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Thread: S3 at Photokina?

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    S3 at Photokina?

    While I don t think Leica will say anything about the next generation S camera on 5/10 (the Berlin show is pretty well known ) , Will Leica create a stir at Photokina with an S announcements .

    In developing predictions(much different than RUMORS..which is what you hear from your camera dealer) , you should always look to whats in the best interest of Leica (not what you want or would buy). They will only offer what they feel is best and you can only buy what they offer .

    The Nikon D800/E is now being felt in almost every section of the camera market . Just look at the for sale items and you can see photographers repositioning their kits to incorporate the D800. At $3000-3300 and 36MP its a disruptive technology .... a value proposition that is near perfect . Will it be as good as MF ...no size matters ...but its getting closer and in some ways it will be better . And nikon has a huge base of photographers that have legacy glass and d700/d3 s to pull from. They could care less if I sell my S2 I am not relevant .

    The S2 (I am biased as I own one and 5 lenses) is a superb camera with the best lenses I have seen . But at 40MP its not enough to attract new photographers to part with $50K . At lower $$$ I would expect that any MF camera system in the 40-50MP range will be suspect . Spend $40K and next year its $20K? I watch the prices of the S2 and the lenses each week and they are way down from private sellers . The D800 has in some ways frozen the market and with less than 5 months until Photokina ...do you want to bet?

    So what should Leica do ? If they can I would announce a 70MP S3 at Photokina . And I would suck it up and keep the price near the S2 . The S camera is a limited edition compared to the M and producing a new model should not stress the factory ...they produce 1000 + M cameras each month ...can the S be more than 100?

    Its not price sensitive ...but feeling stupid about spending so much wears you down . The conventional wisdom is the lenses will be keepers for 10 years but the bodies are relevant for 2-4 depending on when you buy.

    Otherwise a year from now ..who will be visiting the new Leica studios to see the S cameras in action?

    Not a rumor a prediction.
    Roger Dunham
    http://rogerdunham.com/
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    I like a lot of the stuff, Roger.

    I will just throw in the Leica S1 and where it is (or not) now.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Roger,
    Aren't you ignoring the very premise of the S2 with your hope that Leica will insert a 70 megapixel sensor? After all, the primary draw of the S2 is the form factor of the body (as well as the optics)... the fact that it handles like a 35mm camera and can be hand held. Given the current limitation on high iso that the S2 imposes (compared to the superior high iso that the D800 provides) you would not be handholding the S3 if it had a 70 megapixel sensor if your intention was to obtain optimum IQ.

    A camera that requires tripod mounting (in the absence of high iso capability such as the D800 currently displays) would be no better than the competition in the medium format field. The form factor that makes the S2 relevant ceases to be valid if a tripod is required.

    I'm neither stating nor implying that the D800 is comparable or better, simply that the high iso capability of the Nikon allows it to be hand held at higher iso than the Leica.

    Another issue is regarding output on a fine art cotton rag paper, for those who use such papers. Given the dot gain of cotton rag papers, will you even see a difference between the D800 and S2 in print? No doubt you'll see it at lower iso on screen... but the print is where the runner meets the road.

    Far better, in my opinion, would be for Leica to employ a sensor with greater dynamic range and significantly improved high iso capability so the camera can be used in a wider variety of lighting conditions.

    Lawrence

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    I am pretty sure the next generation S-camera will have both, more MP and improved high ISO.
    Personally the higher ISO would be more benefitial for me since I dont really need more MP.
    Better DR? maybe, doesnt hurt, but I dont feel limited at all with what the S2 does allready regarding DR.
    The hype around the D800 still shows that MP and Dr numbers help to attract cusomers. So I guess Leica will include those factors in the "S3", whenever it will be announced. I guess they can not wait for ever and agree with you in this point.
    I dont know yet if I will follow every evolutionary step in this system, or if I might skip one or to steps and rather spend the money for lenses. (But then I dont feel I need any new lenses right now).

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by apocolibri View Post
    ....
    Far better, in my opinion, would be for Leica to employ a sensor with greater dynamic range and significantly improved high iso capability so the camera can be used in a wider variety of lighting conditions.

    Lawrence

    I agree regarding the high ISO capability.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by apocolibri View Post
    Roger,
    Aren't you ignoring the very premise of the S2 with your hope that Leica will insert a 70 megapixel sensor? After all, the primary draw of the S2 is the form factor of the body (as well as the optics)... the fact that it handles like a 35mm camera and can be hand held. Given the current limitation on high iso that the S2 imposes (compared to the superior high iso that the D800 provides) you would not be handholding the S3 if it had a 70 megapixel sensor if your intention was to obtain optimum IQ.

    A camera that requires tripod mounting (in the absence of high iso capability such as the D800 currently displays) would be no better than the competition in the medium format field. The form factor that makes the S2 relevant ceases to be valid if a tripod is required.

    I'm neither stating nor implying that the D800 is comparable or better, simply that the high iso capability of the Nikon allows it to be hand held at higher iso than the Leica.

    Another issue is regarding output on a fine art cotton rag paper, for those who use such papers. Given the dot gain of cotton rag papers, will you even see a difference between the D800 and S2 in print? No doubt you'll see it at lower iso on screen... but the print is where the runner meets the road.

    Far better, in my opinion, would be for Leica to employ a sensor with greater dynamic range and significantly improved high iso capability so the camera can be used in a wider variety of lighting conditions.

    Lawrence
    Can t argue with high ISO performance being a key factor . From the tests I have seen part of the D800 performance is a result of working with 36mp and requiring less up sizing to a specific print size. So its a balance of performance at 100% pixel level and amount of resizing required ..thus the trend seems to be to higher MPs (again).

    The market gravitates toward more MP s even in the MF world. Look at the Phase IQ backs ...nobody needed more than 40MP last year and now the IQ180 is the big seller .

    Your points are worth considering but I think the market will be requiring significantly more MPs to keep the S3 competitive . Just a prediction .

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    +1 for better high ISO in the next iteration of the S2 or better still a new algorithm for the existing model

    Every time that Leica does one of these announcements present digital platforms go into a tailspin. The M8 prices went down and are now back up, M9 prices are down and so are the S2 prices. The great unknown behind the curtain and the quest for the next newest thing generates these fluctuations that really do not affect what you are shooting. If the M10 came out with a B&W only sensor will it make my M9 that can shoot full spectrum and then processed to B&W obsolete? I think not. If the high ISO capability on the S3 went to 25,000 with out DR degradation - maybe sway me to consider upgrading. For now I live with a 640 ceiling and deal with it.

    The exit door from MF digital is wide open, those that touted MFD as the way to go for an all around solution are now relegating it to specialized landscape solutions. While the results from the D800E do look sharp and detailed, they still lack that extra "something" that I get from the S2 and Hasselblad CFV files. After looking at the online examples from the D800E, I feel that the old CFV 16 MPX has better DR and sharpness. I have a D800E on order but I do not think that it will replace my S2 but supplement the long lens capability. Now when I get it and see for myself how it compares - that may be a different story. Historically I have favored CCD over CMOS sensors the image character off of the CCD is much more genuine and truer to reality. You can readily see it in skin, without makeup, it retains the translucent quality of the skin. CMOS tends to plasticize the skin, which if you are shooting a heavily made up model can be to your advantage.


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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Al

    The question at hand is how should Leica respond to the disruptive technology . A $3000 36MP DSLR with great high ISO,DR and color . (maybe not as good as MF but by any measure pretty great ).

    They(leica S2) have a lot of pluses (spoken as true Leica fan) but I might question if I would buy an S2 today ..given the alternatives . But like all technologies I expect Leica to respond with a better version of the S2 at Photokina ..if they don t it might be a cold winter in Wetzler .

