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Hasselblad X2D and Leica S3 - out in the real world - Update

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
After all the testing is done, we have to live with an actual system and take photographs in whatever way we prefer. I rarely use a tripod, usually shoot very wide, and wait for a photo to jump out, grab me by the lapels, and shout "take me!" in my face. Sometimes that means walking back 100 yards, setting everything up again, and shooting.

So here's what I did. I took the shiny new X2D with the XCD 21/4, and the S3 with the S24/3.5, and went for a walk. Every time I saw something photo worthy, I took the image with both cameras - sometimes moving for better framing, as their FoV's are different.

When I got home, the first thing was to compare the SD card speed with the CFexpress. The 30 odd S3 images, each 70MB, loaded in 30 seconds. The X2D images, each 220MB, loaded in 12 seconds. Wow! (Dear Hasselblad, could we have some lossless compression here? The S3 is 64MP, so the X2D file sizes could be 50% larger. Instead, they are 200% larger.)

Now everything turned stupid. In anticipation of the X2D, I've been practicing with an X1D. So I got used to its capture workflow. What I did NOT do was pick up the S3 and practice with *it* before this walk. Instead, I used the S3 the same way I use the X1/2D. Point, focus, shoot. That hasn't worked for some time with the S. I've been using magnified live view with focus peaking - especially since the S3 came out. The other stupid thing I did was shoot everything at f/4 with both cameras. "Well, they're ultra-wides, so DoF is infinite, right?" Wrong. This made many of the S3 images softer and very ugly near the edges. I thought I'd have to send the lens in for calibration, but I think I was just using it incorrectly, as some are fine. Oh, the mistakes continue. I was using rear button AF when it wasn't actually engaged. Very few of the images were usable. (A quick library search shows that I took 10 times as many pictures with that lens at f/8 than at f/4. I didn't used to be this stupid!)

But what about the X2D? It performed flawlessly. Less flare than the S24 (and that lens is pretty good - MUCH better than the GF 23 on flare). Focus was spot on. Only about 10% of the images had user induced damage.

And what about the "21mm is too wide" complaint that I make in about every post? I'm coming around.

My plan is to go out again after some exercise with the S3. I know it can do better. And then I'll have pictures to compare. Maybe something will be salvageable from today.

Last, but not least, the S3+S24 weighs 6 lbs. The X2D+21 weighs 3 lbs. Hmmmm....

These were at f/8. It's a view I take often, and thought it would be good for comparison. Missed some dust. Sorry...

X2D, XCD 21/4 @f/8


S3, S24/3.5 @f/8


At 100%, the pixel pitch and focal length cancel out pretty perfectly. But do you really want to see the helicopter up there? The colors are interchangeable. I can make either look like the other pretty easily, which is high praise for both Hasselblad and Leica. Oh, the Leica images used the Cobalt Standard profile.

Anyway, more from this set if I can find anything worthwhile. And I'll definitely carry all NINE POUNDS of equipment out again soon and do it right!

Matt

PS. The OVF is a religious experience after the EVF or LCD. Only problem is, I can't reliably focus with it. Well, f/8 it is, then...
 
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MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Ok, these work.
X2D, 21/4


The S3 image is very soft, but at 1600 pixels tall, you can't see it.


Annoyingly, the 21mm composition is better. I really WANTED to like the 24 more. It's been my favorite lens for many years.
 

Knorp

Well-known member
But what about the X2D? It performed flawlessly. Less flare than the S24 (and that lens is pretty good - MUCH better than the GF 23 on flare).
Mmm, so the X2D (21) is great, the S3 (24) is so-so and the GFX (23) is crap ... ;)
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
I do not have unsharp images with any of the S lenses. My S3 can focus perfectly, even S100 portraits. I also find the S lenses perform excellently when you are in focus. I think it is a slower process though to get there whereby in the OVF you need to see before you shoot whether the AF has finished finding its target as the AF is slower. The AF can hunt, but it is usually clear when you have not yet achieved focus, at least I find it is manageable. The S for this reason is better for documentary, portraits, landscape, but not for point and shoot / action. This now almost sounds dramatically difficult, but in reality it is really not a problem - but a point and shoot it is not.

I tried the Hassy the other day in the store - felt like a larger Sony mirrorless with snappy AF. More “foolproof” for the average consumer, basically. Press the button and on the LCD it then focuses very quickly, almost like a compact Sony point and shoot where you focus by looking at the big LCD on the back. For me this is a totally different experience.

