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

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    Not meant to be a hostile question. The issue is where does Leica go from here?

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

    For M users, the SL is still king due to the Sony sensor glass not accomodating well.

    That said - they really need to expand the lineup in a few different dimensions.
    Right now SL is basically targetting the big/beefy camera/zoom crowd. The ecosystem is too expensive and lens lineup too small to pull many working pros I'd imagine.

    It's an attractive camera for Leica users, but I am put off by total lack of smaller/lighter/moderate speed primes.

    I'd also love to see a lighter altenate body.

    They could also release a Monochrom version since Leica fans like that sort of thing..

    They probably need an SL2 with higher resolution, but I worry they need to update the S first as they don't want to step on their own toes.
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    Do people buy Leica because they make the most technically sophisticated cameras? I am not sure the a9 impacts the SL. Leica seems to understand their brand and their customer. I am not sure how many "Leica killers" have been released in my lifetime--I have lost count--but Leica seems to be doing well.
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    Whatever happened to the T? Leica makes Leica killers and not Sony.
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    The A9 just reminds me of one thing: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
    It really is Sony's SL, isn't it? Slightly cheaper, probably less solidly built, a bit more complicated interface, but otherwise similar.
    I bet Sony management said "why didn't we make this?" in Q3-2015, and it took until Q2-2017 to have something ready.

    To me, the rationale for the SL is the same as ever. The A9 really isn't much cheaper, and it only improves performance for stuff I don't need (11 fps is plenty, I rarely use more than 1fps).

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

    Weather sealing!

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

    Putting aside matters of price, what I most appreciate about Leicas is their user friendliness. If you've ever used a camera, you can use a Leica, without reading a manual or browsing through a multi-page menu of commands.
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard View Post
    The A9 just reminds me of one thing: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
    It really is Sony's SL, isn't it? Slightly cheaper, probably less solidly built, a bit more complicated interface, but otherwise similar.
    I bet Sony management said "why didn't we make this?" in Q3-2015, and it took until Q2-2017 to have something ready.

    Surely, this is a joke, right?
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Surely, this is a joke, right?
    Not a joke. The first thing that occurred to me when I read the A9 specs is "oh, they've built an SL."
    It's a close copy of the SL's specifications and philosophy.

    Such a camera seems obvious now, but lots of commenters were dismissive in 2015 when Leica announced a pro-spec full-frame mirrorless. I think Sony realized the implications and started working on this camera right away. The timeline fits.

    The comparison is even more pertinent outside of the US, where the SL costs thousands less, and the Sony costs a thousand more. That makes them nearly the same cost, depending which accessories you need and what lenses you own.

    Obviously, some will argue that the two cameras have nothing in common, given that one has feature A (bluetooth?), and the other has feature B (60 seconds exposure?).

    For me, the choice is easy. A clearer menu and 11 fps beats a confusing menu and 20 fps. And, I prefer Leica's color rendition.
    Others will point-out an A9 feature that is crucial to their workflow.
    The overall conclusion is that both are targeting the same market, which is the mirrorless version of the D5/1Dx "pro" cameras.

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

    Oh, brother! You must be a Leica super duper fan!

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

    Ha! Seriously Bernard? The Sony A series bodies came out 2 years before the SL. Who copied whom?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by 2WK View Post
    Ha! Seriously Bernard? The Sony A series bodies came out 2 years before the SL. Who copied whom?
    We are discussing the A9, just announced yesterday.

    It's conceptually different from the 24 MP A7, it is priced much higher, and has "professional" specifications (if you need frame rates rather than megapixels).

    Sony freely admits that this is their first mirrorless camera that is aimed squarely at the D5 and 1Dx2, which they never claimed with the A7 series.

    I pointed-out that the SL is also aimed at this market, and has similar specifications (4K video, 24 MP, up-to ISO 50,000, double-digit fps). If you live outside of the US, both cameras are priced at the same level too, which makes comparisons very pertinent. (Obviously, the actual street price of the A9 won't be known until it starts shipping).

    We both know that Leica and Sony offered other FF cameras prior to these two, aimed at other markets. The A9 isn't an obvious move for Sony, people expected them to release another A7, with 50+ megapixels. Instead they come-up with this camera.

    The A9 and SL are obvious cameras to compare, they have similar prices and specifications. In the same way, the D5 and 1Dx2 are obvious cameras to compare, as they have similar prices and specs.

