As a history major, my motto for photography equipment purchasing, with a nod and a wink to Edmund Burke, seems to be:
... Those who buy camera equipment are destined to rebuy it.
a few more things.
I have used the S2 with the 35mm for a few weeks now and it is extremely good for my needs. I just have the 35mm. I wanted a DSLR form, a water resistant system, and superb glass that would work into the future.
I waited many months to buy it as I required the 35mm. I will eventually get the 120mm and that's all I will use for awhile. My work is 90% wide in landscape mode, and it replaces a work flow of stitching images from smaller sensors. It is my first digital MF, but shot film MF in the past. So I forunately had no legacy investment issues in another system.
I like buying into a system that is freshly and fully designed around a new sensor size versus retrofit. That's not a knock at other MF cameras, that's as much a knock at an M8 or M9.
The lenses are big, but not a problem. they handle well. If I want really small lenses, I have a M9 system. My Canon system is gone.
I first worked with the S2 in a North American Tour and studied the files from it. It worked.
Unlike the M9, which has a sexy retro beauty to it, the S2 is just a machine. I do not consider it sexy. Gets the job done, easy to use, not in the way. Looking through the finder is wonderfully big and bright. It is a joy to take the shot. The display does a great job. Files are as quality and huge as I need. I'm very glad to know the owner of Leica has a five year horizon on making back his investment, as the lens rollout is slow, and has got to be slowing adoption. If I had needed four lenses ready a year ago I would have been forced to go elsewhere. I could afford to wait; many could not and have committed themselves elsewhere. I understand.
I use LR3 with David Farkas' profile for landscape. I don't want/need C1, but I understand Guy's point of view. David should send an S2 to Thomas Knoll on loan and motivate Thomas to get someone as Adobe to work some options.
Peter, I suggest you avoid trying the S2 with the 35mm as you will be compelled to spend the money again. The 35mm is that nice.
Kurt, I hope you buy it. I know David has probably loaned you a test unit but probably not yet with the 35mm which are in short supply at the moment. If you need one a short test, I think I am an hour away from you.
I'm using the Phase DF with P65+, which is simply incredible IQ, but is unwieldy for walk-about. Therefore this would be a second MF system for me - and I doubt I'm alone in the high end MFdigi area - using Phase for $ work, and would prefer to walk with an S2 on my shoulder. For that... it needs to drop to $20k with the 70mm lens. Over to you Leica?
(Oh, and I want to be able to process on Capture One. Lightroom just doesn't cut it for me)
[QUOTE=narikin;222215...it is nearly $4500 cheaper for a US buyer to purchase in the EU and have it shipped over, than buying in the US. Leica need to seriously look at this, and make it competitive.
If I were a US Leica dealer I'd be upset with Leica for not adjusting the price to reflect current currency valuations. While I have a high regard for Leica products I can't say it carries over to their marketing strategy.
A new S2 review...
Admin preemptive comment:
*Please* let's not let this thread dissolve to the point of making personal attacks on reviewers and/or other forum owners. Expressing disagreement is fine, and even adding your own personal comments such as what Peter said above, is okay, but even that I think is about as far as you need to take it.
Thanks in advance,
Not sure I agree with you there; I'm currently on a P65+ / DF combo and an M9 and as you know I shot and printed a lot with the S2 I had for a while. Aside from the issues I had with the sensors on mine I agree 100% with Dubovoy at LuLa. Though I must add that my 110 LS lens is incredible on the Phase setup, with almost psychic focus...
I probably won't go back to the S2 because there's not enough clear water between it and the M9 at very large print sizes compared to the M9/P65+ team and because of the tech cam needs I have but I think there will be a number of people who do reverse earlier S2 sales and I for one wouldn't question their sanity at all!
i was poised to pick up the S2, 70mm, 180mm and 35mm lenses tomorrow but today my dealer in vienna (who treats me extremely well) told me that leica just cancelled the promised delivery of the 35mm lens to him without any indication on an actual delivery date. i need a wide angle lens to be able to take the S system on upcoming trips to india etc, so it will be D3x again...
funny way to treat customers. another leica let down.
ps: i feel that D3x clearly tops the M9 in IQ, on screen and in print. D3x files are very elastic to PP and print beautifully.
