is it benefitial to discuss definitions of words? does anybody doubt that the lens has influence on color,contrast,sharpness, detail of/in the final image? I would assume thats what the OP is interested in.
is it benefitial to discuss definitions of words? does anybody doubt that the lens has influence on color,contrast,sharpness, detail of/in the final image? I would assume thats what the OP is interested in.
(2) In your oipinion
(3) Tha sounds more like a statment that would be made by a Dictator rather than a Moderator.
But Seriously, "Mr.Farkas" contribution seemed to be on topic and revelant to the question asked by the op. I learned something from it.
Bob are you taking position that the glass doesn t matter when looking a color ... I know we are talking on the margin. I completely agree that most photographers in a blind test would have a hard time distinguishing IQ differences at even large print sizes. However I use most of the available Leica glass and I ve never been able to make a leica 50 pre asph look as good as the leica 50 asph . On the M8 they rendered differently but they were very close when stopped down but on the M9 the differences are greater . It was one of the first things I noticed on the M9 ...some of my old formulas just were not reaching the potential of the larger sensor .
This seems to be a worthwhile discussion because it hits right on the relative importance of our investment in lenses .
Doug Herr http://www.wildlightphoto.com
OK, here is my entry for a constructive comparison for LS lenses.
No post processing, just minor white balance and adjustments for highlights.
This was taken this afternoon in natural light with the 110mm LS lens.
It was taken at 1/13 sec at f/8 which is common with many of my natural light shots.
OK. Lets see the comparison shot.
To be fair, you have to demonstrate how much superior that a particular lens will make a similar shot appear an show why the difference was attributed to the lens.
Last edited by Bob; 2nd December 2011 at 14:43.
I am fortunate that in Hong Kong there is a distributor with support. I am told they sell well to Mainland China market. Also DHW support with a phone call away to top staff.
The Hy6 is definite a current system, albeit assumably refabrication of old new stock. Phase One / Leaf however apparent owns rights to further development... The danger is that P1 might think there is more $$ to make on developing the Mamiya system which frank is inferior, also in lenses. Seems money control, not best system. Also for P1. The Rolleiflex Schneider 80.2.8 Xenotar PQS AFD is the most amazing lens I owned; super sharp, wonderful out of focus and at certain focus distance, aperture and background combination can appear to swirl as a petzval.
I can also say I had countless problems with Mamiya system which I found insufficient precise (e.g. precision and focusing confirm). Sure, was told that DF would be more precise... and then what? Upgrade again and again??? The Hy6 was more $ but is solid, very precise also for 80MP, and feels far more durable... MAC Group in USA may give good support. Over here it has had to be sent to Japan, which took long time and half of times wrongfully blamed the customer. I would have preferred quick and to point support with honesty and frankness. Thus my confidence is nil for Mamiya.
The S2 has a Kodak sensor and not latest generation compared to new 80MP from Leaf/P1. That makes difference. Else I the Leica lenses must be assumed superior to Mamiya. The new Phamiya Schneider? Did not have one, but why try remake made in Germany by mounting new developed lens designs using German glass, mounted and lens made in Japan? Having owned many camera systems I now opinion that there is nothing like quality German glass.
Last edited by Anders_HK; 2nd December 2011 at 14:52.
If they mean saturation, then it is a trivial task to adjust the saturation of any image to be more or less even though the color depth might be the same.
Saturation is the color gain per channel. Vibrance is similar with reduced behavior for colors surrounding skin tones.
Some cameras come "out of the box" with their default jpeg or raw processors more saturated than others. This is usually by design. We studies the "target" over-saturation of images for Kodak in the late 1960s. No film or digicam that I know of is "accurate" because the general population thinks that colors that are over-saturated are more "natural" then those that are accurate. Phase, Leica, Canon, Nikon, all that I have seen so far follow this pattern. Our color memory is a very strange thing. Most of the population remembers a color to be more saturated than it really was and by a significant degree. I am amused by looking at Lightroom (acr) profiles of various cameras to see just how much more boost and to which colors are actually done. Lets say that each camera has its "secret sauce" that is used to generate its signature look. Yes, by the way this is often true with cameras made of the same sensors and the same lenses.
When the same sensor is compared with different lenses then what appears to be differences in saturation is actually differences in veiling flair. This is the same flair that constitute the "glow" present in some fairly famous lens designs.
Yes, a lens can reduce contrast and saturation but they can all be restored to a large degree.
