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Thread: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I think Guy is right in that the system is new, so give it a break. Nothing I've ever experienced as a new system was 100% there right out of the gate. Which is why after-sales support and firmware updates are such a critical component of this offering from Leica ... who's track record doesn't inspire confidence ... and the high price of extended warranties is a choke point. IMO, Leica would have been wise to include better base coverage.

    So, I would not dismiss the S2 IQ so quickly. As I work on the files I shot some weeks ago, I am discovering they are better than my first impressions. As Guy and Jack said, post is such a critical part of the mix ... it is as much an unknown as some of the other gear related teething pains. As I work out different approaches to post, that "unknown" is resolving itself. I'm processing images shot in the same place as M9 shots, so I used the M9 files as a guide which helped a lot in determining some settings in LR3. In essence I've managed to get them to look pretty similar ... except the resolution of the S2 is obviously higher.

    Frankly, harping on meg count compared to recent advancements in MFD, is all relative. These are huge files with loads of detail and a fair amount of elasticity in post. For some it is more than enough, and more is overkill. Depends on applications.

    I still see this camera as an add-on, not a replacement for a modular use MFD. If I were a landscape shooter with a ALPA or other tech camera, I doubt I'd be interested. But it does have its appeal for other types of work.

    -Marc

    Thanks Marc let me add on here a little. I think we lost track a little on realizing what this sensor is. It's the smallest one in MF being 8 percent smaller than my P40 and a couple MPX smaller although this does mean very little per say but still smaller. I agree this cam needs better post software for sure and I'm going to say this with my flame suit on . No one optimizes files better than C1. Just go take your M9 , DMR, Canon files in it and you will see for yourself. I have been using it for along time. Secondly the easiest lenses to make the best designs are the normals and longer lenses, so right there most lens companies will produce excellent copies in these focal lengths. The 180 is damn nice guys and girls, more impressed by that than the 70mm . Anyway it will come down to design of wide angles which are harder to design out of the gate. That is something we will have to see. Now not trying to defend it but I will defend that it is new and needs to age. Seriously we as humans where not perfect at birth either. Many check mark items will be or attempted to be fixed. Firmware can do a lot and with more work on it can attack noise which I still think this has room for improvement even with a CCD. Last night I shot sensor plus at 800 and damn the files are clean.

    Raw processing will certainly improve and sharpening algorithms need that optimization on it . So I think this really has a chance and BTW I can hand hold this bad boy pretty good as well as my Phase for sure. Yes I shoot at 1/30 a lot sometimes. But that is a lot of years of holding cams too. The problem the S2 is it IS stuck between 35mm and MF and does not excel either way on certain items on one side or the other. I think acceptance is maybe the key as being different. Obviously being different has it's negative bias as well and let's be honest the price tag hurts. I say we revisit this again in a month or two and see if Leica ages it some. Frankly I would not mind having it for a 6 month period just to see how it grows.

    Also at the outset of this review we said hold onto the files and revisit them when software catches up. I think that is a prudent idea to see where Leica takes this. At this point it is up to them for success or not and how fast and accurate they make those adjustments. The s2 has made it's rounds with the Pro's and got the feed back , now go back to the factory and TELL the engineers what WE want out of it , not what they want. Sorry but they need to understand we have to sleep with this thing. It's not a toy you play with occasionally. This is a tool that has to make sense in our hands. I mean that in the most respectful way but they built a Pro tool make it perform at that level or exceed it. It is not just about the glass anymore this is digital and a whole bunch of bed bugs that go with it. I hope everyone understands my driving points here.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    I think I might have quoted you out of context Thomas and if I did I apologize for that.
    no trouble at all.

    When David Farkas, Roger and I were testing the S2 in South Beach David got some exceptionally sharp handheld shots of some girls playing volleyball (they are on his blog). I honestly don't think I could have done the same with my Hy6/e75LV kit. I doubt that many shooters would reach for an MF kit to shoot volleyball but the fact that S2 did so well at it impressed me.
    yes, maybe here the form factor is helpful. Other than that I think you could get the same results with other MF cameras as well... as David focussed manually and the shutter speeds were very fast.

    Anyway... I don't say there is no justification for the S2. I am only finding that the promised "revolution" fails. It is what it is: a version 1.0 of a new system. And as almost always there is still a lot to improve.
    That's okay. Sole problem here is the price. For this price you should expect the killer camera with killer features that is superiror to the competition in almost all respects. But this is not the case.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    @ Guy

    I agree with what you say about maturing and that today's digital camera products are a combination of optics, SW, FW and mechanics. No longer just the miles advantage of great lenses, all comes and plays together today and finally the picture falling out of the workflow counts.

    With Hasselblad I have always all lens corrections turned on - can turn them off if I like in Phocus, but makes little sense. So as soon as I produce a TIFF or JPEG for further processing or final print, I already get the best quality I can get from this system. I actually do not care if it is done in camera or in post processing - end of the day the final result is what counts and one should be able to achieve this fast and without any troubles.

    So great if there are lenses (S System) which are better from the start, but I could not care less if corrections (I mean meaningful corrections) are done in post processing.

    So yes it is a combination where all these pieces play together and deliver the final concert and fidelity.

    Unfortunately I really do not believe that Leica is only close to post processing compared to Phase or also to Hasselblad. I think this will be the biggest hurdle they have to overcome in order to satisfy the demanding high end market - be it Pro or be it passionate photographer.

    And one remark finally - I can easily hold my H3D with all kind of glass from the H system for long time without getting tired. And I am kind of proud to manage also longer exposures handheld with that system, because it fits ergonomically right into my hands.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Great thread and thanks for the work you two fellas put in!

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    If Leica releases some wides which are stronger wide open and in the corners than the competition, and if they can add at least exposure compensation to the viewfinder and bring the tethering speed up to snuff, then they still have a compelling system on their hands.
    you have the Contax Zeiss 3.5/35. This lens is stunning and it is very sharp at the edges even on a MF crop 1.1 sensor. Very hard to beat... other than the distortion. I've once talked to a former Zeiss employer about the distortion of the 35mm and he said it would have been possible to design it without (or almost without) distortion... but at about three times the price. I honestly don't want to know the price of a respective S2 lens... it must be extraordinary expensive.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    They already released the pricing for the S system lenses...it may change of course, but they should remain relatively consistent to each other. The 35mm f/2.5 was priced at 5295, compared to 4495 for the 70, and 6495 for the 180. Fact is that they are all priced extremely highly, but the 35mm is no more expensive than the others. I would be willing to bet, however, that it will be extremely good.

    As Marc and others said, it is one thing to do a good standard and tele lens, but another to get the wides, zooms and long teles right. Leica does have an established record of doing this extremely well. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. In particular, it will be interesting to see what the 30-90mm zoom lens is like. If it is anything like the 28-90mm ASPH and 35-70 f/2.8, it will bring a different level of zooms to medium format. It is a constant f/3.5, which is quite fast for medium format (only 2/3rds of a stop slower than the rest of the lenses), and it gives you an equivalent 24-70 or so. If it performs like the best R zooms, it seems like it would be a better bet than buying the 28, 35 and 70mm lenses since they do not have a large speed or size advantage. Combine that with the 120 or 180, and you have a two lens kit that can cover most everything.

