Tuesday, May 23, 2017



In an article about Leica’s new cine lenses, David Farkas from Leica Store Miami reports that the new line of Thalia lenses is based on the Leica S line of lenses.  The Thalia lenses are primarily meant for use on large format video cameras like the Arri Alexa 65 with an image sensor of 54.12 x 25.59mm.  That required for the Leica S lenses to be redesigned, rendering a larger image circle with an increase from 54mm to 60mm.

This made me think of the Leica S and where Leica might go with their medium format cameras in the future.  The Leica S definitely broke new ground by offering a larger image sensor in a relatively compact camera, no larger than some of the top of the line full frame DSLR cameras on the market.

But many see the end of DSLR cameras, to be replaced by full frame mirrorless designs.  Leica is leading this field with the Leica SL.  Unlike all other mirrorless cameras, the Leica SL is the only one offering a high resolution digital viewfinder that rivals the quality of an optical finder.

Leica’s approach to modern, professional digital cameras obviously was recognized by their competitors, with most of them scrambling to introduce mirrorless designs of their own.  Even medium format camera manufacturers have been taken notice, as evidenced by the introduction of mirrorless medium format camera by Hasselblad and Fuji.

The Leica S line of cameras, as good as it is, is approaching the possible end of its current design.  Many have been asking for a higher resolution sensor in order not to be lagging behind the competition.  But increasing resolution without increasing sensor size is creating a lot of other problems which are hard to overcome.

Obviously Leica could come with a larger sensor. But it is questionable if that could be fitted into the current layout of the Leica S.  Besides, it would also be a questionable move to come up with a greatly altered camera, maintaining a DSLR design.

Obviously, a larger sensor does require a larger image circle.  The redesigned S lenses for the Arri 65 cover a sensor size of 54mm in either direction.  That would allow the sensor to be increased from the current 30 x 45 size of the Leica S to 36 x 54, which is larger than the 32.9 x 43.8 sensor size of the Hasselblad X and the Fuji GFX 50 S.  Combine such a sensor with a mirrorless design like the Leica SL, and Leica would once again lead the field of compact medium format cameras.

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  1. Jürgen Gerardts wrote:
    Spiegellos mit Adaptern!

    1. Adapter für andere Objektive ja, aber die jetzigen Leica S Objektive müssen überarbeitet werden um dem größeren Bildkreis zu haben der für einen größeren Sensor nötig ist.

    2. Jürgen Gerardts answered:
      Wenn das Format wächst ok, aber man könnte ja auch wie bei der SL quasi "gecropte" Bilder produzieren, als Ausschnitt eines größeren Sensors! Die SL hat ja auch die Möglichkeit die Objektive der TL zu verwenden, zwar mit geringerer Auflösung aber immerhin!

    3. Ja, natürlich. Dafür kämen dann die jetzigen S Objektive in Frage und die müssten dann mit einem Adapter benutzt werden; denn eine spiegellose Kamera benötigt physisch längere Objektive wegen des kürzeren Abstands von dem Objektivverschluss zu dem Sensor. Adapter könnten dann auch die Möglichkeit bieten Objektive von anderen Herstellern zu benutzen.