Leica S3

The One.

The excellence of the Leica S3 is the result of an extremely well-thought-out overall system. All of its individual components are precisely matched to one another and interact in perfect harmony to create the inimitable Leica look.

Developed in close collaboration with professional photographers, the S3 expertly fulfils their particular needs – with its exceptional picture quality and outstanding flexibility, paired with uncomplicated handling and extreme robustness.

All components of the Leica S3 – from the lenses and the body to the sensor – are precisely matched to one another. The S3 and its lenses are manufactured with the utmost care in Germany.

This unique system has been created by Leica to fulfil only one purpose: the maximisation of creative freedom to ensure that the decisive moment is never missed.

Sensor
Pictures with depth

The S3 features the next generation of the Leica ProFormat sensor, now with 64-megapixel resolution. With dimensions of 30 x 45mm, it corresponds to the aspect ratio of the classic 35mm format, while offering a light sensitive surface area that is larger by 56%. This change not only had a positive influence on image quality, but was also a significant factor in achieving the characteristic medium format look of pictures shot with the Leica S3.

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How light is handled by the system plays a decisive role in the creation of the visual signature and imaging quality: a larger sensor requires lenses with a wider image circle. They deliver not only the considerably narrower depth of field typical for medium format lenses but, in addition, due to their constructional characteristics, do not need extremely large apertures to enable a large amount of light to fall on the sensor. At the same time, thanks to the larger sensor size, every single pixel is larger, captures more light and is thus able to process this extra light in an optimum manner.

The Leica ProFormat therefore represents an ideal balance between image quality and creative capabilities for a broad spectrum of photographic applications and uses the ideal synthesis of 35mm and traditional medium format.

The sensor of Leica S3 not only delivers impressive resolution, it also increases dynamic range to discernibly more than 15 stops and thus displays a previously unparalleled tonal range between shadows and highlights. Thanks to the high sensor sensitivity of up to ISO 50000, the Leica S3 need not be reliant on studio lighting. Whether on location, shooting a reportage project, or at weddings – whenever available light is to be used – the Leica S3 reveals its strengths and highlights the advantages of the larger format. In addition, the CMOS sensor enables video recording and Live View as added extra alternatives to the optical viewfinder image.

Autofocus
Fast to the point

The revised and improved predictive autofocus system of the Leica S3 always looks one step ahead. The lens and the camera act together as a perfect unit that takes the most direct way to sharp images. The autofocus is designed to quickly yet smoothly move to optimum image sharpness and can even incorporate corrections made in the very last fraction of a second. In a way that is absolutely essential for dynamic photography, it recognises all movements of a subject during the focusing process.

Medium format video
Movie magic

With its Leica CMOS sensor and Maestro II series image processor, the Leica S3 has all the essential technology for shooting professional video footage in 4K cinema resolution and full-HD.

The full width of the sensor is leveraged at every resolution, which also lends video recordings the special look familiar with photos in medium format.

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The horizontal perspective remains identical, whether shooting still or moving pictures. The exceptional image quality and the characteristic signature of the S-Lenses lends video recordings a unique cinematic flair. Thanks to selective focus and the characteristic Leica bokeh, moving pictures shot with the camera are just as breath-taking as stills.

The high quality of the movie shots is retained by virtue of 4:2:2 colour subsampling and files store in MOV format complete with time code. Thanks to Motion JPEG compression of the video files, the frames already work on a stand-alone basis. Therefore, this format is ideal for film editing even before conversion. As an alternative to internal video recording with a resolution of up to 4K cinema, the Leica S3 also  offers an uncompressed stream in full-HD resolution that can be viewed on a connected monitor or recorded using an external HDMI recorder.

When shooting video with the Leica S3, users can not only choose from the entire range of S-Lenses, but can also mount lenses from other medium format systems with appropriate adapters. The Leica S3 offers various focusing aids for achieving optimum sharpness during manual focusing, which is typically employed when shooting films. Using Focus Peaking to display sharp areas of the image is, for instance, a practical aid for identifying points of optimum sharpness. The optional clipping display and the showing of grids complete the range of tools available when recording videos. For moving pictures, 48 kHz,16-bit stereo sound can be recorded with the integrated microphone or an off-camera microphone with automatic or manual level adjustment.

