I made a mistake by coming to Leica at Photokina this year. All other cameras are a bit weaker than Leica’s S3 midrange DSLR. You read that, there are still camera makers who proudly praise their DSLR cameras instead of hiding them in a corner while presenting the brand new product without a mirror. The 64-megapixel S3 is therefore a very unique launch for the Photokina, but also exceeds the limits of current fashion trends and an unprecedented camera. The design, performance and technique of this camera have completely won me over in dreamy clouds. And daydreaming is all I can do about S3, because it will be Leica’s most expensive standard camera (think $ 20,000 and up) when it comes out in the spring.

The appearance of the S3 seems almost an unfinished prototype. A magnesium alloy frame is surrounded by a matching black natural rubber, easy to grasp (even when the camera is wet, Leica says), and minimalist in appearance. The labels are almost completely missing on this camera, which is not a mistake, because Leica has decided to customize and customize the majority of buttons and knobs. The four large keyboards that surround the rear display respond to long, normal keys. You can also press and hold the thumb wheel to switch between capture modes. Another programmable button is located on the front of the camera, next to the lens mount.

My visits to Leica are always an experience of things that I can not and can not justify, but I never wanted the company to do like this Leica S3. It is surprisingly light for its considerable size and pleasant to handle. The simplified physical interface and large buttons make it easy to use the camera, especially thanks to its speed. Recordings with up to three images per second at 64 megapixels and such a large sensor size are not a small problem, but Leica attracts it with a lot of performance and responsiveness. And a beautiful shutter sound. The old mechanical applause of a high-end digital SLR is a pleasure that mirror-less cameras can only mimic.

The Hasselblad X1D is my reference for medium format cameras. It combines a truly portable ergonomics with the huge size and resolution of the sensors that make the reputation of these cameras. But this camera takes a full eight seconds to start, virtually guaranteeing that I will miss all the photogenic moments when they are ready to shoot. In comparison, the Leica S3 can be used in just a few seconds. The X1D and S3 interfaces both have simplified interfaces that eliminate the clutter typical of the traditional camera interface, but the S3 does not have a Hasselblad touch screen. I’m not sure that I miss it to be fair and I appreciate the abundance of shortcuts and possible commands offered by Leica.
Some interesting details make me appreciate the design of the Leica S3. The taking of this camera is phenomenal. I would not expect a company proud to produce carefully polished metal square blocks to have the contours of an ergonomic handle, but manipulating this camera, no matter how big, is a breeze. Leica’s attention to detail also extends to the lens hoods of S-mount lenses, which are covered with a velvety material specially selected for its minimal reflection. Likewise, I’m happy with the optical viewfinder of the S3, which is huge. Leica’s decision to stick to a digital SLR system and an electronic viewfinder rather than an electronic viewfinder contradicts the current trends in the camera industry, but I think they make sense in the ultra-light segment. -premium / professional S3.

Although the technology is based on old standards, Leica is over the years adding Wi-Fi and GPS to the S3 – hence the black window located on the left side of the camera, which provides a signal opening radio for the metal case – as well as its mobile application photo compatibility. Although I could see a USB-C port on this camera, Leica decided to use LEMO connectors on most of the S3’s physical interfaces. This is an expensive option, but Leica based his decision on the fact that people were literally suspending the camera from a cable connected to LEMO and that no damage had been done to their internal circuitry or wiring. Even in the Leica price range, investing a little more for long-term sustainability is a breeze.

The entire S3 is protected against the weather, including the battery, which snaps without the flap. Leica uses the same thing I know for Hasselblad’s first job: to release the battery just let it fall a little from the body, then it has to push it back inside, making it fall completely. Leica told me that it was the first time he launched the Leica S2 in 2008. The battery itself is 2300 mAh, which, according to Leica representatives, was enough to survive filming weekends. with the S3.

I could go on talking about this camera, but you already have the idea. Even in this first pre-production phase, the handling of the Leica S3 is surprisingly simple and intuitive, the optical viewfinder is a marvel, the shutter sound is a pleasure and the speed is excellent. Now, I just have to leave and forget about it, because no matter how exorbitant that Leica will carry this thing next year, it will probably only pay for people who really need or fill the huge size of the sensor and the solving their work. a bottomless hole in his soul

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