    I think the M10 will be different ..better high ISO performance is my number 1,2,3 desire and I am not sure its even possible with a CCD sensor . MP don t mean much beyond 18MP for street shooting .

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Not so sure the word disruptive technology is really the right description . Maybe better said and right now the S2 faces this as well as others is the improved technology. Right now everything is a step or two behind what Nikon has pulled off at a great price point. The key for the S2 is yes some more Mpx's but technology that is even past what Nikon just did and at lower costs but functionality we have not seen yet or is possible at the moment. CCD let's face it is most likely at the technology end of its life cycle. Not so sure anyone can pull anything more out of it without changing the whole technology base. What Leica needs to do is get beyond what current is available. Seriously they just got jammed up by Nikon, it's gotten so close now not many would part with the price point that it is given what Nikon just released. I know I would not buy a S2 right now even if they dropped it in half. Now a S3 right now that far exceeds what is current at the same price point of the S2 is a diffrent story. The lenses have a lot of elbow room to go, which is a huge plus but we all realize the sensor is dated too. So what's next for Leica and I think the real answer is beyond Nikon technology. And believe this does not leave out the MF backs either. Really the only way to compete with the game changer of the Nikon is to spank it with new technology whatever that maybe. We simply can't keep asking people to drop 50k without some real bite over Nikon. Now we need to realize Nikon hit a home run but no grand slam either. They got close to make us big sensor folks to make us all a little uncomfortable. We have to admit to this , sorry there is no hiding I have one and it's damn good and I have a 60 mpx back too. Mpx alone is not the answer in total. But hard core value to the price point is.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Al

    The question at hand is how should Leica respond to the disruptive technology . A $3000 36MP DSLR with great high ISO,DR and color . (maybe not as good as MF but by any measure pretty great ).

    They(leica S2) have a lot of pluses (spoken as true Leica fan) but I might question if I would buy an S2 today ..given the alternatives . But like all technologies I expect Leica to respond with a better version of the S2 at Photokina ..if they don t it might be a cold winter in Wetzler .

    I think the M10 will be different ..better high ISO performance is my number 1,2,3 desire and I am not sure its even possible with a CCD sensor . MP don t mean much beyond 18MP for street shooting .
    IMO there are 2 things:

    a) short time customer opinion (MP are still an overrated factor, color and DR and detail are judged based on 2 or 3 shots by some internet-review-sites)
    best example: the D800 "hype"; no matter how good the D800 is

    b) the "real" thing; how good is the overall color balance; how good is microdetail; how goos is skin tone; how "3d" do images look like; bokeh; wide open performance of lenses; user interface; I think one can only answer after having used a system for a longer period in various conditions.

    I believe a camera brand has to make decisions based on both factors a) and b). Lets say even if people didnt need more MP, if the customers think they need it, or if it is a decision factor, then the supplier has to include it in the product.
    Kind of sad; it is not allways about building the "Best" camera; it is often more about building the camera with the best chance to create sales and turnaround;

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Roger,
    One thing that I hope they do not do is what Hasselblad did a few years back on the H3D and lower the price by 25%. Come up with an upgrade path yes, but do not drop the price which will hurt the current users.

    As far as what they should do to counter the flood, hurry up and come out with the CS lenses that were promised last year, bring out the T/S lens and zoom. That in itself will keep sales numbers flowing and keep frustrated owners from selling their cameras due to lack of lenses. There are probably more amateur users than professional users by a wide margin and to that group, the need to have the best imaging platform at what ever cost does not fit into the equation. They do not have to perform at the highest levels every shot and own the S2 because it gives them joy to possess it. Also the large group of amateurs that have the means to afford the S2 can easily afford to have the D800 as well and it would not worry their banker one bit. So this becomes a game of retention of the existing base of customers and building a story of why the S2 has the advantage over the D800. For most professional photographers, investing $75K cash on an S2 outfit is prohibitive. But if Leica were to tailor a lease deal that would be paid monthly and 100% tax deductible you open the doors a lot wider. Nikon and Canon do not offer this, Hasselblad does, Hasselblad has a lot of the market as does Phase.

    AND in the end, you have made the purchase of the S2 and will be getting a D800 - but will you end up replacing the S2 with it? I really doubt it, it raced through my mind and at times still does. What I came to the conclusion was that the D800 would produce highly detailed images if I were to buy the right lens, not just any lens, but the perfectly aligned lens from Nikon. But I know that every time I look at any of the MF captures and compare it to a 35 capture, the images do not compare. Square inches rules! This goes back to the analog film days, my 8x10 chromes sure looked better on the lightbox compared to the 21/4 images.

    -Al
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    It does t matter from a sellers viewpoint if the D800 is better than the S2 or the other way around . The disruptive aspect is that its so much cheaper making it an alternative for many more prospective buyers . It has advantages and disadvantages when compared to the MF alternatives ..I think everyone here agrees on the differences.

    Leica manufactures cameras and lenses. They count on the S line for a creating a financial contribution . Most S owners that I have spoken with have 3-4 lenses . The CS lenses will create significant short term revenue . But who will be buying the new S2 bodies ? This why I believe that have to introduce the S3 at Photokina and it has to be 70MPS to compete for both new and existing customers .

    Just a prediction nothing more .

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by atanabe View Post
    While the results from the D800E do look sharp and detailed, they still lack that extra "something" that I get from the S2 and Hasselblad CFV files.
    Yes, there is IMO much more to medium format than increased resolution and/or smoother tonality. There is also a 'look' to MF (especially real MF like 6x7) that comes from using longer focal length lenses (compared with 35mm) for a given field of view. It's also why large format (in the right hands) looks fantastic for applications like portraiture. The D800E is undoubtedly very sharp and very detailed but it won't be able to shake off the 35mm 'look' that comes from the sensor's physical size and lenses used.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    IMO, all these types of discussions are skewed toward a financial and superiority "worry" mentality as opposed to a creative one. The question is, will Leica react to that mentality? From current indications, and their new marketing and positioning platform to source new customers (which I've seen), the answer seems to be NO.

    Tracking resale values is a financial "worry" mentality, and valid IF one is on an automatic and constant upgrade path to the next best thing whether one has even mastered the one before it, or actually needs more, bigger, better. We are told we need it, so we follow. Rather than worrying about our creative work, we worry we may be falling behind. It has all gotten mixed up with personal superiority complexes and ownership bragging rights, as opposed to creative objectives and developing a relationship with one's tools to execute those creative ideas.

    Personally, I believe the term "disruptive technology", is a symptom of the above. It is disruptive only if fixated on MP as the measure of one's creative worth. Did anyone think the masses would NOT be catered to with ever higher 35mm DSLR MPs? Sony fired that shot over the bow of the $8,000 high meg DSLRs years ago with the 24 meg sub $3,000 A900 ... followed by an even less costly A850. MPs have become a commodity that doggedly has one key value to camera marketers ... most buyers still feel it is the empirical measure of superiority ... thus the predictions of a 50 meg DSLR (primarily meant to "worry" MFD owners?) ... and wafting desire for a "superior" 70 meg S3, and the sensor tech necessary to distance it from encroaching 35mm DSLRs.

    I have a 60 meg H4D, and have used a H camera now for so long, that there is little I can't do with it compared to the my S2. I use the respective systems to achieve different creative objectives ... just like I do between the M9 and Sony A900.

    The last camera I'd consider is a D800. The look of 35mm anything at any MPs or sensor tech looks like 35mm to my eye. What I WOULD consider is a Canon 1DX or Nikon D4, because they are capable of achieving very different creative results against specific creative objectives that differ from those I would apply an S2 or H4D to. If I want frame rate, AF speed, high ISO ... my hope is that the Sony A99 goes there so I don't have to swap out lens systems ... again. Patience is invaluable, attention to creative inspiration a virtue ... and IMHO, worry about "commodity futures" is creatively counter-productive, and a corrosive mental illness

    -Marc
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    The writing is on the wall. Now APS hit 35mm resolutions, 35mm sensors are just history. Nikon and Cannon must be quaking in their boots now that Sony has 24MP APS sensors. You get 90% of the quality of 35mm at 10X less cost. Who would even think of buying a Nikon D4 when the Nikon D3200 can do more for less and in fashion colors.

