Discussion Forum Leica S System S2 Shall I buy an S2 for Wildlife
  • #3275
    antonybphoto

    Finally made a decision that i would move to an S2 for my wildlife.

    I use 50mm and 100mm lenses only at present on 35mm D800 and Pentax 67 lenses on it.

    I keep seeing more negative and complaint messages and post and comparisons that come out only just in favour of S. but only just.

    So my questions are :

    1. Has anyone used Pentax 67 lenses on the S and how good are they onthe sensor? They out resolve the Nikon lenses on 35mm

    2. Will I only see the difference if I use Leica S lenses ?

    3. Looking at my work with is a stich of 2 images on a pano adaptor what do the users of S believe I will gain additionally by using it.

    My work http://www.antonyb.com/gallery_amboseli.html

    Thanks for your comments all are welcome.

    I use the Dlux6 as my first step to auto focus Leica. Never got on with the M8.

    Regards and I hope my first post is not too demanding. Thanks. T

  • #3277
    constable

    Hi Antony

    Nice gallery. Your work looks ideal for MF and the S2 to me. Big animals that you would not be needing 600 mm + for on a 35 mm are what the S system is for. It will never be a platform for birding though …. it is surprisingly good for insect macro in the field.

    Ed

  • #3278
    Josh Lehrer

    Per the Pentax lenses, I think this post on Red Dot Forum should answer a few of your questions:

    http://www.reddotforum.com/content.php/172-Testing-the-Pentax-105mm-f-2.4-vs.-the-Leica-120mm-f-2.5-APO-on-the-Leica-S2

    In short, the Leica S lenses are far superior. Not only in quality, but you gain auto focus, electronic aperture control, weather sealing, and no adapter is needed. Pentax, or other alternative lenses, can be a lot of fun and give you a unique look, but if you are looking for maximum image quality there is no question that the S lenses are the way to go.

  • #3281
    Doug

    Hi Antony — I've been gradually trying some of my P67 lenses on the S2. While they're made for a film camera, obviously, some do better on the digital S2 than others. I've been very pleased with the Pentax 100/4 Macro and later 200/4, while the Leaf Shutter 165/4 doesn't seem very sharp. One can expect some color aberrations especially in the wider lenses; I've been generally pleased with the 45 and 55mm but some corrections need to be made in post. I did get the 35 Summarit-S for reasons Josh gave… plus there's no P67 alternative anyway! The 165mm f/2.8 is on the S2 now, so I'll see how that does in a while. The 120/3.5 Soft should be fun to try too.

    The S2 is a very comfortable camera to use, like the Pentax 67 in form factor, quite unlike most other MF offerings, and this is important to me. And since it looks similar to the big Canon/Nikon rigs, it doesn't make the citizens nervous… 🙂

  • #3282
    fotografz

    I'm with Josh on this one.

    For a similar field-of-view to what you use now, the S70/2.5 ASPH and S120/2.5 APO macro would seem to be ideal. These are lenses optimized for this camera system.

    Both lenses offer a very bright viewfinder experience due to the relatively fast maximum aperture for Medium Format lenses … especially the 120 macro which is the fastest production macro I know of. Plus, like many Leica lenses, they are stellar performers even when shot wide open.

    All the best,

    -Marc

  • #3283
    RVB

    “… especially the 120 macro which is the fastest production macro I know of. Plus, like many Leica lenses, they are stellar performers even when shot wide open.”

    There is a faster macro,The Zeiss 100mm F2 ,of course this is not in medium format but both are similar in that they have 1:2 magnification…although the S lenses has the big advantage of A.F and hopefully soon leaf shutters..

  • #3284
    antonybphoto

    Thanks for the input guys.

    I guess the thing I keep reading is S is not MF it's just 35mm on steroids.

    Will I see the quality difference from a D800?

    I have the Pentax 67 45mm 100 macro 165 f2.8 and the 300mm so great news on the testing. Thanks for input keep it coming.

    I guess that the form factor and style of the S makes it perfect for my work. But so far all I have seen is some photographer called florian riding around on horse back taking silhouette pictures that are worthy of a compact camera.

    Leica really not selling the camera benefits in my mind hence the confusion and concern in my mind.

