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Thread: Leica SL vs S IQ

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    Leica SL vs S IQ

    I do feel (see) that the IQ I get with the Leica S006 and S lenses is a step up from what I see from Canikon FF DSLRs and also from what I see from the Leica M 240 in regards of detail, color and tonality.

    Now I wonder how much is from the sensor type, how much from the sensor size and how much from the lenses.

    And I wonder how close a Leica SL with good primes (for example the 50/1.4 SL once it is available, or good R-glass or the M 50 APO-Summicron) would come close to the IQ I get with the Leica S.

    At the moment I assume there will still be quite a difference, since the SL sensor is based on the Q and while the Q IQ is fine I dont find the color up to what I see from the S.

    Any opinions? Or Jono, did you eventually shoot the S lenses on the SL, or even SL and S side by side?

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    It's likely impossible to judge this with any real credibility until a few more cycles of cameras in the field with final software and more/different lenses used come to pass. But it will be fun to participate and consider it.

    G

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    I would be more concerned about the differences in handling, going from an OVF to an EVF, a larger body vs smaller body, access to a huge range of lenses (SL) and battery performance (best in the S). Also of note (but a bit less so) is the difference in sensor size regarding the look and feel of the images.

    If you want the best image quality from Leica I would think the Leica S 007 would be it.

    The SL is more about the form factor, the look and feel, the technology, and features (including being able to adapt a whole bunch of lenses to it) rather than the ultimate technical image quality (which should be similar to the M).
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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    At low ISO, I think the difference will be what you'd expect: 24MP FF vs 37.5MP MF, because both have great glass. Comparing the likes of a D810 with the S is more interesting because you have similar pixel counts. I just don't see the SL competing with the S on sheer IQ, where the S006 is strongest: low ISO. Up the ISO range, I don't think one would need to go too far to prefer the SL due to the noise of the CCD S006.

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    From a discussion with Product Mgmt report on Facebook:
    "The SL lenses shall be the best performing lens on the SL as the lens optical formula takes into consideration of the sensor cover glass characteristics"

    I read there as subtitles that the S lenses performance might not be that great on the SL.
    If the S007 offers the same IQ (or better said same rendering) at base iso than my S2, I'll upgrade.
    If not I plan to complement my S2 with the SL.

    But it would be wise to do so once the T to S adapter is made available and the S lenses properly tested. Certainly don't want to put my S 45mm on the SL and get smeared corners...
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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    I'm also very curious. I don't have an S but I have seen the used prices of the 006 are going down, so have been considering to start with a simple 006/70 kit. However, the SL with the 50/1.4 lux should be a killer combination.
    Last edited by edwardkaraa; 2nd November 2015 at 01:47.
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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by anGy View Post
    From a discussion with Product Mgmt report on Facebook:
    "The SL lenses shall be the best performing lens on the SL as the lens optical formula takes into consideration of the sensor cover glass characteristics"

    I read there as subtitles that the S lenses performance might not be that great on the SL.
    Hi there
    I think the cover glass comments would have had a subtext relating to M lenses rather than S lenses

    Tom. I don't think that the image quality would be a match for the S. (why would it). The SL seems to be more about speed and functionality rather than just IQ. which I would say was more equivalent to the Q. I never had the two cameras together.

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    I'm also very curious. I don't have an S but I have seen the used prices of the 006 are going down, so have been considering to start with a simple 006/70 kit. However, the SL with the 50/1.4 lux should be a killer combination.

    I'm also a bit confused about the S lenses, which are supposed to be stellar by all accounts. I'm not sure why their official MTF are really below average.
    Well judging by what Leica themselves claim abut the S lenses- maybe Leica don't feel the need to muck around with tricked up MTF tables...I love my M lenses- but the S lenses are something special...ya got to try them out...and see for yourself.

    As for M lens and SL - It would have to be a Nocti of course.
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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by anGy View Post
    From a discussion with Product Mgmt report on Facebook:
    "The SL lenses shall be the best performing lens on the SL as the lens optical formula takes into consideration of the sensor cover glass characteristics"

    I read there as subtitles that the S lenses performance might not be that great on the SL.
    If the S007 offers the same IQ (or better said same rendering) at base iso than my S2, I'll upgrade.
    If not I plan to complement my S2 with the SL.

