Leica Will Deliver a Mirrorless Medium Format Hybrid Camera ‘Within 2 Years’

Leica S System

Leica’s medium format S-system has not seen an update since the S3 debuted in 2018 — six years is an eternity as far as camera technology is concerned.

While it has been six years since Leica announced the S3, long periods between launches are not unusual for these medium format cameras. The S-system was first introduced by Leica in the form of the S1 in 1996 and didn’t see an S2 until 2008. Leica then updated the internals of that system in 2012 in the Leica S (Typ 006) and changed out the CCD sensor with a CMOS in 2014.

It has been rumored for some time that the company is working on a new addition to the medium format line, Leica had not to this point confirmed its development directly. That changed this week, however, it’s from an unusual source in a highly unusual manner. Additionally, fans of Leica’s current S-system will have to wait a bit longer for it and, perhaps more importantly, expect to invest in an entirely new system.

In an interview with French YouTube channel Lovelight TV at Leitz Park in Wetzlar Germany (presumably during the SL3 launch), a Leica representative not only confirms the rumor that a new medium format Leica camera is in development but details when to expect it.

The relevant parts of the interview, which can be seen below, start at around the 12:10 mark. Note that this interview is only in French.

“We will have a successor within two years which will be a hybrid medium format [camera] with a new mount and a new range of optics,” Gaëlle Gouinguené, public relations manager from Leica Camera France says, translated from French.

The ease with which Gouinguené speaks about the development of the new camera system comes off as though it’s already a widely-known fact despite the opposite being true.

This is an unusual way to confirm not only a new addition to an existing camera line but also an entirely new camera system. Because the S3 and previous S-system cameras are DSLRs, moving to a mirrorless system would require Leica to design a whole new series of lenses or, at least, provide photographers with an adapter that would allow them to use existing Leica S-series lenses. It sounds as though it is doing the former, at least.

Starting from scratch, while it will be expensive for S-system photographers, makes the most sense for the future of Leica’s medium format endeavors. If what Gouinguené says is accurate, expect a new Leica medium format camera and series of lenses to come before 2026.

Update 3/15: Shortly after publication, Leica confirmed to PetaPixel that a medium format mirrorless camera is in fact in the works and that current S-system lenses will be compatible with the new system via an adapter.

Image credits: Leica