Medium-format cameras are turning to the CMOS sensor for its flexibility, and Leica has followed suit with the S (Typ 007). Damien Demolder puts it to the test
Leica S (Typ 007) review – Introduction
At a glance:
- 37.5MP Leica ProFormat CMOS sensor
- ISO 100-12,500
- 3.5fps continuous shooting
- 0.87x viewfinder with 100% coverage
- 3in,921,600-dot LCD
- Cine 4K video recording
With no background in medium-format film cameras, Leica was able to start with a clean slate when it decided the time was right to begin offering its users a larger sensor. Although the S1 was the first of its S-series models, it was a scanning camera and not closely related to the S models that followed. The S2 was the beginning of the current format, which was announced in 2008 and released for sale in 2009. Leica wanted to make a medium-format handheld camera that was small and easy to use, so it steered away from the Hasselblad/Bronica/Pentax 645 format of long-nosed SLRs and went with a shape more like the Pentax 67 SLR or Mamiya 7 rangefinder, and actually not that dissimilar to its own lovely R system of 35mm film SLRs.
Confusingly, Leica’s naming structure has altered since the introduction of the S2, so we had the S (Typ 006) instead of an S3, and now we have an S (Typ 007), representing the fourth generation of the series. This new model introduces some important changes for the system and brings with it features and functions that make it a thoroughly modern medium-format camera in a world in which the main players are only just moving away from bodies designed and created in the last century. It stands out too as the only digital medium-format camera built in the likeness of a 35mm-style DSLR. It also uses its own unique sensor size with a 3:2 aspect ratio, and is ploughing its own furrow when it comes to the sensor manufacturer.