Photokina 2012: Interview - Stephan Schulz of Leica

Stephan Schulz, Head of Professional Imaging at Leica, pictured at the
Photokina 2012 trade show in Cologne, Germany (photo: Barnaby Britton)

The biggest lines at Leica's stand at this year's Photokina were for the new M and M-E rangefinders, but Leica also announced a new camera in its 'S' medium format line. Called simply the 'S', the 37.5MP medium-format DSLR offers a range of improvements and refinements compared to the original S2. Leica also announced three new S lenses, and an adapter to allow Hasselblad users to mount their H lenses on the S with no loss of functionality. Barnaby Britton caught up with Stephan Schulz, head of Professional Imaging at Leica, and spoke about the new camera, the challenges of making a zoom lens for medium format, and why he's really, definitely not scared of the Nikon D800. 


How has the S system been received since its inception in 2008?

Very well. Many different people like to use it, from professionals that work commercially but on the other side we have a lot of enthusiasts who like the system because it is easier to carry, and easier to operate than traditional medium format, and also much more reliable. That helps them a lot. And we will develop the system to make it even more versatile for studio use and for use on location and in the field, and that's the reason we have produced the first Vario zoom lens for S.

Tell me about the new camera, the Leica S

It's more refined, [compared to the original S2] we've made more than eighty improvements, it's not a revolution but we did collect a lot of [feedback] from the market, from photographers, where we thought that here and there we could improve on the S2. One main change is that we have doubled the internal buffer memory to 2 gigabytes, so you can now shoot 32 Raw images in a row without stopping. This is something that a lot of photographers had been asking for. We have a GPS now built-in, so this is the first medium format digital camera with built-in GPS.

We have also improved the sensor and image processing for increased dynamic range and extended ISO sensitivity - we start now at ISO 100 and go to ISO 1600, and we have a new display on the back, with double the resolution compared to the S2, and Gorilla Glass for protection. We have a new rubber coating on the camera to make it easier to hold, a new viewfinder display with bigger characters and more information displayed, you can now see the ISO setting in the viewfinder and frames remaining in the buffer, there's a built-in electronic level, too, and a new GUI. We now have a joystick on the rear which you can use to navigate menus and review images. So we've done a lot of things to speed the camera up and make image control more intuitive and quick.

The second camera in the S line, the new 'Leica S' offers more than 80 improvements over its predecessor, including increased buffer depth, and built-in GPS.  A higher-resolution LCD screen is (literally) nice to see, too, as well as an overhauled UI. 

What was the main feedback from users of the original S2, in terms of things they wanted added or changed?

There were not really any complaints, but there were some little things. Fashion shooters wanted greater buffer size. Some people criticized the playback mode, so we added the joystick. This was one of the main complaints actually - navigation in playback mode. But we did not only listen to complaints but also we thought about what would make the camera even better. We don't want people to think our cameras are just 'OK', and sometimes it's nice to surprise people. That's why we built in things that we thought would amaze people and make the S system even more attractive for them.

Have you had requests for built-in wireless capabilities?

Yes, a lot. But with today's wireless standards it makes no sense because it's too slow for the images produced by this camera. You can use Wi-Fi enabled memory cards if you want to though, and we have introduced 9.3MP and 2.3MP JPEG shooting modes, which might work with WiFi nicely. With external accessories.

Do you feel any pressure from cameras like Nikon's D800, which offer comparable pixel counts to the S?

Many people ask me this question, but people who really like to work with medium format don't ask me that. Because they know medium format is about more than just resolution. There are still a lot of photographers who work with 22 and 31MP digital backs, and they are fine with the resolution, and they would never change to a 35mm [format] because the image characteristics are completely different. People who ask about cameras like the D800 have never experienced medium format. They just look at the pixels, but the world is not only pixels. You can get small DSC cameras with 14, 16, 20MP but no-one asks 'should I buy that 500 Euro compact camera or a Canon EOS-1D X?'

This question comes only from people who have no experience of medium format at all.

I'll try not to take that personally! Moving on, how long have you been working on the new Vario lens?

Development time on lenses is typically 2-2, 1/2 years. For zoom lenses like this it's maybe a little more, because they're more complex.

Alongside the new S camera, Leica introduced three new lenses - the Leica Vario-Elmar-S 30–90 mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH, the Leica Super-Elmar-S 24 mm f/3.5 ASPH and the Leica TS-APO-Elmar-S 120 mm f/5.6 ASPH.

What challenges did you have to overcome to produce this lens?

