Why I bought a Leica SL in 2023

And why you probably shouldn’t.

Fox Foto Co


Leica SL + Vintage Auto Yashinon 50mm F2

Spoiler Alert: This article will be the first article (of a 3 part series) that will seem to dissuade any potential buyer from ever buying a Leica SL.

Parts 2 and 3 will exist as supplemental reports on how the camera compares to some “peers” that I personally own.

  • Part 2: versus the Leica CL ( Coming Soon)
  • Part 3: versus the Canon R6 (Publishing Thursday July 24)

I assure you, however, the camera does in fact belong in someone’s bag or on someone’s shelf.

That someone is sadly not me.

What is the Leica SL?

The Leica SL is a now “aging” 24mpx full frame mirrorless camera made by the German camera brand Leica. Leica has since produced the 47mpx SL2, and it’s more advanced but lower resolution cousin, the SL2s. Rumors of an SL3 have also been floating around for a year or so now also. So the SL is not on most consumer’s radar, not even for the Leica fans. It’s old news.

Despite this, the image quality is superb, its build quality is that of a luxury armored fighting vehicle (that is to say refined, durable, but also spartan), and these aspects are matched only by its weight and bulk.

From my research, the sensor in the SL is also shared with Leica’s previous flagship, the M10, and their much loved Q. Some will argue this point. All three Leica cameras have slight rendering differences between themselves, but for most, the image quality and character should be consistent between them. The files and images are still very “Leica” despite its DSLR styling, and that’s good.

Did I mention that this thing is pretty heavy?

So, in short, it’s an older camera that is starting to come down in price (it’s a Leica, so that statement is relative), and has some decent sensor and imaging specs with a premium feel. Alrighty. Cool.

Why did I find it appealing?

Well, first you must understand that I already have the Leica disease. Don’t buy one, that’s how it starts.