New Leica S medium format professional camera announced

Leica has announced its latest S-System camera, simply known as the Leica S. It replaces the Leica S2 medium format camera, ushering in a new scheme of nomenclature that drops the numbering system. 

Designed to reflect the enduring quality of Leica cameras, the S and M-System Leica cameras will now simply be known by their system letters. 

The new Leica S brings in a new design inside and out, with the highlight feature being the improved internals. The electronic upgrades improve the detail from the medium format CCD 37.5-megapixel sensor, with Leica claiming better handling of noise, more-natural colour and more-precise white balance control. 

Autofocus has been improved, bringing speed and precision, with Leica saying that tracking of moving subjects means the Leica S sets new standards in professional action photography.

Not only is the AF system faster, but the memory buffer has been increased, supporting data transfer of up to 166Mbps, meaning you can capture 32 consecutive full-format RAW images, at around 1.5fps. You'll be able to capture JPEG files at selectable sizes simultaneously to offer you preview options as you work.

Externally you'll find the camera has a soft rubber grip for better handling, with a new rear joystick controller offering faster navigation of the menus and settings. The 3-inch display on the rear offers a sharp 920k-dot resolution and comes topped with Corning Gorilla Glass to keep it free from scratches.

The Leica S also has an integrated GPS module and comes with a licence for Adobe Lightroom 4, so you'll be able to trace your shots across the map and never get lost.

Aside from the upgrades, the Leica S supports the S-System lenses, although if you wish to use Hasselblad's lenses, there is a S-Adapter H to make this possible. That said, Leica has also announced three new S lenses: the Leica Super-Elmar-S 24mm f/3.5 ASPH super-wide; the Leica Vario-Elmar-S 30-90mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH; and the Leica TS-APO-Elmar-S 120mm f/5.6 ASPH tilt/shift lens.

The new Leica S will be available from December 2012 for £16,000. Don't worry, it's covered by the Leica Protection Plan, giving you a three-year warranty.