By Heinz Richter
When Leica introduced their mirrorless camera flagship, the Leica SL2, it came with a resolution bump up to 47 megapixels. Thus Leica had an answer for those that felt Leica was beginning to run behind in the megapixel race.
Shortly after Leica released a major firmware update which allowed photographs with a resolution of 187 megapixels from the same sensor with a new multi-shot feature.
According to David Farkas of Leica Store Miami, the camera takes the already impressive single-shot 47 megapixel resolution of the SL2 and, by capturing a series of eight exposures in rapid succession, stitches them together to create a single, mind-boggling 187 megapixel DNG file. To do this, the camera repurposes its in-body image stabilization (IBIS). Instead of moving the sensor to counteract motion and reduce camera shake, the sensor is shifted by mere microns to record ever so slightly different images. When all eight shots are combined, the resulting 187 megapixel images display a staggering amount of image detail.
There are a few caveats when using the new multi-shot feature. Because the IBIS mechanism is being utilized for pixel shifting, all image stabilization is disabled. Also, only full frame lenses can be used, so TL glass won’t work here. Other restrictions are that the maximum ISO is limited to 3200, the longest shutter speed is capped to one second, you can’t use strobe, and electronic shutter is always used. All of these make sense given what the camera is doing during the capture process. And of course, you’ll want to be locked down on a sturdy tripod and shooting a non-moving subject. In fact, if you’re not on a tripod, the camera will detect movement and display an error message.
For a full article by David Farkas, including numerous sample shots, go here.