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Thread: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

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    Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Having, like all of us, read the announcements and wondered if it might make sense for me to save up for this camera and a couple or three lenses, I started looking at the lens list for my favorite focal lengths. The following is from David Farkas' blog:

    24/2.8, 30/3.5 TS, 30-90/3.5, 35/2.5, 70/2.5, 100/3.5, 120/2.5, 180/3.5, 350/3.5

    3 things stick out here:

    1) This is a really nice lens lineup, both fast and extensive, wide and long. The 24/2.8 is going to trounce Hasselblad's software-assisted 28mm, and probably everything else out there in MF wide-land. The TS lens is very wide, and will also have some fanatic fans. The 30-90 is a little at the wide end, which surprises me. I had expected something more like a 45-90, but this is probably to appeal to 35mm-FF 24-70 users. The macro lens is both fast and well-placed in the range, compared to most MF macro lenses, given the Leica S2's sensor size. The 350/3.5 will keep Doug Herr interested, since it echoes the 280/4 It does need a 1.4x converter though.

    2) There is a huge gap between the 35mm and the 70mm. This means no walk-around lens for 35mm-FF fans. What is really needed here is a 50mm f/2.0 or f/2.5. This gap is so large and obvious that I wondered if Leica had done it on purpose, to leave room for a later announcement of a special lens. Well, now I have ruined that, sorry However, I like standard lenses better than 35mm lenses, so for me that is not a problem.

    3) A 100mm f/3.5 or f/2.5 is not enough for a portrait lens, as reported by David Farkas (f/3.5) and PDN Gear Guide (f/2.5). If Leica really wants to make a splash here, they need to not only dispatch the Zeiss 150mm f/4 and the Zeiss 180mm f/4, but perhaps more pertinently, the Zeiss 110mm f/2! 100mm on the S2 matches the 110mm of the Zeiss rather well, but we need an f/2 lens here, and one with characteristics at least as good as the Zeiss. Now, I am confident that Leica can do this, but they do need plan it.

    The existing lens mockups don't look particularly large at the front element, leading me not only to think that they are trying to keep the lenses affordable, ie. in the typical MF price range of 2000-4000 EUR, in spite of their very high optical quality, but also that there is some room for more extravagant designs. The large individual elements required to move from 35mm-FF to MF will surely take up some of the design effort, but I would be surprised if Leica doesn't have at least one or two more exiting designs up their sleeve.

    My suggested improved lens lineup would be the following:

    24/2.8, 30/3.5 TS, 30-90/3.5, 35/2.5, 50/2, 70/2.5, 100/2, 120/2.5, 180/3.5, 350/3.5

    I would personally probably shoot for the 35/2.5, 70/2.5 and 100/2, with the macro being added later. If there is no 100/2, I would buy the macro lens instead, but this would be a compromise, as a macro lens is too sharp for nice portraits. Softar needed in that case!

    Comments?
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Carsten,
    Only thing that keeps coming to my mind about the glass line up is to also take into account the CS versus FP lenses. From what I was reading, if you mount a CS lens on the body and set the camera at FP, it will max out the shutter of the lens (1/500s) and you have to make up the difference with aperture in bright light. So, it may be worth thinking about a 100/2 as an FP lens, or better yet, some way to get the best of both CS and FP to permit higher flash sync and FP control in some way. Not sure how to do that part easily, but it could be a nice trick.

    LJ

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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Flash is something I don't yet know that much about. Could you outline the basics, so that I can understand your comment?
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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    If a 100/2 lens were FP, then it wouldn't really be a Zeiss 110/2 beater although still possibly an excellent portrait lens in ambient light.

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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    If it was my call I would not make the 110mm 3.5 instead do a 130mm or 140mm F2 or 2.8 since it would be more a portrait type lens. If i got this system as it was i would go right for the 180mm as the portrait lens. Guess we all have different needs too. I'm doing real well with the 80 and 150 combo today.
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Flash is something I don't yet know that much about. Could you outline the basics, so that I can understand your comment?
    Carsten,
    In this case we are talking about the sync mechanism and speeds associated with the various lenses/cameras. The CS (central shutter or leaf shutter) will permit flash sync up to its max speeds for that lens. The FP (focal plane shutter) lenses limit your flash sync to whatever the camera body permits. In the S2, the CS lenses will sync to 1/500s or 1/800s (whatever the specs permit), and that means you cannot shoot at shutter speeds above that with those lenses. The FP lenses will permit using the focal plane shutter for all other shooting to speeds up to 1/4000s or 1/8000s, whichever they settle on.

