine about it. Years later, I still haven't warmed up to the Sonys for that reason (and a few others).

    What I do not like about the SL are the image qualities I've seen so far. That is subject to change as the camera gets more use and more lenses come out for it … the S development was similar at first.

    - Marc
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    I am still on the fence as well.

    I can see the appeal for people with R glass or long M glass, but up till now I fail to see the value proposition otherwise...

    I am sure the zoom lens is good but is it $12K better than the Leica T with the zoom? Probably not... and the Leica T is a lot lighter...

    That 50mm better be a damned good one!!!
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    I think Ashwin's review is spot on and covers all the aspects and also spells out who it is for!

    In fact, I have never seen a more honest, clear and concise review of Leica gear!

    Well done, Ashwin!
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by bradhusick View Post
    Ashwin Rao (a great friend of mine and a super guy) just wrote a really comprehensive article on Steve Huff Photo about the Leica SL. He really likes this camera.

    I have a different opinion and I'll share it here for further discussion.
    -Brad

    A Contrarian’s View of the Leica SL

    ...

    In summary, I am not sure for whom the Leica SL is designed. There are better cameras for sports, smaller cameras for M lenses and candid portraiture, and several other cameras for mounting R glass. There are certainly other cameras that make superb images. All of them are cheaper than the SL and SL lens.

    Please don’t think of me as Scrooge, it’s just one photographer’s opinion. Merry Christmas all.
    Nothing wrong with having your own opinion.
    I haven't read Aswin's article through yet. I take it, though, from a quick skim that he's quite positive about the camera.

    Per your implied question (bold above), I know exactly whom they made the SL for: me. And others like me. This is exactly the camera, from any maker, that I have been waiting for since the dawn of digital cameras about 17 years ago. I knew it immediately the moment I read the announcement, and the more I use it, the more I'm convinced it is true. The right size, the right shape, taking the lenses I want to use (Leica R), and with its own state of the art (AF + OIS) lenses to come, with the features I've been waiting for, all put together into a top quality piece.

    Its future is in front of it ... it's not quite a finished thing yet, just like the Olympus E-M1 was not quite a finished thing when it debuted in 2013 ... not behind it. But just as it is, it is satisfying and produces the results I want. It—along with the R lenses I have already and the SL lenses yet to come—will be the basis of my photography for years to come.

    And that's all I need. And remember, that's just one photographer's opinion too. Happy New Year! :-)

    G
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by doug View Post
    Having recently used the a7II in cold wether I'm curious what users' experience with the SL is when using gloves.
    I was out shooting the SL using a pair of mechanic's gloves yesterday as the air was quite cold (and the camera body was quite cold as well). Fitted with a hand grip, it's very comfortable and usable: there's plenty of space on the body so your thickened fingers don't accidentally bang into the wrong buttons, the dials are large and easy to work precisely, and since most of the control motions are short press and long press buttons, you don't need an excess of finger dexterity to operate it like you do with the much smaller, more cramped and cluttered A7 body.

    One of the small things I truly appreciate with the SL is the fact that it is not crowded with bunches of buttons, dials, and switches the way most modern DSLRs—and even the Leica M-P—are. The body is spacious and easy to pick up and handle without touching any of the controls or sensitive surfaces. Every time I pull the M-P out of the bag, I either have a thumbprint on the LCD, a fingerprint on the viewfinder, or I've pressed a control button because even as large as it is, the body has controls too close to exactly where I need to put my fingers to grip the camera. Not so with the SL: I can reach into my bag quickly, grab the grip, and tap the shutter release as I pick it up to my eye without worrying about whether I'm going to change settings inadvertently.

    The SL is the only digital camera since the Olympus E-1 that I feel completely confident I can handle the same way I handled all my film cameras in the past without mucking up my settings. It's thin but not insubstantial body feels like my film cameras of the past as well. That is a nuance of its design which has great value to me.

    G
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    I thoughly read and enjoyed Ashwin's SL article on Steve Huff's website and thought it was well written, well thought out and in usual typical Ashwin style, extremely well balanced. I could identify with much of what he wrote, not only of its discussion and merrits of the current SL techmonology, but also his comparion to other present and past Leica digital platforms and how RAW image output compares.

    There are so many facets in which one can both look at and compare this camera to and its bound to elicit all the various comments its received so far. In one sense after having been lent an SL for a week to run through its paces, I both see and can agree with both Ashwin's and Brad's somewhat divergent viewpoints.

    I also believe a lot depends on where someone is coming from in terms of primary lens system they plans to use and of course expected use of the SL camera.

    I feel the most enthusiastic group of users so far are those who plan on using the body for their Leica R lenses, as its the most thorough implementaion of a digital body that readily accepts Leica R lenses with firmware instructions for individual R lens corrections. This may also be applied to the current group of S lens users when an adapter is avalable.

