Not exactly typical MF type of photo, but I was lucky in that I could get very close. This photo is full frame with the S2 and 70mm.
Ladies of Pit Road.
Decent DR in extraordinarily harsh sun ... sun that some people should stay out of perhaps? ...
That's beautiful, Kurt.
Just some brief comments...
CEH, lovely shot of mountain and impending storm. Had something similar here recently where I live. I love "brooding" type of images and the tonality of the image adds greatly to its impact.
Mark, one of the reasons the S2 has me interested, is using it in ways that DMF usually isn't associated with. For myself, thats the whole point of my considering it, and I too view it sort of like Nikon/Canon on steriods. Many of the artists I shoot are constantly moving during performance and its a question as to whether the S2 can keep up...especially with AF tracking. I realize some things have to be sacrificed relative to those Nikon/Canon bodies (D3S and sometimes D3x), while other things are to be gained with the S2. It's a question of whether if I could live with the tradeoffs.
Marc, having seen many of your other posted shots (with other systems), I truly am looking forward to your images (and feedback) with your S2.
Wide DR is something I had hoped for in the S2, as much of what I shoot requires it, especially major stage productions where high contrasty lighting is often the order of the day. That image of the woman in the water, looks like she's was startled by seeing your camera and appeared to be exclaiming "OMG look, its an S2!"
Kurt, its just my impression but it appears you're trying to achieve a look of very shallow and rapid falloff of depth of field in many of your S2 test images....where the subject (object) in focus is highlighted by well defined sharpness. My impression (without really knowing), is you're trying (in some images) to emulate the look of your 0.95 Noct as when you used it on your M9. This of course is a good thing and certainly resulted in many impressive images (and not only due to shallow depth of field).
Looking forward to watching this thread closely. Thanks everyone.
Last edited by D&A; 17th December 2010 at 21:16.
Thanks Lloyd and Mark.
Dave, you are right. One of my goals with the S2 was to try to shoe-horn it into a variety of applications where in the past I might have used either a DSLR or a rangefinder. It's not a perfect substitution. I'm certain most people would like to have a variety of tools to shoot in a variety of situations. I'm more comfortable, however, using a single tool as I enjoy the creativity of trying to adapt it to those various situations.
I'm excited about how I can utilize the S2 with the 110/2 to create images (like those with the M9 and Noct ASPH) that include layers of sharp elements contrasted with others that are much softer. It's a look that I really like. On the other hand, though, I can simply put an S lens on the camera for a different look that is incredibly precise and detailed with the narrower depth of field a larger medium format sensor provides.
Kurt, much like you I think I too am trying to shoe-horn (as you say) the S2 into a wide variety of applications, ultimately substituting the S2 for both the rangefiner as well as the 24x36mm full frame DSLR system. Already I've often bounced back and forth between the fast/high ISO performing D3s and slow/low ISO but higher resolution D3x, with little practical overlap between the two. I've tried to extend the range of use of the D3x into some of the D3s territory by a variety of techniques, in order to achieve the increase in resolution needed, but it was only met with limited success, as others have found by trying to do the same. By changing my shooting approach and employing other changes both during shooting and post processing, whenever possible, has helped to a degree and as a consequence certain benefits were derived from the D3x over the D3s. I would have to push that even further to some extent with the S2, but the payback I believe would be greatly extended over the D3x for a wide variety of reasons (many obvious) and worth it if successful.
The ulitmate answer to this kind of substitution is probably only answered by my putting the S2 through its paces and shooting with it specifically under my particular "shooting enviorment". In the meantime the information I'm beginning to gather in this thread is extremely valuable and I expect that to only grow exponetionally in time.
As for emulating and substituting (to a degree) the rangefinder and its use, that's a simpler question for me to answer personally, having used the bigger 24x36 full frame DSLR's in such capacity and already know it's drawbacks (aside from the differences in glass). As you say, with careful selection of lenses, like the 110/2, image wise, emulating certain characteristics you were fond of with the M9, is certainly doable, and may in fact lead to extending your creative vision in other ways. The increased capacity of the system of course is an added bonus. Again thanks!
