At 64 megapixels, the Leica S3 is a behemoth of a medium format DSLR. It was first announced two years ago at Photokina 2018, but now hits the shelves with an equally hefty USD 18,995/GBP 16,500 (~SGD 29,668) price tag.
Leica’s digital medium format chops began in 2008 with the Leica S2, followed by the Leica S (Typ 006) and (Typ 007) that launched in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
The S3 shares their monolithic visual identity and design while sporting a large 3:2 aspect ratio 30x45mm Leica Pro Format sensor that guarantees uniform corner-to-corner brightness. Leica boasts 15 stops of dynamic range on its unique sensor.
In terms of glass, the S3 can benefit from Leica’s range of 16 S-Series lenses, including six CS lenses that allow flash syncs at high shutter speeds of 1/1000s with its central shutter. Otherwise, the focal plane shutter goes up to 1/4000s, with an internal flash sync speed of 1/125s.
Surprisingly for a camera of its calibre (and price), the Leica S3 is limited to SD and CF cards, missing out on the benefits of the more modern and faster CFexpress and XQD formats seen on other professional-tier cameras.
Despite this, a 2GB buffer and a 3.5 fps burst rate (about double its predecessor) offer greater flexibility despite its medium format pedigree.
Few would reach for a medium format camera to record video, but the full-sensor readout for 4:2:2 80bit DCI 4K 24p recording on the Leica S3 can be handy.
The Leica S3 retails at USD 18,995. Local pricing and availability in Singapore is yet to be announced.