    The 2nd group of current users appears to be those that desire a Leica AF body for times they simply want to shoot AF and which doesn't restrict them to only AF lenses and allows use of other Leica lens systems they currently use, most notably M lenses and maybe to a slightly lesser extent (not sure) R lens users.

    Where I think Brad is partially coming from and I know I can also be put into that camp is when comparing whether the SL body can be used as a suitable AF substitute for our currently used AF camera system and possibly use the SL secondary for using our M or R lenses.

    As Brad aptly pointed out, the SL both due to its lack of SL AF lenses currently available as well as the proven ability of both the Nikon and Canon systems in the fast paced world of shooting sports as well as other fast moving endeavors in which a highly reliable low light fast tracking system is manditory, the SL presently cannot quite compete. It also may not be where Leica intended the SL's primary AF use, namely for sports and also for the fast moving low light performing arts catagoriy, but more likely the wedding and portrait arena.

    I think the SL has great appeal for a select group of users, maybe more so than the "S" system and that broader appeal and possible investment in the body will depend on some of the factors that have been mentioned in these discussions.

    I strongly feel though that there is going to be more definitive differences between the SL and future M body (aside from rangefinder/OVF vs. EVF) for strictly M users as that is currently a hot topic being debated in various forums. Somehow I feel the SL down the road will primarily become a SL Af lens body with many suplimenting their optical arsenal and use the SL with R or S lens use (whether primary or backup body).

    Conversely as the next incarnation of the M body develops, I believe its implementation for use with M lenses will somehow differenciate it even more so from using the SL currently for M lens use and that those contemplating using the SL body as a substitute for a M body lens, will diminish. Just my 2 cents for what its worth.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 27th December 2015 at 10:05.

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    I'm having a blast exploring what the SL can do with R lenses and those M lenses that are difficult to use on my M[240] -- 18 and 21 mm in particular. So I guess I fall into the first category in Dave's post. My AF system is Olympus M1 and M5.2. For anything sure not to need more than web screen resolution, they are fine, and very natural to shoot with. I get called upon to cover occasional events, and the Olympus gear is just fine there, and trouble-free. I confess that instead of making a careful set of economic tradeoffs, I'm just asking that any camera that I buy be really excellent at something that I will be doing. The SL, M[240] and the Olympus kit all meet that criterion.

    scott

    P.S. Don't put too much stress on the fact that the SL offers dedicated R and M lens profiles. When the R profiles work right, the changes they introduce are very small, and slightly reduce vignetting when the lens is within a stop of wide open. A few of them are currently bad (APO 90/2.0 and APO100/2.8) and I have to use nearby lenses' profiles (pre-APO 90/2.0 and 90/2.8 work fine). I wrote this up over on the LUF with a longer list of examples (5 in all) and have reported this to Leica's SL folks. But even with no lens profile, the R lenses work just great on the SL. A second thing that will be valuable if and when Leica puts it in are distortion corrections, which they have done for the SL 24-90 but have yet to do for the R lens list.
    Last edited by scott kirkpatrick; 27th December 2015 at 10:42. Reason: lens profiles...
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Very interesting Scott. I was under the assumption that R lens corrections provided by the SL currently included distortion corrections. I presume that if they don't, than sooner than later they will. What about M lens corrections? Lenses like the Leica 18mm M lens could certainly benifit from it.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Very interesting Scott. I was under the assumption that R lens corrections provided by the SL currently included distortion corrections. I presume that if they don't, than sooner than later they will. What about M lens corrections? Lenses like the Leica 18mm M lens could certainly benefit from it.

    Dave (D&A)
    My Olympus Pro zooms (7-14 and 12-40 mm) have some obvious barrel distortion at their wide ends, so I am used to deciding whether to accept the "Adobe standard" corrections when developing those pictures in CaptureOne. There is a lens profile dialog that shows what is happening. If I don't have to worry about any straight lines that look curved, I undo the default correction and get a little sharper details in the corners. The same dialog shows up with the 24-90 SL zoom in the wide half of its range, with a default correction prescribed. For Leica (but not Olympus), the information is transmitted directly in the DNG file. In effect, the parameters which describe the distortion curve that you see in the technical information sheets are encoded in the DNG, and there is a standard that says how to reverse their effect. When I have looked at files from the SL with R lenses in COne, they bring up the same dialog, but to date I have not seen any default corrections. Leica certainly could put this information in, at least for their primes.

    Incidentally, vignetting and color drift corrections are done in the camera, on the Bayer-filtered pixel intensities. Distortion correction is best done after each pixel has been translated into RGB values, and all three can be shifted in space. That happens when the JPEG is encoded or when the raw file is developed, downstream.

    scott

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Yes with regards to distortion corrections, its generally done as you described and info has to be incorporated into the DNG file. Appreantly not fully done with R lenses yet but wondered if done for M lenses with regards to the SL?

