Leica strikes back: The new Leica S-System

Update: – co-responding 35mm equivalence removed, the Leica S2 is not a cropped system. (thanks @painter778!) – Price updated with link to pdn gear guide article.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, CEO of Leica Camera AG:

Digitally, we’ve made a quantum leap, but we never loose one focus, the focus on the perfect picture; the Leica picture.


Leica has announced that the first camera on their brand-new S-System the Leica S2 will start at roughly $23,000. It will feature a 30x45mm, Kodak made CCD with 37.5 megapixel, 3:2 ratio sensor and an extensive all-new S-System lenses line up: a 70mm f/2.5 standard lens, a 120mm f/2.5, 350mm f/3.5, and an ultra-wide 24mm f/2.8 Elmarit-S. Starting fresh, this new system is not based on any previous camera models/system thus allowing them to create a new camera eco-system altogether.

The camera will also feature a dual-shutter system, that is a normal shutter in the body like other DSLR (Focal Plane Shutter), and a central shutter built-in the CS series lenses—this has been a standard feature in medium format photography that allow a higher (up to 1/500th of second) sync speed in flash photography.

The cream of the crop is how simple the camera is designed, it’s almost like Apple & their iPods or iPhones, put all the basic functions into use and make them look good & as functional as possible—this could stir a new movement in camera design in the industry, and do notice the ‘organic LCD’ display on top!

There is however one big question: 1) How will the 3:2 image ratio effects current users? 2) How will the camera perform image quality wise? Leica published a world premier of the new camera system in a fashion shoot by Robert Grischek, the result looked good, on the 6 published sample images, the shadow & highlight response of the CCD looks amazingly clean with the looks tonal quality of those high-end digital medium back, the question remains unanswered, however on how well the sensor respond to low-lit real-world scenes, there company has yet to publish any samples of outdoor/available-light shots.

There’s another video here where you can see some smart features like tethered connection that you can dangle the camera with, an easy snap-on vertical grip that our assistants (or some of us) will finally love, and dust/weather sealed body that outdoor shooters will appreciate.

Dan Havlik has a nice hands-on impression, as well as Leica’s addresses on the hefty price tag. As usual, dpreview.com has an extensive summary & spec on the new S2 and the S-System product line-up.