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Thread: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

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    The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    I just copied the whole deal here from Davids blog for easier reading. But here is Davids link. I will get to see this myself Thursday and will add my thoughts. http://dfarkas.blogspot.com/

    I headed over to the PMA show this morning and went straight to the Leica booth to find out if there was anything new and exciting that wasn't in the pre-PMA announcements. No such luck. No M9, R10, digital CM, or <insert other oft-rumored product here>. All the new lenses, SF 58 flash, and Safari Edition M8.2 were on demo, and even better, I was offered use of some of the lenses to go shoot the Las Vegas Strip tomorrow night. So, after the show on Wednesday I'll head out for the blue hour and beyond with my M8.2, the new 18mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH and the just-starting-to-ship 24mm Summilux-M ASPH. Sweet. And, because these are full production lenses, I can post all the pictures I want. Whoo-hoo.

    My day was pretty much filled with various meetings inside the Leica booth. I got even more time than I had anticipated with Stephan Shulz and Andreas Wahlich. Stephan is the S2 product manager and Andreas is the S2 sales manager. Both are extremely knowledgeable on the S2 and were great about answering all my (many) questions. They caught me up on the developments since Photokina and we discussed some of the S2's strengths.



    Let's start with some basics. The Leica S2 is still on target for shipment in summer 2009. Contrary to what you may read online, the S2 was always scheduled to be launched in summer and is not delayed. The camera will probably be available in two versions, with and without a sapphire glass LCD screen. This may seem like an odd differentiator at first, but does actually make sense. Making a 3 inch piece of sapphire glass is extremely expensive. As it is, the sapphire glass on the M8.2 is already one of largest manufactured at 2.5 inches. The extra 1/2 inch adds greatly to the cost. So, the model without sapphire glass will cost a decent amount less for those that don't require it. But, this camera is aimed squarely at the professional market. Rental houses and commercial studios can really benefit from the stronger, scratch-resistant screen. So, if the camera is destined for rigorous use and not-so-careful handling, sapphire is the way to go.

    The S2 will ship with three lenses at the outset: The 70mm, 120mm Macro, and 180mm. The 35mm will come very shortly after in early fall 2009. Then, by the end of 2009 the 24mm and 30-90mm zooms will ship. The fast 100mm, 30mm T/S, and 350mm will follow on in the first half of 2010. The other interesting twist to the story is that the four CS lenses with leaf shutters will also be offered without leaf shutters as well. The reasons behind this are very simple. Not everyone needs a leaf shutter for their photography and the non-leaf-shuttered lenses will cost less. I happen to think this is a very customer-friendly approach. Rental houses and serious fashion shooters will opt for leaf-shuttered lenses, but a landscape photographer will only use the focal plane shutter. Those that don't need it have the option of paying less. The CS lenses were designed with this modularity in mind. The optical and mechanical design is identical, but the shutter module can be omitted.

    Okay, now some cool techie-geeky stuff. Because the S2 is designed completely from the ground up for digital, it has some real tech advantages over existing MF systems. For example, in a typical MF digital back there are two pieces of glass over the CCD. The first is a protection filter, the second an IR absorption filter. In the S2, the IR filter is fused directly to the sensor. So, there is one 1mm piece of glass in front of the CCD. Now the really cool part is that Leica, being the perfection-obsessed (but in a good way) optics company they are, designed the S lenses with the IR filter as part of the optical path. The optical formulation carries through to the sensor cover glass, which does impart a shift in light rays. Current MF backs create spherical aberrations when used with lenses designed for film. Stephan explained how Leica was able to realize certain advantages because they didn't need to cater to film and digital. You might wonder how other manufactures deal with the introduction of spherical aberrations. They correct it partially in software by sharpening. The aberrations and subsequent software correction serve to create rougher transitions from in-focus to out-of-focus areas. The S lenses promise to deliver exceptional bokeh and buttery smooth focus transitions.

