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Thread: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

  1. #1
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    Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    It's out, or at least the start of it:

    http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/index.html

    It's gonna get 'interesting'...
    Last edited by robmac; 14th July 2010 at 03:16.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Anyone care to mention what his issues are with the camera?

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    In a very small nutshell:

    1. Interface & control-centric design choices by Solms
    2. CA and other aspects of lens performance vs. claims of lens perfection by Solms
    3. AF performance (in terms of ability to lock on objects, indicated focus point vs reality, back focusing)

    I won't go any further as I don't want to replicate his work here. He is a Leica user with an M9 and R glass on Nikon & Canon (actually helped hook him up with his 90AAR) and while I don't always agree with his conclusions, is one of the most objective 'call it like it is' (from his perspective), thorough and 'real life use' (vs brickwalls and test charts) reviewers out there. He also does comparos of the S2 vs the D3X in terms of perceived IQ.
    Last edited by robmac; 14th July 2010 at 04:48.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Lloyd is a good friend of the forum and Jack and me. I have not read the review yet but from Robs update seems like he is catching most of the issues. Not surprised
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    My take of the ongoing review, in an even smaller nutshell: eviscerated!

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Has anyone noticed that an S2 system is the grand prize in the Red Bull Illume (http://www.redbullillume.com/) photo competition?

    This is a contest to, "showcase the globe’s very best action and adventure sports images" (italics mine). What were they thinking? Although you can argue the S2 would be better than other MF/LF systems, it hardly seems like the tool of choice for sports photography.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Yeah, some of the more 'blinders-on-full Captain' type faithful are going risk some heads exploding reading the review.

    The choice of Red Bull price is, well, interesting. Valuable in terms of $$ but not exactly appropriate given the style of photography in question.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by NotXorc View Post
    Has anyone noticed that an S2 system is the grand prize in the Red Bull Illume (http://www.redbullillume.com/) photo competition?

    This is a contest to, "showcase the globe’s very best action and adventure sports images" (italics mine). What were they thinking? Although you can argue the S2 would be better than other MF/LF systems, it hardly seems like the tool of choice for sports photography.
    Note the following graphics on that website:


    Just saying.

    Sports encompasses a LOT of styles of shooting. Some requires incredible AF and high speed motor drives with long buffers. Some require MF (locking on a known point and waiting for one shot. In the later case the higher resolution, incredible sharpness/detail, color, and dynamic range of the S2 or any other medium format system would be a welcome improvement to the final captured image. In the former it would plainly be the wrong (or "not best") choice.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    Note the following graphics on that website:


    Sports encompasses a LOT of styles of shooting.
    Very true.
    Ok, back to our regular programming . . .

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    I don't know whether Lloyd's idea of a readers' comments page is a good one. Perhaps his readers are less crazed than the average, but still, it is a Leica.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    I'm sure his inbox is glowing red about now

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Thank God this came out today! I was about to send mine off for yet another service check. Glad to see that it's not just me.

    I've been having the same experience with my S2 and couldn't get past the point of blaming the bad shots on user error. I've sent my kit back to Leica in Germany for evaluation and it came back as having been fully tested, calibrated and cleaned. Same results!

    I did notice that the service sheet indicated that the electronics had been replaced in my body but there hasn't been any improvement.

    I agree with the review...when you get the shot in focus, what you get is beautiful and razor sharp. However, 8 to 9 shots out of 10 are slightly to significantly out of focus when using AF.

    Giving serious thought to selling the system to someone with lower expectations.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Ouch...

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by ddanois View Post
    Thank God this came out today! I was about to send mine off for yet another service check. Glad to see that it's not just me.

    I've been having the same experience with my S2 and couldn't get past the point of blaming the bad shots on user error. I've sent my kit back to Leica in Germany for evaluation and it came back as having been fully tested, calibrated and cleaned. Same results!

    I did notice that the service sheet indicated that the electronics had been replaced in my body but there hasn't been any improvement.

    I agree with the review...when you get the shot in focus, what you get is beautiful and razor sharp. However, 8 to 9 shots out of 10 are slightly to significantly out of focus when using AF.

    Giving serious thought to selling the system to someone with lower expectations.
    OK, what I'm about to say doesn't go over well in forums. But it's perfectly acceptable within the studios and photographers that I've known to say this

    AF is a guide and it should never be relied upon no matter what system a person is using. Photographers that are really in control of focal planes mostly rely on MF.

    Yes, sports photographers and photojournalists may rely on AF. But, they're not exactly known for expert craftsmanship either. AF is becoming a crutch. I've never seen worse focus than since the invention of AF. For example, I just cruised through a book of sports illustrated swimsuit pictures from the library and almost every shot was tech;nically misplaced in terms of focus. No doubt the photographers were relying on nikon or canon to make their decisions for them. Hey, But the girls still looked great

    The S2 only has one focus point probably because that's all many serious professionals really care about. They mostly just use AF as a guide, and then will probably override the AF and dial in exact focus of focal planes with MF

    The S2 has one of the best viewfinders in the industry and the lenses were designed for smooth MF. So there really are no excuses to solely rely on AF except incompetence or laziness on the part of the photographer. If it's really a big deal to a person then he's probably in the wrong system. The camera is fine.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
    OK, what I'm about to say doesn't go over well in forums. But it's perfectly acceptable within the studios and photographers that I've known to say this

    AF is a guide and it should never be relied upon no matter what system a person is using. Photographers that are really in control of focal planes mostly rely on MF.

