Leica's new product announcements in Cologne included a silver version of its CL ‘APS-C’ mirrorless camera (and already a member of the L mount family) and a black version of the Sofort instant camera which is based on Fujifilm’s Instax Mini print film format.

Leica's Sofort instant camera in its new black finish. Photo: Leica.

However, the most interest was created by the unexpected announcement of the S3. It has a restyled all-metal bodyshell (which, incidentally, is starting to look a lot like the old R8/R9 35mm SLRs), but the big news is on the inside where there’s an all-new and exclusive 64 megapixels version of the 30.0x45.0 mm CMOS sensor (up from 37.5 MP in the previous Type 007 model). Leica is quoting a dynamic range of 15 stops and sensitivity range equivalent to ISO 100 to 50,000. There isn’t an optical low-pass filter so all that resolution is available unadulterated.

Leica S3. Photo: Leica.

The S3 is also faster than its predecessor – thanks to its new ‘Maestro II’ processor – and has a continuous shooting speed of 3.0 fps (versus 1.5 fps). The buffer memory has also been increased to 2.0 GB so burst lengths are extended despite the bigger file sizes. The S3 can now shoot 4K video (in the DCI resolution of 4096x2160 pixels) and Full HD footage using the full width of the imaging sensor (compared to the previous model’s crop). It has built-in stereo microphones plus both a stereo audio input and output (both 3.5 mm minijack connections). Audio recording levels can be manually adjusted. Video features include time code, a focus peaking display and an 8-bit 4:2:2 colour HDMI output.

The magnesium alloy bodyshell is fully weather sealed and, of course, there’s a (big) optical viewfinder with a magnification of 0.87x. The monitor screen is a fixed 7.62 cm TFT LCD display with a resolution of 921,600 dots and a tough Corning Gorilla Glass faceplate. Features include an intervalometer, built-in WiFi (but no Bluetooth), a USB 3.0 high-speed connection, dual-delay self-timer, and dual memory card slots for the SD and CF formats.

The Leica S3 will be available sometime in the first half of 2019 with pricing yet to be announced. For more information visit https://au.leica-camera.com