Leica SL2-S Challenges
Alright, we've covered the good stuff. Now it's time to discuss my challenges with this camera in the field. First up is autofocus, which everyone's curious about. Despite several updates, it uses a contrast-based autofocus system that struggles in low-contrast and low-light situations. The system is designed to find focus based on contrast—locating the best point of comparison, overshooting just to validate, and looping back. This can result in slower and less accurate focusing.
This wasn't much of an issue in my studio and street photography, but it can be challenging in some faster environments. The camera performed better in photography, but the continuous AF in video or burst shooting is a weak spot, with a lower success rate than other modern options. That could be a dealbreaker for some users.
Also, I'm not one to demand a flip-out screen, but the absence of an upward-tilting display was tricky to handle in certain single-operator situations. I'd instinctively reach down to tilt the screen for a low-angle shot, only to remember that Leica doesn't offer that feature. The LCD sticks out slightly from the body, and I hope they consider revising this in future models by adding a tilting function for extra versatility.
Another feature I'd appreciate is a more visible tally light on the top, making it easier to see if the camera is recording. It would also be nice if the shutter curtain closed when the camera is turned off, and having a fully touch-operated menu would be a helpful upgrade down the line.
Battery life could be a challenge for some users as well. If you focus solely on photography, you should make it through the day. But you'll need 3-4 batteries for intensive photo and video sessions. During a concert where I took portraits and recorded extended video clips, I needed over two batteries for a 4-hour evening. I found myself constantly swapping batteries between songs and carefully managing power. Investing in several extra batteries is a good idea if you're a heavy user like me.
Weight is another consideration. While this camera is ergonomic and comfortable, it may be heavy for some users, especially if you want to lighten your overall kit. This isn't a dealbreaker, but it's something to consider, depending on your shooting style and preferences.
Lastly, I must address the elephant in the room: the price. This camera retails for over $5,000 before discounts and deals. The native lenses for this system, made in Germany, also start around $5,000. So, you're considering investing over $10,000 into a modern Leica SL system.
However, this high price tag isn't really a flaw or unexpected. When cameras and lenses are produced in limited quantities, with the highest standards, and often involving hand-crafted processes, a premium price is necessary to support that quality and future growth. The price isn't solely based on camera specs; it's also about how they're made. Many videos and articles argue that these products are too expensive, but the question remains: but the question remains: who else is offering this experience for less?
As with any luxury item, you must decide if the extra cost is worth the marginal difference for your creative work. Is the unique look and feel of images from this kit worth several thousand dollars more than those from another system? This idea is common in cars, watches, and even cinema cameras. But for some reason, the media can't resist harping on the high price of mirrorless cameras like this one. If someone else could achieve the same experience for less, they would have done so by now.