The GetDPI Photography Forum

Great to see you here. Join our insightful photographic forum today and start tapping into a huge wealth of photographic knowledge. Completing our simple registration process will allow you to gain access to exclusive content, add your own topics and posts, share your work and connect with other members through your own private inbox! And don’t forget to say hi!

  • Recently, there has been an increased activity from spammers, which may result in you receiving unwanted private messages. We are working hard to limit this activity.

Comparing the Leica S 007 to other MF alternatives

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
My purpose in this posting is to get a better understanding of how to compare the Leica S 007 to the other (admittedly more popular ) MF alternatives . Lots of stuff I just don t follow ...so looking for perspectives ..

Lets start with a few of the specifications :

The Leica S 007 has a 30 x45 mm,37.5 MP sensor with a pixel pitch of 6 um..

The Sony 51MP sensor used in the Phase,HB and Pentax MF cameras is 32.8 x 43.8 mm with a pixel pitch of 5.3 um.

Is the Sony sensor newer technology .....it could be better but it doesn t appear to be newer . The LL report states that the Pentax 645Z for example had been out for a full year before the S 007 . Further they expected that the Leica would improve as LR caught up with the profiling and that the differences in noise would be too close to call. This was last summer and I haven t seem any new comparisons since ????

The other issue that is infrequently mentioned was recently raised by Digilloyd ..the crop factor . The Sony applications produce a 4 x 3 format and the Leica is 2 x 3 . If you want 4 x 3 from the Leica you will lose a lot but what if you want 2 x 3 . Using 2 x 3 the Sony sensor would be a 43.9 x 29.3. Essentially the same as the S sensor .

There are plenty of other relevant differences for and against the Leica S 007 . Its form is different ...its not small like the newer X1D ,its not as flexible as the HB H6D or the Phase XF /50 and its not as cheap as the Pentax 645Z . But it does handle like a large SLR ,its built like a tank and it has a full range of matched Leica S lenses available .

You know I have a bias (as I own 2 S bodies and all the S lenses ) but I really don t see the handicap of an out of date and too small sensor . What am I missing ?

(Plus I know that in the right hands any of these alternatives can produce “best in class” renderings ).

One request ...no comparing to the Sony cameras ..totally different discussion .
 
I think that if you are an existing user of the S system, then leaving it for another MF alternative probably does not make much sense, because while the S is lowest on the totem poll for megapixels at the moment, the other qualities of the system are very good, and it remains one of the very best camera systems that one could use from an overall perspective...the body is great to use, the lenses are all top quality and perform beautifully at all apertures while maintaining a lovely rendering and color. The camera is still fairly compact for medium format, the battery life is great, the color is great, it uses a commonly available and very useful processing software (while also being open source in its RAW files) and Leica's support is excellent (I know this always varies for different users, but for me it has been extremely good).

Observing the camera from outside the system however, and it becomes a harder sell...the price to performance ratio in the body is now more difficult to justify, since other cheaper cameras surpass it in resolution, and the higher end competition is in some cases over 60mp greater in resolution. I think Leica decided they would focus on speed, ISO and video as opposed to resolution, which is a fair tactic, but I think it backfired a bit (at least it did for me), as many photographers are more likely to use a medium format camera in cases where they need resolution, rather than one in where they need the speed and ISO. It would be one thing if Leica had stayed with the lower end MF cameras in resolution by being at around 50mp while still doing great video and high ISO's etc, but they remained at 37.5mp where they have been for seven years. It is great that it can do these things, but video is better served by dedicated cinema cameras or video-centric cameras like those from Sony and Panasonic, while high ISO and high speed photography is better served by 35mm pro DSLR's. Meanwhile, cameras like the Sony A7Rii have higher resolution AND better video characteristics in a smaller sensor and a dramatically smaller and cheaper form factor. So the current 007 is a fantastic camera that can perform as a jack of all trades, but it is generally outdone by other cameras in any given aspect.