Our goal was to make a Vario zoom lens that is very similar in its characteristics to the other S lenses. Which means you can use them at any aperture, you do not need to stop down for better image quality at any distance. So they are always corrected from infinity to closeup for perfect image quality, because all of our lenses have compensation, floating elements, things like that. To achieve this with a zoom lens was a challenge. But we succeeded.

This lens can shoot wide open with image quality that is outstanding at all focal distances. To manufacture this lens we had to develop a new centering technology, the centering is now very tight, between 1-2 microns, and we have made extensive use of aspherical elements - there are three in this lens.

It must be very difficult...

Very. We also have a new 24mm lens, and a new tilt/shift. Three new lenses. In total there are now eight lenses for the S system, and we also have a Hasselblad H adapter, which gives full compatibility, so H lenses can be completely integrated into the S system. This adds 11 additional lenses that you can use on the S camera.

What is Leica's market share, in medium format digital?

We are roughly at 20%. So at the moment we are behind Hasselblad and PhaseOne but our goal is to become market leader. And with the S system, this will happen, one day for sure because it is the most advanced system. There are still people hesitating, because photographers are a little bit conservative in investing, and I can understand that. They do not jump into a new system just because it is there, they want to know whether it is really developing, whether the company behind it is stable, whether the company can sustain the system over the years, and this level of confidence cannot be built-up over one or two years.

So this Photokina is very important for us, with three new lenses and a new camera body, people will see 'OK, Leica is really pushing and investing in this segment' and this will help us to increase their confidence.

Did a lot of photographers hold back when the system was introduced, out of caution?

Yes, we saw that in many discussions. The Hasselblad adapter helps to make the entry-level lower, especially for Hasselblad customers, obviously, who have a bunch of lenses. They're pretty happy with these lenses, they're not bad, but the camera body sometimes limits what they can do. The Hasselblad bodies for example are limited to a shutter speed of 1/800sec. You cannot have faster shutter times. The S has a focal-plane shutter and you can use your Hasselblad lenses up to 1/4000sec. In our experience, people see this, and step over [to us].

When you were planning the S system initially, were you aware that making a medium format digital SLR was a risk?

Yes, it was a big risk. The biggest risk Leica has ever taken. A new format, a new market that nobody [at Leica] understood, to be honest, and still have some people who don't understand it! Culturally, the company has lost, a little bit, the professionals. From my point of view, in the 1980s we lost more and more professionals and now there's a lack of understanding of this market, within the company, but with the S system we're back. It's good, because it refreshes the image of Leica, to make cameras that are really used by professionals. This is what we need, and this is not only a system, it's a statement for the brand. Leica is a company that is able to serve even the highest level of professionals with an appropriate camera system. But was a big risk.

So it was a risk that has paid off?

We need some more years to pay it off. But this is a long-term investment for Leica, for sure. But that's not a problem because Dr Kauffman, who is the majority shareholder in the company, stands fully behind this idea. He said 'yes, we need the S'. And we do. We need something people can dream about, that's beyond everything on the market. This system is the proof. Leica can do something beyond everything else on the market. it's a brand statement - our flagship. 

16
I own it
33
I want it
2
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 221
12
Sandy Fleischberg
By Sandy Fleischberg (Sep 25, 2012)

The name is K A U F M A N N (Andreas) ...
... and yes,...
... he is not from Brooklyn.

2 upvotes
Lea5
By Lea5 (Sep 25, 2012)

Test between Leica S2 and Nikon D800

http://blog.mingthein.com/2012/05/05/an-unfair-fight-nikon-d800e-vs-leica-s2-p/

4 upvotes
DonM999
By DonM999 (Sep 26, 2012)

That is an outstanding comparison.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (Sep 25, 2012)

What is it with his face?

0 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (Sep 24, 2012)

Michael Reichmann at Luminous Landscape has an interesting review of the Leica S2 that he wrote in 2009. In it, he makes a comparison with the Phase One 645DF.

See http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/s2.shtml

What caught my attention was his treatment of certain pragmatic considerations, such as some advantages offered by digital backs, and field backup.

It's not just a matter of the IQ of S vs. D800.

0 upvotes
aardvark7
By aardvark7 (Sep 24, 2012)

I hope Mr. Britton did not use a Leica to take that portrait of Mr. Shulz...
That is one seriously bad photograph!

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 24, 2012)

And noisy. I think they are using some 550D or something like that (saw that EXIF on some forgotten pic :D).

Otherwise I agree..

0 upvotes
TroelsMeister
By TroelsMeister (Sep 24, 2012)

All I wan't is the Pentax 645D

0 upvotes
zapatista
By zapatista (Sep 24, 2012)

IT HAS GPS. lolx.

