Leica's New Medium Format DSLR

Leica's New Medium Format DSLR

Leica's step into the medium format business was big -- it was expensive, but I think everyone appreciated a medium format, SLR-style camera not much different from your Nikon or Canon, except for the incredible quality. Today, we have news of the Leica S: the newest iteration of the DSLR line-up that follows the same simple lettering scheme as the Leica M announced earlier, replacing the S2.

Okay, so maybe it isn't quite medium format; but the sensor is almost 60% larger than a 35mm sensor -- and that counts for a whole lot more than just 'something.' For $21,950, here's what you get:

We know that the 37.5MP sensor is an improved version of the previous one, allowing for supposedly noise-free 100-1600ISO images. Additionally, the camera features its own shutter capable of shutter speeds up to 1/4000, but the body is also able to use the S lens system's internal shutters to enable flash synchronization up to 1/1000.

Naturally, the body is weather-sealed (against both dust and water -- though I suspect only through splashes of water such as rain, of course) and there's no anti-aliasing filter for moire, which provides us with sharper images overall.

A few new additions, however, include internal GPS, improved predictive autofocusing, and three new S-system lenses including the Super-Elmar-S 24 mm f/3.5 ASPH, Vario-Elmar-S 30-90 mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH, and TS-APO-ELMAT-S 120mm f/5.6 ASPH, the first tilt-shift lens in the system.

If you have the money, this is the DSLR to get...don't you think?

Via LeicaRumors.com

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David S Kalonick's picture

Holy hell that thing looks heavy. 

It's not,the body without grip is 1200grs...

Vladimir Byazrov's picture

looks sexy, but by far it should not cost this much. Maybe 15 000 would be ok, but not 22 000. Anyway I'd buy it without a second though if I could. ah.

I played with an S2 and it was really nice, produced good files too the sensor was great. This looks like a nice update to the line. 

Tristan Chaika's picture

for a $20,000 camera, it seems like it's missing some buttons.

From the <a href="http://s.leica-camera.com/System/DIE-NEUE-LEICA-S" rel="nofollow">website</a> (translated):
"The new Leica S has an intuitive control concept, which needs only a few elements. All functions are clearly displayed on the screen and can be conveniently set with four soft keys and a dial. New additions include a 5-way button in the form of a mini-joystick and an even clearer user interface."A specialized tool for a specific market.

There are NO controls.... for $22k... I want gadgets! LOL

Hail Sagan's picture

...Or you can buy 7 D800s

This Leica guy must be a marketing genius.

Yannick Morand's picture

I'd love to see how it performs against a D800E ... the little red dot worth a lot of money but I think this is overpriced for the specs. Phase One can fit 80mp on a medium format, so this thing should have at least 50 or something around. IMO it worth 10k but not 21950$ even with the sharpest lenses in the world! You can get a Hasselblad H4D 50mp with a 80mm for about 3k more. This camera sits between two chairs ...

This is different to a IQ back,its a DSLR body with a medium format sensor,its weather sealed and more suited to travel photography,the new S has great autofocus,better than the S2,I have used this and a D800E,the Nikon is very good but this has sharper files and access to amazing glass,the viewfinder is far better and it can flash sync at 1/1000th sec which is invaluable to fashion and action snappers.... it is worth noting that the body is half the price of the IQ180 back..

Jason Peters's picture

The simplicity of this camera are beautiful and the updates from the S2 are subtle but amazing.

The question should not be "would you buy one" because, as experience has shown with the S2, Leica simply cannot produce one anyway!  I have friends who have been waiting for their famed lenses for 2 years now and still have none!  It took over 12 months for a camera to arrive and it was faulty.   The grip?  Still on backorder.  An extra battery, took 6 months.

And I LOVE the GPS addition!  As if anyone who spends 35000 on a camera and lens will EVER take that thing on a trip! Hahahaha....

It's expensive, but it's handbuild. That's what makes it so expensive (apart from the sensor)...

Ihab Mokayed's picture

Is it normal that I'm scared by just looking at it?! Seriously this is one hell of a DSLR... :| !!

M2 FOTO's picture

I`d really like to get once a real leica in my hands.. to get the real feeling :D

Casey's picture

i got to mess with a S2 for all of about 5 minutes at work one day. set up a ring flash and took this photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/59649041@N08/6200117595/ the files just about killed my aging computer, i uploaded the full res file, the detail is out of control

how did you upload a file that large to flickr? I thought the max was 20mb?

Casey's picture

I went about it the normal way. I do pay for a pro account, maybe that has something to do with it?

Adam's picture

It seems like there's a weird patterned pixelation at 100%. Did you sharpen that or did a jpeg compression case that? Or am I seeing things? Just wondering...

Looks like aggressive sharpening to me. Probably on flickr's end.

Casey's picture

I really didn't do too much to it to be honest, just ran it through silverfx pro and changed some levels.

yeah me too.  Maybe your file was under 20mb.