Personally, I would have preferred if they had gone with a higher resolution and low to medium ISO image quality rather than focus on FPS, video and handling speed, they were already good enough for me in the S006...I would have rather had a 60-70mp 006 than the 007 as it is now. I think Leica is aware they cannot sell many of their cameras and lenses if they are being visibly outclassed in resolution while being more or less tied in ISO performance. My hope is that they surprise us with an update at Photokina, but I am not hopeful...I think Leica is usually fairly resistant to rushing things or making rash moves, so I would expect that the S will be a bit out of date for another year or two, when hopefully they will straighten things out in the 008.
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
Thanks Stuart .....

I am not trying to convince myself but rather to better understand the perspective of other MF shooters on the Sony 51MP alternatives .

This Sony 51MP isn t the 60-80MP alternative we hoped that Leica would “stuff” into the S . Its only 51mp and the format you use matters . If you want 4 x 3 the difference is huge over the S sensor (at 4 X 3) ..end of discussion...however if you want 2x3 they are the same size . Is the consensus that the Sony sensor is significantly better than the Leica ? Is the 51mp sensor in the X1D the same one they introduced into the Phase system well over two years ago ?

I keep hearing Leica s sensor is old and too small . Not sure its either .

I think most using or considering MF alternatives can weigh the more obvious differences between the systems(price,size,viewing,flexibility,lens system etc ) . But the assumption on the superiority of the Sony sensor (which in general I have agreed with ) may not be as relevant ..when you consider that the 51MP alternatives are “cropped sensors” as well .
 

Paratom

Well-known member
I wonder how much better IQ can get - how big differences between several MF can be?

For me the S sensor is so good that I dont worry if other sensor are even slightly better.

I think user interface, available lenses, handling make the bigger difference between systems.

I find the x1d attractive for its small size.
Phase backs offer the flexibility to be used with SLR and techcams.
The S has the advantage of relativly small sized body, fast handling, fast lenses with very consistent IQ, weatherproof, and you can adapt many other lenses (which is not so important for me).
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
My totally subjective and biased view, not having used a 50MP CMOS sensor:

What distinguishes the M are its rangefinder, its handling, and its lenses. What distinguishes the S are its viewfinder, its handling, and its lenses. In both systems, the sensors are good enough to support the main attractions , but aren't a main attraction. For me, that's as it should be. Sensors are easier to quantity, and so get more press and mine-is-better-than-yours, but assuming they're good enough, shouldn't be the first consideration.

What I'm getting at is - before the image hits the sensor, the camera has to be used by the photographer and the light has to pass through the lens. If the first two steps don't make a great image, the sensor can't save it. A gross oversimplification, but that's the idea.

Obviously if you need something that only sensor X can do, you get sensor X. And if you don't use a camera in a way that fits with the S's strengths, then those qualities are wasted on you. but I think Leica's priorities make for a good balance. (Of course I'd be happy with a better sensor, but not at the expense of the S's more appealing and unique characteristics. )

Not answering your question, I'm afraid,

Matt
 
Last edited:

docmoore

Subscriber and Workshop Member
My purpose in this posting is to get a better understanding of how to compare the Leica S 007 to the other (admittedly more popular ) MF alternatives . Lots of stuff I just don t follow ...so looking for perspectives ..
I have a number of friends who moved from larger sensors and technical cameras to the S.


The reason was partly the sensor but to a major extent was related to the glass. Nothing
came close with regards to the final image quality ... no not the sharpest not the most contrast
but a irreducible quality of depth and bokeh that defied description ... yet was visible.

Micro contrast subtle tonality and emotive presence in excess ...

Yes you can get more pixels ... sharper pictures ... but none ... none of them have the
window on reality that the S brings to the table.

Loved my H3D 39 II on the Alpa ... but, forgive the comparison ... the S is akin to listening to Yo Yo Ma
so subtle and nuanced that you are transported to a different level of contemplation.

Michelangelo and Leonardo could do it with graphite ... or chalk ...

You know it when you see it ... rationalization and to a certain extent justification is unwarranted as the
pictures speak for themselves.

Okay ... a bit off the normal disputation and confrontation mode of most post these days.

Just saying ... Leica needs a 120Mp sensor that is a sensitive and evocative as the present one.

Bob
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
Good points ...what got me thinking was preparing my strategy for this years Photokina (almost an Olympic Sport here at GetDpi ) .