    I did manage to get a few more details on the Kodak KAF-37500 CCD sensor used in the S2. It does, in fact, use offset microlenses, just like the M8 and DMR. So, this will be the first medium format sensor to utilize this technology to dramatically reduce sensor vignetting. It works extremely well and is proven tech. Why no one else uses offset microlenses is beyond me. The A/D converter is 14-bit. There has been a lot of discussion and confusion on this point. I inquired, "why not 16-bit?" The sensor has a native 12 f-stop dynamic range. 12 bits is sufficient to contain this information, meaning that there is an extra 2-bits of headroom. A 14-bit A/D can contain 14 f-stops, so 16-bit would be overkill and unnecessary. Stephan explained that earlier in his career he worked for Phillips in CCD development. So, I'm going to take his word on this. I asked about sensor cooling. The CCD is mounted on an aluminum plate, which is then attached to the magnesium alloy chassis. So, essentially the camera body acts as a giant heat sync. Not active cooling, but well thought out, nonetheless.

    Many want to know the ISO range of the S2. This is not written in stone yet, but 800 ISO is a certainty with 1600 (or more) a definite target. Much of this depends on the sensor readout board and getting the cleanest signal off of the CCD. These signals are analog and are subject to noise. So, the more efficient the readout, the less noise is present heading into the A/D converter. This means that less high-frequency clipping is required to reduce noise. If you clip this data, you are essentially discarding resolution. And nobody likes that, do they? On that note, though, the S2 will implement optional pixel-binning. You have the option in the current firmware to select DNG output resolution of either 37.5 MP or 9.3 MP. The 9.3 MP is the result of combining four pixels (2x2) into one. Theoretically, this should allow one to two stops extra ISO with the same noise characteristics. If the S2 can turn in good 1600 ISO performance at full res, then by pixel binning it should be able to deliver good 3200 or 6400 ISO shots at 9.3 MP. Not too shabby for a medium format camera and 9.3 MP is fine for prints up to 20x30 inches.

    To answer another frequent question, Live View functionality will not be implemented on the S2. While this is unfortunate, Leica is well-aware that this is a feature they need to offer in the future. I was led to believe that this will be included in future cameras. Apparently, given the sensor architecture it was just not technically possible with the S2. The heat generated would be extremely high and lead to unacceptable noise in the final image. Leica is also exploring the possibility of using CMOS sensors in the future, as it would allow Live View and some other features. Frankly, I was surprised to hear this, but I'm sure I'll eventually get over my CCD-loving ways when the time comes. The current sensor does allow for long exposures, though. When posed with the question whether the camera would shoot an exposure longer than 30 seconds, Stephan switched the shutter dial to Bulb and clicked. We watched the top deck OLED as it counted up in seconds (another nice touch I think). It went past 30, then past 60, then past 100, then Stephan got tired of holding the shutter. He told me that there is no limit in Bulb mode. In Program mode, the maximum exposure time is limited by the light meter's minimum EV sensitivity. Of course, if you shoot a really long exposure, be prepared for a really long dark-frame subtraction. After that, the internal processing on the S2 will look for any hot pixels that the dark frame missed and correct them. In other words, you can use the S2 for night shooting. And, don't worry about holding the shutter in for your long night shots. There will be a dedicated electronic cable release as one of the earliest accessories.

    Let's talk a bit about Auto Focus on the S2. The big news first. Several people have asked me about programming the top right button to be AF-on. Well, Leica has provided an even better option. There will be a separate AF-on/lock button for your right thumb to enjoy. This is a new button that is not on the current prototype but will absolutely be on the final product. Good news, huh? There is also more to the lenses than meets the eye. I wanted to know if there would be user fine adjust from the camera. No….but, the lenses actually will be programmed at the factory with some interesting data. Each and every lens will be tested for focus accuracy. Any fine-tune adjustment will be dialed in so that this correction follows the lens on any S2 body. Also, each lens has extremely precise info on actual aperture information. f/8 on one lens might really be f/7.96 or f/8.02 on another due to the physical aperture having minute variation. Because the S2 compensates for aperture-based focus shift (yes, you read that right) the camera needs to know the exact aperture to calculate the adjustment. If you are into manual focus, you will feel right at home with the tactile feel of these lenses. Also, you'll have the option of several interchangeable focusing screens: standard uniform ground glass, microprism field, split-image, and grid. There is also a very good chance that there will be a screen with 4:3 frame markings for those that want to shoot page-safe for magazines.
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Continued

