New Leica SL2-S is a more accessible, video-focused SL2

Published Dec 10, 2020 | dpreview staff

The new Leica SL2-S is the company’s third full-frame L-mount camera, and is the most video-focused yet. Using a 24MP sensor, the SL2-S offers oversampled (meaning, very detailed) 4K/30p capture with no limit on recording time, along with the option to capture 10-bit footage to either an internal SD card or externally to a recorder. In essence, 10-bit footage means you have far more ability to tweak your video files in post-production if you don’t nail the exposure or white balance at the time of capture.

The camera also has a really generous buffer, meaning you can shoot rapid bursts of images for a long time before the camera starts to slow down. If you’re using continuous autofocus to photograph a moving subject, you can take photos at a maximum of 9 frames per second indefinitely.

Otherwise, it looks and handles nearly identically to the already well-built SL2. It offers an IP54 rating, which looks great against much of the competition that claims weather-sealing but does not back it up with any official rating. The controls have been updated and simplified a little, but a handful of custom buttons mean that most of the options you might want quick access to are close at hand.

The Leica SL2-S is available immediately at a suggested price of $4,895 USD.

Press release:

The New Leica SL2-S is Leica’s Most Versatile Camera for Photography and Videography to Date

The latest addition to the SL-System is the ideal choice to capture timeless photographs and cinematic videos

December 10, 2020 – Introducing the new Leica SL2-S, the perfect solution for anyone seeking outstanding imaging performance in both photography and video production from Leica. With its new 24 megapixel CMOS-BSI sensor and two separate recording modes for photos and videos, the Leica SL2-S offers the best of both mediums in one all-metal, state-of-the-art body built for long-term durability.

The Leica SL2-S expands the multi-faceted SL-System with a versatile full-frame camera that serves as the ideal option for creatives who seek the Leica Look in both still and motion pictures. With its high-speed shooting at continuous burst rates up to 25 frames per second at full resolution and its pro-level cinema capabilities encompassing 10-bit 4K and Cine4K video with no recording length limits, the SL2-S is the ideal choice to capture brilliant photographs and cinematic videos through an intuitive camera that is built to last.

High-Quality Sensor

The core element of the Leica SL2-S is the newly developed backside-illuminated CMOS full-frame image sensor with a resolution of 24 megapixels. The data collected by the sensor is quickly processed by the camera’s Maestro-III processor in conjunction with the generous, 4-gigabyte buffer memory. This, for the first time, enables endless continuous shooting at up to 9 frames per second, where the burst length in JPEG format is only limited by the capacity the memory cards in the camera’s dual UHS-II card slots.

Image Stabilization

The Leica SL2-S features a stabilized image sensor, which provides a highly efficient, multi-axis image stabilization to be used with any Leica lens mounted to the body for a steadier shot yielding sharper results choosing slower shutter speeds. This sensor-shift technology also enables multi-shot capturing, automatically combining eight shots into one image with a fourfold resolution of 96 megapixels. The high sensitivity of up to ISO 100,000 – combined with the fast autofocus and in-body image stabilization – enables photographers to capture excellent images in all kinds of environments and even the dimmest of light.

Optimal Integration

The Leica SL2-S is the first SL model to enable direct tethered shooting with Capture One 21. This gives users the option of full remote control of the camera via the computer through the chosen software of many professional photographers and digital techs. In addition, the SL2-S can also be tethered to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic for seamless integration to Adobe’s widely popular photographic workflow application. An extended 90-day trial of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan is included when purchasing the camera. The Leica SL2-S shares many core attributes as its sibling model, the Leica SL2, such as the unique operating concept and high-resolution Leica EyeRes® viewfinder and utilizes the SL2’s full accessory range. The equally robust, all-metal SL2-S also features weather sealing with a certified IP54 rating against dust and spray water, endless shooting and video recording without overheating and is produced in Germany to the highest quality standards.