    Now a word from our sponsors:

    Why worry about reality, when you can have the new iReality app. With iReality, you will be tall, handsome, and have no taxes to pay, while being able to live that Riviera lifestyle you have always dreamed about. And you can get all of that for 99 cents.
    And to echo Marc's comments--since when has the creative process been solely an economic one? Painting by numbers is certainly cost effective...

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    You guys went way off topic. The thread is about what Leica will DO be it matters to your photography or your creative approach is irrelevant, that is not the topic. Whats the technology that they will come up with is the question that will compete from a business and sales standpoint. How will it handle going against a 3K Nikon is really the question here and its new technology, what leapfrog approach will they take.
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    I though we were not supposed to stay on topic--you must admit it would be rare for a tread to stay on topic. But it was the OP who brought up the D800 in his first post.

    Also, has Leica shown an indication they would bring out an S3 this year? I thought it was going to be an M10 year.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Its always nice to try and stay on topic, I know we float. LOL

    Now the D800 is the newest level of technology and it should be brought up as a comparison to what Leica should do beyond it. Thats really the heart of the thread
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Mark

    Wow did you not have you coffee before you posted ? The post had zero to do with creativity or frankly what any of us want or like . Who doesn t know that the equipment today exceeds most photographers abilities and often has nothing much to do with the final result ? Yet we enjoy messing with cameras and trying to get the very best out of our gear . When I can t get out shooting I enjoy debating the fine points of the equipment and the craft skills required to produce the best IQ you can.

    When you start a post by accusing someone (me in this case ) of being skewed or having a superiority ,worry mentality ..how does that contribute ?

    You frequently point out your superior background and knowledge from working so long as an art director and ultimately owning your own business. I applaud your expertise .

    In this case my post was simply a prediction based on known facts and understanding of how manufacturing businesses make these decisions. I am pretty well qualified as I was a managing partner in a worldwide consulting practice that has 300,000 employees. I did exactly this type of manufacturing strategy for about 10 years and built factories from scratch .

    It was often a requirement to work within severe constraints for skilled labor and equipment capacities especially in the smaller manufacturing environments . Leica has had great success in building cameras and lenses that are the envy of the industry . But they have limits as we have seen with the lens shortages .

    So going into Photokina ...I thought it might be fun to think like the guy that owns the place. Like it or not the D800 has taken the wind out of the sail for the S2 . I call it disruptive because it offers a new alternative ...with strengths and weaknesses compared to other 40MP alternatives ..at a disruptive price point . Getdpi even has workshops on getting the most out of a D800.

    If Leica does not introduce an S3 at Photokina ..will the S2 still be selling this time next year ? Maybe ..Leica could take a position of improving the heck out of the S2 with firmware enhancements and maybe even factory upgrades as Nikon did with the D3 buffer . This would make a lot of s2 owners really happy and maybe convince some new buyers to jump in . (I like this strategy as an owner of the S2 and all 5 lenses) .


    But Leica has capacity to fill ....lets say 150 cameras a month ? (my guess) . So as a manufacturer ...I would want to use that capacity in a way that creates current cash flow and positions the company for future demand . To do this I believe they need an S3 with a higher MP sensor . Of course it needs to be better in almost every way ..ISO,DR,Color Depth .

    How you use the prediction is dependent on ...do you believe it and how would this affect you . If not at all great . In my case I was hoping to get a 2nd s2 so that I could travel with just the s2 kit . And wow I can get some great deals from those poor soles that are worried about the loss of value ..but I will wait and see what actually happens .

    And as I said up front its just a prediction based on my experience and pretty decent known facts . Leica often doesn t follow the script so who knows .
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Also Leica does face the Kodak sensor issue and whats next on the company that bought them. Does Leica start looking at Dalsa or lets say they call Sony up on the phone can you produce the SAME sensor you made for the Nikon only in our format and gain more MPX. Not sure what number that is but my point is it needs a leapfrogging jump just like everything else . Do they play it safe , take a risk on new technology and what is the best game plan. Sure coming out with leaf shutters and TS lenses would help them but that does nothing as far as the future but just sell some more S2. That really does not grow the company in the long run. This just does not apply to Leica only either but leica does things in there own way as well. The S2 was a great start but success is often based on history which in the S category it does do not have it yet like it does in the R and M lines. I would love to be a fly on the wall in the technology meetings. I hope they come out with something even more amazing. I personally passed on the S2 since I thought it was not enough for my needs on a couple levels, next version I may not hold back. What are you going to do is the question I have for leica on my level that would draw me in and buy this time.
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Good point Guy ...I forgot about the possible sensor issue . I have been asking around on this and my understanding is that a new sensor (e.g.Dalsa) would require significant modifications to the Maestro chip processor and firmware . This would not be good short term as leica may introduce something without having the post processing (LR) worked out . But this could be a driving force for Leica .

    The other related consideration is that they just don t have the engineering capacity to launch an upgraded S model this soon.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    You maybe right on that but these things also you can look elsewhere in partnerships to help you in the engineering. Roger you know as well as I leica is stubborn on this one and things have gone south like the DMR partnership but it is also a way to fast track things as well. We both know and I can read in your posts they need to do something special here. I could not agree with you more you just can't add things that are not major improvements in the system with just parts added only. They jumped in here and had a great start but to be completive they need people to buy in as well and with that comes technology advantage. I'm on there side , would love to see them pull a rabbit out of the hat again.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    For the last 10 years nearly each new camera model of nearly each brand had more MP and at least as good high ISO than the previous model.
    So I guess if an S3 comes it is not so difficult to expect higher MP and eventually better high ISO.
    I dont think it has anything to do with the D800. Everybody does it.

    If you read some posts how great the 50 Summicron works on the D800,
    if people use manual focus (how accurate is it on a 36MP sensor for any application where you cant use live view?) on the Nikon,
    and if we keep in mind that the S-lenses are even better than the R-lenses (but they are AF and they are weather proof) than I think it is not the question how Leica can keep up with the high MP of Nikon, the question is how Nikon can keep up with the optical quality of Leica lenses - specially if Mp get more and more, and if we keep in mind that the smaller the sensor the better glass is needed to achieve the same final IQ.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Mark

    Wow did you not have you coffee before you posted ? The post had zero to do with creativity or frankly what any of us want or like . Who doesn t know that the equipment today exceeds most photographers abilities and often has nothing much to do with the final result ? Yet we enjoy messing with cameras and trying to get the very best out of our gear . When I can t get out shooting I enjoy debating the fine points of the equipment and the craft skills required to produce the best IQ you can.

    When you start a post by accusing someone (me in this case ) of being skewed or having a superiority ,worry mentality ..how does that contribute ?

    You frequently point out your superior background and knowledge from working so long as an art director and ultimately owning your own business. I applaud your expertise .

    In this case my post was simply a prediction based on known facts and understanding of how manufacturing businesses make these decisions. I am pretty well qualified as I was a managing partner in a worldwide consulting practice that has 300,000 employees. I did exactly this type of manufacturing strategy for about 10 years and built factories from scratch .

    It was often a requirement to work within severe constraints for skilled labor and equipment capacities especially in the smaller manufacturing environments . Leica has had great success in building cameras and lenses that are the envy of the industry . But they have limits as we have seen with the lens shortages .

