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Thread: Leica s Announcements were predictable

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Leica s Announcements were predictable

    If you were CEO for day ...what product plans would you have approved for Photokina 2012. Leica s decisions were all predictable and make sense in the context of their business challenges .

    Production capacity decisions are driving the bus . (taking priority over market or customer requirements ). After the success of the M9 and the S2 and the explosive growth in asia ...Leica simply ran out of capacity . Plans were adopted to greatly increase capacity but it required building a new plant in Wetzler and expanding the facility in Portugal . Next ..capital shortage pushed ownership to take on new partners . All this resulted in a delay of the new factory of close to a year or more .

    The move to a new factory will be an enormous undertaking for Leica s management . New equipment,new production processes and the addition of significant numbers of new production technicians...will strain the limited skilled resources to the limit . Capacity actually decreases for a period before it can again increase.

    At the same time ....the distribution channels and retail operations are being repositioned for the future . They need some product to sell !

    So what did they really decide to do .

    1. Introduce a lower priced M9 (ME) and the new Mono . These are bodies they can make at full production rates . They require very few new components and the processes in Solms etc are all in place.

    2. Don t introduce ANY new M lenses ....why would you we can t make what we already have in the line . Save the designs for next year after the new M comes into production.

    3. Introduce a new M based on whats possible with a change to CMOS . This is a big change but solves the "sensor supplier" issue . Now they can order in smaller quantities (at a higher price) but also work on co design efforts . Yet they need to make new M s in Solms (unless something has changed ) . The CMOS chip makes the addition of the EVF pretty straight forward and almost every new capability comes from the change in electronics .

    The specification appears to be an M9 with only those changes required to move to CMOS .

    OK now that we figured out what we can actually make .....turn it over to marketing to identify how we should promote the products .

    You can use the same logic with the new S .

    Predictable ?

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Production capacity decisions are driving the bus . (taking priority over market or customer requirements ).
    I would say market and customer requirements drove Leica's releases. Naturally, production capacity is another factor.

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Roger,
    Good hypothesis on the move to build on existing platforms and hold off on completely new ones. The new factory will be ready in one year? This plan allows the old tooling to reman in place at Solms producing cameras up to the point of moving production and new tooling to build the new cameras to be installed at the new factory. Very little downtime on producing what is currently offered. The new cameras have a chance to ramp up production at the new factory inventory stocks of the old cameras are in place. Old tooling can be moved and modified at the new facility or scrapped.

    So a new S after the factory move?
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by atanabe View Post
    Roger,
    Good hypothesis on the move to build on existing platforms and hold off on completely new ones. The new factory will be ready in one year? This plan allows the old tooling to reman in place at Solms producing cameras up to the point of moving production and new tooling to build the new cameras to be installed at the new factory. Very little downtime on producing what is currently offered. The new cameras have a chance to ramp up production at the new factory inventory stocks of the old cameras are in place. Old tooling can be moved and modified at the new facility or scrapped.

    So a new S after the factory move?

    At some point they have to go in and change the sensor. Most likely they have enough in stock to carry the S3 through its life cycle. The M they probably had to move to CMOS as they had many more sales there and starting to run out plus maybe time to update for live view and such. Not surprised by the tweaking of the S right now. Like the fact they lowered the price too, that may help. It's the lens prices that would hold me back right now. Shame too I could see myself in a S as it fits me.
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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    The CMOS chip makes the addition of the EVF pretty straight forward and almost every new capability comes from the change in electronics.
    This makes it sound like changing a sensor is as simple as plug and play. This is definitely not the case - at least with the high incident angle of the M optics. From a sensor design standpoint, changing the microlens shape to provide R compatibility is actually quite a brilliant piece of engineering which I'm sure required many hours of computer simulations, analysis, and testing of prototype sensors from the CMOSIS (or whoever they use as their foundry) to validate their design. All this requires a huge amount of engineering effort. It's not cheap to make prototypes on PCB, let alone silicon. The same can be said of their new Maestro DSP engine.

    Although I (like everyone else) was expecting a new sensor, it was the fact that Leica decided (and had the capability) to bring the signal processing DSP/Embedded processing in-house that was the big shocker for me. Very few companies have the expertise or the finances to pull off what Leica just did. Moreover, Leica should be given a fair bit of credit for actually working with a sensor fab to co-design a new sensor as this is no easy feat.

    To put things into perspective, the only camera manufacturers that design their own sensors are Sony, Canon, Fuji, and Sigma. Everyone else buys whatever off-the-shelf parts are available. When you look at it from this way, designing your own sensors gives you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition, it's easy to see this in Sony, Canon, Fuji, and Sigma - each exploit their unique sensor designs to differentiate themselves from the competition.

