Leica S Camera

Leica S System

Leica is a camera manufacturer that created the Leica S system – a system that provides a unique combination of performance features for digital photography. This system combines the image quality of a medium-format camera with the handling, speed, and flexibility of a small-format camera. Leica lenses have a built-in dedicated processor for controlling auto focus and are available with a central shutter for maximum flexibility when using a flash.

The Central Shutter

The central shutter is one of two common camera designs and is typically located at a “central” position in the lens assembly – between the optical lens elements. Several blades are arranged around the optical axis in a concentric pattern. When the shutter is released, the blades snap back from this optical axis synchronously and let the light fall on the sensor. With SLR cameras, the central shutter first closes after the shutter release. The mirror then swings up, opening the central shutter for the duration of the exposure before closing again. Finally, the mirror swings down, back into the light’s path and the shutter opens. This solution uses the classic principle of mechanical springs for the efficient storage of potential energy. Tensioned-spring principles contribute to the extremely compact dimensions.

The Spring Motor

Springs in the Leica S system are tensioned by a specially designed and developed maxon motor with a high-precision overrunning clutch. They release their stored energy to activate the shutter blades when the shutter release is depressed. In order to prevent the blades from rebounding when the shutter is closed or opened, there had to be another specially designed component. A microprocessor-controlled pawl and ratchet mechanism controls the shutter cycle via two electromagnetically activated plungers. The gear motor of maxon motor is used for tensioning three springs that store the energy for the central shutter. A maxon A-max 12 motor is used as the base motor while the gearhead is an all-new development and adapted to the available space. This presented a challenge to the gear motor in the central shutter of the Leica lens. What was needed and developed was a compact, enclosed, and sealed custom version of the gearhead. It provides perpendicular power transmission to the toothed gear of the central shutter through a crown gear, with a lifespan of more than 100,000 releases.

Electromate supplies maxon motors like those used within the Leica S Digital SLR camera system. Contact us today to learn more!