Perfect For Creative Videographers

The Leica SL2-S provides not just photographers but also videographers and cinematographers with outstanding possibilities which are continuously optimized via the firmware updates released for SL-System cameras on an ongoing basis. The Leica SL2-S captures 10-bit 4:2:2 videos with Leica’s L-LOG gamma profile, at frame rates of up to 60 fps, ensuring the best quality color reproduction and sharpest results. Thanks to the integrated viewing LUTs (lookup tables), the user will have full control for optimal color quality and post-processing grading throughout the recording. Another pro-level trait is the camera’s unlimited video recording time, meaning the video length is only limited by the SD card or external storage capacity.

Through future firmware developments, the camera will also support the highly efficient HEVC video compression standard for internal 10-bit recordings up to 4K/60p directly to the SD card. This will also allow videos to be split into one-minute segments to minimize the risk of data loss. Other enhanced features, such as an integrated waveform monitor and automatic Follow Focus, will be added with the next firmware update further enhancing the camera’s suitability for professional applications and long-term use.

Limitless Compatibility

Being equipped with the L-Mount makes the Leica SL2-S fully compatible with not just the SL-System’s extensive lens portfolio but also with APS-C TL-Lenses and via adapter, lenses from the Leica M, R, and S-System. The L-Mount Alliance provides SL2-S owners with access to over 40 autofocus lenses from Leica and alliance partners. In addition, Leitz Cine lenses – which are highly coveted among filmmakers around the world – can also be adapted to the Leica SL2-S.

The Complete Dual-Purpose Package

All the new features of the Leica SL2-S along with its established and well-regarded inherited qualities stemming from the Leica SL2 make this camera the perfect all-rounder for still photography and cinematic videography. The latest developments and technical innovations combine seamlessly with the unique build, design, and user interface making the SL2-S the fastest and most widely capable camera from Leica.

The Leica SL2-S is on sale starting today at authorized Leica dealers for $4,895.

Leica SL2-S specifications

Price
MSRP $4895
Body type
Body type SLR-style mirrorless
Body material Magnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution 6000 x 4000
Image ratio w:h 3:2
Effective pixels 47 megapixels
Sensor size Full frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
Processor Maestro III
Color space sRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter array Primary color filter
Image
ISO Auto, 100-50000 (expands to 50-50000)
Boosted ISO (minimum) 50
White balance presets 8
Custom white balance Yes
Image stabilization Sensor-shift
CIPA image stabilization rating 5.5 stop(s)
Uncompressed format RAW
File format
  • JPEG
  • DNG (14-bit)
  • DNG (12-bit) Super High Continuous
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lamp Yes
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 225
Lens mount Leica L
Focal length multiplier 1×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed
Screen size 3.2
Screen dots 2,100,000
Touch screen Yes
Screen type TFT LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Electronic
Viewfinder coverage 100%
Viewfinder magnification 0.78×
Viewfinder resolution 5,760,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 1800 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/8000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic) 1/16000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Shutter priority
  • Aperture priority
  • Manual
Built-in flash No
External flash Yes (via hot shoe)
Flash X sync speed 1/250 sec
Drive modes
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Interval
  • Exposure bracketing
  • Multishot
Continuous drive 20.0 fps
Self-timer Yes (12 or 2 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±3 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±3 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Format MPEG-4, H.264
Modes
  • 4096 x 2160 @ 60p / 150 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 4096 x 2160 @ 50p / 150 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 4096 x 2160 @ 30p / 400 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 4096 x 2160 @ 25p / 400 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 4096 x 2160 @ 24p / 400 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 60p / 150 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 50p / 150 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 400 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 400 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 400 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 20 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 100p / 20 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage
Storage included Dual SD card slots (UHS-II supported)
Connectivity
USB USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
USB charging Yes
HDMI Yes (10-bit output)
Microphone port Yes
Headphone port Yes
Wireless Built-In
Wireless notes 802.11ac + Bluetooth
Remote control Yes (via smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealed Yes (IP54)
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description BP-SCL4
Battery Life (CIPA) 510
Weight (inc. batteries) 931 g (2.05 lb / 32.84 oz)
Dimensions 146 x 107 x 83 mm (5.75 x 4.21 x 3.27)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording Yes
GPS None