Leica SL2 vs. Leica SL2-S: Which Is The Better Mirrorless Camera Model?

If you’re in the market for a new camera, it can be confusing when determining which model and brand will best fit your needs.

For a start, the technology behind cameras evolves quickly, which affects your choices. For instance, Panasonic made the first-ever mirrorless camera as late as 2008, merely 15 years ago. At the time, the Panasonic Lumix G1’s contemporaries were the much larger DSLRs like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Canon EOS Rebel XTi. What made the Lumix G1 stand out at the time was its significantly smaller size, measuring and weighing just a fraction of a DSLR camera. Also, at the time, the G1 did not feature any video capabilities.

However, mirrorless cameras have come a long way in the short time since their debut. Over the past few years, rumors of the Nikon Z1, a mirrorless D6 that could surpass DSLR capabilities and shoot 8K video, have been going around. With a simplified design and confusion surrounding the model’s final name — Z1 or Z3, or something else? — it’s clear that mirrorless cameras are becoming popular among camera enthusiasts. In 2022, Nikon released the Z9, boasting a gigantic two-hour limit for 8K 60p recording.

Today, aside from Panasonic and Nikon, many other brands have hopped onto the mirrorless bandwagon. For people who may want to get into the photography hobby, mirrorless models offer a less intimidating build size and specs for filmmaking levels of video recording. Global manufacturer Leica has its own line of mirrorless cameras, and in this post, we’ll break down the Leica SL2 and Leica SL2-S, their differences, and which one would be best for you:

Leica SL2

The new addition to Leica’s SL line is the SL2, established in 2015. It boasts improved performance, refined ergonomics, and streamlined controls. The Leica SL2 is one of the newest mirrorless cameras on Adorama, which comes packaged with an interchangeable lens. You can choose between a Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 ASPH Lens or a Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 ASPH Lens for this particular model. The SL2 is also a perfect hybrid for both stills and video, offering 4K recording up to 60 fps, a cropped 5K mode, and equipped with built-in 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks. The SL2 is also beginner-friendly, featuring a simplified graphical interface to help you navigate between Photo and Video modes while still being customizable enough for seasoned pros.

Leica SL2-S

The SL2-S is an interesting “sequel” to the SL2. On paper and at launch, it’s a less expensive and lower-resolution version of the SL2. However, a 2021 firmware update made the SL2-S a stronger entry than its predecessor. Where the SL2 excelled at 4K/60p video capture, the SL2-S uses the more efficient H.265 codec with no recording time limit. While still a perfect hybrid for both stills and video enthusiasts, the SL2-S focuses on an audience of video audiences. Later, Leica released the limited-edition SL2-S Reporter version, which is functionally identical to the standard SL2-S, bar a different aesthetic from the original’s all-black form. Leica’s Reporter design series is a tribute to high-quality photo and video journalism, boasting a rugged scratch-resistant all-metal body that appeals to nature and outdoor photographers, photojournalists, and press photographers.

So which is better?

Ultimately, the choice between the Leica SL2 and the Leica SL2-S will depend on several factors. The Leica SL2-S may be the better option if you’re on a budget. If you’re more interested in video content creation than standard photography, the Leica SL2-S may also be the better alternative. That being said, the hybrid SL2 may be a great option if you plan on experimenting with both stills and video or simply need a good, sleekly designed mirrorless model on hand.

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