    As far as DSP goes, it's true that Leica designed the Maestro 3 years ago for the S2. At the same time, reworking the algorithms and DSP layout/design for a CMOS sensor and having to optimize it for the M, means that Leica most likely started with a blank slate. They had the expertise gained from the S2's Maestro program but it is by no means a copy/paste project.

    All in all, creating a new custom sensor and a new DSP engine all in one product cycle is quite impressive. Of course at the end of the day, the proof is in pudding as they say. That is, we'll just have to wait for the video/still samples to actually see if Leica manages to execute the M with the expected Leica quality, or will this be an expensive botched project. Personally, given all the unknowns and the rather premature unveiling of the M, I'll take a wait and see approach before pulling the trigger.
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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    I'm optimistic about the image quality. I like Leica's digital track record. They could've taken other routes, but I still look back at my old DMR files and think wow. I wasn't fond of having to use filters on the M8, but the IQ of the M8, M9 and S2 are/were excellent. I'm of the opinion that they'll make certain that the files are what their customers are looking for.

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post
    I'm optimistic about the image quality. I like Leica's digital track record. They could've taken other routes, but I still look back at my old DMR files and think wow. I wasn't fond of having to use filters on the M8, but the IQ of the M8, M9 and S2 are/were excellent. I'm of the opinion that they'll make certain that the files are what their customers are looking for.
    I quite agree. I think Leica is astute enough to know at this point that both their core group of users as well as those who shoot other systems (but are contemplating moving to Lecia) will scrutinize the images from their new offerings to make sure they lost nothing in terms of the look and quaility they expect and have received from past and current cameras such as the M9 and S2. I think they are careful enough to consider this fact maybe more so than anything else. Its a very different Leica than the one a few years prior to the M8.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Hold off on technology??? Look, this is a really competitive market. Holding on to technology is not really a plan--how is that 10-year old computer you have? Leica's market is a simple one--traditional streamlined form. Are you really going to be more likely to buy an M because it has sweep panorama and art filters?

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    This should be in MF section.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeWee View Post
    This makes it sound like changing a sensor is as simple as plug and play. This is definitely not the case - at least with the high incident angle of the M optics. From a sensor design standpoint, changing the microlens shape to provide R compatibility is actually quite a brilliant piece of engineering which I'm sure required many hours of computer simulations, analysis, and testing of prototype sensors from the CMOSIS (or whoever they use as their foundry) to validate their design. All this requires a huge amount of engineering effort. It's not cheap to make prototypes on PCB, let alone silicon. The same can be said of their new Maestro DSP engine.

    Although I (like everyone else) was expecting a new sensor, it was the fact that Leica decided (and had the capability) to bring the signal processing DSP/Embedded processing in-house that was the big shocker for me. Very few companies have the expertise or the finances to pull off what Leica just did. Moreover, Leica should be given a fair bit of credit for actually working with a sensor fab to co-design a new sensor as this is no easy feat.

    To put things into perspective, the only camera manufacturers that design their own sensors are Sony, Canon, Fuji, and Sigma. Everyone else buys whatever off-the-shelf parts are available. When you look at it from this way, designing your own sensors gives you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition, it's easy to see this in Sony, Canon, Fuji, and Sigma - each exploit their unique sensor designs to differentiate themselves from the competition.

    As far as DSP goes, it's true that Leica designed the Maestro 3 years ago for the S2. At the same time, reworking the algorithms and DSP layout/design for a CMOS sensor and having to optimize it for the M, means that Leica most likely started with a blank slate. They had the expertise gained from the S2's Maestro program but it is by no means a copy/paste project.

    All in all, creating a new custom sensor and a new DSP engine all in one product cycle is quite impressive. Of course at the end of the day, the proof is in pudding as they say. That is, we'll just have to wait for the video/still samples to actually see if Leica manages to execute the M with the expected Leica quality, or will this be an expensive botched project. Personally, given all the unknowns and the rather premature unveiling of the M, I'll take a wait and see approach before pulling the trigger.
    Never said going to Cmos was trivial . It s huge . But once you have decided the new M must be Cmos ..then EVF,live view and video all seem as givens. So you tell me the next M is CMOS and i can write the specifications (as i did weeks ago ....thus the introduction was predictable).

    This is also why they evolved the S model . Why would they undertake a redesign starting from a CMOS sensor for a product that is well liked by the market? Better to evolve the feature set ,lower the price and extend the warranty.

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    I don't care whether Leica's announcements were predictable or not. It's irrelevant.

