Today at Photokina, Leica has announced the S3, the highly anticipated successor to the S (Typ 007) medium format digital SLR. Details are relatively light at this point as the Leica S3 is slated for delivery in Spring of 2019. What we do know today is that the S3 will feature a brand new, Leica-specific 64 megapixel CMOS sensor, nearly double the 37.5 megapixel resolution found on previous S cameras. This new sensor has a maximum ISO of 50,000 and, significantly, can capture full-frame medium format 4K video. As with the S (Typ 007), the S3 features Wi-Fi, GPS, full weather sealing, and a durable magnesium body.
This is great news for the S-system. Near the end of last year, we conducted a survey about what S users wanted in the next model. You can check that survey out and see the results here: Thoughts on the Next Generation Leica S. When it came to resolution, the majority of users wanted 60 megapixels and the 64 megapixel sensor in the S3 fits that requirement perfectly. I've seen a number of extremely large prints from the S (Typ 007) that look incredible, so I'm quite excited to see what the S3 will produce.
Another top requested feature was an improvement in high ISO capability. The S3's maximum ISO of 50,000 is a 2-stop improvement over the 12,500 maximum ISO of the S (Typ 007). Knowing what the 007 is already capable of at higher ISO's (check out Night Shooting with the Leica S (Typ 007) for that), I can imagine that the S3 will be even more useful in hand-held, low light shooting situations.
More on the S3 still to come
David Farkas is on-site at Photokina. He was at the press event and will be heading to the Leica booth tomorrow at the show to see about getting hands-on with a prototype S3 camera. He'll also be sitting down with Stephan Schulz, head of professional products for Leica, as well as Toni Felsner, product manager for the S camera. Hopefully, we'll get some more details tomorrow. So, keep checking Red Dot Forum for updates as we learn them.
Leica's official release
Leica Camera presented the upcoming Leica S3 at Photokina today. This announcement comes ten years after Leica Camera first introduced a new medium format camera system, the Leica S2. The S2 was followed by the Leica S (Typ 006) in 2012 and the Leica S (Typ 007) in 2015. Along the way, the S-System was further improved with changes to the handling concept, range of functions, completion of the lens system, switch from CCD to CMOS sensor technology and the launch of the Maestro II processor.
The features of the Leica S3 include a 64 MP CMOS Sensor designed exclusively for Leica, ISO up to 50,000, full frame medium format Cine 4K Video System, integrated Wi-Fi and GPS. The Leica S3 is constructed with exceptionally high quality and resilient materials including a magnesium body, a Corning® Gorilla ®Glass cover plate for the monitor screen and a lens bayonet made from durable stainless steel. The camera has numerous seals that protect it from dust and splashes. Sales for the Leica S3 will start in Spring 2019.