Leica S (Typ 006) Review

Leica S (Typ 006) Review

Regarding professional digital photography, the Leica S-series has long been considered to be on the cutting edge. The S1 was a groundbreaking camera manufactured in the middle of the 1990s that included a digital scanning back and could produce fantastic and extraordinarily huge photos.

The S2 from 2008 continues the trend by including a variety of unique lenses in the S-series. These lenses were designed to use the camera’s vast 45mm x 30mm digital sensor.

At this year’s Photokina, Leica announced discontinuing their number naming policy and launching a fresh new S-series camera. The S (Type 006) delivers many incremental upgrades over the S2 at the low price of just $21,950 for the body-only version of the camera. These enhancements include a new picture sensor and processor with 37.5 megapixels.

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Leica S (Typ 006)

Last update was on: May 28, 2023 5:55 pm
$3,999.00

What do you receive for that amount of money? Access to the world’s most expensive and sharpest medium format lenses; an expanded ISO range from 100 to 1600; and an internal buffer twice as large as that of the S2.

In addition, Leica will offer a maintenance and replacement plan for three years, during which you will have access to loaner cameras while your camera is being serviced.

Leica S (Typ 006) Design

According to Leica’s marketing, the S-series Type 006 was built with the idea that “less is more,” They weren’t joking when they said it. Because almost all of the settings lack labels, you have nothing to do other than frame your image, select the aperture and shutter speed, and start taking pictures; yet, amateurs with $22,000 to spare are discouraged from applying for this job.

The viewfinder on Type 006 has a coverage of 98%, but the viewfinder on the S2 only covers 96% of the frame, and the back LCD on Type 006 has a resolution of 920k dots and a size of 3 inches.

The secondary top-plate LCD seems the same as on the S2, although it may offer enhanced contrast in bright settings. Unfortunately, they cannot identify this indoors due to the lighting conditions.

Leica also says that Type 006 has better predictive focusing, which can track moving subjects more quickly and accurately. However, let’s face it: the great focusing mechanism is not the primary reason anyone purchases a medium-format camera.

Leica S (Typ 006) Features

The most recent model in Leica’s S-series may not appear as different from the S2. Still, it does have updated internal components that have the potential to increase the camera’s adaptability significantly.

The new medium format sensor with 37.5 megapixels and the accompanying processor enables an ISO range of 100-1600, increasing from the previous maximum of 1250 on the S2. Moreover, the Type 006 can fire shots at a burst rate of up to 1.5 frames per second. Still, its larger internal buffer can record 32 consecutive RAW files (and infinite JPEGs), increasing over the S2’s capacity of 10 RAW photos.

As with the S2, the latest camera in the S-series saves photos in the DNG file format, which is the industry standard. This makes it possible to incorporate the files into digital workflows swiftly.

The camera has two card slots: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards and Compact Flash cards. This allows users to record RAW data to the Compact Flash card while transmitting JPEG photographs to the SD card for rapid review.

Leica S (Typ 006) Image Quality

The autofocus technology that comes standard on the Leica S has been custom-built, and it boasts high efficiency. This allows the user to achieve focus in a broad range of different scenarios swiftly. Furthermore, when working in both bright and low lighting, an expanded sensitivity range, from ISO 100 to 1600, also helps to enhance clarity in the photos captured by the camera.

Both of these technologies aim to offer crisp pictures regardless of the lighting settings they are functioning in, whether in the best or worst possible conditions.

Leica S (Typ 006) Specs

Camera TypeMedium format DSLR camera
Imaging
ResolutionEffective: 37.5MP
Sensor30 x 45mm CCD
Pixel PitchOn-sensor
Dynamic Range12 stops
Color Depth16-bit
Low-Pass FilterNo
IR Cut FilterDNG (RAW data uncompressed or lossless compressed), DNG+JPEG fine, DNG+JPEG essential, JPEG fine, JPEG basic
File FormatsDNG: 7500 x 5000 px, 72 MB/file
DNG Compressed: 7500 x 5000 px, 42 MB/file
JPEG: 37.5, 9.3, or 2.3 MP; basic or acceptable; 1-16 MB/file depending on content and compression
File SizePredictive phase detection autofocus with a central cross-sensor array, AF motor in lenses
Color SpacesAdobe RGB, sRGB, ECI RGB V2
Lens System
Lens MountLeica S bayonet
Crop Factor35mm equivalent= 0.8x
Focus Control
Focus TypeAFs (single) with focus priority, AFC (continuous) with release priority, manual focus
Focus ModesFocusing on a lens barrel or tethered with Image Shuttle software
Manual FocusingMulti-segment metering (five fields), center-weighted integral metering, selective (spot) metering (3.5% of the image frame); AE lock by pressing shutter release to second resistance point or with five-way switch; metering range 1.2-20 EV (multi-segment and center-weighted) or 2.7-20 EV (spot)
Exposure Setting
Exposure ModesSingle frame, continuous, self-timer 2 or 12 sec. (with mirror pre-release)
Exposure MeteringMulti-segment metering (five fields), center-weighted integral metering, selective (spot) metering (3.5% of the image frame); AE lock by pressing the shutter release to second resistance point or with five-way switch; metering range 1.2-20 EV (multi-segment and center-weighted) or 2.7-20 EV (spot)
Exposure ControlProgram AE (with shift function), aperture priority AE, shutter speed priority AE, manual
Exposure Compensation+/- 3 EV in 1/2 steps
Exposure Bracketing3 or 5 exposures (auto/manual) in 1/2, 1, 2, and 3 EV steps
SensitivityISO 100-1600, auto
White BalanceDaylight, cloudy, shade, tungsten, HMI, fluorescent warm, fluorescent cool, flash, auto, grey card, color temperature (2000-13100K)