    So going into Photokina ...I thought it might be fun to think like the guy that owns the place. Like it or not the D800 has taken the wind out of the sail for the S2 . I call it disruptive because it offers a new alternative ...with strengths and weaknesses compared to other 40MP alternatives ..at a disruptive price point . Getdpi even has workshops on getting the most out of a D800.

    If Leica does not introduce an S3 at Photokina ..will the S2 still be selling this time next year ? Maybe ..Leica could take a position of improving the heck out of the S2 with firmware enhancements and maybe even factory upgrades as Nikon did with the D3 buffer . This would make a lot of s2 owners really happy and maybe convince some new buyers to jump in . (I like this strategy as an owner of the S2 and all 5 lenses) .


    But Leica has capacity to fill ....lets say 150 cameras a month ? (my guess) . So as a manufacturer ...I would want to use that capacity in a way that creates current cash flow and positions the company for future demand . To do this I believe they need an S3 with a higher MP sensor . Of course it needs to be better in almost every way ..ISO,DR,Color Depth .

    How you use the prediction is dependent on ...do you believe it and how would this affect you . If not at all great . In my case I was hoping to get a 2nd s2 so that I could travel with just the s2 kit . And wow I can get some great deals from those poor soles that are worried about the loss of value ..but I will wait and see what actually happens .

    And as I said up front its just a prediction based on my experience and pretty decent known facts . Leica often doesn t follow the script so who knows .
    Roger, it was a generalized response not a personal one. I used the terms "we" not "you".

    The intention of your post may have had zero to do with "creativity", but frankly I do not separate the tool from the task nor industrial predictions as they relate to those tasks at hand ... if we are talking about any subject involving the tools, I equate it to the reason it exists.

    FYI, I have NEVER used the word "superior" in discussing my background. It's used only to establish the reasoning behind my opinion ... take it or leave it.

    Your editorial comment regarding how the D800 has taken the wind out of the S2 sales is valid only to some, and is pure anecdotal speculation ... and it presumes that one buys into the final results ... which to date I do not ... M9 files aesthetically look better than anything anyone has posted from that camera, and to my eye, the S2 is M9 like only a bigger file. In my opinion (so far), the D800 is the Emperor's new clothes, and I do not care if a single person agrees with me. If anything, the D800 has confirmed my S2 decision, and I'm loving and using it even more. BTW, I am not alone in this opinion, just the vocal one.

    To your direct question to "stay on topic" ... I ask a few questions in return.

    Other than conventional thinking, why does Leica have to answer the D800 or any other? This presumes Leica sees the competition as being Canon, Nikon or Sony which they do not. Speculatively there may be a lot of folks on this forum susceptible to the Nikon approach, and many who are not here that do not. I seriously doubt anyone that opts for a D800 will suddenly become an S2 prospect.

    The S3 or 4 or 5 will never be anywhere near $3,000, so how does that change anything? What would make any $28,000 70 meg S3 buyer think it won't be followed by a D900 with 50 to 60 meg for $3,000? History tells us this is likely given there are already 24 meg APSc sensors.

    So, either one buys into an aesthetic look from a certain platform or they don't ... which (IMO) is a creative decision not a financial one.

    Marc

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Ok you don t believe that the d800 will impact the sales of the S2 . I do . Leica produces (my guess ) not much more than 150 maybe 200 at peak S2 s per month . (M production is 1000 +) . I believe that the D800 will take some market share from the S line . Good point on the fact that even larger MP sensors may not be far off. But the S2 had a large easily visible advantage over the D3X ,with the D800 is smaller .

    Equally important is that the S2 has been out a few years ...my 2 year warranty is up in January and I didn t buy right away . S2 sales are dropping off if for no other reason than (who wants to take the financial hit of buying an S2 a few months before a possible new model ). Used prices are down since the beginning of the year .

    So Leica doesn t need to answer nikon but they need to decide what they will make in 2013. They can stick with the s2 , they can refresh the S2 with firmware,upgrades etc or they can come out with an S3 . (What else could they do ? )

    Guess we will see in September . I am a sucker for the new camera introductions and I will be going . What ever Leica does with the s2 won t matter much to me ...I am pretty happy . But the M10 will be a different story and they have my attention.

    Maybe I needed less coffee ..

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Maybe Espresso instead. Lol
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    It is fun to speculate on upcoming products. However, it is even more difficult when it comes to Leica because - well they are Leica and seem to march to a different drum in creating their own niche.

    In my opinion Leica's biggest challenge at the moment is sensor supply and what to do about the Kodak bankruptcy/sensor business sell-off. Furthermore, I think the decision regarding future sensors (supplier, ccd, cmos, etc.) is going to have the biggest impact on what Leica releases next. The only other attribute which I think will drive the next Leica products will be uniqueness to set them apart from the others. That probably supports Roger's prediction for an S3.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gowin View Post
    It is fun to speculate on upcoming products. However, it is even more difficult when it comes to Leica because - well they are Leica and seem to march to a different drum in creating their own niche.
    I agree
    I also agree with Roger that the D800 will affect sales (but not just for the S2)
    I don't really agree that upping the MP would make that much difference to the problem.
    I can't imagine that many people bought the S2 just because it's 40mp. I'm not convinced that upping the resolution would help that much.

    I think that Leica have realised that they simply can't compete in the mainstream selling German made cameras. simply upping the resolution won't change that.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    I am with agreeance that those who buy into the S2 were looking for the MF look and access to Leica S lenses.

    I also believe the confusing ground is that while many photogs in the past weren't necessarily looking for the MF look and never really saw it to begin with, but rather wanted access to the resolution 35mm didn't have. With the D800/E that is there now. I also believe (carefully believing) there is no way to achieve the MF look in 35mm even with the D800/E or whatever else they will release in the future.

    I say this with my eyes and what forums like GetDPI have shown me, even with early 22MP DMF cameras. At the end of the day creativity and it's tools can work hand in hand. However, no one would argue a great 35mm shot, yet on an average I might feel more blown away by MF shots. Again, the photogs committed into buying into MF skew this in MF's favor. At the end of the day, every camera (tool) serves it's purpose. The S2 simply offers what it does and the D800....you get the idea, the problem is the public who are confused by what they offer for whatever price.

    So will the D800 affect the sales of the S2, perhaps, but 'time' is doing that anyway, and the D800 is the new guy in the Digital Camera would to offer above 30MP, and the first in 35mm DSLRs. Now what, owners of Leica don't really believe Leica dances a different beat just because the D800 is released, but shareholders might add pressure to this. It's all wishful thinking.

    I personally wanted the Leica S3 the day after the S2 was released, since I couldn't afford it then. Then i saved up and when I was able to afford it, my money decided it should go somewhere else and now, I just sit back enjoy the photos taken by other S2 owners. The D800E started out as a great idea for me, and then I received my 5D Mark III and went to selling most of my Nikon lenses bar two and cancelling my early pre-order for it. Both are excellent and excel for what they are, again why one sells or doesn't just ends up as choice, we all have it, we just act differently to it despite the said marketing superiority DXO or whatever leaves us to believe.

    Oh btw, tomorrow's dream is a MF 200MP camera that is noise free upto ISO 3200 and does 4 fps.

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    Subscriber Member KurtKamka's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    In my opinion, the deciding factor will always be what I see in the images. I love the current CCD sensor that they are using in the S2 as it really provides a look that is like an M9 on steroids.

    With the DMR, M9 and S2, Leica has placed an emphasis on optimizing image quality with CCDs, limited filters and gorgeous lenses. It's been a fantastic combination. I've been a buyer because, for me, the Leica digital brand represents an almost fanatical attention to the final image. It might be an expensive proposition, but I'm willing to pay for the end result.

    I have no crystal ball idea about what they will be doing in terms of future sensors, but my hope is that they error on the side of sticking to the signature look that has become their digital brand. Having followed Leica and it's obstinate nature in all things engineering for the past few years, I'm thinking they will.

