On the way from B&H Photo for evaluation is the Leica S2 37.5 megapixel medium format camera (about $22995), it’s IN STOCK as I write this, and please use that link if you are lucky enough to be able to afford one.
The S2 uses a 37.5 megapixel sensor producing 7500 X 5000 pixel images on a chip that is 45 X 30mm, with 6 micron pixels — almost identical to the Nikon D3x pixel size. But there is a key difference: the S2 does not use an anti-aliasing (blur) filter, so the actual per-pixel detail is better, especially in low contrast areas.
But detail is not just about the sensor; the lenses have to deliver, and here the lenses available suggest that for a price, one can achieve outstanding image quality.
But it’s still not just about the sensor and the lenses— the system has to be calibrated properly, with the lens mount perfectly aligned to the sensor and focusing mechanism, and the lens itself perfectly assembled as well. Since the Leica is a unibody camera (as opposed to an add-on digital back), the chances that all this stuff will work at peak performance is much higher than with some medium format systems. Add in what look to be the worlds’s best medium format lenses (at least on paper, field testing is needed), and it could be a winner. See my August 2, 2009 blog for more on the system alignment problem that can occur with even very expensive gear.