That is a shame Peter. I would have liked to hear your opinion of the 35mm. A trip to India with it would have given you good real world opportunity to see how it performs.
Long delivery times is one thing but not being able to say when one gets delivery or to say and not hold it without informing more early is annoying.
As an automitive machine supplier we would be out of business after 6 months if we would treat our customers the same way.
I really like Leica products but it still seems they have not understood some basic rules of business and customer relationship.
Specially for S2 customer I would expect a different response than for a 200$ digicam. If they want to sell to Pros than they should also treat them professionally.
That sucks. While having the D3x for a fall-back is not exactly wailing and gnashing of teeth time, having the rug pulled out from under a new system gear-up at the 11th hr just sucks. As Mark indicates the challenges (traveling, heat, dust, humidity), detail and color-rich environment of India would have been a great real world test for you.
Truly that sucks. It would certainly annoy the hell out of me and disappoint me but I hope you have a great trip anyway!
There is a new version of the Lecia Image Shuttle Sofware (version 1.01 for PC and version 1.02 for Mac) downloadable in the customer section:
What is Image Shuttle Software?
This update covered just a few minor bug fixes.
There are some new online S2 tutorials:
It's amazing how solidly built the S2 looks. It also seems so much more refined than the Phase / Hassey offerings. I say "seems" because I have not yet used one personally. I have used the Mamiya and Hassey bodies, and I wouldn't call either of them refined in terms of design and function. I'm looking forward to testing one next week, so hopefully I can report about some first hand experiences soon.
An email from a friend and fellow Leica (m) shooter, but clearly not a fanboy:
See how good I am: no posts about the S2. I mean, Leica doesn't owe it to their customers to provide a processor that optimizes its files. If you want processing, get a Phase or a Hassy. Leicas are weatherproof."
I post this because I find it a humorous anecdote about the crux of the problem as I see it: the Leica S is not yet a complete system.
Having now used the S2, I can safely say I'm impressed with it. For me, it handles far easier than the H or AFD style cameras and for a lot of my work weather proofing is essential - especially at this price level. Leica might not provide specialized software, but they have certainly designed and produced a very well thought out piece of kit. My only real gripe is the menu system and jogger wheel, but that's a story for another day after I've spent more time with it.
I hope other manufacturers take notice - what chance a ZD mk2, with build quality inspired by the S2, but with Phase's P65+ sensor in it! Or a 'tweener' Canon? Perchance to Dream...
You may want to check out a series of viedos we posted on YouTube a few days ago. They serve as a visual manual for the S2 and are broken down by each menu, as well as things like setting custom functions or changing shooting modes. The menu system with the clickable scroll wheel actually becomes very natural and very quick with just a bit of practice. At first, it definitely feels different than other cameras though.
The videos are on our YouTube channel at http://www.YouTube.com/user/dalephotoanddigital
Best of luck with your test.
this reflects my feelings and observations fully. I currently have the luxury of perfect SW for my MFD system (H) with Phocus - yes we can discuss if C1 Pro is better or Phocus, but as a user of both I would rate Phocus on a level which is satisfying my needs.
Leica for their S System rely on LR - and they did not even manage to get their strengths being implemented fully in LR after almost a year on the market.
I do really hope this happens sooner than later for the S System. And YES, then it would be appealing enough for me to jump into it
What I learnt is the camera is a dream and I'd definitely buy one if I had that kind of money. Maybe in six months. The only thing I can really say is that to get your moneys worth you really do need absolutely perfect technique. The resolution is so high, and the depth of field so slim at wider apertures, it's easy to see the slightest of focus errors and camera movement.
I have made several 66x100cm prints from some S2 files now and I'm truly amazed at the quality of image in print. It's one thing to be looking at photos on a screen, but a beautiful print is a different experience all together. To compare, I printed a similar photo scanned using a Nikon 9000ED (which arrived on Friday after a six month wait!) from a 6x7cm Reala 100ISO neg to see what the difference might be at intended output. There was little in it, to be honest. The S2 had a MILE more detail, especially in the shadows, and better subtle tonal differentiation, but the film scan and print had a subtle texture and quality that was just plain different. Hard to really compare. I'm used to prints from film, but neither was better or worse aesthetically, just different.
