Leica SL (Typ 601)

A handsome mirrorless camera with newly designed interchangeable lenses

After 50 years of taking photos, I seriously think I’m a better photographer when I have a physically beautiful camera in my hands. And cameras don’t get much more attractive than those made by Leica.

The German über-brand’s new mirrorless SL is a late‑in-the-day successor to the Leicaflex SL, a fantastic-looking 35mm SLR I lusted after in the late 1960s. The new SL is even more handsome than the original. It is such a perfect piece of aesthetic design and industrial engineering that you immediately want to pick it up and take thousands of pictures; just to hear the schuss of its shutter is a delight.

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But style over content this is not; thanks to the 24-megapixel full-frame sensor and newly designed range of interchangeable lenses, the photos will look pretty much as good as science currently allows.  

I’m going to be careful not to say, however, that the new SL is a digital SLR. It is in effect – but for purists I concede that a mirrorless camera is like a DSLR, but is not a DSLR. You still get to view a prospective picture exactly as it is through the main camera lens rather than a separate viewfinder, but this is achieved electronically rather than by the DSLR’s mechanical mirror and prism arrangement. Certainly works for me, though.

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