    Next, I'd like to address some lingering speed specs. The frame rate seems to be set at 1.5 fps, which is still faster than just about any MF system right now. It won't win any speed contests with a D3 or 1DIII, but it's pretty fast for close to 40 MP. We already knew that the S2's buffer is 1GB, holding about twelve 75 MB DNG files. Some simple math says that we'll hit the buffer in about eight seconds, but life is never simple. The S2 is already optimized to take advantage of the new UDMA 6 specification, which allows up to 96 MB/sec. According to Leica, with one of those yet-to-be-released 600X UDMA 6 cards, you can shoot continuously until your card fills up. The Maestro and internal bus are not the limiting factor as they are pushing through about 120 MB/sec. This is one camera where you do not want to skimp on the card. Get the fastest, biggest card you can. As I mentioned in my Photokina report, the S2 is crazy fast. Startup time from off to shooting is less than 0.3 seconds. Image review is instantaneous, as is zooming and scrolling.

    Another speed question, and one that I'm particularly interested in myself, is the sync speed on the leaf shutter. The answer is "at least 1/500th of a sec, hopefully more." I asked about meeting or beating certain market competitors. Apparently, the team at Leica benchmarked their competitors and what is claimed on spec sheets is not always reality. The Sinar Hy6 with PQS lenses actually syncs at 1/750th not 1/1000th. The H3DII was clocked at 1/650th not 1/800th. Stephan gave me a brief education on leaf shutters. Leaf shutters do not work in a vacuum. Their speed is dictated by the aperture setting as well. The exposure time will actually double from wide-open to fully stopped-down. In other words, a leaf shutter that can sync at 1/500th wide open can only sync to 1/250th when stopped down. Most manufacturers rate their shutters for wide-open performance. Leica finds this method inaccurate. So, they will actually rate the shutter for stopped-down speed and slow it down as the aperture is opened up. This way, there is no exposure shift at varying f-stops. This means that Leica's 1/500th spec applies to all apertures.

    I know this is getting to be a lot of information, but here are a few more neat things I learned today. The S2 offers the largest exposure bracketing range I've ever seen on any camera. You can set it up to go from -6 EV to +6EV in either half or whole stops. This would result in a 25-shot exposure sequence if you use the entire range in half stops. HDR lovers rejoice. This led my mind to focus bracketing so I made the suggestion. While a feature like that won't be shipping with the camera, it is something that Leica would consider adding. We discussed about a half-dozen possible future features, like a hyperfocal distance aid on the OLED. Another really cool feature is the ability to back up all your menu and profile settings onto an SD card. That profile can then be loaded onto any S2 to clone the camera quickly. Rental houses will love this for getting a camera back to "house defaults." Photographers who rent can store their own personal settings on a spare card and load it into any camera from any rental house quickly and easily. With a camera as advanced as the S2, this is a great pro feature.

    The S2 is incredibly well thought out from both a user and an engineering perspective. The interface is simple. The quality is uncompromising on so many different levels. Leica has managed to make tremendous improvements in the short time from Photokina until now. Stephan and Andreas assured me that this was because all development and manufacture is now in-house. Such an undertaking would not have worked if Leica needed to depend on technology partners. All-in-all, the S2 is shaping up to be a truly professional tool. Is it summer yet?!!
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    This is making me feel more and more fanboy-like. It really does sound excellent. I hope that the reality is as nice as the specs.
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Servicing locations and turn-around, loan back-up arrangements, rental outlets, pricing...?

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post

    Because the S2 compensates for aperture-based focus shift (yes, you read that right) the camera needs to know the exact aperture to calculate the adjustment...
    Thanks for taking the time to write the lengthy report, Guy. Sounds like a really interesting camera and well thought out from conception.

    I took the above statement in quotes as that is a feature already available on the H3D... Just thought I would sneak that in.

    David

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Thanks David but I see a few holes in this that need plugging. One is 3 lenses on release , no Pro can go with only three lenses so this takes us out much longer than the summer. I see a couple other nits that I need to see tomorrow and address with Leica.

    BTW that is from David Farkas at PMA right now that wrote that . I will add my thoughts later after i get to play with it. David is a good guy and good friend a little bit of a Leica fanboy . LOL But i love him anyway. Guess now i have to buy him some drinks. LOL

    But it is exciting and his enthusiasm is great.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Yes, we know from experience a large lens line is important to make the potential market comfortable that it will fit their needs.

    It would be also be interested to know what they plan for tethered capture? Leica software or C1 or something else!