All in all, I'd say cameras like the S2 and similar MF offerings, if my limited tests are anything to go by, are at an amazing level of image quality, far beyond what most people need or are even capable of consistently exploiting. In my personal opinion, although the S2 might not be the most complete system, it's the closest shooting experience to my Mamiya 7 - an all day shooter, ergonomically more suited to my way of working. Now, if only I had a suitcase full of $$$.
Happy it's all worked out for you!
It would have worked out better had I have been given the camera to keep! Alas, I'm back slumming it with film for the time being... One day...
Lightroom 3.2 now has tether support for the S2 - nice....:
It's good to see Adobe supporting the S2. I'd been told that they were doing so but had my doubts as it seemed like too small a user base for them to pay attention to. Seems like my source knew what he was talking about.
Giving the new LR 3.2 tethering a whirl right now. So far, so good.
Cool David, be sure to give us a full report!
Tethering works fine with the new LR 3.2. It much more convenient with LR2 than with Leica's own tethering software. About 6-7 sec till a picture appears in LR...
There are a lot of "Develop Settings" available while you capture
Here Leica's own S2 software... but no immediat preview of the picture, its only for capturing...
6-7 seconds is still too long. Phocus and C1 with there prospective systems is 2 seconds for Phase I know and I think Hassy is about the same. Hopefully they can get that faster in the future. But certainly faster than Leica's own program so some good news there. From memory though I think any hot folder in LR from any cam is about that long. Still think Leica would serve themselves better by compressing the DNG from 70 mg files to half that. Must be a way to do that. Certainly less data to push through the process
Please time your P40+ into C1 for me. Hit the stopwatch when you press the shutter and stop it when you see a non-pixelated, rendered preview display on screen. I didn't run a time trial yesterday, but we have tested out Phase backs in the past and they are longer than 2 sec. We have a P45+ laying around that I'll try today. And, if my memory serves me, 6 sec is about the time it takes for Phocus when tethering an H3DII39.
Ideally, I'd like to see the time drop from 6 sec to 4 sec for the S2.
Yea sounds like LR is more the issue as from memory there hot folder was running the same times. The P40+ is 2.5 seconds full res. Done it a thousand times
The P45+ is a older back. The P40+ times have been increased since than. In sensor plus mode I can shoot and look over and it is there on screen.
I'm shooting to desktop computer using the rear firewire 800 port (the front one is slower and less reliable). Length of the feed wire is an important aspect to all this ... when beyond 8 to 12 feet, I use a Firewire 800 repeater.
The way I understand it, Phocus is Graphics Card dependent ... would that also be an S2 consideration when tethered to Lightroom? What about HD speed? 5400 verses 7200? Would that help in any way? What about RAM?
- Capture-To-Preview: the time between the end of the shutter release and the display of a preview image. In Capture One this is measured as time until the high-res preview rather than the low-res preview that is initially displayed.
- Max Sustained Speed: shot-to-shot time that can be sustained (i.e. the fastest speed without filling the buffer) indefinitely
- Burst Lag: time needed to display the last shot of a burst (i.e. time needed to clear the buffer after sustained shooting)
- Burst Speed: maximum frame rate possible, measured in seconds per frame (spf)
- Shots / [# of seconds]: maximum number of shutter releases during a particular time-frame. This is measured by shutter releases, not previews shown, so with the 1Ds Mark III many images remain in the buffer (see Burst Lag).
As an example check out a test we did of the P30+ vs. the 1Ds III before Mac revised their USB drivers.
The P30/P45 (released 2005 at 31.6 and 39 megapixels respectively) show their strength in tethered speed if you (like most photographers) want to take 10-15 frames rapidly and then review the best frame or two rather than one frame at a time. The P30 for instance can fire 40-45 frames in a minute with a lag of around 6 seconds before the last frame is fully rendered. Perhaps David could test for us how quickly he is able to get the S2 to fire 15 frames and how long the last frame takes to fully render on the screen.
