How to Use the Leica SL2-S for Photojournalism: A Guide

·4 min read

We’re streaming daily on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, and Spotify! You can also listen to it right here on The Phoblographer.

The Leica SL2-S has quickly become one of my favorite cameras. It’s got character, it feels great, and more importantly, it’s far different than all other cameras on the market. If a lot of cameras on the market are boring you, then the Leica SL2-S is probably what you want. It’s one of the reasons I picked it up. I’ve been using it for almost a year for various tests and shoots. I really like it.

Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored tutorial from Leica. For the record, I personally bought the Leica SL2-S a while back. It’s become a camera that I use weekly. Through their last big firmware update, Leica has made the Leica SL2-S a very usable and great camera. I encourage you folks to pick one up.

Grab a Small Prime Lens

Luckily, the Leica L mount has lots of great lenses available for it. Personally speaking, I need something with incredibly durable build quality. More often than not, I reach for the Leica SL2-S and the Leica 28mm f2 SL lenses when I shoot. Leica engineered this lens with a special motor system to make it focus super fast. Beyond that, it’s already a 28mm lens, so it can focus quickly anyway. This lens, in particular though, is great because of its small size, durability, image quality, and reliability.

A small prime lens will make your Leica SL2-S easier to carry. If you happen to be documenting an event, you don’t need to be burdened with super heavy gear. For the most part, this lens is all you need.

If you’re a veteran Leica shooter, though, you probably know that already.

Face and Body Detection Focus Mode

I’ve found that one of the best things about the Leica SL2-S is face and body detection. It came with the Leica SL2-S on launch, but then it went into hyperdrive with the latest firmware update. I’ve used it multiple times, documenting events. Here’s how reliable it is: I almost never use a single autofocus point mode when doing photojournalism. Typically, I’m photographing people. And if a camera can be faster with a bit of assistance from me, why not shoot that way?

Lots of photographers probably like to choose their focusing point individually. But that can slow things down. Instead, just throw the camera into face and body detection mode and combine that with the AF-C function. You’re probably wondering about a serious concern: crowds. What do you do when there are lots of people? Well, the Leica SL2-S will detect a person. Then you can lock onto them and choose the person you want using the joystick. And if you just want to choose a focusing point, you can do that same thing in this mode.

Autofocus Profiles

The Leica SL2-S has some useful autofocus profiles the same way every other manufacturer does. For photographing journalistic events, I recommend a few key ones. Pets and Children is a great, general profile. The runner mode is typically what you want to combine with a fast drive mode. Team Sports mode is also very useful. In most cases, though, Runner might be the go-to. I prefer runner when there’s a super busy event with a lot happening. But I turn to Pets and Children when my subjects are more stagnant.

Making Your Leica SL2-S More Reliable

Making the SL2s more reliable starts with setting it up. First off, use a fully weather-resistant lens. Leica has a bunch of them. You might not be shooting in inclement weather, but it still matters. With literally any modern camera, dust and debris get into the small areas between the lens and mount. Over time, this degrades autofocus functionality. You can clean the contacts with isopropyl alcohol if you wish, but I prefer to take the preventative measure and get a really well weather-sealed lens. Then anything that might get into the lens and therefore the sensor is stopped right at the start.

Also don’t forget to close up all the ports on the camera.

Lastly, there’s the issue of more speed. This is where the EVF-Extended mode comes into play. By default, most folks might shoot in the Auto LCD mode. But if you use EVF-Extended, the camera is ready to shoot all the time. You don’t need to wait for the camera to switch from LCD to EVF; just put it to your eye and shoot! When you need the LCD screen, you can use any of the other functions easily. It’s helped tremendously when shooting before.

Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored tutorial from Leica. For the record, I personally bought the Leica SL2-S a while back. It’s become a camera that I use weekly. Through their last big firmware update, Leica has made the Leica SL2-S a very usable and great camera. I encourage you folks to pick one up.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting