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Leica is back in the game — Leica S2

It’s great to see Leica back in the game with the newly-announced 37.5 megapixel Leica S2 (6.0 micron pixels), and a whole lens system to boot (now we know what’s been keeping the Leica elves busy!). This is not a camera I can afford (we’re likely talking $50K with a decent set of lenses), but many pros can, and if that’s what it takes to make Leica profitable, terrific!

Leica’s new S2

We need as many players as possible to keep the Darwinian forces in play, especially given Canon’s lukewarm offerings of the 1Ds Mark III and EOS 5D Mark Time (oops, Mark II). Canon’s ploys remind me of Epson’s goal of always producing printers that are one ink too short, magically producing a smidgen better model each year or so.

While the pint-sized Leica M8.2 rangefinder with its fabulous new lenses is appealing, the S2 shows that Leica is serious about surviving—after all, Leica has always been about quality in one form or another. Introducing the S2 line requires a major commitment, and sooner or later this will filter down to the R line and a full-frame M9.

The interesting question is why Nikon or Canon don’t exploit their heft and soak up the mid-range market, starving potential future competitors of oxygen. They quite possibly could do this with top-flight sensor technology in a 36X24mm form factor, avoiding the hassles of larger sensors (which need new lenses, etc).

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