    So, if you have a fast lens like a 100/2 as a CS, and wanted to shoot with it in the studio, you could sync your flash to freeze action or control exposure to your highest sync speed. If you took that same lens outdoors in bright light, you may not be able to get a fast enough shutter speed to permit shooting it at f2, so you would have to use ND filters if you could not get the ISO low enough/shutter speed high enough for proper exposure.

    That is why I made the comment wondering which kind of lens it might be, because there are two different types of S lenses. The first batch they plan to release are the CS lenses, followed by the the FP lenses, most of which are the slower ones from what I recall reading.

    LJ

    P.S. The 35, 70, 120 and 180 are being listed as CS lenses, with the others being FP lenses.
    Last edited by LJL; 29th September 2008 at 16:34.

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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Carsten,
    Only thing that keeps coming to my mind about the glass line up is to also take into account the CS versus FP lenses. From what I was reading, if you mount a CS lens on the body and set the camera at FP, it will max out the shutter of the lens (1/500s) and you have to make up the difference with aperture in bright light. So, it may be worth thinking about a 100/2 as an FP lens, or better yet, some way to get the best of both CS and FP to permit higher flash sync and FP control in some way. Not sure how to do that part easily, but it could be a nice trick.

    LJ
    Leica is not this stupid. Mounting a CS lens and choosing to use the FP shutter will just disable the leaf shutter in the lens.

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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Quote Originally Posted by David Klepacki View Post
    Leica is not this stupid. Mounting a CS lens and choosing to use the FP shutter will just disable the leaf shutter in the lens.
    Perhaps not. I had asked about this in other posts, and it still is not clear how the mechanism works. In other words, if you have a CS lens on the camera, will shooting in FPS mode override the CS capabilities, effectively disabling the CS on the lens in favor of the FPS selection.

    Check out David Farkas blog (http://dfarkas.blogspot.com/ ) Here is a quote from his blog:

    The CS/FPS/Off switch on the back turns the camera on and off, as well as letting the photographer select focal plane shutter or leaf shutter without digging through menus. Pretty smart to keep this analog, actually. The shutter speed dial controls both shutter mechanisms. I asked what would happen if you had the focal plane shutter set for 1/4000th and switched to CS mode. The camera will automatically set the leaf shutter to the highest possible speed and display it in the viewfinder and on the OLED screen on top.

    From this, I gather that one could use a CS lens in FPS mode with the leaf shutter disabled. It looks as though the photog makes a conscious choice over what mode to shoot in via the switch, and that controls the lens operation. There was no corollary condition asked about (using a FPS lens and flipping to CS mode, as there were no FPS lenses available to test). The logical assumption would be that you could not use CS mode with a FPS lens mounted, but again, none of this has been detailed or set in stone.

    As for Leica being "stupid".....well whoever thought they would release the M8 without a sufficient IR filter?

    LJ

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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    From this, I gather that one could use a CS lens in FPS mode with the leaf shutter disabled

    Exactly what i assume also from reading that. Pretty freaking slick if you ask me

    Seems like if you have a CS lens attached you can go between FP or Cs at will and be at those shutter speed limitations. When a FPS lens is attached than obviously you would only have FPS available
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Re #2 the huge gap, I suspect they want to sell a bunch of the 30-90 zooms.
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    From this, I gather that one could use a CS lens in FPS mode with the leaf shutter disabled

    Exactly what i assume also from reading that. Pretty freaking slick if you ask me

    Seems like if you have a CS lens attached you can go between FP or Cs at will and be at those shutter speed limitations. When a FPS lens is attached than obviously you would only have FPS available
    Exactly. Just like Hasselblad has had (and still does) since 1991 when they introduced their 200 series cameras.
    Last edited by David Klepacki; 29th September 2008 at 22:16.