    My guess is that they've got something they're working on. I don't believe that they would have spent tens of millions of dollars on R&D without a sensor plan beyond what's currently in the S2.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Agreed, Leica will come out with a replacement for the S2 be it at Photokina 2012 or 2014 or?? In the digital world, obsolescence starts at the introduction of the product. Will the value of my S2 go down - yes, as any computer does when the next new thing comes out. Will my S2 take crappy pictures now that the S3 is out - no. Will I be compelled to sell the S2 just to get the latest, time will tell but I think not. I love the images off the S2 as I love the images off of my 5.47 mpx Nikon D1X. There is something in the way that certain combinations of optics and sensors do the mystical, magical thing and produce images with character and soul. No amount of mpx will equal the emotional appeal that certain sensors can bring.

    The D800(E) may have the mpx but does it have the soul? Will Leica lose S2 sales to the D800 - I think the market was saturated well before the D800 came out. Sales of the D800 are mainly to amateurs who want the best to shoot highly detailed shots of their dogs and pixel peep to their hearts content. I don't think Patek Philip cowers when Seiko comes out with a new quartz everything model that will tell time in 24 time zones. They market to a different audience with distinct differences. The resale market for S2 is flat because the target audience can afford to buy new and will buy new over buying used. Call it the "new car smell" effect.

    I cannot call the plays at the Super Bowl and neither can I call the shots at Leica. One can wish that they listen to what users want and need and, at times, they have listened. So when they come out with a new mega expensive replacement for the S2, they will have to build a compelling story and I would not like to have the marketing guys job for that task. As I see the marketing position for the S2, it is placed firmly in the fashion photographers world. A fashion photographer could just as well settle with a DSLR instead. In fact Playboy magazine used to shoot their centerfolds on 8x10 then to a Canon 5D now they use an S2 but what is stopping them from going back to 35? More to the point they need to broaden their market. Kurt has shown some fantastic street work with the S2, Marc exhibits his talents with weddings, these are both areas that are missing in the marketing of the S2 and don't get me started on products and industrial work.

    -Al
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    I'll go against the grain and speculate that no replacement for the S2 will be
    forthcoming at Photokina.
    Without doubt,the S2 borders on the perfect camera for some and I have been within
    a hair of pulling the trigger a couple of times myself but I still can't see how it can be
    anything more than marginally profitable for Leica and,as such, take the position that
    new money won't be invested in the system......

    Mark

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Ok you don t believe that the d800 will impact the sales of the S2 . I do . Leica produces (my guess ) not much more than 150 maybe 200 at peak S2 s per month . (M production is 1000 +) . I believe that the D800 will take some market share from the S line . Good point on the fact that even larger MP sensors may not be far off. But the S2 had a large easily visible advantage over the D3X ,with the D800 is smaller .

    Equally important is that the S2 has been out a few years ...my 2 year warranty is up in January and I didn t buy right away . S2 sales are dropping off if for no other reason than (who wants to take the financial hit of buying an S2 a few months before a possible new model ). Used prices are down since the beginning of the year .

    So Leica doesn t need to answer nikon but they need to decide what they will make in 2013. They can stick with the s2 , they can refresh the S2 with firmware,upgrades etc or they can come out with an S3 . (What else could they do ? )

    Guess we will see in September . I am a sucker for the new camera introductions and I will be going . What ever Leica does with the s2 won t matter much to me ...I am pretty happy . But the M10 will be a different story and they have my attention.

    Maybe I needed less coffee ..
    Roger, here's a different perspective on your questions. Forgive the length, but I hope it sheds some light on what forms my opinion on all this:

    I most certainly don't disagree that for certain target consumers, the D800 makes a lot more sense than a S2, or even a S3 for that matter. That has always been true about most any Leica product. Leica anything has never been a "practical" choice, and for the most part probably never will be. Witness the foray into excellent but more "practical" M optics that perplexed Leica with poor sales compared to backlogs on the ultra expensive lenses. Also witness the M9 titanium that did not offer any practical IQ performance over a stock M9, sold for a stupid amount of money, and was gobbled up in no time flat. These are hints as to what works for Leica and what does not. Exclusivity is the hallmark less than practical exercises ... in retrospect, "practical" cost the company huge amounts of money compared to exclusive products that injected high ROI almost immediately.

    I am not privy to any hard S system sales data, so have no comment as to whether S2 sales are down or up compared to Leica projections, or wether Leica even cares. I do know for a fact, that Leica has made the decision to market differently, and competitive sets are NOT part of that new marketing position. Part and parcel of that decision is the short and long term impact of that change ... and I believe they are prepared to absorb the short range ramifications to construct that new long term vision for the Leica Brand. How many of us here are part of that new target audience is debatable. They are NOT moving toward the pond with all other brands, they are swimming even further upstream to cater to a smaller niche audience to become an even more exclusive brand.

    Admittedly I do not have the production and engineering understanding that many including you may have ... however, from my years in marketing considered goods, I understand exactly what they are doing and frankly think they are dead-on right in doing it.

    The above will have more influence on what Leica does next than anything other brands may do, or what we may think about it. It will depend heavily on what their niche target considers to be exclusive ... or how well Leica markets what they have to that new target, who doesn't consider their purchases with their wallet in mind as much as many of us do. If it turns out that the S line HAS to be 70 meg to appeal to that specific target, then it'll be 70 meg. I do know that such considerations have less to do with an exclusivity positioning than other aspects of a product offering ... which includes the actual buying experience ... thus the whole new way Leica will be sold in future at exclusive boutiques and brick-and-mortar stores in exclusive locations.

    An interesting side issue with ultra exclusive products is the initial down-turn in resale value. Wealthy targets do not by used unless there is no other way to get something exclusive (witness the M lens shortages and used prices that people are willing to pay). Long term is a different matter as the residual effect of moving further-and-further upstream begins impacting the market.

    As to more immediate S2 projections, Leica already has something in their hip pocket ... the ever elusive S leaf-shutter lenses. This aspect would further add exclusivity to the existing system, and placate many S users including me. I need/want/would use this more than more pixels or higher ISO. It is a huge factor for those who use lighting, and lighting is another aspect that has yet impacted S users (I'm writing a blog entry on the "creative" impact lighting can have on the S2 user, which is a growing niche in itself). I will be VERY miffed if they announce a new S camera before fulfilling the SC lens trade-in promise which was a MAJOR factor in my buying into the S system.

    I'm sure there will be an S3, and it will employ new tech ... whether existing S users will ALL be the target is debatable. Those that sold everything they own to get a S2 may not be able to pony up the price ... again. However, if they are satisfied with what they have as it relates to their creative needs, it won't make much difference.

    -Marc

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    Subscriber Member KurtKamka's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Al, I agree about the missed marketing opportunity. I understand the need to place the camera into the hands of fashion photographers to try to demonstrate the pedigree of the system. But I'm at a loss for trying to understand why Leica hasn't promoted other uses for the camera more extensively.

    First, there are plenty of M shooters who might've been more tempted to kick the tires of the system with some promotional support showcasing the system as an aspirational big brother with weatherproofing, autofocus lenses, etc. With the climb of Leica M lenses, sacrificing a few M lenses could put an M user or frustrated R shooter close to the purchase of an S2 body.

