What does Bernhard Spöttel look for in a camera? Well, as a videographer and photographer for over 20 years his portfolio includes a vast range of work including aerial photography, portraiture as well as athletes and events for Red Bull; so for him, the Leica SL2-S is great because it’s like two cameras in one.
Bernhard Spöttel's review of the Leica SL2-S camera - The best of both worlds
Testing the best of both worlds, Bernhard Spöttel decided to test the Leica SL2-S with one of his favorite photography genres: adventure and action sports.
You’ve been in the photography business for over 20 years. How did you actually get into it?
I discovered my father’s black and white laboratory, when I was 13, and that was when my passion was first stirred. I established myself as a freelance photographer when I was 23. Shortly afterwards, I was able to win Red Bull as one of my most important clients. Nowadays, the range of my photographic work is very broad: from stills taken in the studio to commercials, editorials, aerial photography, automobiles, portraits and sports.
That certainly is a broad palette. What equipment do you use?
For assignments in the studio, where higher resolution is important, I use a Leica S3. For editorial assignments, and depending upon the demands, I use either my Leica M10 or an SL2. The SL2 is also my choice when I am working on action photography, as then I need a very fast autofocus.
Any photographer knows that a camera not only needs to fill all the specs, but also withstand whatever the shoot throws at it - and if you’re into adventure and action sports photography you know that things can, quite literally, be thrown at you.
You’ve tried out quite a few things, then. How did the camera deal with the outdoor setting?
The camera has an extremely robust construction and is very well protected against dust and sprays of water; so it can be recommended for a diversity of action shoots. The results during twilight were also very satisfactory and fulfilled all my expectations.
How was the SL2-S as a film camera?
I must say that the SL2-S is really good for filming. When using it, I noticed that the pictures taken with the SL2-S can be very well adapted to the results of the cine cameras. In this area, I consider that the SL2-S is far superior to the SL2. The reproduction of skin tones and the sharpness are especially pleasant. I was also very positively surprised by the results of the high-speed images. Sometimes, you can already get very good results at 180 fps.
In your opinion, what is the most special thing about this camera?
The great thing about the SL2-S is the possibility to attach such a large diversity of lenses, including the strong M lenses; but you can use all kinds of lenses. That’s particularly important for filming, where the combination of camera, sensor and lens is much more decisive than it is for photographing; because, when taking pictures, you can take individual images and change them significantly afterwards and also rescue them, if necessary. With filming, that’s not so easy. Because the lights move through the image, you need to define in advance what kind of look you want to have. What makes the camera stand out? It’s the combination: the new sensor; the speed gained as a result; and, above all, the pictures that it produces, whether photographs or video.
Discover more about the Leica SL2-S and its versatile features here.