    David

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Leica is working with C1 for raw processing and i certainly hope tethering as well. These systems need tethering as you know. This is a big part of MF is tethering and I have seen Phocus in action and obviously I use c1 and both great tethering programs. I don't know of Leaf and Sinar since I never played with them tethered
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    The 70mm, 120mm Macro, and 180mm. The 35mm will come very shortly after in early fall 2009


    This is what bugs me . They need to all be out on release . One MUST have some type of wide angle
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
    Servicing locations and turn-around, loan back-up arrangements, rental outlets, pricing...?
    Can't tell you how important this part of the puzzle is. As a MF shooter myself service and support are huge key factors. This needs to be on a level that MF shooters are accustomed too today with the systems already in place.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Excellent detailed info here... if it's not crazy expensive it's on my wish list.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Certainly on the radar screen. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    The 70mm, 120mm Macro, and 180mm. The 35mm will come very shortly after in early fall 2009


    This is what bugs me . They need to all be out on release . One MUST have some type of wide angle
    And that is a pretty big gap from, 35 to 70.
    For that sensor, 35 is not all that wide.
    I think two more on the wide end would be appreciated by the landscape types.
    -bob

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    I can't do it Bob until most of the lenses are out so this would put me personally out of the mix until Christmas
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Still sounding like a very interesting camera system to me. Interesting to hear that Leica is looking to offer the CS lenses as FPS lenses also. Guess the modularity thing permits that part, and it could help the overall cost issue.

    Several key things that other folks have mentioned are still important: price, service network plans, and a wider angle. Guess the 24 will help a lot, but not shipping till end of 2009 makes the wait longer. Are there any prints from even the prototype cameras being shown? Is there any hands-on to see how the descriptions fit the actual? No offense to David's excellent report, but it would be nice to hear a bit more about how the camera actually works.....take some snaps with it!! Surely they would have some provision to do that, even protecting that none of the images got away on a card. Shoot it tethered if possible. Would like to hear what the images actually look like at this point, even if the firmware is not locked down. The posts on their site by the one fashion shooter were nice, but not of great practical value due to their size.

    LJ

    P.S. The changeable screens seems like a nice add to things also, as does the separate AF-lock button. I know summer seems so far away, but it starts in about 3.5 months, so locking things down has to start soon, one would think.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    I agree that it is important to have all the lenses available, but it is one of those things where do you want them to hold back the camera from release until all the lenses are ready or do you want them to release things as they are ready? Personally I would rather have things released as they are ready, rather than push everything back just to wait for a lens that not everyone might need. If you need it, then you can wait. Ideally, of course, it would be better to speed up the production of the lenses, but it is what it is -- Leica is a small company and they cannot do everything at once.
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Stuart,
    I agree that for Leica to start getting some traction, they need to start getting things out the door. The 70, 120 macro and 180 is a nice start. Hope the 35 follows very quickly, and the others just as fast. It is also probably good to dribble things out to help with the shakedown of camera, lenses and service network. If they were able to dump everything into the marketplace at once, it could create quite a problem until things start to iron out. While launching this new system is important, and some of us would like it all to be available at once, facing another service fiasco/nightmare would not be a good thing for anybody, so staging deliveries of new pieces might be prudent. If they have the basics and some of the other accessories mentioned (screens, remote release, batteries!!, and stuff like that), it will hold most folks for a few months as new lenses get dropped into the mix. Also, with the present economy, things are not going to fly off the shelf (unless really priced competitively), so "inventory is evil" starts to kick in....nobody want to carry inventory, unless Leica is going to bankroll that part.

    LJ

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    The 70mm, 120mm Macro, and 180mm. The 35mm will come very shortly after in early fall 2009


    This is what bugs me . They need to all be out on release . One MUST have some type of wide angle
    This was a stand-out issue to me too. The future lens lineup looks pretty good, but if one started the kit planning to add wide a bit later, but later met delays on getting the wide lenses, it would be a disaster in my opinion.

    No problem, gives me more time to save (or talk myself out of it).

    Some cool specs overall.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Yea if i wanted to jump than it obviously would have to wait until i can get all the glass i need since there is nothing used it makes this even more important
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Is it only me or does the idea of a dedicated body/sensor with fixed resolution sound like a non-starter?

