Surprise surprise! (Not) No one I'm sure will have been in any doubt that this was going to be my camera of the year. The first genuinely professional mirrorless camera has been my workhorse camera ever since I bought it back in the summer. The Leica SL (Typ 601) may not be Leica's answer to Nikon and Canons top of the range DSLR's and Pro photographers won't, I suspect, be rushing out to sell all their gear to buy this. But for those who use Leica and appreciate what they stand for, this is probably the best Leica camera ever.
Though there are only 3 FF AF lenses available for the system, the SL's ability to make manual focus easy, fast and 100% reliable opens up all sorts of possibilities. M-mount lenses now have a camera that avoids all that fiddly, restrictive rangefinder focusing and owners of Nikon and Canon lens ranges will find that using their lenses on this camera is a breeze. Add in superb image quality, the best 4K video I've ever produced and superb build quality and you have a camera that will last for years.
It's also a simple camera, refreshingly free of all the gimmickry and 'fluff' that so bedevils mirrorless cameras in general. Leica don't feel the need (quite rightly) to add all sorts of unnecessary and confusing menu / button combinations and any photographer who knows what they are doing can find their way round it in a very short time.
It's expensive, sure, but no more pricy than those Canon and Nikon DSLR monsters. For me, it's far easier to understand and use and I certainly have no issue with the speed of operation. It does the job it was intended for in an unfussy way and that is one of the reasons I've always loved cameras with the red dot on them. I'm quite happy to leave all the exploration of convoluted options and gadget lover complication to.... well gadget lovers. The Leica SL (Typ 601) suits me perfectly and lets me get on with what I want to do without getting in my way. Something that I wish I could say about other mirrorless offerings.
It is in fact, of all the cameras I've owned, the one I 'fiddle' with the least. Because I simply don't have to. For the most part I use manual focus lenses, though I do use my Leica T (Typ 701) APS-C lenses for video, which because of the super 35 format work very well. I have a Novoflex AF adapter for my Canon AF lenses and while it's not the quickest it works fine for me. So I've got AF, should I need it.
As ever this is a personal choice and there is no way that I make my decision based on any kind kind of notion that this is the best value camera or best in terms of specs. etc. This is MY camera of the year and I suspect on the review sites and blogs, it won't even feature in any top ten list. So for what it's worth I have no hesitation in awarding the Leica SL (Typ 601) the much-coveted (???) SOUNDIMAGEPLUS CAMERA OF THE YEAR 2016 award.