2 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Sep 24, 2012)

I would like to ask the informed ones here (people with actual experience with different sensor formats):

Herr Schulz talks about different image characteristics of the bigger formats compared to the 35mm FF. I take his claim seriously - at least because there are some supporting comments in this discussion.

My question is: what is the primary cause of the difference in image characteristics ? Herr Schulz used an analogy: S is better than FF the same way as FF is better than small sensor compact. Which I think is completelly wrong: excessive noise of compacts is sufficiently demonstrable in common print sizes. But D800E is capable of taking high ISO shots without noticeable drop in IQ.

The only part that can bring about advantage in terms of IQ to "above FF" (such as S or MF) systems is *optics*. There simply are limits on what FF lens can do (in terms sharpness, distortions, CA, diffraction), that can be overcome only by means of the format enlargement.

Is this assertion right ?

1 upvote
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 24, 2012)

I don't think so. I used to think somewhat like that too. But no more. Look at the resolution of the 41 megapixel Nokia Pureview 808 - a camera phone!

In the future, it seems to be different DOF that is the main thing why you choose one sensor size over the other - for different tasks.

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
schorscho
By schorscho (Sep 24, 2012)

It's different physics. The real difference between camera systems is actually sensor size NOT noise or resolution etc.
Small sensor sizes has advantages and disadvantages.
Big sensor sizes has advantages and disadvantages.
So there is no better just different.
Buy a cheap medium film camera and start photographing you will be amazed.
I guess he is right the question only comes from photographers which has never used a medium format camera.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
PeterLHughes
By PeterLHughes (Sep 24, 2012)

There is a less dramatic quality difference in format sizes with digital than there is with film. However there are still some basic principles which apply. If an image is to be reproduced at a given size, then the fewer times that the image format has to be magnified to reach that given size, then flaws will be less obvious. If for example you wish to make an A2 print from a Full Frame sensor then you are magnifying the image by 17.5 times. That really shows up all those lens issues of chromatic aberrations, edge sharpness, wide aperture failings, etc. Also consider that Leica and Hassleblad lenses are made to higher specifications.
I haven't checked the sensor specifications, but usually medium format digital cameras work at a higher colour bit rate, which makes for better accuracy.
Lastly, many top end agencies and clients specify medium format as part of the selection process, so as to quickly narrow down to the top commercial photographers.

0 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Sep 24, 2012)

@Rage: I actually opened the DPR's studio comparison tool, comparing Nokia 808 with D800 and D800E. Both at ISO50.

Nokia (not an innocent camera phone, actually, but almost 1" sensor with sharp prime lens) is utterly destroyed by resolution D800E. But even D800 resolves significantly better than Nokia.

That means size matters when it comes to the resolution.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 24, 2012)

@Rachotilko. Well, I don't know which part of the scene you focused on but if you go back to that comparison tool, and focus on the plastic Earth-ball - and there on the Indian Ocean - the amazing truth is that Nokia PureView 808 and Nikon D800E resolve just about the same amount of detail - and both more than D800, in that part of the picture. Of course this applies only to the center parts of the image ( and only jpgs).

What can you say about that. That is just a cheap smart phone, with all kinds of other features on it too - you are now comparing that PHONE with the resolution-wise very best FF camera, which resolves also just as much as Leica S2.

So, I think what you are looking at there is the future.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Lensjoy
By Lensjoy (Sep 24, 2012)

I shoot with everything from a 1/1.7" P/S compact through 35mm FF, 645, 6x7, and 4x5. To some extent there is truth in Schulz' opinion that medium format is different from 35mm at the same resolution. Two major factors come into play. First is that with a larger sensor there is shallower depth of field at equivalent focal length. Portrait photographers like medium format (and large format too) for that reason. The backgrounds and bokeh effects produce better portrait images.

The second factor is that diffraction effects are reduced per pixel on larger formats. This gives a photographer the ability to stop a lens down more using a larger sensor without compromising the image quality. That means that on a D800 one sees loss of sharpness around f/11-16 on most lenses but on medium format it doesn't happen until f/22-32, and large format more around f/32-45. This effect gives the photographer more range of sharpness with depth of field to work with on larger formats.

0 upvotes
Lensjoy
By Lensjoy (Sep 24, 2012)

(continued) If one must stop a medium-format lens down more, doesn't that mean sharpness is reduced? Not for two reasons. First, the pixels are larger at the same resolution on larger formats. Second is that tilt lenses can provide an improvement in DOF so one doesn't need to stop down as much when the scene allows it. That's a reason Leica offers a tilt lens. Of course, so do Nikon and Canon. With the right optics on a D800, medium and large format can still produce a better image. But the differences are small, and what Schulz doesn't say is that the market for that difference is also small. I can produce a better image than Leica at less cost from my 4x5 camera, but at greater overall difficulty. The difference is that Leica produces a better image than the D800 at much greater cost and greater difficulty.

