Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica introduces 64MP medium-format S3

Leica introduces 64MP medium-format S3

(image Leica Camera AG)

A newly developed 64MP 30x45mm CMOS sensor and the Leica Maestro II image processor are at the heart of the S3 announced today. The camera was first seen in prototype form at Photokina in 2018. This medium-format DSLR offers 15 stops of dynamic range and ISO sensitivity up to 50,000. It features a dual shutter system and a “huge” optical viewfinder. It is also dust and spray-water sealed.

The new Leica S3 with the "standard view" 70mm Summarit-S ASPH (image Leica Camera AG)
The new Leica S3 with the “standard view” 70mm Summarit-S ASPH (image Leica Camera AG)

The new sensor improves colour reproduction by utilising new colour filters. There is no low-pass filter, improving detail reproduction, and the sensor includes a super-fast pixel readout to reduce rolling shutter effects. It also consumes less power than the previous sensor, thus minimising sensor heating.

(image Leica Camera AG)
The S3’s “huge” viewfinder (image Leica Camera AG)

Leica’s S system now includes 16 native lenses but the camera can also be used with lenses from Hasselblad H, Hasselblad V, Pentax 67 and Mamiya 645. In all, there are 96 lenses, including 80 from third-party manufacturers, which can be used. Leica lists five adapters to support compatibility.

The S3 costs £16,500, including VAT in the UK, and is available immediately.

Leica Camera launches the new Leica S3
Wetzlar, 6 March 2020. Leica Camera launches the latest model of its medium format system, having previously announced the development of the Leica S3 at Photokina 2018. With the market release of the Leica S3, Leica once again lives up to the ambitious quality standards the brand’s customers have come to expect. In addition to the most prominent improvement – an increase in resolution from 37.5 to 64-megapixels – the medium format camera boasts several technological developments. Just like its predecessors, the Leica S3 also features the Leica ProFormat sensor with 64MP resolution, which was developed exclusively for the Leica S-System. With dimensions of 30 x 45mm, it corresponds to the classic 3:2 aspect ratio of the 35mm full-frame format, but offers a 56% larger sensor area. In comparison to its predecessor, the new 64-megapixel sensor offers a 71% increase in resolution, a dynamic range of 15 f-stops and a maximum ISO sensitivity setting of 50000 – delivering outstanding image quality in any imaginable lighting situation while fully exploiting the strengths of medium format. Whenever required, the LCD screen displays a Live-View image with a refresh rate of up to 60 fps. The entire area of the sensor can be used not only for videos in full-HD but also for 4K cinema resolution. When capturing video footage, 48 kHz,16-bit stereo sound with automatic or manual level adjustment can be recorded with either the integrated microphone or an external microphone. In addition to the integrated GPS function, the Leica S3 also has Wi-Fi which allows for the camera to be remotely controlled via the Leica FOTOS 2.0 app. As with other members of the Leica S-System, the Leica S3 features superior-quality and extremely resilient materials such as the magnesium body, the Corning®Gorilla®Glass cover plate of the 3-inch monitor screen as well as the lens bayonet, which is made from particularly solid stainless steel. Furthermore, the numerous seals that protect the camera against the ingress of moisture or dust contribute to the reliability and long service life of the camera when shooting on location.   With a special construction concept that ensures protection against dust and spray, the S-Lenses are an integral element of the Leica S-System. Just like any other Leica lens, S-Lenses are designed to offer the best possible performance to meet the demands of future generations of imaging technology and to retain their value as a long-term investment. A further highlight of the S-System is the central shutter. In contrast to a focal plane shutter with a maximum sync speed of 1/125s, a central shutter allows flash synchronisation even at its fastest shutter speed of 1/1000s. This offers considerably greater exposure leeway for creative photography, particularly when working with professional studio flash systems or shooting in bright ambient light. 