    They have announced a very solid suite of improved products. The M-E and new M (although I'd have preferred they stick to the numbering scheme) are solid designs with just the right, practical ideas behind them.

    No new lenses right now ... Who cares? There are so many excellent Leica, Zeiss and Voigtländer lenses already I hardly see the point. They're already the state of the art in the industry.

    I'm excited about the new M. I'll take my time bringing one home, but one shall indeed be in my kit sometime in the next year.

    (So much for the Sony RX1 ... I'll stick with the X2 and put that money into the new M. :-)

    The S2 system ... No input from me as I have no experience with it. Looks neat but unnecessary for my photography.

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I don't care whether Leica's announcements were predictable or not. It's irrelevant.

    They have announced a very solid suite of improved products. The M-E and new M (although I'd have preferred they stick to the numbering scheme) are solid designs with just the right, practical ideas behind them.

    No new lenses right now ... Who cares? There are so many excellent Leica, Zeiss and Voigtländer lenses already I hardly see the point. They're already the state of the art in the industry.

    I'm excited about the new M. I'll take my time bringing one home, but one shall indeed be in my kit sometime in the next year.

    (So much for the Sony RX1 ... I'll stick with the X2 and put that money into the new M. :-)

    The S2 system ... No input from me as I have no experience with it. Looks neat but unnecessary for my photography.
    Godfrey

    Why are you posting if you don t care ? The whole point of the post was to put forth a theory that the decisions are being driven more by what Leica can actually make than by the wish lists of its customers .

    There are two perspectives to view the Leica announcements (1) how they affect each of our unique requirements and (2) how they position Leica for future success. Personally I am thrilled that Leica seems to have taken advantage of the opportunities they have and am less concerned about whether I will buy the new models .

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    dont forget one thing : Leica cameras are FINISHED at Solms, not produced there.

    They are produced at Leica Portugal and sent to Solms for final testing and top plate assembly.

    90% of the cameras and sometimes up to 100% of the lenses are made at Leica Portugal. Leica factory at Solms is expanding BECAUSE Leica Portugal just made a new factory, therefore at Solms they also need a bigger one to keep with with the increased production.

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    so Solms might have a brand new spanking place but until Leica Portugal finished to move to the new factory ( still didnt happen ), you wont see any increased output in production

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Godfrey

    Why are you posting if you don t care ? The whole point of the post was to put forth a theory that the decisions are being driven more by what Leica can actually make than by the wish lists of its customers .

    There are two perspectives to view the Leica announcements (1) how they affect each of our unique requirements and (2) how they position Leica for future success. Personally I am thrilled that Leica seems to have taken advantage of the opportunities they have and am less concerned about whether I will buy the new models .
    You offered your opinion and a speculative scenario. I responded with my opinion of the value of that speculative scenario. Why is this a problem?

    Based on what the products are and what the honchos have said*in the interviews, it seems that these products are indeed what they perceive their emerging audience wants. Whatever other factors might be influencing the product mix, eh?, isn't relevant. That they're producing great products and signing up oodles of pre-orders bodes well for their future, whether I or you (current customers) want the latest and greatest or not.

    G

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    You offered your opinion and a speculative scenario. I responded with my opinion of the value of that speculative scenario. Why is this a problem?

    Based on what the products are and what the honchos have said*in the interviews, it seems that these products are indeed what they perceive their emerging audience wants. Whatever other factors might be influencing the product mix, eh?, isn't relevant. That they're producing great products and signing up oodles of pre-orders bodes well for their future, whether I or you (current customers) want the latest and greatest or not.

    G
    Nonsense
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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by proenca View Post
    so Solms might have a brand new spanking place but until Leica Portugal finished to move to the new factory ( still didnt happen ), you wont see any increased output in production
    Now when I was there several years ago in Germany actually Roger was there as well and back than , M8 days. They mentioned they made all there bodies in Portugal. I think it was because of labor obviously but also the process of the magnesium alloy to produce it could not be done in Germany. Now they certainly may have expanded more since than not sure. But that was the story several years ago. Roger correct me if I got something wrong there in details.
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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Wait a sec. Posts have to be relevant now?

    To what issue? If relevance is required, the mods are going to be busy.

    If "that's not relevant" means "who cares," I think the answer is don't bother to participate in the discussion.