0 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 24, 2012)

This is pretty complicated thing with diffraction, different formats and stopping down the lens, since the bigger sensor you have the smaller aperture you also have use to achieve the same DOF - that is when you want to stop down for overall sharpness.

What you said about larger formats and portraits is true when you want that buttery background, but only when you want that buttery background. I've kind gotten tired of that butter there and it is such an easy solution.

I also shoot with many different formats, and to be true I think that some of the best portraits I've ever made were shot, not with a 4x5 nor with a 6x7 but with a Fuji FD31!

0 upvotes
Nosrebor
By Nosrebor (Sep 24, 2012)

20 Questions:

Ridiculously Overpriced? YES
Just as good if not worse then whats already on the market? YES
Lost all sense of style and direction/ergonomics? YES
Stop! - I already know! - Its a Leica

"What is Leica's market share, in medium format digital?

We are roughly at 20%"

That can't be possible!!!!

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 24, 2012)

Actually is. MF market is pretty small and S2 offers like 645D big sensor, in relative compact package and most important is that it behaves like regular dSLR and EVERY pro likes camera that does exactly what he wants, when he wants. Preferably as fast as possible (S2 is actually pretty fast for MF camera).

So its logical they have quite decent share.

And ergonomics are on par with 645D (slightly worse for S2, but "S" should be better). At least as far as controls go. Handling is better with S2 (cause it just easily fit hand).

1 upvote
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (Sep 24, 2012)

I would think that armchair speculation has to give way to an empirical comparison between the S and the D800. Who's going to do that?

Anyway, I excogitate my speculations from a chaise longue [sic].

:)

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 24, 2012)

http://www.pebbleplace.com/Personal/Start.html

Its not D800, but 1DsMK3 vs S2. Which is more appropriate.

0 upvotes
LarryK
By LarryK (Sep 25, 2012)

Why is that more appropriate? Are we only comparing overpriced cameras?

0 upvotes
marcio_napoli
By marcio_napoli (Sep 24, 2012)

Chances are that 95% of the people taking Mr. Schulz words as offensive are as guilt of arrogance as he is.

People here are saying that top 35mm cameras (D800) are now the Holly Grail of photography, and in a self made statement, as capable as DMF cameras.

Where were you guys just about months ago, just before the D800?

So that doesn't make these people arrogant too? Do you all have worked with Digital Medium Format cameras to make a valid statement?

I guess 95% here don't, and they claim their truth is truer and better than Mr. Schulz's.

On a side note: I don't think his statement is arrogant. It's a statement molded by circunstances.

He's bold, and leaps far away from the false diplomacy we see in the society.

People who never shot with digital backs claim their MP packed 35mm cameras are now equally good.

But these people never shot with Digital backs to know that other side of the fence so well, and make a valid claim.

9 upvotes
Chinaexpat
By Chinaexpat (Sep 24, 2012)

I don't think the interviewer's question implied parity between the D800 and MF. For some uses which previously called for MF, the D800 represents "good enough" without some of the drawbacks of MF systems. This creates a reality of marketplace competition between the D800 and some of the smaller better handling MF systems such as... the S3.

Mr. Schulz was not only inelegant in his answer but unpersuasive. He was obviously annoyed by the question because he has no ready answer and he has no ready answer not because one doesn't exist but because of his arrogance.

1 upvote
Chinaexpat
By Chinaexpat (Sep 24, 2012)

I would have said:

"If you think of professional cameras lined up along a speed / IQ continuum with cameras like the D4 or 1D X at one end and gigapixel view camera scanning backs at the other. A camera such as the D800 is just one step removed from the end of that spectrum.

For some people that might be a compelling proposition but our customers start out with the expectation of using the very best lenses available and we pair those lenses with a sensor and camera which can fully do them justice.

Of course there should be more market pressure from a 36mp 35mm camera than from a 41mp smartphone but in the end the image characteristics between 35mm and MF are just completely different. For our customers that is a crucial difference, so no we don't see a lot of overlap there."

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
FJ Witherow
By FJ Witherow (Sep 24, 2012)

Great point Marcio. Those who have mastered the techniques that can truly reveal the inherent 'greatness..or not' of a camera or lens, ARE better placed to comment. I have just begun my digital journey in earnest, and know how much I do not know! What I do know is this... If the S is in fact a great system in all respects, it'll stick around for a long time. Given the opportunity to use an S or D800 for a month....I'd 'hands down' grab the S for the shear hell of it.....hoping to find something that's extraordinary.... and way out there!
The digital era has changed many things, why not MF. Arrogance?....maybe, Confidence?....hopefully.
Regards -FJ

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 24, 2012)

Friend of mine has D800 and Sinar Hy6 (31 mpix back). He is using D800 as "all-around" camera, but for his professional work (fashion/architecture), you might guess only camera he uses..

