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Thread: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    I might have missed it, but I haven't seen this interview posted here at GetDPI.

    How Leica Camera Is Reinventing The Medium-Format Market On Its Own Terms - Forbes

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    The question is: Did they reinvent MF or or professional DSLR? It's a hybrid in my view, and I wouldn't be surprised if more will follow from other manufacturers along the same lines. The Pentax isn't so far off.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Very interesting article. Forbes being a deliberate choice to aim at a specific demographic.

    StS: There are no industry-wide figures, but we think the core medium format market is roughly 6000 units per year – worldwide, for all brands. We are not yet the market leader (I estimate Phase One to have 40-45% market share), but we already have 20% share – and this is only after 3 years after introduction.
    I found the above sales figures / market share interesting. It's not normally published and his numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, as they are estimates. However Leica seems to be doing very well, considering the limited life span of the product. If they did a trade in program like Hassy or Phase I'm sure their market share would rise even faster.

    I'm very tempted by their camera, especially from a lens point of view. If only they used 3/4 format instead of 2/3. Thats the deal breaker for me. If Phase built a similar camera with a 40mp / 60mp 3/4 format sensor I would be trading in my P40+ in a heart beat. Especially if the LS lenses went on it. As a portrait / location camera that would be very hard to beat.
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    "In today’s professional market, photojournalists are a rare breed, and they are no longer as well paid as in previous generations."

    Wow, They might be a "rare breed" in the Leica market but there are probably more photojournalists today than ever. It's just that they have not purchased Leicas ever since the Nikon F came out! But let's fast forward to the digital age. Canon and Nikon are and have been king since then. Leica is just a luxury item for rich amateurs even though its also a tool for some professionals and artists.

    There is a reason Phase One dominates the Medium Format market. Most users in that market demand high performance, reliability (both software and hardware) and versatility (open systems). Phase One is more like a high performance film that can be used in a variety of cameras (tech to phase one or hasselblad dslr's).

    The Leica S is a great system though. The lenses are amazing but its a camera looking for a sensor. Its great for people but for a LOT of other things its not the best. Leica needs to figure out how to lead the market in sensor design / quality. Put a 60MP CMOS sensor in that camera with live view and trust me, sales will go through the roof compared to what they are now.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    I'd like the aspect ratio to be more suited for portrait too.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    I agree with most of what Ken R says, except perhaps his implication that the S is not good for subjects beyond people. I find it excellent for macros, landscapes, abstracts, etc. I do agree with his statement about the sensor and the limitations regarding ISO, frames per second, etc. However, as a fine art photographer, one adapts, and the lenses are amazing. Please see the section of my website called galleries->portfolio and in particular the prison, old trucks, section where the images are with the S.
    Rudlin Fine Art
    thanks

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    S-League

    The link above shows a lot of pro work,the camera is very capable and has amazing lenses,the body has great ergonomic's and weather sealing,AF on the S is even better than the S2,Leica are obviously doing well with this camera and the Lenses are mostly on back order,I waited a year for a 120CS...

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    "In today’s professional market, photojournalists are a rare breed, and they are no longer as well paid as in previous generations."

    Wow, They might be a "rare breed" in the Leica market but there are probably more photojournalists today than ever. It's just that they have not purchased Leicas ever since the Nikon F came out! But let's fast forward to the digital age. Canon and Nikon are and have been king since then. Leica is just a luxury item for rich amateurs even though its also a tool for some professionals and artists.

    There is a reason Phase One dominates the Medium Format market. Most users in that market demand high performance, reliability (both software and hardware) and versatility (open systems). Phase One is more like a high performance film that can be used in a variety of cameras (tech to phase one or hasselblad dslr's).

    The Leica S is a great system though. The lenses are amazing but its a camera looking for a sensor. Its great for people but for a LOT of other things its not the best. Leica needs to figure out how to lead the market in sensor design / quality. Put a 60MP CMOS sensor in that camera with live view and trust me, sales will go through the roof compared to what they are now.
    i think CMOS is on the card's,I expect it to be in the next body,CMOSIS CMOSIS - Image Sensors - CMOSIS already have sensor's with a density that would make the next S over 70mp..

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    "In today’s professional market, photojournalists are a rare breed, and they are no longer as well paid as in previous generations."

