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

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Leica SL (Typ 601)

AWB Colour:7/10
Dynamic Range:9/10
LCD viewfinder:9/10


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


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


Leica SL (Typ 601) review


Price as reviewed:

£5,050.00 (Body only)

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.

  1. 1. Leica SL (Typ 601) review - Introduction
  2. 2. Leica SL (Typ 601) review - Features
  3. 3. Leica SL (Typ 601) review - Viewfinder and screen
  4. 4. Leica SL (Typ 601) review - Build and handling
  5. 5. Leica SL (Typ 601) review - Autofocus
  6. 6. Leica SL (Typ 601) review - Performance
  7. 7. Leica SL (Typ 601) review - Image quality
  8. 8. Leica SL (Typ 601) review - Our verdict
  9. 9. Leica SL (Typ 601) review - Full specification
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