    By the way, has anyone measured the image circle of the S lenses? It should be very easy if you have access to a lens. Just take the lens off and put a sheet of white paper behind it and move it until it is in focus. That should at least give a rough idea of how much image circle there is.
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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    -snip-
    Seriously we as humans where not perfect at birth either.
    According to my mother, we all were, but then within moments started rapidly and inexorably going down hill.
    -bob

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    I would be willing to bet, however, that it will be extremely good.
    from now on I would be careful to bet. Didn't we all expect the S2 lenses would be extremely good? Maybe they are... but so the Phase/Mamiya lenses are... obviously.
    On the other hand I agree with Guy and Marc regarding processing. I've recently tried Lightroom 3 Beta. DLSR files from a D3x and a 5D with standard lenses were as good in LR3 (i.e. showed as much details) as in C1 (5.0)... literally no difference anymore from LR to C1 here. But files from digibacks as well as from an M8 were significantly better (i.e. showed more details and finer transitions) in C1.
    So... if there is something in the files C1 will extract it better than LR. It's not a world of a difference but it is clearly visible. At least that's my conclusion from my personal "testing" (as always with lum NR and sharpening set to zero in both softwares and compared based on the processed TIFs in Photoshop, not on the 100% preview in the RAW software).
    Too - this is of course not a proof but a kind of indication - I use Focal Blade for sharpening and it has quite a sophisticated auto algorithm analyzing the perfect radius for sharpening (mostly you can rely on it). Files processed through LR always need a higher sharpening radius in Focal Blade as the same files processed through C1.
    Bottom line: with a decent RAW processor the S2 files may look very different.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    [QUOTE=Stuart Richardson;165823]They already released the pricing for the S system lenses...it may change of course, but they should remain relatively consistent to each other. The 35mm f/2.5 was priced at 5295, compared to 4495 for the 70, and 6495 for the 180. Fact is that they are all priced extremely highly, but the 35mm is no more expensive than the others. I would be willing to bet, however, that it will be extremely good.

    Stuart,

    Please keep in mind that the 35mm Contax is a 22mm equivalent, and is in the ultra-wide category. The 35mm Leica will be a 28mm equivalent and so a "standard" wide angle. Big difference in design complexity, and, probably, price (the Zeiss 35 was significantly more expensive that the Zeiss 45 which was the 28 equiv). Do we know what the Leica 24mm price will be? That will be the comparison point to the Contax 35.

    I find my Contax 35 big, heavy and superbly sharp, with almost eerie flare control. I also find distortion to be well controlled for such an ultra-wide lens. Once again, there might be incremental improvements in the Leica's performance but remember they are limited by retrofocus design and so the wide angle quality of the "M" lenses is not a predictor. The Leica "R" wides were not significantly better than Contax 35mm equivalents. I predict that there will be some incremental improvements over the Contax 35 (Leica also is designing to a smaller image circle making things easier), but only incremental and not an end-all reason to have the Leica. I also expect the differences to be even less at f11 which, after, is a standard working aperture for that lens in a landscape context.

    By the way, I have had my Contax 35 for ten years and thousands of shots. Will have it for the next three years and more thousands of shots. When would I have the Leica??

    I appreciate Guy's comment that the Leica system needs to "grow." That is fine for someone who is not a variety shooter with a fully realized system. From seeing his work, I am sure that Guy would not sacrifice his full system for a Leica at this point (oops--he has said so!). I would not sacrifice my fully realized system to wait. Nor would I "add" the Leica because, really, what is the extra benefit. It won't give me something I don't already have.

    I use 35mm to do what MF cannot--fast AF, wildlife, action, high frame rates, high ISO low light, lighter weight, zooms, image stabilization and, now, video.

    By the way, in my prior comment I forgot to give my deepest thanks to Guy and Jack for their superior review and the intense effort that went into it. That they can do this and have day jobs as well just amazes me. Not to mention that Guy's name rocks!

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Right on brother Guy!!!
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Looking around file S2 0294 is wide open and handheld but this is a quickie and not sure I am totally square if anything maybe me off on the right side. I jumped out of the car. LOL

    Looking for handheld slower than 1/90 which there are some of those. Looking, no nothing under 1/90 handheld on the S2 sorry
    Guy, I'm sorry... obviosuly I've overlooked this post.
    Well, no, it's not quite a proof of the S2's capabilities regarding sharpness wide open ... as you already suggested yourself.
    It would have been interessting to shoot the S2 on tripod without MLU to figure out at which shutter speed the slightest mirror shake is introduced. This is the physcial limit... either way how well someone shoots hand hold (and it's quite independent of the focal length as well).
    But that's not a complaint :-) ... you guys did an extensive test of great value and it's simply impossible to check everything.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Yes Thomas this was one test we actually forgot to do. I was thinking about what else we could do and this was a good one for sure. I hate wall tests but we should have done it. Again I blame myself for not asking for this cam a little longer and NOt writing down what test we should do but I'm not good at writing instructions to myself either. Bigger question . What the hell is a to do list?


    BTW folks if we have not said it , we really appreciate your comments very much and your support. We thought this is the kind of work this cam deserved and a real down home working test we should do. More important is downright honest and forthright comments from us without bias. I love my Phase system don't get me wrong but it ain't perfect either and when we test something we put that stuff aside. No one gains anything if not honest comments, so all your opinions count and becomes extremely useful information to the outside world. That is what we are about and this forum as well . It's is a learning and sharing place to exchange idea's and grow in our photography no matter what level of experience you may have.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    What the hell is a to do list?
    a what?

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Two areas which don t seem to be getting much discussion and yet would appear to be strong points of the S2.

    1. ACTION....I was with David Farkes and David Kipper when they went to South Beach and created the volleyball collection. You can see this on David Farkes blog. The S2 is a superb camera for this type assignment. The handling and ability to blend AF and MF is precisely the way to shoot this with a large sensor. You would have to be exceptionally skilled to match what David produced with any other MF system.

    There is a hugh difference between trying to get the "one picture" that defines the sporting event and creating a series of sporting photographs. No question if you want to get the wining touchdown ..you shoot maximum frames per second. But much of sports or action photography could be taken with a S2.

    2. WEATHER PROOFING.. This is a more difficult thing to test ..but it doesn t mean its not a factor. I watched (an unnamed individual) pour a glass of water over an S2 and then pool the water on the front element of the lens. Tilt the lens down and the water sheets off without a drop.

    I can only speak from my own requirements and experience ...but right off the top of my head I could list out a dozen professional assignments where the S2 would be perfect ..and no other MF would be competitive.

    1. Going with the LULS group to the South Pole..or any Nat Geo assignment to extreme conditions.

    2. Shooting the winter olympics in Feb.

    3. Doing the Sports Illustrated Swim suit edition.

    If you took the S2 to the Miami chapter of the ASMP ...I think you might get a different set of criteria to judge the MF alternatives and a different outcome.

    Just trying to get some air time for the two areas where the S2 is clearly different and I think better.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Roger I can do any of that with a current MF system, not sure where you really see an advantage except the weather sealing. I know for a fact the Phase can do extreme cold and I live in extreme heat. Not sure why I could not do a swimsuit edition when some of this is already being done or was done with a Hassy. All it is is a form factor and people underestimate greatly a Hassy or Phase camera as being some slow boat to China, FAR FROM IT. I do all kinds of stuff a MF is NOT supposed to do
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Two areas which don t seem to be getting much discussion and yet would appear to be strong points of the S2.
    in part you are certainly right.
    Two questions though:
    - What is special about the ability to blend AF and MF (maybe I missed something)?
    - Who would seriously consider such a camera over a D3(x) or 1D(s)III for action or an sports event? It's way to slow IMO.

    2. Shooting the winter olympics in Feb.
    but only in sunlight until early afternoon...

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Two areas which don t seem to be getting much discussion and yet would appear to be strong points of the S2.

