At the top of German camera legend Leica’s product line sits the 2012-model Leica S, a pricey but extremely powerful medium-format DSLR, and it’s just been replaced… by the Leica S. A brand-new Leica S that shares the same name as its predecessor, with a parenthetical (Type 007) at the end, and has some pretty significant upgrades. Added a new imaging sensor, processor and 4K video (in Super 35 format).
Revolving around a 37.5MP 30 x 45mm CMOS sensor and Maestro II image processor, this camera is notable in its ability to produce image quality with remarkable sharpness, clarity, and dynamic range. The omission of an optical low-pass filter from the sensor’s design further enables enhanced detail and resolution, that pairs well with the optimized Leica S lenses. Furthermore, on-sensor microlenses work to produce consistent and even light distribution to ensure edge-to-edge sharpness and illumination for a high degree of overall clarity. Beyond advanced still image recording, the S is also capable of producing 4K video files, as well as full HD, with a variety of options for audio and video recording. Utilizing the large sensor to the fullest extent, the S (Type 007) is a versatile imaging device designed to deliver the utmost quality to both photographers and videographers.
Courtesy of a two gigabyte buffer, the Leica S (Type 007) retains the 32-frame DNG raw buffer of its predecessor, even though it shoots at more than double the speed. That compares very favorably indeed to the 645Z, which can manage just ten raw frames in a burst. Even taking into account the resolution difference, the Leica is able to buffer 2.3 times as much data as does the Pentax.
One would expect an advantage for Leica in the sensitivity department too, given the larger pixel size, but here the Leica S (Type 007) trails Pentax by quite some distance. The Leica now offers a range of ISO 100 to 6400 equivalents, and while that’s a worthwhile step up from the ISO 100 to 1600 provided by the previous-gen Leica S, it’s not even close to the ISO 204,800-equivalent setting provided by the 645Z. Of course, that’s simply a paper comparison of specs — it’s quite possible that the Leica has similar or better noise levels in the real world.
The revised auto focus system brings both higher speed and more reliable and precise focusing. The Leica S (Type 007) features a predictive auto focus mode: the camera registers the motion of the subject and determines the distance to it at the moment of exposure. With its outstanding image quality and high-speed burst rate, the Leica S (Type 007) sets entirely new standards for dynamic medium format photography.
Built-in GPS can record geographical positioning data and the camera’s integrated WLAN module can be used in combination with an app for smart devices. This allows wireless remote control of the camera, and remote image assessment in Live View mode.
Leica S-Cameras are designed and constructed for many years of daily use. The new stainless-steel bayonet guarantees even greater endurance under even the toughest conditions. The Leica S (Type 007) possesses all the proven quality characteristics of the S-System. These include the large 30 × 45 mm Leica Pro Format sensor and its micro-lens layer that guarantees consistently uniform brightness from corner to corner. The camera and S-Lenses are extremely ruggedly built and sealed against environmental influences like dust and rain. The system’s unique dual-shutter concept offers photographers the choice of using the camera’s fast focal plane shutter with speeds up to 1/4000 s or the electronically controlled central shutter of the CS lenses that allows flash sync at all shutter speeds up to 1/1000 s. The ten currently available Leica S-System lenses, six of which are also available with a central shutter, offer photographers all important focal lengths and a first-class tilt/shift lens. At the same time, numerous third-party medium-format lenses can be mounted on the Leica S with adapters: for instance the Leica S-Adapter H for Hasselblad H lenses and the Leica S-Adapter C for Contax 645 lenses, both of which provide full compatibility – including autofocus, central shutter control (Hasselblad) and automatic aperture control.The Leica S is uncompromisingly built for maximum dependability in use and also features details like cable connections with strain relief, separate slots for CompactFlash and SD memory cards, further optimised energy efficiency and a scratch-resistant display.
You can Pre-Order the Leica S (Type 007) on B&H Photo Video Pro Audio for $16,900. The expected availability is August 31, 2015.