The Leica SL2-S is going to be announced by the manufacturer in the next few months, according to the latest reports. The question is, will it be again be a rebodied Panasonic – this time the S5?
If the Leica SL2-S does indeed hit the market imminently, it may well appear in early November – which is when its predecessor, the Leica SL2 (opens in new tab), was announced almost a calendar year ago.
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Of course, the original SL2 was suspiciously similar in specs and performance to the Panasonic S1R (opens in new tab) – from its 47 megapixel resolution (which can be hulked up to 187MP via pixel shift mode) to its 10fps mechanical / 20fps electronic continuous shooting speed, to its 4K 60p / FullHD 180p video.
And obviously, since the S1R was released, the Panasonic S5 (opens in new tab) has hit the market. So the cynical-minded are no doubt asking whether the follow-up to an upcycled Panasonic camera will be an upcycle of the follow-up Panasonic camera.
There are no conspiracy theories here; Leica has a history of rebadging Panasonic cameras, such as the Leica V-Lux 5 (opens in new tab) (a Panasonic FZ1000 (opens in new tab) with a red dot on the front) and Leica D-Lux 7 (opens in new tab) (a Panasonic LX100 II (opens in new tab) in a new body). So will the upcoming camera, leaked by Nokishita (opens in new tab), see the same kind of "Leica magic"?
If so, we could be looking at a Leica SL2-S that is (like the S5) a smaller and lighter version of the SL2 while still packing plenty of firepower. That would include a full-frame 24.2MP sensor, capable of 6K photo mode (producing 18MP stills from video, and "shooting" at up to 30fps), along with 4K video at up to 60p in 10-bit 4:2:0 and 1080p (Full HD) at up to 180p, and dual memory card slots.
None of which is to take away from either the original SL2 or this follow-up. The original is, after all, a very good camera (exactly as good as the S1R, shockingly). Just remember to act surprised if it is what we think it is.