The Leica SL mirrorless camera will not be replaced anytime soon


Several readers asked me if Leica will introduce a new SL camera after the recent price drop. Here is what David Farkas from Leica Store Miami had to say on this topic:

As far as clearing the decks for a new body, I wouldn’t be so quick to jump to this conclusion. The SL was only introduced 18 months ago as a brand new system, and the lens line is still being developed. The Q is six months older than the SL and shows no signs of being replaced. Leica’s product cycles are longer now. Four years passed between the M240 and the M10.

Bottom line: The SL is not an end of life product. Rather, it’s Leica’s current technology standard-bearer. Based on other product cycles, I wouldn’t expect to see a replacement for the SL in anything less than 18-24 months.

Via Reddotforum

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  • eric

    This makes a lot of sense. Leica should wait longer to do more substantial upgrades between models. It makes a new model much more desirable that way. The price drop of SL could have more to do with trying to attract more people into the system especially m users who never got into it at the beginning. The price is now in line with top models from nikon and canon.

  • 9 oz. 5 in.

    I expect market competitiveness over Sony A9 would be the reason for price drop

    • Les

      The A9 and SL are now priced nearly the same (within 10%) in most markets.

      Overall, the release of the A9 has been a win for Leica. It justified the SL’s price, and it justified the SL’s market.

      Before the A9 was released, people complained that the SL was more expensive than the A7 (even though the A7 isn’t in the same segment), and they complained that the SL wasn’t an M. Now the complainers are quiet, and people see the SL for what it is (pro-level mirrorless full frame), and not what it isn’t (M + EVF).

      • jc

        “The A9 and SL are now priced nearly the same (within 10%) in most markets.”

        Sony A9 – $4500
        Leica SL – $6000
        Not even close!

        • Les

          The US is the only outlier. Not because the SL is pricier there, but because the A9 is less expensive in the US than elsewhere.

          Look at Europe: A9 at 5300 €, SL at 5900 €.
          Hong Kong: A9 list $5700, SL list $6300 (converted to USD). note: I’m aware that HK prices are flexible, but that applies to both cameras.

    • FountainHead

      I don’t think Leica sees Sony as competition.

      Sony is doing full-frame mirorless with varying levels of success.

      Leica SL is “I want an expensive red dot on a camera but I can’t work a rangefinder”.

  • Nathan Wright

    The SL is the best-designed all-digital camera I’ve handled. It has two ergonomic problems, relating to its AF-ON and magnification systems, but otherwise is utilitarian and clever.

    But its AF is only reliable for single point AFS. Leica need to move on the PDAF and get the best designed circuitry and firmware team on it. It could be a real alternative, but it isn’t.

    And, it needs readily available pro service. There is no way I’d take the SL to a derby or safari or to cover sports knowing what can happen and that there would be no backup from anyone, at all.

    • Les

      The SL has proved exceptionally reliable since its release, and the US-only service issues Leica suffered from last year seem to have been resolved. No reason to live in fear.

      • Nathan Wright

        Reliability is only one issue. Clogged focus gears, accidents, overhearing: there are myriad reasons a journalist should have access to instant replacements whilst having their gear fixed.

        And currently it is only canon or Nikon that offer such service.

    • Have you checked out the latest firmware updates? They claim major autofocus improvements.

      • Nathan Wright

        I use the latest firmware. And it isn’t nearly as reliable as a ten year old D200 for any sort of tracking.

    • jmb2560

      Several long term tests have shown excessive wear and tear on body edges and locations were fingers/nails are in contact with the bodies. That is quite annoying for a product positioned at the high end of the market.

      • Nathan Wright

        That is a problem with anodising rather than plating. But anodising is what Leica do. It’s kind of a shame, because it shows wear faster, but it sure looks prettier.

        My SL shows anodising wear as does my 240.

  • Any chance for a smaller, lighter full frame mirrorless?

    • rolandfleming

      You mean, like the M10?

      • LOL. Yes, except with EVF. I like telephoto lenses – which are pretty much unusable on the M…

  • Denis Bosonetto

    one can dream: a Leica Q with a 50mm?

    • eric

      yes, Ive had the same dream. Or a true 35mm even. the Q is nice, even though I’m not a huge evf fan, but the 28mm is really more like 24 or 26. you can do a lot with it but you still need another camera. a 50mm would really make it into a one camera possibility.

  • Mistral75

    I don’t entirely buy David Farkas’s take on the price drop, in particular the first goal he states:

    1. Provide better global price harmonization (same price in different countries)

    Why? Because the price drop simultaneously impacted both the US (from $7,450 to $5,995) and Europe (from €6,900 to €5,900).

    Therefore it looks more as a concerted, global price drop to “be more competitive against other full frame pro DSLR/Mirrorless cameras from Nikon, Canon and Sony to try to attract new users, i.e. the second goal stated by David Farkas.

    In short: ask less to sell (more).

    • eric

      I agree. Also with camera bodies getting more expensive across the board, it’s actually making Leica prices not look so high, which will probably help it be more competitive in certain camera segments.

    • El Aura

      The Dollar has risen in the 18 months since the release of the SL. Reducing the price by 25% in the U.S. vs by 20% in Europe corrects for that.

      • Mistral75

        Indeed it’s a differentiated reduction to correct for variations in exchange rates but this is a global reduction nonetheless. And a solid one at that.

  • RONIT

    Leica makes good cameras, mechanical, well machined and polished surfaces and current technology, but are lagging behind in terms of technology to some extent, look at sony, they are progressing fast, not saying that Leica should do what sony is doing – rolling out new models in a matter of 6months – yr but at least upgrade the internals to fast processor like apple does to their existing lineups before introducing a completely newer system. Sure leica is not swayed by other manufacturers but they sure are beginning to notice, look at the Q, released after the sony RX system, the T, TL and now the TL2, point and shoot system like the sony A600. they are going for the mass market with those lineups. Well sony seems to be the only closest option as a body and use Leica glass. They are doing a good job at meeting the demands.

    • El Aura

      As long as Leica’s products cost about twice that of the competition, it is hard to claim that they are going for the mass market.

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