    But it would be wise to do so once the T to S adapter is made available and the S lenses properly tested. Certainly don't want to put my S 45mm on the SL and get smeared corners...
    I guess the answer about the low ISOs might be...S007 almost as good as S006 in regards of color at low ISO, but probably with slightly better DR. From my 3 hour unscientific testrun with the S007 I found the files very good but not 100% the natural color look which I love from the S006.
    The problem is the S007 to cost 3 times the prices of the SL.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi there
    I think the cover glass comments would have had a subtext relating to M lenses rather than S lenses

    Tom. I don't think that the image quality would be a match for the S. (why would it). The SL seems to be more about speed and functionality rather than just IQ. which I would say was more equivalent to the Q. I never had the two cameras together.
    But why could a SL not deliver the same IQ like a cropped S007?

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    But why could a SL not deliver the same IQ like a cropped S007?
    It is not necessarily the same brain hidden behind the same eyes (Intelligence Quotient may be part of the big boy charm).
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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    ..
    But why could a SL not deliver the same IQ like a cropped S007?
    I imagine it might, but then I found myself very sensitive to the fact that my M lenses, performing beautifully on the GXR, weren't delivering quite what I expected because I wasn't seeing the full frame that they were tuned for, and was evident in my film M exposures. That was one of the motivations behind buying the M9 in the first place.

    The lens to sensor match is very sensitive, and the lens to its intended format match is also very sensitive, when you're playing with "ultimate, ultra quality" lenses like this and looking for nuances. :-)

    G

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Between early testing and some further photo trips, I've racked up over 10,000 exposures with the S007. I used the S2 since it was in beta, then later the S006 as my go-to camera system. Basically, I've been an avid S user from the beginning.

    I had the opportunity to shoot for few days in Germany with the new SL before returning home last week. I'm currently working on a full review.

    I find the S007 to be in a different class from anything I've ever shot, Leica or otherwise. The DNG files, especially at base ISO, have an unbelievable amount of DR. They are the most malleable files I've ever processed. The lenses really are second to none, but the camera imaging chain is darn impressive. Too many people sell Leica short when it comes to digital imaging tech. 15+ stops of DR is insane, and immensely useful. The high ISO is also quite good, with excellent results up to ISO 6400.

    When processing the SL files, I was struck that even though they are lovely, they are not approaching the sheer quality potential of the S. Of course, as Jono says, the SL has many other advantages such as AF speed, frame rate, IS, massive lens compatibility, smaller body, etc. And, the body is half the price of the S007. I will hold back final judgement on the files until Adobe issues full support for the SL DNGs. I saw a huge jump from my early test shots with the Q before and after a LR update, so I'm hoping for a similar update for the SL. Until then, we can use the Q as a "worst case scenario" for image quality, although I already think the SL in its current state is superior to the Q.

    Bottom line: The SL is a lot of fun to use and turns out really great images, but the S007 is still tops for IQ.
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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by dfarkas View Post
    ...
    Bottom line: The SL is a lot of fun to use and turns out really great images, but the S007 is still tops for IQ.
    Thanks for the honest answer.
    I am afraid it doesnt make my decisions easier.

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by dfarkas View Post
    ...
    Bottom line: The SL is a lot of fun to use and turns out really great images, but the S007 is still tops for IQ.
    Makes perfect sense, David. There has to be some reason why Leica would continue to pursue and develop the S camera line, and that enormous sensor is the A-Number-One culprit behind the additional DR.

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    Thanks for the honest answer.
    I am afraid it doesnt make my decisions easier.
    It did mine.

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Lawyer View Post
    It did mine.
    Well, I prefer optical viewfinder, allready own S lenses and do like the IQ from the S006...

    I wouldnt mind the video capability in combination with the viewfinder from the SL and sometimes a Zoom would be nice.

    I wish the S007 was 5k less in price than it actually is.

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    Well, I prefer optical viewfinder, allready own S lenses and do like the IQ from the S006...

    I wouldnt mind the video capability in combination with the viewfinder from the SL and sometimes a Zoom would be nice.

    I wish the S007 was 5k less in price than it actually is.
    Sounds like the choice is obvious. Just think: you don't have to pay $5000 for a dedicated SL lens ... :-)

    Just trying to be helpful!

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by dfarkas View Post

    Bottom line: The SL is a lot of fun to use and turns out really great images, but the S007 is still tops for IQ.
    Hi there David - I really couldn't disagree with this - even with my rather limited experience with the 007.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    Thanks for the honest answer.
    I am afraid it doesnt make my decisions easier.
    I think the point is that the SL isn't intended to be a competitor for the S. It's clearly meant to be the missing link between the T and the S. Its very responsive and very fast.

