Leica SL2, 10-Bit 5K Full-Frame Mirrorless Filmmaking Camera

26 Mar 2020

4 Min Read

Of all the countries in the world, only a number of them have been able to produce cameras that are accepted by the professionals, and Germany by Leica is surely one of them. Leica as a company with years of experience produces nearly everything that is related to optics and in this case, the German company is considered a pro manufacturer. But this is not the reason we’re talking about Leica company, we’re talking about them because of their new camera Leica SL2, a camera that brings Leica company to the world of filmmaking. And “film” is a word that grabs our attention as videographers. So let’s dig in to see what Leica SL2 has to offer.

Sensor

Leica SL2 is a full-frame camera with a 47.3 MP CMOS sensor that is incredible in terms of creating detailed images with high quality. The images it produces are very sharp and colorful thanks to its color depth of 14 bits per RGB channel. It’s this sensor that enables you to capture 5k, DCI, UHD 4K, and Full HD in an acceptable way all in 10-bit H.264. Its sensor plus the ISO capability of 50,000 is the tool you can rely on to work in every setting even in the low light.  

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Leica SL2 is a full-frame camera with a 47.3 MP CMOS Sensor

Cine Mode

As I said before, SL2 is planning to enter the world of cinema and that’s why they’ve separated photo and video settings in its menu, where you can set the camera to Cine mode and film like a pro. It’s been stated that the quality is so good and cinematic that people sometimes mistake the footage for a video out of a RED cinema camera. And this means you can use SL2 to create beautiful cinematic videos and not just photos. 

Video resolutions and frame rates

In terms of frame rate possibilities, the ability to record at 180 fps in Full HD seems so cinematic to me as it enables you to shoot videos that are much better in presenting details and are so smooth and clear if you want to make slow-mo. SL2 records 5k up to 30 fps and 4k up to 60 fps and it’s so good for pro videographers. You can see the detailed list of video resolution as well as other frame rates in the picture below.

Lenses

Leica with L-mount capability has opened the door to a variety of lenses for different purposes. L-mount is a standard designed by Leica, Sigma and Panasonic to enable creatives to investigate through lenses easily especially M-lenses and SL-lenses. By using lenses like Leitz Cine, you will get the exact cinematic look that you want for your videos without having to pay for expensive cameras.  

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Leica SL2 Lenses

In-body Stabilization

Image stabilization is a new feature in a Leica camera which is added to the SL2 for the first time. The technology that’s been used here is the sensor-shift technology that enables you to shoot hand-held shots without worrying about the camera shake and stop using a tripod for every shot. This helps you to have clear images without blurring so you don’t need to solve shakiness in post-production.

Processor

As the speed of a camera matters in many projects, Leica has tried to make SL2 a fast camera by using the Maestro III processor. By using a processor like this you’ll easily work during projects that require using continuous shot mode and needs a good run of the buffer memory. Maestro III also helps the camera to work faster in case of applying autofocus or when dealing with SD card slots and want your raw files to be saved simultaneously in DNG and JPEG format.
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Leica SL2 Maestro III Processor
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Leica SL2 In Body Stabilization
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Leica SL2 Object Detection AF

Object Detection AF

Although many pro videographers go with manual focus to get their shots, Autofocus still matters for some. For photographers mostly when they want to capture moving objects, autofocus and subject-tracking come in handy and for filmmakers when it comes to capturing almost everything around them, especially moving human subjects. That’s why SL2 has an acceptable AF system that is more than enough for many cases. This is how the company describes it; 

In addition to an array of modes and features, including face recognition, the SL2’s high-performance AF system also automatically detects whether a subject is stationary or in motion, and subsequently switches between motion and focus priority.

Body

Made of aluminum, magnesium, and leatherette, the SL2 has a beautiful design to satisfy our eyes and a good set of material to make the user feel comfortable while using it. Beauty aside, SL2 by having an IP54 certificate provides resistance against dust and splash water and it is a good option for people who want to do creative jobs in tough situations and need a robust camera. SL2 is 146x107x42, and without the battery, it weighs about 835 g which is not bad. It is somehow as they say, “Crafted with Conscience.”    

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Leica SL2 Body is made of Aluminum, Magnesium, and Leatherette
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Leica L2 Robust and Dust and Spraywater Resistant

Interface

As for the ports and interfaces, the SL2 has almost nothing short to help you work easily but you know that in this playground, no camera is perfect. Here’s the list of what you’ll get on a Leica SL2;

  • ISO accessory shoe with additional control contacts
  • HDMI jack 2.0b Type A 
  • USB 3.1 Gen1 Type C
  • Audio-Out 3.5 mm/ Audio-In 3.5 mm             
  • Communication interface in the base cover for multifunction hand grip

Leica FOTOS

We always appreciate the applications that connect to our devices and enable us to use them easier with lots of options and in this case, Leica FOTOS does that well. It’s an application that allows you to connect your SL2 via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth® to your mobile or iPad to control your camera, transfer your images and also do tasks like viewing, editing and, sharing your stuff.

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Connect your SL2 via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth® to Your Mobile or iPad

Conclusion

At the end of the day, paying about $ 6000 to get a Leica SL2, is related to your taste of camera and the set of features you need and this is what I say about every camera. But the ancient camera manufacturer has done its job so well that everyone wants to try it out. But as always, there are videographers who avoid buying first-timers and tend to trust approved cameras with a background full of other professional cinema cameras. So which side are you? Will you give it a chance or not?

Sample images of Leica SL2

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Sample images of Leica SL2 (Photo by : Xiomara)
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Sample images of Leica SL2 (Photo by : Xiomara)
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Sample images of Leica SL2 (Photo by: Guindani)
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Sample images of Leica SL2 (Photo by: McCury)
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Sample images of Leica SL2
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Sample images of Leica SL2 (Photo by: Xiomara)
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Sample images of Leica SL2
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