Leica SL3 Owns the Moment With a Stunning Autofocus System and a New Interface

Leica SL3 Singapore Launch
Leica SL3 Singapore Launch
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Amidst much excitement, Leica unveiled its 2024 mirrorless masterpiece, the SL3, on Mar 8, 2024.

The pro-spec full-frame mirrorless successor to the SL2 comes with a slew of updates and new features that will have Leica fans cheering, with the German maker also promising unmatched versatility and unprecedented quality in both photography and videography.

Autofocus is now empowered with phase detection (PDAF), depth mapping (Object Detection AF), and contrast recognition (Contrast Detection AF). Resolution has also been bumped up to 60 megapixels, while in-built stabilization offers up to five stops of shake suppression.

Build-wise, the Leica SL3 looks nearly identical to its predecessor, with the main differences being a slightly slimmer body, an extra top dial, and some weight loss. (63 g, to be precise) At 850 g, this means the SL3 is still rather weighty but if you like it that way, if you appreciate weight for (some) stability, this could be a small plus. Anyhow, the weight is on par with pro-spec mirrorless cameras by other makers.

And oh, the SL3 introduces a revamped interface, one that was designed with intuition in mind. For some long-time Leica users, I suspect the new interface is the change of the most interest.

Leica SL3 Build
As with its predecessor, the Leica SL3 retains the minimalist aesthetics of traditional film cameras, but with modern touches for today’s photographers. It also features a sturdy, all-metal body.
Leica SL3 with 24-90 lens.
The SL3 fitted with a 24-90 zoom.

Leica SL3 Key Features

The following is a rundown of the most notable features of the Leica SL3.

Luxurious AND Resistant Body

The SL3 features a solid all-metal body with elegant leather touches. It is also IP54 certified, for protection against unpleasant weather conditions no photographer can avoid.

Leica SL3 BSI CMOS Sensor
The heart of the Leica SL3: A German-made BSI CMOS sensor.

BSI CMOS Full-Frame Sensor with Triple Resolution Tech

The heart of the SL3 records DNG or JPEG files with resolutions of 60, 36, or 18 MP, with the full sensor used in all cases. Extended ISO range stretches from 50 to 100,000.

Intelligent Autofocus

As mentioned earlier, the SL3 autofocus system is equipped with phase detection (PDAF), depth mapping (Object Detection AF), and contrast recognition (Contrast Detection AF). The innovative combination of all three systems brings forth razor-sharp captures even in low light. There is also intelligent subject recognition for dynamic scenes.

In-Body Image Stabilisation

Leica promises up to five stops of shake suppression. That’s a pretty big gain for low-light scenes.



EyeRes® Viewfinder

The SL3 EyeRes® viewfinder is equipped with “an elaborately manufactured optical system made of glass lenses” and “always shows the subject crystal clear with up to 120 frames per second and a resolution of 5.76 million pixels.” In other words, super-high quality to ensure perfect composition and focus before you nudge that shutter button.

Leica SL3 Tiltable Sccreen
A tiltable screen to ensure you still get your preview during weird angle shots.

Tiltable 3-Inch High Res Touchscreen

Self-explanatory. For all those weird, creatively angled shots.

8K Videos

Videography is supported by efficient codecs such as H.265 and ProRes by Apple. A dedicated time code interface allows for professional image and sound synchronisation on set, too. The new Maestro-IV processor with L² technology will handle the vast amounts of data involved, bringing forth captures with magnificent colour rendering as well as excellent noise management.

Leica SL3 Touch Interface
The revamped interface. Very neat. Very streamlined. Designed for intuition.

A Revamped User Interface

The new user interface is optimized for ergonomics, tactile feel, and menu navigation. Grip, button layout, and overall camera design have all been refined to promote intuitive handling, while a streamlined icon and menu design offers a clear structure for effortless navigation. Photo and video modes are also differentiated by separate colours.