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi there David - I really couldn't disagree with this - even with my rather limited experience with the 007.



    I think the point is that the SL isn't intended to be a competitor for the S. It's clearly meant to be the missing link between the T and the S. Its very responsive and very fast.
    I guess need to look at the SL and at images from it myself to make my final decision.

    For some reason I would have hoped that IQ from the SL (for its price and for its size) would come closer to an S than to an Q. 24MP would be fine for me but I would want the character of sensor and lenses comparable to the S.

    Some things where I am a little concerned:
    -Color: When I used the Q for some weeks I wasn't totally happy with color. Skin looked sometimes a little to warm and pinkish, greens too yellowish. I read in some reports about the same tendency for the SL. Why is it not possible to make sure LR has proper profies once a product is launched?
    -DR: If its true what we see on DPReview the Sensor of the SL is good but not class leading in regards of noise/dynamic range

    I hope to be able to testdrive a SL myself, since pricewise it would fit me much better than the S

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    I guess need to look at the SL and at images from it myself to make my final decision.

    For some reason I would have hoped that IQ from the SL (for its price and for its size) would come closer to an S than to an Q. 24MP would be fine for me but I would want the character of sensor and lenses comparable to the S.

    Some things where I am a little concerned:
    -Color: When I used the Q for some weeks I wasn't totally happy with color. Skin looked sometimes a little to warm and pinkish, greens too yellowish. I read in some reports about the same tendency for the SL. Why is it not possible to make sure LR has proper profies once a product is launched?
    -DR: If its true what we see on DPReview the Sensor of the SL is good but not class leading in regards of noise/dynamic range

    I hope to be able to testdrive a SL myself, since pricewise it would fit me much better than the S
    Hi Tom,

    for me this would be a no-brainer if it comes down to IQ. The has to be better and I think it easily shows. No compromise here.

    WRT usability, better price performance ratio etc. the SL should clearly win. At least as soon as more native SL glass will be available.
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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Hi Tom,

    for me this would be a no-brainer if it comes down to IQ. The has to be better and I think it easily shows. No compromise here.

    WRT usability, better price performance ratio etc. the SL should clearly win. At least as soon as more native SL glass will be available.
    Just to not be misunderstood: I think for the price difference the S should deliver better IQ, the question is by how much.
    Of course absolute technical IQ is not everything, but the images from the S have a special look which I like a lot.
    The closest to this would be when using the 50APO on the M.
    If I look at the user interface of the SL,the design of lenses (I mean large, robust, weatherproof) it looks like a mini S.
    The question is how will the lenses render, and how will the sensor "render". The problem is it is not so easy to judge until proper profiles for the raw converters do exist. At least for someone like me who doesn't make his own profiles/ isn't very experienced with post-processing/cooking images.
    I mostly like to just work a bit on shadows/exposure/WB and that's it.

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    Of course absolute technical IQ is not everything, but the images from the S have a special look which I like a lot.
    The closest to this would be when using the 50APO on the M.
    Fully agree on both those comments.
    I tried out a 007+70mm recently and (in a non-scientific way) compared images with my M240+50mm APO.
    The M+50mm APO is the best an M can deliver, a lovely combo in that small form factor.
    But for larger print sizes, I discovered the 007 is a very long way ahead in image quality over my M ..... by much more than just megapixel differences. Yes, the extra resolution is very noticeable for larger prints, but I was especially stunned at the smoothness of the S' rendering, its accurate colors out of camera, the 3D'ness of the images, etc etc.
    All I can conclude is that a larger sensor size is perhaps much more important than I'd previously assumed in producing a "look" and final image quality.
    Oddly enough, I'm not sure that should be a surprise, given my background in MF and LF Film ...... perhaps some things when it comes to tonality & smoothness don't change in the Digital era (even if, on a resolution basis, 35mm FF cameras are cramming in a comparable # of megapixels as many MF backs .....).
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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Warwick View Post
    Fully agree on both those comments.
    I tried out a 007+70mm recently and (in a non-scientific way) compared images with my M240+50mm APO.
    The M+50mm APO is the best an M can deliver, a lovely combo in that small form factor.
    But for larger print sizes, I discovered the 007 is a very long way ahead in image quality over my M ..... by much more than just megapixel differences. Yes, the extra resolution is very noticeable for larger prints, but I was especially stunned at the smoothness of the S' rendering, its accurate colors out of camera, the 3D'ness of the images, etc etc.
    All I can conclude is that a larger sensor size is perhaps much more important than I'd previously assumed in producing a "look" and final image quality.
    Oddly enough, I'm not sure that should be a surprise, given my background in MF and LF Film ...... perhaps some things when it comes to tonality & smoothness don't change in the Digital era (even if, on a resolution basis, 35mm FF cameras are cramming in a comparable # of megapixels as many MF backs .....).
    I really wonder how much comes from sensor size. Maybe for fun I will take the same image with 70mm using full s-sensor size and with 45mm cropped to 24x36 and with 50mm APO and the M. Just for fun, not that I expect to really understand something from just one image.

