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The Leica S3, which was announced during photokina 2018, will go on sale immediately (March 6).

The most important data on the Leica S3 at a glance:

  • Leica ProFormat sensor with 64 megapixel resolution
  • Leica Maestro II processor with 2 GB buffer memory
  • Dynamic range of 15 f-stops
  • High sensor sensitivity up to ISO 50,000
  • Medium Format Cine 4K Video
  • GPS and WLAN module

The official price is 18.600 €.

Leica S3: Leica Camera delivers the latest model of the Leica S medium format system to retailers

Wetzlar, March 6, 2020. Today Leica Camera delivers the latest model of its medium format system to retailers worldwide – having previously announced the development of the Leica S3 at photokina 2018. The outstanding excellence of the Leica S and its lenses is rooted in a well thought-out system in which every component represents an integral element of the recording process. With the market release of the Leica S3 on March 6, 2020, Leica Camera once again lives up to the ambitious quality standards the company’s customers have come to expect.

In addition to the most obvious improvement – an increase in resolution from 37.5 to 64 megapixels – the medium format camera features a number of technological advances. Just like its predecessors, the Leica S3 also utilises the Leica ProFormat developed especially for the Leica S-System. With dimensions of 30 x 45 millimetres, it corresponds to the classic 3:2 aspect ratio of the 35 mm full-frame format, but offers a 56 percent larger sensor area. In comparison with its predecessor, the new 64 megapixel sensor developed exclusively for Leica offers a 71 percent increase in resolution, a dynamic range of 15 f- stops and a maximum ISO sensitivity setting of 50000 – thereby providing sufficient reserves to be ready to handle any imaginable lighting situation and fully exploit the strengths of the medium format. Subjects can be composed in the large and bright SLR viewfinder, focused sharply with the fast and reliable autofocus and captured at a continuous shooting rate of three frames per second. In addition to all other essential exposure settings, an electronic levelling aid (horizon) can also be displayed in the viewfinder. Whenever required, the LCD screen displays a Live-View image with a refresh rate of up to 60 fps is available in both still picture and video recording mode that also allows focus peaking, brightness and exposure data, a clipping warning, grids and a histogram to be superimposed onto the image.

The entire area of the sensor can be used not only for videos in full-HD, but, for the first time, also for 4K cinema resolution – including the characteristic medium format look. When capturing video footage, 48 kHz,16-bit stereo sound with automatic or manual level adjustment can be recorded with either the integrated or an external microphone.

The Leica Maestro II processor and a 2 GB buffer memory ensure a smooth workflow that is essential for handling the enormous amounts of data generated by the sensor. Shooting in tethered mode is also possible with the Leica Image Shuttle app, whereby all essential exposure settings can be made with the help of the app and the images captured in DNG and JPG format can be transferred directly to a computer via a USB 3.0 interface. Using the Lightroom Tethered Plugin allows the Leica S3 to be connected directly to the image processing package without any need for additional software.

In addition to a GPS function, which determines the precise geographical location and the exact time with the aid of satellites and saves them to the EXIF data, the Leica S3 also has a WLAN module with which the camera can be remotely controlled in conjunction with the Leica FOTOS 2.0 app.

As with other members of the Leica S-System, the Leica S3 is constructed using superior- quality and extremely resilient materials: examples include the magnesium body, the Corning®Gorilla®Glass cover plate of the 3-inch monitor screen as well as the lens bayonet, which is made from particularly solid stainless steel. Furthermore, the numerous seals that protect the camera against the ingress of moisture, dust and other foreign bodies contribute to the reliability and long service life of the camera when shooting on location. The familiar and proven intuitive handling concept of Leica S (Typ 007) has been carried forward to the Leica S3: the central control elements are two setting dials and a five-way joystick, which control the shutter speed and aperture and enable quick and easy menu navigation. The rear screen is surrounded by four buttons which can be configured in accordance to the photographer’s preferences and needs. And lastly, the main switch can be used to choose between the camera’s focal plane shutter or a central shutter – provided this is a feature offered by the lens mounted on the camera.