    Just playing devils' advocate

    40mp is currently offering just about whatever anyone needs for print (and we'll see how long print lasts) and the next gen of digital backs are up around 60mp. So do you think given the state of technology, the financial meltdown, and possible slowdown in development and consumption, etc, that 60mp might be the top end for a while?

    In three years, will 40mp be half of what everyone else is offering?

    and there you are stuck with the body, not just a back.

    meaning, the upgrade path needs to be addressed. I guess if this 'camera' is priced like a digital 'back' then the point is moot. for all intents the camera part is not an issue cost wise.

    it is nice to see Leica concerned with price for once, vis a vis the CS/nonCS shutter option, crystal/non crystal.

    I hope this bodes well for the overall price. They have an uphill battle considering that phamiya had an installed base of glass, the cf line helped hassy get over introducing a new mount in the H series, etc, and all of this took place against the backdrop of easy loans and financing, which will probably not exist in the future. The credit bubble imo leveraged mf digital big time. And is no more...

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Even with the current economic difficulties aside, it seems like now the pace of the megapixel wars is slowing down a bit. Pixel size can only get so much smaller before it starts to interfere in major ways with the integrity of the signal. We have had 39mp packs in medium format and 16+mp full frame 35mm chips for a few years now, and we have not moved leaps and bounds beyond that yet. I think 40mp is going to be a completely acceptable file size for quite a time to come! I would assume at least 3-4 years before it started to get clearly outclassed. The Phase One P45 was released in December 2005 and though the back has been upgraded, the sensor is basically the same -- still one of the best you can buy 3+ years later.
    I don't think Leica is trying to compete as being the highest resolution offering, but rather to field the most well rounded camera in the larger than 35mm arena. Sacrificing that last bit of resolution for a smaller camera body and lenses, faster performance and better ISO performance. Or at least that's the idea...we'll see how it goes.
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    40mgs is fine for me . My wall is speed both in shooting speed and I could use that clean ISO 1600. That is if I stay with a one system approach. If I went and bought a DSLR than that would do it and I could stay pat. This has been my mental nightmare on deciding how i want to tackle this. The other thing is money, now is not the time for big outlays of cash. So whatever is the cheapest approach maybe the one i will have to take even if it is not a perfect approach.
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Well, there is no indication that this body will be any more expensive than just a back of the same resolution, so I guess that is your answer: because it wouldn't be cheaper, and would be harder to make. I consider this solid reasoning. The extra interface, the need to use an increasingly older body with the newest sensors with no possibility of upgrading the electronics in an affordable fashion, the whinging of the owners of the older bodies complaining about lacking speed or compatibility in the future, the possibility of someone else coming in and making an optional back, cutting Leica off from this most lucrative part of the system sale, the extra tolerance requirements (and I am sure that with the higher-spec'ed lenses comes a higher demand on tolerance throughout the system), the battery question, and so on, and I think it is clear why this is the best solution, for Leica's intended market.

    About the only two things about the S2 which are problems are the smaller sensor area (but not that much smaller, and this difference gains advantages like size and speed), and the fact that you cannot use the sensor on a tech camera. The latter is really not the market for the S2, and the 30mm T/S lens should take care of casual needs in that direction.
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Lenses Carsten look at the price of a new M lens and if there is any indication the S lenses will be on the same level ( doubt it) or more ( more likely). This thing is not coming in cheap and please please make me dead wrong leica. LOL
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    My guess would be 3000 for the standard lens, 5000 for the normal wides and teles and 8000 for the specialty lenses. I hope I am wrong and they are cheaper, but why would they be given Leica's past?
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    leica has an uphill battle to reorient the market wrt placing investment in the glass vs. investment in the mfdb.

    the marketplace has taken advantage of the buyer behaviour and credit by charging whopping dollars for mfdb's, saying they have to cover their end on lower unit sales....yeah, right. then Hassy lowered prices 50%. come on, I think margins were shall we say, "healthy"...

    there is something of a ponzi scheme there

    I think for a long time we have forgotten that photography is an optical phenomenon primarily (camera obscura anyone) and all this emphasis on technology is somewhat misplaced.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    I don't wish to rain on Leica's parade but David's blog does not exactly warm the cockles of my heart. Thanks for the blog anyway, David.

