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Thread: What the S? and why I still like it.

  1. #51
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    Re: What the S? and why I still like it.

    Last Summer, I was asked by the LF admins if I wanted to participate in the beta testing of new firmware for the S007. In the end, nothing came out of it, after I asked some questions and didn't get satisfactory answers... Anyway, toward the end of our conversation, which touched upon my wishes for new FW features (which I understand was relayed to the relevant people at Leica), I suggested that they should consider making the flash protocol in the Leica S compatible with Nikon (the same way Hasselblad has done with the X1D). After all, the physical layout of the hotshoe pins is the same for both Nikon and Leica - so the rest should be FW...? My idea was that rather than wait for Profoto to bring a Leica-compatible Air-TTL trigger (and I think Mark's much earlier comment about the hell freezing over before that happens is right on the spot), they could make the camera compatible with the existing Profoto trigger for Nikon (and all the other Godox etc. triggers). While that would probably make the camera incompatible with the SF-64, perhaps that unit also could be reprogrammed with new FW to make it work again. My grandma used to say that "if the mountain will not come to Mohammed, then Mohammed will have to come to the mountain". Perhaps that applies to Leica and strobes also. PS: I never got any feedback re my suggestion. PS2: And of course, if they made the S compatible with Nikon flash, they could never again sell me a repackaged Metz flash for twice the price...so I am skeptical. But if Leica position the S system to wedding / fashion / location shooters, then lack of TTL flash with strobes is a distinct competitive disadvantage against systems for which TTL strobe triggers are available (Nikon, Canon, Sony). PS3: The PhaseOne XF camera body has an Air-TTL trigger built in - I'd love Leica to do the same (perhaps even drop the GPS unit...which I never use, as a result of which all my images are marked with zero zero coordinates somewhere in the ocean south of Ghana...). End of rant.
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  2. #52
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    Re: What the S? and why I still like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Hi Rick, being a long time supporter and detractor of the Leica S system, I can share my opinions and information as I know it to be as of now.

    First off, the Leica USA service issues are not exclusive to the S system. They may be more pointed because S repairs like the AF issue have to be sent to Germany which magnifies the slow and increasingly unreliable service here in the US. I do not know if certain services needs for other cameras like the SL or M(240) also have to sent to Germany. Leica instituted a new service system in NJ, and it is a mess right now. Hopefully they will correct it quickly.

    Current information I've been told regarding the S system AF fix is that they are working on it and have solved it for some lenses, with others to come. Other S photographers I know have said they have info that Leica has the solution for all lenses. Regardless of who is correct, it suggests that they are working on it rather than ignoring or abandoning it. If I were getting into the S system now, I'd wait to flesh out a lens system until the permanent solution is confirmed by Leica, and new or used S or CS lenses with the new AF parts are available and confirmed as such.

    There have been unsubstantiated rumors that Leica is considering relegating the S to Sinar ... whatever that means? Sounds unlikely to me, but who knows what the heck is going on at Leica ... the only consistent and clear communication from them is marketing propaganda selling more and more new stuff.

    IMO, it is doubtful (but not impossible) that Leica will work as TTL with strobes. I think it is more up to the strobe companies to implement those protocols, and they tend to stay with the more high-volume manufacturers such as Canon, Nikon, and now Sony. I'm not sure that any MFD offers TTL with strobes, except maybe the new Hasselblad Mirrorless which uses a Nikon TTL protocol hot-shoe. Personally, I've found no need or desire for TTL with strobes but that is a personal bias. The CS lenses for use with Profoto strobes is one reason I got into the S system in the first place.

    Similarily, I would not hold my breath regarding a Leica W/A T/S lens. However, I believe there are T/S solutions via the various adapters available for the S camera. I also wouldn't predict a longer lens anytime soon ... and should one materialize I'd guess it would be so expensive as to cause a major medical event Again, there are solutions via the Leica adapters ... Contax 350APO, 350s in V mount, or Hasselblad HC-300 for example ... BTW, any Hasselblad HC & HCD lens works in focal plane or leaf shutter mode on all the S cameras (which they do not even do on the Hasselblad cameras)

    The Pro level reliability you demand and expect is not unreasonable. As a new system the S was hard pressed on delivering that as it experienced teething pains ... as it matured it now has the AF issue and the pesky CCD sensor corrosion issues plaguing it.