    1. ACTION....I was with David Farkes and David Kipper when they went to South Beach and created the volleyball collection. You can see this on David Farkes blog. The S2 is a superb camera for this type assignment. The handling and ability to blend AF and MF is precisely the way to shoot this with a large sensor. You would have to be exceptionally skilled to match what David produced with any other MF system.

    There is a hugh difference between trying to get the "one picture" that defines the sporting event and creating a series of sporting photographs. No question if you want to get the wining touchdown ..you shoot maximum frames per second. But much of sports or action photography could be taken with a S2.
    Roger, I respectfully disagree. I shoot moving models all the time, and while not volleyball action it is action, and frankly I got a higher portion of keepers with my Phase camera than I did the S2 -- but I chalk this up only to familiarity with my system, not any deficiency with the S2. And bottom line is for real fast action, none of the MF cameras can compete with my Canons or your Nikons.
    ~~~

    2. WEATHER PROOFING.. This is a more difficult thing to test ..but it doesn t mean its not a factor. I watched (an unnamed individual) pour a glass of water over an S2 and then pool the water on the front element of the lens. Tilt the lens down and the water sheets off without a drop.

    I can only speak from my own requirements and experience ...but right off the top of my head I could list out a dozen professional assignments where the S2 would be perfect ..and no other MF would be competitive.

    1. Going with the LULS group to the South Pole..or any Nat Geo assignment to extreme conditions.

    2. Shooting the winter olympics in Feb.

    3. Doing the Sports Illustrated Swim suit edition.

    If you took the S2 to the Miami chapter of the ASMP ...I think you might get a different set of criteria to judge the MF alternatives and a different outcome.

    Just trying to get some air time for the two areas where the S2 is clearly different and I think better.
    Well, I've seen pictures of a Jeep parked on top of 4 Phase backs and a couple of them frozen in water -- Seriously. And I've shot in rain and snow with my Phase kit with nothing running afoul... MR took a couple dozen folks to Antarctica where they ran into inclimate weather and none of the MF systems failed where several of the non-pro DSLR's did fail. So while the S2 is better here than other MF systems, I'm not sure how significant that is for the majority of potential users in real-world use.
    Jack
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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by guyharrisonphoto View Post
    Some of my additional thoughts, very opportune right now with these exchanges.
    I loved the S2 handling. When I held and shot with it, my first thought was “this is how a great camera feels.” It was the same feeling I had when I got my Contax 645 for the first time over ten years ago.

    However, the notion of switching systems? No way! Cannot possibly be justified by any rational person.

    I am a nature/landscape shooter primarily, so, for those like me, just consider the following with regard to the Leica:

    No wide angle lens selection except for a 28mm equivalent, (not even out yet, promised for January) and no more coming for maybe a year, maybe two. No 1/1 lifesize macro. Leica has a good wide selection planned (a 20.5 mm equivalent, 24mm equiv. t/s, a 24-72 equiv wide zoom), but no promises or even hints at when these will come and nothing extraordinary that other systems do not already offer.

    Right now, today, I have a ten-lens Contax system (including the teleconverter) that cover 35mm equivalent focal lengths of 22mm to 300mm including a wide zoom (28-56 equiv) that covers by far the most used landscape ranges. I have a 1/1 lifesize maco. I have image circles that cover 65 mp backs and 40 mp backs that do one hour exposures. There is no way, ever, that the Leica system will equal let alone exceed what this system is capable of in terms of image quality and creativity. Why would I switch?

    If I sold everything, today, I would have to take the proceeds (assuming I got $10 K) and add an additional $25K just to have a body and two lenses. Or, right now, today, I can get a p45+ for $15-17K and keep my ten lenses with equal image quality and long exposures to boot. With the Leica forget star trail shots or long foggy cloud or water exposures. If I am a real money fool I can put $35K into a p65+ with my ten lenses and get resolution the Leica will never match. In either case, I have a full lens line-up to produce tens of thousands of varied images over the next couple of years before the Leica even catches up. Is there any rational reason to do otherwise?

    By the way, the cost of these forthcoming lens wonders? The mind boggles. The system will pretty easily top $70K (yes, $70K) when it is all done. How many world tours, safaris, expeditions, workshops, etc can you do to inspire your creativity, expand your portfolio, and enhance your artistic growth for that much money? Gear can never replace experience and inspiration.

    No technical camera support for precise stitching, the S/R ultra wides, etc (and now, with the Hartblei, even the Canon 24 t/s giving a 16mm equivalent with shifts and tilts!!).

    Also, no real gains in weight or compactness. What the body gives the lenses take away—they are very heavy and bulky. The 180 needed a tripod collar and did not have one. Backpackers get no break, here. Most backpackers carry 35mm like I do. You can tough it out with your existing MF system, the Leica will be no better.

    Lens quality distinctly superior to existing systems? Doesn’t seem so. The Phamiya lenses stood up very well. The Contax/Hassy Zeiss lenses maybe even more so. Just add backs to those systems and off you go.

    I must disagree with Jack’s comment that the Leica is really in the “DSLR” camp. It is not. Its size, weight, slow shooting, primitive one-point AF, low ISO, lack of live view, comparative lack of lens variety, less than state of the art LCD display and awkward menu and image review place it squarely in the “Medium format” camp. It will never be a 35mm replacement. Leica has some sort of partnership with Panasonic, so why not a joystick control with a press to access a quick menu? Also to scroll around the image on playback, which is crucial due to no live view. The button-pushing set-up for scrolling around the image is awkward in the extreme. Yes, this is a big deal. These would not have been complicated things to fix.

    Although I did love the handling, I cannot honestly say it was better than my Contax, with its crisp shutter dial, intuitive aperture ring, and one-button instant mirror lock. The Leica will not even show you exposure compensation in the finder. That is RIDICULOUS! No one will be a better photographer or create better images because of the Leica's handling. Like all MF, this camera requires either a tripod or high-speed studio flash to get the maximum quality. In fact, that is one more disadvantage for nature shooters. No waist level finder, or right angle finder, for low-level macro or landscape work.

    I must join the ranks of those who think Leica hit one out of the park, but it is a foul ball.
    very accurate analysis, i could not agree more. if it was not a leica we probably wouldn't even be talking about it anymore. in short: no advantage over existing MF systems (slightly worse IQ than Phmamiya, no flexibility...) and not even a DSLR replacement. totally stillborn.
    peter

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by markowich View Post
    if it was not a leica we probably wouldn't even be talking about it anymore.
    true. We would if it would be Pentax and the thing would be available for 10K incl. a 80mm.
    The real problem here is the very high price and the very high expectations.

    in short: no advantage over existing MF systems (slightly worse IQ than Phmamiya, no flexibility...) and not even a DSLR replacement.
    seems so, yes. and incredibly slow.

    totally stillborn
    they should delay shipping (honestly, why not?) incorporate the missing finder features, code smaller RAW files and they should hire that RAW Developper guy (for at least 4 annual salaries of Mr. Kaufmann) to make RAW Developper the capture and processing software of the S2; they should skip the ****ty Adobe stuff.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Roger I can do any of that with a current MF system, not sure where you really see an advantage except the weather sealing. I know for a fact the Phase can do extreme cold and I live in extreme heat. Not sure why I could not do a swimsuit edition when some of this is already being done or was done with a Hassy. All it is is a form factor and people underestimate greatly a Hassy or Phase camera as being some slow boat to China, FAR FROM IT. I do all kinds of stuff a MF is NOT supposed to do
    Guy

    I can shoot sports with an M8/M9 and 135apo...but that doesn t make it the best equipment for the job. I used to shoot tennis with a 500CM . Making a system do something its not designed to do shouldn t be a factor in a system test. Certainly the majority of the MF users represented on this forum are not looking to do much action photography(or prefer to use a DSLR) ...so this may not be all that important. But since I do shoot a lot of sports ..I know what to look for just as the many fine landscape and studio photographers know their needs.

