Thorsten von Overgaard's Photography Website
  Get Newsletter & Free eBook  

The Story Behind That Picture - 195
      Thosten von Overgaard on Facebook Thorsten von Overgaard on Twitter Thorsten von Overgaard on Instagram Thorsten von Overgaard on Google+ Thorsten von Overgaard on Leica Fotopark Thorsten von Overgaard on LinkedIn Thorsten von Overgaard on BlipFoto Pinterest Thorsten von Overgaard on Flickr Thorsten Overgaard on YouTube Thorsten Overgaard video on Vimeo Thorsten Overgaard on Tumblr Thorsten von Overgaard on Exposure Thorsten von Overgaard on 500px
Bookmark and Share Clip to Evernote    
Robin Isabella with Leica R9/DMR and Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8. © Thorsten Overgaard.

The Story Behind That Picture:
"While we wait for the Leica SL Mk II"

By: Thorsten Overgaard. September 24, 2018.


Add to Flipboard Magazine.


It’s been said for some years that 'full-frame is the new medium format', referring to the fact that the high resolution the medium format was once known for, has been achieved in smaller sensors today. It’s been no more true than these days where we see a reboot of the traditional 35mm system cameras.

The trend has been that dSLR camera systems die out. Most professionals who used to have a standard setup of two large dSLR cameras around the neck (one with a wide zoom, another with a tele zoom), has been using mirrorless small cameras at any chance they got. They may keep the dSLR cameras, but they only carry them if they absolutely must.

Despite the great quality and portability in small cameras today, I think we’re many who feel an affinity towards “real” big cameras. I get soft in my hearth when I see a 100MP Phase One camera or a 50MP medium format Fujifilm GFX.


I bought one more dSLR camera …

When I was in Portugal earlier this year, I wandered about in the Leica Store Porto, and on their second-hand shelfs they had a complete Leica R9 with the 10MP digital back that was released in 2004.

I looked at it, and then I asked to buy it. The whole transaction took less than five minutes, and then I had two of these great systems.

Except, when I got back home to the studio and placed the ‘new’ DMR next to the one I used a lot for several years, I realized I would likely never really use them.

Why did I buy one more? I simply bought it because it was like meeting an old friend. I got emotional. I had to have it, just because we belong together. Yes, I took it out for a few hours a couple of times, and it made absolutely no sense using this camera again. The digital Leica M10 does it with much less trouble, and it’s compact and charming too.

Intuitively I know I’m not done with big cameras. I just haven’t found the right one. But I feel I’m close.

Don't tell me you don't miss the time where we took great care to make a single photo. I know people who spent 2-3 days to set up a photo and capture it with a Sinar 4x5". The result was one single dia-positive. No photoshopping or anything. That was the final frame.


Thomas Sigfred portrait. Leica R9/DMR with 80mm f/1.4 @ f/5.6, 200 ISO.
Thomas Sigfred portrait. Leica R9/DMR with 80mm f/1.4 @ f/5.6, 200 ISO.


The Leica SL

The Leica SL was an odd move when Leica Camera AG released it a few years ago. At a time when everybody agree dSLR is in the past and was moving towards mirrorless, smartphones and video, Leica reinvented the dSLR in a mirrorless edition.

I recently had a talk with lens designer Peter Karbe on where the lens design goes from here (which I will return to in a later article), but in short all the new Leica lenses are geared not only to capture perfect imagery in terms of colors, contrast, micro-details and three-dimensional perception, they are also optimized for sensor sizes way beyond 100MP.

As it turns out, Leica Camera AG invented a new camera concept which allow for a reboot of the camera market. Once again we will buy new cameras, buy into a new lens system and all that.

I say that with joy, because nothing was better than reading photo magazines in the 1970's and 1980's and dream of SLR cameras and lenses.


Thomas Sigfred portrait. Leica R9/DMR with 80mm f/1.4 @ f/5.6, 200 ISO.
Restaurant Peppina
, Bangkok, Thailand, December 2015. Leica SL 601 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. 400 ISO at f/2.0, 1/4000 second. © 2015-2018 Thorsten Overgaard.


The Leica SL and the 50mm APO

The Leica SL sensor is something special, and that is for both video and still photography. It’s different than the Leica M sensor, which is already obvious in the first Leica SL Typ 601 with 24MP sensor.

You will notice if you put on Leica S lenses, as well as Leitz Cine lenses. But mainly you will notice if you put on the Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 lens. This is a lens that Peter Karbe dreamt about making for years, and when he was finally allowed to bring it to the final stages so it could go into production, we likely got the first taste of what he sees of possibilities in optimizing lens design to perfection.

The Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 simply brings out something on the 24MP sensor of the Leica SL that you don’t see on the Leica M. It’s tiny, but it’s there.

The next trend in lens design is to use big glass, and the Leica SL system was designed to give the lens designers plenty of space to make big optics; which obviously is so much easier than cramping perfection into a tiny lens as the 50mm APO.