There is a perceived break-point and that is when a lens resolves 50% or better at a lines per mm equal to the sensor cells per mm. What is the optimal resolution that can be resolved by the sensor. Any more is shall we say more than a handful. Signal theory actually predicts that a double sample per cycle is required to restore the sinusoid. That is . . . oh look two sensor cells per line pair!
Most all decent lenses today do this and better, not that it matters, at least in the center of the image. What we now look at as lens character is the sum of its aberrations particularly in the periphery. Some look good and some look pretty bad.
Lots more to it but bottom line, find the lens that does what you want it to do along with the system that delivers it for you.
By extension, each of us has an impression of how a lens contributes to the over-all imaging chain on the way to the final result. IMO, it really doesn't matter what descriptive terms we use, we know what we're looking for ... it's the difference between using words to convey what we like, and simply seeing what we like ... I personally don't care what the science is behind it as much as others may ... I only care whether it looks the way I want it to.
In my trek there were lenses that became iconic to my mind and way of seeing, and while moving forward these lenses became the touch stone for "creative" comparison. So it wasn't a single system that set the benchmark, it was a collection.
For me, after many years and many lenses, nothing ever beat the Zeiss 120/4 macro for the Contax 645 ... until the Leica S2 120/2.5. The S35mm is simply in a class by itself (as I suspect the new 30mm will also be) ... IMO, no other W/A even comes close to this 35mm MFD lens no matter who made them. Longer glass is a harder category to define one premium maker from the next. Suffice it to say nothing I've ever used beats the S180, and it beats most contenders as far as how well corrected it is.
Perhaps my most important comparison has been shooting a M9 with modern M optics side-by-side with the S2 ... and doing so for some time now. Because I am the one processing the files from both, I apply my taste preferences in a similar manner to both. Once done, it is very difficult to tell one from the other except for file size. Rendering, feel, drawing perceptions, micro-contrast, color ... all the words we try to use that our eye simply sees in an instant. BTW, my M glass optics are Summilux ASPH.
As a funny sort of comparison, my wife has always been able to look at a browser full of shots from various cameras I use, and pick out the Leica M shots ... it's uncanny actually. Interestingly, she cannot segregate the M9 and S2 shots.
That is ALL I ever really wanted, and the S2 delivers it. So, if you don't like the so called "Leica Look," or don't think there is such a thing, then maybe these lenses aren't for you.
I was waiting for you to chime in, Marc. Thanks!
Edited to add... much like the Sony A900 when it came out, it seemed to have taken a fair amount of time (at first) for folks to figure out how to process the S2 files to get the most out of what the glass was offering to the sensor. I though just about everything I saw of the S2 at first was very DSLR-like. I don't see that now with mature users. On sony, the zeiss 135/1.8 was one of those magical lenses that, once you got the processing down for the system (especially the mid tone response), delivered the goods every time... whereas the same (still great) lens from Canon (the 135/2) drew the scene completely differently.
I'd love to see more Mamiya LS lens examples that show some special-ness. one of these days, I may just pick up a 645 body again... not anytime soon though.
Last edited by Shelby Lewis; 2nd December 2011 at 18:55.
Without getting caught up in terminology I think we'd all agree that the glass is a major part of what can make an image special. Seems like it wasn't all that long ago that many of us were gathered on the alternative forum over at FM using Leica and Zeiss lenses on our Canon/Nikon bodies with adapters...so I know I'm not alone in my obsession with having the best glass. Having shot with most brands over the years I've come to favor Rollei, Zeiss and Leica glass. I'm sure many folks here remember Guy's well deserved love affair with the Zeiss 21mm 2.8 and there are many that sing the praises of the Zeiss/Hassy/Rollei 110 2.0 and the Zeiss 120 4.0. And the Hasselblad 250 and 350 Super Achromats and the Leica R 180 2.0 that Doug Herr does his magic with. I've owned and loved all of these lenses and as a consequence consider myself to be a "glass" guy. I pick my glass first and whichever system supports it is secondary. Last system was the Hy6 with the marvelous Rollei lenses (and problematic e75LV Sinar back). Now I've got the Leica S system with the full complement of available lenses and they are all among the finest I've ever owned. As a fringe benefit the S2 camera suits my shooting style and subject matter equally well. But there are equally experienced and better photographers than I who have chosen other systems...which is why a test drive is essential.
PS Sometimes I wonder if Leica's red dot was inspired by the matador's muleta (red cape/cloth).
Well the OP was about comparing the images.
Of course glass makes a difference, but it needs to make a difference in context.
I made the statement, simple as it was, that to compare them you must compare them.