  • #3285
    proenca

    antonybphoto;3895 wrote: Thanks for the input guys.

    I guess the thing I keep reading is S is not MF it's just 35mm on steroids.

    Usually people who say that never had a S2 for more than 1 hour in their hands or simply never had one full stop period.

    Just because its SLR/like doesnt mean its a 35mm on steroids. Lots of things a 35mm SLR does better > AF speed, high ISOs, etc.

    Lots of things the S2 does better > bigger sensor, humongus viewfinder, etc.

    antonybphoto;3895 wrote: Will I see the quality difference from a D800?

    Either you see it or you dont. I learned a valuable lesson the other day with a known photographer here in the forum * fotografz * but in other forum – dont try to explain the difference in the images. either you see it or you dont. simple as that.

    S2 files are superior – clarity, contrast, 3D feeling, transitions, etc.

    If the D800 is the best bang for megapixel around? one of the most complete cameras around with a rock bottom pricing ? for sure. but its no S2. why ? get both and see it for yourself.

    maybe it matters to you / maybe it doesnt. its your money, only you can decide.

    personally ? Im a long time Leica M9 user (mine was one the firsts to be delivered in Portugal really close to the announcement date) and the S2 in terms of files is a big M9 files with better lens. for me it was worth it vs a D800. your milleage may vary.

    antonybphoto;3895 wrote:
    I guess that the form factor and style of the S makes it perfect for my work. But so far all I have seen is some photographer called florian riding around on horse back taking silhouette pictures that are worthy of a compact camera.

    Leica really not selling the camera benefits in my mind hence the confusion and concern in my mind.

    S is a great system. Terrific lenses. Great form factor. But it isnt as versatile as 35mm SLR. Its league on its own in the MF world. Great for some. Not so for others.

    Get one, rent it, try it before you buy and decide. I was a bit unsure as yourself – so many contracdicintg reports and every dissapeared and made sense from the moment i holded one.

  • #3287
    David Farkas

    antonybphoto;3895 wrote: Thanks for the input guys.

    I guess the thing I keep reading is S is not MF it's just 35mm on steroids.

    The S2 has a sensor size of 30x45mm, which is roughly 60% larger than a full frame 35 DSLR. For comparison of “real” MF, a Phase One IQ140 or Hasselblad H4D40 have a sensor size of 33x44mm. Here, the slight size difference is due to the difference in aspect ratio.

    Given the small pixel size of the Nikon D800, an extremely high demand is placed on the lens. A lot of users are finding that even their “pro” Nikon lenses aren't quite up to the task of resolving to the sensor. Most of the lenses were designed with either film or 12MP in mind.

    When Leica set out to design the S System, high-resolution digital performance was a top priority. The S lenses easily resolve to the sensor, even wide open. So, yes, you will see a noticeable improvement when using S lenses on the S2, especially at wider apertures. Also, at smaller apertures, the D800 will show diffraction earlier than the S2, given the smaller pixels. This will result in not being able to stop down as much for depth of field without sacrificing image sharpness.

  • #3292
    Doug

    antonybphoto;3895 wrote: …I have the Pentax 67 45mm 100 macro 165 f2.8 and the 300mm so great news on the testing. Thanks for input keep it coming.

    Sounds like you will have a good economical start with the S2 while you save up for Leica lenses 😉

    There's an earlier thread with some samples you might find interesting here: http://www.reddotforum.com/showthread.php/99-Pentax-67-lenses-on-the-S2

  • #3294
    RVB

    antonybphoto;3895 wrote: Thanks for the input guys.

    I guess the thing I keep reading is S is not MF it's just 35mm on steroids.

    Will I see the quality difference from a D800?

    I have the Pentax 67 45mm 100 macro 165 f2.8 and the 300mm so great news on the testing. Thanks for input keep it coming.

    I guess that the form factor and style of the S makes it perfect for my work. But so far all I have seen is some photographer called florian riding around on horse back taking silhouette pictures that are worthy of a compact camera.

    Leica really not selling the camera benefits in my mind hence the confusion and concern in my mind.