When the S 006 was introduced at a mere 40MP ..it looked small compared to other MF systems . HB and Phase were at 60MPs going to 80MPs with their CCD backs . Certainly serious landscape photographers (not me ) would be underwhelmed by the Leica IQ even withe the uber Leica S lenses . Pentax came thru with the 654D and made the prices of all three big MF systems look crazy .

But then a transition to CMOS started first with Phase then with HB and Pentax ...all adopting a cropped sensor 51MP CMOS sensor . Leica countered with a 40MP CMOS sensor and everyone balked ...too small get with the program Leica ..missing the boat . The new X1D is a prime example ..image quality of the H6D ...must be terrific (I agree) . But these aren’t the 60-80MP sensors we had when making comparisons a few years back.

I know that you should t pick your system based on the sensor performance ..it has to be taken in the context of a total system . Preferences and evaluations will often reflect preferred subject matter and finances .

What if the S 007 costs $12K ?
 

docmoore

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I know that you should t pick your system based on the sensor performance ..it has to be taken in the context of a total system . Preferences and evaluations will often reflect preferred subject matter and finances .

What if the S 007 costs $12K ?
The S 007 is down to 13.5 most places ... a negligible difference over a few years ... but a number of very prescient photographers have gone back to the S 006 ... color palate not
to their preference.

The X1D ticks a lot of boxes ... but no S 100 S 45 S 70 ... the S has a little more weight and at present a huge increase in MOJO.

JMHO

Bob
 
I've owned and/or shot with all the MF solutions. The Sony 50mp chip is quantifiably "better" than the 007, but it's a difference that for me is negligible in actual photographs produced. The S system overall is still compelling and for my high MP needs have gone down (hence my scaling back from an IQ 180 and tech cam solution). In particular I like the shooting experience of the S, the mirror slap is well damped and generally I feel the files require less work in post to get the colors and tones to feel right.

The S is right now a steal of a system today if you buy used (and can be satisfied with a CCD sensor). I couldn't sell my 006 for 5k for months and I've picked up a bunch of the lenses for a fraction of their cost new.

The new Hassy looks rather compelling, keeping my on it.

One more thing I'll add is that IMO, feels like Leica is asleep at the wheel with the S system. No significant lens releases in a while and it took them forever to bring the 007 to market. I know the SL has its fans but I wish Leica had devoted those resources to the S. A mirror less S companion to the 006 and 007 would be fantastic. Maybe with competition it will get spurred.
 
M

mjr

Guest
Morning!

I have an opinion based on being an ex-S (sounds a lot like excess!) user of the 006 and the 007, I had to make a change from the system to a tech camera for a specific contract that I wanted to win so went to P1 but not a cmos sensor, the IQ260. I take a lot of time and effort to understand exactly what I need and more importantly what my clients need and can say categorically that resolution over 37mp is not a necessity for my clients or my personal work, it may well be for others but it's not for me, I have display stands printed at 6m+ wide from 007 files that look superb, they aren't art but that's not what the clients want, they just want eye catching images that tell their story.

I am not personally interested in how much "better" a camera is, whatever that means if what it is better at doesn't impact on what I want to do, I shoot 95% at base ISO, that's just a fact for me, I shot a few events with the 007 at ISO800 and loved the output, my shots were used over other photographers there at the time, not because they were cleaner in the shadows or any other technical reasons but because I delivered a fraction of the shots of other photographers but they all looked in the same style and all captured the key points in the evening and they looked good. I don't have clients who say, the shot was great but when I pushed the shadows 100% they were noisier than these other shots, they want me to deliver a finished article that they can just use.

I loved the form factor of the S, coming from the Nikons, the body was hardly any bigger but felt lovely and chunky in my hand, it felt great to use it, the XF I have now is a beast in comparison and not as easy to carry about all day for sure, for me the S is the perfect size, others would disagree I'm sure. Output wise, now I have 60mp I have a lot more flexibility for sure, the files from the IQ260 are lovely and I haven't once taken it off base ISO having shot lots of jobs with it, I have bigger files but I don't rate the output as better than the S in any other way. I don't have the new blue ring lenses from Phase but the previous generation schneider and phase lenses are not even in the same ball park build wise, they are nasty compared with the S but honestly, the 80mm LS lens is superb and I tend to use that the most, the quality of the files with that lens is superb. I now have 35mm, 55mm, 80mm and 210mm, all were very very cheap and all work well enough, cheaper kit than the S but there isn't the consistency I loved across the S range.

