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Leica S2

Medium format AF digital SLR camera


Production details
Announced:September 2008
Order No.:10801
System: Leica S (2008)
Imaging plane
Maximum format:Medium format 45x30
Mount and Flange focal distance:Leica S [53mm]
Imaging plane:45 × 30mm CCD sensor
Resolution:7500 × 5000 - 38 MP
Model:Electronically controlled
Speeds:125 - 1/4000 + B
Sensor-shift image stabilization:-
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL)
Exposure modes:Programmed Auto
Aperture-priority Auto
Shutter-priority Auto
Physical characteristics
Body cap:16021

Manufacturer description

Following the announcement of the availability and pricing of its new S-System last month, Leica has now revealed the full specifications of the camera and lens system. This ground-breaking new product will set the standard in professional digital photography.

A perfect synthesis

The Leica S2’s excellence is based not only on its high-resolution image sensor but also the unique S format and full range of features, such as autofocus, high-speed Maestro image processor, highly durable design and optimal size and ease-of-use for the professional photographer. The S2 achieves a perfect combination of the highest image quality in a camera with unrivalled ease-of-use. It breaks new ground in every way, ensuring that photographers will enjoy perfect results from a camera that is truly easy to handle. The Leica S-System is the only professional camera system to make a clean break from legacy categories such as the 35mm or medium format and was developed solely for the digital domain. This means the Leica S2 has established its own format focused primarily on ease-of-use and optimal image quality - the Leica S format. This format pioneers the optimal quality of all components and embodies easy handling, giving photographers the creative scope they require. The decisive advantage of the Leica S2 is in the sum of its features: flexibility, durability and easy operation combined with industry-leading resolution and image quality. The S2 outperforms other camera systems in the medium-format category, setting a completely new standard for quality.

A unique image sensor design for unparalleled quality

The S2’s image sensor was developed especially for the S system by Kodak. With a resolution of 37.5 megapixels, the 30 x 45mm CCD sensor features an aspect ratio of 3:2 and an area nearly 60% larger than that of a traditional 35mm camera, resulting in stunning image quality. In the interest of preserving image sharpness, the camera dispenses with the standard low-pass filter. Instead, Moiré effects are detected and eliminated by the camera's internal signal processing, thus taking full advantage of the system's high-resolution lenses. A special micro-lens pattern allows complete capture of angled light rays on the image periphery for optimal use of available light. With a sensitivity of up to ISO 1250, low-noise images can be captured under limited lighting conditions.

Compact design and familiar feel

The Leica S2 has the look and feel of traditional 35mm SLR cameras, preserving the handling qualities that have long been appreciated by professional photographers. The integration of electronic components and the very latest design methods have made the S2 remarkably smaller than other medium-format cameras. The number of controls has been kept to a bare minimum without limiting the camera’s many features and options. Operation of the S2 becomes intuitive after minimal operation of the camera. The result is a finely balanced camera with a comfortable weight that allows photographers to work spontaneously.

The size and weight are far lower than comparable medium-format systems in a camera that features a high-resolution CCD and high-speed operation. The Leica S2 is not only the right choice for the studio, but also for working on location and capturing images without the use of a tripod.

Faster results with a high-speed system

The S2’s high-speed Maestro image processor chip and additional camera control processor deliver exceptional processing power. Fast signal processing by the Maestro chip allows up to 1.5 images per second at maximum resolution. The powerful Maestro dual processor allows high-quality JPEG files to be created in the camera – the only medium-format camera to have this feature. The Leica S2 has slots for both Compact Flash and SD, with an option for saving RAW format Adobe DNG data onto Compact Flash and JPEG to the SD card, simultaneously. This allows for easy image viewing on the camera while streamlining post-processing. Using Adobe DNG for raw imaging data gives photographers the ultimate flexibility because this open-source data format is supported by almost all major graphic-editing and workflow solutions. Leica supplies the universal Adobe Lightroom workflow solution as part of the camera’s equipment. Leica’s proprietary Image Shuttle software allows all the S2 features to be controlled remotely from a computer, and image files are written directly onto the hard drive for immediate processing. An HDMI interface allows images to be presented and checked directly on monitors, television screens and projectors.

Reference-class lenses

The highest priority during development of the Leica S lenses was image quality. Their sophisticated design features special grades of glass and aspherical surfaces rarely found in optics of this size. In addition, lenses manufactured to extremely narrow tolerances, with each lens centered by hand, guarantees superior quality and optical performance. The maximum performance of each lens is available even at full aperture setting, or when shooting from a distance or capturing close-up images. Vignetting, distortion and chromatic aberrations have been reduced to the point of imperceptibility, eliminating the need for quality-degrading image corrections and simplifying digital post-processing considerably. The newly developed S-bayonet mount ensures rapid and precise digital exchange of data and commands between the camera and lens.

Four S series lenses will be launched for the key focal lengths by the end of 2009, including the classic Leica Summarit-S 70mm f/2.5 Asph and the Leica Apo-Tele-Elmar-S f/180mm telephoto lens. The Leica Apo-Macro-Summarit-S 120mm f/2.5, the solution for close-ups and portraits, and the wide-angle Leica Summarit-S 35mm f/2.5 Asph are set to follow in late 2009. By multiplying the listed focal distances by 0.8, the user is given a comparison to corresponding 35mm-format lenses. A selection of the S lenses will also be available in a CS variant with an integrated focal-plane shutter. Leica is planning to prioritise the expansion of its range of S lenses in the near future.

Dual shutter system

The Leica S2 allows photographers to choose the shutter system that best matches the task at hand. The S2 is equipped with a metal focal-plane shutter with the fastest shutter speed of 1/4000 of a second and a flash synch time of 1/125 of a second. Lenses of key focal lengths will be available in the future with integrated leaf shutters designed by Leica engineers that photographers can activate via the camera’s main switch. The integrated leaf shutter allows flash units to be used at the fastest shutter speed of 1/500 of a second, giving photographers more options for suppressing unwanted ambient light. Several patents are pending for the Leica leaf shutter, which features an electronically-controlled drive guaranteeing reliable, fast exposure times and low energy consumption.

Precise, high-speed autofocus

The autofocus developed by Leica for the S2 is based on a centrally positioned cross-hair sensor for high precision focusing. Each S lens has its own Leica-designed microprocessor for precise autofocus and iris diaphragm control. The integrated focusing drive is a proprietary Leica design that features silent gearing. All S lenses have a generous focus ring with just the right amount of drag, letting the photographer override the autofocus at any time.

Rugged, durable design

The camera’s body is made of robust die-cast magnesium with a leather-grain finish for maximum grip. The S2 and all S lenses are extensively weatherproofed and can withstand exposure to rain and dust, and the USB and remote control ports feature rugged bayonet locks with strain relief. The S2 can also be supplied with a highly scratch-resistant Leica S2-P sapphire glass display cover for the most extreme and demanding conditions.

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Table of contents
Instruction manual
Leica S system cameras

Copyright © 2012-2022 Evgenii Artemov. All rights reserved. Translation and/or reproduction of website materials in any form, including the Internet, is prohibited without the express written permission of the website owner.

35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm

Travellers' choice


Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

Professional lens (Top class)

One of the best

According to lens-db.com; among lenses designed for the same maximum format and mount.

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Unique Leica Look

Leica lenses are one-of-a-kind optical masterpieces that are impressive because of their unique Leica Look. This is ensured through exceptional optical design combined with selected materials and the highest quality standards.

Leica lenses reveal their full potential only when mounted on Leica cameras, since only these have sensors precisely matched to their optical characteristics.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.


Protection cap, for camera body with LEICA S bayonet mount.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.