Leica S2 specs unveiled

Leica's S2 DSLR got priced and dated last month, but the company's only just got round to revealing the full specifications of the camera and the lens, in an interesting reversal of the order in which things usually happen.

The S2 abandons the 35mm and medium format of pictures, and has instead developed its own format solely for the digital domain. It's calling it the S-Format. Leica reckons the format "pioneers the optimal quality of all components and embodies easy handling, giving photographers the creative scope they require".

The image sensor has been developed by Kodak and carries a resolution of 37.5 megapixels. The 30 x 45mm CCD sensor has a 3:2 aspect ratio, with an area 60% larger than that of a 35mm camera. There's no low-pass-filter in there - Moire effects are taken out by signal processing instead.

Sensitivity goes up to 1250, and a micro-lens pattern means that light rays angled on the periphery of the image are fully captured - all the available light is used. The Maestro chip that processes it all can do 1.5 fps at max resolution, and also allows JPEG files to be created inside the camera.

Storage-wise, the S2 can cope with Compact Flash and SD. There's the option to store RAW to Compact Flash and JPEG to the SD Card simultaneously, so that one can act as a backup of full-quality images while the other is just used to quickly browse. There's also an HDMI interface.

The lenses that are appearing consist of the Leica SUMMARIT-S 70mm F/2.5 ASPH, APO-TELE-ELMAR-S F/180mm telephoto lens, APO-MACRO-SUMMARIT-S 120mm F/2.5 for closeups and wide-angle SUMMARIT-S 35mm F/2.5 ASPH. They'll show up in "late 2009".

The camera body is made of magnesium with a leather-grain finish. It's weatherproof and can take rain and dust like a man. For the really demanding amongst you, it can be supplied with a scratch-resistant sapphire glass display cover.

The DSLR, as previously reported costs £16,000 and will be available from October 2009.