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Leica S (Typ 007) review

June 28, 2016

Overall Rating:

4

Leica S (Typ 007)


  • Features: 7/10
  • Build/Handling: 7/10
  • Metering: 8/10
  • Autofocus: 7/10
  • AWB Colour: 9/10
  • Dynamic Range: 9/10
  • Image quality: 9/10
  • LCD viewfinder: 9/10

Pros:

  • - Exceptional image quality up to ISO 6,400
  • - Well-designed body for handheld shooting
  • - Huge, bright viewfinder is a joy to use

Cons:

  • - Autofocus system only has a single point
  • - Lower resolution than medium-format peers
  • - Unconventional four-button control layout

Manufacturer:

Manufacturer:

Price as Reviewed:

£12,900.00 (Body only)

Medium-format cameras are turning to the CMOS sensor for its flexibility, and Leica has followed suit with the S (Typ 007). Damien Demolder puts it to the test

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Leica S (Typ 007) review – Performance

Leica-S-007L1001845

This past year, I’ve been struck by the extent of the improvement in image quality that Leica has achieved in its cameras. With the Q, the SL and the S, the company has made a sudden jump into the modern era and is producing thoroughly modern cameras that produce thoroughly excellent images. The resolution of this S will be the first measure that most people focus on, and while the detail that 38 million pixels can render is impressive, for me there are other ways to determine how good a camera’s output is.

The range of tones this camera can record in a single exposure is exceptional, and in my eyes makes the camera desirable on its own. Leica quotes a dynamic range of 15 stops and I have no reason to argue with that. It is normal for modern sensors to be able to reveal their shadow details, but highlights are the tones that suffer burnout and colour shifts. In the files this camera produces, highlights recover nicely and produce natural-looking images from scenes that were full of contrast. I love the way contrast can be moderated to create pictures free from hard shadows and glaring bright bits so we can see the subject without tonal distractions in other areas. The sensor isn’t magic, of course, and blacks and whites do occur in extreme cases, but on most occasions it creates lovely results.

Leica-S-007L1001925

Lifting shadows creates more image noise, as we all know, but Leica has done well to limit the number of dots and artefacts in these areas and in images shot at high ISO settings. Below ISO 800 noise doesn’t give us too many problems, but from ISO 1,600 it becomes a definite part of the image. I don’t mind good-looking grain, and that’s what we get from there until 6,400. Beyond that there be dragons, and I don’t recommend it.

I didn’t have too many occasions to use the 3.5fps drive mode, but can report that it does indeed work and that the camera will 
go on taking pictures at an inappropriate rate until you are bored. I thought it might slow down when DNG+JPEG was selected but it didn’t.

  • Sensor: 37.5MP CMOS (30x45mm)
  • Output size: 7,488x4,960 pixels
  • Focal length mag: 0.8x
  • Lens mount: Leica S
  • Shutter speeds: 60secs-1/4000sec
  • ISO: 100-12,500
  • Exposure modes: PASMs
  • Metering: Multi, centreweighted, spot
  • Exposure comp: ±3EV in 1/2 steps
  • Drive: 3.5fps
  • Movie: Cine 4K (4,091x2,160) at 24fps, Full HD (1,920x1,080) at 60fps
  • LCD: 3in, 921,600-dot touchscreen
  • Viewfinder: Pentaprism, 0,87x magnification, 100% coverage
  • Stabilisation: None
  • AF points: 1-point phase-detection
  • Memory card: SD, SDHC, SDXC, CF
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-ion
  • Dimensions: 160x120x80mm
  • Weight: 1,260g (without battery)

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