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Author Topic: Leica S2 (non-P) vs the competition currently  (Read 6032 times)
DanielStone
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« on: November 01, 2013, 07:58:56 PM »
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Hey all,

A friend of mine(he doesn't get online much, hence my asking for him) has been looking to move to using a MFD setup. He's been an ardent HB user for many years, in addition to Leica M. He knows quality, but doesn't "baby" his equipment. He owns what he uses on a regular basis, no frills, so to speak.

So I'm here, as somewhat of an "emissary"... He still shoots film 100% of the time, and makes optical enlargements. He is not 100% swayed towards using digital tech, as he only shoots for himself, but he's seen ads in magazines, and online(when he goes on that is Cheesy)

Anyhow. I've told him what I'm aware of about the "choices" available these days, including P1 DF cameras, a back for his already-owned HB 500CM system(with CF lenses), and the other options from Leaf/Sinar/Mamiya, etc.

He wants to be tether-free, shoot to card. So a higher quality screen would be req'd.

I instantly thought of the Leica S(non S2P) bodies, with a Hasselblad V adapter to use his HB lenses on it.

He isn't 100% "go" on the idea of digital(for aforementioned reasons above), but he's willing to spend if he feels it'll make his photography easier(he's over 70) and still as enjoyable.

thx for your help,
Dan

p.s. Remember, he IS NOT shooting commercially, so no tethering capabilities are req'd, more the UI and ability to review/assess/edit on the screen of the back in the field
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Ken R
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2013, 11:27:37 PM »
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Hi as usual there a are a LOT of aspects and details he'd need to weight in and also test the cameras themselves.

Ive used, owned (Hasselblad H / Phase One Back and Pentax 645D) and or handled (Leica S, Phase DF+, H5D and Rollei Hy6 Mod2) mostly all of the currently made medium format solutions.

Leica S: As an SLR Camera body the Leica S is the best since it was designed from the ground up as a medium format digital slr body. So the feel of the body is great (quiet and smooth shutter, VERY little mirror slap, feels high quality). It is like a refined 1 series Canon or Nikon. The viewfinder on the Leica S is the best for AF and Manual Focus. It has a split screen / micro prism in the center to aid manual focusing. That said it is a heavy body (it is weather sealed) and the image quality is good but resolution it is similar to a Nikon D800E.  The lenses are superb. They have a quality feel to them that is just unmatched by any AF lens I have seen. The lcd screen is good. You can use other brand lenses with adapters but the sensor is not that close to being full frame medium format so you loose quite a bit of focal length. Very good service and support.

The PhaseOne IQ backs are the Best option if image quality is paramount. The large sensors of the 60 and 80 MP backs produce stunning results at base ISO. The IQ backs have an amazing touch screen that is great for reviewing images and it is very easy to use. (I own an IQ160). The Phase backs have legendary reliability. The Leaf Credo have a similar screen I believe and use similar sensors. Service and support for the Phase backs is probably industry leading.

The Phase and Leaf backs can be used in a number of bodies:

Hasselblad H1/2/4: Feels very good in hand and has a great viewfinder for AF use. Not so great for MF at least with the standard focusing screen. The shutter feels somewhat clunky/noisy and has a bit of mirror slap. Overall the body is very solid but the exterior has a lot of plastic that feels somewhat low rent due to it being lighter in color and smooth. The lenses are very good and feel solid and smooth. Good service and support.

Phase One DF+: Feels good in hand and the shutter is a touch smoother than the Hasselblad. The Viewfinder is similar. The body is black which makes it look better. It feels just as solid as the Hasselblad. The exterior is still a bit plasticky looking but much less so than the Hasselblad. The lenses are a mixed bag they feel good but not as nice as the Hasselblad and obviously the Leica S lenses which feel the best but perform very well according to the reports and user experiences. There are also lots of options in regards to lenses. Really good service and support.

Both bodies are large and somewhat heavy. They need to be held with 2 hands most of the time.