    Yes, sports photographers and photojournalists may rely on AF. But, they're not exactly known for expert craftsmanship either. AF is becoming a crutch. I've never seen worse focus than since the invention of AF. For example, I just cruised through a book of sports illustrated swimsuit pictures from the library and almost every shot was tech;nically misplaced in terms of focus. No doubt the photographers were relying on nikon or canon to make their decisions for them. Hey, But the girls still looked great

    The S2 only has one focus point probably because that's all many serious professionals really care about. They mostly just use AF as a guide, and then will probably override the AF and dial in exact focus of focal planes with MF

    The S2 has one of the best viewfinders in the industry and the lenses were designed for smooth MF. So there really are no excuses to solely rely on AF except incompetence or laziness on the part of the photographer. If it's really a big deal to a person then he's probably in the wrong system. The camera is fine.
    I sold a Canon 7d because focus wasnt reliable, and my Hy6 focus is also not reliable but the AF of my d700 and also of the D3 and d3x I had before is more precise than I would achieve with manual focus.

    So IMO there are AF systems which work very precise.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    i have not had an opportunity to play with S2 yet, so cannot comment about the camera handling.
    but since im testing MFD currently, one thing i can say in general:
    i do not use auto focus at all, but somehow i paid concidirable attention while testing the new cameras (hy6/afi and h4d). interestingly, i dont care too much about AF on hy6/afi, since the manual focus is so natural there. from the other hand, manual focus on h4d is not as natural, but the AF was surprisingly good and from the first impression - a trustable one.
    if the manual focus on S2 is great (why not if lenses and viewfinder are like leica should be) then great, but still, i would expect that on camera like S2, the AF should work very well too. but then i think, that in practice, if there is not some kind of solution, like the amazing h4d with true-focus to match AF with composition, then, in most cases the photographer should fine-tune with manual focus anyway. so, even if the S2 AF was super good, it is still less practical because of one point limitation.
    i think hasselblad really hit the point here with true focus and good af performance - i mean in real handling.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    One person praises the menu system and interface, another thinks it's a deal breaker. One person think AF is significantly more accurate than system X or Y, another finds it horrible. Most people agree of CA, however.

    To be honest, at this price and pixel level detail, I'd be shocked if the reviews weren't polarized. One should really just go out and test the system, any system, himself if he wants to form an opinion based on his own requirements. I'm hoping to try the S2 soon and I'm sure my technique will end up being tested just as much as the camera.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by ddanois View Post
    Thank God this came out today! I was about to send mine off for yet another service check. Glad to see that it's not just me.

    I've been having the same experience with my S2 and couldn't get past the point of blaming the bad shots on user error. I've sent my kit back to Leica in Germany for evaluation and it came back as having been fully tested, calibrated and cleaned. Same results!

    I did notice that the service sheet indicated that the electronics had been replaced in my body but there hasn't been any improvement.

    I agree with the review...when you get the shot in focus, what you get is beautiful and razor sharp. However, 8 to 9 shots out of 10 are slightly to significantly out of focus when using AF.

    Giving serious thought to selling the system to someone with lower expectations.
    I would be very frustrated if 8 to 9 shots out of 10 are out of focus - and that is being polite. I have much better success with my S2. In fact, the few out of focus shots (point of best focus not where intended) can usually be attributed to body sway. I find the autofocus of my S2 to be very accurate. I found that I much prefer to have the autofocus triggered from the rear button rather than the shutter button.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    I'm beginning to think this camera is taking a beating that it doesn't quite deserve.

    I didn't have an issue with the AF other than it was slow when using the shutter button ... it seemed fine once we switched it to the rear thumb button ... which I prefer anyway. Perhaps there is some criteria of measure that I'm missing? No matter what camera, using center focus while recomposing is always a problem with fast apertures.

    The idea that true professionals only use manual focus is odd to say the least. If you're shooting a moving target, wide open, manual focus is a nightmare. Not all "professional" subjects are laying on a shooting table being shot at f/8 or 11, using strobes.

    I have two H cameras ... one in the studio locked down on a giant tripod that has a split diagonal micro-prism screen ... I've never once used AF on that camera. The other is a H4D/40 which I've never manually focused ... the True-Focus/Focus-Recompose AF is a God sent that should be in every camera made IMO.

    I didn't have the S2 camera in hand long enough to truly evaluate the interface. I've used a herd of different cameras and no two interface were the same ...you learn it and get as fast at it as possible. Maybe the layout would get frustrating, I can't say since I did use it long enough, nor use under the gun while shooting for money.

    The S2 is a beautiful camera, in hand and at the eye. Build quality looks and feels like a Leica. It lacks the software solutions of other systems, but I think people will work through those issues eventually ... it isn't that far off the mark as it is.

    Wish I had one ... not as a replacement for my existing H kit, but for what it is on its own. Unfortunately, at those prices it just isn't going to happen.

    -Marc

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I'm beginning to think this camera is taking a beating that it doesn't quite deserve.
    -Marc
    I'm inclined to agree. Spent the day down at Dale labs with David playing around with the S2 and a couple of lenses and comparing it to one of the new Leaf backs that a friend brought down. The LCD is so much better than my Sinar (or the one on the Leaf back) that they're not even in the same ballpark. Viewfinder is extremely bright with those fast lenses and manual focusing with the Leica lenses is a dream. As good as with my best Rollei glass. It's got it's shortcomings for sure (no WLF or right angle finder is a big one for me) but it's also got a lot of really nice features.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I'm beginning to think this camera is taking a beating that it doesn't quite deserve.

