Monday, May 14, 2018

IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ‘EM, JOIN ‘EM



 


As soon as the Leica SL was introduced, it was criticized for being a mirrorless camera, not a DSLR.  The thoughts were that mirrorless cameras were for advanced amateur photographers at best, that professionals demanded a DSLR.  Along with that came “opinions” that the camera was way too big.  That was dispelled rather quickly when size comparisons showed that the Leica SL was effectively noticeably smaller than the top model DSLRs from Canon and Nikon, especially the camera body but also when equipped with similar lenses.


Since then the Leica SL has proven itself many times over.  Leica has definitely shown with this camera that a professional caliber mirrorless camera can be made, and criticism of Canon and Nikon has come up frequently for not offering anything similar.

The fact that professional caliber mirrorless cameras likely present the future of interchangeable lens cameras was further underlined when Hasselblad introduced a medium format mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses, the Hasselblad X1D.  This camera had been rumored about for a while, and many thought that it might be a derivative of a Sony or Fuji camera.  But this camera was entirely designed by Hasselblad and it is handmade in Sweden like its famous predecessors.

Hasselblad-X1D-medium-format-mirrorless-camera
Hasselblad X1D

Similar to the Leica S line of medium format cameras with their sensor size of 30 x 45mm, the Hasselblad X1D uses a sensor of 33 x44mm in size which allows both cameras to be the size of a conventional full format sensor camera rather than the common medium format digital cameras which are substantially larger. The success of this approach has been clearly shown by the Leica S cameras and the new Hasselblad is very well be on its way of being a formidable competitor.

After the fiasco with the rebadged Sony cameras, Hasselblad has rejoined the camera market with an interesting new product, one that does not rely on their previous film cameras.  The advantages are obvious.

Another new entry into the mirrorless professional camera market is the Fujifilm GFX 50S.  Similar to the Hasselblad, it features a 43.8 x 32.9mm CMOS sensor.  The design of the camera simulates a DSLR which makes it a bit larger and heavier than the Hasselblad, but all three of these miorrorless cameras are similar in size and weight.  However, the electronic viewfinder of the Leica SL has still by far the highest resolution of any on the market.

Fujifilm GFX 50S 51.4MP Mirrorless Medium Format Camera (Body Only)
Fujifilm GFX 50S

It has also been confirmed by Canon and Nikon that they are working on mirrorless cameras of their own.  So it seems that the initial criticism of the Leica SL was indeed premature.  Sales figures in general have shown that the only market that has shown definite growth is that of mirrorless cameras.  While not considered a typical mirrorless camera as such, the Leica M line of cameras must be included in those figures as well.

Even though Leica is considered by many as being stuck in their history of rangefinder cameras, it should be obvious to anyone by now that Leica is still capable of developing products that are clearly at the forefront of what is possible today and even their M camera line has proven to be able to compete with virtually anything on the market.

But any camera can only perform as well as its lenses allow it to do.  When it comes to the lenses of any of their cameras, Leica has proven to still be the market leader.  It is still the case that nobody is able to beat the manufacturing process and the extremely tight tolerances as applied by Leica.  Anyone looking for the best that photography has to offer cannot ignore Leica.


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7 comments:

  1. That makes Leica and now Hasselblad and Fuji the real innovators in photography

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The palette of Leica cameras, including the innovative Leica SL, are the very reason why Leica is bucking the industry wide trend of camera sales slowing down.

      Delete
  2. Interesting, but disappointing EVF in the Hasselblad and the Fuji compared to the Leica SL. I think the EVF in the SL was a game changer, I can't see myself holding up an MF camera like it was an iPhone because of no/suboptimal finder.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Horrid thing. Far to heavy and cumbersome and it dilutes the Leica brand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why Leica has other cameras to choose from. However, the success of the Leica SL shows that a lot of people do not share your opinion.

      Delete
    2. It is conservative people like you who are unable to see beyond their own shadow. By insisting that everything Leica had to be part of the M-system, Leica almost became part of history. Fortunately, more farsighted minds prevailed and put Leica on a new pass of success, by diving full tilt into digital photography and by offering innovative, new products like the Leica S line and the Leica SL.

      Delete
    3. Sir, you obviously don't know what you are talking about. If you were to allow yourself to overcome your prejudice and educate yourself further, go to: http://cameradecision.com/sizecomparison/Leica-M-Typ-240-vs-Leica-SL-size-comparison.jpg. There you can clearly see that the Leica M and the Leica SL are of similar size, especially if you were to add the electronic Visoflex to the Leica M.

      Delete