The biggest thing for me is the optical viewfinder and that is the reason I am not interested in the new Hasselblad, regardless of cost, it is just a personal thing but the S and XF both have stunning viewfinders, I shoot day and night and have never once felt the need to have an evf, it is just not something I understand, if the optical viewfinder shows me my shutter speed, aperture and ISO and a big bright view of what I am looking at then that is all I need, I don't want a compromised view of the scene just so I can zoom in to 100% when manual focussing, it doesn't make sense for me personally. Sure it is always nicer to get the same image quality in a smaller package but I never felt the S was too big anyway so it's solving a problem that didn't exist for me and at the same time compromising on the viewfinder, I appreciate others feel the opposite. The XF is a big camera for sure but it has the flexibility of using the back on a tech cam so I am making calculated compromises on size for flexibility so that works for me.

Ultimately only the individual can decide what suits them best, I have my checklist, optical viewfinder, hand holdable for long periods of time, great base ISO, same image look over wide focal range, reliable and allows me to get on with it. Shutter speed, ISO and aperture all changeable without moving camera from my eye, an easy way to lock up the mirror and quick card formatting, that's all I want, the XF is the simplest camera I have ever used and does everything I want without fuss, it's easier to use than the S even but if the opportunity arose, I would definitely go back to an S kit. We all want different things, if I wanted slightly bigger files and the ability to shoot at high ISO then I'd look at the 'blad or more likely a IQ150 so I could keep an optical viewfinder but as I know what my clients need, I can just get on with shooting with what I have!

There's no right or wrong, the hardest thing is to understand what you need and then buy to that, not all the bells and whistles that don't impact your work.

Have a nice Sunday!

Mat
 

Paratom

Well-known member
What I would like to add is that going from CCD to CMOS in regards of S006 to S007 was a sensor advantage which made it worth to upgrade (for my use, a lot of handhold and also inside and in lower light sometimes). Even though I upgraded at a point of time when one could get better prices for the S006 than today.
I have use a Leica M9 and M type 240 over months side by side to make my personal conclusion about CCD vs CMOS and for me the benefits of CMOS are more than the eventual disadvantages.

In regards of not seeing fast enough new products in the S System...I dont agree. If you see what a nearly complete system of lenses Leica developped in just a few years I find it impressive. I just miss 2 nice T/S lenses.
 

erlingmm

Active member
I cannot compare directly, as I have not had other digital MF systems. But when I print 50*70 cm and compare with others, I have nothing to complain about.

I am another happy S user, started with S2, then 006 (which would have loved to keep, maybe I buy one cheap now ;-), then 007. Main reason to upgrade was high ISO which extends the usage envelope of the camera because I can stay at sufficient shutter speed even in lower light situations.

I read the news a about the Hblad, great for innovation and pushing all manufacturers, but not a camera for me. Light is great, but inferior EVF, no weather sealing (?), another lens system

My main arguments for staying put is:
- mpix, for my type of shooting don't think I would see much difference at 50
- optics, great, all lenses close to "Noctilux" at full aperture (except the zoom)
- zoom makes it very versatile, walk-around (used in Havana old town for a full week)
- perfect ergonomics
- very versatile, a true general purpose camera
- love the OVF, best finder I have ever had
- weather sealing - my camera was drenched in wet snow only a week ago in Norwegian mountains
- generally fast and responsive, better than 006
- fast and precise AF (after latest FW update)

That said, I expect Leica to move to 50-60 mpix, just for the competition in the market, few people can compare actual IQ, they read specs.
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
No one has mentioned the 4 : 3 aspect format of the Sony 51MP sensor . The S 007 has the 2:3 aspect common to FF systems. I ve never used 4:3 but spent many years with the HB V system 1:1. If you have a preference for 4:3 or even plan on cropping to square 1:1 ....the Sony is materially larger .

