I just realized this thread is now three very full pages, so nobody can say we dismissed the SL out of hand. The interest is definitely there, so now onto the magic. Is this a handheld shooter, or strictly tripod-ready?
I thought you guys might enjoy a totally different viewpoint, from someone who will definitely consider a SL or its successor next time I buy this class of camera.
From the viewpoint of a Nikon D4/5 user, the Leica SL is a small and light camera, with small and light lenses. And yet it has similar frame rates, a really high quality EVF, and lenses that positively reek of quality. It looked like it has comparable performance to the D5 at ISO 51,200, which is the main reason I got the D5. I played with it at the Leica Store Miami and really liked what I saw.
I think maybe Leica is trying to expand its market by producing a no-excuses product that's likely to lure some DSLR users its way. The body isn't that different in price than a D5, but staggeringly expensive lenses kept me away for this purchase cycle. During the next purchase cycle I may be more in need of a smaller and lighter camera so the SL (or its successor) has a real chance against the Nikon D6 a few years from now.
Right now I have an underwater project for which I'm seriously considering an X-U. If I fall in love with Leica using that, I will be a really good candidate for a SL.
By the way, I think some of you miss the point a bit. You all want a new M-series camera. I have every confidence that Leica will introduce one when it's ready. The SL is meant to expand the brand's customers. The new M-series will cause existing customers to buy a new camera. Don't think you are being neglected just because there is a SL. As long as a new M comes up you should be happy – and happy to see the Leica brand gain new fans with the SL, because I never would have considered a M.
Don't let that dpreview picture of the lady with the tiny hands fool you. For what it is, the SL is exactly right. Not big, not small, right. If you start from Davids perspective where you want a speed demon having >10 fps MF, >=7fps C-AF, nice 24-70/2.8 (or equivalent focal range), weather sealing, tough, good screens and (E)VF's, magnesium or better alloy bodies, the selection is actually not that big. Take the following four cameras and compare them on size and weight:"Small and light"? Here's a photo posted by another user (couldn't get a link): 4.5 lbs if I read it right.
If you start from Davids perspective where you want a speed demon having >10 fps MF, >=7fps C-AF, nice 24-70/2.8 (or equivalent focal range), weather sealing, tough, good screens and (E)VF's, magnesium or better alloy bodies, the selection is actually not that big.
I'm not thrilled with losing f/2.8, but I do like the additional focal length range to 90mm. It's an interesting tradeoff.
I think the comparison from the top actually understates the difference. If my memory serves from seeing the SL a week or so ago at the Leica Store, it is about half the height. So the bulk is considerably less.
The other thing I like is the control layout. It's less dependent on pressing a button and rotating a dial at the same time, which I've always found awkward. The ultramodern feel of it is also enormously appealing, and particularly interesting for what was known as a tradition-bound company. It's like someone blew the dust off of the old ways of designing a camera and added fresh thinking.
Of course the SL's price is the major obstacle for me to adopt it. It's interesting to look at and consider, though. And I love the fact that someone is doing something unique and new.
By the way, for the record I have handheld the D4/D5 series for years now and although it's tough for video I really love the way it balances when used for still shots.
I just wanted a clarification - you're saying that the 5.5 lb DSLR is easy to use every day handheld?
Yes, it is. This should not be too surprising to you, since Nikon has sold thousands of D3/D3S/D4/D4S/D5s for the purpose of high-speed shooting in tough conditions. I would say very few D5 cameras are used with a tripod. If people had difficulty shooting handheld with it, it would have been a complete sales disaster. For a different perspective, I recently sold one of my Fuji lenses to a very nice older gentleman who I let check out my D5. He said it was not much different in weight from his D750 with battery grip.
I find that extremely difficult to believe, based on belonging to the 2nd largest photo club in the U.S. for several years. I could quote many examples. I have never seen anyone shooting a 5.5 lb camera/lens handheld either. I sold my 1.5 lb Noctilux to someone here, who had a comment I expected when he received it and mounted it.