Arif, you really nailed that first tennis shot... nice work.
Mark, nice panning job on the race car. I think I can see you in the reflection off the young lady's sunglasses
Marc, where in the world did you find swimming pool weather ?
Anybody shooting with the S2 figure out a right angle finder workaround ?
I'm rolling all these things around in my brain as well. However, what I have realised is that I'm not going to replace the rangefinder - not so much on the basis of image quality, but there are two things:
1 Pointing an S2 into someone's face from 3 ft is not the same as an M9
2 the ability to see around the picture in the M9 is just different.
. . . . which leads me to another problem, which is that realistically speaking I ought to trade in at least most of my M kit to be able to afford an S2 with three lenses
and then . . .
Wondering how I'd feel if Leica brought out a 30mp M9 with live view and excellent high ISO?
Just this guy you know
Having said that I fully agree that if there will be an M9 with 30MP and higher ISO (like the K5) IQ, I would definitely be going for it.
Or considering my FF Nikon (or your FF Alpha) I would expect the next generation of these cameras to have 30+ MPs. Would I then buy into the S System instead? I do not think so. The S2 is a wonderful camera for sure, but simply it will be pretty soon overrun by the next generation FF DSLR sensors appearing on the market.
Would I upgrade to a H4D60 instead from my current H3D39? Sure, especially with the current trade in prices this is very attractive and it will take a long time till we will see 60MP (or close) in normal FF DSLRs - if it will happen at all. So the H4D60 looks for me as a real upgrade in terms of IQ from current 40MP range of digital MF.
I know now comes the arguments of size etc. of the S2. Well, any Nikon or Sony (or Canon) FF body with 30+ MPs is still smaller or at least as small but much more flexible than the S2 - especially if you come down to the lens sortiment of the different systems.
So here we go, I think just waiting for the next step in FF sensor evolution is the way to go - at least the MUCH CHEAPER way
Life is an ever changing journey
You bring up a couple of excellent points. Interestingly enough, I spent some time walking around a local public market with the S2 over the past several weeks. First with the 70 and then the 110/2. In both of those instances, I really didn't feel more conspicuous than I ever did with the M9 (but I always preferred bigger lenses on the M9 like the Noct and 75lux). Later, I walked around with the 180 and immediately felt like everyone paid attention to what I was shooting. I think that anytime I shoot with a lens that is a fair bit bigger in proportion to the camera I'm using I feel that I stick out more ... and the people around me seem to notice.
Second, the ability to compose quickly with extra room around the frame is something that I already miss. But, the upside is that I do like the large, bright viewfinder. I just have to retrain my brain after spending the last several years with the M9.
I've been really struggling with this . . . . I actually could just walk into the leica store and grab the camera (assuming it's in stock).
I'm in the position where I've cleared all the financial hurdles (even my wife smiles indulgently), so I just have to decide whether it's worth it to me . . . . . . . It's causing me serious mental anguish!
Just this guy you know
Will they allow you to test drive one for a day or week? It's probably a wise move for anyone considering any system this large and pricey. It made it so much easier for me to make such a decision. I used one for a week on two separate occasions and was able to test it in a variety of my normal shooting situations. After carrying it around with me everywhere, I became enamored with its form factor ... realizing that it wasn't nearly as big and awkward as the other medium format systems I'd used in the past.
Just kidding but I NO QUESTION agree go test drive any of these systems out FIRST. I did have a little issue with the grip as being wide at the bottom and my hands are not very big. But seriously when we are in this league of money with any of the MF system mistakes are extremely costly. This is not about Leica but ALL of them, you have to try them first.
Just this guy you know
More like platinum . LOL
Jono when you slide down the slope than we really have news. Marc, David, Kurt was of no surprise to me but You. We may have to make it a holiday. LOL
Myself I am waiting it all out to see what rains from the sky next year but enjoying you folks taking it for a ride.
Since I split my time between the rangefinder and full frame Nikon bodies, I'm fairly comfortable seeing around the frame (or not) . I'm used to both, although like most, I prefer the rangefinder way of seeing things.
