The Leica SL2-S has been officially unveiled by the manufacturer, and is being positioned as the 'Leica for videographers' with its limit-free 10-bit 4K 60p capabilities, leaner body and sensor resolution, and lower price point.
On paper the Leica SL2-S is a less expensive, lower resolution version of the original Leica SL2 – though this new 24MP full-framer has some very welcome new features that make it more than just a smaller camera with a smaller price tag.
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In terms of video the 10-bit 4:2:2 4K and C4K are supported by a log profile, which will help extend the dynamic range and allow for more effective color grading options – particularly with the integrated LUTs. Video can be captured up to 60p in both 4K / C4K and 1080p.
In addition, the fact that the SL2-S doesn’t have a limit on recording times (the dreaded 29m 59s limit imposed by many non-video cameras) should provide a benefit for those that prefer to shoot for long intervals.
Leica says that HEVC compression (enabling videos to be split into one-minute sections, in case of data loss) will be added "in the future" for 10-bit recordings up to 4K 60p, with features like waveforms and Follow Focus being also set to be incorporated in the next firmware update.
That said, the lack of an articulating screen is a big drawback for a video-oriented camera – while the fixed 3.2-inch, 2.1 million-dot display is a touch affair, it does make filming (and especially vlogging) more or a challenge.
While Leica may be pushing the camera as a video-centric device, the SL2-S actually boasts some significant advancements for stills shooters as well. Perhaps due to featuring a lower resolution sensor than its 47MP big brother, the sensitivity has been increased to ISO100-100,000 (expandable to ISO50) from ISO100-50,000.
The continuous burst has been ramped up as well. While the original camera was capable of 10fps mechanical and 20fps with the electronic shutter, the Leica SL2-S can rattle off 9fps mechanically and a blistering 25fps electronically (albeit both without continuous AF). The latter is among the fastest on the market, outpacing the likes of the Canon EOS R5.
It retains the 5-axis in-body image stabilization of the SL2, rated to the same 5.5 stops of shake compensation, and also carries over the 225-point contrast detect AF system. The Multishot function quadruples the 24MP sensor's native resolution to 96MP, facilitating high-res shooting under the right circumstances.
The Leica SL2-S is on sale now, priced at $4,895 / £3,975 (approximately AU$7,039).