LEICA S-ADAPTER L REVIEW
USING THE LEICA SL OPENED THE ROAD TO THE S SYSTEM AND ITS WONDERFUL LENSES FOR ME. READ ALL ABOUT IT IN THIS LEICA S-ADAPTER L REVIEW!
This Leica S-Adapter L review is a natural consequence of my recent move to the Leica SL for my landscape work (click on A LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER IN-DEPTH LEICA SL REVIEW to read my review of this camera). I loved almost everything about the SL, and one of the things I loved the most is the possibility to adapt and use on the Leica SL basically any lens Leica ever made. Among the best lenses Leica ever made are their S lenses. Read in this Leica S-Adapter L review how to use them on the Leica SL and discover how they perform on Leica’s new professional mirrorless camera!
Disclaimer: At the time of writing, I am not affiliated with Leica or NewOldCamera in any way. I am a professional photographer looking for the best equipment for my work, I buy all my gear with my hard-earned cash and I don’t get paid by anyone to write articles for my blog.
When I moved to Leica SL, one of the very few things I wasn’t crazy about was the camera’s resolution: while 24 Mp are just fine for most applications, they are a bit on the low side for my work.
So, when a great Leica S kit popped out at my dealer, the fantastic NEWOLDCAMERA in Milan, I simply couldn’t resist. I snatched it and having now a few Leica SL lenses in my arsenal, I decided to add the Leica S-Adapter L to my kit in order to be able to use my new S lenses on my Leica SL as well.
IN THE BOX, BUILD, SIZE AND WEIGHT
Included in the box, you will find the Leica S-adapter L itself, a cotton pouch to transport it and to keep it safe into your camera bag, a removable tripod foot, warranty, instructions and the usual paperwork.
The Leica S-adapter L is extremely well made. A solid chunk of metal, beautifully finished, it clicks into place on the SL body without any wobbling or play.
Once clicked into place, the Leica S-adapter L stays there with no further movement whatsoever. If you try and turn the adapter back and forth after mounting it on the camera, however, you’ll notice a very minimal excursion (perhaps 0.1 mm if that). Mounting an S lens on the adapter is smooth and easy; again, once it clicked in place, the lens stays there without any wobbling or play whatsoever. If you try and turn the lens back and forth on the adapter, it allows for a little movement, this time about 0.3 mm.
The only minor detail I didn’t completely like when doing this Leica S-Adapter L review is the release button on the adapter. A metallic, dome-shaped affair, it’s a bit too small and its smooth surface might make it slippery and difficult to use either when wet, or with sweaty hands in the heat of summer, or when wearing gloves, and so on. A release button a-la Leica M-Adapter T, the one you need if you want to use Leica M lenses on the Leica SL, would have been better. That one works perfectly under any conditions, not to mention that using the same part would also have kept consistency in Leica adapters’ line-up, which is always good for our touch and muscle memory.
The Leica S-adapter L is 7.9cm wide, 3.8cm tall and weighs 237 gr “naked”, 267 gr with both caps.
So far, I used the Leica S-adapter L with the three S lenses I own, the Leica 24mm Super-Elmar-S 1:3.5/24 ASPH, the Leica 35mm Summarit-S 1:2.5/35 ASPH and the Leica 70mm Summarit-S 1:2.5/70 ASPH, while testing these lenses on the Leica SL.
First and foremost, it’s great to see how Leica S lenses attached to the Leica SL via the Leica S-adapter L will work exactly like native Leica SL lenses. With this combo, you’ll be able to use auto-focus or manual focus in the same way you use your Leica SL lenses, including the MF + AF-ON with the joystick configuration that I favour. As well, you’ll be able to control diaphragm from your camera body in the same way you’ll do with your Leica SL lenses.
My Leica S lenses are all non-CS, meaning they don’t have a built-in shutter.
If your lenses are CS, no problem: you still can use them on the Leica SL, but you’ll not be able to use the CS function on the lens (for now, at least).
Important: in order to be able to use the Leica S-adapter L on the Leica SL, you’ll need:
1. To upgrade your Leica SL’s Firmware to at least version 2.0;
2. To upgrade ALL your Leica S lenses’ firmware to at least version xx.46.xxx.
While you can do the former easily on your own, to upgrade Leica S lens’ firmware to at least version xx.46.xxx you’ll need a Leica S (Typ 007) camera body with the latest firmware. Just attach your lenses to the Leica S (Tip 007) camera body, and their FW will be upgraded automatically. If you don’t have a Leica S (Typ 007) on hand, Leica service will do the upgrade for you (times and costs unknown at the time of writing this Leica S-Adapter L review). In fact, since attaching your lens to a Leica S (Typ 007) body is all you need to do, going to a Leica store and asking politely if they’ll let you attach your lenses to a demo Leica S (Typ 007) body to upgrade your lenses’ FW might be the quickest solution.
AUTOFOCUS SPEED, IMAGE QUALITY AND MORE
Following this Leica S-Adapter L review, I’ll post in-depth reviews of some of the Leica S lenses I own, used on the Leica SL and comparing them to the equivalent focal length of the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 1:2.8-4/24-90 ASPH. To keep things short here, I’ll examine AF speed, image quality and so on in detail there.
For now, my quick first impression is that Leica S lenses focus slightly faster on the Leica S (Typ 007) than they do on the Leica SL, and all of them are much noisier than the near-silent Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 1:2.8-4/24-90 ASPH. As well, native Leica SL lenses will focus slightly faster than adapted Leica S lenses on the Leica SL.
PRICE, AVAILABILITY AND CONCLUSIONS
One of the main strengths of the Leica SL, for me, is the possibility of adapting and using practically every Leica lens ever made, as well as hundreds of other lenses made by Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sigma, etc.
True, the Leica S-adapter L is not an inexpensive proposition at $1.250 US or 1.250 euro. However, the Leica S-adapter L will allow you to put your existing Leica S lenses, arguably among Leica’s very best, to a great use on the Leica SL retaining all functionality (except for the central shutter in CS lenses, for now at least).
With the Leica S-adapter L, you’ll be able to use a Leica SL as a backup body for your Leica S kit, or as a complementary body to fill the gaps between Leica S lenses thanks to the different crop factor (even if losing some resolution when using them on a Leica SL body rather than on a Leica S body, of course). For instance, with my Leica S 24, 35 and 70mm lenses and a Leica S + Leica SL body configuration, I’ll be able to cover 19, 24, 28, 35, 56, 70mm in 135 FOV equivalent. The Leica S-adapter L is a no brainer if you are a Leica S + Leica SL user, and I’d seriously consider getting it together with a Leica SL if you are a Leica S user considering the Leica SL as a 135 body to complement your Leica S kit. At the moment, the adapter’s availability is scarce, but I hope that this will soon be sorted out.
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