    I know Leica is a touchy subject on the internet, that's why I try to avoid the topic as much as possible. I thought it was safe to compare the A9 and SL on a civilized forum, under a topic that specifically asks for such comparisons. Evidently I am too much of an optimist...

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

    "I think Sony realized the implications and started working on this camera right away. The timeline fits."

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

    (Latin: "after this, therefore because of this") is a logical fallacy that states "Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X."
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    Ignoratio elenchi!

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

    The only reason in thinking there is no rationale for buying an SL because of the Sony a9 release is a thing called "perceived obsolescence." Companies have done a great job of getting consumers to "upgrade" perfectly amazing machines simply by training them that somehow they will be "missing" something if they don't. Companies used to simply use product design to get people to spend for replacing "old" perfectly working items (fashion is a powerful force). Today, it is features or megapixels or the idea that the next iteration has a quality advantage. I feel sorry for the camera companies because they have been sucked into this. It was not that long ago when a camera company could keep a film camera in production for a decade or more. Today, they have a couple of years at best. This constant demand makes camera production very inefficient and costly. It has gotten so bad that the review of the Fuji X100F I read at DPreview was simply pitched to X100T owners and whether they should "upgrade." There was no thought that someone might be buying their first X100 model--the review never addressed anything about the camera in general, like the hybrid viewfinder, but simply assumed reader would only be those with an earlier model. This is a little insane.
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    I'd buy a Leica SL tomorrow.(ok, doh! )

    I'll wait on real world A9 before it can claim to be an SL killer.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    Not meant to be a hostile question. The issue is where does Leica go from here?
    Anyone asking this, has probably never tried an SL

    Being honest, as a sony user(a7r, a6000, a7ii, a7rii), all thoses sony camera feels like electronics plastic toys with a good sensor ...
    I went to my leica dealer last week, and tried the SL, i was very impressed, the Efv is very good and big (there is no comparaison with sony), menu system and customisation are so much better implemented, the camera feel very solid, and has a perfect fit in hands ...

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

    I can't afford any of them at the moment, but I don't need 20fps, or at least I haven't needed it the previous 60 years of my life. Also, I would much rather buy my camera from a manufacturer that keeps a low, understated profile rather than claiming "game changer" and "revolution" for every second model they launch. I've seen the sample photos on their website. There's nothing revolutionary about them.

    Look at the illustration below. Apart from the obvious fact that the SL features a top LCD and the A9 not, watch the distance between the grip and the lens (the Sony lens is the 24-70mm f/2.8). At least one reviewer has pointed out that his fingers touch the lens when just moving slightly. While the SL seems to be a very well planned camera, Sony, in this third iteration of the A7/9 series, are introducing features that they omitted the two first rounds, but now fix by popular demand. Some of those features have been standard on high end and semi high end cameras for a long time, like back button focus. Although their users seem to be happy, I keep wondering why they keep serving half baked cameras. There's nothing half baked about the SL.



    What I would prefer even more though is a TL with a viewfinder and a grip that isn't so slippery, while keeping the cool unibody. It's one of the prettiest cameras ever, and I trust the lenses are good.

    Disclaimer:
    The author of this posting is a known Sony hater and is required to wear a brown paper bag over his head whenever he comes within a distance of 10 metres of a Sony user, regardless of product.

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

    When I read the A9 announcement I immediately thought of the SL and wondered how this will pan out......

    Finally, East meets West, the new Nissan is on the same stretch of road as Aston Martin......Consumer electronics giant up against a peerless camera maker........game console fiddly buttons against analysed ergonomics......should be fascinating!

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

    "peerless camera maker".



    Excellent thread!



    Am i in north korea?


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

    I am convinced to go now the SL path ....

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

    The single biggest unknown is the capability of the A9 AF system to handle continuous focusing .

    As an SL owner it is a terrific camera and very well implemented ..except for AF . The SL is very fast and is always ready to shoot ,is built like a tank ,has a excellent EVF and a well thought out user interface (its not really intuitive but with a little effort it can be customized to near perfection ).

    The SL existing lenses are excellent but all big heavy Pro quailty ...the smaller fit to purpose F2 primes are yet to come .

    The largest draw back on the SL is it just will not adequately maintain focus ..when used in CF mode . I have used it extensively for auto racing ,polo and surfing . Two aspects (1) can it acquire the focus point in mixed lighting and (2) can it maintain that focus point thru a full series of captures . Using the SL ....forget it ..it doesn t . So how does a camera squarely aimed at action photography be so far behind .