Unfortunately I would have shot with both yesterday if I had both but I don't.
So far nobody has got to the OP's point other than Jack and Guy's description of the two; Apologies if I have missed anyone.
So how do we do a comparison in this case unless we can shoot S lenses on a Phamiya mount or LS lenses on a S2 mount without adding complexity to the comparison?
If you are willing to permit system to system comparison then someone please who has both at their disposal please put up the images. Or perhaps loan me an S2 for long enough to do some controlled comparisons.
Unless we actually do that we are just .
Isn't it fascinating that we can have 60+ posts on a dead horse. Supposition and speculation mixed with bias are potent forces.
Well I currently own and shoot with Hy6 and a bunch of Rollie lenses using both Sinar and Leaf backs on the system. I also own and shoot with an S2 and some lenses ( I wont mention the use of an adaptor to I use to expand the lens arsenal to include a bunch of Zeiss lenses ) I have owned and shot with various Phase backs and the Mamiya glass ( but no LS Mamiya glass ) I have also used Phase backs on a fairly comprehensive RZ system I own including every lens from 30mm fisheye to 210. No need to mention the H system I recently offloaded which included every HC lens Hasselblad made (except zooms).
I am not an engineer by training and the only labs I have ever consulted in where pharmaceutical companies and actuarial companies so I wont call myself a 'scientist' - I happen to have academic credentials in Mathematics - pure and applied at undergrad and postgrad levels ( yeah I can add) - and I long ago stopped giving a toss about credentials - because in hedge fund land all you have is risk to worry about - and how fat your balance sheet is or otherwise.
Bob is 'technically' correct in pointing to the issue of 'perception and memory' as confounding factors in any discussion regarding observed preferences. same arguments / discussions in audio land btw for same reasons.
What we are witnessing any any gentlemanly discussion also relates to the two types of scientist or empiricist operating in any field - as any graduate of a traditional School of Philosophy will understand - you are entering the world of instrumentalism versus operationalism.
In simple terms the instrumentalist doesn't care ( as much) for the discovery and application of theoretical ( empirically extrapolated and hypothesized or otherwise) truth, the good old instrumentalist cares about ( mainly) is what works.
The operationalist however is firstly and lastly concerned about the discovery of universal truth.
here is the rub - when dealing with perception - you have the embarrassing fact of problems of definition and measurement - so typical empirical ( observational ) based types of testing are fraught with error accordingly.
So as Bob as a scientist would know - referencing issues of perception to how an engineered system is designed to work isn't going to prove anything to anyone.
Me? I like the way certain glass draws and that why I have so much of it. In fact the whole notion of better / best / bestest is boring. Forced to choose ? I will stick to my Leica M glass. -
no such thing as a bad lens.
Problem is that if someone did that side-by-side it'd still be
Even IF I had both systems the OP wanted to discuss, I'm not familiar with the new Schneider lenses and working the files to final images in the latest version of C1 ... and same with a non-S2 user. To me, it would require someone that uses both systems frequently and could restrict comments in context to their own creative objectives and style of photography.
I did run a personal test between my Hasselblad H4D/40 and a loaner S2P for a week. Since I use a Leica M frequently, I used that as a base for a processing starting point, which was still flawed but at least a base to work from. The objective in the end was to see how I felt about the S2 and images in various scenarios I shoot in. The results of the over-all experience, ergonomics, speed of shooting, form-facor difference ... topped off by the incredible S lenses ... prompted my selling of the H4D/40 and upgrading my studio Hasselblad CF39/MS to a H4D/60.
In essence ... the S2 assumed the traditional role of a 645 and the H4D/60 that of a 6X7 (and modularly a 6X9 view camera) ... similar to the way I saw those roles before digital reached the level of IQ it now offers. 645 was supposed to be faster and less cumbersome compared to a 6X6 or 6X7 kit. The S2 restores that working relationship for me.
Much like Shelby has mentioned, my first early reactions to the S2 optics was a worry that the "character" wasn't there. That has long since gone away. The S "character" revealed itself once I lived with the S for a while. The result is a more natural, non-digital looking, pleasant character that is consistent across the lens line-up. When I bolt on any of the S lenses, I don't feel that it is one of the weaker siblings compared to the others.
In the end, the S2 form factor and shooting experience is different from all other MFD choices out there right now ... and suffice it to say that all of the S lenses most certainly will not disappoint ... not to mention that it is simply the most seductive, beautiful, silky smooth vixen of a photographic tool I've ever laid hands on
So, find the glove that fits, and wear it.