Of course the newer backs scream. Aptus-II 8 or P40+ fly. But the older Phase/Leaf backs (especially Leaf) were also very fast.
This is a bit unfair of an area to judge though - Phase, Leaf, and Hasselblad (Imacon) all started as tethered-only solutions and have been tweaking/refining tethering for a decade. They also all make their own dedicated software with tethering speed as one of the top goals of the overall program design where LR has only very recently added some tethering capabilities. Also, Phase/Leaf/Hassy use Firewire which is more expensive to implement and not as universal as USB, but is better suited to high-speed transfer of large files (see USB vs. FW) and user varying types of compression on their raw files which greatly reduces the size of the file that needs to transfer over the cable. One big upside for the S2 in that regard is that you could tether it to a netbook (netbooks all have USB; very few have FW) - it would be very slow (since netbooks do not excel at processing/rendering 37mp raw files) but a potential plus for landscape guys who want to shoot to something larger than the camera LCD in the field.
Tethering will not matter to everyone. A lot of photographers never tether for a single frame. There are also many kinds of tethering like still life or product where tethering does not need to be fast to be very helpful. But if you need tethering speed (e.g. fashion, portrait, etc) then the real spec you need to look at it is not lag-after-single-shot.
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Last edited by dougpeterson; 1st September 2010 at 06:29.
Good point Doug. I agree tethering is pretty specialized and will not matter to many folks at all. The hard core fashion shooters is where most of this speed issue will take place anyway. I still think someway Leica needs to find a way to use some compression to there DNG's. It would just help all around from downloading cards and going through cabling. I think though at one time there was a chance to make the S2 USB 3 but not sure on those details
In fact Chris was doing some S2 speed testing yesterday. Going from hot-folder to native-tether speed for preview is a very welcome improvement and should allow the S2 to tether in situations where it previously would not have been practical.
But doing a fully documented test takes considerable time and I've got a lot of other tests in my queue.
Last edited by dougpeterson; 1st September 2010 at 07:10.
I do think the P45+ is a fair comparison at this time as almost all major rental studios in NY, LA and Miami use the P45+ as their standard rental back (also P25+ and P30+). There are very, very few P40+ backs to be found at top studios. I'm attaching screen grabs from four of the largest rental players in NYC (Splashlight, MetroTech, Milk, and Trec). Maybe they haven't updated their rental lists yet, but there are no P40+ backs listed (as of today).
Also noteworthy is the lack of any Mamiya mount backs or P1 645DF systems listed - seems like everyone is still renting older H2 bodies. And because the HCD lenses like the 28HCD cannot be used on the H2, shooters are more inclined to rent a larger sensor P45+ rather than a smaller sensor P40+ when wanting the widest angle of coverage from a 35HC (the widest possible on H2). This may change with time, but if the studios don't see a compelling reason to upgrade from their P45+ backs to P40+ backs, it may take a while until the P40+ is a major player for fashion/commercial work, at least at rental. I can't speak to individual shooters. Perhaps Doug wants to chime in on the adoption rate of ownership of the P40+ for fashion/commercial pros (the ones who tether most) as I'm sure he would know better than I.
It's not necessary for you to haul your P40+ to Florida for testing, though you might still want to go for the party.
P45+ tethered to full rez on my 18 month old MBP: 3.5 seconds
P40+ tethered to full rez on my 18 month old MBP: 2.0 seconds
Times certainly would be even faster on the new 12 Core Mac Pro Towers, like the ones we're configuring for our customers.
As far as adoption of various Phase One models for fashion rental, P30+ is overwhelmingly the most rented digital back of any digital back on the market. Primarily because it is extremely versatile (high ISO), and reasonably fast shooting. It's a product that pleases, and it's that and the reputation it has gained, combined with the economy the past few years that has minimized rental house adoption of faster backs like the P40+. The P45+ is not rented anywhere near as much.
The P45+ technology is (damn good) 4 years old. The latest technology is what we're talking about here, and S2 and P40+ are the latest models from both Leica and Phase One.
We will do our best not to discuss products we do not sell/have not sold, and as a result, are not knowledgeable on.We talk about what we know.