    Despite all that, I've soldiered on with the S because it is my favorite digital kit to date, and I can't afford to just abandon it at a huge loss only to buy something that is more expensive. I had a Contax 645 with a digital back that featured a very frustrating AF system then was abandoned by Kyocera, then a Mamiya645 with a Leaf Aptus back which was very problematic, and a series of Hasselblad H cameras from a H2D/22 to a H4D/60 and most of the lens, which "in general" delivered on the reliability aspect but didn't quite match the image qualitiesI loved from my Leica 35mm cameras ... then came the S and it was all there ... except this on-going horse crap with the AF lenses. Hopefully that'll be resolved and I can get on with it.

    - Marc
    Marc,

    Thank you very much. You have always been patient with my questions and I value your opinions greatly. I have family that I visit up in Frankenmuth. When I get up that way, I'd enjoy taking you to lunch or coffee.

  3. #53
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    Re: What the S? and why I still like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by baudolino View Post
    Last Summer, I was asked by the LF admins if I wanted to participate in the beta testing of new firmware for the S007. In the end, nothing came out of it, after I asked some questions and didn't get satisfactory answers... Anyway, toward the end of our conversation, which touched upon my wishes for new FW features (which I understand was relayed to the relevant people at Leica), I suggested that they should consider making the flash protocol in the Leica S compatible with Nikon (the same way Hasselblad has done with the X1D). After all, the physical layout of the hotshoe pins is the same for both Nikon and Leica - so the rest should be FW...? My idea was that rather than wait for Profoto to bring a Leica-compatible Air-TTL trigger (and I think Mark's much earlier comment about the hell freezing over before that happens is right on the spot), they could make the camera compatible with the existing Profoto trigger for Nikon (and all the other Godox etc. triggers). While that would probably make the camera incompatible with the SF-64, perhaps that unit also could be reprogrammed with new FW to make it work again. My grandma used to say that "if the mountain will not come to Mohammed, then Mohammed will have to come to the mountain". Perhaps that applies to Leica and strobes also. PS: I never got any feedback re my suggestion. PS2: And of course, if they made the S compatible with Nikon flash, they could never again sell me a repackaged Metz flash for twice the price...so I am skeptical. But if Leica position the S system to wedding / fashion / location shooters, then lack of TTL flash with strobes is a distinct competitive disadvantage against systems for which TTL strobe triggers are available (Nikon, Canon, Sony). PS3: The PhaseOne XF camera body has an Air-TTL trigger built in - I'd love Leica to do the same (perhaps even drop the GPS unit...which I never use, as a result of which all my images are marked with zero zero coordinates somewhere in the ocean south of Ghana...). End of rant.
    I agree 100%! It would be fantastic if Leica would/could adopt the Nikon iTTL flash protocol. That would fill in a lot of gaps. 😊

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    Re: What the S? and why I still like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Hi Rick, being a long time supporter and detractor of the Leica S system, I can share my opinions and information as I know it to be as of now.

    First off, the Leica USA service issues are not exclusive to the S system. They may be more pointed because S repairs like the AF issue have to be sent to Germany which magnifies the slow and increasingly unreliable service here in the US. I do not know if certain services needs for other cameras like the SL or M(240) also have to sent to Germany. Leica instituted a new service system in NJ, and it is a mess right now. Hopefully they will correct it quickly.

    Current information I've been told regarding the S system AF fix is that they are working on it and have solved it for some lenses, with others to come. Other S photographers I know have said they have info that Leica has the solution for all lenses. Regardless of who is correct, it suggests that they are working on it rather than ignoring or abandoning it. If I were getting into the S system now, I'd wait to flesh out a lens system until the permanent solution is confirmed by Leica, and new or used S or CS lenses with the new AF parts are available and confirmed as such.

    There have been unsubstantiated rumors that Leica is considering relegating the S to Sinar ... whatever that means? Sounds unlikely to me, but who knows what the heck is going on at Leica ... the only consistent and clear communication from them is marketing propaganda selling more and more new stuff.