To be clear, I don't think any lines were crossed in this thread, but when a subject is so polarizing as Brand A vs. Brand B, I wish the vendors would stay out of it, or at least keep a low profile and offer to make their pitch offline.
that would be nice, but as Marc points out that would not end the discussion as folks would then have all sorts of preferences for A or B and those might drift depending on the subject.
I have seen just sort of thing in several double blind photo comparisons which is how many of the camera makers decide how to adjust their secret sauces.
If you want to talk lenses in general, I LOVE the Cooke PS945 and currently the Rodenstock 70mm HR-W. Those two lenses are very different and draw differently and are best with different subjects.
So as to answer the OP more directly, it comes down to "check it out for yourself" since the evaluative and subjective nature of the visual system all but requires that you do.
The problem is that one set of eyes describing how A looks and comparing that description to one made by a different set of eyes of a different subject is rendered by B produces not a very useful result.
So is "sharp" the same as "clinical" or "crunchy" is "smooth" the same as "low contrast"?
These often used words further illustrate the issue in that a lens is evaluated by the observer isn a way that may be described positively or negatively depending on his taste.
I do intend to try every lens made before I die LOL
THE most important factor when choosing a new camera is your think it is cool.
The second is that you can afford it, but that that can be optional. At least until your significant other finds out...
I tend to agree on the kool aid factor. I maybe the one person along with Jack that actually shot them side by side. You heard my comment and his. Take it for what it is worth. There still sits a review on it and the lenses did not change from then. The S glass looks very cron and that is how it draws, pretty dang simple and not remotely scientific. The LS glass draws between a cron and a lux is how I view it. The problem here and always has been is people keep thinking Phase is Mamiya which always had a bad vibe , tend to agree but if no one has not noticed recently Phase One has not made a Mamiya based glass in a long time. The last 4 or 5 Lenses announced or brought to market is Schneider and folks you can take my word on this that is all that will be made going forward. Mamiya factory is really just following whatever is being directed by Schneider so if your not talking LS glass than it is meaningless lets get that straight since that is the present and future.
Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.
While the S lenses have not changed, the firmware and processing attributes have been significantly improved, as has the user learning curve for this relatively new system ... which, IMO and user experience, made a difference in the end look and feel that is now possible to extract from the S2 lenses (i.e., end files formed by those lenses). If software made no difference, then a P1 file should look the same in C1 and LR, which it doesn't.
Leica has been very diligent in improving this camera both from an experiential aspect, and from an image IQ perspective.
I'm glad your description of being chron like was followed by "not being remotely scientific", my non-scientific take is that the S lenses draw like S lenses and have no real counterpart ... so it is a struggle to place them with-in previous experiences, and every attempt is subjective at best.
If forced to historically place the unique S optics, I'd say the 120/2.5 is more Lux like in terms of 3D feel, bokeh, focus fall-off and all those subjective terms we force fit to an image, mostly because it is really fast for a 120 MFD lens. There is no cron counterpart for the S-180 ... the R-180/2 produces a different look and feel. There is no 28 lux, the only fast Leica 28mm is a cron, and to say the S-35mm has a similar feel would be highly desirable IMO. So that leaves the 70/2.5 which I see as between a Lux and chron in feel ... as processed now in LR3.5, not 2 years ago.
I have the utmost respect for Schneider optics and think it was a fab move for Phase to go there. That is also an on-going improvement for users of Phase products ... and I suspect they also produce their own unique look and feel compared to anything else out there.
-Marc (not a vendor, nor do I even like Kool-aid
Thanks for providing some S lens feedback. Having come from shooting with M glass the 'cron or 'lux comparisons are helpful at least initially in getting some handle over the character of the glass. Looking at images on the web really doesn't help at all with that kind of assessment unless they're full raw images of the types of imagery that I shoot (which mostly, those I've seen are most certainly not).
I'm torn over whether to jump in further with the DF & LS investment with the up-coming newer 75-150LS / 240LS and/or 150LS to replace my current line up. I'm not unhappy with the glass, albeit not all Phase/Mamiya is born equal and there seems to be some sample variability even in the best glass. However, the camera is definitely in the category of 'blah' as far as I'm concerned. The alternative that I'm considering is to get out of that side of things, keep my IQ back for my technical camera and instead invest in the S system instead for the DSLR. I know from reading your posts that you've been through some similar decisions with your Hasselblad/Leica changes, albeit less of a complete shift from what I've seen.
