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Leica SL2-S Review - Performance

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Leica SL2-S Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

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Leica SL2-S Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Colour reproduction is great, with natural-looking images produced. Exposure is reliable, with little need for exposure compensation, except to adjust to your own tastes. Dynamic range captured in JPEG images is good, although there are no "auto" or built-in options to capture more dynamic range in images, such as the DR,  DRO, ALO, HDR options on other cameras, so if you do need more dynamic range, then you may want to process the raw files.

Focus is accurate and performs well, with face and body detection available, although the lack of eye-detection auto-focus, whilst disappointing, should be resolved with a future firmware update.

Images are very sharp, with lots of detail captured. Sharpness can be adjusted, as can noise reduction options. On the subject of sharpness and detail, we noticed some false colour in fine detail in JPEG images. Unfortunately, when we processed the raw files in Photoshop, this was still visible, and in other images (DR test shot), converting the raw image resulted in moire in some parts of the image. This is, unfortunately, often a symptom or result of using a camera without an optical low-pass filter.

High-res multi-shot mode - The 96mp image gives you an image with additional detail that is quite easy to see. You also get a 24mp image from the camera, and if you view this at 200% then you can see that it is sharper and more detailed, compared to a standard 24mp image, but when viewing at 100% the difference is fairly subtle. The camera produces a 96mp DNG image, as well as a 24mp DNG image when using the multi-shot mode, but does not produce JPEG images in-camera. To use this mode, the camera needs to be mounted on a tripod, and there are options to deal with motion in the scene.

 

Leica SL2-S ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - ISO50 (extended ISO) shows a large reduction in dynamic range, and therefore is best avoided, with the standard ISO range being ISO100 to ISO100,000. Even with noise reduction set to low, we are impressed by the results. Noise is well controlled, even up to ISO6400 / ISO12500, and the levels of detail retained in the image is impressive. You could find ISO25000 usable, although it's likely you'll want to avoid using ISO50000 or above as noise becomes stronger. Noise reduction options are Low, Medium, and High, and these images were taken on Low.

 

Leica SL2-S White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well, with slightly warm results under tungsten lighting. Under fluorescent lighting, auto white balance performs well, with the fluorescent preset(s) giving a slight colour cast. The camera gives excellent results outdoors. There are no "Cool" or "Warm" options for auto white balance. Includes an HMI white balance option, something we've not seen before on other cameras.

 

Video - Video options include MOV/MP4 file formats, up to 400Mbps compression, and up to 4:2:2 10bit (HDMI or SD depending on frame rate). You can record CINE 4K (4096x2160) / 4K (3840x2160) video at 60/50fps at 8bit to an SD card, or for 10bit you can use an external recorder via HDMI, or drop down to 30/25/24fps.

Gamma options include Rec. 709, L-Log Rec. 2020, HLG Rec. 2020. A firmware update is coming in Spring 2021 which will allow you to upload individually customised LUTs (Look Up Tables), and HEVC support is also due to be introduced.

The camera makes it easy to set up for video recording with separate photo and video settings. It supports P, A, S, M modes. Image stabilisation works well and can produce steady footage, even when panning.

Is this camera good for vlogging? Without a tilting screen that can face forward, this camera is not suited to vlogging. It's also quite large and heavy, and for vlogging it's likely you'll want a much smaller and lighter camera.

 
Video options (B/s = fps)

MOV C4K: 59,94 B/s, 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD), 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (HDMI), APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 150Mbps
MOV C4K: 50 B/s, 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD), 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (HDMI), APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 150Mbps
MOV C4K: 29,97 B/s, 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, ALL-I, 400Mbps
MOV C4K: 25 B/s, 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, ALL-I, 400Mbps
MOV C4K: 24 B/s, 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, ALL-I, 400 Mbps

MOV 4K: 59,94 B/s, 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD), 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (HDMI), APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 150 Mbps
MOV 4K: 50 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD), 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (HDMI), APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 150 Mbps
MOV 4K: 29,97 B/s 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, ALL-I, 400 Mbps
MOV 4K: 25 B/s 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, ALL-I, 400 Mbps
MOV 4K: 23,98 B/s 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, ALL-I, 400 Mbps

MOV FHD: 180 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 20 Mbps
MOV FHD: 150 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 20 Mbps
MOV FHD: 120 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 20 Mbps
MOV FHD: 100 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 20 Mbps
MOV FHD: 59,94 B/s 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, ALL-I, 200 Mbps
MOV FHD: 50 B/s 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, ALL-I, 200 Mbps
MOV FHD: 29,97 B/s 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, ALL-I, 200 Mbps
MOV FHD: 25 B/s 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, ALL-I, 200 Mbps
MOV FHD: 23,98 B/s 4:2:2 / 10 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, ALL-I, 200 Mbps

MP4 4K: 59,94 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 150Mbps
MP4 4K: 50 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 150Mbps
MP4 4K: 29,97 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 100 Mbps
MP4 4K: 25 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 100 Mbps
MP4 4K: 23,98 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 100 Mbps

MP4 FHD: 180 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 20 Mbps
MP4 FHD: 150 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 20 Mbps
MP4 FHD: 120 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 20 Mbps
MP4 FHD: 100 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 20 Mbps
MP4 FHD: 59,94 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 28 Mbps
MP4 FHD: 50 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 28 Mbps
MP4 FHD: 29,97 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 20 Mbps
MP4 FHD: 25 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 20 Mbps
MP4 FHD: 23,98 B/s 4:2:0 / 8 Bit (SD & HDMI), 35mm & APS-C, H.264, Long GOP, 24 Mbps

 


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