    IMO, it is doubtful (but not impossible) that Leica will work as TTL with strobes. I think it is more up to the strobe companies to implement those protocols, and they tend to stay with the more high-volume manufacturers such as Canon, Nikon, and now Sony. I'm not sure that any MFD offers TTL with strobes, except maybe the new Hasselblad Mirrorless which uses a Nikon TTL protocol hot-shoe. Personally, I've found no need or desire for TTL with strobes but that is a personal bias. The CS lenses for use with Profoto strobes is one reason I got into the S system in the first place.

    Similarily, I would not hold my breath regarding a Leica W/A T/S lens. However, I believe there are T/S solutions via the various adapters available for the S camera. I also wouldn't predict a longer lens anytime soon ... and should one materialize I'd guess it would be so expensive as to cause a major medical event Again, there are solutions via the Leica adapters ... Contax 350APO, 350s in V mount, or Hasselblad HC-300 for example ... BTW, any Hasselblad HC & HCD lens works in focal plane or leaf shutter mode on all the S cameras (which they do not even do on the Hasselblad cameras)

    The Pro level reliability you demand and expect is not unreasonable. As a new system the S was hard pressed on delivering that as it experienced teething pains ... as it matured it now has the AF issue and the pesky CCD sensor corrosion issues plaguing it.

    Despite all that, I've soldiered on with the S because it is my favorite digital kit to date, and I can't afford to just abandon it at a huge loss only to buy something that is more expensive. I had a Contax 645 with a digital back that featured a very frustrating AF system then was abandoned by Kyocera, then a Mamiya645 with a Leaf Aptus back which was very problematic, and a series of Hasselblad H cameras from a H2D/22 to a H4D/60 and most of the lens, which "in general" delivered on the reliability aspect but didn't quite match the image qualitiesI loved from my Leica 35mm cameras ... then came the S and it was all there ... except this on-going horse crap with the AF lenses. Hopefully that'll be resolved and I can get on with it.

    - Marc
    Marc,

    From what I've been told recently in my discussions with them, apparently they are attempting/planning to eventually have the capacity to repair some aspects of the S system in N.J., so everything doesn't have to be shipped back to the mother country. This includes expanding the facility and bringing in the appropriate equipment. When, if and how long this will be, I don't know but it sounded like it was in the more immediate plans.

    Dave (D&A)
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    Re: What the S? and why I still like it.

    Time to revisit this thread, yes, I originally posted about the reasons for keeping the S, even with it's antiquated 37.5 mpx resolution and lenses that fail. Since that time I have been able to actually use both the Hasselblad X1D and FujiFilm GFX against the old S2. Yes, these mirrorless wonders are 50 mpx resolution but when you crop them from the native 4:3 format to 3:2 the difference shrinks 45 vs 37.5 mpx. So my S2 came out in 2010 seven years or 100 human years it seems but the image quality at low ISO still holds it's own against the two newcomers. The form factor, advantage to Hasselblad, small sexy light, but on the other hand, mirrorless was supposed to be that, then why is the GFX so large? The weight difference between the S2 + 30-90 zoom and GFX + 32-64 zoom favors the GFX by 27% weight savings but the physical size goes to the S2. The user experience, your results may vary, but I find the OVF superior over EVFs at this point in time. While the EVFs provide focus peaking and magnification, magnifying fuzzy pixels just looks like larger fuzzy pixels. I have grown up with OVFs and the S2 has the best one that I have used, I can nail focus every time. There is no second guessing if I think it is fuzzy or just the pixel represents it as fuzzy, sharp is sharp.

    Yes, I was prepared to make the switch to a new mirrorless MF system and it boiled down to living with each system and making it work into my workflow. I was so convinced that I would like one or the other mirrorless MF systems that I already had my S system cleaned and boxed up ready to trade in. Yes, that serious. I tried the X1D at a Hasselblad demo day in SF and just could not warm up to the EVF and blackout of the display. The battery life was not very good, when you are used to charging a battery and going for a couple of weeks before charging, to looking for a recharger every hour or so. I really wanted to like it, the form factor was ideal but it just did not perform like I believed it should. On to the next system, the GFX, that I rented with the 32-64, I had money invested in this to the tune of $400 but better spent on a rental than worrying about pedaling it after I bought it. Right out of the box, the size equaled the S2, no advantage there, the EVF was better than the X1D but still no where near the experience with a good OVF. Well you can adapt a whole room full of lenses onto this body but why would I want to run a Ferrari on kerosine? Lenses designed for 35mm have a smaller image circle and you are never going to get the best edge to edge performance from those lenses. So you are stuck with large MF glass for the best image quality, that is the law, the law of physics. Out goes the mirrorless advantage, just like it is with the Sony and the G Master lenses. Good glass = big size.

