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Leica SL For Professionals. Only?

The Leica SL - professional specs and mirrorless too!

The Leica SL is a camera to covet. The body will cost you around $10k, the beautiful 24-90mm zoom around $7k, so this is not an insubstantial investment, and yet it remains a camera to covet. It is also possibly the beginning of another first. Leica's Ur-Leica body is said to be the foundation of modern 35mm photography and the Leica SL may well be the foundation of mirrorless cameras for professional photographers.

Yes, the SL is a pro camera, although many enthusiasts will be purchasing it as well, probably more than professionals given the state of the professional market. Unlike Canon and Nikon who have just released their amazing professional DSLRs, the SL is mirrorless, allowing Leica to offer features that the others cannot with a DSLR body.

To begin, there's the weight saving. The 24-megapixel Leica SL weighs 847 g, compared with 1530 g for the EOS-1D X Mark II and 1405 g for the D5. Mind you, when you add the 24-90mm zoom, there is possibly not such a difference.

There isn't a pentaprism or a mirror box, so the camera could be much smaller, but isn't as it still accepts all the old R-series SLR lenses. And while there's no optical viewfinder, the electronic version is very, very good. It's not as clear as an optical viewfinder, not yet, but Leica's is the clearest and brightest we've seen so far and it is a delight to use.

We'd probably opt for the battery grip. As beautifully designed as the SL is, it's sleek lines are perhaps a touch too sleek and may slip through your fingers, but no doubt Leica users will not be fumble-fingered. The battery grip may provide an extra point of contact and it also allows a handstrap.

When you pick up the Leica SL, you have no doubt you are holding the epitome of camera design and build quality, matched by flawless lenses and exquisite image quality. We will enjoy seeing how the market responds to this breathtaking device.

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Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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