    Wow, They might be a "rare breed" in the Leica market but there are probably more photojournalists today than ever.
    Free lancers and paparazzi perhaps, but the number of professional photojournalists who make a living from that profession has dramatically decreased with the demise of newspapers, news bureaus, and magazines. Online content, often obtained at very low cost (or free), has driven many out of the profession.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    Leica is just a luxury item for rich amateurs even though its also a tool for some professionals and artists.
    The price of a Leica S plus two lenses is about the same price as a Phase One digital back with no camera or lenses attached. Your statement doesn't make sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    There is a reason Phase One dominates the Medium Format market. Most users in that market demand high performance, reliability (both software and hardware) and versatility (open systems). Phase One is more like a high performance film that can be used in a variety of cameras (tech to phase one or hasselblad dslr's).
    Since September 2010, I've owned and shot with a Hasselblad H4D-50, Phase One 645DF/IQ180, Leica S2 and now a Leica S. While the Phase One IQ-series backs, and the IQ180 in particular, are the best imaging devices I've ever used, the Phase One 645DF camera was the least reliable (frequent lock-ups, poor autofocus, etc.), most difficult to configure, and had the poorest ergonomics of the lot. My guess is that you haven't owned or used any of these cameras and your opinion is based on no first-hand experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    The Leica S is a great system though. The lenses are amazing but its a camera looking for a sensor. Its great for people but for a LOT of other things its not the best. Leica needs to figure out how to lead the market in sensor design / quality. Put a 60MP CMOS sensor in that camera with live view and trust me, sales will go through the roof compared to what they are now.
    I would encourage you to do some research on how the Leica S is being used. It may not be the right camera for sports, wildlife or action photography, but I can assure you that it's ideal for more than shooting portraits and fashion. The lenses are superb and the image quality rivals any of the medium format systems I've owned and used, bar none. The IQ180 only beats it on resolution.

    Joe
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    I would likes to see a Monochrom S, Leica SM?
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by RVB View Post
    I would likes to see a Monochrom S, Leica SM?
    They could call it the Leica S&M ...
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    I agree the 645DF bodies leave a LOT to be desired. The Mamiya "ghost" is still dragging it down in some aspects. Such is life when having to work with an inherited system from the film era. Phase has worked on it quite a bit it seems though.

    I know a lot of folks that are happy with their Hasselblad H(insert number)D series of cameras. It's a very good integrated solution. But I do believe the Leica S system is better overall. I would choose it over the Hasselblad's, specially the 40's, If I was looking for a Camera to work outside the studio. The multishots do offer some extra capability and maybe the 60 for studio work though.

    I did not say that the Leica S system is bad for everything other than People but that it is not the absolute best for Landscape and Architecture. Of course amazing images can be produced with it in almost any circumstance, just like with many other cameras. But the lower resolution and lack of tilt shift lenses do turn quite a bit of potential buyers into a Phase One back and tech camera solution.

    Also, no camera exists in a vacuum, the D800E does exist. It is fact that it has slayed a lot of MF digital sales.

    At the price point of the Leica S2, 37.5 MP makes it a tougher sell than it deserves to be.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    Also, no camera exists in a vacuum, the D800E does exist. It is fact that it has slayed a lot of MF digital sales.
    Yep, been there and done that, too. The available lenses for the D800E leave a lot to be desired. Read Tim Ashley's blog for more details. I recently sold my entire Nikon D800E kit, partly due to my frustration in achieving outstanding image quality with either Nikon or Zeiss lenses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    At the price point of the Leica S2, 37.5 MP makes it a tougher sell than it deserves to be.
    With any camera, you're buying into a system. The Leica S-system, with camera and lenses beats any alternative system I've tried. If Phase One introduces a camera that is as revolutionary as its IQ1XX and IQ2XX digital backs, their system (with Schneider lenses) will be highly competitive, but at an even higher price point.

    Joe
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    Also, no camera exists in a vacuum, the D800E does exist. It is fact that it has slayed a lot of MF digital sales.
    I don't think there is any actual data.

    I think the photographer thinking of an S2 system, is not really in the same market. I think the D800 has had an impact with Pentax 645D sales as they are far closer in price. But if you are going to drop $20K+, you are not really thinking of a $3K as being in the running. I would imagine that the other MFD manufacturers, especially Hasselblad, are the real competition.