Clearly these are two different systems and mirrorless with point and shoot feel is the direction everyone is headed with resulting smaller systems, more compact lenses and faster AF. At one point they'll be like iphones just with bigger sensors and lenses resulting in a different look, but basically you can hand the Hassy to your grandma and she'll take a great shot of you courtesy of face detect AF, etc. – when even basic operating experience is less of a factor it somehow loses also its magic a bit, I feel. Shooting the S and coming home with a nice portrait series on the S100 is very rewarding ...

On the weight: once you started carrying such a smaller system it is difficult to go back to a large mirror based body for many and I think despite the S being a great system with fantastic optics also the S4 to come out in the next 1-2 years will follow this path and be like a smaller Hassy camera with a new set of lenses. I think this is the major benefit of mirrorless.

The good thing is that all the S glass will be useable and by then one should see the same snappy AF and compact build that the new Hassy has with the Leica touch.

I have taken out the S less out lately, I confess, primarily due to the weight around the neck when out and about with it the whole day so I am excited to see what is coming here. I cannot corroborate though that the S lenses are soft; I think you need to revisit this exercise ... and show us what you got!
 
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dj may

Well-known member
I use the S3 with a 24,handheld, with no problems whatsoever. I usually use 2-second delay when shooting handheld with any lens, unless there is a moving object I wish to capture. Everyone makes gross user errors; few admit it. 😄
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I use the S3 with a 24,handheld, with no problems whatsoever. I usually use 2-second delay when shooting handheld with any lens, unless there is a moving object I wish to capture. Everyone makes gross user errors; few admit it. 😄
That's what's so painful about yesterday. I KNEW all that and had been doing it successfully for some time. I was just caught up in the "do everything the same way with both cameras" nonsense. Even worse, having them both hang on me, getting their straps tangled, made it difficult to relax while shooting. (I miss the "facesmack" emoji from the old site...)
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I do not have unsharp images with any of the S lenses. My S3 can focus perfectly, even S100 portraits. I also find the S lenses perform excellently when you are in focus. I think it is a slower process though to get there whereby in the OVF you need to see before you shoot whether the AF has finished finding its target as the AF is slower. The AF can hunt, but it is usually clear when you have not yet achieved focus, at least I find it is manageable. The S for this reason is better for documentary, portraits, landscape, but not for point and shoot / action. This now almost sounds dramatically difficult, but in reality it is really not a problem - but a point and shoot it is not.

I tried the Hassy the other day in the store - felt like a larger Sony mirrorless with snappy AF. More “foolproof” for the average consumer, basically. Press the button and on the LCD it then focuses very quickly, almost like a compact Sony point and shoot where you focus by looking at the big LCD on the back. For me this is a totally different experience.

Clearly these are two different systems and mirrorless with point and shoot feel is the direction everyone is headed with resulting smaller systems, more compact lenses and faster AF. At one point they'll be like iphones just with bigger sensors and lenses resulting in a different look, but basically you can hand the Hassy to your grandma and she'll take a great shot of you courtesy of face detect AF, etc. – when even basic operating experience is less of a factor it somehow loses also its magic a bit, I feel. Shooting the S and coming home with a nice portrait series on the S100 is very rewarding ...

On the weight: once you started carrying such a smaller system it is difficult to go back to a large mirror based body for many and I think despite the S being a great system with fantastic optics also the S4 to come out in the next 1-2 years will follow this path and be like a smaller Hassy camera with a new set of lenses. I think this is the major benefit of mirrorless.

The good thing is that all the S glass will be useable and by then one should see the same snappy AF and compact build that the new Hassy has with the Leica touch.

I have taken out the S less out lately, I confess, primarily due to the weight around the neck when out and about with it the whole day so I am excited to see what is coming here. I cannot corroborate though that the S lenses are soft; I think you need to revisit this exercise ... and show us what you got!
Paul,

A bit of background. I've been shooting the S as my main system since the S(006). When the S24 came out, it stayed on the camera pretty much full time. A quick library search shows 3,000 images taken with the S24 (huh.. I thought it would be more...)

When I had health problems and couldn't carry it, I went to the X1D. I used it full time for a year. Didn't care for it much, but the results were good and it was light. When I got stronger, I tried the GFX100 and lenses, also for a year. Never liked it at all, though it could do some nifty tricks, and the 250/4 is an amazing lens.

I was very happy when I got rid of everything else and went back to the S(007) - I'd never sold the camera or lenses, and I have an (almost) complete set. When the S3 came out, I upgraded.

So why the X2D? Capture Integration sent a "we're taking deposits" email on the morning of a very good life-changing event. I wanted to celebrate.

Ironically, the S is better at older Hasselblad lenses than the X2D is.