With a special construction concept that ensures protection against dust and spray, the S- Lenses are an integral element of the Leica S-System. As is the case with other Leica lenses, S-Lenses are designed to offer sufficient performance reserves to meet the demands of future generations of imaging technology and retain their value as a long-term investment that can fully exploit the potential of future camera generations. The optical performance delivered by these lenses is still by no means exhausted by sensors with a resolution of 64 megapixels. A further highlight of the S-System is the central shutter available as an alternative option for six lenses of the S-System portfolio. In contrast to a focal plane shutter with a maximum sync speed of 1/125 s, a central shutter allows flash synchronization even at its fastest shutter speed of 1/1000 s. This opens up considerably greater exposure leeway for creative photography, particularly when working with professional studio flash systems or shooting in bright ambient light. In such situations, the larger image circle of Leica S-Lenses as a consequence of the sensor dimensions not only creates the characteristic medium format look, but also significantly shallower depth of focus.

The Leica S3 will be delivered to retailers worldwide on March 6, 2020.

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First photo with the wonderful S3 system and Elmarit-S 45mm f2.8 CS   Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

A good friend has seen the first big prints in A2-Format. He is also very experienced in printing S007 files. He mentioned that there really is an improvement from the S007 to the new S3. And as we all know the real qualities you see in prints and not just on your calibrated display.

Very nice, but it's just not for me. There are SO many other Leica cameras and lenses that I can't afford already...  😅

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Technical Data Leica S3

Dimensions 30 x 45 (Leica ProFormat)
Aspect ratio 2:3
Resolution 64 million pixels
Dynamic range Up to 15 f-stops
White balance Presets: Daylight, cloudy, shade, incandescent, fluorescent, HMI, halogen warm, halogen cool, flash, tungstengrey card, grey card Live View, automatic, colour temperature (Kelvin)
Low-pass filter No (for maximum detail resolution/sharpness)
IR filter On the sensor
ISO sensitivity ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO 3200, ISO 6400, ISO 12500, ISO 25000, ISO 50000, auto ISO
Type Predictive TTL autofocus with central cross sensor and phase detection
AF modes AFs (single) = focus priority, AFc (continuous) = predictive focus tracking, manual override of AF settings is possible at any time
AF lock Shutter release or five-way joystick
MF Via lens with electronic focusing aid
Exposure settings
Exposure metering Exposure metering through the lens (TTL)
Metering modes Multi-segment (five fields), centre-weighted, selective/spot metering (3.5% of image frame)
Exposure control Programme AE (with manual shift) (P), shutter speed priority (T), aperture priority AE (A), manual exposure control (M)
(M) Exposure compensation +/- 3 EV (in half-stop increments)
Exposure bracketing 3 or 5 exposures; 1/2, 1, 2, 3 stop(s)
Shutter Focal plane shutter, central shutter with Leica CS lenses
Drive modes Single, continuous, interval, self-timer 2 s /12 s (with mirror pre-release)
Shutter speeds 8 minutes (depending on ISO setting) to 1/4000 s, in half-stop increments
Burst rate Up to 3 fps
Self-timer 2 s or 12 s, with mirror pre-release
Mirror pre-release Yes
Video recording 4K cinema and full-HD in Leica ProFormat (large format video)
Resolution Full-HD: 1920 x 1080 p, 4K cinema: 4096 x 2160 p
Frame rate Full-HD: 24, 25, 30 fps, 4K cinema: 24 fps
File format MOV (motion JPEG)
Colour subsampling 4:2:2
Exposure control Manual and automatic
Audio level Manual and automatic
Audio (onboard) Integrated stereo microphone. 48 kHz, 16 Bit
Audio (external) Audio-in (3.5 mm stereo jack), Audio-out (3.5 mm stereo jack), with Leica Audio-Adapter-S
Time code Internal
Miscellaneous Focus peaking, clean uncompressed full-HD (1080p) 8-Bit, 4:2:2, HDMI video stream for recording on off-camera HDMI recorders
Live View
Refresh rate Up to 60 fps
Focusing Manual, AF metering field shift to any part of the viewfinder image
Exposure control Multi-segment (five fields), centre-weighted, selective/spot (linked to AF metering field)
Exposure simulation Yes
Miscellaneous Histogram with clipping, focus peaking, levelling aid (horizon), exposure information
Type Pentaprism viewfinder with high-eyepoint eyepiece, illuminated LCD bar
Magnification 0.87x (with 70 mm lens at infinity, 0 dpt.)
Viewfinder coverage Approx. 98%
Dioptre compensation –3 to +1 dioptres
Focusing screens Exchangeable: standard focusing screen with AF cross hairs and spot marking (supplied with the camera), focusing screen with engraved grid, microprism focusing screen
Viewfinder information Levelling aid (horizon), shutter speed, exposure control mode, aperture, flash status, exposure compensation scale, flash sync display, focus indicator, exposure compensation, remaining exposures (on storage medium), buffer memory, error messages, ISO settings display
Display panels
Monitor screen 3-inch TFT LCD display
Resolution 921,600 pixels
Colour space sRGB, 16 million colours
Oblique viewing angle 170°
Display cover glass Corning®Gorilla®Glass
Top-deck display panel Monochrome LCD display
Connections Lemo® flash sync socket, hot shoe with centre and control contacts
Flash synchronisation with focal plane shutter 1/125 s
Flash synchronisation with central shutter (leaf shutter) Up to 1/1000 s
High-speed sync HSS function up to 1/4000 s (with compatible external flash units)
Flash triggering point Sync on first or second curtain (FPS)
Drive modes Single, continuous, interval, self-timer 2 s with mirror pre-release, self-timer 12 s with mirror pre-release
Data recording
Image data formats Lossless compressed DNG, DNG + JPEG
Buffer memory capacity 2 GB buffer memory, up to six lossless compressed DNG image files, JPEG no limit (dependent on memory card type, shutter speed and ISO setting)
Storage media SD card (SDXC), CF card (UDMA7), external (PC)
Playback mode Full image, histogram with clipping, focus peaking, exposure information
WLAN Integrated in camera body (remote camera control and image assessment by smartphone app), IEEE802.11n
Date/time Manual or automatic date/time setting with GPS module
Levelling aid (horizon) Display sensitivity
USB Lemo® USB 3.0 SuperSpeed
HDMI HDMI type C socket
Audio With Audio-Adapter S (audio-in, audio-out)
Flash synchronisation Lemo® flash sync socket
Remote release Lemo® cable remote release
WLAN Integrated in camera body
Materials Magnesium body with non-slip rubber armouring. Magnesium top deck, aluminium baseplate. Stainless steel bayonet and control elements
Dimensions 160×80×120mm
Weight ~ 1260 g (without battery)
Dust-proof/splash-proof sealing Yes
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1 minute ago, Jan1985 said:

