The Leica SL series of cameras are special, but not unique. I had an original SL and then bought the SL2-S when it was released. It’s a capable, well-built, beautiful camera. But, if I’m being honest, it’s just another mirrorless camera system. And it was very expensive. Purchased today, my kit, consisting of the SL2-S and the Leica APO Summicron 35mm and 75mm lenses would run close to $16,000. Um, who do I think I am?
I thought I’d shoot more video with it but haven’t. I thought I’d do more portraits with it, but I haven’t. Hell, I thought I’d use it a lot, but I haven’t.
So, I sold it all.
Leica’s menu systems are wonderfully simple. The SL2-S feels like a tank. Its EVF is far and away the best I’ve ever looked through. The images are terrific. It feels good in my hands. On top of that, the APO-Summicron-SL 35mm lens is the greatest lens I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. I mean it. I’d often unload a card and actually say, “Wow!”.
All that great stuff is great stuff, but I still wasn’t using the camera enough, and I felt guilty having that much money in camera gear just idling in a camera bag. As I said, it’s really just a (very nice) mirrorless system. I could pick up a used Nikon Z or Canon R or Fuji kit for much less and get basically the same features and capabilities, if not the same experience.
The other factor that weighed on me was that I missed the M10-R. I know, I know, I just sold an M10-R to fund the Q2 Monochrom. Here’s what I said about that move only a month ago:
The M is a slow, manual-focus, deliberate camera. It’s not really suited for just having around taking snaps. It only focuses down to like three feet. Manual focus means that every shot requires two hands. It’s very very expensive, so letting it just dangle around my neck while not paying attention to it is a terrible idea.
All that is still true, but now I have the Q2M for “just dangling around my neck” when I’m out and about. What the M10-R offers is the Leica M shooting experience. It’s a beautiful, iconic, delightful rangefinder camera. The Leica M series of cameras fit perfectly in my hands and my brain, even if they’re “harder” to use.
Plus, I can now focus on one system and use the fantastic M lenses that I’ve loved for so long. And everything works exactly the same on my film Ms, which reduces a lot of mental overhead.
I’ll miss the SL, and maybe one day I’ll end up with an SL3 or whatever, but I have to admit that right now it’s good for my brain to only deal with one camera and lens system again.