Archive for the s1 Tag

The First Digital Leica

Posted by Scott

This is the S1, Leica’s first digital camera. Introduced in 1996, it was a digital scanning back that could work with various lenses. Each exposure took 185 seconds to complete so had to be shot using continuous light. You might think that such an old digicam would produce inferior results, but apparently it was quite the opposite:

“Though slow, the S1 yielded 76Mb @ 24-bit (151Mb @ 48-bit), 5140 x 5140, 12-bit RGB image files that contained little if any of the artifacting, blooming, and fringing that continue to plague us to this very day” – B&H

And it operated at ISO 50! (the film speed) Pretty good for ’96, and it would only set you back $21,500… I’m loving the look of this thing which stands in stark contrast to the subsequent and far more familiar looking Leica S2 model. The second to last (with the rackmount processor) apparently depicts the “Highspeed Kit” which dramatically reduced the scanning time per image.

Here are some pages from the original brochure featuring some example output from the S1: Page 1 . Page 3 . Page 5 . Page 7 . Page 8

Image sources eBay Auction, B&H, Leica Forum via Gizmodo