    Second, there are plenty of photographers who have used medium format during their lifetime who've dismissed using the format for a range of photographic styles outside of the studio because of an impression that the format is too cumbersome ... or that the cameras aren't up to the task. The S2 rocks the house in this regard. Weather sealing, an easy user interface, malleable files, and lenses that are amazingly sharp wide open make it much, much more than a studio camera. But, when you look for Leica's promotional materials, web presence and social media endeavors involving other uses, they are frustratingly quiet. Don't even get me started on the whole S-League aesthetic.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    They are NOT moving toward the pond with all other brands, they are swimming even further upstream to cater to a smaller niche audience to become an even more exclusive brand.
    And, they are swimming in the opposite direction ... east. Interestingly enough, I spent a few days in Hong Kong several weeks ago. Sheltered Midwest boy that I am, I had never seen a Leica retail store. But, in Hong Kong I was able to walk through one at the airport, one in Hong Kong and another across the harbor in Kowloon. Each was ensconced with all of the other high-end global brands in retail locations conveniently located near high traffic hubs where mainland Chinese buyers could walk in and purchase whatever they needed ... in cash. I inquired about a micro prism focus screen at each location and was met with blank stares. They have a little work to do on product line accessories in the retail stores, but the Leica brand is alive and well in SE Asia. And that's without taking into account all of the camera stores selling part of the Leica line in the infamous camera shops along Nathan Road.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Ok you don t believe that the d800 will impact the sales of the S2 . I do . Leica produces (my guess ) not much more than 150 maybe 200 at peak S2 s per month . (M production is 1000 +) . I believe that the D800 will take some market share from the S line . Good point on the fact that even larger MP sensors may not be far off. But the S2 had a large easily visible advantage over the D3X ,with the D800 is smaller .

    Equally important is that the S2 has been out a few years ...my 2 year warranty is up in January and I didn t buy right away . S2 sales are dropping off if for no other reason than (who wants to take the financial hit of buying an S2 a few months before a possible new model ). Used prices are down since the beginning of the year .

    So Leica doesn t need to answer nikon but they need to decide what they will make in 2013. They can stick with the s2 , they can refresh the S2 with firmware,upgrades etc or they can come out with an S3 . (What else could they do ? )

    Guess we will see in September . I am a sucker for the new camera introductions and I will be going . What ever Leica does with the s2 won t matter much to me ...I am pretty happy . But the M10 will be a different story and they have my attention.

    Maybe I needed less coffee ..
    I would also expect an anoouncement before the end of the year.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Of course no one really knows what Leica will do or even how they will decide.

    The new stores are clearly part of much broader “go to market” strategy . Bringing together retail with galleries and akademie plays well to the Leica experience . The S2 is one of Leica s two flagship products along with the M . I can t argue at all with this strategy and it speaks to the relevance of the S2 line beyond just its direct financial contribution.

    But the other driving force for Leica in the next few years will be the move to Leica park in Wetzler . This requires a slightly different set of issues short and long term . You could argue that Leica can afford to lessen the challenge of a new plant start up by allowing the S2 demand to fall off somewhat . Maybe the new CS lenses will draw enough new customers to the product to offset the natural decline as a product ages .

    Increasingly I see Leica s product strategy being driven as much by “what can we actually make “ verse what does the market want or how the giant firms are approaching the market . For example ..why introduce new lenses when you can t fill existing orders ? (CS lenses are a different category ) . Can we create a partnership to support an EVIL introduction? Will they stick with the Kodak spin off for sensors ?

    I am being convinced by the counter arguments that maybe Leica will hold off on the S2 replacement at Photokina and concentrate on the M10 . It will cost them some sales short term but that may not be all bad considering the difficulty of the move to Wetzler Park . But I am still betting on 70+ MP for the S3 whenever it arrives.

    Expresso seems next on the agenda .

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post
    Al, I agree about the missed marketing opportunity. I understand the need to place the camera into the hands of fashion photographers to try to demonstrate the pedigree of the system. But I'm at a loss for trying to understand why Leica hasn't promoted other uses for the camera more extensively.

    First, there are plenty of M shooters who might've been more tempted to kick the tires of the system with some promotional support showcasing the system as an aspirational big brother with weatherproofing, autofocus lenses, etc. With the climb of Leica M lenses, sacrificing a few M lenses could put an M user or frustrated R shooter close to the purchase of an S2 body.

    Second, there are plenty of photographers who have used medium format during their lifetime who've dismissed using the format for a range of photographic styles outside of the studio because of an impression that the format is too cumbersome ... or that the cameras aren't up to the task. The S2 rocks the house in this regard. Weather sealing, an easy user interface, malleable files, and lenses that are amazingly sharp wide open make it much, much more than a studio camera. But, when you look for Leica's promotional materials, web presence and social media endeavors involving other uses, they are frustratingly quiet. Don't even get me started on the whole S-League aesthetic.
    Kurt, read my recent response to Roger. It helps make it clearer why Leica has fixated on "Fashion" as the centerpiece visual presentation.
    Fashion exudes "Exclusivity, and does it exceedingly well with their new intended Brand audience. From a marketing perspective, it is actually smarter than you may think it is, even though it isn't your cup of tea.

    As photographers with a decent amount of time using the S2, we both know it is capable of much more. I also shoot street with it but less than you because I still tend toward the M for that. Where it has leapt forward for me is actually in the semi-fashion type work and use of lighting ... both for some wedding work, and especially new revenue streams from vanity shoots I'm doing in-studio and on location often employing more sophisticated lighting techniques ...which is where the S2 really shines, and many S2 users here on GetDpi don't do much of. That the S2's form factor has promoted that usage has made it more viable than say my H4D/60. Leica does need to get the CS lenses to market soon to further promote this type of useage IMO.

    -Marc

    Here are a couple from a very recent wedding shoot ... not everyone's cup of tea, but the client was floored by them, and purchased very large prints on the spot.
    Last edited by fotografz; 26th April 2012 at 02:40.
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    Subscriber Member KurtKamka's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Very nice shots, Marc. I love seeing how others use gear and mold it to their own vision. I'm a complete simpleton when it comes to lighting, but I can see where it can be a great way to differentiate and bring in new revenue streams.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    The consumer group for the S2 and D800 are not the same. They don't even go to the same country club or car dealers. To say the D800 will rob Leica of S2 sales is like saying the Hipsamatic will rob Nikon of D800 sales. Anyone willing to put $30K down on a camera is not looking for a cheap alternative. And those looking for the best bang for the buck usually don't look at Leica.

    If the M10 is coming out this year, I am not sure Leica will also be investing in an S3 release. I think they would want to wait for a little return on one camera before going to the next. I also think they may want to beef up the S2 line of lenses, although with the release of lens adapters it seems Leica is saying the lenses will be slow coming.

  41. #41
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    The consumer group for the S2 and D800 are not the same. They don't even go to the same country club or car dealers. To say the D800 will rob Leica of S2 sales is like saying the Hipsamatic will rob Nikon of D800 sales. Anyone willing to put $30K down on a camera is not looking for a cheap alternative.
    I've been trying to find a good way of saying that - you just did it - I'm sure it's right

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Sorry guys not buying into that one what about me I have the Nikon and a 50 k Phase system. It's about needs not earnings.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Believe me anyone buying today even spending 50 k on a system is going to stop by the counter and kick the tires on the Nikon before they drop it on a Leica, phase , Hassy . I don't care how much money they have they would be morons if they did not. At 36 mpx which we all know is a huge selling point is mpx people will at least stop and take a look at it. May not buy it but they will look. Everyone wants to save a buck somewhere. I do not know one person of extreme wealth that did not short cut something somewhere.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  44. #44
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    The consumer group for the S2 and D800 are not the same. They don't even go to the same country club or car dealers. To say the D800 will rob Leica of S2 sales is like saying the Hipsamatic will rob Nikon of D800 sales. Anyone willing to put $30K down on a camera is not looking for a cheap alternative. And those looking for the best bang for the buck usually don't look at Leica.