Rollei Hy6 Mod 2: Very Nice Viewfinder. The body feels great in hand and it is easy to use. The lenses feel great they af well but are designed to be used manual also so MF feels very nice. The Waist Level finder has a quality feel and is the closest thing to a classic Hasselblad finder out there in new cameras. Only Leaf digital backs mount on the Rollei so the PhaseOne backs do not mount.

Pentax 645D: Great integrated solution with a wide range of lenses the body feel like a top end DSLR and the shutter is smooth. The viewfinder is really good although best for AF use only. The body feels light for the size. Image quality is good but not amazing like with the Phase/Leaf backs. It may be a hair below the Leica S. The lenses are a mixed bag. The new lenses feel quite plasticky (certainly for the price) but are good and you can use a LOT of the very affordable used lenses available out there. Service and support is not that great on this system.

H5D: I handled the bodies and they look and feel like a refined H1/2/4 body (which is what they are). Very nice. Have not judged image quality. The rear lcd screen is nice.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 11:31:33 PM by Ken R » Logged
JV
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2013, 09:13:59 AM »
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Rollei Hy6 Mod 2: Very Nice Viewfinder. The body feels great in hand and it is easy to use. The lenses feel great they af well but are designed to be used manual also so MF feels very nice. The Waist Level finder has a quality feel and is the closest thing to a classic Hasselblad finder out there in new cameras. Only Leaf digital backs mount on the Rollei so the PhaseOne backs do not mount.

Not sure whether this is possible or not but it would be nice if there was a Hasselblad V adaptor for the Hy6.

It would allow Hasselblad V users to switch to a more modern and still supported body while keeping a very similar shooting experience and their existing lenses.

Joris.

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bcooter
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2013, 09:24:52 AM »
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If he isn't shooting high iso, then I'd say either Leica a S2 or a M9, both because they are CCD's both are high quality, the rear lcds are good and the M9 offers a more analog experience in shooting, plus Leica menus are simple, simple.

It's just set speed, set wb and shoot.  Not much more to it, except if he goes with an M9 buy two, they can be quirky.

IMO

BC
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2013, 11:39:50 AM »
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Hi,

A phase back on the V is an option. I have a P45+ on a 555ELD.

But, I would really look into the Nikon D800/D800E and also at the new Sony Alpha 7. I would think the D800/D800E is a good match for the P45+ and I don't think the Leica S2 is really superior to say Nikon D800, specially as I have seen evidence to the contrary. http://diglloyd.com/prem/prot/DAP/NikonD800/compare-LeicaS2-mosaic.html or http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/38-observations-on-leica-s2-raw-images

Shooting with P45+ on the Hasselbald 555ELD with a few lenses I find that the advantage the Hassy/P45+ has is resolution, when compared with my Sony Alpha 99.

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/76-my-medium-format-digital-journey
http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/77-two-months-of-mfd-looking-back

The Leica S2 is great, if you want the greatest lenses. If your friend wants to spend his money wisely, it may be good the visit the links above.

Best regards
Erik



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amsp
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2013, 11:51:30 AM »
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To be quite honest, if he's been shooting film well into his 70's and he's not shooting commercially I don't see a single reason to switch now. It doesn't get much simpler than film, especially if you've already mastered the darkroom process.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2013, 11:59:26 AM »
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Hi,

That is OK, but many people find shooting digital a better choice. In reality, if you shoot film you need to scan it, unless you have a wet darkroom.

Best regards
Erik




To be quite honest, if he's been shooting film well into his 70's and he's not shooting commercially I don't see a single reason to switch now. It doesn't get much simpler than film, especially if you've already mastered the darkroom process.
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jerome_m
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2013, 12:03:10 PM »
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Shooting digital may not please your friend at all. He may not enjoy working on the computer at all and prefer to work with an optical enlarger. The two processes demand very different skills. Changing the camera is the smaller part of the story, the bigger part is what you do with the files.

