In terms of external appearance, the SL2 barely differed from its predecessor, the Leicaflex SL. Clearly, the designers of the new mirror reflex model were once again determined to include as many design characteristics of the classic M rangefinder series as possible. As a result, the SL 2 was immediately recognisable as a Leica – although some critics insisted that it lacked both charm and aesthetic sensibilities.
Its predecessor, the Leicaflex SL (discontinued in 1974) was the first Leica with an internal exposure meter – the letters SL are short for Selective Light. The performance offered by this technical innovation was however not particularly precise.
The SL2, which was manufactured for just two years (from 1974–1976), represented a big developmental leap from the Leicaflex SL by offering an exposure meter that was four times as sensitive than that of the SL. The new SL2 also marked the change from a black-lacquered finish to black chrome.