    "smoothness of the S' rendering, its accurate colors out of camera, the 3D'ness of the images, etc etc." that's exactly what I mean

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    I just shot some first images with an SL and an S007 in my garden.
    It looks like DNG from both cameras converted in LR seem to match pretty close in color.
    Closer than I expected. It seems (just first impression) colorwise the 2 sensors/cameras could work together pretty good.
    Obvious is that the Bokeh of the SL-Zoom is not up to good primes ( I compared 70mm on the S at f5,6 vs the SL at 55mm/3.5), the SL-Zoom bokeh can be a bit busy. Sharpness of the Zoom at this focal length looks quite good as well.
    more to follow
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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    I think this is too personal a question for anyone to answer.
    The IQ of the SL can't be quite as good as a cropped S sensor, because of flange distance. The S lenses and sensor just have a much simpler task than the SL/M lenses.
    The question is if you can get the extra IQ out with your subjects and way of shooting. The SL is ofcourse a lot more portable, especially with M-lenses. AF is also much faster on the SL, but there is only one lens available with it righ now. If you need AF on all your lenses and you don't shoot indoors or fast paced stuff the S would be your choice for at least the next year.
    And then there is OVF vs EVF. While the OVF of the S is brilliant, it does mean you need higher shutter speeds or a tripod.
    I personally would buy the SL as a camera for social stuff or for when I need portability and speed and keep another camera for the IQ (I still shoot LF film, so I don't need my 2nd camera to have that much resolution).
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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    I just shot some first images with an SL and an S007 in my garden.
    It looks like DNG from both cameras converted in LR seem to match pretty close in color.
    Closer than I expected. It seems (just first impression) colorwise the 2 sensors/cameras could work together pretty good.
    Obvious is that the Bokeh of the SL-Zoom is not up to good primes ( I compared 70mm on the S at f5,6 vs the SL at 55mm/3.5), the SL-Zoom bokeh can be a bit busy. Sharpness of the Zoom at this focal length looks quite good as well.
    more to follow
    I'm looking forward to hearing and seeing more about the differences.

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    more to follow
    We wait with baited breath . . .

    I've had both in my hands this year, but not at the same time, so no real opportunity to compare.
    I think I feel the same way about the colour. I hadn't compared the bokeh in any meaningful way, but I think the 24-90 does pretty well for a zoom, but it's different at different focal lengths.

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    If you want to compare the color ......set both cameras to custom WB and use a grey card or WHIBAL . This eliminates differences in WB and in addition any temp or tint bias caused by lens coatings , sensor glass etc etc . (want to match files you need to get the WB matched first ).

    Then using a Passport color checker for each camera ....take a few captures . Using those images you can see how the cameras render both color and the tone curve using .....embedded, the adobe profile and a custom profile made from the color checker .

    In 30 minutes you will know all you need to about the color rendering .

    The other issue is much more complex ...the highlights and shadows can develop color shifts that defy a simple profile correction . Read David Frakas comparison of CCD to CMOS sensors . He had to apply adjustments to the shadows to bring the M9 and M240 closer together .

    I found with the M9 and the M240 that I could get the colors pretty close ...much closer than I could come with the D810 and this was using custom profiles ...but the aesthetic was more affected by the tone curve . And more in the highlights ...the CCD files had a lower highlight setting and a flatter highlight to light transition ..the CMOS M240 file had a very linear (straight ) tone curve with a brighter highlight . Move the CMOS file to a medium tone curve in light room and compare to the CCD tone curve without adjustment . Makes sense ..you have more DR to work with in the CMOS file so you want a flat tone curve you can work with .