Lenses
Pure precision

The lenses are crucial when it comes to the quality of any camera system. All S-System lenses have been built to achieve nothing less than maximum optical performance. Perfect reproduction of colours and skin tones, unrivalled contrast rendition, precisely defined planes of focus and harmonious bokeh; the image quality is always perfect regardless of the aperture or focusing distance. 

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This is because Leica draws on more than a century of expertise, employs high-quality materials and naturally utilises cutting-edge manufacturing technologies that go hand-in-hand with precise manual craftsmanship. This gives rise to lenses that redefine the boundaries of what is technically possible.

Simply by changing a setting on the main switch of the Leica S3 users can decide before every shot whether they wish to use the metal-bladed focal plane shutter integrated into the camera or the central shutter in the lens. With its fastest shutter speed of 1/1000 s, the Leica central shutter available for many S-Lenses offers photographers significantly greater creative leeway when working with professional flash systems for the suppression of ambient light or as fill lighting when using larger apertures on location. By way of comparison, the fastest sync speed offered by the focal plane shutter is 1/125 s. The central shutter thus expands the photographer’s creative scope by no less than three stop increments.

In case photographers already own medium format equipment, the Leica S-Adapters offer existing lenses a new lease of life. The Leica S3 masters the electronic settings of most third-party lenses such as autofocus and aperture at least as well as the systems for which they were designed. It raises the resulting image quality, however, to the level of a state-of-the-art digital medium-format camera.

Leica S3

DNG

The image data captured by the Leica S3 can be saved in the future-proof DNG format (Digital Negative) – the only standardised cross-brand format that is not tied to a specific RAW data converter and can be read by the majority of image processing software packages. This means that the Leica S3 can be seamlessly integrated into every existing working environment.

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 DNG format not only allows the saving of all image data with lossless compression, but also all metadata for each exposure – for instance the focusing distance and the aperture. All data can be saved either to an SD card (SDXC), a CF card (UDMA7) or directly to an external storage medium (e.g. a PC).

Workflow

The Leica S3 provides a free choice of workflow. Perfectly matched to the needs of the camera, the Leica Image Shuttle software ensures an efficient and professional photographic workflow in which all relevant image properties such as subject composition, framing, sharpness and exposure can be viewed and assessed on larger monitor screens. 

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The Leica S3 features a Lemo® USB 3.0 SuperSpeed interface that enables fastest-possible and stable transfer of data to a computer, simultaneously providing tethered shooting capability. When used in combination with iOS devices, it also enables the establishment of a wireless connection to the Leica S3.

Alternatively, tethered shooting workflows can also be realised with other software solutions. Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® Classic is fully equipped to serve as a control centre for all digital image processing needs. Everything has been thought of from importing files, sorting (including definition of keywords) and image processing, to exporting files and sharing pictures by email or on the web. The extremely powerful digital image processing tools in Lightroom® Classic are perfectly designed for processing images for further use. Lightroom® Classic offers the particular advantage of a non-destructive RAW workflow that leaves the original data untouched and stores all edits in a separate file. A new file with all edits applied is only created in the export phase, so there is no risk of overwriting the original data when creating several versions of the same image. Classic digital image processing software such as Adobe® Photoshop® can be integrated into the workflow for further processing.

Controls and handling
Logical and intuitive

An intuitive operating concept that relies on the absolute minimum number of control elements has been created for the Leica S3. The two central control elements of the Leica S3 are the click wheel and the five-way joystick, both of which are conveniently positioned for operation by the photographer’s right thumb. Through these functions, the photographer controls the aperture and navigates through the menus on the rear display, which is also surrounded by four buttons. 

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The camera’s main switch allows the photographer to choose between the focal plane and central shutter. The camera’s ergonomically designed integrated handgrip keeps it steady in the photographer’s hands and its relatively low weight and optimum centre of gravity ensure fatigue-free photography.

Maestro II Processor
Designed to fulfil the need for speed

The electronic components of the Leica S3 are designed to enable maximum data transfer speeds. Thanks to more than 9,800 parallel D/A converters, image data from the sensor is read in the shortest possible times without any loss of quality.

