Leica has been teasing photography buffs for two years now, ever since they first announced the new S3 at Photokina in 2018. Two years later, the German photography company is making good, releasing the S3 as their new flagship in medium formal DSLRs. This is their first entirely new camera since 2009, and that means plenty of new functionality and features.
For starters, the S3 has a 71 per cent higher shooting resolution compared to previous models. A big part of that is the new 64-megapixel 30 x 45mm KAF-37500 CCD image sensor. This new sensor increases resolution and works hand-in-hand with the Maestro II image processing engine. With an ISO range to 50,000, the sensor also offers a 15-stop dynamic range for more detail. You also get a burst rate of three frames per second and phase-detection autofocus. The S3 also shoots professional-quality video. You can shoot in 4K cinema resolution at 24 fps with 4:2:2 colour sampling. Audio can be recorded at up to 48kHz, 16 bit using either the integrated or an external microphone.
Leica also updated the optical viewfinder to 0.87x. A 3-inch, 921,600-dot LCD monitor lets you see the shots you’re taking, and the S3 comes with GPS and built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi. Using the Wi-Fi, you can sync with Leica Fotos 2.0 iOs and Android apps. Finally, the S3 is weather-sealed, keeping your investment safe. Finally, the S3 offers a 2GB buffer that allows you to shoot up to six lossless compressed DNG image files or unlimited JPEGs using the camera’s 3fps speed. With two memory card slots, you’ll have plenty of space to save all those photos.
All those advances do come at a price though. The S3 has an $18,995 price tag—that’s considerably more than the competition, but fans of the Leica brand know what they’re getting themselves into.