I'm really curious how the files look...

I am not sure if i am allowed to send you a DNG from back when the beta testing was done because the S3 was not finalised and many improvements have been made to the final product.

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vor 1 Minute schrieb Milan_S:

I am not sure if i am allowed to send you a DNG from back when the beta testing was done because the S3 was not finalised and many improvements have been made to the final product.

You don't need to. I am very good connected. Will get a DNG in the next hours 😉

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Oh dear. £15,500 !!

Not a chance. Anyway, it's ugly. And at my age quite impractical, weight is a huge factor. I’ll stay with my M9 and 240 and see what the M11 offers. It will have to be ±40mp with IBIS and then I’ll upgrade for life. Otherwise I’ll sell the M9 and take the 240 on holiday in the States.

Edited by Stripey Badger
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Horses for the Courses!!!

Well a new" Breed and a Horse " of course if  it is for a course or collection.

I am aware  that wealthy people like to collect labeled horses paying high value for the horses even though. they are not into riding courses . It is too pity.

I am glad  if Leica could one day integrate   all or some of these tech. upgrading into an affordable M  they developed into S3.

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32 minutes ago, Flu said:

I think Contrast AF is used in the VF and phase is used ONLY in Live view mode.

It's the other way around. There's a traditional AF phase sensor at the bottom of the mirror box that is used when the mirror is down (SLR mode). Contrast detection is used in live view (mirrorless mode).

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4 hours ago, Cyril Jayant said:

Horses for the Courses!!!

Well a new" Breed and a Horse " of course if  it is for a course or collection.

I am aware  that wealthy people like to collect labeled horses paying high value for the horses even though. they are not into riding courses . It is too pity.

I am glad  if Leica could one day integrate   all or some of these tech. upgrading into an affordable M  they developed into S3.

I went through all the M series with lenses and attachments, bellows, enlarger and then moved to R3, bellow II and more accessories, short 90mm, 60mm. Waited and waited for a digital camera. Finally received an inheritance and found I could afford an MRI back. Bad decision. I had to buy a new body as my old R3 wouldn't fit. Bought R9 and was stuck with 2Mb card when the system went down the drain. Just to keep up with my friends I bought a Canon with Leica lens adapter. AF, built in flash as well as remote and much less weight. All Leica bodies are doorstops now. I used to enjoy my Leica photography but that's now in the past. I can only read about cameras like to S3.

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