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Yes with regards to distortion corrections, its generally done as you described and info has to be incorporated into the DNG file. Appreantly not fully done with R lenses yet but wondered if done for M lenses with regards to the SL?

    Dave (D&A)
    I haven't gotten to M lenses yet, although I did take an SEM 21 out for a spin a day ago. It does not have a distortion correction encoded. I'll check the 18 SEM in the next few days. I just checked to see if my R 15/2.8 has a correction encoded (it could use one) and it does not. But then I found that my 80, 90 and 100 mm R lenses all have a (very small) distortion correction encoded. There's a relatively quick way to check all of these by taking a single lens and identifying it as each of the lenses in the list in turn, taking one shot, and then checking in a raw file editor. But not tonight.

    scott

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by scott kirkpatrick View Post
    P.S. Don't put too much stress on the fact that the SL offers dedicated R and M lens profiles. When the R profiles work right, the changes they introduce are very small, and slightly reduce vignetting when the lens is within a stop of wide open. A few of them are currently bad (APO 90/2.0 and APO100/2.8) and I have to use nearby lenses' profiles (pre-APO 90/2.0 and 90/2.8 work fine). I wrote this up over on the LUF with a longer list of examples (5 in all) and have reported this to Leica's SL folks. But even with no lens profile, the R lenses work just great on the SL. A second thing that will be valuable if and when Leica puts it in are distortion corrections, which they have done for the SL 24-90 but have yet to do for the R lens list.
    This is what I expect. So far I haven't seen much real need for further geometric correction with my R lenses.. What little they need is nicely suppli d by the LR lens correction tools.

    BTW, all MicroFourThirds lenses supply correction info to mFT bodies which is automatically embedded into raw file output and interpreted by converters that honor it.

    G

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    I'm not a buyer in its current form/price, but a longtime M user... and current owner of both Leica M240 & Sony A7rII..
    I am looking forward to a camera that incorporates the haptics/interface/simplicity/quality/optics of Leica with the pure technical abilities and performance of Sony.
    If the SL is a step in that direction.. and in some ways, I think it is.. then I am pleased.

    For now I maintain both systems.
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    This is what I expect. So far I haven't seen much real need for further geometric correction with my R lenses.. What little they need is nicely suppli d by the LR lens correction tools.

    BTW, all MicroFourThirds lenses supply correction info to mFT bodies which is automatically embedded into raw file output and interpreted by converters that honor it.

    G
    The difference between Olympus and Leica in this regard is that Olympus' ORF files are built to a private standard while the DNG files follow a somewhat different open standard. Capture One prepares different profiles for each Olympus lens and puts them in separate files, but uses the embedded information directly from the DNG (they label it a "manufacturer's profile") when correcting a Leica raw file. I don't know how flexible LR and Adobe Raw are in this regard as I don't use them.

    scott

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by scott kirkpatrick View Post
    The difference between Olympus and Leica in this regard is that Olympus' ORF files are built to a private standard while the DNG files follow a somewhat different open standard. Capture One prepares different profiles for each Olympus lens and puts them in separate files, but uses the embedded information directly from the DNG (they label it a "manufacturer's profile") when correcting a Leica raw file. I don't know how flexible LR and Adobe Raw are in this regard as I don't use them.
    Adobe raw converters use the lens correction information in the mFT raw files directly, whether from Olympus or Panasonic (and the same for Leica T and SL DNGs). They know how to interpret the proprietary formats, in other words; most of the other top notch raw converters do the same. And if you convert the mFT files to DNG format, the lens correction information is also converted so the processing works the same way.

    G

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    HI There Brad
    Being a contrarian myself I read you're report before reading Ashwin's!

    I was going to quote and reply, but after thinking for a while (and I really enjoyed both) it seemed there was a better way of highlighting what Ashwin said at the beginning of his report

    Jack of All Trades

    That's what the SL is . . .

    The Nikon D4 is better for sport
    The Leica S2 or a Hasselblad is better for landscape
    The M240 is better with M lenses
    The Sony A7rii is better for resolution
    The Sony A7sii is better for video
    The Leica Q is better for street
    etc.

    But unlike any of these camera, the SL is pretty good at ALL of these things (and I reckon it's possibly the perfect wedding/event camera into the bargain).

    You have a different system for perfection in each of these situations (the right answer for you).

    But as Ashwin points out, the SL can be a pretty small, quiet and nimble solution for M lenses, it can manage for sport (and will be better with the 90-280) , and I can vouch for it in terms of event, landscape, nature.

    I also have a number of systems . . . . but increasingly I'm finding that when I dither about what to use, then I take the SL with the 24-90 and a couple of M lenses (usually the WATE and the 50 apo).

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Jono,

    I think you nailed the value proposition for the Leica SL. If you add up the prices of a D4, M240, A7R2 and lenses, the SL with 24-90 lens starts to make economic sense as an alternative to that collection.