    If the M10 is coming out this year, I am not sure Leica will also be investing in an S3 release. I think they would want to wait for a little return on one camera before going to the next. I also think they may want to beef up the S2 line of lenses, although with the release of lens adapters it seems Leica is saying the lenses will be slow coming.
    Could not disagree more . This is an over simplification that is based on the ability to pay . It should not be inferred that the D800 s only advantages are in its low cost . What I believe is that Leica will lose some sales ..lets say 20% to photographers that will choose the D800. (my number ). Doesn t mean that Leica can t get new sales in other places just that photographers have new choices

    I am a good example ...I have no limits on my photography budget . My primary system is based on the M platform and I shoot 70% of yearly images with the M . My second system is the nikon D3s/d3x (to be replaced by the D800E/D4) which I use primarily for sports,long glass and flash . My 3rd system is the S2 which I use wherever I can take advantage of MF ..mostly travel,landscape and some portraits .

    Did I need an S2 system ..no ...I just wanted one and hoped I could use it more . Its sucks for most street shooting (Kurt s experience aside he is just good with any camera) and Sports . And it has no long glass . I still enjoy the heck out of it for travel and landscape. But had the D800E been around when I got the D3X I might have just worked with the M system and the Nikon s . I really like the idea that I could have 2 D800 bodies and 4 primes for some of my trips.

    Agree completely that almost all D800 buyers would never consider an S2 ...but some S2 buyers may consider a d800.

    Doesn t really matter much in the argument . The sales of the S2 are normalizing ...the big push at the beginning of the lifecycle is over . You can buy anything you want its in stock and used prices are dropping .

    The only thing you have to agree with ..is that sales of the S2 going into 2013 look to be below full capacity . I believe its because new alternatives with better value propositions have entered the market (competing for the same $$$) and that the normal life cycle of the S2 has reached beyond its peak demand .

    Leica has the three alternatives and good cases can be made for each .

    1. They can stay the course with the S2 and live off the lenses and other product lines .

    2. They can significantly improve the s2 (like High ISO firmware ) and create confidence that the S2 will be around a while and continue to get better.

    3. They can introduce an new model S3 thats better than the s2 in some marketable way.

    I have been convinced by the discussion that Leica will stay the course . The R&D resources are limited and priority will be given to the M10 and the higher volume EVIL system . Cutting back production would actually ease the plant transition . Losing sales of a few hundred S models would be insignificant . This is more in keeping with how the manufacturing executives would look at the situation.

    Longer term I believe they will respond with an S3 with more MP among a list of new features . They will not answer the D800 ...they will move up and compete at the highest levels of the MF world.

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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Could not disagree more . This is an over simplification that is based on the ability to pay . It should not be inferred that the D800 s only advantages are in its low cost . What I believe is that Leica will lose some sales ..lets say 20% to photographers that will choose the D800. (my number ). Doesn t mean that Leica can t get new sales in other places just that photographers have new choices

    I am a good example ...I have no limits on my photography budget . My primary system is based on the M platform and I shoot 70% of yearly images with the M . My second system is the nikon D3s/d3x (to be replaced by the D800E/D4) which I use primarily for sports,long glass and flash . My 3rd system is the S2 which I use wherever I can take advantage of MF ..mostly travel,landscape and some portraits .

    Did I need an S2 system ..no ...I just wanted one and hoped I could use it more . Its sucks for most street shooting (Kurt s experience aside he is just good with any camera) and Sports . And it has no long glass . I still enjoy the heck out of it for travel and landscape. But had the D800E been around when I got the D3X I might have just worked with the M system and the Nikon s . I really like the idea that I could have 2 D800 bodies and 4 primes for some of my trips.

    Agree completely that almost all D800 buyers would never consider an S2 ...but some S2 buyers may consider a d800.

    Doesn t really matter much in the argument . The sales of the S2 are normalizing ...the big push at the beginning of the lifecycle is over . You can buy anything you want its in stock and used prices are dropping .

    The only thing you have to agree with ..is that sales of the S2 going into 2013 look to be below full capacity . I believe its because new alternatives with better value propositions have entered the market (competing for the same $$$) and that the normal life cycle of the S2 has reached beyond its peak demand .

    Leica has the three alternatives and good cases can be made for each .

    1. They can stay the course with the S2 and live off the lenses and other product lines .

    2. They can significantly improve the s2 (like High ISO firmware ) and create confidence that the S2 will be around a while and continue to get better.

    3. They can introduce an new model S3 thats better than the s2 in some marketable way.

    I have been convinced by the discussion that Leica will stay the course . The R&D resources are limited and priority will be given to the M10 and the higher volume EVIL system . Cutting back production would actually ease the plant transition . Losing sales of a few hundred S models would be insignificant . This is more in keeping with how the manufacturing executives would look at the situation.

    Longer term I believe they will respond with an S3 with more MP among a list of new features . They will not answer the D800 ...they will move up and compete at the highest levels of the MF world.
    To be clear ... it sucks for street shooting for you. Kurt isn't the only person using the S2 in that manner to good effect. However, it isn't necessarily a do it all tool, but I probably wouldn't consider a D800 a sports camera either.

    You use a M for a great majority of shooting, then a 35mm DSLR, and it sounds like not much S2 work. Reverse that order and the camera reveals itself more each time you shoot with it. I've made that point a number of times, one has to really work with any of these larger format cameras for some time to get the most out of it ... but we are constantly looking for the next thing, and never zero in on a piece of gear. I've hardly touched my 35mm DSLR since I got the S2, and shoot it even more than the M9 now ... which is one reason I won't invest in more 35mm stuff, and trimmed the M9 kit. I knew exactly how I'd use the S2 and knew it'd become the dominate camera before I got it.

    Not sure how you know that S2 sales going into 2013 are below full capacity. What is the criteria for measuring that? The S2 exceeded Leica's projections and they couldn't fill demand at first, which kept used sales higher than normal for this category of camera. Production may simply even out now and be more in tune with their original projections ... which if I recall correctly, were pretty low. Used prices may normalize like other cameras in this category now that the initial demand wanes and stock becomes available.

    I do not agree with the "Value" proposition as you seem to define it. For something to have value you first have to want it. Your proposition hinges on your belief that the D800 is close enough for what you want ... and you may not have bought the S2 if the D800 had been available. Personally, once the system was rounded out enough, I wanted the S2 period. So my criteria obviously differs from yours. I do not want a D800, (or a D900), therefore it has zero value ... and none of it has anything to do with price ... it is a subjective creative decision.

    The 3 paths forward you outline make sense. Leica could choose any one, or a combination of the 2 and 3 to move forward.

    -Marc

  46. #46
    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    I would also expect an anoouncement before the end of the year.
    I agree. In the digital world, a 3 year old camera is (perceived as) old technology. The times when you could sell the same camera for 10 years are gone. The only alternative would be to significantly "upgrade" the S2 via firmware, which may or may not be possible.

    So the more interesting question (or to be precise: speculation) is what would the S3 look like.

    Personally, I don't lust for more MP. The only thing that that would allow me to do is to crop even more the hell out of the files. But at anything close to an un-cropped file, I can print at whatever size I need/want (and if I ever want to enter the Gurski print size league, I'd get a Phase back and a tech camera). In fact, I think that more MP can actually be counter-productive (slower processing, even greater risk of camera shake etc.). However, most likely the S3 will have more MP (60-70 would be my guess).

    What I think the camera must have is better high ISO (a useable 2500 or 3200 would be great). Also, an increased DR would be great (I do hit the limits from time to time). But other than that, I am not sure what can be done IQ wise (for me, the IQ in good light is simply astounding).

    However, what I would like to see, and what could persuade me to upgrade, are improvements as regards general camera technology, specifically regarding autofocus:


    1.) Better autofocus tracking for subjects that move towards you. I don't need to shoot Formula 1 cars that speed towards me with the S3, but the camera should be able to focus track a person walking at normal speed. According to Michael Reichmann's test, the D800 can track a running dog, and there is no reason IMHO that the S2 or S3 should not be able to do the same. Even though there are ways to work around this, for people who use the camera as a general purpose travel camera, this would be a great improvement. In fact, I hope this could be implemented in the S3 through a firmware update.