    -Marc
    I agree with you 100%

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    The idea that true professionals only use manual focus is odd to say the least. If you're shooting a moving target, wide open, manual focus is a nightmare. Not all "professional" subjects are laying on a shooting table being shot at f/8 or 11, using strobes.
    Just in case you're referring to my previous post, I stated that AF is a guide and cannot ever be truly relied upon. I'll stand by that and any search through Vanity Fair, Vogue, Sports Illustrated or any other popuar magazine today will show photographs riddled with focal plane misplacement probably due to over-reliance on AF. Also, I'm sorry to have used the word "professional" because it is probably a much abused term. In a perfect world, I'd like to imagine that a professional would essentially be related to the highest standards in terms of craftsmanship and technique, but unfortunately professional only really refers to a person that's making money with a camera. So I should be more careful to distinguish between what professional means and how it doesn't necessarily relate to excellent craftsmanship and technique. There are a lot of non-professionals that have higher standards of technique and craftsmanship than professionals.

    The main confusion that seems to arise in discussions relating to AF is that there is a vast difference between being in-focus and having proper placement of focal planes. Most AF systems are actually pretty good at getting something in focus, but no AF system has the ability to discern focal plane placement. The ability to discern where to place a focal plane rests solely on the photographer and his mind and eye. It's a bit of an art and a developed skill. It's also one of the ways to distinguish good craftsmanship from bad. AF systems can choose focus "points" but they cannot choose focal planes. (On a side note: many people might be surprised to know that a lot of photographers that rely on AF aren't even aware of Scheimpflug. In order to really be in control of focus, a photographer has to think in terms of focal planes rather than focus points.)

    If a photographer needs critical focus and placement of focal planes, especially at shallow DOF, then he can't rely on AF alone to get the focal plane in the exact correct position. There will always be a margin of error regardless of camera system. In the times that I've chosen to use AF for shoots in the past, I've generally taken into account the margin of error and factored in the need for much editing at the end specifically for shots that had the best focal plane placement. Of course, a lot of "professionals" nowadays don't really worry about that and they will just choose whatever image has something in focus rather than choosing the images that contain the proper plane of focus. There are types of photography where the moment is more crucial than the sharpness. But still we must distinguish between good and bad craftsmanship even if sharpness isn't always the key factor to the success of an image in the eyes of the viewer.

    I believe Leica took the best approach toward focus by providing a smooth manual focus combined with a single AF point. This tells me that their philosophy towards AF is to view at it as a guide (one of several options) and not just a crutch to be relied upon. Of course, this decision might be risky in the current climate that is dominated by photographers that aren't really in control of their focal plane placement. But it's also one of the things that makes the S2 a genuine "professional" tool in my opinion.

    OT a bit, but I'd also like to add that there is plenty of room for the old fashioned use of hyperfocal in a modern studio or commercial environment. I've done several shoots in the past where focus for the shoot was decided by an assistant and a tape measure. I wouldn't hesitate to do the same thing with the S2. There are a lot of modern sports photographers, fashion shooters, photoJs and wedding photogs that could probably increase their sharpness level if they considered using hyperfocal technique once in awhile, (even when using their ultra-modern AF DSLRs)
    Last edited by Mike M; 14th July 2010 at 18:18.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Mike,
    I am not a 100% AF fan and do use my Hy6 manually and also Leica M.

    I find your thread interesting but I dont understand why you can not choose your focal plane by choosing an AF point in the viewfinder.
    I do use this with Nikon all the time, I select a subject which is in the plane I want to be sharp and select the focus point which "sits" on this subject without haviong to recompose.
    If I work with a larger DOF and do know the rule 1/3 - 2/3.
    I then start AF with a button on the back of the camera. I could manually override before pressing the shutter release but why would I?

    One other thing I think we should not forget: Medium format with fast lenses has very shallow DOF, and the sensors with high resolution and no AA filter do show the slightest out of focus.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I'm beginning to think this camera is taking a beating that it doesn't quite deserve.
    Well - I know nothing. I spent an hour or so with the S2 and the tele lens roaming around in Solms, and I thought that the AF, although slow, was pretty accurate - this wasn't test circumstances, but I think I'd have noticed if it were wrong.

    But what concerns me more is the concept of Lloyd putting a remark like:

    if you want top results out of the S2, you had better think of it as a manual focus camera,

    on the front page of his website, then, if you click on the link you have to pay to see his reasons why.

    I don't personally subscribe, so I have no idea how good or how bad his reviews may be (good I suspect), but this just leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth.

    . . . . but what do I know?

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post

    . . . . but what do I know?
    That you are a potential S2 purchaser?

    Just being mischievous

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Hopefully Lloyd Chambers will know to check for sample variations before he jumps into conclusions.
    It's not unusual, not even with cameras.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Quentin_Bargate View Post
    That you are a potential S2 purchaser?

    Just being mischievous

    Quentin

    Not I mr hassleblad, not I.
    But that's nothing to do with reports like this, I'm not going to get any MF camera. Just not my bag.
    Hope you're well . . . going to Latitude?
    Last edited by jonoslack; 15th July 2010 at 02:53.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    certainly the S2 autofocus is on the typical MF level, maybe even more accurate than the H3D hasselblad series. i have not tried the H4D series so i do not comment on it. and yes, D3(s),(x) autofocus is better but this is a trivial comment.
    the main issues that i see with the S2 are:
    1)exaggerated CA/fringing. leica des know about it and -i hear- they are working on it. it won't be a quick fix, but i trust they will deliver in the end.
    2)i loathe the idea that i have to take the camera off the eye when i want to change exposure +/-. the minimalist button concept has something going for it, but this is too much.
    3)iso 1250 is close to useless, but on my H3DII 500 iso 320 is almost useless.
    peter

