Leica SL (Type 601) Coming in October

As we reported earlier, Leica will be holding a "Das Wesentliche" event on October 20, 2015. It's a given we'll see some new kit... So far we have rumors on a new Leica X-U (Type 113) or M-like camera and there's also talk of a Leica Q (Type 116) camera with interchangeable lenses. This last camera might actually be called the Leica SL (Type 601) camera.

We feel the confidence on this is high for the simple fact that certain sources are not talking about it - in other words, they're currently under NDA. We decided not to go that route this time, as we did with the Leica Q (Type 116).

The rumored specs of the Leica SL (Type 601) camera:

  • Full frame sensor (24MP)
  • Auto focus in-camera (?)
  • New AF lens lineup (variation of the T mount?)
  • 4K video (as well as 720/1080p)
  • High ISO performance (possibly the best in the industry - better than Sony Alpha a7S?)
  • Available before Christmas 2015 (mid-December)

The lenses for use on the Leica SL (Type 601) camera:

  • Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ​​ASPH (Launch)
  • APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90-280mm f/2.8-4 (Mid 2016)
  • Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH (Late 2016)
  • Summilux-TL 35mm f/1.4 ASPH (Spring 2016)
  • Macro-Elmarit-TL 60mm f/2.8 ASPH (Late 2016)

This camera was recently registered with Taiwan's certification authority NCC (National Communications Commission), according to digicame.info:

Taiwan certification authority NCC for Leica SL (Type 601) camera

We'll keep you posted on any new developments here - stay tuned!

Update (09/29/15):

We now have a list of the three lenses set to debut with this camera:

  • Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ​​ASPH
  • APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90-280mm f/2.8-4
  • Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH

There's also a bit of a "teaser" image of the camera - which is in the background of this photo:

First teaser image of the upcoming Leica SL (Type 601) camera

Update (10/07/15):

There are some rumblings that a Leica SL with the Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ​​ASPH lens could sell for $10,000 USD.

Update (10/12/15):

We have word that some Leica store managers will be flown to Germany ahead of the official launch in nine weeks (mid-December). Pricing will be kept "as close to the Leica M (Type 240) as possible" on the body, which is currently just shy of $6,400 USD - making the lenses around $3-4K USD each. Our earlier report of $10,000 USD (with the 24-90mm zoom) appears to be on-target. We're also told that Panasonic had a significant contribution in implementing the electronics of the camera.

Update (10/13/15):

There will supposedly be two additional lenses coming as well - with a "TL mount" - which are T mount lenses that can be used on both Leica T and Leica SL. We know the lenses will have electronic connections, as the T does. What will be interesting is how the crop is handled because of the differing image circles. (EDIT: the camera automatically switches/crops to APS-C format)

  • Summilux-TL 35mm ASPH
  • Macro-Elmarit-TL 60mm ASPH

Additionally, the camera will support 4K video.

Update (10/18/15):

We have our first sample shot from the Leica SL, presumably - by way of a photo posted by Dr. Andreas Kaufmann with the teaser, "Salzburg, Getreidegasse, yesterday, shot with….? Who knows?" Well, we know. ;) Click for larger:

Salzburg Getreidegasse shot with the Leica SL (Type 601) camera

Update (10/20/15):

Today's the big day!

The SL is "an M-like camera for those that don't care for the rangefinder experience..." You can surely use the existing M-Adapter T on the SL.

Leica SL: the new concept Full Frame

With the SL series Leica is a new choice; using the latest technologies in dress mirrorless offers a technologically advanced machine and the dimensions similar to those of the M rangefinder.

The next issue of Tutti Fotografi will publish the exclusive test of the prototype.

The basic technical data are as follows.

The 24-megapixel sensor, with no anti-aliasing filter, is a full-frame CMOS. The electronic viewfinder LCD has a resolution of 4 million points and is at the top of the EVF for definition and sharpness, as well as for the 60 fps refresh.

The rear screen is not adjustable, but is Touch; it is surrounded by buttons anonymous-style S for tidy interface. Body and lenses are tropicalized.

The SL will handle auto focus with contrast detection on a grid of 49 points in the viewfinder optimally arranged to cover not only the core area, but also off-center subjects.

Together with Leica camera body are presented three lenses, stabilized and equipped with bayonet T, hence the compatibility with the objectives for the smaller size, and its crop frame.

Also adapters can be mounted almost all Leica optical system.

Zoom 24-90mm f/2.8-4
Zoom 90-280mm f/2.8-4
Fixed focus 50mm f/1.4

The price of the Leica SL is € 6,900.

The camera will be officially announced at Das Wesentliche event in Berlin starting at 18:00 CET time (12:00pm EST). We'll of course keep everyone posted in realtime...

This camera of course - could mean the end of the T camera as we've pointed out before. It just never sold well, and we doubt it ever saw ROI. Giving people a new body to use T lenses on would be a good way to save some face, and recoup some of that R&D investment.

So far, a lot of feedback we're seeing is, "nobody will buy this - it's DOA." Pointing out the multitude of other mirrorless systems for a LOT less money... Not to mention the look/ergonomics of it. Some are likening it to "a (much larger than) Sony A7 body with a Leica T mount and Q internals." O.o

Introducing some new resources for the new camera...

Flickr group, Facebook page and forum!

The specifications of the camera are:

  • 4.4 MP EVF at 60 FPS - largest, fastest & highest resolution EVF on the market.
  • Burst rate of 11 FPS at full resolution 24 MP DNG
  • Fastest AF of any full-frame system camera
  • 24 MP CMOS sensor
  • ISO ranging from 50 to 50,000
  • Supports Leica T and SL mount lenses and R, M, S and Cine lenses via adapter
  • Fastest SD standard (UHS2) with a secondary (UHS1) back up SD card slot
  • 4k Video at 30 FPS (Super 35), 1080HD at 120 FPS (FF) (10 bit via HDMI out)
  • Weather sealed to protect from spray water and dust
  • Shutter speed from 30 min (bulb) to 1/8000s
  • Ultrasonic sensor cleaning
  • Latest generation of Leica professional user interface with hybrid touch operation
  • Integrated WiFi and GPS module
  • Remote control, viewing and sharing App for iOS & Android
  • Made in Germany and milled from solid blocks of aluminum
  • Two year warranty

See the official announcement post for further details and information, photos, etc.!

Event Coverage

Das Wesentliche event is just about to start! There are some 800 international guests in attendance, along with Dr. Andreas Kaufmann and Oliver Kaltner...

See here for live coverage!

Stay tuned!