While the market for cameras has shrunk due to the convenience of smartphone photography, the revenue for high-end brand Leica has been growing for the past five years. It’s a score for luxury niche products.
Indeed, the German camera’s century of history, association with iconic images and legendary photographers, and supreme quality lend it a prestige that speaks as much about the equipment as the discerning taste of its users.
Its latest model, the SL2, puts a powerful tool in the hand of photography hobbyists, with improved digital photography and videography features. Says famed lensman Steve McCurry, who trialled the camera in China: “To me, there was no comparison – the quality is unparalleled.”
The SL2 ensures outstanding image quality in all lighting conditions with enormous dynamic range, an impressive colour depth and a sensitivity of up to ISO 50,000. It also delivers an unparalleled level of detail rendition and image quality, thanks to a 47 megapixel-CMOS image sensor in full-frame format.
In China, McCurry, who shot the haunting Afghan Girl image, photographed a variety of subjects, including sparring pugilists. Capturing mid-air kicks was made easy with the camera’s high-performance autofocus system – which enables a virtually lag-free shutter release – and a suspended sensor, which adjusts its position so as to quickly compensate for camera shake.
If a situation calls for video, the SL2 records up to 60 frames per second in Cine 4K mode, and up to 180 frames per second in Full-HD mode, allowing for a vivid, clear capture of the action.
While it’s true that a tool is only as smart as the person wielding it, in this age of fast improving technology, sometimes it’s the equipment that can take the credit.
Steve McCurry’s exhibition, China, is on at Leica Galerie Singapore, Raffles Hotel Arcade, until Jan 14, 2020. The Leica SL2 retails at $9,400.
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