(and to reiterate, yes I know that I need to rent/trial this stuff myself ... )
IMO, dump-moving from Hasselblad or Phase One is an exercise in futility ... Murphy's Law says the minute you do, one will leap-frog the other ... it's just a matter of time.
However, the S2 is somewhat different because Leica (wisely) went in a different direction with the form-factor of the S2. I've owned a Mamiya AFD-III camera with a Leaf back, and Hasselblad H ... and the user experience of the S2 is totally different from these more modular cameras. After living with the S2 that fact becomes crystal clear ... it promotes "take with" a lot more for me, so gets used in place of both a 35mm DSLR and a MFD kit in many applications.
One thing that hasn't been touch on much is the direction of the optical line-up. Leica seems to be focusing on producing the wider end of the focal length spread right now ... 35mm (28mm equivalent in 135), 30mm (24mm), and the next lens is supposed to be a 24mm (21mm). Another anticipated S lens is the planned 30-90/3.5 ASPH (24-70). There is also a lot of user demand for a fast aperture S-50mm (35mm FOV). I personally like this direction because I like shooting wider angle, and no one has such a wide selection of digitally optimized reflex lenses like this.
While Leica is quite famous for longer APO lenses, not much has been forthcoming about where the longer S lenses may be going beyond the 180mm ... initially, there was mention of a planned S-350/3.5 APO, but not much since then. So, your indication favoring longer Tele focal lengths like the LS240 may not be fulfilled fast enough for you. Of interest is Josh Lehrer's post on the Red Dot forum where they are adapting the Leica APO Telyt-modular R 400/4 to a S2 ... which evidently has a large enough image circle to cover the S2 sensor. Absolutely incredible results. IF I ever won the mega-lotto, I'd buy Doug of Wildlight Photo this set up as a contribution to the art of photography But I personally would have little use for such a long lens. I have a Hasselblad HC300mm with a 1.7X converter that I use maybe once a year, if even that.
No doubt that your IQ back is the very best choice for a tech field camera .... and the W/A selections for those cameras are second to none. My H4D/60 back will be my go-to unit for view camera work as soon as they start producing the battery solution for the 60 (soon, please!).
Hope this helps a bit,
so if the dough is not a consideration, why wouldn't one go with the S2?
it has the build and ergo quality, it has the lenses, quality and lineup, isn't it weather sealed?
is it just a matter of money?
I have to agree with Marc in the overall substance of his argument. I am an S2 owner. I have just two lenses so far, the 35mm and 120mm. In the past I owned a full Rollei system with both Schneider and Zeiss optics on a Hy6. I mostly shot film, but I also had a 22mp e54LV Sinar back for awhile. I shoot Hasselblad V with a 203FE, so I continue to own some of the best V system glass. The Mamiya 7II has taken some of my best photos, and I would say that performance wise, they are some of the best lenses available in medium format to this day. I have shot Nikon on 35mm, Canon FD, Olympus OM, a close to full kit of Leica R including the DMR, Leica rangefinders from the IIIb to the M9 with Leica, Canon, Konica and Zeiss lenses, 4x5 with Schneider lenses and probably a number of other things I am forgetting.
After trying all those, I can unequivocally state that the S 35mm and S 120mm are the best overall lenses I have used. Though I have not been in the S system for that long, the lenses continue to surprise me on just how amazing they are. It is not just resolution, it is how that resolution is maintained over the whole field even when wide open. It is how minor the distortion is for the focal length and how they often perform better at f/2.5 than other lenses at middle apertures. The character is neutral, in that they do not have aberrations that "add" to the photo like the Zeiss 110/2 does for a portrait or the Cooke lenses etc. They just render the scene the way it appears in person.
From a pure performance standard, the 120mm Leica decimates the 110/2. With both lenses at f/2.5, the Leica is sharper in every area of the image, with less vignetting, less color aberration and higher contrast. The corners and edges on the 110/2 are mush, while they are still quite sharp on the Leica. The 120mm is even sharper on center at f/2.5 than the Zeiss is at f/8. I say this as someone who absolutely loves the 110/2 and the way it renders. But from a performance evaluation, the Leica beats it handily. It certainly does not fail from the bokeh standpoint either -- the backgrounds still look lovely.
So what does this all mean? I am sure that Phase's new lenses are capable of performing extremely well, and offering comparable performance at their best apertures. I would not be surprised if the Leica still handily beat them, given how they have done so with so many other great lenses and systems, I have tried. But at the end of the day, the overall shooting experience is what matters. This is where you need to test and figure out what you really want out of a system. For me, I wanted a very high resolution camera that I could use mostly for landscape and portraiture on location. I live in Iceland and often have to use the camera in bad conditions (while I wait for the good ones!), so having the weather sealing is a huge plus for me. From there, I appreciate the handling characteristics. If I were a studio photographer, I would have given more consideration to the Phase and Hasselblad cameras (though maybe still have gone with Leica?). These are the things you need to figure out based on your own work.