But...if you plan on cropping to 2:3 ..the Sony and Leica sensors are the same size. The Leica has larger pixels 6um verse 5.3um for the Sony .

Is this a legitimate perspective ? How can the Leica sensor not be competitive ...at least on paper ....with the 51MP Sony cropped sensor ?
 

algrove

Well-known member
Cropping

For me, I can only decide on the final crop size once back home with my large monitor or sometimes on the road with my MBP.

So I crop for each unique image and that is never a static size for me. I start with the biggest image possible (for me and my budget) and then crop from there, although sometimes I do not crop at all from a 4:3.

I am sure others will have differing opinions as we are all unique like each image we produce.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I can't help feeling that this discussion is like trying to decide what car to buy based on what tires it has. Heck, even the engine - I've driven very fast cars that felt like elephants and slower cars that felt like eager puppies.

Fun reading, though. :watch: :chug:

--Matt
 
M

mjr

Guest
I agree it's a weird discussion, I am not actually sure of the point, buy what you want. I don't see the world in 4:3, 2:3, 1:1 or any other multiple, each image tells me what it wants to be, I don't care what the sensor ratio is, makes no difference to me, matters about as much as the resolution above 36mp.

Mat
 

JohnBrew

Active member
Roger, I shot several MF systems (CCD & CMOS) before I settled on the S(006). I think it comes down to three things: 1) form factor - the S is really a large DSLR therefore it feels good in the hand immediately, 2) 6 micron pixel pitch - yeah, I can make CMOS match CCD color, but it takes more work and there is still that little bit of "something" missing, 3) S glass. I also have a D810 w/numerous good lenses including Otus and I have listened to those extolling the virtues of stitching, blah, blah, blah. The only lens I had shot which bettered an Otus was Rodenstock (barely). That was before I shot the S. I'm not even sure where my D810 is at the moment :).

I think the viewfinder is nice, but the Hasselblad H series is very similar.
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
I agree it's a weird discussion, I am not actually sure of the point, buy what you want. I don't see the world in 4:3, 2:3, 1:1 or any other multiple, each image tells me what it wants to be, I don't care what the sensor ratio is, makes no difference to me, matters about as much as the resolution above 36mp.

Mat
Really ? You must be very good at working with smaller(lower MP ) files . If you ascribe to cropping as you mention ...your are by definition working with a subset of the file . Cropping a 4:3 aspect file to 2:3 and you lose 14MP (51Mp down to 37Mp) .

I would think if you frequently crop from a S file into 4:3 ,1:1 that you would not be as happy with the files dropping below 30MP . Add in a small amount of cropping for composition or clean up of the edges and you are down to middle of the market 24MP.


Your comments above are disappointing because they imply that optimizing the use of the MP available isn t a priority . Your work is better than that .
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
Cropping

For me, I can only decide on the final crop size once back home with my large monitor or sometimes on the road with my MBP.

So I crop for each unique image and that is never a static size for me. I start with the biggest image possible (for me and my budget) and then crop from there, although sometimes I do not crop at all from a 4:3.

I am sure others will have differing opinions as we are all unique like each image we produce.
Let me speak to the importance of aspect ratio..in your experience . Would you agree that you want to compose in a manner that optimizes the use of the frame ? Cropping to a different aspect ratio would then involve cutting down the file to a new dimension and losing the pixels outside your crop.

If you are happy composing and capturing using the more common MF 4:3 then you should be getting all that your system can deliver (to work with). If you had a Leica S or most any FF system ..you would be working with 2:3 . Again composition and capture at the dimensions that maximize the use of the pixels .

But the penalty in usable MP can be great if you frequently crop a 4:3 to a 2:3 or a 2:3 to a 4:3.
In fact its enough to make the 51Mp sensor file much much larger than the 2:3 or essentially the same . How can that not be relevant in a market where we parse the difference between 50 and 40 .

For the record ......of course its not the only thing considered but to be honest ..until I saw Diglloyds blog post on aspect ratios ...I had t considered it a factor .

2nd for the record ....not in any way asking advice on what to buy rather just trying to understand if I missed something in comparing the sensors .

- - - Updated - - -

My apology for not making it clear in the initial post that my focus was on the sensors .
 
Top