    The reference standard for AF continuous tracking is the Nikon D5 ...it is beyond my expectations and better than the D4 and D4s . The D5 will track with a F1.4 lens wide open the width of a tennis court . It will handle a polo pony coming straight at you thru the goal with a 400/2.8AF and never lose focus . No EVF camera has even approached that standard .

    Will be very interested to see what a Professional Sports Photographer says about the new A9 .....

    Yes 20 FPS and no black out are impressive improvements for the A9 ..but the proof will be the AF tracking .
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    Much more logical to see the A9 as a continuation of the A7II...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard View Post
    The A9 just reminds me of one thing: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
    It really is Sony's SL, isn't it? Slightly cheaper, probably less solidly built, a bit more complicated interface, but otherwise similar.
    I bet Sony management said "why didn't we make this?" in Q3-2015, and it took until Q2-2017 to have something ready.

    To me, the rationale for the SL is the same as ever. The A9 really isn't much cheaper, and it only improves performance for stuff I don't need (11 fps is plenty, I rarely use more than 1fps).

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

    Quote Originally Posted by ErikKaffehr View Post
    Much more logical to see the A9 as a continuation of the A7II...
    The relationship between the A7II and the A9 reminds me of the relationship between the 1Ds and 5D, before they diverged with the 1Dx. The sensor size and resolution are similar, but everything else is different.
    The A7 and A9 both come from the same company, but the A9 isn't a replacement for the less expensive A7II (which remains available). The A9 is Sony's entry in the pro stills market, which is not something they've attempted before with mirrorless. They've had a few attempts over the years on the SLR side (and as Minolta before that). It will be interesting to see how they fare now that they are not competing directly with Nikon and Canon.

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

    Hi,

    The body is the same between A7II and A9, they made it a bit more sturdy, added drive/AF selector on the left hand, added a joystick and relabeled two buttons plus put a large battery inside.

    The major news is the sensor that more relates to the A6500, stacked design with a front side LSI.

    If they compete with Canon or Nikon is hard to say. It depends if they can deliver on viewfinder lag and AF functionality. If the A9 will deliver a higher success rate than Nikon or Canon than it will gain market share.

    Best regards
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard View Post
    The relationship between the A7II and the A9 reminds me of the relationship between the 1Ds and 5D, before they diverged with the 1Dx. The sensor size and resolution are similar, but everything else is different.
    The A7 and A9 both come from the same company, but the A9 isn't a replacement for the less expensive A7II (which remains available). The A9 is Sony's entry in the pro stills market, which is not something they've attempted before with mirrorless. They've had a few attempts over the years on the SLR side (and as Minolta before that). It will be interesting to see how they fare now that they are not competing directly with Nikon and Canon.

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

    Assuming the A9 delivers WRT AF speed, AF-C and AF tracking as well as having a better than optical viewfinder because with no blackout - the key question will be if Sony can roll out 3 or 4 high speed primes typically required by professional sports shooters. If they manage to do so and also for a adequate price, they are poised to win IMHO.

    If they take to long for these primes then the A9 remains still a remarkable camera and a real milestone in photographic history.

    And for many, including me, they tick already almost all the boxes, especially with the new 100-400. This lens together with the Zeiss 16-35 and the G-master 24-70 plus a few fast primes is all I ever will need. Hard to resist for the moment ....

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

    Leica M and R lenses can be mounted on an A9 via a Techpro adapter and made to auto focus! There are no other platforms that allow that.
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    Just my opinion but the rationale for the SL remains a digital mirrorless body to utilize R, M, and SL lenses. I don't really see the SL as a pro line camera to compete with the 1Dx or the D5 for the simple reason that there are only a handful of native lenses and there's only a contrast detect AF system.

    I dont want to dive dive too deep into the A9 in this thread but I agree that it's an expansion on the A7 bodies more than a total different philosophy outside an emphasis on speed for photojournalist/sport photographers. The updates are welcomed butmany of them are nice to have versus needed for me.

    While one could argue about the "pro" ability of Sony FE cameras, the reality is that many pros use them to great success for paying work. Just the same as everyone shooting a Leica isn't a dentist or collector, people should really be mindful and careful of the labels and name calling. The Sony bodies are very capable for 98% of all types of usage and offer pretty much every feature (and then some) that leading cameras in their class offer. I'm a former Leica owner and I liked using my M9/M9-P but I moved onto Sony for the added versatility and flexibility which was a huge advantage for me.
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    This a pro camera body:



    Exactly what functionality is required to make something "professional"? And I know a few people that would drool more for this hunk of metal than either an SL or a9.
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    I think that for 35mm (and only 35mm), "pro" generally means faster, sturdier, greater autonomy, and manufacturer support. Lots of professionals do not use (nominally-)pro 35mm cameras, and even more amateurs do, so it's an intent rather than a description. Traditionally, the PROfession was photojournalism, which is past its glory days.