    If you're after the best solution for each situation you specialize. The same holds true for many technologies.

    Thanks,

    Brad
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Jono and Brad, you beat me too it. Just this morning after contemplating once again what was expressed by Ashwin and yourself Brad, I was thinking of the exact same phrase, "Jack of Trades" to describe to SL body.. It comes close to mastering a lot in Jono's list but for the ultimate proficiency and performance in many of these endeavors, other camera/systems can edge it (the SL) out. That says a lot about the intrinsic value of the SL as Brad pointed out.

    Dave (D&A)
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    ...
    I also have a number of systems . . . . but increasingly I'm finding that when I dither about what to use, then I take the SL with the 24-90 and a couple of M lenses (usually the WATE and the 50 apo).
    I decided to "get out of Dodge" for a few days and was dithering about what to take along. The SL was a given, finally chose the 15, the 50, and the 180 so I'd have the ability to be completely crazy in what I wanted to shoot. :-)

    G
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    The big question is as per the criteria laid out by Ashwin, how many are out there who would buy it?
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    I think it's OK to admire cameras and not buy them The SL seems to be selling just fine.

    I admire it very much, as I do the Leica S, M240, MM, and A7r2.

    Yet I'm not tempted in the slightest by any of these cameras, as the M9 and A7.mod do everything I want really really well. Of course they are not perfect. Both have funny sounding shutters

    At the moment I have only two sirens: 50 Lux APSH and 35 Lux FLE.
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    The big question is as per the criteria laid out by Ashwin, how many are out there who would buy it?
    Well Vivek
    At the moment it appears that Leica can sell all that they can make.

    I reckon that if the camera really lives up to people's expectations, then they will sell more and more as the rest of the system becomes available. Especially if they improve the firmware effectively.

    . . . . are you tempted?

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Hi all, just coming across this thread now. Thanks for starting it. Thanks to all of you for the kind words. It's nice to see the discussion continue here. I do find that the SL is enjoyable even if just as a discussion piece.

    Ultimately, I can state that the camera was first a "dubious purchase" for me. I was not sure I needed or wanted it. With extneded use over the past 1 month plus, I can say that it's a camera that comes nearly everywhere with me. Granted, I am still in the honeymoon period with the camera, but I find myself, like Jono, easily going to the SL when debating which camera to take out with me....

    The system will be strengthened by a wider array of lenses and accessories. That being said, it's quite well implemented in its current incarnation, especially if you already possess some Leica M/R kit.
    Ashwin Rao
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    ...

    Jack of All Trades

    That's what the SL is . . .

    The Nikon D4 is better for sport
    The Leica S2 or a Hasselblad is better for landscape
    The M240 is better with M lenses
    The Sony A7rii is better for resolution
    The Sony A7sii is better for video
    The Leica Q is better for street
    etc.

    But unlike any of these camera, the SL is pretty good at ALL of these things ...
    Decades ago I was at a Leica School. We asked the instructor for whom Leicas – the R-system then – were for; professionals, amateurs, whom? We were told they were "for photographers", the party line at that time I expect; he refused to elucidate further.

    Sounds as if the SL is something similar; it's for "photography".

    Mind you, the problem with 'Jack of all Trades' is that it is a double-edged epithet, for it's followed by 'Master of None'.

    We were also told that heavy cameras were better than light ones for hand-held use; the weight somehow damped any tendency to camera shake. Anatomically, this is incorrect; I didn't believe it then and I don't believe it now.
    Sláinte

    Robert.

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Well Vivek
    At the moment it appears that Leica can sell all that they can make.

    I reckon that if the camera really lives up to people's expectations, then they will sell more and more as the rest of the system becomes available. Especially if they improve the firmware effectively.

    . . . . are you tempted?
    Oh, I am tempted but I am the wrong person for this camera at the moment despite all the good things it has to offer.

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    First of all - many thanks for all these wonderful reviews and the thoughts and effort put into these!

    While I really appreciate all the new stuff the SL brings, I am still on the fence if I want/need it. Especially now (read below). Sure this is a great camera and KUDOS to Leica what they have done in this model, but without a decent SL lens lineup it will not become the camera for me.

    Especially since I am as happy as I can be with the D810, which so far has solved all tasks superbly I have thrown on it. And this ranges from event, location and portrait work to wildlife. Fast, unobtrusive, quiet and with results (foremost IQ but also AF accuracy and speed) I have never seen before and also not from another camera. Plus I have all the lenses available right now (2.8/70-200G VRII, 80-400G VRII, 1.8/85G, 1.8/35G, 24-120G). And WRT weight the Nikon system and a comparable SL system (if it will be once available) in fact is not so different.

    For M lenses I meanwhile also have the opinion that a digital M would be the best solution - either M262 or the next M introduced later in 2016 ...