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    If I read Rogers initial comments in the realm of what Leica came up with given on what they had to work with and lets face it hit its consumers on a positive level than Leica 2012 was a success and I agree. Lets fact it they are stuck with sensor problem outside there control and they are forced to make a change with the M and in the S they will hit that same change but probably have enough on hand to make the S3 go its life span before maybe visiting it again with a S4 in a year or two. So they are working with what they have or can acquire easily . But the M given the numbers they had to jump forward to a new sensor and in the process added some features that customers where asking for. So I think this is all relevant to the output of production and delivery of product to customer. This is part of doing business is projecting what you can and can't do even with location changes going on. Buy it or not you have to give them credit for being the standout in 2012 Photokinia. They stayed within there roots made some advanced changes that customers are seeking. I don't think there done yet as the M could go further on the next version , the external EVF has to go eventually. Now maybe in a year or two a EVF internal could rock the house given some changes in tech. But it's a revolutionary product that has a market and will grow. Now they need to deliver and get production full swing.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    If I read Rogers initial comments in the realm of what Leica came up with given on what they had to work with and lets face it hit its consumers on a positive level than Leica 2012 was a success and I agree. Lets fact it they are stuck with sensor problem outside there control and they are forced to make a change with the M and in the S they will hit that same change but probably have enough on hand to make the S3 go its life span before maybe visiting it again with a S4 in a year or two. So they are working with what they have or can acquire easily . But the M given the numbers they had to jump forward to a new sensor and in the process added some features that customers where asking for. So I think this is all relevant to the output of production and delivery of product to customer. This is part of doing business is projecting what you can and can't do even with location changes going on. Buy it or not you have to give them credit for being the standout in 2012 Photokinia. They stayed within there roots made some advanced changes that customers are seeking. I don't think there done yet as the M could go further on the next version , the external EVF has to go eventually. Now maybe in a year or two a EVF internal could rock the house given some changes in tech. But it's a revolutionary product that has a market and will grow. Now they need to deliver and get production full swing.
    What's the sensor problem exactly? Truesense is now well-funded with new ownership that wants to invest more in R&D and build new fab facilities. The problem was when the profitable sensor division at Kodak was being used to fund losses elsewhere. I'd say Leica has a very reliable sensor supplier for the new Leica S. Whether or not the next "new S" camera sticks with this route.... who knows?

    I'll ask Stephan tomorrow in our interview and see what he says.
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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Nonsense
    What you wrote? Sure, I'll accept that.
    Hey: you have your opinion, I have mine. No need to get personal.

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Has any one got any information on connectivity for the new S.

    On the Leica website, the S2 section lists the USB port as USB2, but for the S just says USB. Is it USB3?

    I am now seriously considering one.

    I currently shoot with a Hasselblad H1 and an Aptus II 5, as well as a 5DmkII. I find the Canon frustrating as it provides flexibility, but not the image quality I get with the Hasselblad.

    Unfortunately upgrade paths for me are a bit **** to be honest. You see I could get a H4x by trading in the H1, but the H4x will not work with the Aptus II 5, so that is out, and in my country the price of this option is just stupid, almost nine grand.

    I could buy a H5d, but they have dropped the 31, so the entry is now the 40.

    Hence my renewed interest in the S, especially with the release of the H lens adapter, so I can use my H lenses.

    I do shoot a bit tethered, so that was why I thought to ask about the USB connection.

    Has the image shuttle/hot folder solution evolved any further to provide a smooth workflow. I am used to shooting with C1pro so I still have to a lot of research I suppose before making a final decision, but the journey has to start somewhere.

    Cheers,
    Jason.

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    The new S has USB 2.0 as explained in the article David Farkas. Apparently, going to USB 3.0 would not have improved transfer speed as the USB port is not the bottleneck. The lack of USB 3.0 in the list of improvements seemed odd to me until I read David's article. Still, I wonder if the transfer speeds have been improved or, if not, why not. It is not that big of a deal to me since I rarely shoot tethered and the option of transferring lower res jpg to the computer or iPad (keep DNG files on CF card) would suffice for my needs. However, Leica clearly made efforts to increase the shot buffer in response to requests from fashion photographer's so it it will be interesting to see what they did about the transfer speeds.

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by photo570 View Post
    Has any one got any information on connectivity for the new S.

    On the Leica website, the S2 section lists the USB port as USB2, but for the S just says USB. Is it USB3?

    I am now seriously considering one.

    I currently shoot with a Hasselblad H1 and an Aptus II 5, as well as a 5DmkII. I find the Canon frustrating as it provides flexibility, but not the image quality I get with the Hasselblad.

    Unfortunately upgrade paths for me are a bit **** to be honest. You see I could get a H4x by trading in the H1, but the H4x will not work with the Aptus II 5, so that is out, and in my country the price of this option is just stupid, almost nine grand.

