By Jemma Wild – Safari-Travel Content Creator 

I “Leica” it a lot

I’m not allowed to have favourites when it comes to the cameras I get to test, but from the start of the unboxing I knew, (and not because it comes with it’s Oscar-winning reputation), that this piece of equipment was something special. Forget what you know about mirrorless cameras because the Leica SL2-S will challenge the way you, as a millennial photographer or content creator photographs. Why? You’ll never want to use a preset over your photos again.

Jemma Wild Leica SL2-S test image
Jemma Wild Leica SL2-S test image

It’s got a body built with confidence.

You know that moment when a really, really good looking person walks into a room? Heads turn, conversation sparks and you’re immediately drawn to them. Well, this is the Leica. Travelling through and photographing the most picturesque parts of Namibia, I met a lot of camera fundis. When I introduced them to the Leica their eyes widened, their voices became a bit more high pitched and you could tell, under-collar, they were getting a bit flustered. Its true-to-Leica body is retro-old-school and big. So much bigger than what you believe to be a mirrorless, and it demands attention.

The body is made from solid metal and is said to be one of the toughest and most rugged cameras on the market. You’ll find finely-textured leather cladding which adds to its comfortable grip and neat, professional look. Its IP54 certification ensures protection against moisture and dust, which when travelling in Africa, allows the camera to survive in most environments.

Photograph of Jemma Wild using the Leica SL2-S
Jemma Wild Leica SL2-S test image

It’s a natural beauty.

Just like that girl next door that never wears makeup and looks like a million bucks, the Leica doesn’t need much to show off its talent. At the very first handling, I was shocked by the lack of “buttony-bits”, being used to most cameras these days showing off their buttons. I loved the minimal design that only gives you the buttons that you need. However, you need to learn to speak Leica as most of the buttons are unmarked. But after a momentary “WTF” moment, discovering the AF-point joystick and twin electronic dials, your camera intuition kicks in. Oh, and if you haven’t fallen in love yet, the large, responsive touchscreen on the back, complemented by a monochrome status screen on top that displays the most important operational settings, will make you “swipe right” in no time.

Photograph of Jemma Wild using the Leica SL2-S
Jemma Wild Leica SL2-S test image

#nofilter needed.

As they say in the mirrorless world, “what you see is what you get.” but in the case of Leica, what you see, you get 10000000 times better. It would be sacrilege to slap a filter on the photo quality the Leica delivers and to be honest, I sometimes wonder if it does have a built-in secret Leica preset as every piece of content it plays back is a “Holy sh…utter!” moment.

Look, I’m not going to lie, this is a professional-level camera. To professionals, phrases like: “Maestro III processor that supports burst shooting at up to 25 fps as well as oversampled 10-bit 4:2:2 4K/30p video recording” might make you click “add to cart”, but I just look for a camera that can teach me how to be a better photographer. Its AF functionality and intuitive Auto ISO is magic and when you mix it with the beauty of the VARIO-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, in your heart, you’re immediately upgraded to a professional.
(I whisper this so it doesn’t hear me).

Landscape photograph taken by Jemma Wild for Outdoorphoto using the Leica SL2-S
Jemma Wild Leica SL2-S test image

Every beauty Queen has a hidden flaw.

As all honest reviews go, (and here you thought I was a bias undercover Leica agent), every kit has its cons. The first noticeable one, which stabbed into my heart, was when we were riding across the desert dunes, in the sunset on horseback in Namibia. (Yes, I had to be that girl).
I had the Leica secured across my body, and as we gathered ourselves into a trot I noticed the lens didn’t have a lock. Cue crying emoji. Thank goodness for my impeccable skills as an equestrian (and not because the horse was well trained) as I was able to ride one-handed, gripping the lens so it didn’t bounce in and out of zoom. And this leads me to con number two, it’s heavy! So heavy it should come with an arm workout regime. But, I can say, after 4 weeks of use, I can offer gratitude to my now, Michelle Obama arms.

Landscape photograph taken by Jemma Wild for Outdoorphoto using the Leica SL2-S
Jemma Wild Leica SL2-S test image

In summary: Give it a chance.

I know you saw “Leica” in the title of my clever wordplay, and just like me also saw $$$$ signs. And while this is true, as it’s a pricey piece of equipment, its worth every cent. You’ll love the sexiness of its handling, the delivery of its product and the conversations it will bring to your yard. From a brand that’s delivered some of the most famous photographs in history, reinvented itself into a mirrorless and still delivers on its legacy, you have no choice but to “Leica” it a lot.

My ratings:

  • Build | 8/10
  • Features | 8.9/10
  • Ease of Use | 8/10
  • Auto-Focusing | 9/10
  • Still Image Quality JPEG 9/10
  • Still Image Quality RAW 9.8/10

Leica is making it easier than ever for you to change to the Leica SL2 and SL2-S bodies or kits. From now until 31 March 2022, Leica is offering you an unprecedented additional trade-in value to discover a unique image quality and a new photographic pleasure.

Change to Leica
Jemma Wild Leica SL2-S test image