Firmware in May 2022 brought 12-bit, 60-frame 4K Raw output to the SL2, as well as better autofocus and other improvements. The larger case, it seems, makes room for more toys, a relationship we’ll notice holds true in general. Comparing the SL2’s specification to its price, it’s very clear that nothing with Leica’s coveted red dot is ever going to be the budget option. The body-only price of £6000 suggests that potential purchasers will be people who place a large premium on build quality and heritage. The third founding member of the L-Mount alliance is Panasonic, which has released several large, high-capability cameras under its Lumix moniker, targeting competitive picture specs and willing to tolerate the size and cost required to achieve that. There’s an interesting comparison here with Panasonic’s well-liked GH series, which put Panasonic squarely at the forefront of mirrorless developments as early as 2009. While GH cameras are still pleasing documentarians today, in their sixth generation, the Micro Four Thirds mount couldn’t be a
L-MOUNT ALLIANCE Let’s start with the closest thing this area has to a standard. The L-Mount alliance is perhaps slightly ambitious in describing its titular mount as ‘the universal lens bayonet’, if only because purists might query anything other than a PL-style breech-lock mount for applications requiring really accurate, critical-focus distance scales. Still, it’s a breath of fresh air to find several companies collaborating on a single approach to grabbing hold of a lens, with Leica, Sigma and Panasonic founding the organisation in 2018, and DJI signing up from last year. Sigma’s FP camera is a familiar sight at trade shows, often used to demonstrate the company’s full- frame cinema primes via the MC-31 mount converter. The FP itself is a tiny little box that somehow packs in a full-frame, 25-megapixel sensor. It was launched in October 2019 and records up to 30 fps in UHD to SDXC cards, and while those aren’t the hugest numbers in the world, there are on-board Raw options – and it’s worth bearing the pocket-sized layout in mind.
A big firmware update in 2020 added, among many upgrades, Raw output options for external recording. Some might see that as defeating the purpose of the FP’s compactness, though applied to a serious single-camera production, it’ll still dangle happily from the back of a larger lens without anyone worrying about over- stressing anything. The FP sells for under £2000 and there’s a bolt-on EVF for £600, which brings back some of what was lost in the pursuit of tininess. The L-Mount itself was first released by Leica in 2014 on the Leica T. The company’s own SL2-S is just a few months younger than the Sigma FP and, while not as compact, it’s still no giant. It packs in a loupe viewfinder and nearly twice the megapixel count. The combination of high-resolution sensors interacts with noise and sharpness in complicated ways, which possibly explains the existence of the lower-resolution SL2-S. Either way, the SL-2 has more than enough photosites to generate anything up to 5K, 4:3 images at 30 frames, or 4K at 60.
TOP QUALITY Leica are never the budget option, but you certainly get what you pay for
POCKET ROCKET With a tiny body and lots of optional extras, the Sigma FP makes an intriguing choice
LEICA SL2-S £6000/$5195
SIGMA FP £1600/$1899
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