    Back to the S2, yes that S2, the CCD 37.5 mpx artifact that does not image well beyond ISO 640. When shooting at base ISO with the native lenses, there is no more pure optical joy. I unboxed my lenses and have solidified my commitment to the system, I even added a new addition to the mix. Prices of the lenses are low now, the AF issue is, I believe, fixed and if it needs a new motor it can be CLA'd and warranted for an additional year for $400. Until the next generation comes around I will be happily shooting with my antique.

    My experience, my opinion, as I said earlier, your results may vary.
    Al Tanabe
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  6. #56
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    Re: What the S? and why I still like it.

    Would you think about going for an S 007 at this point (if you're happy with the resolution?) I imagine an "008" isn't too far away, so prices may start falling soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by atanabe View Post
    Time to revisit this thread, yes, I originally posted about the reasons for keeping the S, even with it's antiquated 37.5 mpx resolution and lenses that fail. Since that time I have been able to actually use both the Hasselblad X1D and FujiFilm GFX against the old S2. Yes, these mirrorless wonders are 50 mpx resolution but when you crop them from the native 4:3 format to 3:2 the difference shrinks 45 vs 37.5 mpx. So my S2 came out in 2010 seven years or 100 human years it seems but the image quality at low ISO still holds it's own against the two newcomers. The form factor, advantage to Hasselblad, small sexy light, but on the other hand, mirrorless was supposed to be that, then why is the GFX so large? The weight difference between the S2 + 30-90 zoom and GFX + 32-64 zoom favors the GFX by 27% weight savings but the physical size goes to the S2. The user experience, your results may vary, but I find the OVF superior over EVFs at this point in time. While the EVFs provide focus peaking and magnification, magnifying fuzzy pixels just looks like larger fuzzy pixels. I have grown up with OVFs and the S2 has the best one that I have used, I can nail focus every time. There is no second guessing if I think it is fuzzy or just the pixel represents it as fuzzy, sharp is sharp.

    Yes, I was prepared to make the switch to a new mirrorless MF system and it boiled down to living with each system and making it work into my workflow. I was so convinced that I would like one or the other mirrorless MF systems that I already had my S system cleaned and boxed up ready to trade in. Yes, that serious. I tried the X1D at a Hasselblad demo day in SF and just could not warm up to the EVF and blackout of the display. The battery life was not very good, when you are used to charging a battery and going for a couple of weeks before charging, to looking for a recharger every hour or so. I really wanted to like it, the form factor was ideal but it just did not perform like I believed it should. On to the next system, the GFX, that I rented with the 32-64, I had money invested in this to the tune of $400 but better spent on a rental than worrying about pedaling it after I bought it. Right out of the box, the size equaled the S2, no advantage there, the EVF was better than the X1D but still no where near the experience with a good OVF. Well you can adapt a whole room full of lenses onto this body but why would I want to run a Ferrari on kerosine? Lenses designed for 35mm have a smaller image circle and you are never going to get the best edge to edge performance from those lenses. So you are stuck with large MF glass for the best image quality, that is the law, the law of physics. Out goes the mirrorless advantage, just like it is with the Sony and the G Master lenses. Good glass = big size.

    Back to the S2, yes that S2, the CCD 37.5 mpx artifact that does not image well beyond ISO 640. When shooting at base ISO with the native lenses, there is no more pure optical joy. I unboxed my lenses and have solidified my commitment to the system, I even added a new addition to the mix. Prices of the lenses are low now, the AF issue is, I believe, fixed and if it needs a new motor it can be CLA'd and warranted for an additional year for $400. Until the next generation comes around I will be happily shooting with my antique.

    My experience, my opinion, as I said earlier, your results may vary.

  7. #57
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    Re: What the S? and why I still like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Would you think about going for an S 007 at this point (if you're happy with the resolution?) I imagine an "008" isn't too far away, so prices may start falling soon.
    I would have to wait to see what the 008 has to offer before making a decision. Prices have already fallen to below $10k for used examples.
    Al Tanabe

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