That Sinar isnt particulary cheap either..

0 upvotes
johnparas11zenfoliodotcom
By johnparas11zenfoliodotcom (Sep 24, 2012)

Leica cameras are expensive, they are not any better than any other cameras...no Leica look, no leica magic nothing..

they are expensive because they come in limited quantities.. simple economics, supply and demand..

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 24, 2012)

They are expensive cause quality. :) Pretty much every manufacturer and especially customer can just dream about quality control that Leica has.

And it does have its look and magic, even tho more of it is in M line.

1 upvote
Richard Fossum
By Richard Fossum (Sep 25, 2012)

Have you ever owned a Leica after the introduction of digital? Pardon me for asking, but your comment on quality control makes be believe you have not.

I think both customers and manufacturers have NIGHTMARES about having Leica kind of QC, considering their track record with the Digilux 2, M8 and the M9, the last one being almost a disaster with its intense sensor cracking problems. And to top it of, since they are so small and boutique, people have waited for months for repairs.

On a sidenote, I agree that the quality they PLAN for is very very good, excellent feel and optics, but don't drag QC into this.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Sep 24, 2012)

"but people who really like to work with medium format don't ask me that. Because they know medium format is about more than just resolution. There are still a lot of photographers who work with 22 and 31MP digital backs, and they are fine with the resolution, and they would never change to a 35mm [format] because the image characteristics are completely different. People who ask about cameras like the D800 have never experienced medium format. "

Blah-blah-blah. Defensive much? ;)

2 upvotes
rmbackus
By rmbackus (Sep 24, 2012)

You're right.
In the analog days medium vs 35mm wasn't about grain size at all! It was about lenses, optical resolution, plasticity, depth of field, focal length and mainly fine -sometimes hardly visible- details.
And fine details -just as in producing music- even if they don't strike, they will contribute to realism in the end.

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 24, 2012)

And pretty much nothing changed since those days. :) Just most ppl dont realise that.

Both APS-C and 35mm are born out of necessity, not that anyone really wanted them (645 is actually similar case). True format of choice starts probably with 6x6 (which I frankly find bit difficult to live with) and if it was possible I would like "small-ish" camera with 4x5" sensor. :)

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Sep 24, 2012)

The 'S' looks great to this 24-year experience Leica user. Especially the curves. Like the curves on a Rolls or Bentley. The lenses are the key, and the body has to enable and serve those lenses.

1 upvote
SantaFeBill
By SantaFeBill (Sep 23, 2012)

To make the comparison between the D800 and a MF camera the same as one between a compact and the Canon 1D-X shows he has no experience with a top-tier full-frame DSLR 'at all'.
Please N.B.: I'm not saying that MF doesn't have its advantages, but that the stated comparison is ludicrous. The D800 is may not be as good as the S, but it is hardly so much less capable than a compact is less capable than the Canon. It's like saying that because a Porsche Boxster isn't a Ferrari, it's no better than a go-cart.

Comment edited 13 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 24, 2012)

Its more like Porsche vs Bugatti. You get little bit better car for A LOT of money.

"S" is same thing. Its called dimnishing returns I think.

Actually "S" isnt for ppl who need to ask "should I buy this?".

2 upvotes
maxnimo
By maxnimo (Sep 23, 2012)

My girlfriend would like to buy this Leica.... but only if it has face recognition and comes in pink.

1 upvote
pumeco
By pumeco (Sep 23, 2012)

I've never owned a Leica but have always had respect for their design; I generally love the Leica lines, and I understand perfectly how the designer was thinking when I see a Leica Camera.

Not so in this case, it just doesn't look very "Leica" to me.

There are elements I like, such as the large round viewfinder and the simple but elegant strap eyelets, but that's as far as it goes. Edge placement and even placement of the famous red dot looks wrong by Leica standards. I have no doubt as to the quality of the camera, but from a design point of view, I think it should have retained the classic Leica minimalist but chunky feel they achieved with the M series, but adapted it for the taller SLR style camera we have here.

Too many curves.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Anadrol
By Anadrol (Sep 23, 2012)

I really don't think people buy this camera for the looks...

3 upvotes
pumeco
By pumeco (Sep 23, 2012)

Perhaps, but if I were rich enough to be a Leica user, I certainly would be.

Of course I appreciate this is for the big boys, but Leica seem to have previously held on to an aesthetic that has disappeared with this model. But like I said, it's not a knock against the abilities of the camera, I'm just saying I'd be disappointed at the design if I were in the market for one.