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post

    Not I mr hassleblad, not I.
    Hope you're well . . . going to Latitude?
    Latitude sounds fun, Mr Leica, but I don't have any plans to go at the moment. Might reconsider if I can get all my work done

    cheers
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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
    I agree with you 100%



    Just in case you're referring to my previous post, I stated that AF is a guide and cannot ever be truly relied upon. I'll stand by that and any search through Vanity Fair, Vogue, Sports Illustrated or any other popuar magazine today will show photographs riddled with focal plane misplacement probably due to over-reliance on AF. Also, I'm sorry to have used the word "professional" because it is probably a much abused term. In a perfect world, I'd like to imagine that a professional would essentially be related to the highest standards in terms of craftsmanship and technique, but unfortunately professional only really refers to a person that's making money with a camera. So I should be more careful to distinguish between what professional means and how it doesn't necessarily relate to excellent craftsmanship and technique. There are a lot of non-professionals that have higher standards of technique and craftsmanship than professionals.

    The main confusion that seems to arise in discussions relating to AF is that there is a vast difference between being in-focus and having proper placement of focal planes. Most AF systems are actually pretty good at getting something in focus, but no AF system has the ability to discern focal plane placement. The ability to discern where to place a focal plane rests solely on the photographer and his mind and eye. It's a bit of an art and a developed skill. It's also one of the ways to distinguish good craftsmanship from bad. AF systems can choose focus "points" but they cannot choose focal planes. (On a side note: many people might be surprised to know that a lot of photographers that rely on AF aren't even aware of Scheimpflug. In order to really be in control of focus, a photographer has to think in terms of focal planes rather than focus points.)

    If a photographer needs critical focus and placement of focal planes, especially at shallow DOF, then he can't rely on AF alone to get the focal plane in the exact correct position. There will always be a margin of error regardless of camera system. In the times that I've chosen to use AF for shoots in the past, I've generally taken into account the margin of error and factored in the need for much editing at the end specifically for shots that had the best focal plane placement. Of course, a lot of "professionals" nowadays don't really worry about that and they will just choose whatever image has something in focus rather than choosing the images that contain the proper plane of focus. There are types of photography where the moment is more crucial than the sharpness. But still we must distinguish between good and bad craftsmanship even if sharpness isn't always the key factor to the success of an image in the eyes of the viewer.

    I believe Leica took the best approach toward focus by providing a smooth manual focus combined with a single AF point. This tells me that their philosophy towards AF is to view at it as a guide (one of several options) and not just a crutch to be relied upon. Of course, this decision might be risky in the current climate that is dominated by photographers that aren't really in control of their focal plane placement. But it's also one of the things that makes the S2 a genuine "professional" tool in my opinion.

    OT a bit, but I'd also like to add that there is plenty of room for the old fashioned use of hyperfocal in a modern studio or commercial environment. I've done several shoots in the past where focus for the shoot was decided by an assistant and a tape measure. I wouldn't hesitate to do the same thing with the S2. There are a lot of modern sports photographers, fashion shooters, photoJs and wedding photogs that could probably increase their sharpness level if they considered using hyperfocal technique once in awhile, (even when using their ultra-modern AF DSLRs)
    Oh goody ... something related to discuss other than nit-picking the S2 to death. That poor camera is being nibbled to death by ducks

    Mike, I agree that the word Professional isn't a grab-bag term that translates to superior craftsmanship ... this forum is packed with people that are superior photographic technicians who do not make their living with a camera.

    Since I've use a Leica M for most of my photographic journey, manual focus is part of my work before and after becoming a "professional photographer" ... so the concepts of focal plane placement and hyperfocal plane focusing are an integrated part of the creative process. In fact, without hyperfocal, many decisive moment shots with a M would be less possible ... especially when shooting a fast paced wedding.

    However, I don't necessarily agree that there is confusion when addressing AF systems as it relates to evaluating a camera ... at least on this forum. IMO, this is not to be confused with a general grousing about lack of proper focal plane placement that may, or may not, be evident in a lot of professional photography these days.

    If an AF system is accurate, then it is up to the photographer to employ it properly, keeping in mind that to control the plane of focus requires placing the AF point correctly in relation to the f stop being used. In that regard, I see no difference between Manual and Auto Focus if you know what you are doing ... except perhaps speed and the state of the user's eye-sight. Whether enough shooters, professional or not, know what they are doing is an entirely different subject IMO.

    Frankly, I am a "Photoasaur" because I lament the loss of an aperture ring with DOF scale on most modern lens barrels ... including the S2 optics. To even teach Hyperfocal distance to my assistants I have to use my M lenses. Plus, with many, if not all, modern 35mm lenses, manual focus is an afterthought at best ... my assistant's Canon 85/1.2-II is a perfect example since disengaging AF produces the sloppiest MF know to man. Personally, I think this type of design has contributed to the loss of understanding of, and confidence in, manual focus ... since even a practiced manual shooter would have difficulty using many popular current AF lenses.

    Medium Format is somewhat different IMO. If I select a MF system that employs AF then three aspects of evaluation come into play ... accuracy, speed, and the ability to manually focus them. However, for much of my location and event work the former two are the priority. I think that this is a growing trend for some professionals as 1) the need to consolidate gear from a financial perspective while ramping up IQ, and 2) the MFD systems have made real progress with AF capability.

    Manual focus tends to be employed when there is more time to use it properly. I've yet to use a MF system that couldn't be manually focused well. Most of the lenses are dampened well enough to employ manual focus ... and swapping out the focusing screen with one to aid in the manual focus task helps. The S2 lenses may excel at manual focus ... but they are AF lenses ... and that will be, and should be, a major criteria of evaluation.