But why not a picture, after all these words. Not the greatest picture, but a good demonstration of the S2 resolution. This was taken wide open with the 35mm at f/2.5. I was amazed at how the S2 was able to keep from blowing out the highlights on the crane (which was brightly lit by strong lights on the dock) and still get a clear shot of the aurora, which is quite dim in comparison. The resolution is just the icing on the cake...certainly more than would be expected from a very wide angle lens wide open on medium format, let alone f/2.5 (the fastest of any wide angle on medium format).
By the way, this photo was not heavily post-processed -- there was no masking or selective editing. There was some recovery and exposure changes in lightroom, and basic sharpening. The surreal look is more from the artificial lighting on the dock and the way we are not used to looking at night scenes as being bright...basically, the camera sees more than we do.
Well, in my own case the dough IS a consideration. I missed out on the trust fund lottery and so my 'habit' is funded by a good day job but it certainly isn't at CEO, Wall Street trader or surgeon level either. The piggy bank is definitely of a finite size.
No system change is ever without some cost so it's just a question of how much is worth bearing I think and whether it's worthwhile in the medium term (I won't be so naive as to say long term). Everything you mentioned about the S2 are precisely the reasons for considering it though.
Marc has a good point about the inevitable leap frogging of system capabilities. I've always felt comfortable with Leica which isn't really how I feel about Phase One/Mamiya right now. I like the backs, I like the glass overall but the camera leaves me cold and future replacement of the camera body is an unknown at this time in terms of capabilities, product release timeframes, and even then whether it'll be better than what we have today. I could just as easily go to a Hasselblad solution as an alternative actually although that just doesn't appeal to me as much as the full DSLR integration of the Leica today. This is all really fishing to see what appeals, or not - and staying the course with what I have is also a very viable choice too btw.
If money is really tight, I would look at the Pentax 645D. One of the most sophisticate MFD bodies available. Lenses are plentiful and inexpensive on the used market and many are really excellent--not S2 excellent, but really very good.
The 645D isn't a step forward IMHO. Sorry. The glass is everything and that's where I really don't see any advantages.
I think the merits of the different systems have been well expressed in this thread. In my experience those that have bought into the S2 system are thrilled with it and are convinced that they made the right choice. Speaking for myself (but I suspect it's true of many others) the S2 was love at first sight. After an hour of handling this camera I absolutely, positively knew it was the right one for me. The only reservations that I had related to non camera/lens issues. If sales did not meet expectations would Leica drop the S2 (like the R system) and leave me with another orphaned kit? Would the lens lineup be forthcoming in a reasonable time frame? Would Leica work diligently on firmware improvements...would Adobe push forward with better conversions in LR? Would those that bought into the S system change their minds and dump their cameras...driving prices down? It was a leap of faith when I bought into the S system but all of those questions have been resolved to my satisfaction. I think it's an easier decision to make now than it was a year ago with those variables off the table. But I would still urge any prospective buyer of the S system to make sure that the lenses he wants are available. Demand has outstripped supply for quite some time now. With regard to whether the kit is worth the cost...that's a very individual decision. I, for one, am less concerned with the cost of the gear than I am with how much I would lose if I sold it.
One final thought for the OP to consider. If, after taking a test drive with the S2, you are still on the fence about which way to go...stick with what you have.
The image pipeline seems a lot better sorted now than a year ago too - it would be interesting for Guy & Jack to revisit the S2 review if given the opportunity now that the raw conversion seems to be improved, from what I understand at least.
Stuart: Thanks for the write up. Very helpful also!
I guess this has morphed more into the "why S2" thread but that's interesting also (to me at least). As far as the glass is concerned, I'm just going to have to try it - it is important to me that it isn't simply optimized for portraiture, fashion etc as I want something for use primarily for travel/landscape shooting.
The S2 is a great camera. I really like the integrated body/sensor design in MFD. I have a Phase back, but it is rather clunky. I use a Pentax 645D for my travel/landscape/documentary work. I can imagine the S2, which is too rich for my blood, would be a great camera for that. Especially with the optics being so fast and very good wide open.
* with all due respect to everyone - the definition of what is good and what is bad and what is better or best - often moves to issues that are largely irrelevant to making a nice photograph.
