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2020.03.06

Premium brand of Digital Cameras and Optics Leica just announced a new Medium Format DSLR. This camera is designed for high-end professional photographers that prefer working using a Optical Viewfinder and demand top-notch image-quality that comes with a large Medium-Format sensor. This is obviously a very small market and even surprising that there is sufficient demand to build an entire new camera.

Leica S3

The Leica S3 is built around a 64 megapixels 45x30mm CMOS sensor. This gives a 3:2 aspect-ratio like the vast majority of DSLR with the same surface area as Medium Format sensors. The S3 sensor covers an ISO 100-50,000 sensitivity-range. Its sensor is the second highest -resolution one on the market and produces a huge amount of data which limits its maximum burst speed to 3 FPS.  This Medium Format DSLR is the first to capture Cinema 4K video, which it can at 24 FPS with 10-bit output.

Leica has a modern lens-mount dedicated to this DSLR platform, the S-mount that supports an imaging-circle with 0.8X crop-factor. There are currently 10 lenses available for S-mount covering a 24-180mm focal-range.  These modern AF lenses  are autofocused by a dedicated Phase-Detect AF sensor in the S3. This sensor is blocked by the mirror when using Live-View used for Video Capture, so the Leica S3 falls back to Contrast-Detect AF while filming.

As a DSLR, framing with the Leica S3 is optical via a 0.87X magnification OVF. This shows an equivalent magnification of  1.07X on Full-Frame, making this the largest OVF available. One unusual and surprising specification is that this huge OVF only shows 98% coverage. Every other professional digital camera on the market shows complete 100% coverage. The body of the S3 offers dual control-dials and is weatherproof.

The Leica S3 is scheduled to ship this month for $19,000 USD. B&H Photo are ready to take preorders. As always, this reputable store will not charge your credit card until the product ship while making sure that you will be among the first to receive it.

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