    2.) Higher frame rate. Again, no reason why the S2 or S3 should not be able of shooting at a higher rate, similar to that of the S3.

    There may be other improvements, such as live view, a bigger screen, faster zooming into the pictures, focus masking etc., but all of the are of secondary importance for me (if at all).

    OTOH, what I hope Leica will not do is to mess around with the interface. Indeed, the purity and simplicity of the user interface is one of the reasons why the camera is such a joy to use; it also is IMHO one of the three USPs (unique selling points) of the camera (the other two are the lenses and the view finder--who wants to look through another DSLR view finder once you've looked through the S2 finder?).

    Two final comments:

    First, I have no doubt that Leica will continue the S line and improve it. They created a unique and very successful product from scratch. I can't see any reason to give it up after just a few years. Moreover, Leica is a luxury brand and presents it like such (new Leica stores etc.). As a luxury brand it needs a flagship product such as the S line.

    Second, I also assume that the decision which improvements will be incorporated into the S3 will be guided by who are the buyers of the camera. My guess is that you have broadly three categories:

    1.) Professionals (of which 50-75% use the camera in a studio or in controlled situations, including weddings and the remainder in the field).

    2) Gentleman photographers, i..e, the serious hobbyist who like myself, Kurt, paratom, or glenerrolrd use and enjoy the system, who bought the system because of the pictures it produces and in order to take pictures, and who are able to spend 50k on a camera and lenses (and who can do so without having to take out a loan or break the bank).

    3) The rich trophy hunter who buys the camera because of the brand prestige and because it is expensive (many of those are now in Asia or Russia).

    It is difficult to guess what percentage each group represents, but I think that group 2 likely represents some 50% of the customers, group 1) 30% and group 3) 20%.

    Each group will have different demands and Leica will decide which group it will target.

    Anyway, I think I played enough Leica analyst for today. I only hope that whatever the S3 will look like, Leica is going to continue to upgrade as much as possible the S2 through firmware updates.
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  47. #47
    Subscriber Member weinschela's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    The consumer group for the S2 and D800 are not the same. They don't even go to the same country club or car dealers. To say the D800 will rob Leica of S2 sales is like saying the Hipsamatic will rob Nikon of D800 sales. Anyone willing to put $30K down on a camera is not looking for a cheap alternative. And those looking for the best bang for the buck usually don't look at Leica.
    An economist would agree with this and conclude that S2 and D800 are not in the same "relevant market" because there is little cross elasticity of demand between them. In other words, they are so far apart that a 5 or 10% change in price on one (up or down, it doesn't matter) will produce a change in demand for the other -- purchase shifts. That means if Leica is intelligent, there will be no price response on S2 (or S3) in response to D800. You can buy 8 D800s for one S2, and the only reason for Leica to reduce price is to increase profit by increasing volume. You can see easily that this is a nonstarter proposition because of the huge gap. Rolls Royce does not respond to Honda on pricing or otherwise. Maybe not the best of analogies but you get the point.

    That does not mean the D800 is completely irrelevant. The way Leica has marketed and will continue to market is to offer something unique and exclusive. The D800 purely on MP takes that issue away from Leica as an exclusive but we all know that MP is not the goal -- the goal is good images -- and Leica can and probably will continue to market the sensor size and optics and simplicity, the "feel" of its equipment and "look" of its images. There are no signs now of Leica doing anything radical any time soon on its DSLR. All the noise has been about an M10 or a BW M9 or a consumer oriented EVIL camera. That doesn't mean they aren't doing anything because Leica is very secretive. I am personally more interested in a real M10 (not a crippled BW version) than a S2 or S3, but that is because I prefer the M unless I need a DSLR (and will have a D800e for those times I need one).
    Alan

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  48. #48
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    New information via Leica rumors predicting a new sensor vendor for Leica ..ST a French firm . Predicting new Leica S model at Photokina . So maybe the need to develop a new sensor vendor is driving the change .

    If this one is accurate ..info on new vendor looks solid ..timing who knows ...then you could guess that the M10 will have a change in the sensor vendor as well.

  49. #49
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by weinschela View Post
    An economist would agree with this and conclude that S2 and D800 are not in the same "relevant market" because there is little cross elasticity of demand between them. In other words, they are so far apart that a 5 or 10% change in price on one (up or down, it doesn't matter) will produce a change in demand for the other -- purchase shifts. That means if Leica is intelligent, there will be no price response on S2 (or S3) in response to D800. You can buy 8 D800s for one S2, and the only reason for Leica to reduce price is to increase profit by increasing volume. You can see easily that this is a nonstarter proposition because of the huge gap. Rolls Royce does not respond to Honda on pricing or otherwise. Maybe not the best of analogies but you get the point.

    That does not mean the D800 is completely irrelevant. The way Leica has marketed and will continue to market is to offer something unique and exclusive. The D800 purely on MP takes that issue away from Leica as an exclusive but we all know that MP is not the goal -- the goal is good images -- and Leica can and probably will continue to market the sensor size and optics and simplicity, the "feel" of its equipment and "look" of its images. There are no signs now of Leica doing anything radical any time soon on its DSLR. All the noise has been about an M10 or a BW M9 or a consumer oriented EVIL camera. That doesn't mean they aren't doing anything because Leica is very secretive. I am personally more interested in a real M10 (not a crippled BW version) than a S2 or S3, but that is because I prefer the M unless I need a DSLR (and will have a D800e for those times I need one).
    Alan

    Not sure that anyone has indicated that Leica need respond to the D800 price by reducing their prices. The market we are concerned about are those photographers that either already buy Leica or could afford to if the product looks attractive .

    From the files I have seen the D800 does not match the IQ or the MF aesthetic ...but it beats the heck out of the S2 in AF ,speed of operation,ability to handle long glass etc . So for some applications the D800 would be a preferred alternative . The hype for sure exceeds reality but I am sure its a great camera .

    The only point is that if I was on the fence about the S2 ...probably concerned about investing $50K in a single body and 4 lenses....I would certainly consider a D800 . I would know that its not the same but I might feel better spending less.

    My opinion is that Leica needs to respond ..when the factory is in a position to produce S bodies ....with an S3 that creates a bigger gap in IQ . Others have rightly suggested that the CS lenses might have a similar affect .

  50. #50
    Subscriber Member weinschela's Avatar
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    Re: S3 at Photokina?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Alan

    Not sure that anyone has indicated that Leica need respond to the D800 price by reducing their prices. The market we are concerned about are those photographers that either already buy Leica or could afford to if the product looks attractive .

    From the files I have seen the D800 does not match the IQ or the MF aesthetic ...but it beats the heck out of the S2 in AF ,speed of operation,ability to handle long glass etc . So for some applications the D800 would be a preferred alternative . The hype for sure exceeds reality but I am sure its a great camera .

    The only point is that if I was on the fence about the S2 ...probably concerned about investing $50K in a single body and 4 lenses....I would certainly consider a D800 . I would know that its not the same but I might feel better spending less.

    My opinion is that Leica needs to respond ..when the factory is in a position to produce S bodies ....with an S3 that creates a bigger gap in IQ . Others have rightly suggested that the CS lenses might have a similar affect .
    Roger: We're really not in disagreement. My point was that Leica would not respond in price because it would be nonsensical to do so. Their response can be to emphasize what they already have in the S2 or to come up with something even better. Either way, they will not be positioning the S2 or S3 as a direct competitor to a D800 (nor did they re a D3x or 1Ds mkiii). They are trying to carve out a niche that is more MF than 35mm. But either way, we agree that Leica must somehow position itself as having something unique that warrants the price. That can be features, IQ, or the Red Dot or something else.
    Alan

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