Hands on: Leica S3 review

The Leica S3 is a 64MP medium format DSLR with specs out of time, but a look that never goes out of style

Leica S3

Early Verdict

When we first saw the Leica S3 in 2018, the world was a very different place. In 2020, the Fujifilm GFX 100 is the new medium format measuring stick – and Leica's DSLR costs nearly twice as much for a much lower resolution sensor, which isn't even stabilized. Its 64MP output is almost outpipped by the full-frame Sony A7R IV, and somehow it's still using motion JPG for its video (uncropped medium format 4K though it may be). It's beautiful, it's capable, but it's a camera out of time – and with a price tag more than a little out of whack, even by Leica standards.


  • +

    Fantastic, large optical viewfinder

  • +

    Unsurpassed ergonomics

  • +

    Full-width 4K video


  • -

    Audaciously priced

  • -

    Buttons aren't labelled!

  • -

    Video still uses MOV format

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

We first got our hands on the Leica S3 back in September 2018. At that time, its 64-megapixel sensor was still top of the food chain and its DSLR housing wasn't quite so quaint – but after a 17-month delay, the industry has completely transformed.

If you want massive resolution and you want to spend a massive amount of money, there's the 150MP Phase One XF IQ4 (which is more like proper medium format, to boot). If you want massive resolution and you want all the benefits of mirrorless technology, there's the 100MP Fujifilm GFX 100. And if you want massive resolution, don't care about medium format and don't want to spend massive money, there's the 61MP Sony A7R IV

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.