    With the Leica S you are getting amazing glass and the sensor has room for much higher megapixel's,an S sensor using D800 size pixels will be around 70mp and the glass is up to the task of resolving this resolution…

    If your interested I can send you a couple of files that I shot comparing a D8ooE to an S2. the nikon with a 24mm 1.4G and the S with a 30mm WA.. both taken 1 minutes apart on a gitzo tripod with arcs swiss cube,MLU and cable release etc..

  • #3295
    PebblePlace

    Whether one will like using non-S lenses on the Leica S will probably depend heavily on one's predisposition to using adapters. The draw backs have been noted here – mostly related to speed. When it comes to focus speed, using the microprism (in the S2) is faster than the S2's auto-focus, so I find manual focus a non-issue. I have been very pleased with the Mamiya 200mm F2.8 APO on the S2. While on the pricey side, the Leica S adapters are beautifully made.

  • #3296
    David Farkas

    RVB;3905 wrote: With the Leica S you are getting amazing glass and the sensor has room for much higher megapixel's,an S sensor using D800 size pixels will be around 70mp and the glass is up to the task of resolving this resolution…

    If your interested I can send you a couple of files that I shot comparing a D8ooE to an S2. the nikon with a 24mm 1.4G and the S with a 30mm WA.. both taken 1 minutes apart on a gitzo tripod with arcs swiss cube,MLU and cable release etc..

    I'd love to see these samples posted here on Red Dot Forum. You can actually upload the full size images via Manage Attachments and the site will automatically generate a 550px wide thumbnail. When clicked on, the full size attachment will open in a new tab/window.

  • #3299
    RVB

    David Farkas;3907 wrote: I'd love to see these samples posted here on Red Dot Forum. You can actually upload the full size images via Manage Attachments and the site will automatically generate a 550px wide thumbnail. When clicked on, the full size attachment will open in a new tab/window.

    I think this might be the best way David as you can process the raws your self and have more control over the variables.. let me know if you have any problem downloading them..

    Rob

    https://www.yousendit.com/download/WUJiYUl2cGtRWUpESjlVag

  • #3300
    RVB

    David Farkas;3907 wrote: I'd love to see these samples posted here on Red Dot Forum. You can actually upload the full size images via Manage Attachments and the site will automatically generate a 550px wide thumbnail. When clicked on, the full size attachment will open in a new tab/window.

    Another advantage of the S glass is the wide open performance,the 1.4G Nikkors are not bad wide open but can't match the S glass..

  • #3301
    antonybphoto

    RVB thanks for the offer I would love to get the files will try from the link enclosed.

    I think I am hearing what I need to here and yes adaptors are expensive but if they work then it's better than missing the shot and as you say I have an inexpensive entry into the S world.

    Thanks for all the support I am now wondering what the images are of LOL lions , elephants , zebra ?

  • #3303
    antonybphoto

    Thanks to RVB I just manipulated the NEF and DNG files in adobe RAW very quickly.

    I don't understand how the D800 has more dynamic range ?

    There is about 20% more detail on the S file, which when blowing big is great. But the highlights in the sky are all but gone in about 50% of the sky on the S. the Nikon recovers back ?

    Given they were shot within seconds of each other, there may be variation, but the MF communi goes on about 16bit files etc etc and 12 stop dynamic range that 35 mm cannot achieve ?

    Tell me I have missed something. A little disappointed given my work is always typically a brighter sky than I want. And yes I do use LEE filters but I want to start with a strong base.

  • #3304
    RVB

    antonybphoto;3914 wrote: Thanks to RVB I just manipulated the NEF and DNG files in adobe RAW very quickly.

    I don't understand how the D800 has more dynamic range ?

    There is about 20% more detail on the S file, which when blowing big is great. But the highlights in the sky are all but gone in about 50% of the sky on the S. the Nikon recovers back ?

    Given they were shot within seconds of each other, there may be variation, but the MF communi goes on about 16bit files etc etc and 12 stop dynamic range that 35 mm cannot achieve ?

    Tell me I have missed something. A little disappointed given my work is always typically a brighter sky than I want. And yes I do use LEE filters but I want to start with a strong base.

    You haven't missed anything,the D800 sensor is extraordinary,huge DR..but its a next generation sensor.. shadow and highlight recovery is stunning.. (see how well it handles the highlights in the water)

    But the big attraction to the S system is the S glass and I think that in the not too distance future Leica will add a completely new (probably CMOS) sensor to the S body..