    I will continue to hold the opinion that Hasselblad has cracked the AF problems inherent with a single center focus point as it relates to freedom of composition when shooting on the fly ... while using any lens wide open or near wide open. Moving to a H4D has been a liberating experience. Placing the AF point anywhere I want, and controlling the plane of focus at will faster than possible with any AF system now employed by any camera, 35mm or MF, has all but eliminated missed decisive moment shots due to poor focus.

    If the S2 had used an aperture ring, and had the AF solution like that of the H4D, it is the camera I would be shooting location and event work with right now ... no question. More studied studio work is an entirely different matter ... where versatility rules.

    -Marc

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by markowich View Post
    ...2)i loathe the idea that i have to take the camera off the eye when i want to change exposure +/-. the minimalist button concept has something going for it, but this is too much....
    Peter,
    I have the bottom right button set to call-up the exposure compensation menu. This allows me to change exposure compensation without removing the camera from my eye. I use my right thumb to hit the bottom right button, then use my thumb to roll the click wheel to dial in the compensation I want and click the wheel to accept the change. It is really simple. The only problem is that when Leica updated the firmware to show exposure compensation in the viewfinder they didn't make the changes live. In other words you can't see the changes as you are making them - it is only visible once you have accepted the change. As a result, you have to mentally count the clicks as you roll the wheel to know where you are at. It's not as bad as it sounds, but certainly not as simple as it would have been if it displayed the changes live as you are making them ( like it does on the rear LCD).

    Of course you can just shoot in manual mode and have continuous (live) indication of your exposure bias.

    Mark

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    ... I dont understand why you can not choose your focal plane by choosing an AF point in the viewfinder...


    Because with a 250mm lens @ f/4 DOF is virtually non-existent I have to watch the entire subject, head to tail, and wait until it's parallel to the plane of focus (or maneuver to align the critter with the focus plane). An AF point telling me the back is in focus doesn't tell me anything about the head or tail.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
    I agree with you 100%

    The main confusion that seems to arise in discussions relating to AF is that there is a vast difference between being in-focus and having proper placement of focal planes.
    OK, I'm playing in a different league than the S2, with a Mamiya AFD-II and a ZD back, but I will echo exactly what this post is about, with my Nikon D300, shooting studio strobes with nude figure type work ie models posing, not runway or fast fashion/glamor, I always got something in focus, and often it was on the focal plane I wanted. That was not true at the beginning when I was shooting a D50 .... some 40 shoots later, I can pretty much make it happen the way I want if I'm careful.

    Enter the Mamiya, I have done 3 shoots with it, and my "keeper" rate is WAY less than with the Nikon. I still have not got my workflow ironed out, but I have done a few tethered shots at home, and that will help significantly both from an artistic and a technical view. But, when the stars do align, the Mamiya ZD simply blows away a Nikon D300. I am convinced that I am not getting the best from my tools at the moment due to my lack of familiarity with the kit. That took many months of shooting with the Nikon SYSTEM. ( Almost 5 years of holding a Nikon Body )

    I don't have the cash laying around to look at an S2, so the facts of how good is the S2 are kind of moot, but the lessons are valuable. Complex tools take time to learn. Leica has a long history of strong ergonomics in the M line, and S line if continued will no doubt have slight ergonomic changes . As long as they keep the mount the same, upgrading bodies with Sensors is a viable choice in my mind.

    For straight economic reasons, I decided on an open system. For the foreseeable future, I should able to get a back for my AFD-II, great lenses to mount, and still do it at bottom feeding prices, so I'll be a generation or two out. For me the real issue is that all the muscle memory and eye to hand coordination that I learn will stay the same. The closed system folks cannot say that with the same certainty.

    I'm inclined to agree with the folks saying the S2 may be taking an unfair beating. These are complex systems that take a whole suite of things being just right for optimal performance. Even more so, I agree with the post that I quoted, I look at some pretty major magazines an think what on earth was going on in the AD's mind when he let that photo out. The web is even worse ...

    Dave

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by djonesii View Post
    OK, I'm playing in a different league than the S2, with a Mamiya AFD-II and a ZD back, but I will echo exactly what this post is about, with my Nikon D300, shooting studio strobes with nude figure type work ie models posing, not runway or fast fashion/glamor, I always got something in focus, and often it was on the focal plane I wanted. That was not true at the beginning when I was shooting a D50 .... some 40 shoots later, I can pretty much make it happen the way I want if I'm careful.

    Enter the Mamiya, I have done 3 shoots with it, and my "keeper" rate is WAY less than with the Nikon. I still have not got my workflow ironed out, but I have done a few tethered shots at home, and that will help significantly both from an artistic and a technical view. But, when the stars do align, the Mamiya ZD simply blows away a Nikon D300. I am convinced that I am not getting the best from my tools at the moment due to my lack of familiarity with the kit. That took many months of shooting with the Nikon SYSTEM. ( Almost 5 years of holding a Nikon Body )

    [...]

    For straight economic reasons, I decided on an open system. For the foreseeable future, I should able to get a back for my AFD-II, great lenses to mount, and still do it at bottom feeding prices, so I'll be a generation or two out. For me the real issue is that all the muscle memory and eye to hand coordination that I learn will stay the same. The closed system folks cannot say that with the same certainty.
    With that open system you'll be able to eventually upgrade your AFD2 body to an AFD3 or DF body (or future body). Even the "latest/greatest" body is still compatible with every M mount digital back including the Mamiya ZD*.