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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    So why in the hell did they not extend that technology for a FPS in there H series with leaf lenses. And do the same thing, seems to me they went back words.
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Quote Originally Posted by foto-z View Post
    If a 100/2 lens were FP, then it wouldn't really be a Zeiss 110/2 beater although still possibly an excellent portrait lens in ambient light.
    Why not? The 110/2 is FP, so Leica could make a better lens by shooting for better image characteristics, something which they are surely capable of.
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Carsten,
    In this case we are talking about the sync mechanism and speeds associated with the various lenses/cameras. The CS (central shutter or leaf shutter) will permit flash sync up to its max speeds for that lens. The FP (focal plane shutter) lenses limit your flash sync to whatever the camera body permits. In the S2, the CS lenses will sync to 1/500s or 1/800s (whatever the specs permit), and that means you cannot shoot at shutter speeds above that with those lenses. The FP lenses will permit using the focal plane shutter for all other shooting to speeds up to 1/4000s or 1/8000s, whichever they settle on.

    So, if you have a fast lens like a 100/2 as a CS, and wanted to shoot with it in the studio, you could sync your flash to freeze action or control exposure to your highest sync speed. If you took that same lens outdoors in bright light, you may not be able to get a fast enough shutter speed to permit shooting it at f2, so you would have to use ND filters if you could not get the ISO low enough/shutter speed high enough for proper exposure.

    That is why I made the comment wondering which kind of lens it might be, because there are two different types of S lenses. The first batch they plan to release are the CS lenses, followed by the the FP lenses, most of which are the slower ones from what I recall reading.

    LJ

    P.S. The 35, 70, 120 and 180 are being listed as CS lenses, with the others being FP lenses.
    Ah okay, I think I see what you mean now. The FP setting should override the CS shutter, as I understand it and as others have said, so outside you just use FP.
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Re #2 the huge gap, I suspect they want to sell a bunch of the 30-90 zooms.
    I doubt that marketing a camera like the S2 as walk-around capable is going to be successful without a 35mm-equivalent lens. This and the 50mm-equivalent lens are by far the most popular, and a large zoom won't cut it as a replacement for prime-lovers.
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Ah okay, I think I see what you mean now. The FP setting should override the CS shutter, as I understand it and as others have said, so outside you just use FP.
    Carsten,
    That might be the normal case, except if you were using flash to fill/light your subject outdoors. Then you would want the higher flash sync speed of the leaf shutter over the slower flash sync speed of the focal plane shutter in order to help control your exposure. It is a light balancing act for the exposure. Having both options in a single camera has been a long standing wish for shooters for some time. Even with my Canon 1DsMkII and EX 580 flash, I find myself going to the flash's "high speed sync" capabilities (since the camera flash sync is pegged much lower) in order to get fill when I need say a 1/640s shutter speed to stop motion or something. I am not able to do that with normal studio flash, since the camera sync drops down to 1/250s or so. So, sometimes a higher flash sync speed is very helpful outdoors also.

    LJ

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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I doubt that marketing a camera like the S2 as walk-around capable is going to be successful without a 35mm-equivalent lens. This and the 50mm-equivalent lens are by far the most popular, and a large zoom won't cut it as a replacement for prime-lovers.
    Carsten,
    You are probably correct in this assertion. The one caveat that may come into play is that presently, the S2 is being positioned as a pro shooter's camera, suggesting that "walk around" may be more of a casual use. Personally, I do not make that distinction myself, as one uses the lens that helps them get the job done, be it a prime in a fixed setting or a zoom in more fluid setting. If the optics are very good for both, it should not matter as much. I presently use a 24-70 f2.8 for a lot of my closer in 35mm shooting, not because it is a great optic, but because it permits a lot of instant flexibility for some kinds of shooting. I would think that this remains an important option for a lot of shooters, whether on a set or "walking around", so I agree that it would be nice to have those lengths covered with a good option.