    The SL is a wonderful camera, but currently I think it is not the right camera/system for me too

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    The SL is what it is. A team of people at Leica with a certain set of assets and skills have put together a solution to several long-standing problems -- moving beyond the R9/DMR, adding AF to the mix, supporting all the great lenses in the known universe by making the body very thin and putting a little bit of intelligence into the adapters... Native German-speakers sitting next to the Leica Kool-Ade supply have the good sense to say that it exemplifies "Das Wesentliche," and leave it at that. Native English-speakers, who tend to be more prolix, try to clarify things by pointing out at greater length what it can do, and pass the Kool-Ade to the rest of us. It's tasty. Try it.

    scott
    Last edited by scott kirkpatrick; 29th December 2015 at 03:45. Reason: Ade or Aid?

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by scott kirkpatrick View Post
    The SL is what it is. A team of people at Leica with a certain set of assets and skills have put together a solution to several long-standing problems -- moving beyond the R9/DMR, adding AF to the mix, supporting all the great lenses in the known universe by making the body very thin and putting a little bit of intelligence into the adapters... Native German-speakers sitting next to the Leica Kool-Ade supply have the good sense to say that it exemplifies "Das Wesentliche," and leave it at that. Native English-speakers, who tend to be more prolix, try to clarify things by pointing out at greater length what it can do, and pass the Kool-Ade to the rest of us. It's tasty. Try it.

    scott
    Ade?! German = Good bye!

    I disagree that it "exemplifies" Das Wesentliche (you already qualified who would call it like that though- so no harm! ).

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by scott kirkpatrick View Post
    The SL is what it is. A team of people at Leica with a certain set of assets and skills have put together a solution to several long-standing problems -- moving beyond the R9/DMR, adding AF to the mix, supporting all the great lenses in the known universe by making the body very thin and putting a little bit of intelligence into the adapters... Native German-speakers sitting next to the Leica Kool-Ade supply have the good sense to say that it exemplifies "Das Wesentliche," and leave it at that. Native English-speakers, who tend to be more prolix, try to clarify things by pointing out at greater length what it can do, and pass the Kool-Ade to the rest of us. It's tasty. Try it.

    scott
    Exactly, it is what it is! Which is good in most ways and a great achievement by Leica anyway.

    So as a native German speaker I call it "Leica hat das Wesentliche erreicht" and leave it like that - nothing less, nothing more
    Last edited by ptomsu; 29th December 2015 at 06:53.

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    The SL has obviously ticked a lot of good boxes and most can agree, quite an achievement and maybe even a landmark camera for Leica. Kudo's to them for developing a unique product, especially where Leica is concerned.

    Whether its the right product for a given individual, only they can decide. It seems even though there are quite a few who will pprobably opt out of purchasing one, they have even given it serious thought. Again I feel it was an "automatic" for those already possesing R lenses. Its other groups of users that I think are somewhat on the fence, more or less and ultimate decision to purchase will widely vary.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    I had the chance to test the SL several weeks ago. It was really a joy to use. The lens is a little big for my taste, I would have rather had a constant F4 and have the lens be 10% smaller. I also think having IS via the sensor would have been preferable and allowed the lens to be smaller. But for me, I will wait until the SL to S adapter is available and test it again. I think it will be a great camera to have to use with the S and Hassy lenses on. I've gotten very tired of having different brand cameras and needing to have a full set of lenses for each. What they have done with this camera is really opened up an ecosystem where you can have one set of lenses and use them on all of your cameras. I'm really hoping the next T is similar in design, IQ and looks to this, just smaller. That would allow
    Me to have my H4X/IQ140, S 006 and Leica SL/T and have one set of lenses. The EVF is simply incredible. I was cycling between the H4X, S 006 & SL during the test and I kept wanting to grab the SL because of the viewfinder. It was so much brighter and easy to see with than the other two, and those have always stood out compared to canon/Nikon/ any other viewfinders. I'm taking a long term look at the camera offerings and love where Leica is going with their cameras/technology. The SL isn't going to be for everyone, but for the photographers that Leica made this in mind for, it's a valuable tool.
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Campbell View Post
    Decades ago I was at a Leica School. We asked the instructor for whom Leicas – the R-system then – were for; professionals, amateurs, whom? We were told they were "for photographers", the party line at that time I expect; he refused to elucidate further.
    Well, I think he was quite right, there is such a skill overlap between amateur and professional it makes any kind of statement of intent pretty arbitrary. I reckon Leica might have been better off not using it WRT the SL

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Campbell View Post
    Mind you, the problem with 'Jack of all Trades' is that it is a double-edged epithet, for it's followed by 'Master of None'.
    Well, I was very well aware of the implication, but actually I think it's already a master in several respects (notably event, wedding)


    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Campbell View Post
    We were also told that heavy cameras were better than light ones for hand-held use; the weight somehow damped any tendency to camera shake. Anatomically, this is incorrect; I didn't believe it then and I don't believe it now.
    I'm certain that a heavier camera body damps the effect of the shutter, and I do believe that it reduces camera shake as more energy is required to move it (more mass=more inertia

    Just this guy you know
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote: "But for me, I will wait until the SL to S adapter is available and test it again."