There’s also a lot of production know-how in the Leica SL system, meaning that the parts used, and the production line is of a new century, and thus very different than the hand-made Leica M lenses where each lens is an artisan project.


Nikon Z, Canon R and Leica SL follow the same philosophy as Leica made for the Leica SL in 2015. Mirrorless with large opening to the optics, new lens designs and adapters to use older lenses.
Princess Joy Villa in Perth, Australia. Leica SL with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.


Nikon got it, they want to be Leica

In the weeks up to the Photokina (that begins on September 26), camera news has been released almost every day. In the past it was all kept under the wraps till Photokina opened, but now all brands release their news beforehand.

I couldn't help notice the new Nikon Z whifor ch for me says with large letters that Leica got it right with the Leica SL. It's Who would have predicted 15 years ago when Leica was releasing their first digital cameras that they would one day be the brand other camera manufacturers wants to be? Nikon is even planning on releasing a 58mm Nokti f/0.95 lens for the Nikon Z. It will be the crown jewel of the Z lenses, and it will have manual focusing. Just like "our" Leica 50mm Noctilux f/0.95 that Leica released in 2008.

Leica is in a sweet spot with all systems thought out to offer simplicity and high quality - and they all sell well (including the Leica S which will also soon be updated).

Another brand I also follow with some interest is Phase One who just released their 151MP camera sensor ($54,990 for monochromatic IQ4 camera and $51,990 for the color version). As you may recall, I compared the Leica M10 and the Phase One 100MP in my Leica 75mm Noctilux article.

Nikon Z, Canon R and Leica SL follow the same philosophy as Leica made for the Leica SL in 2015. Mirrorless with large opening to the optics, new lens designs and adapters to use older lenses.
Nikon Z, Canon R and Leica SL follow the same philosophy as Leica made for the Leica SL in 2015. Mirrorless with large opening to the optics, new lens designs and adapters to use older lenses.


Canon too ... with Sony and Fuji coming soon

Canon also launched their mirrorless version of this, the Canon R, and they included a 50mm f/1.2 lens in it as well as a low-light zoom (28-70mm f/2.0). The trick with the new system is the low-light lensese. If you want those lenses, you have to get the new camera and new lenses. Just as the Leica SL and the Nikon Z, all previous lenses fits the camera via an adapter. Sony and Fuji is likely up next to follow this trend.


The Leica family tree

Nobody could have predicted, when the Leica SL was introduced, that it would in fact become such a success that it may very well have set the standard for a new spring for the photo industry.

More megapixels doesn't make any sense – unless you can actually see more. Which is the prospect of an entire new era of lens design.



I hope you enjoyed today's Story Behind That Picture and this teaser. As always, feel free to e-mail me with questions, ideas and suggestions.



