Discussion Forum Leica S System S2 Anyone Missing Their M?
  • #3112
    Leica Guy

    I know that some of the forum members sold their M equipment off to buy into the S system. I thought I’d ask if they had any qualms about doing that. I have quite a few M lenses and an M9-P, but they rarely see any use these days. I find myself looking for reasons to use the M over the S. Comments?

  • #3114

    I’m often surprised to note others cycling through their gear, selling one system to finance the next. And then maybe regretting the action and re-buying what was sold.

    I have qualms about NOT selling some of my M gear to help defray the cost of additional S bits. But I use my M stuff at least as often as S, when the occasion is better served by the smaller & more discreet.

  • #3117

    Leica Guy;3677 wrote: I know that some of the forum members sold their M equipment off to buy into the S system. I thought I’d ask if they had any qualms about doing that. I have quite a few M lenses and an M9-P, but they rarely see any use these days. I find myself looking for reasons to use the M over the S. Comments?

    Yeah, good question. I do miss the portability of the M. On a recent trip to Barcelona, I took along the S2 with a 70mm lens (only one I own) and found it just too bulky to lug all over the place. The pictures however were a lot nicer. I did not use a tripod at all and carried the camera in a small Kata backpack. On the plus side, the auto focus of the S2 was a real blessing. I think the S2 would be perfect whenever I set up my lights and use it in a studio setting. I do not have the luxury of owning both systems and am seriously considering going back to the M but have been unable to pull the trigger as there is a lot I love about the S2. Methinks I’ll hang on to the S2 for another year or so and see how much I use it. In the meanwhile, for casual shots around town and perhaps travel, I have bought the Sony RX100 which I am loving so far. Having said that, I’m heading to Iceland in January to photograph the Aurora Borealis and will be towing the S2 along with a RRS tripod. So much for traveling light.

  • #3118
    Josh Lehrer

    I love the M9 for it’s versatility and small size, but the S2 is simply great for almost everything. I use it as a walk-around camera. Yes, it’s bigger than the M, but I spent few years lugging around a Canon 1D with a 24-70mm so the S2 is small in comparison to that. Plus auto-focus is nice to have.

  • #3119

    It would be either/or only for financial reasons.

    After using both for some more diverse shooting environments, I find the file qualities to be quite similar … so images from one don’t stick out like a sore thumb when viewed together … which I cannot say about any of the other cameras I use, or my assistants use (Sony, Nikon, Canon and a few others). IQ synergy is an important attribute share between both cameras.

    The actual shooting experience and subject approach are very different between the two systems IMO … and I am not talking about size differences which are obvious.

    A rangefinder is all about content at the expense of almost everything else. What the photo is about and the geometry of framing … that’s it. No DOF, effect of the focal length, possible flare, or any other subject related feedback while shooting. It is a more direct contact with the subject.

    The S2 is all about feedback just like any DSLR. The relationship between the user and the subject can, and often is, more complex. It thrusts more decisions about what the image will look like than a rangefinder … which is valuable in some cases, and not in others.

    I do not use one to replace the other. They are singularly distinct tools. While either can be used for something like street work (and I’ve experimentally used both this way) … the M is far more suited to the task than the S2 in almost every way. Same for shooting in close quarters, or event work which I do a fair amount of.

    The S2 steps up to the challenges the M is less suited to or not able to do at all. I never use the M in studio or with lighting, especially outdoors when faced with challenging ambient where the S2 in the CS mode comes to the rescue.

    I’m shooting an 11 hour wedding tomorrow that affords the opportunity to use both systems for their strengths with little concern of their shortcomings … yet the file qualities will look as if one camera were used.


  • #3132

    good point Mark, I second that!

    I have to say if I had to choose only 1 camera, I would keep the S2 and maybe add a D-Lux 🙂

    But in fact there are so many occasions where the M is usefull, where you don’t want to go with a 20ooo+ system or you don’t want to wear heavy and intrusive equipment that it would be hard for me to imagine a life without M.

  • #3153

    I still own the M and use it at least as much as the S.
    Its not so much about the weight. It is more about the M being so un-obstrusive and draw near to no attention.
    The other area where the M has big advantage is when the light is not bright.
    Since I dont print as often big as I had planned I even wondered sometimes if the M could be all I need.

    However the S rewards me each time when I use it.

    So as long as I can afford it I will keep both. If I had to choose just one it would be the M for me.

  • #3199
    Leica Guy

    Thanks for the comments. Although I haven’t picked up my M in a couple of months, I’ll keep it instead of selling it.

  • #3245

    I didn’t pick up my M6 for a few months too. I actually sold almost all lenses, only keep the 40/2 and a vintage Sonnar 5cm f1.5 LTM. Mainly because I was mainly using my Pentax 67ii 99% of time.

    However, after I got my S2, I sold my 67ii in 2 weeks. I finally found a digital camera I can trust and produce the result I want. (I was and still am a film lover, I do my development and printing) 😀

  • #3262

    I’ll join what others said here.

    I’ve been a long, LONG, LONG LONG LONG time M user. M6, then M7, then MP, then M8 since its launch date then M9 since its launch date ( actually first M9 delivered in Portugal was mine – very early serial number, put a deposit once it was announced )

    As Marc said and he put it really well, they are completly different beats.

    Rangefinders, film or digital, its all about the content and of the photographer immersing himself in the image. I did a reportage style of the Bordeaux wine making process and the first thing people say when they saw it is “hey, it seems I’m there with them”.

    It comes with trade offs however: DOF control is a gamble, critical focus is hit and miss, flare control is “let me check the lcd” and anything wider than 28mm is very “let me check up the vf, let me goe down and focus, let me go up and recompose, let me go down again and focus”.

    Its great for many things, it sucks hard for many others.

    The S system, to which I’m new – my new Leica S2 is a few days old, its very dSLR like but in a MF guise : ISO is meh-meh ( compared to new dSLRs ) but control and instant feedback is everything : critical focus is easy, framing is a doodle. Its all about instant feedback. AF is spot on – not the fastest ever but very precise.

    They dont really replace other – while I sold a couple of M lenses to fund my new S , I didnt sold my M9 – I just couldnt. First because my lovely wife ( just in case she’s reading eheheh ) gave me the OK for the S2 buy and second because I would be shot dead and tortured if I sold the M9 – most likely not in this order 🙂 I got married a couple of years ago and my wife loves the M9 ; when I said that I might would have to sell it to fund the S2, she said “no way, its our weeding camera – just go to the other account”. We maried in a small island, just the two of us – and that M9 was the “third” person that was with us ; she loves using it, even if only from time to time.

    In the end, she is right though ; the M9 is a fantastic complement to the S2, not a replacement.

    And I say this and I’m adapting to the S2 – I’m still a bit lost by not using a dSLR for years, but slowly coming together.

    If you can, dont trade one for another. Its like trading a Hummer for a Ferrari. Or vice versa.

  • #3812
    Michael Zeleny

    I learned photography on a FED-3, moving to a Nikon F2AS, and thence to a couple of M6 Leicas. I sold my cameras at the end of the last millennium, getting by with disposables and digital point-and-shoots, until buying into the S2 system three years ago. My shoots are split evenly between amateurish product photography with two Broncolor A2L kits and Ringflash C, and aggressive available light and SF58 work in hostile outdoor environments. At this point, I have no use for a rangefinder camera of any kind. My only wish is for a more robust S camera, e.g. made with chrome-finished brass components.

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