testing the Leica S2


I was recently invited to a Leica demo day at the fabulously accommodating Slaughter House studios in Manchester. Long awaited by fans of the red dot the S2 features a massive 30X45 mm sensor with 37.5 mega pixels.  That is 56% larger than a full frame sensor found in high end slrs. So without getting too technical what does £20,000 pounds worth of Leica camera and glass bring to the party?  Well first the first impression is of the feeling of quality.  The S2 is built like some kind of small tank, everything about it is beautifully engineered.  The controls all seem pretty logical and easily laid out.  Most are activated by four buttons around the lcd on the back.  This gives the S2 a nice uncluttered feel.   The autofocus seemed like it would take some getting used to as there is only one large central sensor, which meant focussing and then locking and moving when the subject was off centre.  Manual focus was very good and should be further enhanced when Leica release focus screens with manual focus aids in the near future. I  really like the smooth focus action of all the lenses and the way you just twist the focus barrel to override the autofocus.  Leica had brought along a 35mm a 70mm and a 180mm lens for test and all were superbly engineered and all produced excellent images.  The big news for me is that Leica is producing a whole range of lenses with built in shutters.  This will give the user the option of the built in focal plane shutter for high speed work or the central lens shutter for higher shutter speeds with flash, which makes the camera incredibly versatile.  Well  enough of the technical details here are a few shots from the day.  The model is mainly the lovely Jamie from Nemesis.  In summary the Leica S2 is a fabulous piece of kit, is it worth the price? That really is up to the end customer, if a high end brand wants images of the utmost quality for its advertising and publicity material then the S2 can definitely deliver and should be considered.  Most of the images have had no post-processing.  The more saturated ones have had Aerture’s cross process filter applied to see the effect it has.