Just being honest.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 34 seconds after posting
1 upvote
lxstorm
By lxstorm (Sep 23, 2012)

MF instruments are not intended to be used as family 50 backs all around point&shoots.

NO THEY ARE NOT!

Accounting 30 or 50 or 70 grand to business expenses is not a lot of a big difference who prefers Mamiya would get Mamiya who wants Leica can get Leica and most go with Hassy.

Nikons and similarities are out of scope for discussion completely. 35mm cameras cannot be qualified as MF period.

The guy from Leica clearly addressed what audience the review is intended to be for. It is related to whom who posses MF experience.

PLS STOP TROLLING

3 upvotes
pumeco
By pumeco (Sep 24, 2012)

What?

You replied to the wrong person, troll indeed :-D

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 24, 2012)

Actually it looks close to "old" R8 and R9. Just upsized (not by much, R9 is pretty big already).

0 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (Sep 23, 2012)

Sorry this is not intended as anti Leica - if it's anti anything its anti anti logic.
This sort of double think/double talk drives me insane.

"There were not really any complaints, but there were some little things. Fashion shooters wanted greater buffer size. Some people criticized the playback mode, so we added the joystick. This was one of the main complaints actually"

The first sentence, says there "were not really any complaints".
Three sentences later "...one of the main complaints...".

Fscking marketing people and suits.
Do they realise how how dumb they sound?

I have no idea how much a guy like this gets paid, but surely its a decent swedge and surely he should be able to string together 2 contiguous sentences without contradicting himself.

Still I'd love one of these bad boys, regardless.

My 5 year old nephew can tell a more convincing mistruth without crossing himself. Here endeth the rant, apologies, and I return you to your normal service.

6 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Sep 24, 2012)

Maybe English is not his native language.
He may find some fill in the blanks exercise useful:

"There were not really _ _ _ _ complaints ... so we added the joystick. This was one of the main complaints...."

Hint: fill in a 4 letter word.

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 24, 2012)

Hes German. And not very young one, so it might be bit of issue for him to say everything like he wants. I suspect this is exactly reason for his slightly awkward response. :)

English isnt my native either, so if it sounds awkward..

1 upvote
Jose Ernesto Passos
By Jose Ernesto Passos (Sep 23, 2012)

My best wishes for Leica, I hope it can survive in this competitive world, where they are facing huge companies like Nikon (is part of the Mitusbishi group, one of the largest in the world), Canon is huge by itself, Sony is another huge corporation,
Samsung is another giant group. I truly like to see small companies developing a niche market.
As to photography, it is important to keep more options open, and Leica is doing its part. Their prices are more related to their small scale than anything else.

2 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Sep 22, 2012)

Leica has a 20% MF market share?

They must have a rocket up their ..space capsule, to do that with a first product inside a market that is more than a hundred years old.

But I see no fires emanating from the back of their thing.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Sep 24, 2012)

All S2 ever sold are considered medium format and used by pro so 20% is easy. If all m4/3 ever sold are consider medium and pro, Olympus and Panasonic would have 95% marketshare.

1 upvote
Chinaexpat
By Chinaexpat (Sep 22, 2012)

My point about lenses is just that Leica doesn't have any "secret sauce" a $5,000 lens will be better than a $1,000 lens.

I didn't say the D800 is as good. I clearly said the S2/S3 sensor is more suited to high IQ low ISO shooting. I'm just saying the modest bump in sensor size is less important than the sensor type and top glass.

As for posing, you'd never be able to see the difference between a D800 and a S3 off a shot on the cover of Vogue. The truth is that very little commercial work actually requires the same IQ as a large fine art print. Some work yes, but not most.

I should have said:

"The S3 has a main user group: Professionals who only sometimes need the extra IQ over a D800 but usually need to make clients feel they are getting their money's worth.

What it often comes down to is that "in the pro world this camera is respected".

Not knocking the Leica, just an observation of what goes on as pelican cases are opened up in the presence of art directors.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (Sep 22, 2012)

Leica S lenses are extraordinary,they out resolve the best lenses on the market wide open,MTF graphs confirm this,they are only limited by diffraction,I am no fanboy,I will use any camera and owned most of them over the last few years,the D800E is also extraordinary for the money and I am very happy with it.. Leica has optical formula's that are clearly excellent, the glass is the proof .. Canikon lenses and Zeiss are improving and getting close... the New Zeiss high res glass for canikon will be very close, but still S glass will be best due to A.F and C.S for working with strobes.. the S camera is very useful because of it's ability to switch between C.S and Focal plane shutters..