As for shooting in public among the general population, hands down people react quite differently if I'm using the rangefinder vs. any full frame DSLR, even if I'm using fast single focal length lenses as opposed to bigger 70-200 f2.8 lenses. Even a smaller APS DSLR gets noticed in a different way than say a rangefinder, which most just assume its another P&S . So giving up the rangefinder for me, definitely looses some aninimity.
Now onto the possibilty of the next M9 (M10) being 30MP. Anything is possible but I believe that unlike Current Nikon technology, if that does happen, the improvement in high ISO performance while making that dramtic a leap in resolution, will either leave the ISO performance where it's at with the current M9 or a slight increase at best. The alternative might be to up the resolution more modestly, say to 24MP and eek out maybe a 1.5 to 2 stop high ISO improvement. For myself, for what I generally use a rangefinder for, I personally would rather see it stay at 18MP and improve the ISO performance greatly as opposed to the other senarios, especially when there are other camera alternatives in approaching bigger files/higher resolution.
Lastly comes the real possibilty of Nikon increasing the D3x resolution. I see this as the most likely senario. With Nikon's class leading technolgy in extracting rediculously clean high ISO performance in their files (like the D3s), I could see them now employing this in a future 30-35MP D4x. Even if they kept it at 24MP, then I would expect the D4x would make a hugh leap in high ISO performance as compared to the current D3x. If it stays at 24MP, then the S2 certainly keeps its place among potential candidates of what I would like to strive for. If a future D4x butt heads with a 30+ MP sensor with a greatly better high ISO performance over the current D3x, then that will be food for thought.
Of course what will be the costs for these potentially new cameras..thats also a consideration and no matter how high the resolution gets in a future M10 or D4x, there are still tangable advantages to both the larger chip in the S2 and some of the MF lenses and conversly, some real technical hurdles to get over by increasing the resolution greatly in cameras such as the M9 and D3x such as keeping the files clean and usable at these higher ISO's.
I don't recall, but has Leica ever mentioned an easy upgradable route to chip replacement when higher reolution chips are developed for the S2 body? This would also figure into the equation.
Guy and others are right...working with the system (any expensive system for that matter) for a few weeks can certainly be most relevent to making the ultimate decision...unfortunately its not always the easiest thing to do and as pointed out, unlike a low end DSLR, not something one can just turn around and view as a simple cost free mistake.
Anyway really good stuff so far! Thanks!
Last edited by D&A; 18th December 2010 at 11:12.
Those of us who have been playing with the Pentax K5 have been using an APS-c sensor of 16mp with very very good clean 6400 ISO (you can print it to 12to17 without problem).. . . . . . . . . . a full frame sensor with that kind of pixel density would be more like 36mp . . . . . . . .
So I don't think it's beyond the bounds of possibility right now. If Pentax can do it with a Sony sensor, why couldn't Leica?
. . . . sorry folks, I've rather driven this off topic - I apologise - I'll take my anguish off elsewhere and pour a bottle of red wine down it
Just this guy you know
Yes, Pentax achieved this to some extent as has Nikon with their new D7000, which closely matches the K5 in specs and performance. I was thinking along the same lines as you when I wrote my post above but when I look at these RAW files at higher ISO's, (from say the K5 and D7000), they are not processed the same as say files from some of the other high ISO cameras such as the D3/D3s. Yes, I know a bit of apples vs. oranges (APS vs full frame), but the noise reduction algorthims and what they do to the files in these new crops of APS high ISO DSLRs, often times are a bit dicey for my tastes especially when extensive post processing is required/and or large scale prints are made. Don't get me wrong, its remarkable when compared to just a few short years ago. I aslo give credit to Pentax for trying to make up lost ground, espcially in their digital division, having shot with and used their higher end stuff for years and knew those in their optical & digital divisions here in the States quite well, until their recent merger/takeover.