    I just not (yet) see the point to use the SL with an S-Adapter and S-Lenses (ok, as an emergency back-up maybe). As the sensor has the same pixel-pitch and probably similar technology, the results of a respective crop down from 37 to 24 MP of a S007 shot would be nearly the same.

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Many thanks for these highly competent reviews that keep my interest piqued, even though I'm not a potential buyer til more primes are available. For the time being I'm digesting information without an urge to buy what's currently offered. It's like hearing about the Leicaflex and thinking about jumping on board at an appropriate time. (Actually I never did – I stopped using Nikons or any other SLR and stayed with M2-3-4.)

    The main thing I'm learning is that though the camera and lens seemed too bulked-up when I handled one, people seem to find them quite manageable in use.

    Kirk

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Always good to have contrarian views.

    I have my own that are contrary to yours. However, I am 90% sure I'll not be buying a Leica SL (I'd never say never given that I DO have a lot of S glass).

    I have never bought into the notion that a smaller camera is more stealthy than a bigger one. IMO, it has much more to do with "how" you shoot candid work verses "what" you use. The presence of the photographer is the constant … and people are bigger, more obvious, more predominate than what they have in their hand. The difference between a A7 and a Pro DSLR is nothing compared to how a person melds themselves into a situation. How you go about that, is what makes the difference.

    I also believe that the difference between a rangefinder and a DSLR or Mirrorless camera is more about the photographer's shooting experience than the subject's experience. A rangefinder simply eliminates many distractions regarding what an image will look like, allowing the photographer to place more attention on what the image is about. IMO, it is easier to concentrate on content with a rangefinder than with any TTL camera. This doesn't mean it cannot be done with a DSLR, it is just fraught with more visual distractions, like the effect of focal length and DOF, which are nonexistent with a rangefinder.

    What the SL brings to the party is a simple interface that is sorely lacking in most other competitive choices. IMO, Sony is the most egregious violator of simplicity and elegant workflow, and seems impervious to the concept of simplicity no matter how many whine about it. Years later, I still haven't warmed up to the Sonys for that reason (and a few others).

    What I do not like about the SL are the image qualities I've seen so far. That is subject to change as the camera gets more use and more lenses come out for it … the S development was similar at first.

    - Marc
    Simplicity comes at a price. The A7rM2 may have more depth in it's menus but in doing so offers a far more capable shooting package for both stills and videos. The AF system in the SL, for example, is very simple. Here's one example: when shooting video, the A7rM2 allows you to set AF tracking sensitivity as well as AF drive speed. DP Review posted some recent videos on how superbly effective the A7rM2 AF is when tracking a subject moving towards/away from the camera. Here's the link:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1_Pj92aT_U


    The SL, by comparison, relies on a simple contrast detect AF system to guesstimate subject movement. Try the above test with an SL (I would be interested in seeing the result).

    Now the vast complexity/configurability of the new Sony's may not matter for the majority of those that shoot an SL. I have not seen a single test showing a sequence of images shot at the highest frame rate where a fast moving subject is approaching the camera. Likewise, I have not seen a single video shot with an SL showing a subject moving towards the camera. Every review I've seen of the SL shows it being shot like an M or R, with more or less stationary subjects.

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by siddhaarta View Post
    Quote: "But for me, I will wait until the SL to S adapter is available and test it again."

    I just not (yet) see the point to use the SL with an S-Adapter and S-Lenses (ok, as an emergency back-up maybe). As the sensor has the same pixel-pitch and probably similar technology, the results of a respective crop down from 37 to 24 MP of a S007 shot would be nearly the same.
    For me, I'd be keeping the ccd sensor IQ & S 006, so the SL would be very handy for times when I need high iso shots. (ps-my iPad just tried to autocorrect iso to iOS ) The brief video test looked very nice, but I will try to set up another test shoot in the next couple weeks and this time only use the SL. I mainly use the Panasonic gh4 for video and love it. And we know that Panasonic leant a helping hand in that regard. And since the SL can also use the Leica cine lenses and the 007 can't, it's even more appealing to me than the 007. If you have a 007 I could totally understand only wanting to use that. But, you could also use the SL as a second camera/backup and not have to buy a whole new set of lenses. You can also cherry pick the lenses you want from each product line. For example the SL zoom, the Leica S 100 f/2 , the M nocticron, the R...( I'm not familiar with the favorites from this line, but I remember reading that there are some.) My personal all time favorite lens is the Hassy 100 2.2, which should work with the s to h to s to SL adapter. I would use that on every camera I own, if it was possible. I don't know if I agree with the jack of all trades idea, but I do think it gives you the most flexibility to cater one camera to the lenses(a wide array to choose from) that you want to shoot with, once all the adapters are available of course. At this point, it's really a promising glimpse into the future for Leica and I'm looking forward to seeing where that road takes us.
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post