I think Stuart's posted image of the yellow machine with Aurora in backgroundis interesting - Stuart says look how well highlihghts are held - my reaction?
Well I thought wow what a different image - never noticed the highlights or not- who knows a bit of blown highlight may have lifted the image? How important is it - versus the distortion in teh vertical of the container ? I mean really all this techno stuff is interesting - up to a point - then it is guys talking **** about their gear referencing techno stuff that has very littel to do with making a great shot.
Regarding technical faults with lenses- when does a fault become an effect that is used with purpose to produce a result?
it is all about the photographer.
No doubt the photographer is going to be the prime force in good imagery, but equipment is not insignificant. And the OP is trying to get a handle on how the particular equipment performs. Stewart is just putting in his experience. I also give him credit to try to illustrate what he is talking about. I am sure the OP is experienced enough to put the sample in, no pun intended, perspective.
Thanks for Shashin - that however I think you may have missed my point..
IF you were looking at that scene with your eyes and tilted your head back you would still see verticals as verticals - because you have this clever device called a brain that compensates for all sorts of oracular effects. SO frommy eye's' poitn of view the shot has certian 'distortions' - my eye cares very little about the limitations of optics and the way teh optic will work relative to a plane of focus - when itcomes to looking at a photograph- all I focus on is - the photograph.
The problem / challenge for any photographer concerned with thses issues for any particular shot - is to try and manage the limitations of physics by various forms of compensatory interventions - in basic terms - through the use of at the margin better optics , movement or otherwise.
However - there is no tick list of tools or approaches employed that will make a good photograph - any two competent photographers will in fact come away with any number of different shots from exactly the same scene. In fact most often the very limitaitons of a lens - will be employed by a photographer consciously to effect.
So that why I say there is no such thing as a bad lens.
Everyone says "of course" it is the photographer" - but really most don't understand what this means - is is far easier to talk techno babble than to make a decent shot.
S2 lenses are indeeed corected much better than many of their comparative peer lenses for this and that and the other thing - if you need the marginal differences then pay up for the marginal 'betterness'.
However these are all marginal differences and say nothing about the lenses in use - that is all about the photographer.
The elephant in the room is always the notion that the ( imaginary) ' best ' will make a difference - sometimes it may - mostly it makes none.
Keith - the problem with saying it is the photographer - is that there is little 'apparent' content in the statement.
We all know it is true - especially when referenced to a body of work. however this doesn't answer specifics (which may be of interest in any particular situaiton ) and everyone can have an opinion or reference an expert reviewer or a set of graphs - published by a manufacturer - or use personal language to attempt to describe how this lens is like that lens and not like the other lens..
for example: If someone wishes to use ALL the utility provided for by the form factor of the S2 camera - then the only choice one has is to purchase and use S2 lenses.
the combination of choices and compromises and utilities in making thee decisions is indeed quite voluminous and giventhe money involved a considerationthat any rational person shoudl take a long a hard study about..
However these choices are very different for experienced phtograhers liek yourself - you know what you like to shoot and how you liekto shoot it - and hav eeveloped your own experienced based decisions and solutions - for teh work you do.
So yes in your case it IS and always WAS - the photographer. To get to that state of grace however requires a lot of investment in time and money and thinking. - particularly thinking.
...Choosing between the Phase One 645DF with P40+ and 80mm Schneider LS lens, and the Leica S2 with 70mm lens is a case on "nano-pixel peeping". That's what we ended up calling it. Not "micro" pixel peeping, but "nano"pixel peeping. Yes, there were differences, but they were so small as to be inconsequential – not only barely visible on-screen at 100%, but even then subject to discussion. Image aspects examined included fringing, vignetting, blooming, moire, and other possible digital anomalies. Nothing untoward was found in either camera above the nano pixel-peeping level...
Thanks for starting this interesting thread.
I recall the when the Mamiya sales people kept trying to get me to trade my Contax 645 by showing me definitive proof with charts and such showing their lenses to be technically superior. But I never bought any of it because the Zeiss/Contax opiics were "creatively" in a league of their own with characteristics I wanted and the Mamiya's did not offer.
I was sold into the H system for two simple reasons, the AF was better and the 100/2.2 lens ... anything more than that was gravy.
