We were on hand earlier in the week in Cologne, Germany for the Leica event where the company unveiled the new Leica S but only got a few minutes to check out this DSLR-style medium format camera amidst the hordes of excited onlookers.
So we paid a visit to the Leica booth at photokina the next day and got some in-depth hands-on time with this camera, which is the follow up to the well-received Leica S2 from 2008.
While the new Leica S uses the same Kodak-built, 37.5MP, 45 x 30mm-size CCD sensor as the S2 and looks very similar to its predecessor, there are many internal and external tweaks to this latest top-of-the-line pro model from Leica.
What’s in a Name?
But first, a bit about the name. As with its latest full-frame digital rangefinder — the Leica M — the company is now going for a general nomenclature for its highest end models, with the idea that similarly named iterations will follow. The approach has been compared to Porsche with its 911 sports car series, which maintain the general 911 name through the years while being upgraded. (Leica, Porsche…you see where this camera is being marketed, right?)
It’s an interesting approach which, I suppose, is more classy than just adding numbers at the end of a model name but I wonder if it will be confusing to prospective Leica buyers. (If it works for the new iPad though, perhaps it will also work for Leica’s products.)
Leica says it’s made over 80 improvements to the Leica S based on “consumer feedback from the market.” One thing they did not improve on, however, is the price: the Leica S will go on sale, body only, for $21,950 in December 2012. If anyone’s keeping score, that’s approximately the same price as the previous model, though the Leica S adds a new protection plan that increases the warranty to three years total.