Advance Function Customisation

The SL3’s main functions can be completely reassigned. The freely assignable FN keys and the optimised touch interaction in the menu also add to the intuitive and comfortable operation of the camera. When photographing and filming, the SL3’s user interface furthermore self-aligns in landscape or portrait format, depending on the camera position.

Leica FOTOS App

This isn’t part of the Leica SL3, of course, but it is still worth a mention for the app works seamlessly with the SL3. Other than firmware updates, photos and videos can be wirelessly transferred via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. My compliments to Leica, too, for having already updated the app prior to the launch. (Believe it, or not, too many manufacturers don’t do this)

Connectivity and Storage

There are slots for CFexpress type B and UHS-II-SD memory cards, a USB-C port for high-speed data transmission, tethering, and power supply, as well as a full-size HDMI 2.1 output for external monitors or recording equipment. As a certified Apple “Made for iPhone® and iPad®” accessory, the Leica SL3, together with the included USB-C cable, enables a direct connection to Apple products.

Leica Double Charger
A double battery charger. That’s a great idea, isn’t it?

Battery

The new BP-SCL6 battery is usable with the separately available double charger, allowing you to juice two batteries at one go. The accessories within the SL-System also include a new handgrip and a DC coupler.

The DC coupler can be inserted into the camera’s battery slot to ensure a continuous power supply via USB-C. The new carrying strap, designed for everyday professional photography use, comes with an innovative attachment and a hard-wearing wrist strap for the hand grip.

Leica SL3 Photos Sample (Taken with Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90mm)

Nothing beats photo samples when it comes to understanding a new camera, yes?



Well, I’ve two to share. Both were shot during the Leica SL3 Singapore launch at ARTitude Galería. The gallery, by the way, was moderately dim but with pockets of brightly illuminated spots.

Two things to highlight beforehand, too. First, and as I was telling the friendly Leica staff attending to me, I’m a long-time Nikon user. I’ve also not handled a Leica in years. Picking up the Leica SL3 was thus initially confusing for me. Where’s the front dial?!? Why are there so few buttons? Goodness!

But it didn’t take long for me to figure out what-is-at-where, and that’s without Leica’s staff pointing out everything. The interface is indeed intuitive and streamlined. The adjustments one would usually fuss over are all clearly and neatly presented on the interface.

Secondly, I blurred some of the faces in my second pic, not just out of courtesy to the other guests but because the faces were so amazingly captured, with natural focus, outstanding detail, and incredible dynamic range. The triply-empowered autofocus system was spot on in every way. It was also fast.

At ISO 2000, noise is apparent in the second pic at 66.7 percent zoom and beyond, but easily removed with one-touch presets in any photo editor. Overall, I’m blown away. I really am. I wish I had the Leica SL3 for all my festive and events shoots.

Leica SL3 Photo Sample 1
[24mm, f2.8, 1/80, ISO 160, EV -0.3] This was a bit of a mistake shot. I was still exploring the interface. I ought to slow the shutter speed to test the in-body stabilisation, and jack up ISO. Still, it turned out quite decent, didn’t it, with remarkable detail and focus despite the underexposure. (Click to enlarge)
Leica SL3 Photo Sample 2
[24mm, f2.8, 1/80, ISO 2000, EV -0.3] This one really had me grinning. Exposure is perfect. Details and range are equally astonishing. I love how the SL3 swiftly picked the correct faces to focus on, i.e., the ones I blurred for privacy. Check the details of the dotted blue dress. (Click to enlarge)


The Leica SL3 is now available globally at all Leica Stores, the Leica Online Store, and
authorised dealers. The retail price is SGD 10,400.00 including GST.


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Leica SL3 Owns the Moment With a Stunning Autofocus System and a New Interface
Article Name
Leica SL3 Owns the Moment With a Stunning Autofocus System and a New Interface
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The new Leica SL3 is a mirrorless marvel with a superb autofocus system, a hardy and weather-resistant body, and a brand-new touch interface.
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