    I could buy a H5d, but they have dropped the 31, so the entry is now the 40.

    Hence my renewed interest in the S, especially with the release of the H lens adapter, so I can use my H lenses.

    I do shoot a bit tethered, so that was why I thought to ask about the USB connection.

    Has the image shuttle/hot folder solution evolved any further to provide a smooth workflow. I am used to shooting with C1pro so I still have to a lot of research I suppose before making a final decision, but the journey has to start somewhere.

    Cheers,
    Jason.
    Leica actually released a new version of Image Shuttle at the show, but I haven't gotten a demo yet.

    For tethered shooting, I have a lot of customers shooting straight into LR, which is great since lens profiles (for HC lenses too) can be applied automatically with your other user presets. I also have studio clients who still use C1 and utilize the Leica Shuttle software. Either solution will work. Happy to talk to you more about it offline when I get back from Germany.

    David
    David Farkas
    Leica Store Miami

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gowin View Post
    The new S has USB 2.0 as explained in the article David Farkas. Apparently, going to USB 3.0 would not have improved transfer speed as the USB port is not the bottleneck. The lack of USB 3.0 in the list of improvements seemed odd to me until I read David's article. Still, I wonder if the transfer speeds have been improved or, if not, why not. It is not that big of a deal to me since I rarely shoot tethered and the option of transferring lower res jpg to the computer or iPad (keep DNG files on CF card) would suffice for my needs. However, Leica clearly made efforts to increase the shot buffer in response to requests from fashion photographer's so it it will be interesting to see what they did about the transfer speeds.
    Yeah, what Mark said.

    I also had a 1 hour interview with Stephan Schulz yesterday, which I will posting when I get back home next week. Hotel wifi just isn't up to the task of uploading full HD video.
    David Farkas
    Leica Store Miami

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Cheers David.

    I will PM You next week.

    Jason.

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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gowin View Post
    The new S has USB 2.0 as explained in the article David Farkas. Apparently, going to USB 3.0 would not have improved transfer speed as the USB port is not the bottleneck. The lack of USB 3.0 in the list of improvements seemed odd to me until I read David's article. Still, I wonder if the transfer speeds have been improved or, if not, why not. It is not that big of a deal to me since I rarely shoot tethered and the option of transferring lower res jpg to the computer or iPad (keep DNG files on CF card) would suffice for my needs. However, Leica clearly made efforts to increase the shot buffer in response to requests from fashion photographer's so it it will be interesting to see what they did about the transfer speeds.
    Hi Mark
    Is it possible to have the DNG stay on the card and transfer jpg to the computer continuously with tethered shooting?

    Best/Dan

  28. #28
    SwedishFish
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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gowin View Post
    The new S has USB 2.0 as explained in the article David Farkas. Apparently, going to USB 3.0 would not have improved transfer speed as the USB port is not the bottleneck. The lack of USB 3.0 in the list of improvements seemed odd to me until I read David's article. Still, I wonder if the transfer speeds have been improved or, if not, why not. It is not that big of a deal to me since I rarely shoot tethered and the option of transferring lower res jpg to the computer or iPad (keep DNG files on CF card) would suffice for my needs. However, Leica clearly made efforts to increase the shot buffer in response to requests from fashion photographer's so it it will be interesting to see what they did about the transfer speeds.
    Hi mark

    Do you know if its possible to shoot dng to a card and jpg to computer simultaneously (tethered)? Also, doesanyone know if you can use hi-speed flash sync on a S2 if shooting with the Hassy H adapter + lems?

  29. #29
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    Re: Leica s Announcements were predictable

    Quote Originally Posted by SwedishFish View Post
    Hi Mark
    Is it possible to have the DNG stay on the card and transfer jpg to the computer continuously with tethered shooting?

    Best/Dan
    Dan,

    I don't think it is possible when tethered, but I am not 100% sure. My recollection is that when tethered, the file go straight to the computer and don't get written to the card. You may want to give David Farkas or Josh Lehrer a call at Dale Photo and Digital or Leica Store Miami. They are the most knowledgable in the S system that I know. I have been using my S2 for over 3 years and know it well for the way I shoot. However, I don't shoot tethered.

    I have seen successful use of an Eye-Fi card to transfer images to an iPad wirelessly and it was pretty cool albeit a little slow. I liked it so much, I bought an Eye-Fi card, but I haven't been able to get it to work. I don't know if I am to dumb to set it up or if I have a bad card. I have tried to set it up on two occasions now with no luck. I need to give Tech Support a call to get the issue resolved.

    I am sorry I couldn't provide a more definitive answer to you. Good luck.

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