    Then in the future if/when you had the financial ability you could upgrade your digital back or lenses.

    *There are a few small things you have to do set the body to be ready for a ZD back - any decent dealer can step you through that when you buy the body (selfish note: we are such a dealer).

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by doug View Post
    Beautiful shot Doug.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gowin View Post
    Peter,
    I have the bottom right button set to call-up the exposure compensation menu. This allows me to change exposure compensation without removing the camera from my eye. I use my right thumb to hit the bottom right button, then use my thumb to roll the click wheel to dial in the compensation I want and click the wheel to accept the change. It is really simple. The only problem is that when Leica updated the firmware to show exposure compensation in the viewfinder they didn't make the changes live. In other words you can't see the changes as you are making them - it is only visible once you have accepted the change. As a result, you have to mentally count the clicks as you roll the wheel to know where you are at. It's not as bad as it sounds, but certainly not as simple as it would have been if it displayed the changes live as you are making them ( like it does on the rear LCD).

    Of course you can just shoot in manual mode and have continuous (live) indication of your exposure bias.

    Mark
    More nibbles from the pack of Ducks ...

    Exposure comp sounds like it takes a lifetime to do, and the dexterity of a video game player

    Maybe they'll fix it in the next firmware upgrade if possible. I'd hound them and the Leica dealer about it. Like Guy has mentioned, squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    I usually use AE lock more than comp. But exposure comp is pretty fast on the H ... and what you're setting shows in the viewfinder. For the type of camera that the S2 is, they need to address this. I'm surprised that beta testers didn't scream bloody murder about this oversight.

    -Marc

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I'm beginning to think this camera is taking a beating that it doesn't quite deserve.
    Very few cameras in this end of the market deserve a "beating". I think the S2 "takes a beating" from some observers because they expected a high price tag to be perfect (at all things and for all uses) and that's simply never going to be the case with any camera at any price point.

    Just like any other camera the S2 has some great strengths, and some weaknesses as well.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    In the S2 defense on AF and something to bear in mind on most of these reviews which a lot of them are not shooting MF on a regular basis. So on one hand it may smoke something to them than on the other a royal piece of crap. Be careful how you interpret what is being said. This goes with any review on any brand but many times 35mm shooters get a MF in there hand and expect miracles not realizing the DOF restrictions and how software plays more a role in MF. BTW I have not read the review but from the comments I read some things are apparent.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gowin View Post
    Peter,
    I have the bottom right button set to call-up the exposure compensation menu. This allows me to change exposure compensation without removing the camera from my eye. I use my right thumb to hit the bottom right button, then use my thumb to roll the click wheel to dial in the compensation I want and click the wheel to accept the change. It is really simple. The only problem is that when Leica updated the firmware to show exposure compensation in the viewfinder they didn't make the changes live. In other words you can't see the changes as you are making them - it is only visible once you have accepted the change. As a result, you have to mentally count the clicks as you roll the wheel to know where you are at. It's not as bad as it sounds, but certainly not as simple as it would have been if it displayed the changes live as you are making them ( like it does on the rear LCD).

    Of course you can just shoot in manual mode and have continuous (live) indication of your exposure bias.

    Mark

    mark,
    i have the camera set up in the same way. still it is auckward compared to the D3x. this is a case where leica's comcept of simplicity fails. the camera certainly lacks another wheel.
    peter

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    Very few cameras in this end of the market deserve a "beating". I think the S2 "takes a beating" from some observers because they expected a high price tag to be perfect (at all things and for all uses) and that's simply never going to be the case with any camera at any price point.

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)


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    very good point. this is what fooled me on my first S2 acquisition in january. i expected an almost perfect tool and almost perfect IQ, after the exaggerated leica campaing and subsequent first fanboy analysis. i remember ridiculous statements like 'leica engineers could not detect any moiree in their test' etc.
    those first reviews actually did a lot of damage. guy's and jack's review was the first honest(ly) serious one.
    in my second take on the S2 i have cerainly lowered my expectations to a reasonable level and i do like the camera a lot.
    certainly i shall not touch the hassy anymore...i leave that to other members of the family....which means that i might still have to sherpa it around---)))
    peter

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by markowich View Post
    certainly i shall not touch the hassy anymore...i leave that to other members of the family....which means that i might still have to sherpa it around---)))
    peter
    Oh Dear - I always thought that having your cake and eating it was a good thing . . . . but perhaps not in this case!
    Still, I guess it'll keep you fit, and it's certainly for a good cause.
    Have a great trip.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Good points, but in Lloyd's case the vast majority of his work is with manual focus Leica, Zeiss glass on the D3X, D3S, IR converted 5DII (IIRC) and the M9. I agree that AF is only good for so much, BUT that said, if as someone said earlier, you pay into an AF camera system, especially one in this snack bracket, one would expect it to work well - within the context of it's intended use and capabilities (e.g. single center point AF system or 'True Focus' vs the 101 point/85 mode AF systems on some SLRs).

    In his latest update he (Lloyd) quite obviously loves the IQ (vs the D3X) when manually focused. His issues with the S2 don't pertain to the obvious results expected when combining Nth percentile lenses with a CCD large sensor lacking an AA filter -- something you'd see in any MFDB system bolted to top glass.

    They deal with the AF system accuracy and predictability of behavior, the switchology & interface decisions given the camera's positioning as a 'tweaner' or uberSLR on 'roids' for outside studio use and claims of perfection in the optics (e.g. "...wasting money on software (correction)") when, as good as they are, they are not free of issues.