    The S2 has a far better form for shooting sports than the other systems. I shoot sports on a regular basis ..surfing,kiteboarding,baseball,golf,tennis etc. I know exactly whats required to do this at the professional level . While the S2 won t match the D3 for handling...the D3 won t match the S2 for IQ. I don t know the Phase but I could do some sports with the Hasselblad but the S2 would have a significant advantage based on its form and handling. There are many more situations where I would push the MF system over a DSLR if I had the form and handling of the S2.

    Its weather sealing we are talking about ...not heat and cold. Completely understandable that you couldn t test this..but come on the S2 is sealed like a professional Nikon or Canon body and the other MF systems are not. They have removable backs. The example of the swim suit issue was for weather sealing ..not handling ..the models are posing right? So yes you can shoot this with a non weather sealed body but "advantage S2" for weather sealing. The example of the NG or LULS trips was based on the issues with DSLR failing due to weather and the restricted usage of the MF systems (understandable in extreme conditions).

    AF/MF.....the Leica S lenses handle exceptionally well in a combination of AF with MF over ride. Now you can certainly do this with most systems but the manual focus on the Leica lenses has the smooth precision necessary to make small fine adjustments. The technique is to use AF to get close but then use MF to make the fine adjustments. There are also many situations where your best shot at nailing the exact focus point is to anticipate it ..which requires MF. David worked on this with the VolleyBall shots and was nailing a very high percentage. I can add more detail on this if anyone is interested but the point is the S2 is quite effective when used to shoot action.

    I just watched the LL video #19 where they went to Namibia for Landscape photography. Early in the video MR s Hassleblad lens falls apart in his hands and he is forced to revert to his Canon Pro DSLR for the rest of the trip. This isn t a slam on HB..it looked like a very rough trip . But it came to mind that my high priority for this type of trip might be the weather sealing,durability of the system.

    Based on everything I have seen Leica has made this a real priority. You can choose to take the position that only time will tell but you can see real evidence of the weather seals etc . Seeing the water test was pretty impressive even if its showmanship .

    Guy I am making no comments about the other systems being clunkers.. Most of us would admit that its not the equipment thats holding us back in our photography. If all the systems have similar IQ and its generally acknowledged to be exceptional...then the factors that prioritize one MF system over another may well come from the design chosen,availability,cost . And in the end ...it maybe I just like the S2 best .

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Guy

    I can shoot sports with an M8/M9 and 135apo...but that doesn t make it the best equipment for the job. I used to shoot tennis with a 500CM . Making a system do something its not designed to do shouldn t be a factor in a system test. Certainly the majority of the MF users represented on this forum are not looking to do much action photography(or prefer to use a DSLR) ...so this may not be all that important. But since I do shoot a lot of sports ..I know what to look for just as the many fine landscape and studio photographers know their needs.

    The S2 has a far better form for shooting sports than the other systems. I shoot sports on a regular basis ..surfing,kiteboarding,baseball,golf,tennis etc. I know exactly whats required to do this at the professional level . While the S2 won t match the D3 for handling...the D3 won t match the S2 for IQ. I don t know the Phase but I could do some sports with the Hasselblad but the S2 would have a significant advantage based on its form and handling. There are many more situations where I would push the MF system over a DSLR if I had the form and handling of the S2.

    Its weather sealing we are talking about ...not heat and cold. Completely understandable that you couldn t test this..but come on the S2 is sealed like a professional Nikon or Canon body and the other MF systems are not. They have removable backs. The example of the swim suit issue was for weather sealing ..not handling ..the models are posing right? So yes you can shoot this with a non weather sealed body but "advantage S2" for weather sealing. The example of the NG or LULS trips was based on the issues with DSLR failing due to weather and the restricted usage of the MF systems (understandable in extreme conditions).

    AF/MF.....the Leica S lenses handle exceptionally well in a combination of AF with MF over ride. Now you can certainly do this with most systems but the manual focus on the Leica lenses has the smooth precision necessary to make small fine adjustments. The technique is to use AF to get close but then use MF to make the fine adjustments. There are also many situations where your best shot at nailing the exact focus point is to anticipate it ..which requires MF. David worked on this with the VolleyBall shots and was nailing a very high percentage. I can add more detail on this if anyone is interested but the point is the S2 is quite effective when used to shoot action.

    I just watched the LL video #19 where they went to Namibia for Landscape photography. Early in the video MR s Hassleblad lens falls apart in his hands and he is forced to revert to his Canon Pro DSLR for the rest of the trip. This isn t a slam on HB..it looked like a very rough trip . But it came to mind that my high priority for this type of trip might be the weather sealing,durability of the system.

    Based on everything I have seen Leica has made this a real priority. You can choose to take the position that only time will tell but you can see real evidence of the weather seals etc . Seeing the water test was pretty impressive even if its showmanship .

    Guy I am making no comments about the other systems being clunkers.. Most of us would admit that its not the equipment thats holding us back in our photography. If all the systems have similar IQ and its generally acknowledged to be exceptional...then the factors that prioritize one MF system over another may well come from the design chosen,availability,cost . And in the end ...it maybe I just like the S2 best .
    the hasselblad zoom that fell apart on reichmann's trip had a well documented problem with the front element, which has been sorted long ago
    by hasselblad. i do trust hasselblad quality control more than leica's (just personal experience).
    i have shot my H3DII50 in patagonia under heavy rain....no problem.
    if leica based the design of the S2 solely on the premise of weather sealing, they made another serious mistake.
    on a different note, i doubt that more than 0.0000000001% of all sports shooters need more than D3s quality.
    peter

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    So the S2 is better than the Mamiya/Phase One camera at shooting sporting events. That's nice. Do you think that's going to be a big selling point for the camera?

    What is the end use for these high IQ sports files? I.e., the end use for which a pro DSLR isn't sufficient.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Thanks Guy! Those are all really useful points. I am radically undecided and quite tempted actually to get the S2 and run it in parallel for a few weeks and then decide which system to keep. The features of the Phase system that I theoretically really like and the S2 can't do are the ability to upgrade to a larger sensor and the ability to use a tech cam. In truth though I have and like a Cambo setup, I use it less for its stitching abilities than for its greater stability at lower shutter speeds. I actively dislike having to use LCC voodoo.

    With the S2 (compared to P45+) I'd gain better high ISO, far better (to me) ergonomics, weather sealing and a system with far fewer 'bits' to keep track of. I would lose sensor upgradeability and tech cam use BUT the better stability of the S2 I suspect will partly make up for that. SO for my use, the only loss on the tech cam side would be the stitching, which I rarely use, and the possible addition of tilts via the new cambo plates - and I have only rare use for either of these.

    Look on the bright side everyone: I might soon be selling an immaculate P45+ with a spanking new AFD body, some really nice glass including a 28D and a rare, good Hartblei super rotator, a Cambo RS1000 with Schneider 35XL and bits and pieces, a large, cheap and aggressive Metz 45 with all the adaptors, etc etc etc!

    This is really no easy choice. Really...
    do yourself a favour and get a P65+ ----)))
    peter

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    I keep hearing folks say the S2 costs too much. While I agree it is very expensive, I haven't seen the S2 plus 70 Summarit price ($22,995 + $4,495 = $27,490) directly compare to the price of Phase One P40+ with the new DF body and 80D lens. I haven't seen the latest Phase One prices to make the comparison myself.

