Additional Leica SL Typ 601 camera coverage: reviews, sample photos and hands-on videos

Leica mirrorless
I put together a list of quotes from different online reviews that should give you a pretty good feedback on the new Leica SL Typ 601 camera (of course you should start with our own review first):

“The SL system has been in discussion for 3 and a half years
The sensor and EVF is exclusive to Leica
Leica worked heavily with Panasonic to develop the Leica SL
The Leica SL was designed by the same people who designed the Leica S system
The Leica SL is designed to compete with Digital SLRs” (Ephotozine)

“The Leica M is a special target group. But many people have, besides their Leica M, a DSLR system – for when they need telephoto lenses, extremely wideangle lenses and autofocus. We thought we should offer something that gives them the opportunity to stay in the brand.” (amateurphotographer)

“Photographers who have long used Leica cameras when possible, and more work-oriented Canon and Nikon cameras when necessary, may now be able to stick to one system for everything. It would be dramatic and overblown to suggest that the SL poses a serious threat to either of these camera makers, but it could cause some loyal customers to change the next time they want to upgrade.” (Bloomberg)

“After spending a few days with the Leica SL it’s apparent that Leica have made a very courageous move into the professional mainstream market. While the Leica M and S have both had success in this sector, their reach has been more niche in effect. Leica has clearly aimed their crosshairs at the professional mainstream segment at the Nikon D4s and Canon 1Dx users, as well as those who have made the move to Sony’s mirrorless system.” (Kristian Dowling)

“I admit I find myself somewhat conflicted with the SL: with a few firmware tweaks (fast exposure compensation mainly) and a chunkier handgrip, this camera would be pure joy to shoot. Even so, it still shows the way to the competition in many areas; the tricky question is one of relative value. I think it boils down to how much the shooting experience is worth to you, and whether the SL specifically works for you. Even though we had some clues as to what was coming, the SL takes it a step further, and feels like a next generation product – the Japanese brands are going to have to start playing catch up.” (Ming Thein)

“My biggest reason for not buying into the Leica SL right now is simply the lack of SL lenses. I am a prime lens shooter, I don’t own a single zoom lens, and prefer to shoot mostly everything I can wide open. I like that I can shoot my M lenses on the SL, but I have an M for that, and I love shooting a rangefinder. Once Leica releases a few more lenses, including the 50mm Summilux f/1.4 with AF, I may consider it as a true alternative to my DSLRs. If the SL 50mm Summilux is as good as the one I currently own for the M, it’s going to be like shooting the Zeis Otus but with AF.” (Jay Cassario)

“While the SL most strongly resembles the S within Leica’s existing lineup, it’s interesting to see how Leica has also borrowed aspects of other models. Its touchscreen interface comes from the Q, while the milled aluminium body is reminiscent of the T. However, there’s notably very little M-series rangefinder DNA in the mix. According the Stephan Schulz, Head of Product Management for Leica’s Professional Camera Systems, this is in part because the camera is aimed at professional photographers who are used to working with SLRs. But it’s also because a rangefinder-like form factor wouldn’t work well with the large, heavy zoom lenses that Leica has made for the SL.” (Amateurphotographer)


“So who exactly is the Leica SL for? Well, given Leica’s heritage, particularly amongst reportage photographers, I can see the SL finding a similar audience, but with more and more photographers, and media outlets, wanting video as well as stills, it gives them that outlet.” (Thevideomode)

“Exposures up to 30 mins with no limit on what ISO you can use. I can’t wait to try this out for starfield photos.  Imagine the 21mm f1.4 and ISO3200 on this – goodbye noise.” (Nick Rains)

“A camera and one lens does not make a system, and it would be naive to think that professional photographers are going to ditch extensive Canon/Nikon/Sony kits to buy into the Leica SL system. But in another sense, if you can manage manual focus, the SL really IS a system, with the huge numbers of M and R lenses properly supported with vignetting and colour cast correction as required.” (l-camera-forum)

“It’s exceptionally fast when taking photos, and image output is unsurprisingly fantastic. My only complaints are with the lack of descriptions on the camera’s controls. Leica did this intentionally because everything can be customized, but it’s pretty daunting and confusing when you first pick up the camera.” (The Verge)

“That said, the SL’s viewfinder is better and it is the first full-frame interchangeable lens system to include touchscreen technology. While it has a solid build and a sensibly organised interface, it’s bulkier and weighs more than the Sony Alpha 7 series and a less functional design than a top end Canon or Nikon SLR. Leica is known for its high quality, compact optics. Although the M-mount lenses are manual focus only, the Q lens was neatly sized, so we were surprised to see that their first full-frame L mount lens is rather bulky.”(Digitalcameraworld)

“The Leica SL (Typ 601) is another bold move by Leica, following in the footsteps of the somewhat unloveable T and really impressive Q. Aside from the stunning EVF and unconventional ergonomics, the SL isn’t terribly ground-breaking, and it’s considerably more expensive than full-frame mirrorless (Sony) and DSLR (Canon/Nikon) cameras. But despite its price the SL is still an impressive piece of kit and we expect that it’ll find its way into the hands of well-heeled photographers soon enough.” (Dpreview)

“Leica cameras are expensive, no other way to say it. In the past I always felt comfortable suggesting that potential buyers could justify the cost because of the build-quality, pride of ownership, superlative tactile feedback and indisputably excellent optics. This is the first time I can add outstanding performance and exceptional image quality to the rationale. The Leica SL is a pleasure to use. More importantly, it captures extraordinary images shot after shot.” (Shutterbug)

“The SL is very attractive to look at. It’s minimal approach is handsome, but does make for a steep learning curve. The buttons are completely unlabeled and work dissimilarly to most popular cameras.
The Leica SL is highly capable. I just truly don’t understand who it’s for. Any professional who doesn’t mind carrying the weight of multiple bricks will surely choose a DSLR with more lens options and controls. Any non-professional who wants something even somewhat portable is going to go with the better-performing and much much (MUCH) cheaper Sony A7 series, Fujifilm X series, or Olympus OM-D series.” (Gizmodo)

Some Leica SL Typ 601 size comparisons from Camerasize:

Leica-SL-Typ-601-vs-Sony-a7-size-comparison Leica-SL-vs-Leica-M-size-comparison
Leica SL Typ 601 sample photos (some links include RAW files):

Leica SL Typ 601 hands-on videos:

Hands-on from B&H:

Hands-on from Adorama:

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