---> just added (addition)...even when decent ISO 1600 files in APS DSLR's and ISO 3600 (and beyond) files in the full frame D700/D3x were technically possible, the M8 and especially the M9 respectfully could not match these cameras in high ISO performance, even though they seem to have been developed within a similar time frame. So those that develop Leica's electronics in their M digital series, clearly are not matching the most technilogical clean high ISO performance of these DSLR's. Therefore that's why I was judicious in my prediction just how many more MP Leica can add to a M10 and still offer improved high ISO performance. Based on the current track record, their just keeping current high ISO performance while increasing resolution in a future M10, would be an achievement.
These new technologies are certainly relevant, especially those that allow higher ISO's to be userful, but in pro oriented cameras such as a D3x, Canon Pro level bodies, S2 , M9 and other DMF's, they have to be used judiously, since the files themselves are going to be closely scrutinized by those who are well qualified to do so and the subsequent files must meet a stardard for thats beyond what average users sometimes requires, expects or even notices.
A bit early here for a glass of red wine, unless I want to find myself driving down a lone mountain road, looking for that elusive sunset to photograph on this completely overcast day . I think thats going to be a bit difficult to explain to the officer who pulls me over Thanks!
Last edited by D&A; 18th December 2010 at 12:06.
I think it's all rather simple. s2, m9 and MF cameras use CCD. Everything else is CMOS.
It's not so much about Leica/ Pentax technical knowhow as the sensor They choose.
Looking at the DXO figures for the new Sony sensor (same in d7000, sony a580, k5) is enlightening to say the least ( look at the DR figures). I'm quite sure that this tech will be in the next round of FF sensors from Nikon and Sony. As for the RAW files, 3000 shots in with the Pentax have proved to me that they are very malleable, with the best shadow recovery I've seen in anything.
But this really is off topic!
Just this guy you know
You're right, I didn't touch on the implications of choice of sensor and its appropriateness for its selection in various bodies and also its implication in high ISO performance. I also agree, the dynamic range of these new crops of APS DSLR's are remarkable...one of the first things I noticed about the files in lighting situations photographed to test spcifically for DR. Pulling out detail in the shadows with remarkable ease with little destructive noise is notable! I may have been harsh on the noise reduction algorythms often employed, as that was standard on many past Pentax's and even some Nikon APS DSLR's not too long ago, especially in the mid priced range. Some of these files were, lets just kindly say, "not ready for prime time". I was recently asked to put the D7000 through its paces and also compare similary taken K5 files, so my in depth experience with these files is more limited compared to those cameras I intensly use.
I think though this all does have relevancy to the S2, in that some are trying to make informed decisions as to whether to stick with their current Nikon/Canon full frame high resolution DSLR cameras and system, anticipating what the next round of bodies/imporvement might bring to the table vis-a-vis moving onto the S2. I realize it depends on so many factors, like what one needs or expects and the potential use of the camera and its files.
Which sort of brings this entire topic back full circle to those who have the S2 and have been more than generous with their time in posting of images and providing vauable insights and feedback.
Last edited by D&A; 18th December 2010 at 12:47.
The guy is juggling chain saws?
I assume your landscape photos are from Slovakia - I love 'em, keep them coming.
No way I can compete with those super models, but here's something from Olympic National Park when the vine maples were at their most iridescent.
This image was recorded on yet another rain soaked day (with the 35mm and a Heliopan Polarizer). Out of a 10 day trip, it rained 7 days. I had the S2 with 35/70/180 mm lenses and had no worries pulling this puppy out in those adverse conditions. In contrast, my Arca Swiss (4x5) only saw the light of day on three occasions the entire trip. Needless to say, the S2 saved the journey.
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A couple of personal and practical observations for those agonizing ... :
IMO, none of these cameras including the S2 replaces a rangefinder IF the way you shoot is predicated on the rangefinder way of working and seeing. Smallness is a virtue for stealth, but not necessarily an over-riding one depending one's technique with the larger cameras ... however, carrying a small camera is an obvious advantage ... the best camera being the one you tend to have with you IMHO however, the REAL difference is in the seeing ... rangefinders promote, even force, a focus on content over what the image will actually look like. We see no (distracting) distortion or compression of image characteristics ... which some people despise, and others prize.