    It would be great if someone from Capture Integration could post a price comparison since they are a dealer for both systems. I would really like to see a straight up price comparison for some one like me who is contemplating a move into DMF (e. g., no trade in).

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Bob: Your mother is very insightful, and correct.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    I have not used a 35mm in 2 years since shooting MF and no desire too either and no need to rent one either. If your a serious sports shooter the s2 is no better than anything else in MF sorry i do not buy the form factor for a second, the lenses are slow to focus manually because of the weather sealing and there very big, there is a negative effect to weather sealing as well any opening you have to deal with rubber gaskets and switching lenses and focusing is all slowed down. I will give it credit for a fast AF though and good shooting speed. I honestly see no advantage to the S2 shooting fast at all in the handling dept. except the shooting speed itself. One thing I did not mention with a 3:2 aspect ratio in portrait mode and using AF lock than switch the composition to fit it is a longer throw from say someones eyes than to recompose than a 4:3 which the center point is much closer to the shooting area. Hard to explain but it screwed me on recomposing a lot with focusing on someones eyes. Anyway I get a lot more done with MF than some folks give these systems credit for.
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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gowin View Post
    I keep hearing folks say the S2 costs too much. While I agree it is very expensive, I haven't seen the S2 plus 70 Summarit price ($22,995 + $4,495 = $27,490) directly compare to the price of Phase One P40+ with the new DF body and 80D lens. I haven't seen the latest Phase One prices to make the comparison myself.

    It would be great if someone from Capture Integration could post a price comparison since they are a dealer for both systems. I would really like to see a straight up price comparison for some one like me who is contemplating a move into DMF (e. g., no trade in).
    23,999- P40+ , DF body and new 80 LS lens. That's a leaf shutter and that is MSRP

    I am double checking these numbers . Need to add the CS lens instead Mark to that pricing
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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by markowich View Post
    the hasselblad zoom that fell apart on reichmann's trip had a well documented problem with the front element, which has been sorted long ago
    by hasselblad. i do trust hasselblad quality control more than leica's (just personal experience).
    i have shot my H3DII50 in patagonia under heavy rain....no problem.
    if leica based the design of the S2 solely on the premise of weather sealing, they made another serious mistake.
    on a different note, i doubt that more than 0.0000000001% of all sports shooters need more than D3s quality.
    peter
    Good for you Peter always good to see you are open minded about a different point of view.

    I will take your experience with the Hasselblad to the bank. You used a ..what $40K digital camera without weather sealing in the rain..with no problem. So I can conclude ..what that weather sealing isn t important..and that it therefore has little or no value.

    My observation was simple ....there are situations where the durability(which I would say includes the weather sealing) are damn important. Leica put a lot of effort into this aspect of the S2 and I would expect it to have some value. Only time will tell if the S2 proves to have any advantage but the things that I have seen merit consideration. This has either been completely left out of the evaluation or as you put it not relevant.

    As to whats required for sports photography ....there are really two types. The daily grind of trying to capture the "decisive moment" in which the super fast pro DSLR with long telephotos are the standard. These images have become almost a commodity......25-100 photographers in assigned positions . This is not for MF anything.

    And the 2nd where the photographer is trying to capture the Iconic image that tells the story. This is what it takes to get the 2 page spread . These are often taken with wide angle to normal lenses and provide plenty of context (background). Here are a few examples that I have shot....The masters,the usopen,wimbledon,the olympics,major league baseball.....I can go on. When I shot the yankees last year...the staff photographers were all talking about how to create a broader context in their images.

    I am not saying that you can t do these things with other MF systems..just that the advantage should be given to Leica for form and handling as well as some credit for weather sealing.

    If you don t find it important for your situation then weight it accordingly.

    I am making no predictions about Leica or any other MF s likelyhood for success.....just pointing out that a few things should tilt toward the S2.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Roger honestly to the Pro shooter most times weather sealing is not important . First and foremost we insure these things to the hilt and we are getting paid a lot of money. If it goes down we have backups and the last time i seen a advertising campaign being shot in the rain is about never. MF is all about commercial ventures not going out and shooting a National Geo assignment and even than most camera's never make it back anyway and no one cares to maybe even want to bring them back. Get in a dust storm in Iraq and no weather sealing in the world is going to stop dust getting in the camera when you switch lenses big hole attracts big amounts of dust.
    Roger this is a different market by a long shot. They are not used for sports far better tools for that . They are not used for reportage work no one ever needs these kinds of massive files. These are commercial tools that in a lot of case are very controlled. The one type of shooter that may see trouble is the landscape guy and most likely they are stitching a tech camera like Don Libby and hell we been in rain and snow on the workshops . Green garbage bags work great.
    Now if you need weather sealing than this is your cam but I do not see many folks putting this on there priority list.

    Personally I don't find it important it is low on my wish list but that is me and maybe more the point being not many folks are going to take expensive systems out in the rain to begin with be it any of the MF systems. There expensive tools but it is a nice feature for some folks.
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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Roger honestly to the Pro shooter most times weather sealing is not important . First and foremost we insure these things to the hilt and we are getting paid a lot of money. If it goes down we have backups and the last time i seen a advertising campaign being shot in the rain is about never. MF is all about commercial ventures not going out and shooting a National Geo assignment and even than most camera's never make it back anyway and no one cares to maybe even want to bring them back. Get in a dust storm in Iraq and no weather sealing in the world is going to stop dust getting in the camera when you switch lenses big hole attracts big amounts of dust.
    Roger this is a different market by a long shot. They are not used for sports far better tools for that . They are not used for reportage work no one ever needs these kinds of massive files. These are commercial tools that in a lot of case are very controlled. The one type of shooter that may see trouble is the landscape guy and most likely they are stitching a tech camera like Don Libby and hell we been in rain and snow on the workshops . Green garbage bags work great.
    Now if you need weather sealing than this is your cam but I do not see many folks putting this on there priority list.

    Personally I don't find it important at all it is low on my wish list but that is me
    Ok Guy I will stop arguing these points ..lets just choose to disagree. We certainly have different requirements and thats why its nice to have choices. thats a double dead horse

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Good for you Peter always good to see you are open minded about a different point of view.

    I will take your experience with the Hasselblad to the bank. You used a ..what $40K digital camera without weather sealing in the rain..with no problem. So I can conclude ..what that weather sealing isn t important..and that it therefore has little or no value.

    My observation was simple ....there are situations where the durability(which I would say includes the weather sealing) are damn important. Leica put a lot of effort into this aspect of the S2 and I would expect it to have some value. Only time will tell if the S2 proves to have any advantage but the things that I have seen merit consideration. This has either been completely left out of the evaluation or as you put it not relevant.

    As to whats required for sports photography ....there are really two types. The daily grind of trying to capture the "decisive moment" in which the super fast pro DSLR with long telephotos are the standard. These images have become almost a commodity......25-100 photographers in assigned positions . This is not for MF anything.

    And the 2nd where the photographer is trying to capture the Iconic image that tells the story. This is what it takes to get the 2 page spread . These are often taken with wide angle to normal lenses and provide plenty of context (background). Here are a few examples that I have shot....The masters,the usopen,wimbledon,the olympics,major league baseball.....I can go on. When I shot the yankees last year...the staff photographers were all talking about how to create a broader context in their images.

    I am not saying that you can t do these things with other MF systems..just that the advantage should be given to Leica for form and handling as well as some credit for weather sealing.