    I have heard lots of folks "claim" they did not enter MFD because of the D800, but those folks probably would not have gone into the MFD market anyway.
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by RVB View Post
    I would likes to see a Monochrom S, Leica SM?
    I would like a monochrome camera with live view.

    As impressive the S files are, I think the pricing is not great.

    However....a Leica SM would start me thinking about saving up some serious cash.
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I would like a monochrome camera with live view.

    As impressive the S files are, I think the pricing is not great.

    However....a Leica SM would start me thinking about saving up some serious cash.
    It would be nice if it was a little cheaper but as we know Leica is a small company and the S is still relatively new with high R&D costs and sells in small number's,yet it is not much more than a IQ140 or H4D40 and it give's you access to amazing lenses.. if the next S (or SM) has 60-70mp it will change the vale perception and a lot more people would be willing to pay the price,livbe view will add to the allure.. I think they are learning the in's n out's of CMOS now with the M and we will have a CMOS S in a year or two..

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by RVB View Post
    It would be nice if it was a little cheaper but as we know Leica is a small company and the S is still relatively new with high R&D costs and sells in small number's,yet it is not much more than a IQ140 or H4D40 and it give's you access to amazing lenses.. if the next S (or SM) has 60-70mp it will change the vale perception and a lot more people would be willing to pay the price,livbe view will add to the allure.. I think they are learning the in's n out's of CMOS now with the M and we will have a CMOS S in a year or two..
    But it is a lot more than a Pentax 645D.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    But it is a lot more than a Pentax 645D.
    It gives you access to amazing lenses and a dual shutter option.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by doug View Post
    It gives you access to amazing lenses and a dual shutter option.
    As does the Pentax 645D and still for less...
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    As does the Pentax 645D and still for less...
    Some of the Pentax lenses are great, some were considered great 20 years ago (but not now), and only a few were actually designed for the 645D. What non-Pentax lenses can you use on the 645D?

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by doug View Post
    Some of the Pentax lenses are great, some were considered great 20 years ago (but not now), and only a few were actually designed for the 645D. What non-Pentax lenses can you use on the 645D?
    You can use Hasselblad lenses as well as Pentax 67 lenses. Pentax has also the first MFD lens with optical stabilization.

    The point I was trying to make was while the 40MP options from Phase and Hasselblad cost about the same as an S2, the Pentax 645D does not. The Pentax is head a shoulders better than the Phase body--I have no idea about the current Hasselblad model, but the H series camera I saw was not that great.

    So what is making the S body so expensive? Is Leica just going to keep it there because of its brand value? But the price is simply more than R&D costs and a small market. Pentax had the same costs and the same small market.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    I will admit that liveview may be useful in certain situations, probably studio work in particular. But, my experience with Nikons is that LiveView really isn't very helpful
    in the field (landscape, action, wildlife, etc.) because of glare, reflections, etc. off the
    LCD. Yes, you can use a goodman, or even a black drape as in days of old, but the
    point remains, it is not very practical. I installed the split screen (microprism) on
    my Leica S2 and with its amazing large, bright, clear viewfinder, I really do not miss
    LiveView.

    Tilt-shift is an issue. But, Schneider (I think this is the brand) makes a tilt-shift lens for the Leica S (See Dale Photo). I have been addressing this issue with focus stacking
    with amazing results. This approach allows even more creativity since the in-focus
    areas do not need to be in the same plane at all.

    I would like very much a faster frame rate.

    I agree with Joe that the currently available Nikon lenses do not meet the
    specs and needs of the D800E (which I also have). In fact, I got some Leica
    R lenses (fortunately before Leica made the adapter for the M ) and am
    using these on the D800E. Much better, although there may be some softness
    in the corners. I have not tried the Zeiss. The issue with Leica or Zeiss on
    the D800E is the viewfinder is small and dark compared to the Leica, and
    makes manual focusing much more difficult. You are almost forced to use
    LiveView-- with the limitations mentioned above about daylight use.
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    The number is wrong from what I have been told and not going to say who told me either but its more like 15k total MF per year.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Uh-oh, that would put Leica with less than 10% of the market.