They are then processed by the Maestro II processor, which has been specially developed for Leica. 

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The 2 GB buffer memory ensures that all links in the processing chain can work as quickly as possible without ever sitting idle. Despite the high resolution of the 64-megapixel sensor, consistently high data transfer rates enable a shooting frequency of up to 3 frames per second. The processor installed in the Leica S3 ensures optimum noise suppression and ensures that the camera responds instantaneously to all commands.

Leica S3

Order number: 10 827

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Camera type Medium Format DSLR
Sensor
Type Leica CMOS-Sensor with microlenses
Size 30 x 45 mm (Leica ProFormat)
Aspect Ratio 3:2
Resolution 64 Mio pixel
Pixel Pitch 4,6 μm
Dynamic Range Up to 15 f-stops
Color Resolution 14 Bit per pixel
JPEG Color Space sRGB/Adobe® RGB/ECI RGB 2.0
White Balance Presets: daylight, clouds, shade, tungsten, HMI, neon warm, neon cool, flash, grey card, LiveView grey card, autoWB,
color temperature (Kelvin)
Lowpass Filter No (for maximal detail transfer)
IR Filter On sensor
Moirée Reduction Workflow software
ISO ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO 3200, ISO 6400, ISO 12500, ISO 25000, ISO 50000, autoISO
Meta Data Meta-Data Copyright Information
Lens
Lens Mount Leica S mount designed for Leica S lenses
Crop Factor 0.8 equivalent to 35 mm format
Focussing
Type Predictive TTL autofocus with central cross sensor and phase detection
AF Modes AFs (single) = AF single, AFc (continuos) = predictive AF continuous, manual override
AF Look Shutter release button, joystick
MF Via lens with electronic focusing aid
Exposure Mode
Exposure Metering TTL (through the lens)
Exposure Metering Modes Multifield (5 field), center weighted, spot (3,5 %)
Exposure Lock Shutter release button, joystick
Metering Range (2,5 and ISO 100)
Spot: EV 2,7–20, multifield and center weighted: EV 1,2–20
Exposure Modes P: full automatic (with manual exposure shift), T: exposure time priority, A: aperture priority, M: manual exposure control
Exposure Compensation ± 3 f-stops (half steps)
Bracketing 3 or 5 exposures. ½, 1, 2, 3 f-stops
Shutter
Shutter Focal plain shutter, central shutter with Leica CS lenses
Type Microprocessor controlled metal blades
Drive Modes Single, Continuous, Interval, Selftimer 2 s/12 s (with mirror-up)
Shutter Speed 8 min (depending on ISO) up to 1/4000 in half steps
Frame Rate Up to 3 fps
Shutter Release Button Two-step
Self Timer 2 s or 12 s with mirror up
Mirror Up Provided
Motion
Motion Cine 4K and Full HD with full sensor width (large-format video)
Resolution Full HD: 1920 x 1080 p, Cine 4K: 4096 x 2160 p
Frame Rate Full HD: 24, 25, 30 fps, Cine 4K: 24 fps
File Format MOV (Motion JPEG)
Color Sampling 4:2:2, 8 Bit
Exposure Control Manual/auto
Audio Control Manual/auto
Audio Internal Stereo microphone in camera, 48 kHz, 16 bit
Audio External Audio-In (3,5 mm phone jack), Audio-Out (3,5 mm phone jack) via Leica Audio-Adapter S
Time Code Internal
Others Focus peaking, clean uncompressed 8 bit 4:2:2 HDMI video stream dedicated for external HDMI recorders
Live View
Frame Rate Up to 60 fps
Focus Control Manual. AF-field can be positioned variable
Exposure Metering Modes Multifield, center weighted, spot (linked with the AF field)
Exposure Simulation Provided
Others Histogram with clipping, focus peaking, horizon, setting information
Viewfinder
Type Pentaprism Viewfinder with high eyepoint-eyepiece, illuminated LCD-information
Magnification 0,87 (at 70 mm, infinity, 0 dpt.)
