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Leica S2 with 56% larger sensor than full frame

By dpreview staff on Sep 23, 2008 at 00:03 GMT

Photokina 2008: Leica has today unveiled a brand new autofocus DSLR system designed for professional users, which is configured around a 30x45mm sensor (i.e. 56% larger than 35mm full-frame). The S-system will utilize an advanced new dual shutter, with both an in-body focal plane shutter for fast lenses, and in-lens leaf shutters for high flash sync speeds. The first camera, the S-2, will feature a 37.5 megapixel CCD sensor in a weatherproof body which is similar in size and handling to conventional 35mm-type DSLRs. The new ‘Maestro’ image processing system provides twice the operating speed of current medium-format backs, significantly reduced power consumption, and allows production of in-camera JPEGs. The company has also developed a range of nine new lenses, including macro, ultra-wideangle, and tilt-and-shift designs. New images added.

The lens range will consist of 24mm ultrawide, 30mm tilt-and-shift, 35mm wide, 70mm standard, 30-90mm standard zoom, 100mm short tele, 120mm macro, 180mm telephoto, and 350mm telephoto optics (all of which will apparently incorporate leaf shutters).

Click here for our exclusive pictures from Leica's stand at Photokina.

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Press Release:

Unexpected but inevitable. The brilliant new Leica S2 digital SLR.

September 23, 2008: LEICA S2 – Remarkable new camera from Germany redefines the professional DSLR class with a custom 37.5-megapixel, 30 x 45 mm sensor built into a 35mm-sized body.

Some companies tweak the features. At Leica, we transform the concept. That’s why the introduction of the flagship Leica S2 is not merely an incremental advance. It is nothing less than a watershed event that sets an entirely new performance standard for professional digital SLRS.

With a custom 37.5-megapixel, 30 x 45 mm sensor that is 56% larger than full frame, it establishes parameters of imaging excellence that are well beyond those obtainable by conventional pro-caliber DSLRs. In the Leica tradition, it utilizes the classic 3:2 aspect ratio that corresponds to the human field of vision and is widely acclaimed as the “Leica Format.”

In designing this brilliant new camera, Leica’s engineers took a close look at the best existing DSLR designs and then synergized them into a radical but practical new camera that combines the performance parameters of a medium-format digital camera with the ergonomics, form factor, and handling ease of a 35mm SLR. The result is the new Leica S2, an entirely new, finely crafted, professional tool developed in-house by Leica with hands-on input from some of the most renowned professional photographers in the world.

It incorporates an advanced new dual shutter system with in-body focal-plane shutter for fast lenses, and in-lens leaf shutters for high flash sync speeds, an ultra-high-precision autofocusing system, a new series of lenses designed for the highest possible performance with the new sensor, and a Maestro image processing system that provides twice the speed of comparable medium-format backs, reduces power consumption, and provides in-camera JPEG capability. Remarkably, all of this has been incorporated into a camera that is smaller than a full-size professional 35mm SLR, and still has the unmistakable look and feel of a Leica.

Like Leica cameras of the past, we designed the new Leica S2 from the inside out, and its robust styling is a classic example of form following function. We began with a cutting-edge, large-format CCD sensor and literally configured the camera around it rather than adapting existing technologies. In this way we achieved a new level of performance without sacrificing size or convenience. Yes the S2 Leica is our latest masterpiece, an unequivocal statement to the world that showcases our technological prowess. But it is more than just a technological tour de force.

It is a statement of Leica’s continuing pre-eminence in the world of imaging that goes back nearly 100 years. Perhaps that is why our top executives in Germany have compared the announcement of the Leica S2 to the debut of the first Leica, the legendary model A in 1925. That seminal camera did nothing less than redefine 35mm photography in the 20th century and we believe that the Leica S2 may well do the same for DSLR photography in the 21st.

With Salzburg ACM Projektentwicklungs GmbH as its new owner, Leica Camera AG is entering a new era. Following in-depth and successful re-structuring, the business can now concentrate on investing in new products. Leica has made a quantum leap in the field of digital technology, enabling it to combine the advantages of highly developed digital technology with the classic Leica values concerning optics, mechanics and optimal image results.

The result of this is uncompromising cutting-edge technology; the LEICA S2 is the first to offer all these things to professional digital photographers. The LEICA S system sets the trend for future Leica products in terms of technology and leads the way for future product ideas from Leica Camera AG.

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