New Leica S
For every aspirational amateur, there is a professional whose knowledge of their artfrom far exceeds that of their peers. It is for that professional that Leica have developed their latest high performance SLR, the Leica S.
A logical successor to the Leica S2, the new Leica S offers a further increase in image quality and sensor sensitivity, predictive autofocus, higher speed and enhanced handling. Numerous additional features, some of them unique, contribute to an improved professional workflow. In addition to the new camera body, three new lenses have been added to the S-System portfolio, significantly expanding the capabilities of the system: the Leica Super-Elmar-S 24 mm f/3.5 ASPH. super-wide, the Leica Vario-Elmar-S 30-90 mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. and the Leica TS-APO-Elmar-S 120 mm f/5.6 ASPH. tilt/shift lens.
“This expansion of the system is further confirmation that the dedicated digital concept of the S-System sets new standards in the world of medium format photography, while providing the speed and handling of a 35 mm SLR.” – Stephan Schulz, Leica Camera AG
The New Leica S Specifications & Features
One of the most notable innovations in the Leica S is its new image and sensor board. The upgrade of these electronic components has successfully increased the image quality of the Leica S, as well as improving its noise characteristics, natural colour rendition and white balance precision. The latter function has now been extended to include a ‘Grey Card’ option that allows photographers to shoot a subject with a neutral grey area – such as a grey card – and define the white balance determined as a reference for all following photos, to ensure a consistently precise colour mood from the beginning to the end of a shoot.
The extended sensitivity range of the sensor at both ends gives photographers more freedom of choice in the selection of exposure parameters: the lower basic ISO setting of 100 allows longer working at maximum aperture in extremely bright conditions, while the maximum sensitivity of ISO1600 enables users to capture noise-free images, even under difficult lighting conditions. The doubling of the buffer memory to 2 GB and support of transfer rates up to 166 MB/s enables photographers to shoot continuous sequences of up to 32 consecutive images in RAW format – at full resolution of 37.5 MP.
The upgraded autofocus module not only increases the speed, but also adds to focusing precision. The Leica S compares past movements of the subject and computes the location of the subject at the time of exposure. The autofocus locks on to this computed point before the shutter release is pressed.
The Leica S is currently the only professional camera to feature an integrated GPS module that can add the geographic positioning information of the exposure location to the Exif data of an image, when required. This function also allows the precise synchronisation of the system time (internal clock) for any worldwide location where satellite signals can be received. The new dual-axis leveling aid (spirit level) displays its readout in the viewfinder to allow photographers to align the subject with absolute precision in the horizontal and vertical plane, without the need for external aids.
Together with the new Leica M, the Leica S marks the beginning of a new era in Leica’s product naming policy. In future, Leica M and S model names will omit the number suffix to emphasise the long-term significance and enduring value of the respective systems.
The monitor screen now offers a resolution of 920,000 pixels, a 3″ diagonal and full sRGB colour space, as well as increased contrast and brightness, to allow even greater precision when assessing images. The glass covering plate of the monitor screen is manufactured from tough and scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass.
The Leica S possesses all the proven quality characteristics of the S-System. Theseinclude the large, 30 x 45 mm, Leica Pro Format sensor and its microlens layer that guarantees consistently uniform brightness from corner to corner. The camera is extremely ruggedly built and sealed against environmental influences such as dust and rain, as with all S-Lenses. The system’s unique dual shutter concept offers photographers the choice of using the camera’s fast focal plane shutter or the central shutter of CS- version lenses, which allows flash sync at shutter speeds up to 1/1000th of a second.
The eight currently available Leica S-System lenses (five of which will also be available with a central shutter) offer photographers all important focal lengths and a first-class tilt/shift lens. At the same time, a wide range of medium format lenses from a number of other manufacturers can be easily mounted on the Leica S using appropriate adapters. Of particular interest is the S-Adapter H, which allows the use of Hasselblad H-Lenses with full support of all functions, including autofocus, central shutter control and automatic aperture control.
The Leica S Camera will be available in the UK at a suggested retail price of £16,000 from December 2012 from the Leica Store Mayfair, and other authorised Leica Dealers.