Leica S3 
Dimensions30 x 45 (Leica ProFormat)
Aspect ratio2:3
Dynamic rangeUp to 15 f-stops
White balancePresets: Daylight, cloudy, shade, incandescent, fluorescent, HMI, halogen warm, halogen cool, flash, tungsten grey card, grey card Live View, automatic, colour temperature (Kelvin)
Low-pass filterNo (for maximum detail resolution/sharpness)
IR filterOn the sensor
ISO sensitivityISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO 3200, ISO 6400, ISO 12500, ISO 25000, ISO 50000, auto ISO
TypePredictive TTL autofocus with central cross sensor and phase detection
AF modesAFs (single) = focus priority, AFc (continuous) = predictivefocus tracking, manual override of AF settings is possible at any time
AF lockShutter release or five-way joystick
MFVia lens with electronic focusing aid
Exposure settings 
Exposure meteringExposure metering through the lens (TTL)
Metering modesMulti-segment (five fields), centre-weighted,selective/spot metering (3.5% of image frame)
Exposure controlProgramme AE (with manual shift) (P), shutter speed priority (T), aperture priority AE (A), manual exposure control (M)
(M) Exposure compensation+/- 3 EV (in half-stop increments)
Exposure bracketing3 or 5 exposures; 1/2, 1, 2, 3 stop(s)
ShutterFocal plane shutter, central shutter with LeicaCS lenses
Drive modesSingle, continuous, interval, self-timer2 s /12 s (with mirror pre-release)
Shutter speeds2 minutes (depending on ISO setting) to 1/4000 s, in half-stop increments
Burst rateUp to 3 fps
Self-timer2 s or 12 s, with mirror pre-release
Mirror pre-releaseYes
Video recording4K cinema and full-HD in Leica ProFormat (large format video)
ResolutionFull-HD: 1920 x 1080 p, 4K cinema: 4096 x 2160 p
Frame rateFull-HD: 24, 25, 30 fps, 4K cinema: 24 fps
File formatMOV (motion JPEG)
Colour subsampling4:2:2
Exposure controlManual and automatic
Audio levelManual and automatic
Audio (onboard)Integrated stereo microphone. 48 kHz, 16 Bit
Audio (external)Audio-in (3.5 mm stereo jack), Audio-out (3.5 mmstereo jack), with Leica Audio-Adapter-S
Time codeInternal
MiscellaneousFocus peaking, clean uncompressed full-HD (1080p) 8-Bit, 4:2:2, HDMI video stream for recording on off-camera HDMI recorders
Live View 
Refresh rateUp to 60 fps
FocusingManual, AF metering field shift to any part of the viewfinder image
Exposure controlMulti-segment (five fields), centre-weighted, selective/spot (linked to AF metering field)
Exposure simulationYes
MiscellaneousHistogram with clipping, focus peaking, levelling aid (horizon), exposure information
TypePentaprism viewfinder with high-eyepoint eyepiece, illuminated LCD bar
Magnification0.87x (with 70 mm lens at infinity, 0 dpt.)
Viewfinder coverageApprox. 98%
Dioptre compensation–3 to +1 dioptres
Focusing screensExchangeable: standard focusing screen with AF cross hairs and spot marking (supplied with the camera), focusing screen with engraved grid, microprism focusing screen
Viewfinder informationLevelling aid (horizon), shutter speed, exposure control mode, aperture, flash status, exposure compensation scale, flash sync display, focus indicator, exposure compensation, remaining exposures (on storage medium), buffer memory, error messages, ISO settings display
 Display panels 
Monitor screen3-inch TFT LCD display
Resolution921,600 pixels
Colour spacesRGB, 16 million colours
Oblique viewing angle170°
Display cover glassCorning®Gorilla®Glass
Top-deck display panelMonochrome LCD display
ConnectionsLemo® flash sync socket, hot shoe with centre and control contacts
Flash synchronisation with focal-plane shutter1/125 s
Flash synchronisation with central shutter (leaf shutter)Up to 1/1000 sn
High-speed syncHSS function up to 1/4000 s (with compatible external flash units)
Flash triggering pointSync on first or second curtain (FPS)
Drive modesSingle, continuous, interval, self-timer 2 s with mirror pre-release, self-timer 12 s with mirror pre-release
Data recording 
Image data formatsLossless compressed DNG, DNG + JPEG
Buffer memory capacity2 GB buffer memory, up to six lossless compressed DNG image files, JPEG no limit (dependent on memory card type, shutter speed and ISO setting)
Storage mediaSD card (SDXC), CF card (UDMA7), external (PC)
Playback modeFull image, histogram with clipping, focus peaking, exposure information
Wi-FiIntegrated in camera body (remote camera control and image assessment by smartphone app), IEEE802.11n
Date/timeManual or automatic date/time setting with GPS module
Levelling aid (horizon)Display sensitivity < 1° (at ambient temperatures from 0–40°C)
USBLemo® USB 3.0 SuperSpeed
HDMIHDMI type C socket
AudioWith Audio-Adapter S (audio-in, audio-out)
Flash synchronisationLemo® flash sync socket
Remote releaseLemo® cable remote release
Wi-FiIntegrated in camera body
MaterialsMagnesium body with non-slip rubber armouring. Magnesium top deck, aluminium baseplate. Stainless steel bayonet and control elements
Dimensions160 × 80 × 120 mm
Weight~ 1260 g (without battery)
Dust-proof/splash-proof sealingYes


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