Thanks to Chris Snipes representing Dale Labs, I got my hands on a S2 with 70 and 180 lenses while staying at the Don Cesar Resort in St. Pete's Beach FL.
I was able to shoot about 170 images around the resort in different lighting .... overcast in the AM, interior shots with and without flash (SF58), and in bright sunny beach and pool side conditions.
This is my criteria for considering the S2 ... more out-and-about than sequestered in a studio. I prefer a modular MFD system for the studio. In essence I am looking at it as a possible partial replacement for a 35mm DSLR with MFD like IQ. This is where a good deal of my paying work has migrated to.
The caveats are the usual ... this is a new camera so some things were slow going until I picked up on the controls ... which Chris was so good to help with. I also did not try to "push" the camera being more interested in the basics of operation and handling in conditions I tend to shoot in.
As far as the image IQ, it is exactly as expected from preliminary viewing on a lap top with a few caveats I'll point out later when I get home and process the images on my main computer, and more importantly actually print from the files. Suffice it to say that when the wifey saw the shots I did of her, she gave a thumbs up to move forward getting the S2 ...
For now I will just stick to operational observations:
This is definitely a MF digital camera in a DSLR body ... with all that implies.
One must remember to watch the shutter speeds just like with any MF camera ... which may seem obvious, but when in hand it is easy to forget it is MFD NOT a 35mm DSLR.
The S2 is quiet ... I think the quietest MFD camera out there. No big mirror slap, fairly quiet AF, shutter and advance. This bodes well for hand holding as long as one remembers it is still a MF camera with a big sensor and high resolution.
I tried ISOs up to and including 1250 ... which I will get into after I process at home. I will say that the short choices of ISOs was surprising and hopefully later firmware will add incremental ISOs for finer control. 160, 320, 640 and 1250 are too big a jump for a camera like this and having 200, 400, 500, 800 and 1000 would benefit it greatly.
The S2 offers 3 modes of metering, but I used averaging for most my shots and can say it metered difficult scenes VERY well,
including beach scenes with white sand and shots directly into a pool ... with no compensation. Compensation can be assigned to one of the rear buttons and appears large on the LCD.
The LCD is very nice, especially for a MFD camera and I could review most shots except in more direct beach sun.
For those used to 35mm DSLRs it should be noted that there is one control wheel not two. Shutter speed is controlled by a traditional wheel on top right of the camera ... and may take some getting used to. I kept searching for the index finger wheel while shooting out of habit.
If I have any concern about the S2 it is the AF performance. It is NOT 35mm DSLR like at all. There is one center sensor so one has to watch focus recompose issues when shooting wide open. That I can handle, but when the AF is assigned to the shutter button it is slow and hunts even in good light. AF was much better assigned to the rear "thumb" button but still not as fast as I had hoped it would be. I could not get the continuous focus to work very well, but will leave that to others to test more completely. Like most Leica lenses, the manual focus and manual focus override was excellent.
Over-all this is a beautiful camera and handles like a dream with the few caveats I've mentioned ... some of which may be overcome with more practice. The AF would be my only concern since I wasn't expecting high ISO performance nor in need of much over 800 ... which is why I wished the camera offered 800.
More to come ...