    It's a lot easier to define "pro" for video these days: 10-bit, 4:2:2, an editable codec, low compression and, more and more, an ACES workflow.

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

    Traditionally, the first "professional" photography was portraiture. Photojournalism was a later profession in term of photography. The vast majority of photography can fall under instagram, wedding, and commercial. I am sure some people will love the a9 just as some love another camera.
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Traditionally, the first "professional" photography was portraiture. Photojournalism was a later profession in term of photography. The vast majority of photography can fall under instagram, wedding, and commercial. I am sure some people will love the a9 just as some love another camera.
    Exactly.

    By both definitions the M does and has always fallen under the "pro" umbrella but that doesn't mean it's the best camera to shoot sports nor is it officially weather sealed. Pro simply means that there are people using it to make money (to which many cameras can check this box) and that it fits under a certain umbrella of build quality/service expectation to which one can say that all Full Frame, Medium Format, and a few cropped sensored Phase One, Hasselblad, Olympus, Fuji, Sony, Canon, and Nikon cameras generally fall within that umbrella judging from their pro service programs.

    I dont know that Leica has a service program for anything other than S cameras but some still consider the M and SL as pro cameras even without some of the "pro features."
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Traditionally, the first "professional" photography was portraiture. Photojournalism was a later profession in term of photography. The vast majority of photography can fall under instagram, wedding, and commercial. I am sure some people will love the a9 just as some love another camera.
    True I guess if you consider Brady's 1860s American Civil War documentation images as "Later" First portraits weren't professional ... War journalism is nearly as old as "professional" portraiture.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by iiiNelson View Post
    Exactly.

    By both definitions the M does and has always fallen under the "pro" umbrella but that doesn't mean it's the best camera to shoot sports nor is it officially weather sealed. Pro simply means that there are people using it to make money (to which many cameras can check this box) and that it fits under a certain umbrella of build quality/service expectation to which one can say that all Full Frame, Medium Format, and a few cropped sensored Phase One, Hasselblad, Olympus, Fuji, Sony, Canon, and Nikon cameras generally fall within that umbrella judging from their pro service programs.

    I dont know that Leica has a service program for anything other than S cameras but some still consider the M and SL as pro cameras even without some of the "pro features."
    A vast majority of professional photographers use something other than a Leica. By "vast", I mean almost all of them. In my 45+ years as an art director only one pro I hired used a Leica R film camera (along with a Contax 645 as the primary system). In all the weddings I shot with other pros for 20+ years, or pros shooting other weddings at a multiple wedding venue, I was the only one using a Leica M or R ever (and not exclusively because a Canon, or Nikon, and now Sony was the primary kit).

    The S was positioned as a pro camera but the reliability and service record argues other-wise. Very few Pros can afford the time required to baby the S system and send stuff off for spa vacations in Germany for endless months.

    Which brings me to "where does Leica go from here" ... fix the service issues and validate pros with a program so they can get stuff fixed fast without knowing someone or knowing the secret hand-shake or secret password.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Traditionally, the first "professional" photography was portraiture. Photojournalism was a later profession in term of photography.
    That's why I limited the scope of my statement to 35 mm. cameras.

    The first photographic profession was travel, but portraiture eclipsed travel as soon as plates became sensitive enough.

  36. #36
    Super Duper
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    I am still quite happy with my SL and strongly prefer its handling over the A7II and A/s I once owned.
    The 24-90 alone is a strong reason for the SL.
    Also much better size camera as soon as you want to use pro-lenses.
    I would however appreciate if Leica works on their C-AF speed and on both S-AF and C-AF for the 50/1.4.
    Maybe phase-AF in the SLII?
    Last edited by Paratom; 2 Hours Ago at 05:48.

  37. #37
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    Re: What's the rationale for the SL after the Sony A9 announcement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Traditionally, the first "professional" photography was portraiture. Photojournalism was a later profession in term of photography. The vast majority of photography can fall under instagram, wedding, and commercial. I am sure some people will love the a9 just as some love another camera.
    "traditon killer", a Barnack box, revolutionized photography. The good old creative days for a certain company.

    The fire/drive has passed on and is with Sony now.

  38. #38
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    Re: 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.

    Good luck.

    G

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