    But we should not expect accurate sales number from company spokes people. It really is not something you want to make public, partly because I think the size is not known and if you have investors, boosting numbers is not a good idea.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    I think Hassy would be the one to come out with the S&M model... Red satin wood, covered by lace. I would buy one just to tell people what it's called...

    But where Leica has seriously changed the game is the adapter for Hassy lenses. I feel like Phase will try to do the same thing. When the CEO did that interview a while ago he talked about opening the system up even more...

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Article is as much about marketing as it is about anything related to cameras or photography.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    Article is as much about marketing as it is about anything related to cameras or photography.
    Bingo
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    The S would be the perfect camera for me if 1: it was 4x3 ratio and 2: Leica made tilt and shift lenses that do justice to the sensor and 3: 60MPX with live view.
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    As does the Pentax 645D and still for less...
    Much, much less. I see that Pentax has reduced the price on a brand new 645D to $7k. That is just amazing....and getting very hard to resist.

    Gary
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Resistance is futile...
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    The Pentax does sound tempting for sure. Going back to numbers even at 10 percent for Leica 1500 per year is actually a good number for them. Most likely given there product line that is what they are probably capable of handling and that number still brings a profit. Honestly if I remember correctly that's what they estimated when they released it a couple years ago. Given they are starting to produce numbers in lenses and the Hassy adapter it surely will increase in time. They do need a new sensor though to kick them past these numbers though. But I think they are doing exactly what they expected. Good for them. Leica has to decide in this line of S gear what they want to go after more numbers or stay pat. If they dropped pricing it would certainly put more on the streets. At this point given the glass and Hassy adapter they could make some real market share, I'm still tempted by it. I need a really good pricing package though and high ISO to replace my Nikon system with it. Still its a nice system
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    Much, much less. I see that Pentax has reduced the price on a brand new 645D to $7k. That is just amazing....and getting very hard to resist.

    Gary
    You've been on the fence for awhile Gary, time to get off. You only live once.
    (At least that's the rationale I use).

    Tom
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    And combined with the savings in film and developing and all that Pentax glass you have, it will be a steal.
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Dante is being called on. Although the Pentax maybe just right for you Gary. Lol
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    "Resistance is futile..." and "been on the fence".

    So true, so true. I love the Leica S, but the truth is, I'll never be able to afford one (or a used Hasselblad H4D-40 Stainless, even at the reduced price).

    Perhaps the Pentax 645D is the "everyman's" Leica.

    Time for me to get serious about it....which means making some tough choices. Which camera systems will go on the chopping block? I hate selling stuff.

    Back to the Leica S...I downloaded the three Leica S magazines to my iPad last night. Some incredible work there...I highly recommend them for anyone who is interested.

    Gary

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    I had the Pentax 645D for a few weeks. It was boringly easy to use and reliable. Af was spot on. The control layout is excellent and the rear lcd large and with very good image quality. Awesome camera. Image quality is excellent even during 30 sec exposures at iso 100 and 200. I will miss it.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by tsjanik View Post
    You've been on the fence for awhile Gary, time to get off. You only live once.
    (At least that's the rationale I use).

    Tom
    Who said Tom??? I'm banking on going around at least two or three time, so I can have a chance to use every available system besides the 645D I currently use. The caveat is that I win the lottery at the each go-around...LOL!

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    I had the Pentax 645D for a few weeks. It was boringly easy to use and reliable. Af was spot on. The control layout is excellent and the rear lcd large and with very good image quality. Awesome camera. Image quality is excellent even during 30 sec exposures at iso 100 and 200. I will miss it.
    ken quite agree. Unless one actually has the 645D in had and uses it..they don't realize how well an intergrated camera it is. When one carefully choses Pentax 645 lenses to use with it (in additon to carefully select well performing samples as my posted comprehensive test I posted in the past showed), it then becomes apparent that it's a system that performs well beyond what a lot of people assume from looking at it on paper.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Pentax 645D as revolutionary it was in terms of pricing, just like the Mamiya ZD, is short lived with limited appeal. There is a near IR (special order?) offering of the 645D with <1000 units planned.