    As I read on and on, it appears to me that the S2 has the worst attributes of both the DSLRs and MFDBs systems, and not their strengths. Low ISO in a DSLR form factor with no movements and a 3-lens kit to start one off and no wide-angle at that. It is hardly the system, and I am using this word in its loosest sense, to replace both the Canon/Nikon and the Hasselblad H3DII or PhaseOne/Mamiya.

    No business maven I but I give the S2 twelve months before Leica throws in the towel on it, especially given the current financial situation worldwide. Just like the Hy6 before it, the S2 looks good on paper and has its admirers but nobody seems to be willing to put his money where his mouth is. And hence the Hy6 is history. I don't see the S2 as having a greater fighting chance than the Hy6.The R10 maybe but the S2 will be stillborn.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    The more I think of the concept and the market strategy behind S2 the more I like it. There is a possibility for Leica to extend and strengthen its brand name here, and they might actually pull it off. If they settled for 30MP then Canon/Nikon would soon be breathing down their neck, whereas this larger sensor and Leica glass should yield IQ that the Japanese just can't touch.

    Even if S2 sales likely will be low due to price point, the Leica brand will be strengthened. A stronger brand - even seen as a leader in digital - could then boost sales of M series. I don't think that could have been accomplished by the M series alone, there are too many challenges in making a fulllframe digital M series, as seen in the initial problems with the M8.
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrest Black View Post
    I don't wish to rain on Leica's parade but David's blog does not exactly warm the cockles of my heart. Thanks for the blog anyway, David.

    As I read on and on, it appears to me that the S2 has the worst attributes of both the DSLRs and MFDBs systems, and not their strengths. Low ISO in a DSLR form factor with no movements and a 3-lens kit to start one off and no wide-angle at that. It is hardly the system, and I am using this word in its loosest sense, to replace both the Canon/Nikon and the Hasselblad H3DII or PhaseOne/Mamiya.

    No business maven I but I give the S2 twelve months before Leica throws in the towel on it, especially given the current financial situation worldwide. Just like the Hy6 before it, the S2 looks good on paper and has its admirers but nobody seems to be willing to put his money where his mouth is. And hence the Hy6 is history. I don't see the S2 as having a greater fighting chance than the Hy6.The R10 maybe but the S2 will be stillborn.
    if you had any stock investments in 2005 did you sell and buy gold?
    I'm just curious to your crystal ball capabilities here and whether I should sit up and pay close attention to your forecasting.
    btw the hy6 looks good in the flesh too not just on paper.. and same as the S2.. it is beyond the paper stage..not sure if you can write off them off yet.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    No stock investments at all. I don't punt.

    I am sure you bought into the Hy6 system, didn't you, Paul? Or are you just an admirer? Were the Flektogon and the 90-degree viewfinder ever delivered?

    My crystal ball says that you should buy into C now and hold. You will thank me in 2010.

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    Last edited by Forrest Black; 4th March 2009 at 09:27.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    no I have not bought a hy6..I am still shooting with my rolleis, and yes I do admire them.
    but does that fact make them not viable? I am on the back half of my career..I have spent hundreds of thousands in equipment in the past 25 years..but if I was a young punk I would have invested in the hy6 system.. it just came out a couple years late for me. sorry I don't get the car reference.. I like my chevy pickup though if that helps...you did put out there a strong prediction and I don't see you defending it but just questioning me.. fine my cards are on the table.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    On paper the specs look great and I'd love to see one under the Xmas tree, but:

    1. Lets assume price is roughly $15,000 body only
    2. All specs come out as intended/wished for (e.g. it's not a paper tiger)

    In a ugly global recession in a market where hardware churns every 18 mos and depreciates like a rock off a cliff, we have an (as yet released) $15,000+ large-frame, fixed-MP/sensor DSLR + UBER (and very limited initially) SPENDY glass. This from a firm infamous for glacial S&S, possessing limited financial backing, demonstrative of very slow model churn, MINISCULE (relative) production volumes, an iffy history in digital bodies and NO presence in rental houses.

    The so-called alliance w/Phase was a Marx Bros routine re: it's announcement and who is/isn't doing what and was either: a)DOA and simply someone's wishful thinking or b) so premature in its development that NOTHING can be assumed by it - good or bad.

