The new Leica S starting to ship in the US


The new Leica S medium format digital camera is currently starting to ship in the US. The camera is priced at $21,950. B&H lists the expected availability date as December 28th:

Leica S shipping date

Here are the basic camera specs:

  • 37.5MP 30 x 45mm low-noise CCD sensor
  • 3.0" LCD and High-Eye point viewfinder
  • ISO 100-1600
  • Leica S lens mount
  • Dual CF and SD memory card slots
  • DNG and JPEG file capture
  • Approximately 1,000 exposures per charge
  • Integrated GPS
  • Compatible with central shutter (CS) lenses
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  • Nobody Special

    Well, it looks like a microscopic price drop? Not that it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, but I keep asking myself why I’m supposed to care about this camera.
    It’s nice that Leica came out with a new M that can use R lenses with live view. So, I needn’t wonder ever again about the R solution. But still, they built the mighty S instead of……. Wonder if they would have more digital R bodies…. Wonder how many S bodies they’ve sold? Just wondering.

    • Think about it like this… people buy M lenses and bodies because they’re the only ones of that kind (I meant full frame compact/non-SLR… not the buyers lol). So Leica can charge the silly prices they do.

      Same goes for the S series… it’s the only DMF that looks, feels and works like a 35mm DSLR. Also you can’t put S lenses on other medium format digital SLRs because it has a very short flange. So they’re on their own there.

      If Leica made R bodies and lenses, everyone will be comparing the R bodies to Canon bodies that can take R lenses with a simple adapter, and R lenses will be compared to other SLR lenses.

      Leica chooses market segments that other manufacturers don’t play in. This is how they stay afloat.

  • Nobody Special

    I understand that geno, but I think you know where I’m coming from. The S will never be a major player in it’s time from it’s beginning. Unlike the M, which started when the rangefinder was at it’s apogee of popularity. The S will never get there, in fact, I’m willing to guess that over time, the S will never really make it’s market – except of course – it IS it’s own market. A digital R, as you say, would forever be compared to it’s competition – as it was with it’s film days. But, I still believe that a digital R would sell more and be more successful than any S ever will.

    I was trying to remember who from Leica(?) recently intimated that the S may not have been the best thing for Leica to develop, though that may have been in reference to the development cost. Oh well, they’re stuck with the decision, may they ‘like it or lump it’.

    • I’m not entirely sure whether a modern digital R would be all that popular. Some might say if people buy certain manual focus Zeiss SLR lenses which are worse than auto-focus ones made by other manufacturers, a big(ger) name like Leica should have no issues. But the game of making bodies is different to making lenses… from what we’ve seen so far, Leica doesn’t have what it takes to release updated bodies every (few) years and have them perform competitively image quality-wise. With the recent changes, let’s hope things have changed and they can do better.

      Also I think the S is a step in the right direction. Bigger is better and is now getting cheaper. They might struggle at this early stage but if they create a good line-up of lenses and make the bodies cheap, lens addicts/collectors will get on-board. In fact, this should work for any interchangeable lens platform.

      What would be really interesting is if they release a medium format digital compact/rangefinder.

      • Nobody Special

        Well, respectfully, I’m not so sure. Time of course will tell the story, but I think the price of the S will always be high.
        I do absolutely agree that a medium format rangefinder would have made a lot, lot, more sense. I find it WAY to easy to second guess Kaufmann’s thinking, but as much as you, I, and many others would have liked the MF rangefinder idea, we’ll never know – but it would have been awesome.

        • If you like them so much, I’m guessing you’ve at least owned several medium format film rangefinders over the years? 🙂

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