    While I appreciate all the Leica beta testers who made the Leica MM a reality, I doubt if there will be a Leica SM ever. Leica have found a great selling product in the MM and are likely to stick with it.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Love my S. I swapped my IQ 180, Arca bodies and four Schneider and Rodenstock lenses for an S and four lenses. I haven't looked back. For me for now tight integration (NO LCC!), ergonomics and robustness beat megapixels. Just a point of view. My largest prints are 24x36 - S resolution is more than adequate. Only downside: no wide tilt shift.
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    Love my S. I swapped my IQ 180, Arca bodies and four Schneider and Rodenstock lenses for an S and four lenses. I haven't looked back. For me for now tight integration (NO LCC!), ergonomics and robustness beat megapixels. Just a point of view. Only downside: no wide tilt shift.
    A 30mm TS is in the work's... so far the range of glass is coming along nicely.
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Shashin-"I have heard lots of folks "claim" they did not enter MFD because of the D800, but those folks probably would not have gone into the MFD market anyway."

    Not true, I had the H3D, H4D, and an earlier S2 with only one lens available. I choose the Nikon D800 for several reasons. Lenses need to be selected carefully, but the Sigma 35mm 1.4 is the best lens i've used along with the Nikon 85mm 1.4G, and the Sigma maybe on par with Leica's Lux.. The sensor in the Pentax 645D is the same as the H4D (KAF 40000), so no improvement there. The Leica S is the only MFD camera that has lenses to match it perfectly - no adapter or film lens is going to convince me otherwise. I know Hasselblad has the HCD, but the H doesn't have the form factor of the S, and that has to be considered in long shoots or in the field. Now that the S has more selections, I would consider that camera again, but I do prefer 4:3 for portraits.
    Last edited by johnnygoesdigital; 11th May 2013 at 06:00.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    do you guys remember when the S system was announced? There was a 350mm lens in the product family photograph. What ever happened to that lens? I would have considered the S for wildlife if that lens would have ever made it out of the darkroom.

    Leica S2 with 56% larger sensor than full frame: Digital Photography Review
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    Senior Member thrice's Avatar
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by RVB View Post
    A 30mm TS is in the work's... so far the range of glass is coming along nicely.
    Care to quote your source? Or are you making it?

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    [the 645D] can use Hasselblad lenses as well as Pentax 67 lenses.
    And the S can use Pentax 67, Hasselblad H, Hasselblad V, Mamiya, and longer Leica-R lenses as well as the uniformly spectacular S lenses. I agree the pricing of the 645D is very attractive, but for native lenses the sample variation isn't and I have to wonder as others have what Ricoh/Pentax's commitment to the system is.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Biggs View Post
    do you guys remember when the S system was announced? There was a 350mm lens in the product family photograph. What ever happened to that lens? I would have considered the S for wildlife if that lens would have ever made it out of the darkroom.

    Leica S2 with 56% larger sensor than full frame: Digital Photography Review
    The prototype is still in Solms. From what I gather it isn't coming to market just yet. But if you shoot that length and want that FL there is another AF enabled adapter coming...

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    That is a shame, because I know many people who would buy a Leica 350mm with autofocus for the S.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Long term that lens, and another prototype which was shown at launch will come to market.

    Another gap will be filled first with a native S lens.

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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    Quote Originally Posted by thrice View Post
    Care to quote your source? Or are you making it?
    Source... Leica S2 First Impressions

    "Announced for the CS system but not yet scheduled for release are five more lenses; an Elmarit-S 24mm f/2.8 ASPH, Vario-Elmar-S 30-90mm f/3.5 ASPH, APO-Tele-Elmar-S 350mm f/3.5, Elmar-S 30mm f/3.5 Tilt-Shift, and Elmarit-S 100mm f/3.5 ASPH.

    By the time that all seven lenses are shipping, with four more in CS configuration, the Leica S2 will have a lens compliment that is second to none in terms of range. As for optical quality, if Leica's century-long history as one of the world's great lens makers, the S2's published MTF charts, and my own initial testing are any indications, these may be among the finest photographic lenses ever made."

    So far 2 of those five have already been released so there is no reason to believe the 30TS won't be.. Leica has clearly been very diligent with the S system,they know that a wide TS lens is a requirement....

  50. #50
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    Re: How Leica reinvented MFD...or not

    This is another addition to the S system which expands it's versatility ..Leica S Right Angle Finder

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