    The other consideration is that the D800 is so competitively priced that one can buy one to compliment a MF kit..

  • #3305
    proenca

    RVB;3915 wrote: You haven't missed anything,the D800 sensor is extraordinary,huge DR..but its a next generation sensor.. shadow and highlight recovery is stunning.. (see how well it handles the highlights in the water)

    But the big attraction to the S system is the S glass and I think that in the not too distance future Leica will add a completely new (probably CMOS) sensor to the S body..

    The other consideration is that the D800 is so competitively priced that one can buy one to compliment a MF kit..

    true true & true

    my M9 is at peril now. it would make more sense to sell it and add a D800E for everything that the S2 cant do quite well > high iso, long tele lenses, fast AF

    but … call me imbecil, but got a love affair with Leica rangefinders that goes before the dawn of time 🙂

  • #3306
    antonybphoto

    Hahah yes the M is lovely if what you shoot can be captured by the manual focus or pre set focus.

    I have access to an S2 at a no brainer price, not as no brainer as the D800E and that would certainly be a back up given I use Pentax lenses on the Nikon now. I was quite shocked at the lack of DR.

    The Leaf and Phase seem to recover everything, is that the DAPA sensor feature ?? but of course the S2 is useable at 640 ISO I am told were as the other MF stops at 200 ISO

    its all about the 20% extra detail which I am thinking for my 1 metre x 30 cm prints might just be a ticket.

    great test.

    The M9 gets you into places a Nikon 800 cannot, stick with it I have seen images with the new Sumicron f2 50mm thing and my god they are sharp and detailed !!!!

    $7k treat yourself

  • #3315
    Doug

    antonybphoto;3895 wrote: Thanks for the input guys.
    …I have the Pentax 67 45mm 100 macro 165 f2.8 and the 300mm so great news on the testing. Thanks for input keep it coming.

    Hi – I've added some material to my thread in the Alternative Lenses forum
    http://www.reddotforum.com/showthread.php/99-Pentax-67-lenses-on-the-S2?p=3925#post3925

    There are additional jpg pics at 100% scale, though not necessarily full-frame due to cropping a bit here and there for pictorial reasons. Still, you should get a good idea of what the lenses can do. ISO of 160, 320, and 640, Pentax lenses 45, 55, 100, 165, 200mm.

    And an extra 100mm shot at ISO 640….
    http://www.reddotforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1743&d=1355288865&thumb=1&stc=1

    Attached files

  • #3316
    antonybphoto

    Thanks Doug,

    great examples of lenses. The grill and polishing man are massive camera shake for sure. I think ISO 640 is useable as you suggested, 320 is more than ok.

    Really appreciate the examples i hope to give back also when i start shooting.

    Regards,

    Tony

  • #3317
    antonybphoto

    Doug;3926 wrote: Hi – I've added some material to my thread in the Alternative Lenses forum
    http://www.reddotforum.com/showthread.php/99-Pentax-67-lenses-on-the-S2?p=3925#post3925

    There are additional jpg pics at 100% scale, though not necessarily full-frame due to cropping a bit here and there for pictorial reasons. Still, you should get a good idea of what the lenses can do. ISO of 160, 320, and 640, Pentax lenses 45, 55, 100, 165, 200mm.

    And an extra 100mm shot at ISO 640….
    http://www.reddotforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1743&d=1355288865&thumb=1&stc=1

    in fairness the resolution is there and amazing even on these lenses, however the sharpness due to camera shake is a little worrying. I will be testing from friday – sunday to see if it can be hand held. I know its not the best and tripod is better but I have to try based upon my requirements.

  • #3318
    David Farkas

    antonybphoto;3928 wrote: in fairness the resolution is there and amazing even on these lenses, however the sharpness due to camera shake is a little worrying. I will be testing from friday – sunday to see if it can be hand held. I know its not the best and tripod is better but I have to try based upon my requirements.

    As I've spent more time shooting with the S System, I've gotten better at hand-holding at slower speeds. When I first shot with the S2, I felt that I needed a shutter speed equal to 3x the focal length (1/125th for a 35mm, 1/250th for a 70mm) to get sharp results. I've been able to now use 2x focal length very reliably and even 1x in a pinch.