Coverage Approx. 98 %
Diopter Correction -3 to +1 diopter
Focussing Screens Changeable, standard with AF cross and spot field (scope of delivery), grid screen, micro prism screen
Viewfinder Information Horizon, exposure time, exposure metering mode, aperture, flash status, exposure balance, flash synchronization
indicator, focus indicator, exposure metering method, exposure compensation, remaining shots (on storage medium),
buffer, warnings, ISO
Displays
Back Panel Display 3" brilliant TFT LCD
Resolution 921,600 pixels
Color Space sRGB, 16 million colors
Frame Coverage 100 %
View Angle 170°
Cover Glass Corning®Gorilla®Glass
Top Display Monochrome LCD
Flash
Interface Lemo® Flash-Sync. Hot shoe with middle and control contacts
X-Synchronization FPS 1/125 s
X-Synchronization FPS 1/125 s. X-Synchronization CS Up to 1/1.000 s
High Speed Synchronization HSS function up to 1/4000 s (with supported external flash units)
X-Sync Modes Start/end exposure
Capture
Drive Mode Single, Continuous, Interval, Self-timer 2 s with mirror-up function, Self-timer 12 s with mirror-up function
Image Data
Image Data Format DNG lossless compressed, DNG+JPEG
File Size DNG: approx. 70 MB (depending on image content and ISO),
JPEG: approx. 2-30MB (depending on resolution, image content and ISO)
Frame Rate Up to 3.0 fps
Buffer DNG lossless compressed up to 15 images, JPEG no limit (depending on memory medium, exposure time and ISO)
Storage CF cards (max. UDMA 7), SD-/SDHC-/SDXC- < 512 GB memory cards UHS-I (recommended), UHS-II, 4K video recordings
can only be stored on SD cards (UHS-I)
Others
Play Mode Full image, histogram with clipping, focus peaking, image information
Languages English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese traditional, Chinese simple, Russian, Korean, Portuguese
Firmware Update Update via memory card
GPS Provided
WLAN 802.11n standard, integrated in camera, camera and picture control via smartphone or tablet app
Date/Time GPS auto time and date or manual
Horizon Sensitivity < 1° (0–40° temperature)
Interfaces
USB Lemo® USB 3.0 SuperSpeed
HDMI HDM Type C
Audio Audio-Adapter (Audio-in, Audio-out, Time-Code)
X-synchronization Lemo® Flash-Sync
Cable Release Lemo® Cable Release
Contact strip bottom plate For Multifunction Handgrip S
Power Supply
Battery Leica Battery S BP-PRO1, Lithium-ion battery 7.3 V, 2300 mAh
AC-Adapter Leica AC-Adapter S for Leica S (from Typ 007) (available as accessory)
Charger Leica Quick Charger S. Inputs: 100-240 V AC, 50/60Hz, 12/24 V DC Output: 7,2 V DC, 1250 mA.
Leica Professional Charger S
Body
Material Magnesium body anti-slip rubberized, magnesium top plate, aluminum bottom plate, stainless steel bayonet and
operation elements
Environment 0 to +45° C, 15 %–80 % humidity
Dimensions 160 x 80 x 120 mm (6.3 x 3.15 x 4.72 in)
Weight Approx. 1.260 g/40.51 oz (without battery)
Dust/ Spraywater Sealing Provided
Tripod Threat 1/4" and 3/8" with anti-twist locking pins
Supported Accessories (optional)
Flash Leica SF 60, Leica SF 40, Leica SF C1
Others Leica Multifunction Handgrip S, Leica Hand Strap S, Professional Charger S, Leica AC-Adapter S,
Leica System Case S, Leica HDMI Cable, Leica Grid Screen S, Leica Microprism Screen S, Leica Standard Screen S,
Leica Cable Release S, Leica S-Adapter C/H/V/M645/P67, Leica Audio-Adapter S
Scope of Delivery Camera Body, Leica Battery S BP-PRO1, Leica Quick Charger S (including adapter for EU, UK, US), Leica Camera Strap S, Leica Eyepiece Cap S, Leica Camera Cap S, Lemo® USB 3.0 cable S, Lemo® Flashsync cable S
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