For magazine work there will be little color difference due the CMYK colour space,but even in a double truck layout the superior detail of M.F sensors can be seen,and again the most significant benefit of the S (or phase/Blad) will be the leaf shutters for freezing action and controlling ambient light..

2 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 22, 2012)

I remember one ex-model who started later as a photographer, saw her going around with Leica R gear. To tell truth she didn't have any talent visually at all, she just thought she could get some respect by going around with a Leica. Well that didn't happen and the production of that gear ceased too.

1 upvote
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (Sep 22, 2012)

@Rage Joe.. I can certainly believe this story,although I think that these days if someone were to buy a camera strictly for credibility yjru would probably want an I.Q180..

0 upvotes
danaceb
By danaceb (Sep 23, 2012)

amen, and not to dog on Hesselblad(in light of the Lunar debacle), but they too are also far far more well known among the vapid model set than Leica.

Most of the reason for Leica's ridiculous rise in price as of late is down to east asian collectors, the kind of collectors with the exact same (my collection can only appreciate 100x) attitude you see on crazy doll collecting old ladies.

0 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (Sep 22, 2012)

A lot of moaning people here that haven't a clue.. I have a D800E and an S,the S2 has far better view finder,leaf shutters are now ready to ship,sure the canon or nikon 200f2 lenses are amazing but the price is in Leica territory anyway..and those lenses are very very heavy..

I have shot the D800E with G 24 1.4 glass against Leica S30mm (24mm in 35mm terms) and the leica will always record more detail and with far less C.A's..

If you want to tell yourself that the D800E is the match of an S2,fine.. but people who use both know better,,as for the previous comment of pro's using S3's to pose.. what a joke.. in the pro world this camera is respected and half the price of a phase one iq180 or blad h5d-60..

6 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 25, 2012)

Yea. It sounds wierd, but in MF world, S2 is actually "cheap". :D

0 upvotes
Chinaexpat
By Chinaexpat (Sep 22, 2012)

The difference between the D800 and the S3 is not sensor size. The differences are
A: One sensor which is optimized for low light and another optimized for low ISO. and
B: More expensive lenses, if the japanese camera companies could get $2,000 for a 50mm f1.8 they could EASILY design an amazing lens fully the equal to anything from Leica. Just look at lenses like the oly 150mm f2.0 or nikon 200mm f2.0
C: The D800 has 2 user groups, 1) Professionals who use it as a workaday tool and 2) Amateurs who are (sorry don't mean to be insulting) posing by using a tool which is bigger and more expensive than they actually need.
The S3 has just one user group: Professionals who are posing by using a tool which is bigger and more expensive than they actually need. Not to say that an S3 is not a better tool for certain jobs than a D800 but the primary function of an S3 is to announce yourself as serious.

0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Sep 23, 2012)

Could you please explain what specifically is changed in order to optimize one sensor for "low light" and the other for "low ISO"?

2 upvotes
Chinaexpat
By Chinaexpat (Sep 24, 2012)

Is this a real question or nitpicking over my inexact (nonetheless clear) phrasing?

If real, was referring to CCD vs CMOS. If nitpicking, get a life.

0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Sep 24, 2012)

real. why does ccd have an advantage at "low-ISO" performance over cmos?

p.s. no need to be cynical, by the way. Not everybody is trying to give you hard time )).

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Sunny15
By Sunny15 (Sep 24, 2012)

Sorry, but you don't get to define an amateur's need. It is decided only by said amateur and is completely valid, whatever you think of it. (disclaimer: I do not own a D800)

0 upvotes
Chinaexpat
By Chinaexpat (Sep 25, 2012)

Sunny15, of course you're right but i was exaggerating to make a point. Also my internal definition of professional is not the usual "makes a living at it".

Let me make an analogy using two of my neighbors from back in the states. One races his BMW M5 on weekends, he installed a lift in his home garage so that he can work on it. The other neighbor has a constant stream of high end exotic cars Ferrari etc... parked in his garage, when a new one comes in the last one goes to a warehouse he build down the road.

In my mind if you need a D800 you are a pro if you want a D800 you are an amature

0 upvotes
Chinaexpat
By Chinaexpat (Sep 25, 2012)

ppastoris, this article is pretty good but i think you'd have to read a bunch of academic physics and electrical engineering journals to really get the answer to your question.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/sensor-design.shtml

0 upvotes
Lea5
By Lea5 (Sep 22, 2012)

Well Mr Rage Joe. The Leicamans job is marketing. What do you expect him to say in an interview? "Please don't buy Leica products, because your D800E's are as good or better than our S2 flagship!" ?

His interview was not arrogant at all, just honest. I appreciate that.

