Leica SL Typ 601 Performance

(Note: These results were obtained with v2.1 firmware.)

Timing and Performance

Generally excellent performance, but sluggish startup and slow buffer clearing.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~1.1 seconds

Time it takes for camera to turn on.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.7 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Startup time including taking a shot was a bit sluggish compared to most DSLRs, but switching from Play to Record and taking a shot was faster.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single Point
(Center) AF

0.182 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture using optical viewfinder. All timing performed with a Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 lens.

Manual focus

0.061 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.046 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

In terms of the Leica SL Typ 601's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times (with no change of focus setting between iteration, to remove the impact of lens AF speed), its speed was very good. The SL Typ 601's AF shutter lag measured 0.182 second using single-area (center) AF mode with a Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 lens.

Manual focus lag was very fast at only 61 milliseconds, and when prefocused, shutter lag was excellent at 46 milliseconds, which is faster than most DSLRs.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.

 

Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large JPEG

0.37 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Single Shot mode
RAW + JPEG

0.37 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Early shutter
penalty?

YES

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous High
Large JPEG

0.09 second
(10.6 fps);
Unlimited frames;
1 second to clear*

Time per shot, over 500+ frames with no signs of slowing.

Continuous High
RAW

0.10 second
(10.5 fps);
33 frames total;
44 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 33 shot buffer, then slowed to an average of 0.49s or 2.06 fps when buffer is full with a lot of variation.

Continuous High
RAW + JPEG

0.10 second
(10.5 fps);
32 frames total;
69 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 32 shot buffer, then slowed to an average of 1.72s or 0.58 fps when buffer is full with a lot of variation.

Flash recycling

N/A

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a 64GB Lexar Pro 2000x UHS-II SDXC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were quite fast at around 0.37 second. (Note that we no longer test single-shot mode with just RAW files, as the results are usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG.)

Continuous High Speed burst mode was very fast for a full-frame camera, at about 10.5-10.6 frames per second no matter the file type, very close to Leica's 11 fps spec. There are also Continuous Medium Speed and Continuous Low Speed modes rated at 7 and 4 fps respectively, however we didn't test those modes in the lab.

Buffer depths were quite generous, at over 500 JPEGs (we'll call that unlimited), 33 RAW and 32 RAW+JPEG files before the camera slowed.

Buffer clearing was very fast when shooting JPEGs at only one second after a long burst, however it was very slow when shooting max-length bursts of RAW or RAW+JPEG files, measured at 44 and 69 seconds respectively with a fast UHS-II card. The Leica SL does let you change settings, view just-shot photos and take additional shots while the buffer is clearing, though.


Bottom line, except for sluggish power-up and very slow buffer clearing when shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG files, the Leica SL's performance is excellent.

Battery

Battery Life

Decent battery life for its class.

Test Conditions
Number of Shots
Lithium-ion rechargeable battery,
(CIPA standard, Live View)
400

The Leica SL Typ 601 uses a custom BP-SCL4 7.2v 1860 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and a dedicated battery charger. CIPA battery life is rated 400 shots per charge, but Leica does not specify if that is with the EVF or LCD.

That's not bad for a full-frame mirroless camera, but not nearly as good as most full-frame DSLR when using an optical viewfinder so be sure to purchase an extra battery for extended outings. Also keep in mind you can increase battery life with a second battery by using Leica's optional Multifunction Hand Grip SL.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of on fully-charged battery, based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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