The S2 is a weather proofed (i.e., spilled Coke proof, wedding cake icing proof, sloshed beer proof, blowing fine beach sand proof, sudden tropical downpour proof, etc. ... all of which has happened to me) ... it's no brainer camera to use with a battery that never seems to run out, and is super easy to take with compared to any MFD. It has a dual card parallel capture insurance against catastrophic card failure (I went 7 years without a card failure and it just happened to me, Rescue Pro Deluxe didn't work, and Rescue Pro tech service are baffled by it). Net is that I shoot more in more places because it promotes that. Are the lenses better? The point is none of them are worst ... and they are all fast aperture, optimized to be super-performers wide open ... just how I "creatively" shoot.
So, it doesn't make me a better photographer, it fits my creative approach in a number of ways, and doesn't limit any expansion I try to accomplish. It just makes it a bit easier for me to be a better photographer which is my job, not a camera's.
+1 on the camera system being a more deciding factor.
All too often I see folk becoming fixated on *gear* - gosh, I hate that term - at an early stage in their development and this stays with them for the rest of their lives. It becomes the raison d'etre for their interest. If this time, money, thinking and angst were channelled into their development as creative individuals and directly into their images they'd be all the better image makers for it.
Really, the differences between all of these remarkable cameras and the differences they can make to the final output are minimal at best and can be considered as the icing on the cake rather than any kind of panacea, or, God forbid, driving force.
Probably the biggest driving force behind all of this is "purpose"... what is your personal reason for making photographs?
Broadly speaking, there are those who appreciate finely made things, and gain joy from just making them function without feeling they have to be the next great photographer, or even caring whether they have what it takes to do that. In a way, for them squeezing every last bit of potential ability from the "gear" IS a "driving force" and what they actually creatively produce with it, while not totally inconsequential, is secondary. Or there are those who find the doing more rewarding than the result, and trek out into the wilderness at 4AM to record some of that experience and relationship to nature. The result is proof they did it, and what the result looks like is measured against their own feelings about their surroundings at the time.
The highly subjective area of talent is a real snake pit to try and discuss, so a lot of folks gravitate to talking about the tech aspects, even to the degree of nano detail. Or people gravitate to the like minded, and laud the efforts of others as measured against their own participation in the same type of shooting. The result need not be original, just well done ... even flowers, puppies and the lane where they live are often the subject matter. They strive for beauty and mastery of the equipment, not some afore thought purposeful statement.
The other aspect of "purpose" is having a creative intent ... like an artist's intent that's common in fine art. Steve McCurry not only has native talent and acquired skill, he has purpose when shooting for NatGo ... ranging all the way to those like Cindy Sherman who uses photography with a social purpose in-mind going in ... like challenging cultural stereotypes, or addressing social concerns. For some talented individuals, photography becomes an extension of their personality and personal spin on society ... like the ironic, even absurd candids of everyday life from Elliot Erwitt ... or the personally infected dark side of humanity from Ralph Eugene Meatyard or Diane Arbus.
In other areas like advertising photography, fashion, industrial work, or even portrait and wedding photography, the purpose is provided, and the challenge is to approach the stated purpose with a fresh view or take on the imagery ... which defines the level of creative talent of each individual photographer. Only once in a blue moon do these works transcend their stated purpose to become iconic imagery that extends beyond their original purpose ... like Andy Warhol's artistic exploitation of advertising and celebrity imagery that took him from ad layout guy, to an internationally recognized artist.
So, IMO, it is NOT cut and dry ... and things like how the Phase One IQ backs work and are powered become MAJOR factors in selecting equipment for certain applications, where for others it is far less meaningful and something like the S2 fits their purpose far more meaningfully.
Also, the choices of types of equipment that aid in forming one's vision can be instrumental. I still contend that a rangefinder is more focused on content because of it's form than are other choices, and for people like Shelby Lewis, who decided to slow down and get more deliberate, a big ol' RZPro-II became his choice of photographic weapon at this stage of his trek.
I think most people can identify what they are about photographically ... it's usually associated with other work they like or want to emulate and/or exceed ... be it the physical mastery, experiential camaraderie, just get a job done well, or to set the world on fire with their creativity.
Very very well said, Marc!
I agree - very astute observations. I'm sure that we all fit into those categories somewhere, or at least I know that I do!
Last edited by GrahamWelland; 5th December 2011 at 13:51.
Yes a great expansion on the idea of purpose and motivation by Marc ! - which underlines the importance of knowing what each person's perspective(s) is/are when reading threads like this.
Marc, outstanding analysis. Always a pleasure to read your posts.
Resurrecting an older thread here, but this more recent article might be of interest:
Leica S2 against megapixel arms race: Digital Photography Review
Having said that, I do question its usefulness because much of it is fundamentally flawed.