    If you don t find it important for your situation then weight it accordingly.

    I am making no predictions about Leica or any other MF s likelyhood for success.....just pointing out that a few things should tilt toward the S2.
    roger,
    yes, i had no problems with the hasselblad in the (heavy) rain and i would do it all over again (actually i did in bali this year). this of course does not mean that weather sealing is not important. kudos to leica for that. i do wish however that they had thought out other issues just as well...like viewfinder info, tethering, lossless compression, pixel binning, high isos in general, weight factor (no need to build a panzer), software support, wide angle availability and so on and so on. compared to phase and hasselblad leica seems like an MF amateur. even the lenses don't shine particularly. but then how can they? they are too slow for that. the famous leica glow can be seen at f < = 1.4....i bet you my HC 100mm f2.2 runs circles around that overpriced leica S 70mm jewel as far as bokeh (and probably also sharpness) is concerned.
    i do understand what you mean with the decisive moment in sport shooting. so you belong to the 0.000000001% of sport shooters who need MF. nevertheless i cannot really appreciate your form factor discussion, AF speed seems much more important.
    maybe a D3x (or its successor---))) are the best choice?
    peter

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Ok Guy I will stop arguing these points ..lets just choose to disagree. We certainly have different requirements and thats why its nice to have choices. thats a double dead horse
    Oh come on it's fun. LOL

    Agree to disagree bud


    BTW sorry if i sounded grumpy I was up at 3 am helping get my mother -in-law get ready to go into surgery.
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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    I see the point that weather sealing has a value for some occasions.
    I just don't think that it is a strong or unique selling point. Especially not for a tripod camera.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    I see the point that weather sealing has a value for some occasions.
    I just don't think that it is a strong or unique selling point. Especially not for a tripod camera.
    But it might be a consideration for someone looking to rent for a specific ocassion. I could see the S2 doing well with rental houses, this may be its niche, at least while it gets put through its paces during the introductory year, rather than with individual users buying into a complete system.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by cmb_ View Post
    I could see the S2 doing well with rental houses
    with this ludicrous tethering performance? very hard to imagine that rental houses are interessted.
    Or are you saying someone will rent a S2 for his snowstorm trip to the North Pole?

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Thanks for the pricing info on the Phase gear. I had looked at Capture Integration's website not so long ago and didn't see the prices. I may have missed them before.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    with this ludicrous tethering performance? very hard to imagine that rental houses are interessted.
    Or are you saying someone will rent a S2 for his snowstorm trip to the North Pole?
    In all fairness to Leica, I think it's safe to assume Leica will get the tethering software working soon. They made it pretty clear that getting a lossless compressed DNG format and the the tethering ready for primetime are top priorities. Personally, these and the color issues I would not have any worries about.
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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    In all fairness to Leica, I think it's safe to assume Leica will get the tethering software working soon. They made it pretty clear that getting a lossless compressed DNG format and the the tethering ready for primetime are top priorities.
    ah okay. so let's wait and see

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    In all fairness to Leica, I think it's safe to assume Leica will get the tethering software working soon. They made it pretty clear that getting a lossless compressed DNG format and the the tethering ready for primetime are top priorities. Personally, these and the color issues I would not have any worries about.
    great jack. that resolves one of the 10 or more serious issues of the S2. all featured prominently in your review.
    peter

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    My 2 cents on the handling/weather sealing issues.

    Despite my critical posts previously, I will repeat that, in these two areas, Leica really got it right. The handling is superb and the weather sealing is tremendous. The question remains, will these two features—admittedly superior to what it is existing now in MF—lead to making images not possible now?

    Unfortunately I must conclude, not necessarily.

    The discussion on “handling” means one dreaded thing: hand-holding the camera. I’m sorry, but hand-holding MF is counter-productive unless you have high-speed studio flash, or extreme shutter speeds over 1/500 (or 1000 with tele). Otherwise, quality degrades. My S-2 demo confirmed this, as has my ten years shooting Contax MF (even with film the degradation is very noticeable). I am strong and good at hand-holding, but the truth is the truth. I shoot wildlife which is similar to sports except less wide angle work and, perhaps, more demanding as to fine detail (fur, feathers and such). Still, most sports shots, whether you call them “iconic” or “decisive moment” appear to me to be taken with telephoto lenses. Handholding, here, rapidly becomes futile in available light situations. Most MF teles are f 4 or so. Even Leica’s short tele (180mm—a 150 equiv.) is 3.5 and a truly useful Leica sports tele will probably be almost a stop slower still. Combine with limited ISO (320 is it, to keep the best quality) and high shutter speeds just disappear even in daylight. Forget about indoors or at night events.

    So, you are, often, going to be on a tripod or monopod or else the IQ advantage will evaporate. When that happens, the Leica’s handling advantages disappear, as most cameras are pretty equal when mounted.

    Why not use the best tool? What can substitute for a 70-200 2.8? A 400 2.8? An 85 1.2? How about a 28-300 stabilized zoom for following action? How about multi-point AF? Combine with bodies that shoot clean ISO 1600, with 800 now considered very high quality? Add in image stabilization to go with the high shutter speeds. It is very possible that a d3x or 1DsIII will equal or exceed the final quality of the Leica image. Forget about pixel quality, though. Those cameras with their lenses will allow you to easily compose more emotionally compelling images, and give you the speed to get them down, even if you are looking for only “one shot.” Far better than struggling with the Leica’s six-frames-and-freeze-up, and single point AF.

    I fear that Leica has optimized, for hand-holding, a camera that really should not be hand-held except in the studio with flash, or in bright daylight. Just see, Guy and Jack’s model samples were all in bright, hard afternoon light with reflectors amplifying it even more. No “magic hour” light will be enough to hand-hold it.

    As for weather sealing—is anyone buying the S2 seriously going to shoot a camera/lens combo, the least expensive of which costs $28K and the most expensive of which might exceed $35K, exposed without protection, in rain, salt spray, blowing dust or snow, geyser steam, waterfall mist and the like? Let us know how that works out . . . .

    As a landscaper, I shoot in inclement weather. With my Contax, I have shot in all of the conditions I described above, with a towel to cover the camera and wipe off the lens between shots. It was tense, but the camera worked fine, nothing got inside, and I did not lose a shot. I have no reason to think weather sealing would have changed things for the better. Nowdays, if I want true weather sealing, I can get an ewa-marine case for $300. No need for a $23K body. If I want basic weather resistance, an umbrella is $10 and a glad bag is 50 cents.

    The main problem with bad weather is not sealing the camera body, but the inability to change lenses. Because MF does not have a wide variety of zooms, your choices are limited to what you have on the camera (until you can get to a protected area). No weather-sealing protects an open lens mount. Here, the Leica is just like all other MF systems and the sealing makes no difference at all. Once the lens is mounted, it is, really, pretty easy to protect any camera and lens from the elements.

    Once again, a great feature, but this time undone by the sheer cost of the gear. Who is going to rely on the sealing alone to protect such costly gear?

    I know how you feel—you fell in love with it (so did I). But it just won’t make you a better photographer and has serious limitations that can’t justify the cost.

  41. #191
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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Well, even with my dog out of the hunt on the S2, my question remains...."For whom is this S2 "system" really being designed and marketed?" Not being flippant, nor encouraging another heated discussion/battle, but Peter (Markowich), Guy (Harrison) and others keep bringing key points back to the discussion that cannot be "covered" by even the thinnest of veiled Leica marketing wash. I was seriously considering the S2 at one point, but price aside (and that is insanely difficult to push aside!!), the S2 really is shaping up to be nothing more than a shrunken MF rig with some nice other features (weather sealing and handling), that are pretty useless for its most practical use in the studio on a tripod, which is where is seems to be at home. Then many of the other shortcomings come into play, such as poor tethering, small buffer, too large files, etc. Say Leica gets those fixed quickly....will that make it really any better if the ISO is limited? If the lens line-up takes years to fill out?