    I'm certain that a heavier camera body damps the effect of the shutter, and I do believe that it reduces camera shake as more energy is required to move it (more mass=more inertia
    I guess there are two components to camera shake; firstly, just holding it up to the eye, and secondly the action of the mirror and the shutter. The latter might well be damped by a heavier camera and Mr Newton's law. Earlier Leicas had a horizontal shutter, thus a movement at right-angles to the movement for lifting and steadying. Now, they have vertical shutters – I don't know if they are any lighter.

    I was thinking more of the first problem. Lifting a camera to eye level and keeping it there needs two 'sets' of muscles working together; those moving upwards and those moving downwards. When lifting upwards the 'downers' have to 'pay out rope' to permit movement; the uppers and the downers work in a continuous state of dynamic tension. And when the camera is held at eye level, this dynamic activity continues, even if we aren't aware of it. I'm suggesting that the greater the weight/mass of the camera, the greater the effort, and the greater the tension between the two muscle groups. We can sometimes be aware of this when trying to lift something really heavy.

    Mind you, I've never seen if this has been tested; I imagine a heavy camera and a light one of the same size. It's easy to measure any movement (when trying to hold them steady) with lasers – similar to charting eye movements when looking at a picture.

    Camera shake has always been a problem for me, and it's not getting any better.

    Anyone know if camera shake has been empirically tested?
    Sláinte

    Robert.

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Well Vivek
    At the moment it appears that Leica can sell all that they can make.
    ....
    Oh, they sell so few?
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Hi Brad,
    thank you for your view on the SL where I agree with many points.

    I totally agree that today the SL can not compete with Nikon/Canon as a sports camera due to lack of AF-lenses.
    Regarding the ability to track fast moving subjects I have not yet maid my mind but I am afraid you are probably right that it is not a D4s or a d1x.
    On the other side it is pretty fast and maybe just enough for many occasions.

    For me as a user of S and M system (and also T) one big advantage is that the files from the SL with the profiles of lightroom come out a lot like the images from the S in regards of color and contrast. I really like the way Leica tweaks the colors and found to be more happy from the beginning with SL color compared to what I achieved earlier from Sony A7/A7s/A7II.

    The same is valid for the user interface, to have comparable user interface in the MF (S) camera and in the FF-DSLR.

    I also like the flexibility, I just bring the SL+ Zoom+ 2 fast M lenses instead of a M and a Nikon DSLR. in the evening I bring the SL with the fast M primes, during day outside I use the SL with the Zoom.

    SO yes, like others said, it is not the best camera in one category, but it is quite good in many categories.
    It is pretty good for video, it is pretty fast for action, it offers a pretty good IQ for a fast camera (and its pretty expensive )
    I was not sure if it is for me but at the moment I use it more than any other camera.

    The big Pro I see is built and feel, the viewfinder, speed, and color as well as the IQ of the Zoom.
    Where I see room for improvement are the position of the video buttons, and please please more native lenses, and please also some smaller sized f1.8 or f2.0 primes.
    Maybe then I would even consider to drastically reduce my beloved M system.
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    in the evening I bring the SL with the fast M primes, during day outside I use the SL with the Zoom.
    I guess a lot of people will argue that the SL with zoom (about 2kg) is too heavy as a walk around system.

    I usually take the Leica Q (640g) or the Leica Q in combination with the Leica T and zoom (639g).

    Everybody is likely to have a different opinion about this though.

    Best, Joris.
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by JorisV View Post
    I guess a lot of people will argue that the SL with zoom (about 2kg) is too heavy as a walk around system.

    I usually take the Leica Q (640g) or the Leica Q in combination with the Leica T and zoom (639g).

    Everybody is likely to have a different opinion about this though.

    Best, Joris.
    Hi Joris,
    it is very individual and also depends what you do and expect. For example when I go x-country skiing or ride the bike or if I am on a business trip I rather bring a smaller camera like the T (which I like a lot). If I just go for a one hour walk the weight is not an issue for me. I wouldnt mind of the zoom was slower and lighter though.
    I think in case of the Sl its a very nice size, but the zoom is pretty big.
    Best, Tom

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I decided to "get out of Dodge" for a few days and was dithering about what to take along. The SL was a given, finally chose the 15, the 50, and the 180 so I'd have the ability to be completely crazy in what I wanted to shoot. :-)

    G
    Back home now... I used mostly the 15mm, but got a few shots with the 50mm that I enjoy... like this lovely old Stearman just waiting to be fired up.