Being somewhat familiar with Jono's photographs, I seriously doubt I'd recommend sacrificing his M9 kit for a S2. Nor would I have done so.
For those contemplating the S2 as a DSLR replacement, the discrimination isn't quite as clear cut (except the ISO issue which I'll offer an opinion on next). IMO, worrying about what Canon, Nikon, or now even Sony may do with 35mm DSLRs in future regarding meg count is a bit futile. Even if the DSLRs jumped meg count to match the S2 (quite possible), the sensor size will never jump ... if it does, then it isn't a 35mm DSLR anymore and all your lenses will be obsolete (i.e., R9 jump to S2). Plus, all these DSLRs are CMOS sensors, and all the MFD's are CCDs (as are the M9 and the discontinued DMR, both highly prized for their IQ).
So, IMO, it isn't just meg count, it is pixel quality. I personally do not favor the pixel quality of any CMOS DSLR current or past, and I've owned most of them. Which is why the M9, S2, and Hasselblad H4D/60 are my ideal set-up ... they are all CCD capture of varying sizes, meg count, versatility, and application. If Leica had made a weather sealed R10 with a 18-24 meg CCD sensor and some new AF lenses, that is what I'd be shooting with over the Sony I now use, or by default the S2 which may replace the Sony (TBD).
One other issue of discrimination to consider is that of hand-hold ability and DOF ... both of which are less with the S2 compared to any 35mm DSLR, crop frame or FF. People that tend to over-look this are in for a shock if they do not have experience with MFD use. Those that employ technique as if the S2 was a D3X are in for a lot of unusable images
ISO is a whole other kettle of fish. It's a very personal shooting need. I scanned exif info of about 10,000 images from my Canon, Nikon, and Sony DSLR files and discovered the incidence of using anything over ISO 1000 was pretty rare ... (so was use of anything under 320). 320 to 800 was the vast majority of work. So, personally sacrificing pixel quality of a vast majority for a few high ISO shots didn't make any sense. In addition, improvements in firmware, and software noise control has made this even less of a concern.
Unless I am missing a custom function or operating selection on the S2, I still believe a major error is the lack of intermediate ISO steps. I said this a year ago, and I say it again ... Major Error! Jumping from 320 to 640 to 1250 is a crime. No 400, 500, 800, 1000 to refine the ISO selection for needed light sensitivity with a minimum increase of noise. I hope someone corrects me on this, because I'd be delighted to be wrong.
Hope this helps a bit,
Absolutely - and I hope the discussion was useful to more than just me.
Great shots ceh; I particularly like the first of the chain-saw-juggler - excellent (and rather the way I feel right now).
To be honest, the idea of selling my M9 kit for an S2 only stayed for a moment, but your decision and reasoning made me realise that I also (thanks to my father) could buy an S2 - it would have been to replace my Sony kit rather than the rangefinder, and on a family negotiation basis would have been a quid pro quo for the horse box (my dear wife is very understanding).
This consideration has at least given me scope to make the decision uncoloured by financial considerations (beyond the fact that it's expensive, and shouldn't be gone into lightly). So I'm still considering
I think your reasoning is very sound; except that I'm not quite as convinced as you are in the superiority of the CCD - I suspect that it's more to do with the AA filter (or lack of it) - I'm not aware that anyone has yet produced a CMOS sensor without an AA filter?
Just this guy you know
BTW, thanks to everyone for an interesting discussion.
As to selling the M gear to buy the S2, no way. Sell a couple of lenses, may be. But the two systems are so different, and while the ergonomics of the S2 may be good for a MFD, they are not comparable to the M9. Very different horses indeed.
Cheers CEH. I just realized this morning that when you click on the image it displays on a black background, but it is not at the full pixel dimension. Its only when you click on it again that you see the full sized image. As well, I think I could have sharpened it up a bit more. I down-sampled this puppy from the final print dimensions at 240 ppi..very nice - beautiful lights.
Some comments regarding the last few postings:
1. CEH, Great shot of the "chain saw" juggling individual. I much prefer this in B&W and as someone else pointed out and the apparent slow sync was just about right. Next thing you know he'll try juggling three S2 bodies!
