Leica S2

Medium format may never be the same thanks to the unique S2 hybrid.

Jan 6, 2010
By Dan Havlik

Prod Reviews Leica S2

Though it may look like a digital SLR, the Leica S2 has the guts of a medium-format camera with a 37.5-megapixel, 45 x 30mm CCD sensor that produces stunning image quality.
Believe me when I say that the Leica S2 could either save the medium-format camera market or completely destroy it. It could save it if rival manufacturers take a look at this intriguing new hybrid digital SLR/medium-format camera, swallow their pride, and try to borrow some of its strengths in their next models. Or it could destroy medium format if the competition just turns up its nose and continues on its merry way. . .towards a rapidly approaching cliff.

For how great a camera the 37.5-megapixel S2 is—and it is, undeniably, a great camera—the dwindling medium-format market will certainly not be saved by Leica alone. S2s, after all, are "handmade" in Germany by the same company that has been tinkering with its M-Series rangefinder cameras for all these years. Is Leica in a rush? Nah, not at all. Do they think they have a winner with the $23,000 S2? There's no doubt.

I had a chance to try out a working final version of the S2 with my frequent co-tester Jason Groupp (www.jasongphoto.com), over a limited, two-day loan. While two days were probably not enough time to get a full picture of the S2, which houses a 45 x 30mm size CCD Kodak sensor in a body not a lot larger than most pro digital SLRs, it definitely gave us a good taste of what could be the future for medium format as it battles the DSLR invasion. Here's what we thought.

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