Thorsten Overgaard







Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
Leica M cameras:   Leica S:
Leica M10   Leica S1 digital scan camera
Leica M Type 240 and M-P Typ240   Leica S2 digital medium format
Leica M-D Typ 262 and Leica M60   Leica S digital medium format
Leica M Monochrom Typ246 digital rangefinder    
Leica M Monochrom MM digital rangefinder   Leica Cine Lenses:
Leica M9 and Leica M-E digital rangefinder   Leica Cine lenses from CW Sonderoptic
Leica M9-Professional digital rangefinder    
Leica M4 35mm film rangefinder    
Leica M lenses:   Leica SLR cameras:
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica SL 2015 Type 601 mirrorless fullframe
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica R8/R9/DMR film & digital 35mm dSLR cameras
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R10 [cancelled]
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R4 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R3 electronic 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL/SL mot 35mm film SLR
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95    
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 and f/1.2   Leica R lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 75mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 80mm Summilux-F f/1.4
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 180mm R lenses
Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8   Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
Leitz 90mm Thambar f/2.2   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
    Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/4.0
History and overview:   Small Leica cameras:
Leica History   Leica Q full-frame mirrorless
Leica Definitions   Leica Digilux 2 vintage digital rangefinder
Leica Lens Compendium   Leica Digilux 1
Leica Camera Compendium   Leica X
The Solms factory and Leica Wetzlar Campus   Leica Sofort instant camera
    Leica Minilux 35mm film camera
    Leica CM 35mm film camera
Photography Knowledge   Thorsten Overgaard books and education:
Calibrating computer screen for photographers   Thorsten Overgaard Masterclasses & Workshops
Quality of Light   Overgaard Lightroom Survival Kit for Lightroom CC/6
Lightmeters   "Finding the Magic of Light" eBook (English)
Color meters for accurate colors (White Balance)   "Die Magie des Lichts Finden" eBook (German)
White Balance & WhiBal   "Composition in Photography" eBook
Film in Digital Age   "The Moment of Impact in Photography" eBook
Dodge and Burn   "Freedom of Photographic Expression" eBook
All You Need is Love    
How to shoot Rock'n'Roll   "After the Tsunami" Free eBook
X-Rite   The Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course I
The Origin of Photography   The Overgaard Photography Extension Course
Case in Point    
The Good Stuff  
Hasselblad/Imacon Flextight 35mm and 6x6 scanner   "Magic of Light" Television Channel
Leica OSX folder icons   Thorsten von Overgaard YouTube Channel
Leica Photographers:  
Jan Grarup   Riccis Valladares
Henri Cartier-Bresson   Christopher Tribble
Birgit Krippner   Martin Munkácsi
John Botte   Jose Galhoz
Douglas Herr    
Vivian Maier  
Morten Albek    
Byron Prukston    
The Story Behind That Picture:   Thorsten Overgaard on Instagram
More than 100 articles by Thorsten Overgaard   Join the Thorsten Overgaard Mailing List
Thorsten Overgaard Workshop Schedule   Thorsten Overgaard on Twitter
    Thorsten Overgaard on Facebook
Leica Forums and Blogs:    
Leica M10 / M240 / M246 User Forum on Facebook   Heinz Richter's Leica Barnack Berek Blog
The Leica User Forum   Leica Camera AG
Steve Huff Photos (reviews)   Leica Fotopark
Erwin Puts (reviews)   The Leica Pool on Flickr (blog)   Eric Kim (blog)
Luminous Landscape (reviews)   Adam Marelli (blog)
Sean Reid Review (reviews)   Jono Slack
Ken Rockwell (reviews)   Shoot Tokyo (blog)
John Thawley (blog)   Ming Thein (blog)
  I-Shot-It photo competition
The Von Overgaard Gallery Store:    
Hardware for Photography   Von Overgaard Ventilated lens shades:
Software for Photography   Ventilated Shade for Current 35mm Summilux FLE
Signed Prints   Ventilated Shade for older Leica 35mm/1.4 lenses
Mega Size Signed Prints   Ventilated Shade for Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH
Mega Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade E43 for older 50mm Summilux
Medium Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade for 35mm Summicron-M ASPH
Small Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade for older 35mm/f2 lenses
Commisioning Thorsten Overgaard Worldwide   Ventilated Shade for 50mm Summicron lenses
Thorsten Overgaard Archive Licencing   Ventilated Shade for Leica 28mm Summilux
Vintage Prints   Ventilated Shade for current 28mm Elmarti-M
Photography Books by Thorsten Overgaard   Ventilated Shade for older 28mm Elmarti-M
Home School Photography Extension Courses   Ventilated Shade for 75mm Summicron (coming)
Overgaard Workshops & Masterclasses   ventilated Shade E55 for 90mm Summicron
Artists Nights   Ventilated Shade for 28mm Summaron
    Ventilated Shade for 24mm Elmarit
Gallery Store Specials   Ventilated ShadeE60 for 50mm Noctilux and 75/1.4



Above: Robin Isabella with Leica R9/DMR and Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8. © Thorsten Overgaard.










Also visit:

Overgaard Photography Workshops
Von Overgaard Gallery Store
Ventilated Shades by Overgaaard
Leather Camera Straps
Camea Bags
Calfskin Camera Pouches
iPad and Computer Clutches
Leather Writing Pads
Books by Thorsten Overgaard
Leica Definitions
Leica History
Leica Lens Compendium
Leica Camera Compendium
Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon f/3.4
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4

Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25
Leica 90mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz Cine lenses
7artisans 50mm f/1.1
Leica Digilux 2

Leica M10
Leica M10-P
Leica M10-D
Leica M9, M9-P and Leica ME
Leica M 240
Leica M 240 for video
Leica M 262
Leica M-D 262
Leica M Monochrom
Leica M 246 Monochrom

Leica SL
Leica SL2
Panasonic Lumix S1R
Leica R9 dSLR
Leica Q
Leica Q2
Leica CL
Leica TL2
Leica Sofort
Leica S digital medium format
Leica X
Light metering
White Balance for More Beauty
Color Meters

Screen Calibration
Which computer to get
Sync'ing photo archive to iPhone
Lightroom Survival Kit
Lightroom Presets by Overgaard
Capture One Survival Kit

Capture One Styles by Overgaard
Signed Original Prints by von Overgaard
The Story Behind That Picture
"On The Road With von Overgaard"

Von Overgaard Masterclasses:
M10 / M9 / M240 / Q / TL2 / S1R /



Overgaard Photo Workshops




Buy eBooks by
Thorsten Overgaard
Add to Cart  

Add to Cart

Add to Cart   Add to Cart
Extension Courses
Add to Cart   Add to Cart
Add to Cart   Preorder
Video classes
Add to Cart   Add to Cart
Add to Cart   Preorder
LR Presets
Add to Cart   (coming soon)
Add to Cart   (coming soon)













Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

Feel free to e-mail to for
advice, ideas or improvements.


  · © Copyright 1996-2019 · Thorsten von Overgaard


© 1996 - 2019 Thorsten von Overgaard. All rights reserved.


Web Analytics