Outdoorphoto Blog » The LEICA S2: A class of its own

The LEICA S2: A class of its own

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A perfect synthesis
The LEICA S2’s excellence is based not only on its high-resolution image sensor but also the
unique “S” format and full range of features such as autofocus, high-speed Maestro image
processor, highly rugged design and its optimal size and ease-of-use for professional
photography. The S2 achieves a perfect synthesis, combining the highest image quality in a
camera with incomparable ease-of-use. It breaks new ground in every way so photographers can enjoy perfect results with a camera that is truly easy to handle. The Leica S system is the only professional camera system that makes a clean break with legacy categories such as “35mm”Leica-S2
or “medium format” and was developed solely for the digital domain. This means the S2 has
forged  its own format – one that focuses on ease-of-use and excellent image quality.. This leads the way in the quality of all components and ease of handling, giving photographers the creative scope they need. The decisive advantage of the LEICA S2 is the sum of its features: flexibility, ruggedness and easy operation combined with industry-leading resolution and image quality. The S2 outperforms other camera systems in the medium-format category, setting a completely new standard.

A unique image sensor design for unparalleled quality
The S2’s image sensor was developed by Kodak especially for the S system. With a resolution of 37.5 megapixels, it offers performance suitable for any application. The 30 x 45mm CCD sensor features an aspect ratio of 3:2 and an area nearly 60% larger than that of a traditional 35mm camera for stunning image quality. In the interest of preserving image sharpness, the camera dispenses with a low-pass filter. Instead, Moiré effects are detected and eliminated by the camera’s internal signal processing, thus taking full advantage of the system’s high-resolution lenses. A special micro-lens pattern allows complete capture of angled light rays on the image periphery for optimal use of available light. With sensitivity up to ISO 1250, low-noise images can be captured under marginal lighting conditions.

Compact design and familiar feel
The LEICA S2 has the look and feel of traditional 35mm SLR cameras, but provides a camera with handling that has long been appreciated by professional photographers. The integration of electronic components and the very latest design methods have made the S2 appreciably
smaller than other medium-format cameras. The number of controls was kept to a bare
minimum without limiting the camera’s many features and options. Operation of the S2 becomes intuitive after a brief period of working with the camera. The result is a finely balanced camera with a pleasant heft that lets photographers work fluidly and spontaneously.
Because the size and weight are far lower than comparable medium-format systems in a camera that features a high-resolution CCD as well as high-speed operation, the LEICA S2 is not only the right choice for the studio, but also for working on location and capturing images without a tripod.

Faster results with a high-speed system
The S2’s high-speed Maestro image processor chip and its additional camera control processor
give exceptional processing power. Fast signal processing by the Maestro chip allows up to 1.5 images a second at maximum resolution. The powerful Maestro dual processor allows high quality JPEG files to be created in the camera, the only medium-format to have this feature. The LEICA S2 has slots for both Compact Flash and SD, with an option for saving RAW format Adobe DNG data onto Compact Flash and JPEG to the SD card, simultaneously. This makes it easy to quickly check images on the set while streamlining post-processing. Using Adobe DNG for raw image data gives photographers the utmost in flexibility because this open-source data format is supported by all major graphic editing and workflow solutions. Leica supplies the universal Adobe Light room workflow solution with the camera. Leica’s own Image Shuttle software allows all of the S2 features to be controlled remotely from a computer. Image files are written directly onto the hard drive for immediate processing. An HDMI interface allows images to be presented and checked directly on monitors, television sets, and projectors.

Reference-class lenses
The biggest priority for developing the Leica S lenses was to achieve the highest image quality. Their sophisticated design features special grades of glass and aspherical surfaces rarely found
in optics of this size. Also, lenses manufactured to extremely narrow tolerances with each lens centred by hand, guarantees a superior optical performance. The full performance of each lens is available even at full aperture setting or when shooting from a distance or capturing close-up images. Vignetting, distortion and chromatic aberrations have been reduced to the point of imperceptibility, eliminating the need for quality-degrading image corrections, and simplifying digital post-processing considerably. The newly developed S-bayonet mount ensures rapid and precise digital exchange of data and commands between the camera and lens. Four S series lenses will be launched for the most important focal lengths, starting with the classic LEICA SUMMARIT-S 70 mm f/2.5 ASPH and the LEICA APO-TELE-ELMAR-S 180 mm, the LEICA APO-MACRO-SUMMARIT-S 120 mm f/2.5 as the solution for close-ups and portraits and the wide-angle LEICA SUMMARIT-S 35 mm f/2.5 ASPH. Leica is planning to rapidly expand its range of S lenses in the future.

Dual shutter system
The LEICA S2 allows photographers to choose the shutter system that best matches the task at hand. The S2 flagship camera is equipped with a metal focal-plane shutter with the fastest
shutter speed of 1/4000 of a second and a flash synch time of 1/125 of a second. Lenses of
the most important focal lengths will be available in the future with integrated leaf shutters,
designed by Leica engineers, which photographers can activate via the camera’s main switch. The integrated leaf shutter allows flash units to be used at the fastest shutter speed of 1/500
second, giving photographers more options for suppressing unwanted ambient light. Several
patents are pending for the Leica leaf shutter, which features an electronically-controlled drive
guaranteeing reliable, fast exposure times and low energy consumption.

Precise, high-speed autofocus
The autofocus developed by Leica for the S2 is based on a centrally positioned cross-hair sensor for high precision focusing. Each S lens has its own Leica-designed microprocessor for precise autofocus and iris diaphragm control. The integrated focusing drive is a proprietary Leica design that features silent gearing. All S lenses have a generous focus ring with just the right amount of drag, letting the photographer override the autofocus at any time.

Rugged, long-lasting design
The camera’s body is made of durable die-cast magnesium with a leather-grain finish for
maximum grip. The S2 and all S lenses are also extensively weatherproofed and can withstand
exposure to rain and dust. The USB and remote control ports feature rugged bayonet locks with
strain relief. The S2 can also be supplied with a highly scratch-resistant LEICA S2-P sapphire
glass display cover for the most rugged and demanding conditions or for camera rental.

For more information, further details and our terms and conditions pertaining to individual
service package offers, please go to www.s.leica-camera.com

The post The LEICA S2: A class of its own appeared first on ODP Magazine.

About the Author:

Sean has been shooting since schooldays (started with a borrowed Pentax K1000 from His sister, also a photographer) but only became seriously involved with photography when he returned from living in Eastern Europe. While overseas he did shoot some non-profit editorial work and also made the big switch from Nikon to Canon. Today, Sean likes to shoot Stock. "Stock is the 'best of both worlds' industry, that requires creativity and very set guidelines to be successful..." Sean also teaches photography (basic, advanced & other Stock-related courses) and frequently arrange "shooting days" for photography clubs and individual groups.

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