Hot Property: the Leica S2Hot Property: the Leica S2 01/28/2010 Created by Red Bull IllumeIt’s not easy to get hold of a Leica S2 to try out, but our Red Bull Illume tester went down to Samy’s camera shop in Los Angeles to give it a go.Allowed 10 minutes with Leica’s newest medium format DLSR camera, Joaquin had just enough time to get a feel of the beast and snap a few shots with a model installed in the shop.“The camera itself felt perfect, “ said our tester. “It’s well balanced - ergonomically a dream for my large hands - and has a good solid weight so that you know it is built well.”“I think it is in a hybrid class all to itself, blending the best of 35mm DSLRs and med format cameras. Personally, I think it leans more towards the medium format side because of the exceptional chip size.”The S2 makes up part of the overall winner’s prize for the 2010 Red Bull Illume Image Quest, and is loaded with high-end features. One of the most impressive is the massive 45mm x 30mm CCD chip, provided by Kodak, which results in an astonishing resolution of 37.5 megapixels.The three-inch viewing monitor provides bright and crisp image previews, and its 460,000 pixels and 16 million colours ensure detail. The preview monitor is made of a highly scratch resistant sapphire crystal for lasting durability. It also boasts a frame rate of 1.5 frames per second, which is unmatched among its medium format rivals.The S2 holds both SD as well as CompactFlash(CF) data memory cards. Users can opt to store jpegs to the SD cards and DNG files to the CF cards, or have both files types simultaneously stored to either the SD or CF card.Upon first glance it is apparent that Leica adhered to a minimalist aesthetic when designing the controls of the S2. Just four large buttons and one multi function dial make up the majority of the physical interface. The less-is-more approach is refreshing break from the typical camera layout, and navigating the menus is extremely intuitive.“It’s a sexy looking unit, no doubt,” said our tester. “Its clean lines and lack of buttons make it an extremely chic piece of kit.”Another unique feature is the choice in shutters. The S2 body has a standard focal plane shutter, which provides a flash sync speed of 1/125s. However, the most important focal length lenses also contain a leaf shutter, which allows you to shoot at a flash sync speed of up to 1/500 s.“Unfortunately I didn’t get to properly play with the function dial as the shop insisted I snap the model with given presets. I took these images under studio lighting with a sync speed of 1/125 and the light was dialled up to an f-stop of f13.”“For those who are into cameras and refuse to compromise on quality, this is definitely something that they should take a closer look at.”And with that, the S2 was delicately removed from our tester’s hands and passed on to the next drooling customer to test. Visit www.leica-camera.com for more information.