Leica SL3 Brings Massive Improvements to L-Mount Mirrorless System


Three seems to be the magic number for Leica, going back as far as the M3. Now, the SL3 offers major improvements and refinements that make the L-Mount mirrorless system even more compelling than before. Packing the latest 60MP BSI CMOS full-frame sensor, along with an updated physical design, the SL3 is a worthy upgrade for content creators.

Leica SL3
Leica SL3

Redefined Image Quality

Using the same technology we first saw in the M11, followed by the Q3, the SL3 delivers the best digital image quality ever seen in a Leica camera. The 60MP BSI CMOS is tried and true at this point—something I can attest to as a Q3 user—and capable of handling up to 15 stops of dynamic range. It also has better performance in low light, with a sensitivity range up to ISO 100000. Triple Resolution Technology makes a return, as well, which allows photographers to select between 60MP, 36MP, and 18MP resolutions in DNG raw or JPG.

The use of the latest Maestro IV image processor with L2 Technology and 8GB buffer memory, double the previous model, also enables new features and functionality. Video is among the features that gets a major upgrade with the SL3 now capturing in 8K video. It can record in a variety of codecs up to 10-bit, including ProRes in select resolutions. There is even support for timecode and it has a full-size HDMI 2.1 port for external monitoring and recording.

Upgraded Usability

It should come as no surprise that the SL3 features the L-Mount. This alliance has resulted in a ton of excellent lenses from Leica, Sigma, and Panasonic, and you can always adapt your M-mount lenses.

The mount may remain the same, but other areas are completely revamped. One big upgrade comes to the autofocus system. This system uses phase-detection points, depth mapping for Object Detection AF, and contrast detection all together for fast, effective autofocus. The upgraded object detection will help with tracking of moving subjects, too.

Controls have been tweaked for better ergonomics—Leica even added an extra dial to the top left of the SL3 for more direct control. The buttons on the back have been relocated to the right side of the screen so your thumb can reach everything you might need easily. The biggest change to the back is the 3.2" touchscreen now tilts for better live-view shooting at odd angles. The EVF remains the same spectacular EyeRes 5.76m-dot screen with up to 120 fps refresh rate.

Another change has been bestowed on the software. The UI has been refined with updated iconography and more streamlined navigation. Video and photo modes are now separate, for easily seeing the mode to which the camera is actively set and for controlling different settings. Plus, the SL3 will adapt, depending on whether the camera is in landscape or portrait orientation.

Tuned Physical Appearance

The final piece of the puzzle is the exterior design and other physical changes to the SL system. The camera is lighter by about 2.7 oz and smaller than previous models. It maintains its durability with an IP54 rating—the only full-frame mirrorless with such a rating—and operating temperatures of 14 to 104ºF. The all-metal body is handmade in Germany and is designed to last.

Interfaces received a boost in the SL3. First, the memory was upgraded to a CFexpress Type B and SD dual slot configuration. The USB-C port of the opposite side now supports high-speed data transmission, tethering, and power delivery. The previously mentioned full-size HDMI port is now at the 2.1 spec. Wi-Fi is a bit faster, with MIMO technology, and Bluetooth remains for working with the Leica FOTOS app. You can even plug it directly into an iPhone or iPad with MFi certification.


Among the accessories is the BP-SCL6 Battery Pack with nearly 20% greater capacity than the BP-SCL4 from the original SL. There is a new Multifunction Handgrip and a DC Coupler. For faster battery charging, a dedicated dual battery charger is available.

Leica Multifunction Handgrip
Leica Multifunction Handgrip

Leica makes a complete package when it releases a camera.

If you want to learn more about the Leica SL3, please be sure to stop by the product detail page, feel free to ask a question in the Comments section, below, or contact our expert sales staff via chat, phone, or a visit to the B&H SuperStore.