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Leica SL (Typ 601) review

March 23, 2016

Overall Rating:

4

Leica SL (Typ 601)


  • Features: 8/10
  • Build/Handling: 7/10
  • Metering: 8/10
  • Autofocus: 8/10
  • AWB Colour: 7/10
  • Dynamic Range: 9/10
  • LCD viewfinder: 9/10

Pros:

  • - Extraordinary electronic viewfinder
  • - Excellent image quality
  • - Internal 4K video recording

Cons:

  • - Large, heavy body
  • - Unintuitive controls with poor default set-up
  • - Limited native lens range

Manufacturer:

Manufacturer:

Price as Reviewed:

£5,050.00 (Body only)

It may push the definition of ‘compact’ to its limit, but Leica’s top-end CSC has some outstanding features that set it apart from the rest, as Andy Westlake discovers

Leica SL (Typ 601) review – Autofocus

Effective image stabilisation allowed me to handhold at 62mm and 1/6sec

Effective image stabilisation allowed me to handhold at 62mm and 1/6sec

Leica has made very bold claims about the SL’s autofocus, saying it’s the world’s fastest in any full-frame camera, and while this should be taken with a pinch of salt I had few complaints in real-world use. In fact, the autofocus behaves much as I’d expect from a modern contrast-detection system; it’s very fast, essentially silent and near 100% accurate. It also works well in low light, so long as you pay attention to where you place the focus area (which is made very easy by the SL’s joystick controller).

Manual focusing is a breeze, too, due to the huge clear viewfinder and optional focus-peaking display. For the most accurate focusing, live-view magnification can also be engaged in two steps, by tapping the button lower left of the LCD. This is a bit awkward when shooting with the heavy 24-90mm kit zoom, but it should be less of a problem for those using manual-focus lenses via a mount adapter.

  • Sensor: 24-million-pixel full-frame CMOS
  • Output size: 6,000×4,000 pixels
  • Lens mount: Leica L
  • Focal-length mag: 1x
  • Shutter speeds: 60-1/8000sec + bulb
  • ISO: 50-50,000
  • Exposure modes: PASM
  • Metering system: Multi-field, spot, average
  • Exposure comp: ±3EV in 1/3 steps
  • Drive mode: 11fps max, 7fps with AF
  • LCD: 3in, 1.04-million-dot touchscreen
  • Viewfinder: 4.4-million-dot, 0.8x magnification
  • AF points: 49-point contrast-detection
  • Video: Cine 4K (4,096×2,160) at 24fps
  • External mic: Via optional adapter
  • Memory card: SD, SDHC, SDXC (2 slots)
  • Power: BP-SCL4 rechargeable Li-ion
  • Battery life: Approx 400 shots
  • Dimensions: 147x104x39mm
  • Weight: 847g (with battery and card)
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