Leica announces SL2-S with 24.6MP and 25fps

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Leica has announced the SL2-S, its newest full-frame mirrorless camera that packs a 24.6-megapixel sensor into a German-made, milled, full-metal body. It's capable of shooting at 25fps and an ISO up to 100,000, and also features considerable video capabilities that makes the new camera much more well-rounded than the Leica SL2.

First, that sensor. DPReview have stated it almost certainly uses the same sensor as in the Sony a7 III, Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 and Nikon Z6 II, and the specs on paper at least seem to back that up. The sensor is also Leica's first backside-illuminated sensor, which should give it some serious low light chops.

Inside, there's a Leica Maestro Series III processor that powers the camera's impressive drive speed - that's 25 frames per second continuously with a 4GB buffer, which means if you shoot in JPEG you will never fill the buffer, or in DNG you'll get up to 999 shots.

As impressive as 25fps sounds, there is a caveat through - it can't be used with continuous AF, and only works with the electronic shutter. With continuous autofocus enabled the camera still shoots at 5 frames per second, or if the mechanical shutter is more your bag, 9 frames per second (with continuous autofocus disabled). 

Leica has kept the same contrast-based autofocus system that was found in the original Leica SL2, and is also used in Panasonic cameras that share the L-Mount. However, the company is also bringing better autofocus functionality to the camera in the new year, promising an update in the first half of 2021 that will include a new autofocus algorithm for improved eye, face, head, and body detection as well as focus tracking.

Also like in the SL2, Leica has equipped the SL2-S with a 5-axis on-sensor image stabilization system that also allows the camera to shoot up to 96-megapixel multi-shot sensor-shift photos. 

The exterior is a thing of beauty - the housing is made of both aluminum and magnesium and covered in a leatherette material. It features a 5.76m-dot electronic OLED viewfinder that can refresh up to 120 frames per second with 100% frame coverage and a magnification of 0.78x, and on the rear of the camera is a 3.2-inch backlit 2.1m-dot touchscreen LED with anti-fingerprint and anti-scratch coatings. 


As well as its stills specs being pretty solid, Leica are pitching the SL2-S as a 'hybrid creative device'. This means it is capable of capturing 4K video at up to 60 frames per second in 10-bit 4:2:2 in Leica L-Log via HDMI out (via a full-size HDMI port), and it can also shoot in true full-frame 4K up to 30p internally. There's no recording limit in any video modes. 

A future firmware release will also support the HEVC video compression for internal 10-bit recordings up to 4K/60p directly to the SD card, along with an integrated waveform monitor and automatic Follow Focus.

And the price? The Leica SL2-S is available now for $7,500 from Leica Store, about $2,500 less than the SL2. 

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