    Quack


    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    In the S2 defense on AF and something to bear in mind on most of these reviews which a lot of them are not shooting MF on a regular basis. So on one hand it may smoke something to them than on the other a royal piece of crap. Be careful how you interpret what is being said. This goes with any review on any brand but many times 35mm shooters get a MF in there hand and expect miracles not realizing the DOF restrictions and how software plays more a role in MF. BTW I have not read the review but from the comments I read some things are apparent.
    Last edited by robmac; 15th July 2010 at 07:41.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    I agree Peter. It is more awkward than my Canon as well because on the S2 you have to click a button to enter exposure compensation mode and then another button to make the change and accept it. However, I like the simple interface and I am not sure I would want another wheel (maybe, if done just right).

    Leica did a good job in addressing beta tester's and early user's feedback in their first firmware update. For example, exposure compensation was not visible in the viewfinder when the S2 was initially released. Now it is. I expect future firmware releases will further enhance the camera's usability and performance. Users just need to keep giving feedback to Leica. I have been remiss in doing this lately. Probably because the last firmware addressed most of my issues and I have adapted to using the camera.

    Mark

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    Mike,
    I am not a 100% AF fan and do use my Hy6 manually and also Leica M.

    I find your thread interesting but I dont understand why you can not choose your focal plane by choosing an AF point in the viewfinder.
    You're totally correct that it's possible to choose focal planes in the viewfinder with AF. I apologize for not being more clear. What I'm referring to is a mindset and a culture that is often often associated with DSLRs in which the user doesn't "think" and "relate" to the subject and scene in terms of focal planes but rather relates to the scene in terms of focus points. These 2 different mindsets lead to completely different results when shooting because a person that is aware of focal planes looks at a scene and chooses focus differently than a person that thinks in terms of focus points. Many people around here probably take for granted that they are knowledgable enough in photography to understand and think in terms of focal planes. But I've found that the vast majority of DSLR shooters aren't even aware of them, have never heard of sheimpflug, and this often leads them to unreleastic expectations of what a camera's AF system can accomplish. Those types of people can only think in focus points because they aren't aware of planes, so they often wonder why a certain point isn't in focus rather then wondering why the plane isn't in focus.



    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    One other thing I think we should not forget: Medium format with fast lenses has very shallow DOF, and the sensors with high resolution and no AA filter do show the slightest out of focus.

    That's an excellent point. I think that it means that we have to be really careful when reading criticism of the S2 because the camera system itself is more prone to showing operator error than other systems.

    I could use Alpa as an example: When a person gets an Alpa then there is the expectation that the camera system / software is not going to cover up any mistakes on the part of the operator. So most people that use an Alpa or critique an Alpa already have a solid understanding of technique in the first place and can often discern the differences between faults with the camera system and faults on the part of the operator. Unfortunately, there is an entirely different culture associated with DSLR cameras than with tech cameras. The danger of the S2 is that it's a DSLR so a lot of people immediately associate it with a DSLR culture and judge it according to those pre-ordained standards. But the S2 really requires a similar approach as an Alpa or tech camera in the sense that to really understand and get the most out of such an unforgiving system the operator has to have a real grip on technique in the first place. A lot of people that aren't really qualified to have a learned opinion about a system like the S2 are going to be tempted to believe they do simply because it's a DSLR. It's hard to explain and I hope that I'm making sense, but I'm talking about culture and perception...the way a person percieves something rather than the way it actually is... The biggest issues I see surrounding the S2 have little to do with the camera itself but rather the cultural expectations and perceptions on the part of the users.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Oh goody ... something related to discuss other than nit-picking the S2 to death. That poor camera is being nibbled to death by ducks

    Mike, I agree that the word Professional isn't a grab-bag term that translates to superior craftsmanship ... this forum is packed with people that are superior photographic technicians who do not make their living with a camera.

    Since I've use a Leica M for most of my photographic journey, manual focus is part of my work before and after becoming a "professional photographer" ... so the concepts of focal plane placement and hyperfocal plane focusing are an integrated part of the creative process. In fact, without hyperfocal, many decisive moment shots with a M would be less possible ... especially when shooting a fast paced wedding.

    However, I don't necessarily agree that there is confusion when addressing AF systems as it relates to evaluating a camera ... at least on this forum. IMO, this is not to be confused with a general grousing about lack of proper focal plane placement that may, or may not, be evident in a lot of professional photography these days.

    If an AF system is accurate, then it is up to the photographer to employ it properly, keeping in mind that to control the plane of focus requires placing the AF point correctly in relation to the f stop being used. In that regard, I see no difference between Manual and Auto Focus if you know what you are doing ... except perhaps speed and the state of the user's eye-sight. Whether enough shooters, professional or not, know what they are doing is an entirely different subject IMO.

    Frankly, I am a "Photoasaur" because I lament the loss of an aperture ring with DOF scale on most modern lens barrels ... including the S2 optics. To even teach Hyperfocal distance to my assistants I have to use my M lenses. Plus, with many, if not all, modern 35mm lenses, manual focus is an afterthought at best ... my assistant's Canon 85/1.2-II is a perfect example since disengaging AF produces the sloppiest MF know to man. Personally, I think this type of design has contributed to the loss of understanding of, and confidence in, manual focus ... since even a practiced manual shooter would have difficulty using many popular current AF lenses.

    Medium Format is somewhat different IMO. If I select a MF system that employs AF then three aspects of evaluation come into play ... accuracy, speed, and the ability to manually focus them. However, for much of my location and event work the former two are the priority. I think that this is a growing trend for some professionals as 1) the need to consolidate gear from a financial perspective while ramping up IQ, and 2) the MFD systems have made real progress with AF capability.