2. Jono, I'm with you in that its a good time for some deliberation regarding the S2. It's purchase (at least for my intended uses) is not as clear cut as some other cameras were. I'm not sure in my case if its time to jump in or take a more cautious wait & see approach. I keep thinking of the expression, "jump right in, the waters warm" which then leads to my repeating to myself.... "I must be rational, I must be rational....etc"
As for CCD vs. CMOS, I still believe CCD image wise, holds a distinct advantage with regards to image characteristics except for higher ISO performance and am not convinced it's time yet for those cameras (as noted by Marc) to give up those advantages, even though it can be argued that the gap between CCD & CMOS is getting smaller as time goes on.
3. Marc, many excellent observations. As I noted above, I still at this stage prefer CCD even though it means I might be sacrificing higher ISO performance. That's also why I think I mentioned (or implied) that even though DSLR's might get more pixels in the near future, its not the same as an S2 (or any DMF for that matter). I've long been of the school (and apparently so have you) that pixel quality is paramount and more important than absolute #'s. This important attribute goes way back..heck its even why in earlier times the low pixel count D2Hs could often run rings around some higher end DLSR's with close to double the number of pixels when comparing a lot of important image characteristics, especially when both were used near base ISO.
I completely agree with you that the S2 is no substitute for the rangefinder and the thought of having to give that up (at least temporarily) is a difficult pill to swallow. The only reason I (and I suspect possibly some others) contemplate having to possibly give up that system and lenses for now, is simply an economic one. The system in my case that will be given up completely for an S2, work wise, would be the DSLR. Unlike your high ISO use assessment, I would conservatively say at least 65% or more of my DSLR images were shot at ISO's 1200 or higher due to the cameras use in low light performing art and concert situations. It's not only low light but often times performers moving fairly rapidly on stage. I'm up against both speed (needing bursts on occasions) as well as higher ISO and this is where I'm not sure a deliberate change in shooting style and techniques would allow the S2 to be completely successful for these endeavors. I tried emulating shooting a portion of the last few concerts by setting the DSLR's to emulate upper limits of ISO and FPS of the S 2, to see how it goes and then deal with the files in post processing. As you noted limited depth of field with DMF is also a consideration, having experienced it myself when shooting DMF with the Hassy system (under completely different shooting enviorments). It most definitely will be a slow climb for those concert shoots, trying exploit the strengths of the S2 system (while minimizing any weaknesses). I think though the tradeoffs (by using the S2), if successful, will be well worth it.
Lastly Marc, regarding big 1 stop "ISO Steps" in the S2, didn't we go through that with the M8? If the S2 isn't capable of making relatively small ISO "step" changes, then that I feel it is a small but important omission and can't for the life of me see why it was overlooked (especially after the M8 and its correction in the M9). It may be subtle, but in some shooting situations the smaller increase in high ISO setting, is just enough to put it over the edge for a successful shot and dealing with the subsequent image. Yes, exposure comp is one way around this but that's not the most straight forward solution. If it was omitted, then possibly a firmware update to correct/change may be possible?
My guess is there are many more sitting just outside the boundaries of picking up an S2 and reasons for possibly hesitating (or contemplating) may well depend on the relative strengths and capabilities of the S2 system for their particular needs and shooting styles. The continuing feedback here has certainly been most valuable, even if the ultimate decision to change over is delayed with some additional consideration needed. Thanks!
Last edited by D&A; 19th December 2010 at 09:02.
Just finished re-reading the Digilloyd review of this system and it seems like Lloyd had some consistent back focusing issues. Wondering if any one who's currently using the system has experienced this problem.
Also, for those that don't follow this system closely there's a pretty hefty price increase in some of the lenses come the New Year. Some dealers, e.g. Adorama, B&H, etc. have already implemented the increase. Something to consider if a few thousand dollars makes a difference.
Jono & Marc good point! I too cannot think of a CMOS camera without a AA filter and that most certainly is one of the contributing factors for the perceived image superiority of CCD over CMOS.
Just this guy you know