I would advise against going digital in that case. Silver halide photography still works very well and the time spent to learn to use the computer to process the files is time not spent actually producing pictures. Digital is convenient for the pro shooter under pressure to deliver in time but silver halide photography is probably still a better choice if one aims for the art market, as silver halide prints are still perceived to be of higher value.

It would be different if your friend was scanning his negatives to process them on a computer. But if he is still using an optical enlarger, he actually has skills that are prized higher than computer skills considering today's film revival on the art market.
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jerome_m
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2013, 12:05:39 PM »
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That is OK, but many people find shooting digital a better choice. In reality, if you shoot film you need to scan it, unless you have a wet darkroom.

You should try to visit an exhibition from people like Hiroshi Sugimoto. Really.
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Gigi
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2013, 03:37:55 PM »
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Not sure whether this is possible or not but it would be nice if there was a Hasselblad V adaptor for the Hy6.

It would allow Hasselblad V users to switch to a more modern and still supported body while keeping a very similar shooting experience and their existing lenses.

Unfortunately not possible. At the risk of angering those users, its hard to believe but the Schneiders for the Hy6 date back to early 1990s and are actually superior (said to be just behind the Leica S lenses), and right there with the best view camera lenses. There are some Zeiss lenses for that platform, if so inclined, including the 110 f2, a favorite of the Hassy V world.
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Geoff
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2013, 03:42:57 PM »
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To be quite honest, if he's been shooting film well into his 70's and he's not shooting commercially I don't see a single reason to switch now. It doesn't get much simpler than film, especially if you've already mastered the darkroom process.

If he has a darkroom stick with film.
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TMARK
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2013, 03:43:34 PM »
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Leica S.  Just for the viewfinder alone.
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2013, 04:17:55 PM »
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Why does he want to go digital?
For serious images he should stay with his film equipment and get a Fuji X system or MFT for lighter travel and faster shooting.
But if he has an "M" - why change anything?
The learning curve for digital is not to be underestimated - on the other hand - with solid analogue skills he'll learn it quickly.
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KLaban
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2013, 04:44:38 PM »
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All this advice without knowing what it is he shoots?
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tjv
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2013, 04:53:37 PM »
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I don't post here very often, but I thought I should chime in as someone who, although a lot younger than your friend, has travelled a similar road.

I would suggest two options:

1: Keep shooting film but invest money into an Imacon / Hasselblad Flextight scanner, an Eizo monitor and large format inkjet printer. This option would save dollars over buying an S2 kit alone, and he'd be able to archive his back catalogue while he's at it. This is the road I have travelled, with an eye to adding a Phase back to my Linhof Techno setup in the future.

2: The Leica S system is brilliant, all be it presenting a lower pixel count that the competition and without the ability to use tilt-shift lenses. I loved this camera when I demoed it and if I didn't need technical movements, this is the way I'd go. Brilliant, bright and sharp viewfinder, amazing lenses and beautiful handling, although I'm suspect of Leica's after sales service having some bad experiences in the past. Still, the S system seems more solid than the competition as all of them tend to throw up random faults from time to time.

TJV
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2013, 05:02:53 PM »
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... 1: Keep shooting film but invest money into an Imacon / Hasselblad Flextight scanner, an Eizo monitor and large format inkjet printer. ...

Exactly my setup (Eizo CG243w, Epson 7890), except I have the Nikon Scanner (LS 9000).
For an amateur with existing MF Film equipment best bang for the buck - if there weren't that dreaded scanning - but the back catalog is the killer argument - opening old negatives/slides to digital gives so many possibilities ....
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JV
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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2013, 07:19:02 PM »
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Unfortunately not possible. At the risk of angering those users, its hard to believe but the Schneiders for the Hy6 date back to early 1990s and are actually superior (said to be just behind the Leica S lenses), and right there with the best view camera lenses. There are some Zeiss lenses for that platform, if so inclined, including the 110 f2, a favorite of the Hassy V world.