    On the S2's underside (market-wise) we have at least three quality 24+MP FF DSLRs that range from 20% to at worst 1/2 the price (body only) of the S2 from players with vastly superior distribution, S&S, products to recover R&D from and resources -- and in the case of N&C, a large rental base and a HUGE selection of usable glass. A DSLR ain't a MFDB, but todays market for photo services isn't last years.

    From the top the S2 is bordered by two price-competitive and market-experienced 800 lb Gorillas (H and M/P) and a couple of smaller players - one of whom is all but dead (with more likely to follow). These existing players also posses switchable backs, film capability, a large market of used and refurb backs, much larger lens selections (AF and MF), better S&S and utter domination of the MFDB rental market.

    A further unknown is what, if any truth there are to the rumors that Nikon (and/or Canon) may do something in the S2's "tweener" market with a > FF DSLR.

    In both markets bordering the S2, the cost/MP is dropping like a rock (relative to old paradigms in each market) and customers are continually demanding (and requiring) more for less.

    Leica COULD pull it off, and I understand why Leica is pushing this market vs the eat-your-young DSLR segment but given current conditions and their history, they are going to need to avoid ANY (and I mean ANY) missteps or the S2 will be dead (taking any hope of an R10 with it) before it even has a chance to prove it's merit.
    Last edited by robmac; 4th March 2009 at 09:42.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    You said it much better than I could, Rob.

    Paul is going to ask you for stock-picks next. :lol:

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Nah, did that for a living (stock analyst) years ago. Blackberry surgically implanted, frequent flier miles pouring out of pockets, resisting temptation 5/day to choke the living $%^ out of pension mangers who were long XYZ Inc but didn't know the firm's products/markets from a hole in the ground, rampant caffeine addiction, ruined liver... ah, good times.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    How much does a H3DII-39 cost these days with comparible lenses? Just wondering if the pluses are enough to pursuade people with more versatile systems to look at it. If the 'blad's get that one iso upgrade to give a useable iso 800, and if I'm not wrong that the 'blad is cheaper, is in all the rental shops, is well broken in and can be used with technical cameras, why not either choose that or stick with it?
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Ben I think ( David from Hassy can correct me) that a H3II 39 with 80mm and back is about 22k new
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    IIRC the H3II 39 was going to be the benchmark by which Leica was going to set price (given S2 is 37.5MP). If so, project out what the 39 will be say in 6-9 mos and there is the S2 - in theory anyway.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrest Black View Post
    You said it much better than I could, Rob.

    Paul is going to ask you for stock-picks next. :lol:
    yeah, he is pretty smart and I am always open to smart guys..shoots a dmr too so I know I should listen close.

    The unknown that you have not figured on is that while people are not standing in line to invest in the existing mf systems.. there is a professional need out there for images that exceed 35mm ff ...and the fact that the top 3% of photographers will be able to pop for a new camera if it enhances their look.. the top 3% of workers are going to float the us gov. so I think the top 3 of the photoindustry can make the s2 do-able..
    but I, like you really don't know s__! and it is all just guessing,wishing and hoping, depending on what side of the fence you are on.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    But leica should not compare prices to the H3 39 but the H3 31 which is basically the same sensor and that comes in new at 17k
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    But leica should not compare prices to the H3 39 but the H3 31 which is basically the same sensor and that comes in new at 17k
    Yeah, compare 4:3 aspect ratio and the S2 comes up to 32.89MP.
    Last edited by Forrest Black; 4th March 2009 at 10:13.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    DMR - nah, shot one but never owned one (NICE files). I limit my Leica exposure to R glass on a 1Ds2. Do lust after a RF though. Shot a borrowed M7 and M8 for awhile - good times.

    Most people who call me "smart" usually do so with a couple of extra letters attached to the end...

    You could slice & dice the numbers to say 32MP, but I think the market will say call it based on MP count. That said, maybe somewhere in between makes sense. Depends which way Solms wants to justify it. Given their resources, pricing history, etc - I'd say my $15K example will likely be $5K+ light. Should start a pool.

    Of course who knows what will happen between now and then - least of which with FX rates and Leica's (read Dr K's) cost of capital/cash flow between now and final release.