    Since I did these tests on the M240 back now almost two years ...the LR profiles have gotten much better and I miss the M9 aesthetics much less .

    Still I think its going to be challenging to match the SL CMOS files with the S 006 CCD to create a common aesthetic .
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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    2 images with S+70 and SL+Zoom.
    DNG processed in LR without postprocessing except minor cropping, WB in LR daylight.
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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Thanks for posting these. What f-stops were used on each camera?

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by skimmel View Post
    Thanks for posting these. What f-stops were used on each camera?
    zoom wide open f3.7 and the 70 at f5.6 (which I felt could be equivalent in regards of DOF)
    and since I used auto ISO 1/250 for both the S007 shot is with higher ISO than the SL shot.
    But I was only interested in color not in noise here.

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Thanks. Which is which? (Or should we guess?)

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    I think I'm going to have to screw on my spectral analyzer to see a significant difference ...!

    G

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Morning

    I haven't seen an SL yet and I don't think it fits so well for me but as I own a 007 I clearly prefer the first of each series.

    That said, posting unprocessed jpegs for me means very little, all we are looking at is LR's standard profile for each camera, we certainly aren't looking at what each camera can produce. Why not process them Tom? Are they both easy to get what you want from the shot? Why not shoot at the optimal settings for each camera rather than try and match them? I'd like to see you shoot an interesting scene in the best way you can within the restrictions of the camera, process them to your taste and then let us know what you think the positives and negatives of each file are. Can you shoot a standard landscape style shot at f11 and a portrait wide open? Then we can get an idea what the differences are, if any.

    I can see a lot of value in the SL being able to produce smaller files but of equal quality, that would be great but it's only relevant if you are shooting each camera to its abilities, I see no point in being able to match if your shooting is compromised.

    Are you testing both or have you bought one or both??

    Mat

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    Re: Leica SL vs S IQ

    Quote Originally Posted by mjr View Post
    Morning

    I haven't seen an SL yet and I don't think it fits so well for me but as I own a 007 I clearly prefer the first of each series.

    That said, posting unprocessed jpegs for me means very little, all we are looking at is LR's standard profile for each camera, we certainly aren't looking at what each camera can produce. Why not process them Tom? Are they both easy to get what you want from the shot? Why not shoot at the optimal settings for each camera rather than try and match them? I'd like to see you shoot an interesting scene in the best way you can within the restrictions of the camera, process them to your taste and then let us know what you think the positives and negatives of each file are. Can you shoot a standard landscape style shot at f11 and a portrait wide open? Then we can get an idea what the differences are, if any.

    I can see a lot of value in the SL being able to produce smaller files but of equal quality, that would be great but it's only relevant if you are shooting each camera to its abilities, I see no point in being able to match if your shooting is compromised.

    Are you testing both or have you bought one or both??

    Mat
    Hi Mat,
    LR is the software I mostly use for conversion as a starting point. And if color of images from both S and SL come out close at this starting point, this means life will be easier. For example it should not be too difficult to mix images from both cameras.
    If I try to make the best of each file, I am afraid it would be too much a matter of personal taste to have any value for other people.


    Quote Originally Posted by mjr View Post
    .... Are they both easy to get what you want from the shot? ...
    From the first impression (that's all I have so far) the images come out of LR pretty close to how I like the to look like from both cameras:
    - some pop in the colors but still natural looking
    - same seems to be the case for skin tones
    - also with good sharpness and contrast
    It seems not much postprocessing is needed for my taste, which I like.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjr View Post
    I can see a lot of value in the SL being able to produce smaller files but of equal quality, that would be great but it's only relevant if you are shooting each camera to its abilities, I see no point in being able to match if your shooting is compromised.
    I see the value for the SL compared to an S in:
    - speed and AF - with being able to focus nearly everywhere in the viewfinder and also with face detection it is easier to hit focus on the eyes as soon as people are not still
    - flexibility of that 24-90 Zoom
    - EVF is nice for video
    - One backup body which works for T/M/S
    - low light

    I see the advantages of the S in a) the great (and available) lenses, the nice OVF, and the tonal transitions and also the transition from focus plane to background.
    I also do like the S color I can achieve (at least I did for the S006 and I hope to achieve the same with the S007). So I was pleasantly surprised to see the SL color out of LR looks similar to the color from S007 out of LR.

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