Today Leica announced that the SL will we lowered in price by 1000 Euro. That means that the SL will retail for slightly more than 6000 Euro. By now, it is significantly cheaper than the Leica M10.
This is bad news for SL owners, as the prices of used SL cameras (not that I’ve seen many) will also drop. On the other hand, it’s good news for new SL buyers and for photographers that want to add a second body to their kit.
More interesting is the philosophy behind this decision. We all know that the SL hasn’t been selling well yet, but I as a SL shooter myself, I don’t feel that the SL is much overpriced. Yes, it is expensive, but it is also packed with interesting features and it’s a joy to work with. I feel that the SL will start to sell better with the increase in native lenses and with more people using it and telling others about it.
That last thing is actually an interesting phenomenon. There seems to be some ‘SL shyness’. Yes, you may laugh, but I sometimes get the impression that some people actually prefer their SL cameras to their M cameras, but they don’t want to admit it. If you have aging eyes, if you like to shoot long or heavy lenses, or if you want to shoot some video, the SL is a great performer. I’m not saying that I prefer the SL to the M, but there are circumstances where the SL outperforms the M. Just like as there are settings where the M is just much better than the SL.
If I had to pick one camera to shoot a wedding, it would still be the M. If I’d take a trip where weight is key, I’d also pick the M. For my portrait assignments, I don’t even bring my M anymore. The SL is just so much better for that work. My preferred camera for weddings might change when Leica will release a 35 and 75 Summicron. If they’re small and light and AF works as good as the 24-90, things might change. For now, I prefer to shoot anything that moves and any situation where things get tricky with my Leica M. Even the best EVF won’t make me focus my M lenses faster than a proper rangefinder.
Having said that, when things go slower, nothing beats the SL Noctilux combination. The balance is perfect, the hit rate is 99% and it just works. The good news is that (with some experience) the M240 files can be matched with the SL files without disrupting the ‘flow’ or continuity in a set of pictures.