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Thread: Hasselblad H4D-31 vs Leica S2

  1. #1
    salaamss
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    Post Hasselblad H4D-31 vs Leica S2

    Hi everyone. Please visit this link on Flickr where I have posted a few comparison shots taken with the Leica S2 (just received) and the Hasselblad H4D-31. This is not a very scientific comparison. All shots were taken handheld using aperture priority. For some odd reason the S2 showed f9.5 rather than f11 when processing. ISO settings could not completely match, but I set them close. The lenses used were the standard Summarit S 2.5/70 for the Leica and the HC80/2.8 for the Hasselblad. The S2's size and weather-proofing seemed like an advantage for outdoor handling, but the H4D-31 did not seem that much heavier. During processing I found the Leica shots sharper and with slightly more contrast, while the Hasselblad colors were rendered warmer. I also had to go with EV -1 on the Leica for most of the shots; it seemed to slightly over expose. Earlier I had tried some portrait shots and found the S2 auto focus slightly off. I am not sure why that is the case. I checked body and lens firmware for the S2 and both seemed up to date. Any advice from experienced users of the S2?

    Enjoy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/5421129...7626813349023/

  2. #2
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Hasselblad H4D-31 vs Leica S2

    The S2 auto focus is very accurate and actually quite fast . Pick a target that is the size of the measured area or larger and it doesn t miss. I use the Kite that a kiteboarders use as an example . The kite is moving fast but there is nothing in the sky around it .

    The weakness is that the measured area can be too large ..your example of portraits is a good one . If the measured area is the whole face the AF will pick up the closest area of high contrast ..which can be the nose . There are plenty of ways to trick the AF and hopefully Leica will offer a small “spot focusing” in the future.

    I use AF as an assist ...put it on the rear button and then focus in the middle of the subject. Then I fine tune with manual focus watching the contrast of the eye . This also corrects for off center differences . Fortunately you can see well enough to make these adjustments .

    Lots of ways to test the AF and it could be the body or the lens ..but more likely its the size of the measuring area. If you catch an edge of higher contrast you lose the focus point.

    No excuses this is something Leica needs to fix with a smaller AF area ...it needs to be an option as in other applications the current size catches the front end of the center which seems right.

  3. #3
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Hasselblad H4D-31 vs Leica S2

    Quote Originally Posted by salaamss View Post
    Hi everyone. Please visit this link on Flickr where I have posted a few comparison shots taken with the Leica S2 (just received) and the Hasselblad H4D-31. This is not a very scientific comparison. All shots were taken handheld using aperture priority. For some odd reason the S2 showed f9.5 rather than f11 when processing. ISO settings could not completely match, but I set them close. The lenses used were the standard Summarit S 2.5/70 for the Leica and the HC80/2.8 for the Hasselblad. The S2's size and weather-proofing seemed like an advantage for outdoor handling, but the H4D-31 did not seem that much heavier. During processing I found the Leica shots sharper and with slightly more contrast, while the Hasselblad colors were rendered warmer. I also had to go with EV -1 on the Leica for most of the shots; it seemed to slightly over expose. Earlier I had tried some portrait shots and found the S2 auto focus slightly off. I am not sure why that is the case. I checked body and lens firmware for the S2 and both seemed up to date. Any advice from experienced users of the S2?

    Enjoy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/5421129...7626813349023/
    You came on two things that i noticed when testing the S2 and its really not the S2 it is Lightroom which sounds like the program you are using to process. First thing is LR is pretty aggressive with the default on sharpening for it and combine that with a high default black point which builds contrast it comes across even sharper and actually looks over sharpened to me. Now this was awhile ago but these are easy fixes . First check your black point which used to come in around 5 as the default which is pretty high and crunches the file some and loses the smoothness. I would drop that down to around 2. Than go in and back off the amount of sharpness to taste and get it where you like it. I don't remember the setting I finally liked offhand but once you get those two you can make a preset and actually import with that preset on your S2 files.

