The Leica S system is not all that well known compared to its smaller M system brother, or even the SL system, which you might call the middle sibling. The S system is based around a 30mm x 45mm CMOS which makes it considerably larger than a full-frame (56% larger area) and well into the territory known as “medium format”.
Yes, I know purists will argue about that because it’s technically smaller than “full-frame medium format”, but it’s still roughly the same size as the 44mm x 32.9mm sensors in the Fuji GFX cameras and the Hasselblad X1D series of cameras which people routinely refer to as medium format.
Since the original Leica S was launched way back in 2009, you can thank Leica for essentially inventing this slightly less-than-real-medium-format market segment that includes Fujifilm GFX and Hasselblad. Effectively the Leica S system uses a 3:2 ratio sensor, while the other two manufacturers have opted for a 4:3 ratio sensor.
The original Leica S2 with a 37.5MP 30mm x 45mm CCD sensor was introduced in 2009, followed by the Leica S (Type 006) in 2012 and then the slightly updated Leica S (Type 007), which moved to a 37.5MP CMOS sensor in 2014. That was followed by the Leica S3 with a 64mp CMOS sensor that was initially previewed in 2018 but rescheduled and launched in March 2020 for the hefty price of $19,000!
If you are unfamiliar with the nomenclature that Leica uses to describe their lenses, I recommend you read our previous post entitled Leica Lens Terminology and Abbreviations.
Leica S Lens Specifications
By default, lenses in the table are sorted by their widest focal length, placing wide-angle lenses at the top and super-telephoto lenses at the bottom.
- Use the horizontal scroll bar below the table to reveal more specifications.
- Mobile users can press the + button to expand lens details.
CS Leaf Shutter Versions
Leica’s S lenses are available in standard and CS versions. CS versions of the lenses feature a central leaf shutter which allows them to sync with flashes at up to 1/500th of a second. The CS versions of the S lenses are slightly heavier than the standard versions. In the specification table above, I have included the weight of the standard version. Expect the leaf shutter version of these lenses to be about 0.4lbs heavier and $1000-$2000 more expensive.