    Leica SL + Summilux-R 50mm f/1.4
    ISO 64 @ f/1.4 @ 1/100

    The SL is an amazingly competent and camera.

    enjoy!
    G
    Godfrey - GDGPhoto Flickr Stream
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    As far as value propositions go, I think it's pretty cool that someone that is into great looking (nearly medium format size) Leica files can pick up a used S(006) and possibly two used S lenses for just a little bit more than an SL and the 24-90 zoom. The image quality from the (006) is crazy good.

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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Campbell View Post
    I guess there are two components to camera shake; firstly, just holding it up to the eye, and secondly the action of the mirror and the shutter. The latter might well be damped by a heavier camera and Mr Newton's law. Earlier Leicas had a horizontal shutter, thus a movement at right-angles to the movement for lifting and steadying. Now, they have vertical shutters – I don't know if they are any lighter.

    I was thinking more of the first problem. Lifting a camera to eye level and keeping it there needs two 'sets' of muscles working together; those moving upwards and those moving downwards. When lifting upwards the 'downers' have to 'pay out rope' to permit movement; the uppers and the downers work in a continuous state of dynamic tension. And when the camera is held at eye level, this dynamic activity continues, even if we aren't aware of it. I'm suggesting that the greater the weight/mass of the camera, the greater the effort, and the greater the tension between the two muscle groups. We can sometimes be aware of this when trying to lift something really heavy.

    Mind you, I've never seen if this has been tested; I imagine a heavy camera and a light one of the same size. It's easy to measure any movement (when trying to hold them steady) with lasers – similar to charting eye movements when looking at a picture.
    I looked on-line to see if there has been any research on camera weight and camera shake. Plenty of articles abut the right stance and so on; and the general consensus is that a heavier camera would be more stable. There must be a limit to this, though, a weight beyond which hand-holding isn't more stable. Further, big lenses usually have a built-in tripod mount, rather suggesting that tripod use is (almost) essential. Of course, many such lenses are longer than normal, so affecting the centre of gravity.

    But I could not find any article where the hypothesis 'heavier camera, less camera shake' had been empirically tested.
    Sláinte

    Robert.
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Campbell View Post
    I looked on-line to see if there has been any research on camera weight and camera shake. Plenty of articles abut the right stance and so on; and the general consensus is that a heavier camera would be more stable. There must be a limit to this, though, a weight beyond which hand-holding isn't more stable. Further, big lenses usually have a built-in tripod mount, rather suggesting that tripod use is (almost) essential. Of course, many such lenses are longer than normal, so affecting the centre of gravity.

    But I could not find any article where the hypothesis 'heavier camera, less camera shake' had been empirically tested.
    Experience has shown me that a heavier camera, using a good hand-strap, is more stable … initially. Using one on a steady basis (such as at a wedding) also shown me that "fatigue shake" sets in sooner. The act of constantly lifting a Pro DSLR to your eye can be quite a strain … even though I worked out with a trainer while doing weddings, I still ended up with "Camera Elbow" from time-to-time. My Rotator Cuff wasn't all that happy about it either. Bending forward while squatting down made for a back issues … but that was true with a smaller/lighter camera also.

    IBIS in my Sony DSLR/SLTs allowed me to move from Pro Canon/Nikons to a bit smaller/lighter camera while actually improving the image acuity from most used focal lengths at a wedding or event, which were not stabilized on the Canikons.

    - Marc
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    Re: Two different views on the Leica SL

    I don't think anyone has ever formally tested the "larger, heavier camera reduces camera shake" axiom because it has been empirically demonstrated for many years. The axiom is true up to a point ... there's obviously a point where the weight and size becomes too much to hold without fatigue, fatigue generating greater muscle induced shake.

    I don't hold up a camera so often or so long (anymore) that fatigue is a concern. The Leica SL plus 24-90 is not heavy enough to cause such fatigue, for me, since I don't work that way. That said, I am not fond of carrying and hand-holding such a large and heavy lens anyway. I only do it occasionally.

    More important to me is that the SL is large enough and uncluttered enough, and has enough grip and gripping surface, that I can hold it steadily and without strain for quite a lot of time. Its shutter is amazingly smooth and quiet too, inducing far less vibration into the camera assembly than most others. These two things together counter the large size and heaviness; couple them with a sensibly sized and ergonomic Leica R lens (most from 19 to 180 mm are beautifully balanced on the SL body) and the SL allows me to shoot at even longer exposure times than the M-P with less camera-and-musculature-induced motion blur.

    The SL in a bag with three lenses as I wandered with it this weekend (Super-Elmar-R 15, Summilux-R 50, Elmar-R 180/4) is not a light weight kit, but it is an absolute pleasure to work with. As I said up-thread: they made this camera for me.

    And for that I am very grateful. :-)

    G
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