If you're a regular watcher of our Top 10 list of the world's finest cameras, you'll have noticed we like a fancy system camera. Occupying the current top spot is the latest Olympus OM-D, and for a long time our most highly recommend snapper was the Sony A7R, which was until this evening the world's only full-frame system camera.
That's just changed, though, with the announcement of the Leica SL. Combining the versatility of a system camera with a full-frame sensor, an electronic viewfinder and Leica's enviable array of lenses, this could be the CSC of our dreams.
viewfinder, not rangefinder
We know, this isn't Leica's first taste of the MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) market. The Leica T was released in 2014 and while a lot of people liked it, the APS-C sensor and lack of viewfinder meant it didn't inspire quite so many envious sighs as the German camerafacturer's alluring yet terrifyingly expensive 'M' series of full-frame rangefinders.
The SL is a quite different beast, with a new 4.4 million pixel 'EyeRes' viewfinder that gives you a live preview of what you're shooting, a 24MP full-frame sensor and three new lenses.
worth 4king out for
And while Leica is very much all about the stills, the SL's video capability is worth taking a shufty at: it shoots 4K at 30 or 24 frames per second. For serious filmmakers, the chance to shoot 4K through Leica's exquisite lenses could prove an interesting alternative (and in the land of professional video equipment, a reasonably affordable one).
so flash, it doesn't need one
As with the Q, Leica's lovely little luxury compact, the SL offers an ISO range of up to 50,000 - meaning it has better night vision than a carrot-munching owl - and a shutter speed of up to 1/8000, meaning it can freeze incredibly fast action.
Yes, it costs over five grand without a lens, and yes, you could have bought a house in Wales for that in 2008. But for professionals who want something portable and genuinely brilliant, the SL is a new thing to fantasize about. We'll bring a full review as soon as we can.