I'll get back in sync with the S and report back!

Matt
 

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
Hi Matt

I fully understand the weight point. It didn't bother me a few years ago, but now I sometimes do get annoyed at the weight especially on holidays so the form factor does make a difference. It is also the reason why I rarely take out the Alpa XY and was very happy to see the Pano in real life as it is a lot more manageable, despite being still a rather big outfit.

The lenses will be fully compatible with the S4 and I would assume you still get 5k for the body in 24 so this will allow you to effortlessly migrate into the S4 world when the time comes.

Fully get that self-gifting thing - in the end it is a financielly more harmless hobby compared to what others splurge on ... cars, watches, etc. ... and although photography can mean something diffeent for a lot of people for me it is also about personal happiness so nothing wrong in buying new systems when it makes one happy!

On my list are the M11 mono, S4, achromatic back (as soon as I win the lottery) and the XT2 as soon as it comes out (basically an XT with more shift) - all less expensive than a sports car!

Best
Paul
 

hcubell

Well-known member
I have no idea whether Leica will ever come out with a mirrorless MF system, but if you expect that the existing line of S System lenses will be ideal with a mirrorless S, I think you will be very disappointed. The existing S System lenses were designed to accommodate a relatively primitive AF system and are unlikely to be up to the task of achieving the kind of AF that even a MF mirrorless system can offer. (Weren’t the S AF lenses even a disaster with the primitive S AF system and have to be replaced/repaired at great time and expense for anyone who had the misfortune of buying one?) Moreover, they are big and heavy and probably not up to the technical IQ that Leica could produce today. Hasselblad is revamping its lineup of X series lenses for just these reasons, and those lenses are much more modern designs. So, if you think an S4 is likely and you expect to buy one, I would unload any legacy S lenses now before the prices drop through the floor.
 

FloatingLens

Well-known member
Ok, these work.
X2D, 21/4


The S3 image is very soft, but at 1600 pixels tall, you can't see it.


Annoyingly, the 21mm composition is better. I really WANTED to like the 24 more. It's been my favorite lens for many years.
The 21 is a performer. Not bad on a 100c at f4!
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
As the change in the thread title suggests, this is an update. Pictures to follow, but the good news: With reasonable care, the S3 and S24/3.5 (Super-Elmar. If I ever get super powers, that's going to be my superhero name) work just fine. Sharp without crunch, good color. Use decent technique wide open, but f/8 is foolproof. The X2D and XCD 21/4 does pretty much the same thing, but effortlessly.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
This is a pretty good summary:

Oh, I carried both cameras in a backpack and took each one out in turn. No tangled straps, no unbalanced weight on shoulders. 2 second delay on the S3, none on the X2D.

Leicas S3, S24/3.5 @f/4, 1/750s, ISO 100. Minimal levels, a bit of vignetting,, Leica S3 color profile (not the Cobalt or Adobe)


X2D, XCD 21/4 @f/4 1/460s ISO 64


Not identical, but certainly equally good starting places. Choice of exact sky color is always tricky, as reality is almost never what we want. Profiles know this and try to give us what they think we want, and then we have to either fiddle or convert to B+W (my preferred solution). The tree on the right has a lovely radiance in the X2D image, and I'd probably have missed that possibility if I'd started with the S3 file. The astute reader will notice that the framing is not as different as the lens focal lengths would dictate. I did move back with the S3 to get the big trees in the frame.

Now if you turn lens correction on and off on the S24, you see a bit of breathing in the center of the frame, but nothing dramatic. The XCD 21 is another story. For the record, I don't care about in-camera corrections. I don't lose sleep over theoretical loss of resolution in the corners. What matters is what comes out of the camera. But out of curiosity, here's the X2D image *without* in-camera corrections


Not sure it isn't better, actually :). But it sure is different!

So I'll process the rest of them and post anything postable in the Fun With... thread.

Matt
 
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LSGreen

New member
Thanks for doing this Matt. I have both systems too, so this is helpful. I actually prefer the x2d without in camera corrections, but viewing on an ipad.
Looks like Central Park still has decent color, will have to get up there
Best
Scott
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Thanks for doing this Matt. I have both systems too, so this is helpful. I actually prefer the x2d without in camera corrections, but viewing on an ipad.
Looks like Central Park still has decent color, will have to get up there
Best
Scott
Scott
These are all minimally processed. The uncorrected X2D picture is probably closer to where it would end up. Though it’s worth remembering that you want to vignette AFTER cropping. So if you’re going to crop at all, you have to flatten the illumination first.
Matt
 
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