    In Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, I was able to get sharp images as slow as 1/25th hand-held with the 35mm S.

    Shooting the Leica S2 in Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater

  • #3319
    Doug

    antonybphoto;3927 wrote: Thanks Doug,

    great examples of lenses. The grill and polishing man are massive camera shake for sure. I think ISO 640 is useable as you suggested, 320 is more than ok.

    Really appreciate the examples i hope to give back also when i start shooting.

    Regards,

    Tony

    Hi Tony — The guy polishing his orange car was shot at 1/60 and the motion blur you see is subject movement, as he was vigorously polishing the paint… His whole upper body was moving. On the MG grill the only way I could tell for sure there was camera shake is that the dust spots on the upper chrome are all slightly smeared in the same direction. I don't detect obvious camera shake on any others… However, it sure is true that the high resolution reveals defects all the more clearly!

  • #3346
    fotografz

    antonybphoto;3914 wrote: Thanks to RVB I just manipulated the NEF and DNG files in adobe RAW very quickly.

    I don't understand how the D800 has more dynamic range ?

    There is about 20% more detail on the S file, which when blowing big is great. But the highlights in the sky are all but gone in about 50% of the sky on the S. the Nikon recovers back ?

    Given they were shot within seconds of each other, there may be variation, but the MF communi goes on about 16bit files etc etc and 12 stop dynamic range that 35 mm cannot achieve ?

    Tell me I have missed something. A little disappointed given my work is always typically a brighter sky than I want. And yes I do use LEE filters but I want to start with a strong base.

    Yes, you missed something.

    Don't look at the image, look at the base RAW histogram for each image.

    The S2 file is more severely packed to the right and clipped than the D800 shot. Can't recover what isn't there.

    Every camera is different in how it renders tonal separations, and the S2 is no different. In my experience this is particularly true of CCD based sensors compared to CMOS. A little trial and error leads to understanding the S2's CCD response and how to best expose in various light. At lower ISOs most CCD based Medium Format digital cameras have enough latitude for opening up the shadow areas. So, expose for the highlights just to the point of clipping any specular highlights, and minor adjustments to the shadow areas usually does the job. The most frequent complaint I've read about the D800 is the amount of post work required to optimize the image. This was the same complaint I had with the Nikon D3X … an issue I do not have with the S2.

    Personally, I'd be more concerned with the flair exhibited in the D800 shot. That is one of Nikon's best lenses shot at f/5 … perhaps due to changing angle of light?

    As to lenses … over-all nothing touches the S optics … trust me on this, I pixel peep tested them against the best I could get my hands on before buying into the system. Of course, other lenses can be used for their aesthetic pictorial contributions … some like the Zeiss 110/2 for the way it renders for example.

    For over a full week I also extensively tested the S2 and lenses against my H4D/40 and the S2 edged it out, mostly due to the lenses I believe. Leica claimed that the S2 was competitive with the H4D/50 which has more meg AND a larger sensor and I'd be inclined to agree with them, at least partially depending on subject matter, print size/crop, and degree of enlargement. I got the S2, sold the H4D/40 and now also use a Hasselblad H4D/60 which is almost twice the S2 meg count, and the sensor is even larger than the H4D/50.

    Because I have a H system, I got the Leica H to S adapter which is the only adapter that preserves full auto functions including AF … in particular the HC50-II.3.5, 100/2.2, and 150N/3.2 are stellar on the S2 and fill in focal lengths unavailable in the S lens line-up.

    RE: Auto Focus: I've found the S2 AF is fast enough, and extremely accurate. In the words of Wyatt Earp, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” If I were photographing Elephants, I'd want accurate AF, and good running shoes … LOL!

    RE: Shutter Speed: Get a hand strap. Also, like David, I found that after some practice, you can use lower shutter speeds. However, I am an advocate of using a Mono-Pod with S lenses over 70mm … one with quick release leg and a good Mono-Pod head like the HD Mono-Pod head from Really Right Stuff … all of which help realize all the benefits of the 37 meg, larger sensor. BTW, this is no different from the D800 … flawless technique is also required to realize its benefits.

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