Leica yesterday announced the SL, a high-end mirrorless camera with impressive stills and video specs. But its price isn't for the faint of heart.
For starters, the SL features a 24 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and a blazingly-fast Maestro II processor from Leica. In its Super 35mm crop mode, the SL can shoot 4K DCI (4096 x 2160) video at 24fps and UHD (3840 x 2160) at 25 and 30fps. In full frame mode, it can shoot full HD video up to 120fps. Perhaps more impressively, the SL is capable of outputting a 10-bit 4:2:2 signal via HDMI.
To check out Leica's product launch video, click here, or watch it below:
And here's a slightly more in-depth overview of the camera:
Your first taste of Leica SL footage, which comes from photographer Fred Mortagne:
And here are the basic specs of the Leica SL:
- 24MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
- Leica Maestro II Image Processor
- Internal DCI 4K Video in Super35 Mode
- V-Log L Gamma
- 10 Bit 4:2:2 Output via HDMI
- 1080p Slow Motion at 120fps
- 0.66" 4.4MP 0.8x Electronic Viewfinder
- 2.95" 1.04M-Dot LED-Backlit Touchscreen
- Contrast AF System with 49 Fields
- Up to 11 fps Shooting and ISO 50000
- Two SD Card Slots; 1.3" Top LCD Screen
- Weather-Resistant Milled Aluminum Body
- Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity and GPS
- Price: $7,450 - Body Only
So let's get this out of the way. At a price of $7450, the Leica SL is not going to compete with Sony or Panasonic on the mirrorless front, especially for people who use these cameras primarily for filmmaking. This is a high-end stills camera, meant to tap into a market of top-dollar-paying Leica shooters looking for the latest and greatest mirrorless technology.
Yes, the SL offers some compelling video features, and the first footage from it looks good. However, if you're searching for the best bang for your buck in terms of video functionality on a mirrorless camera, the Leica SL probably shouldn't be on your radar, especially considering what Sony is doing with its A7 cameras. To take it one step further, if you have $7500 to spend on a camera body and you're looking to shoot films in 4K, you'd be much better off putting that cash towards a Sony FS7, or even a Blackmagic URSA Mini.
With that said, if you're already a Leica shooter, and you've invested in their glass, you might see this as an exciting progression in Leica's lineup of cameras as it pushes into the world of mirrorless. For the rest of us, however, it just doesn't compete with the other mirrorless options on the market at present. Not for that price.
The Leica SL is expected to begin shipping in limited quantities November 21st, and it can be pre-ordered through B&H.