    Going to be interesting times no matter which way it goes.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    yes can we bring up how crazy the 3:2 format is...? cropping becomes a must. not sure what they were thinking there. a lot of wasted real estate.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    The H3DII-31 currently costs 12000 Euro as a kit with 80mm lens, and the H3DII-39 costs 15000 Euro. The only price indication so far was that Leica was aiming for 15000 Euro, but no indication if that includes the 70mm lens. If they make 15000 including a lens, then I think it is competitive.
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by robertwright View Post
    yes can we bring up how crazy the 3:2 format is...? cropping becomes a must. not sure what they were thinking there. a lot of wasted real estate.
    I guess this is a matter of perspective. I routinely print 20x30 and find I have to crop too much from a 4:3 sensor.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Hi David see you in the morning any more good news going on the blog tonight.
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    "market-experienced 800 lb Gorillas (H and M/P)"

    Leica is much bigger than Hasselblad, Mamiya and Phase One together and Dr. Kaufmann invested more money into the S2 (>30Mio € about 100Mio € including other investments related to the S2 and other digital systems / Leitz-Park) than anybody in this segment ever did.

    The technical data is promising, many aspects are unique (sealed, smaller, faster...) and everybody who knows what todays Leica-lenses are capable of, won't discuss about 30x45mm vs. 36x48mm or 37,5MP vs. 39/50MP.

    Right now, the most conserative (closing a modular system, <2000$-lenses with Canon IQ/build-quality) MF-systems seem to survive, while the most promising systems are crushed by banks (hopefully the last word on the Hy6 isn't spoken) or other shortsighted economists and another innovative system is already bashed everywhere months before it gets released...

    It's the first big-digital-MF-project with unique solutions (like ASICs instead of DSPs) we only knew from giants like Canon/Nikon before (not everybody wants high-speed-press-cameras) and I'm curious to see what this system will be capable of.

    By the way, the digital compartment of the DMR was Imacon (today Hasselblad), the M8 Jenoptik (Sinarbacks) and both were unique solutions others weren't capable of, just as their drawbacks are not transferable to the S2m which is by the way real Leica, just like the S1.

    But that's not the point of this discussion at all, am I right? It's about Leica, not about their strategy, their products, their quality - just about Leica...
    Last edited by georgl; 4th March 2009 at 11:46.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Hi David see you in the morning any more good news going on the blog tonight.
    Hey Guy,

    I actually plan on going out shooting tonight with the 24 Lux and 18 Super-Elmar. Of course, anyone who is attending the demo tomorrow and is in town tonight is welcome to join me. The more, the merrier. I think I want to head out around 5-6ish and catch some good light.

    As far as news goes, this show is a bit slow on that (especially compared to Photokina). I'll try to get a few more answers on some of the S2 strategy questions and post what I can (NDA-allowing), but for last night's post I was more focused on highlighting some of the cool new features and tech in the S2.

    See you at the Leica booth in the AM.

    David
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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by dfarkas View Post
    I guess this is a matter of perspective. I routinely print 20x30 and find I have to crop too much from a 4:3 sensor.

    David
    agreed, my unstated perspective is that my clients should drive my equipment acquisitions which makes sense both as a money issue and a deliverables issue....

    well...if only

    why did I buy the M8? or go to rangefinder Mamiya 7 for magazine portrait work? not exactly tailor made.

    I should be as wise as my mouth....

    the popularity of the 3:2 format has always surprised me. verticals are definitely weird.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by dfarkas View Post
    Hey Guy,

    I actually plan on going out shooting tonight with the 24 Lux and 18 Super-Elmar. Of course, anyone who is attending the demo tomorrow and is in town tonight is welcome to join me. The more, the merrier. I think I want to head out around 5-6ish and catch some good light.

    As far as news goes, this show is a bit slow on that (especially compared to Photokina). I'll try to get a few more answers on some of the S2 strategy questions and post what I can (NDA-allowing), but for last night's post I was more focused on highlighting some of the cool new features and tech in the S2.

    See you at the Leica booth in the AM.

    David

    David I know a few of our guest may want to play with those two lenses tomorrow and like to see them in action myself. See how long Leica will let you play. Catch you in the morning
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Leica is working with C1 for raw processing and i certainly hope tethering as well. These systems need tethering as you know. This is a big part of MF is tethering and I have seen Phocus in action and obviously I use c1 and both great tethering programs. I don't know of Leaf and Sinar since I never played with them tethered
    FYI: Leaf has an excellent teathered program.

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