Shutter

Shutter TypeHot shoe with center and control contacts, LEMO, or standard flash connection sockets without control of flash power
Shutter Speed Range1/4000 to 32 sec., bulb (to 125 sec.) with in-camera focal plane shutter
1/1000 to 8 sec. with central shutter lenses
Flash Synchro Speed1/125 sec.
Continuous Shooting1.5 fps (2GB image buffer; DNG max. 28 images, DNG compressed max. 32 images, JPEG no limit)
Viewfinder/Display
Viewfinder TypePentaprism viewfinder with high-eye point eyepiece
Viewfinder CoverageApprox. 98%
Viewfinder Magnification0.8x (with 70mm lens at infinity)
Diopter Adjustment-3 to +1
Focusing ScreenGround glass with crosshairs (interchangeable)
Display3.0″ / 7.6 cm LCD-TFT with 921k-dot resolution
sRGB color space, 16 million colors, 170° viewing angle
Flash
External Flash ConnectionHot shoe with center and control contacts, LEMO or standard flash connection sockets without control of flash power
Flash MeteringTT L (multi-segment, spot, center-weighted) multi-segment photodiode
Flash SynchronizationUp to 1/125 sec. (focal plane shutter), up to 1/1000 sec. with central shutter lenses / linear flash mode for sync speeds above 1/125 sec. and focal plane shutter with automatic TTL-HSS control
Flash Exposure Compensation+/- 3 EV in 1/3 steps
Interfaces
ConnectivityUSB 2.0 (LEMO design), HDMI (Type C), 7-pin LEMO socket
System & Software RequirementsWindows XP, Vista, 7
Mac OS X (10.5 or later)

Power Supply

Battery TypeRechargeable lithium-ion battery, 7.4 V, 2100 mAh
ChargerRapid charger S (with integrated US mains plug, interchangeable EU, UK, and AUS plugs, and vehicle adapter)
Inputs: 100-240 V AC, 50/60 Hz, automatic adaptation, or 12/24 V DC
Output: 4.2 V DC, 800 mA
Physical
Memory TypesCompactFlash (UDMA 7)
SD, SDHC (to 32 GB), SDXC (to 2 TB)
Operating Conditions32-113°F / 0-45°C
15-80% relative humidity
Weather ResistanceDust and spray protection
Tripod Socket1/4″ and 3/8″ with locator holes for mounting plate anti-twist locking pins
Dimensions6.3 x 3.1 x 4.7″ / 160 x 80 x 120 mm
Weight2.78 lb / 1.26 kg (body only, with battery)

Packaging Info

Package Weight7.4 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH)14 x 9.5 x 7.5″

Conclusion

  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

Leica S (Typ 006)

Last update was on: May 28, 2023 5:55 pm
$3,999.00

At a time when full-frame picture sensors are all the rage at Photokina 2012, Leica’s upgrade to its medium format S-series delivers a new body for specialized professional photographers ready to pay the asking price of $21,950. In addition, the image quality of the new S-series Type 006 should be better than that of the S2 from 2008, thanks to its vast sensor upgrade.

In addition, Leica has added three new lenses to the S-series family of cameras, which will assist the specific set of photographers being discussed here.

The popularity of medium-format photography has undoubtedly increased over the past several years. Still, the rise of high-resolution cameras like Nikon’s D800, which has a resolution of 36.3 megapixels, poses a challenge to the continued use of such massive bodies.

The costs and benefits are apparent. The body of the new S-series camera is not significantly more extensive than that of the D800, yet, it costs seven times as much, has a slower processing speed, and does not provide the same customization or lens option.

Similarly, it costs more than twice as much as the Pentax 645D, another digital medium format camera that provides access to a far broader ecosystem of lenses.

Even if the redesigned body of the S-series is an advance over the S2, this camera is still in the specialized niche category of being suitable only for the wealthy or the highly committed.

If that’s your bag, then the Leica S Type 006 is a slight advance in many respects over its predecessor, and it maintains the clean, beautiful, and small design of the S2 simultaneously.

Leica S (Typ 006) FAQs

When did Leica S (Typ 006) come out?

2012 marked the debut of the Leica S (Typ 006) camera.

What is the price of Leica S (Typ 006)

The price of the Leica S (Typ 006) can vary from location to location and also depends on the package it was initially purchased with. When it was first released, the chassis could be bought for nearly USD 21,950. On the other hand, given that it is an earlier model, there is a possibility that it can be purchased in the used market for a more affordable price.

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Joseph

Joseph

Joseph is a talented photographer and videographer based in the USA, with a thriving career as a freelance creative. Over the past several years, he has had the privilege of working with renowned brands, capturing captivating images and videos. His portfolio encompasses a diverse range of subjects, specializing in fashion, portrait, and lifestyle content creation. From editorial shoots to engaging social media videos, Joseph's versatile skills ensure exceptional visual storytelling in every project. Beyond his professional endeavors, he nurtures a personal passion for travel and nature photography, channeling his deep appreciation for the environment into a commitment to sustainability and environmental causes.

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