Geoff understood, and I certainly did not want to re-open the Schneider vs. Zeiss debate.  

I was just wondering whether it would be technically feasible to offer an easy upgrade path to V users to a camera which offers a similar experience.

The viewfinder on the Leica S is the best for AF and Manual Focus.

Leica S.  Just for the viewfinder alone.

Brilliant, bright and sharp viewfinder, amazing lenses and beautiful handling...

I visited the Leica store in NYC today.  The Leica S viewfinder is indeed very bright.   AF was snappier than I expected as well.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2013, 07:23:28 PM by JV » Logged
bcooter
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« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2013, 11:36:22 PM »
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If cameras we're cars the Leica S would be a 335 bi turbo 3 series.  Amazingly competent and nobody knows just how good it is but the owner.

Problem is you can buy a 335 for about the same price, actually less.

I can see moving from film for more reasons than I can see sticking with it, but if I didn't have to tether, shoot motion, have rentals in every market, I'd sell all those pelican cases we drag around the world and buy the s2 and just smile everytime I used it.

IMO

BC
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DanielStone
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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2013, 01:15:49 AM »
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hey all,

Thanks for the tips.

He shoots landscapes, close-ups, and also sees the occasional local "photo day" with amateur models and the like Wink... He's been a lifelong bachelor, and is now contending with arthritis. He has Nikon F stuff, but he's found the M6 to suit his physical abilities best, as of what he can do now.

No commerical shooting. Never has, never will. Purely for the fun of it.

He hasn't used his Hasselblads in quite some time, probably at least a year or two. Mostly his Leica M6 and a nice collection of lenses(21,28,35,50,75,90,135apo)...

He isn't really "looking to 'go' digital", as his workflow is not fast-paced at all. He enjoys the simplicity of wet printing from negatives(mostly color), and he isn't super technical despite owning some nice equipment Smiley
He knows about the tech, that's for sure. He doesn't have an email, barely uses a cell phone, and yes; no gps either Smiley

So yes, it's probably best if he sticks with what he knows, and that's film.
Me, at 25yo, on the other hand, I do have an interest in digital, but still enjoy shooting my 5x7 and GX680 systems so much that film is the best medium for me at this time in my life. Albeit drum scanning and digital post, but the occasional wet print still satiates my darkroom desires for a handmade print when I want one Smiley

-Dan
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2013, 01:47:03 AM »
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Hi,

If your friend has a Leica M6 an M would be a good option. It is expensive, of course, but much cheaper than MF.

Staying with the wet process may be a good option, if your friend cannot easily adopt to new technology. The LuLa forums are pretty much digital, it is easy to forget that the wet darkroom still exists.

Best regards
Erik


hey all,

Thanks for the tips.

He shoots landscapes, close-ups, and also sees the occasional local "photo day" with amateur models and the like Wink... He's been a lifelong bachelor, and is now contending with arthritis. He has Nikon F stuff, but he's found the M6 to suit his physical abilities best, as of what he can do now.

No commerical shooting. Never has, never will. Purely for the fun of it.

He hasn't used his Hasselblads in quite some time, probably at least a year or two. Mostly his Leica M6 and a nice collection of lenses(21,28,35,50,75,90,135apo)...

He isn't really "looking to 'go' digital", as his workflow is not fast-paced at all. He enjoys the simplicity of wet printing from negatives(mostly color), and he isn't super technical despite owning some nice equipment Smiley
He knows about the tech, that's for sure. He doesn't have an email, barely uses a cell phone, and yes; no gps either Smiley

So yes, it's probably best if he sticks with what he knows, and that's film.
Me, at 25yo, on the other hand, I do have an interest in digital, but still enjoy shooting my 5x7 and GX680 systems so much that film is the best medium for me at this time in my life. Albeit drum scanning and digital post, but the occasional wet print still satiates my darkroom desires for a handmade print when I want one Smiley

-Dan
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