    LJ

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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    If I had a blank piece of paper and leica said okay give me a lineup that makes sense. Here is what i would give them after shooting the 645 format for awhile even though the S2 is slightly different but in S2 terms and sizing. Uses also example only

    24mm 2.5 lot's of wide angle power to this. PJ lens and landscape use. FPS lens

    30mm 3.5 T/S Nice lens would not change the specs. Interiors and exterior arch. FPS lens

    45mm or 50mm 2.5 I would add this to the lineup in CS. Group photo lens equaling a 35mm in 35mm. CS lens

    70mm 2.5 Normal CS lens

    130mm or 140mm F2 lens. There fastest lens CS lens if they can. 3/4 length ,great wedding couple lens also

    210mm 2.5 CS lens if they can . Portraits

    350mm 3.5 FS lens keep size down

    120mm T/S Macro lens. I would combine this for table top and macro. Like the Canon 90mm TSE which can focus very close for macro. Than add extension tubes for even closer work

    1.4 Tele converter for the 210 and 350 loss of 1stop

    30-90 zoom 3.5 . General purpose FPS lens or CS if it can be done

    My one caveat is I don't know if CS will add bulk to a lens so reason i said if can be done. Otherwise try and keep the size down
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    So why in the hell did they not extend that technology for a FPS in there H series with leaf lenses. And do the same thing, seems to me they went back words.
    It had to do with the costs involved and the market at the time. In fact, I think you will see a new H camera with a focal plane shutter. It is probably better, business wise, for Hasselblad to wait and see the Leica price point first. The incremental cost to Hasselblad for adding a focal plance shutter should be much less than Leica who must struggle with new body, new lenses and new sensor size. Once Leica commits their costs and prices, it would fairly easy for Hasselblad to introduce something more capable at a lower price point.

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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    That sounds good but i would not put Leica in the struggle part yet. They have more money than folks think but obviously need a large outlay on R&D and such for this thing to go into production . I actually have a lot of hope for this system, speed is the issue for me and i will have to look into that part but the money i agree has to be within reason and what the market will bear. leica is not cheap for sure.
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    F2.x is plenty fast for a portrait lens because of the larger digital negative and larger FOV. For a tight portrait you'll step into the shot 2, maybe 3 steps closer than you will with a 35mm FF-dSLR. Stepping into the shot shortens the DOF. On a 645 system F4-F5.6 works well for shallow DOF for portraits. Since the S2 sensor is smaller, maybe F3.5 to F4.5 instead.

    Another way to fill the frame is to use a longer lens. 200mm fills a 645 negative nicely and works well for head shots. The Mamiya 200mm F2.8 APO has a very thin DOF @ F2.8. The attached image is F2.8 with the Mamiya 200mm APO on a P25 back.


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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    It is a bit hard to get a sense of scale in that image. Do you have a portrait?
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Carsten, et al:

    Here is an image from my P45+ that illustrates John's point. This shot was taken with my 150 at f8. I focused on the model's left eye (our right) and note how much oof her hair is.

    Full image for reference:



    Hilighted area at 100% and straight out of the camera with no post sharpening -- remember this is f8. Note that my camera position has my sensor almost (but not quite parallel) to the plane formed by her eyes, and the tip of her nose and cheeks are oof on the near side and her right eye is starting to fall out on the far side of the DoF zone. (Sorry for the 1600 pix wide crop, but I needed that area to show the oof transition):

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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Here a great example with the Mamiya 150mm 2.8 lens shot at F12 which sounds like a lot of DOF but watch the hair completely out of focus. Mf is completely different than 35mm . If i shot this with the DMR say in the same focal length to achieve the same look F8 would be a good guess. Now this is the P25 plus full image. I added the right side image also
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    No lack of detail there. LOL Shot with a Broncolor Para BTW but even if you look close it starts to fade out right after her eye brow. So reality is a 1.4 would never cut it really. Here is a quicky I shot of my nephew at 2.8 with the 150mm. See how thin the DOF is
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    Re: Something is rotten in the S2 lens lineup

    Yes when you move to MF from 35mm you'll need to wipe out your mental algorithm for DOF, light settings and all that. I've found that to get the same DOF I'm needing 3 more stops and really 4 times as much light with my Rollei.

    Btw - if you want fast medium format lenses check out the Rollei 6000 series which work with the Hy6 and AFi too. There's an 80mm f/2.0, 110mm f/2.0, 180mm f/2.8 These have leaf shutters and can sync to 1/500 but some of the lenses will go to 1/1000

    Mamiya also has an 80mm f/1.9 too, and Marc or someone can tell you what's available for Hasselblad.

    Anyhow, probably a f/2.5 in MF is going to appear faster than a f/1.4 or even a f/1.2 in 35mm terms so the new Leica S2 lenses are going to be plenty fast.

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