    Really not bashing Leica with this, but taking a sober look at what is or is not really practical and expectable with the S2. Right now, in its present state, there are so many other choices that will fill the bill better or way cheaper. The S2 can shoot some sports and wildlife, but come on, who is going to stake their image delivery and moments on it for that? Same for landscape work and other fine art shooting......no wides, have not seen how good the macro is, no T/S yet. I will give it the lack of maturity of the system as some have suggested (Guy Mancuso, Jack and others), but that is going to give it only a bit of slack for a very limited time, in my opinion. The Canons, Nikons and maybe Sonys will come up from behind very quickly, while the Hasselblads, Phase/Mamiya, and Leaf will leave it in their wake for resolution and overall MF flexibility. As was mentioned before, if you have money to burn, only need one or two lenses, shoot mostly in really fat light or in the studio, the S2 may be a ticket for you, but anybody that needs much beyond it, or already has even a moderately filled out MF system, the S2 costs are going to eat your wallet, and most likely not give you anything more to brag about with your images. Just a few of the reasons why I took my dog out of this hunt.

    LJ

  42. #192
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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Hmmmm
    Leica, due to its limited R&D budget, is limited to mostly off-the-shelf or near-off-the-shelf components such as sensor, image processor and so forth. My prediction, for what it is worth, is that electronic expertise will best optics expertise in the long run. The fundamental reason is that optics design is becoming rather common. Most of the best optics software suites are rather inexpensive, and the algorithms are pretty well known. No company has a monopoly on physics.
    On the other hand, custom semiconductors are more capital intensive than custom optics and not by just little. More capital is required, and a larger unit volume is needed to satisfy minimum cost effective semiconductor manufacturing volumes.
    So, from the mayonnaise jar, I predict, as a counter to Thom perhaps:
    Rising stars:
    Canon
    Panasonic
    Falling stars:
    Nikon
    Leica
    White Dwarfs:
    back makers (Phase, Leaf, Hassy) will survive only due to industrial and aero applications, but the photographers will benefit.

    There will be islands of abandoned wonderful glass left behind as manufacturers without semiconductor capabilities struggle while the semiconductor giants add just enought glass to keep their market shares.

    Just sayin... Let me know in five to ten years if I am on the right track or not.
    -bob

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Well, I guess it's settled then... the S2 is clearly the best system on the market. Or have I missed something After reading so many negative comments about this camera (some more valid than others IMHO) I can't help but wonder why Capture Integration, clearly one of the premier MF dealers in the market, chose to become a Leica dealer. I wouldn't presume to answer for them but I'd speculate that it's because they see great promise in this system. From what I've been told informally it requires a not insignificant investment to become a dealer. I've got to believe they think they'll be able to recoup that investment from selling them. Really, the guys at CI are some of the smartest guys in the business with worlds of experience between them. What are they seeing that so many others aren't?

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Oh, no doubts it is a good system, maybe a great system.
    It is just that i would personally short the company long term but maybe would go long in the short term if I could.
    -bob

  45. #195
    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Hmmmm
    Leica, due to its limited R&D budget, is limited to mostly off-the-shelf or near-off-the-shelf components such as sensor, image processor and so forth. My prediction, for what it is worth, is that electronic expertise will best optics expertise in the long run. The fundamental reason is that optics design is becoming rather common. Most of the best optics software suites are rather inexpensive, and the algorithms are pretty well known. No company has a monopoly on physics.
    On the other hand, custom semiconductors are more capital intensive than custom optics and not by just little. More capital is required, and a larger unit volume is needed to satisfy minimum cost effective semiconductor manufacturing volumes.
    So, from the mayonnaise jar, I predict, as a counter to Thom perhaps:
    Rising stars:
    Canon
    Panasonic
    Falling stars:
    Nikon
    Leica
    White Dwarfs:
    back makers (Phase, Leaf, Hassy) will survive only due to industrial and aero applications, but the photographers will benefit.

    There will be islands of abandoned wonderful glass left behind as manufacturers without semiconductor capabilities struggle while the semiconductor giants add just enought glass to keep their market shares.

    Just sayin... Let me know in five to ten years if I am on the right track or not.
    -bob
    Bob,

    You have touched on the next wave in photography, computational photography. It will move us beyond 18th century optics to optical sensor suites which will not look like what most think of a lens.

    Some reading
    Light fields and computational photography

    Computational Photography
    Quantum camera


    P.S. What is the winning Texas Lotto number for this Saturday so I can buy an S2 system.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
    Mike Johnston


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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Yeah,
    I had lunch at Railhead in Ft. Worth last Saturday and went round looking at how things were going down there after attending my daughter-in-law's nursing school graduation.
    By the looks of things, it looks pretty active in the Lone Star State.
    But the lottery number is something that if I knew I would share with only a select few.
    If money were no object I would buy an S2 system if only to satisfy my curiosity.

    CI is doing the smart thing. A limited bet on a hedge is just good business sense.

    -bob

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    The Canons, Nikons and maybe Sonys will come up from behind very quickly
    from behind? :-)
    The S2 is simply 2 years too late. It's neither fish nor fowl and it has no unique selling point... other than the red dot. An absolutely outstanding quality and performance could have been unique. But there are too many shortcomings... a 93% coverage finder (in a flagship Leica! ), no WLF, MLU hidden in the menu (and you will need it frequently, that is for sure), files size*, tethering*, lens lineup, limited ISO and and and.

    They wanted to deliver the best AF - Hasselbald just introduced that recompose thing.
    The wanted to match the 50MP competition - the P40+ with Mamiya glass beats the S2 (looks like).
    They wanted to provide fast shooting* - my prehistoric P45 is faster.
    tbc...
    The sole things I see by now that are really ahead of the competition are the LCD and the in camera processing with fast review on the screen (though actually the last Sinar back already did that, too).

    no T/S yet
    this is the most interessting announcement actually - they utilize a sensor with offset microlenses to decrease light falloff for lenses in center position... but they want to make a lens that moves away from the center for that sensor? 4mm shift maybe. For $$$$$
    In any case movements will be limited with this chip.

    ______________
    *yes, maybe they improve files size and speed... but by now it's just an "announcement", so meaningless.
    (They also said they couldn't find moire)
    Last edited by thomas; 17th December 2009 at 17:27.

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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    I can't help but wonder why Capture Integration, clearly one of the premier MF dealers in the market, chose to become a Leica dealer.
    because they are smart. They know who is spending such an ammount of money for a camera. Especially a Leica camera manufactured in Germany.

  49. #199
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by guyharrisonphoto View Post
    My 2 cents on the handling/weather sealing issues.

    Despite my critical posts previously, I will repeat that, in these two areas, Leica really got it right. The handling is superb and the weather sealing is tremendous. The question remains, will these two features—admittedly superior to what it is existing now in MF—lead to making images not possible now?

    Unfortunately I must conclude, not necessarily.

