Leica SL camera 4K video test at Panavision

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Cinoflex tested the video capabilities of the new Leica SL camera and contacted me to share their findings:

We tested the Leica SL camera in 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 Super 35 / 4K 8 bit full frame/ full frame DNG photo mode - with a variety of lenses, including Anamorphic. Equipment used in testing:

  • Cinoflex XLT camera rig
  • Leica SL Typ 601 camera
  • Leica CW Sonderoptic PL mount adapter
  • Odyssey 7Q+ 4k recorder / monitor
  • Leica C-Summilux 50mm T1.4
  • Zeiss Master Prime 100mm T1.3
  • Leica vintage 35mm T1.4 lens (courtesy of Panavision)
  • Kowa anamorphic 40mm T2.4
  • TLS Cooke Speed Panchro S1 50mm T2.3
  • Leica vintage 19mm T2.8 (courtesy of Panavision)
  • Anton Bauer HC battery
  • TV Logic 17" monitor

The Leica SL is very impressive for a few elements:

  • Smooth clean color rendition
  • Very subtle and clean flesh tones out of the box
  • The image is reminiscent of Arri Alexa for a smooth curve
  • Phenomenal build quality, truly one of the most solid cameras
  • Super 35 is almost absent of image shift (jello effect)
  • The image handles aliasing extremely well
  • Easy to hook up with full size HDMI - very important
  • The Leica - or - L LOG is a great Gamma option
  • Menu is very intuitive and limited in pages

The Leica SL produces an outstanding image in this scenario:

  • Super 35 4K 10-Bit 4:2:2
  • Leica Log - L LOG - V LOG / gamma setting
  • PL mount / professional lens
  • On a quality rig (Cinoflex)
  • Cinema lenses to mitigate any image shift in focus (breathing)
  • A dependable and robust recorder - Odyssey 7Q+

The Leica SL is a great camera for video shooters looking for options between high quality 10-Bit 4K S35 and FF HD 1920 Internal (also internal 4K in APS super 35 mode), as well as exceptional DNG photographs! Also, important to note that the version of L LOG tested is still being tweaked so additional performance should be expected the time of delivery (Nov. 16). We will shoot more tests at the end of November with a production model of the Leica SL camera and a variety of lenses.

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