    Manual focus tends to be employed when there is more time to use it properly. I've yet to use a MF system that couldn't be manually focused well. Most of the lenses are dampened well enough to employ manual focus ... and swapping out the focusing screen with one to aid in the manual focus task helps. The S2 lenses may excel at manual focus ... but they are AF lenses ... and that will be, and should be, a major criteria of evaluation.

    I will continue to hold the opinion that Hasselblad has cracked the AF problems inherent with a single center focus point as it relates to freedom of composition when shooting on the fly ... while using any lens wide open or near wide open. Moving to a H4D has been a liberating experience. Placing the AF point anywhere I want, and controlling the plane of focus at will faster than possible with any AF system now employed by any camera, 35mm or MF, has all but eliminated missed decisive moment shots due to poor focus.

    If the S2 had used an aperture ring, and had the AF solution like that of the H4D, it is the camera I would be shooting location and event work with right now ... no question. More studied studio work is an entirely different matter ... where versatility rules.

    -Marc
    Right on

    I'm totally with ya on all of that

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by djonesii View Post
    Complex tools take time to learn.
    Dave, I heartily agree with your statement.

    BTW - thanks for the personal story. In my opinion, you just summed up perfectly what I consider to be the truly professional approach towards photography. I like how you're pushing yourself and your system to the limits to get the best results and are looking at it like a symbiotic relationship.

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    S2 users, how easy is it to set manual WB?

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    S2 users, how easy is it to set manual WB?
    Very easy.

    Go to WB (either in Image Menu, third option or set as a custom function), roll the scroll wheel up one (this puts you at the last option) and click in the wheel to activate Manual WB. The camera then prompts you to take a picture of a white/gray card. I defocus and pop the gray card part of a ColorChecker Passport in front of the lens. Take a shot and it shows on the LCD and tells you that a WB has been set. Every shot after has the manual WB applied.

    David
    David Farkas
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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by dfarkas View Post
    Very easy.

    Go to WB (either in Image Menu, third option or set as a custom function), roll the scroll wheel up one (this puts you at the last option) and click in the wheel to activate Manual WB. The camera then prompts you to take a picture of a white/gray card. I defocus and pop the gray card part of a ColorChecker Passport in front of the lens. Take a shot and it shows on the LCD and tells you that a WB has been set. Every shot after has the manual WB applied.

    David
    David, does the S2 have anything like a "user button" that you can assign a frequently used function to?

    For example, on my Sony A900 I assigned the CF button to flash comp, since that is a frequently used function for shooting weddings ... but manual WB is more complicated because it involves menus. In the case of the H4D, I assigned the stop down button to immediately take a WB shot with no steps required other than pointing the lens at my "Digital Grey Kard" ... which I do frequently because WB is critical with MFD especially available light at ISOs beyond 200.

    My M9 is pretty quick to get manual WB, but still is a snail compared to the big camera.

    If not possible now, do you think a short cut can be done with firmware?

    -Marc

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    David, does the S2 have anything like a "user button" that you can assign a frequently used function to?

    For example, on my Sony A900 I assigned the CF button to flash comp, since that is a frequently used function for shooting weddings ... but manual WB is more complicated because it involves menus. In the case of the H4D, I assigned the stop down button to immediately take a WB shot with no steps required other than pointing the lens at my "Digital Grey Kard" ... which I do frequently because WB is critical with MFD especially available light at ISOs beyond 200.

    My M9 is pretty quick to get manual WB, but still is a snail compared to the big camera.

    If not possible now, do you think a short cut can be done with firmware?

    -Marc
    Marc,

    You can assign any of the four custom buttons to WB control, but not directly to Manual WB. As I outlined, once in the WB menu, it takes just one roll and one click of the wheel (then a shutter press) to set a manual WB.

    Perhaps in future firmware, direct access to specific functions can be assigned to custom function buttons. In the last firmware update, several new options were added as well as allowing the DOF preview button to a custom function, so I can't see why not. An advantage of integrated design with user-upgradeable firmware is that these changes are quite easy to implement and roll out to users. We have an ongoing list of features that my customers and I would like to see in the future (like an on-screen DOF scale and/or a hyperfocal function for example).

    David
    David Farkas
    Leica Store Miami

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    Re: Lloyd Chambers S2 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by dfarkas View Post
    Marc,

    You can assign any of the four custom buttons to WB control, but not directly to Manual WB. As I outlined, once in the WB menu, it takes just one roll and one click of the wheel (then a shutter press) to set a manual WB.

    Perhaps in future firmware, direct access to specific functions can be assigned to custom function buttons. In the last firmware update, several new options were added as well as allowing the DOF preview button to a custom function, so I can't see why not. An advantage of integrated design with user-upgradeable firmware is that these changes are quite easy to implement and roll out to users. We have an ongoing list of features that my customers and I would like to see in the future (like an on-screen DOF scale and/or a hyperfocal function for example).

    David
    Those would be great additions David. I'd kill for an optional hyperfocal overlay on the LCD.

    Another one I'd like to see is a thin histogram graph like the Leica DMR featured. It was a great tool for quick work.

    But a one button manual WB would be the most usable of them all. Once added to the H camera via firmware, I couldn't bear to be without it. Heck, sometimes I don't even have time to whip out the grey card, and I just do a quick OOF shot of the Bride's dress (if it's white : -). It has cut processing time way down.

    I think it is these sorts of things that add real value to a system ... not just a never ending megapixel race.

    Thanks,

    -Marc

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