View Full Version : Leicaflex SL vs. SL2
I've started picking up some R glass to use on my FF Canon bodies and got to thinking I need a film body to use them on.
What are the pros and cons of the SL and the SL2?
Will all 2 and 3 cam lenses work on these bodies?
What about batteries?
Good question I am looking forward to the answer...
I have heard great things about the viewfinders on these cameras.
le vrai rdu
I hope you speak french :)
You can mount 2-cam and 3-cam lenses in both SL/SL2.
A few lenses can be used only with the SL2, not the SL, because they require greater mirror clearance distance. There's a list of them here: http://www.photoethnography.com/equipment.html
The SL2 has a split image finder, the SL's finder is supposed to be bigger and marginally brighter though. The light meter of the SL2 is more sensitive in low light. The SL has a slightly curvier body. That's it I think.
I've had both, first and last the SL and used those along side the SL2 which was the first Leica I bought new.
Although the popular thought is the SL2 was the better camera, I like the SL. The SL2 shape change was suppose to make it handle better, I like the SL. The focus screen on the SL2 gives you more 'options' with the split rangefinder style in the center, but darkens with long slower lenses or close-up macro work, the SL is simple and does the job and gives a ground glass look but brighter. The SL2 has a more sensitive meter, good but for handheld work the meter in the SL is good enough.
Both are built like tanks, but the SL2 does have some Japanese parts from the time when Minolta was working with Leitz, the SL is completely Germany engineering/made.
The SL2 is usually going for a few hundred dollars more these days (down from its really premium prices of a few years ago), and you can pick up an SL at bargain prices now - of course the lenses were and still are 'the reason to get a Leicaflex' as they said even back when these camera were new. As mentioned, some of the super-wides don't work on the SL because of mirror clearance, if your are planning on getting one of those the SL2 will be the better choice now rather than 'up-grade' later (or just get an R-series that's working well).
Things to look for; finder problems, yellowing, mirror deterioration, meter is working!, battery compartment corrosion (these take the older PX625 mercury batteries no longer available so an adjustment with the alkaline replacements or other easy solution will be needed, the SL2 takes two batteries), A good CLA should probably be done to start things off right, these are 30+ year old cameras and most of them haven't been used much in the recent past, like the M-series Leicaflexes don't 'sit' well.
The original Leicaflex used single cam lenses, the SL's were set up for a cam in another place so Leitz started supplying lenses with both cams. When the R series came along they required a third cam and three cam lenses were marketed. You could always get your older lenses "upgraded" with the additional cams. At some point Leitz got the notion that anybody buying an R lens was only going to stick it on an R body. They stopped putting in cams one and two. They only have the "third" cam. You might run into some later production lenses that don't have the correct cams for your camera.
They're both first rate cameras, I'd buy the one that you find in best condition.
Definitely look out for the prism desilvering -- I had to spend a rather large chunk of change (ca. $300) to have DAG replace the one on my SL2. The good news was that he actually had resilvered prisms in stock!
The SL2 has a problem that the SL doesn't -- the higher shutter speeds are prone to tapering, either partially or entirely. This apparently can't be permanently fixed, either.
The first versions of the 2-cam lenses are great optically, but they require series filters. And Leica series filters are not cheap. What's more, both cameras require circular polarizers -- finding a Leica series size circular polarizer is an expensive proposition, even if you can get one.
One of the earlier posters mentioned that the SL2 requires two 625 batteries. That's true, but one of them powers a light to illuminate the meter readout in the viewfinder -- useful for low light, but not necessary to use the camera.
The red lens release button and the grey slotted film leader gizmo were made from plastic in some of the models -- DAG can replace those with bright metal versions, as the plastic gets brittle with age.
I'd go with the SL and definitely watch the for spots and yellowing in the finder.
Stick with the old school nice normal lenses, 28-50-90, and you'll be fine.
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