We’ve made an update to our Leica 24-70mm f2.8 SL review, which specifically addresses a retest of the focusing issues that we experienced. If you’re a Leica camera user, then you’re probably very in love with your camera. I surely am — every time I get a moment to use my Leica SL2s, I’m super excited. I often reach for it instead of my Canon or Sony gear. You can find the full review here or check out the added text down below.
Update June 2023
After reading our previous update, Leica reached out to us to see what the issue was because they were apparently not sharing the same experience. The problems that we saw happened to a few cameras, including my personal Leica SL2s. However, for a few buddies of mine, the remedy was a simple factory reset of the camera and/or the lens.
If you’re a true tech nerd, there’s a joke in here about deleting the System 32 file somewhere. If you just want your camera to work, then there’s hope and curiosity at the same time.
This is a disturbing problem — and I mean that in the most lighthearted, first-world, and privileged way possible. Though anyone that spends their money on a Leica should be getting a product that performs up to par. I’ve had folks tell me anxiety-inducing stories about how their Leica cameras came back from repair worse than they were before sending them in.
One theory for this is that we’ve seen in various conversations is that Leica has seemingly had a problem with the older and more experienced technicians retiring and a lack of younger people wanting to move to Wetzlar to take up the mantles. When I toured their factories many years ago, it was nice to see the older generations working with budding technicians to fix the older products. The problem here is that younger people don’t want to move to Wetzlar, apparently, because it’s so far away from anything. Indeed, why not move to a bigger city with more infrastructure and all? Berlin is insanely attractive, as is Cologne and various other proper cities.
This isn’t a critique of the town of Wetlzar — but more of a reality of the world’s infrastructure and how it affects the quality of a product. Perhaps Leica should consider moving repairs to Portugal — a place with far more young people trying to escape the world’s economic hardships. Sure, the product can be made in Germany. But if the repair center is located in Portugal, I’d be perfectly fine with that if it just worked. It’s a rather toxic viewpoint to require that it be fixed in Germany is the infrastructure isn’t necessarily there. After all, these repair and technical issues are the cause of why we made the update to this review in the first place.
We called in a copy of the Leica 24-70mm f2.8 in from Leica again, who gladly sent us one. To be extra careful, we also called one in from Lensrentals. Both lenses were tested on my Leica SL2s. Thankfully, both copies of the lens seemed to perform just fine. When we set them to manual focus, the zone focusing on the top LCD screen displayed as it should. This made street photography with some fellow Leica lovers an absolute joy. Further, I could use the joystick to autofocus when I needed it to simply by pushing it in.
So why did it happen previously? I’m concluding that it’s an issue with the firmware on the cameras and also with the lenses. However, it’s not the first time that I’ve been approached by Leica owners about an issue like this. Friends of mine, who came to the Leica world, eventually returned their cameras when they found issues like this. If you think that only Leica cameras have problems like this, you’d be wrong. My beloved Fujifilm X Pro 3 has had to get factory resets to make it somewhat usable as a webcam — and even then, it tends to fail. It has also happened with my Canon EOS R. Eventually, I just gave up on trying to use these cameras for such applications.
This isn’t at all a coverup for brands — we routinely call out many of them as billion-dollar companies. Leica isn’t a billion-dollar company, though — and they’re making a luxury product that should deliver at higher standards. Sigma, for example, told us to give them a chance and be a bit more patient with them a few years ago. However, they still continue to make our heads shake on staff here.
Overall, Leica has made significant strides forward not only in diversity efforts, but also in overall quality. They’re not perfect — but they have the romance that I crave from a modern camera. Canon, Nikon, and Sony, in comparison, all suck the soul out of their cameras — delivering a feeling equivalent to when your favorite band suddenly goes corporate or changes their sound, all in an effort for sales.