    The discussion on “handling” means one dreaded thing: hand-holding the camera. I’m sorry, but hand-holding MF is counter-productive unless you have high-speed studio flash, or extreme shutter speeds over 1/500 (or 1000 with tele). Otherwise, quality degrades. My S-2 demo confirmed this, as has my ten years shooting Contax MF (even with film the degradation is very noticeable). I am strong and good at hand-holding, but the truth is the truth. I shoot wildlife which is similar to sports except less wide angle work and, perhaps, more demanding as to fine detail (fur, feathers and such). Still, most sports shots, whether you call them “iconic” or “decisive moment” appear to me to be taken with telephoto lenses. Handholding, here, rapidly becomes futile in available light situations. Most MF teles are f 4 or so. Even Leica’s short tele (180mm—a 150 equiv.) is 3.5 and a truly useful Leica sports tele will probably be almost a stop slower still. Combine with limited ISO (320 is it, to keep the best quality) and high shutter speeds just disappear even in daylight. Forget about indoors or at night events.

    So, you are, often, going to be on a tripod or monopod or else the IQ advantage will evaporate. When that happens, the Leica’s handling advantages disappear, as most cameras are pretty equal when mounted.

    Why not use the best tool? What can substitute for a 70-200 2.8? A 400 2.8? An 85 1.2? How about a 28-300 stabilized zoom for following action? How about multi-point AF? Combine with bodies that shoot clean ISO 1600, with 800 now considered very high quality? Add in image stabilization to go with the high shutter speeds. It is very possible that a d3x or 1DsIII will equal or exceed the final quality of the Leica image. Forget about pixel quality, though. Those cameras with their lenses will allow you to easily compose more emotionally compelling images, and give you the speed to get them down, even if you are looking for only “one shot.” Far better than struggling with the Leica’s six-frames-and-freeze-up, and single point AF.

    I fear that Leica has optimized, for hand-holding, a camera that really should not be hand-held except in the studio with flash, or in bright daylight. Just see, Guy and Jack’s model samples were all in bright, hard afternoon light with reflectors amplifying it even more. No “magic hour” light will be enough to hand-hold it.

    As for weather sealing—is anyone buying the S2 seriously going to shoot a camera/lens combo, the least expensive of which costs $28K and the most expensive of which might exceed $35K, exposed without protection, in rain, salt spray, blowing dust or snow, geyser steam, waterfall mist and the like? Let us know how that works out . . . .

    As a landscaper, I shoot in inclement weather. With my Contax, I have shot in all of the conditions I described above, with a towel to cover the camera and wipe off the lens between shots. It was tense, but the camera worked fine, nothing got inside, and I did not lose a shot. I have no reason to think weather sealing would have changed things for the better. Nowdays, if I want true weather sealing, I can get an ewa-marine case for $300. No need for a $23K body. If I want basic weather resistance, an umbrella is $10 and a glad bag is 50 cents.

    The main problem with bad weather is not sealing the camera body, but the inability to change lenses. Because MF does not have a wide variety of zooms, your choices are limited to what you have on the camera (until you can get to a protected area). No weather-sealing protects an open lens mount. Here, the Leica is just like all other MF systems and the sealing makes no difference at all. Once the lens is mounted, it is, really, pretty easy to protect any camera and lens from the elements.

    Once again, a great feature, but this time undone by the sheer cost of the gear. Who is going to rely on the sealing alone to protect such costly gear?

    I know how you feel—you fell in love with it (so did I). But it just won’t make you a better photographer and has serious limitations that can’t justify the cost.

    THE REQUIREMENT AS I SEE IT

    Wildlife is not at all like what I am talking about. Let me give you a few examples.... since I have been fielding a boat load of **** about this .

    Look at a photographer like Walter Ioose (and I apologize about the spelling.) He has two great sports books one about golf and another about baseball. His latest is on Michael Jordan. The last thing he needs is another sharp perfect telephoto image of a player in action. He need something that will stand out . If he was shooting the Masters ..he would look for an angle that showed say Tiger (please no jokes) and his caddy with the context of the crowd in the background . Or the final put on number 10 in a play off.

    Or if he shot the yankees ...as I did last year...he would get close to Derrick Jeter and getting him interacting with the manager.

    SI had a two page cover on Baseball in detroit ...the camera was positioned on the ground with a wide angle and it showed most of the stadium as well as the play in action. This should have been a MF image ...amazing crowd detail.

    The biggest issue in sports photography is getting access...but wow if you have it...you want to make the most of it. I could take any one of ten events I shot last year and illustrate the difference. But come on ..I shoot sports ...I have for a long time....I know exactly why and where MF would give you an edge.

    Take my word for it....what you want in MF is DSLR handling with a MF image..I know you can t match the Nikon/Canon Pro bodies. This is why I urged David Farkes to shoot the Volleyball activities and I thought his results were excellent. If you were looking for just a few great images verse 800 shot on CF he proved the S2 could do it. IMHO it was way better than the H system blad for this application. (I was impressed by the Blad but I liked the S2 for shooting action).

    In Atlanta there is a gallery called Marte that specializes in Fine Art Golf Images..these are very large format prints that a landscapes with Golf as a theme or images of Golf legands up close . They handle WI collection..look at their website.

    My apology if I wasn t clear but you don t get to redefine the requirements into a DSLR specification and then ask whats the problem use the right tool.


    WHATS REQUIRED

    Forget the tripod ..not going to happen unless you are exceptionally clever..so its hand held or on a monopod (would be my choice) . This is a hand held requirement and its exceptionally challenging..right ...I shot tennis for 10 years using K64 100% manual focus. I can go on...I grew up doing this.
    No question that the newest MF sensor show every flaw in your technique and using any MF will be a challenge.

    You can do a lot of this with the other MF systems....as i noted I used the V series Hasselblad for tennis (not fun). Like my prior response ...yeah you could do it but if you had both systems which one would you pick to walk around the Masters tournament.


    WHY I LIKE THE S2 FOR THIS APPLICATION

    I ve been considering for a few years getting a Hasselblad system to shoot some of the sports I get to do. (and I still might do this). I can pull specific images from my archive ..that would have benefited from MF.

    The form of the S2 is perfect for my application and I liked the way the lenses feel in manual over ride.

    WEATHER SEALING

    Let me make this simple ...I live 1/2 mile from the Atlantic Ocean. Lets see we have salt water,sand,lots of rain and humidity. This is the 2nd most windy location on the east coast and they hold international kiteboarding events at the end of my street. This is a big surfing location for Florida . Summary ......environmentally challenging for anything digital.

    I use Nikons that are weather sealed ..the M9 s are limited to inland activities and the summer when I am traveling .

    But I also get to interact and meet with lots of pros that use South Beach in Miami for commercial location shoots. This is true location shooting often on the beach.

    MY POV

    I started my post pointing out that S2 appears to me to have two distinct advantages over the competition that aren t mentioned. (1) The form and handling (similar to DSLR...similar not as good ) are better suited to some applications. (2) the weather sealing has been totally ignored as a benefit.


    I have made no attempt to rationalize the S2 as the "best MF" ..that is fruitless. There are many benefits of the other systems and clear advantages for specific individuals requirements. I can completely understand the logic put forth by those that have "given up on the promise of the S2" . Given the challenges of cost,availability and leica s track record in new product intoduction .. I couldn t even recommend it someone...unless I really knew their requirements well.

    But..I don t agree that the S2 doesn t have any meaningful advantages over the others . You don t have to agree...I was only trying to provide a different point of view.

  50. #200
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Leica S2 Review by Guy Mancuso and Jack Flesher/ GetDPI.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Oh come on it's fun. LOL

    Agree to disagree bud


    BTW sorry if i sounded grumpy I was up at 3 am helping get my mother -in-law get ready to go into surgery.
    An the icon was you getting your but kicked by the wife!

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