The Leica SL2s Autofocus Now Matches Canon and Sony’s Speed

I truthfully never thought I’d see the day this happened, but I was wrong.

Leica has never really struck me as a speedy company. They tend to do things at their own pace and steer clear of competing with other brands. Through and through, they march to their own beat. And today, the Leica SL2s has received a massive firmware update. The firmware slaps the idea that L mount lenses and cameras are slow to focus right in the face. Leica had said a while ago that a big firmware update was coming. Most of the firmware has to do with video, but there are a number of great things for us photographers in here. Specifically for photographers, there’s a huge boost to the Leica SL2s Autofocus system. We’ve updated our review of the Leica SL2s accordingly, so check that out. And head past the jump for more details.

Firmware 2.0 for the Leica SL2s: Our Thoughts on What Photographers Care About

  • Image overlay is a new feature that superimposes one photo over another. However, you can’t save the superimposed images to be a double exposure. Instead, it’s for making sure that you can get the same shot over and over again. There aren’t many situations that I think folks would use this in. And honestly, this makes more sense on the SL2 with its higher megapixels. This, however, excites me that Leica might finally give the SL2s a multiple exposure mode. It would be the first ever Leica camera made with a proper multiple exposure mode. Of course, there’s a way to do it with Leica M film cameras. But there’s a risk you’ll also rip the film.
  • The Leica SL2s desperately needs the shutter to come down over the sensor like it does with the M cameras. Using Sigma’s Contemporary lenses, you might get some dust come into the mount. But with Panasonic, Leica, and Sigma art lenses you won’t need to worry about that problem.
  • The Leica SL2s Autofocus Face and body detection is much improved. We tested it with the Leica SL2s, Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 ART DG DN, and the Panasonic 85mm f1.8. The speed is on par with Canon and Sony. The smarts based on the scene aren’t as great. By that, the system will recognize multiple bodies. You’ll have to move the focusing point to choose which one to focus on–or to give it guidance. The autofocus can surely hold its own next to both Canon and Sony.
  • The Leica SL2s Autofocus is very fast with the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8. Not always as great with the Panasonic 85mm since it’s a longer focal length and much more shallow. The system, however, had a very easy time focusing on people wearing masks for COVID-19 protection. We tested this at the Cannabis Day Parade in NYC. The system couldn’t determine that human bodies were physically behind banners though.
  • There is a new cinematic LUT called Classic. It’s designed to look like Kodak film. It’s beautiful, and I hope comes to stills soon.
  • There is an enhanced viewfinder setting. It gives a major boost in low light when looking through the viewfinder. It works just fine in low light. Leica tells us that because of the excess grain that focus peaking will pretty much be useless. To be fair, the Leica SL2s is much better at magnifying your subject and then letting you focus on it. I wouldn’t use peaking anyway.
  • The Leica SL2s Autofocus in low light also is much faster and more accurate than before. This applies to the same lenses.
  • The Leica SL2s Autofocus Eye detection needs a bit of enhancement. The system still tells you that you’re focusing on a face or a body. It by default tries to get the eyes in focus. It’s very solid.
  • The SL2s is now a much better tool for journalists. Honestly, it’s one of the best considering the durability.

Head on over to check out our updated review of the Leica SL2s. You can find them at Amazon for $4,894.99

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.