Leica Camera has officially unveiled the Leica SL2, a major update on the 2015 model, which features a 47-megapixel CMOS sensor plus in-body image stabilisation.

The new Leica SL2. (Source: Leica Camera.)

The new camera has been developed with feedback from photographers and existing SL owners and includes refinements to the body design and improvements to imaging and video capabilities. The SL2 is the only mirrorless camera designed and crafted in Germany. It boasts a solid, all metal construction and elegant leather cladding that are designed for durability. The SL2’s IP54 certification ensures high level of weather sealing for more challenging situations, while a new option to turn off noise reduction during long exposures allows for more hands-free shooting.

The SL2’s 47-megapixel CMOS image sensor can record detailed images with a wide dynamic range, a colour depth of 14 bits per RGB channel and a sensitivity of up to ISO 50,000.   Even when combined with Leica TL lenses, which are designed for the smaller sensor format of the Leica TL2 and CL, the SL2’s sensor still delivers an excellent image resolution of over 20 megapixels. In-camera image stabilisation ensures steady shooting, even with unstabilised lenses. A new multi-shot mode enables the tripod-mounted camera to record up to eight consecutive frames, shifting the sensor in half-pixel increments in between every exposure to deliver images with a resolution of around 187 megapixels.

The new Maestro III processor facilitates many aspects of the SL2’s performance. The autofocus is significantly faster and allows for a virtually lag-free shutter release in any shooting situation, which is further complemented by the new Smart AF mode, which autonomously switches between focus priority and shutter release priority. The new Leica Object Detention AF ensures a fast and reliable AF, enabling the system to detect whether a subject is stationary or in motion and automatically switch between motion and focus priority. Full-resolution recordings of consecutive images are possible at 10 frames per second with the focal plane shutter, and 20 frames per second with the electronic shutter. Thanks to two UHS-II-compatible SD card slots, raw files can be saved simultaneously in DNG and JPEG format.

The user interface is similar to those used in the existing M and Q systems, making adjusting controls even easier for existing Leica photographers. The main recording parameters can be viewed on the rear display and adjusted quickly and easily with a simple finger tap. A click wheel, a joystick and three strategically placed, individually configurable buttons also contribute to a straightforward operation. Thanks to two dedicated status menus for stills and video recording, the parameters for either shooting mode can be adjusted entirely separately from each other.

The camera’s electronic viewfinder now boasts a resolution of 5.76 megapixels, providing a natural-looking viewfinder image. The touchscreen monitor has increased in size to a 3.2-inch diagonal, and now offers a significantly higher resolution of 2.1 megapixels. The SL2 also supports 4K video recording and includes Cine 4K at up to 60 frames/second plus up to 180 fps in Full-HD mode. Activating Cine mode transforms the SL2 into a manually controlled cine camera as ISO becomes ASA, the shutter speed is marked in degrees on the rotary disk shutter, and the f-stops indicating the aperture ratio are replaced by T-stops, which measure the actual amount of light transmitted through the lens. The camera now features a built-in headphones and mic jack, complemented by a fully-fledged HDMI connector for external monitors.

The Leica SL2 will be available via Leica Stores and authorished Leica dealers from November 21 for AU$9900.00 (camera body only). Click here for more information.