    Only thing I can add on AF is none of them are foolproof. Now reading Rogers comment than yes maybe there is a issue but bottom line they all miss.

    Overall Leica files in my eyes have a little to much crunch in the look. Try those two little tricks and it will do two things spread out the tonal range a little and lowering the sharpness will smooth things out. Than they look pretty good. Also look at saturation and this is more how you like things but maybe a touch too saturated and again you can lower that a hair and get a better look. Bottom line you just need to fine tune LR for your taste and the H 31 would need different adjustments as well. Read my quote below , it says it all. LOL

    Good luck

    Little thing to remember if your a old dog like me and shot Kodachrome in the past. The Kodak sensors in my mind tend to model themselves after Kodachrome in look. Dalsa has a smoother look, neither one are wrong just different and you have to make your own adjustments to taste as defaults in any program are just okay.

    BTW when buying ANY MF system it just takes some time to get these under your belt , just a whole different animal to tame.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Hasselblad H4D-31 vs Leica S2

    I should add here since this was awhile ago working with the S2 files that LR may have changed some so do look in these areas and see if this is still the case with LR but this is exactly where i would look given your description here.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Hasselblad H4D-31 vs Leica S2

    With the S2 (vs, say, Nikon) I find that it's sometimes difficult to tell when the AF has locked focus, e.g. using the 35mm at mid-range. I think this is because the S2 doesn't "twitch" if it's already in focus. With my Nikon I can hear and feel the focus adjusting even if I'm already there... kind of like it makes a minor adjustment in and out of focus. Not sure that I'm really able to express this well but hope you get the idea. In any event, I've gotten in the habit of defocusing the lens when aimed at the subject so that it's clearly OOF before pressing the back button to acquire focus. Roger's comments about the AF crosshair and circle are correct and something most all of the S2 users have learned and adapted to. The S2 viewfinder is nice and bright and allows for manual focusing but I've found the AF to be more accurate in most cases. As for color and processing Guy's advice is what I do in LR3. My own opinion is that the color from the S2 and Leica glass is at least as good as anything I've seen and that's right out of the box. There may be other systems that have features that trump the S2, e.g. True Focus, greater resolution, etc. but I don't think it takes a back seat to any of them on the color front.

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    Senior Member atanabe's Avatar
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    Re: Hasselblad H4D-31 vs Leica S2

    My advice is to get an XRite Passport and build a profile for each camera and use that to get everything to neutral. Using the Passport in Lightroom 3, you can then import all of your files using that profile. I use this to build profiles for different ISO and lighting conditions shortening processing time at the computer.

    In the end, each sensor renders differently, even from the same model of camera. Building a profile will at least get you into the ballpark, with the image neutral.

    With the S2, I prefer to use the AF in manual mode, the back button activating focus and the recompose, adjust focus and shoot. The H4D has a killer solution for this which I commend them on locking focus and then compensating internally. My decision to go with the S2 over the H4D was mainly on ergonomics but it was a close decision.
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Hasselblad H4D-31 vs Leica S2

    Something really changed in LR s conversion of the S2 files . I did not like the color at all when it was introduced and it was the main reason I didn t go for an S2 immediately . With the latest version of LR you even get S lens profiles for the 35,70 and 120 and the color is really excellent . It has a very natural and realistic look just using the profile .

    The M9 has almost a slide film look in the newest version of LR ..and reminds me of the Capture One conversions of the M8 files which were best available .

    I do think you have to work with both curves,clarity ,sharpening and noise adjustments as LR is evolving its raw conversions and the files can benefit from a lot stronger settings .

  8. #8
    salaamss
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    Re: Hasselblad H4D-31 vs Leica S2

    Thanks everyone! Your comments are very helpful. I will share a secret with you: I am still on Aperture 3 and am hooked! I have not got myself to seriously using LR3. I know I need to get myself more familiar with it and have it installed on my Mac Pro. I pray I am not missing out on too much, as Aperture has gotten me hooked to its interface and easy access to plugins. I guess that is another topic altogether .

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