I use a D800E and a D4, but working with a S2 is wonderful. It fits the hand nicely, it is not a shoebox with a lens on like a Blad and the prints are just great.

I won't comment your odd "ubermensch/superiority" stuff, because I would be forced to ask which banks caused the great world depression in the 1930's and gave fuel to the communists & fashists in Europe and so on.
But this is not a forum for politics or history, except history of digital cameras.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 22, 2012)

Just honest?

Herr Schulz: "People who ask about cameras like the D800 have never experienced medium format."

Yeah, right. Why then almost all the photographers who have experienced the real medium format like 6x6, 6x7 and so on, are asking just exactly that question, and for a very good reason:

Leica S "Medium format": 45 x 30 mm

Onlooker: "Herr Shulz. Let's look at the linear measurements, shall we:

√ MF: 60.00 mm
√ FF: 29.39 mm
√ S2: 36.74 mm"

Herr Schulz: "This question comes only from people who have no experience of medium format at all."

Yeah, Herr Schulz is just being honest.

3 upvotes
johnparas11zenfoliodotcom
By johnparas11zenfoliodotcom (Sep 22, 2012)

Someone has to say it.. "the king has no clothes!" ;-)

8 upvotes
lxstorm
By lxstorm (Sep 22, 2012)

Really?

Is it so funny to read those posts form NEXs users regarding Leica lens adapters and Rico M module as well then, right?

BTW how many DSLRS you know that are capable to work with Leica auto focus lenses? DO you really believe that awkward body with adapter can reveal full potential of a top notch IQ lens better than a native one?

Or I know Leica lenses no good Sigma lenses are much better and APSC sized medium format camera from Sigma is the the best MF camera eve made LOL.

Sure, "no clues" flooding the topic.

3 upvotes
johnparas11zenfoliodotcom
By johnparas11zenfoliodotcom (Sep 24, 2012)

Leica cameras are expensive, they are not any better than any other cameras...no Leica look, no leica magic nothing..

they are expensive because they come in limited quantities.. simple economics, supply and demand..

0 upvotes
rondom
By rondom (Sep 22, 2012)

Dpreview, leica is boring, please more Hasselblad stuff...

3 upvotes
dvilaplana
By dvilaplana (Sep 22, 2012)

"This question comes only from people who have no experience of medium format at all."

The interviewer has lost a great chance to pay him back properly just telling: "It's funny, just that is what Hasselblad's people told me about your S System..."

2 upvotes
Olivierbenoitjp
By Olivierbenoitjp (Sep 22, 2012)

Owner of a D800e, I tried the new S at Photokina. It has an outstanding OVF and an outstanding screen. The dynamic range looks to be very good from what I could see on the screen. The body is relatively small for a such a large "fake MF" sensor with only a few buttons (much less than the D800)
I tested the 70mm lens which is very well built and autofocuses relatively quickly. It is a big chubby though.

Concerning the attitude of Mr Schulz, well he is a passionated person and he's a kind of salesman. And yes German are often a little be arrogant but who cares...

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Tapani Tarvainen
By Tapani Tarvainen (Sep 22, 2012)

By my reckoning the Leica S sensor is about 2.24x smaller 6x6 (which has ca. 55x55 mm² image) or 1.7x smaller than 6x4.5 (55x42mm²). So not quite three times smaller than medium format, but still definitely closer to full-frame 35mm.

5 upvotes
Valen305
By Valen305 (Sep 22, 2012)

In order for this Leica to be competitive in commercial photography, which is what its aimed at, it will need to have a better tethered shooting solution - USB doesn't cut it at those file sizes, plus the cable is too short. Leica can dismiss the D800 as much as they like, but for a working professional right now, this camera is nowhere near as useful as a Hasselblad coupled with Phocus, or FF DSLR with Lightroom or C1. In commercial photography instant image approval is expected by the clients and creative directors. Then there's the issue of availability. How many rental houses carry this?

2 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (Sep 22, 2012)

With file compression the tethering is fast enough,not as fast as a blad with firewire but ok,the cable can be connected to a USB repeater cable of 10Meters for extra length and works fine.. the next version of the S will certainly have usb3 or maybe something faster..

1 upvote
Mdopp
By Mdopp (Sep 22, 2012)

P.s. There's another way of comparing sensor sizes and that is in f-stops light sensitivity.
Medium format is two f-stops more sensitive than full-frame as each pixel is four times larger and can capture four times as much light (on the basis of similar pixel count, of course).
This is comparable to the noise reduction associated with an ISO reduction of 400 to 100, for example.
But the Leica S is merely one quarter (1/4) of an f-stop more sensitive than the D800. Not really an impressive markup.

2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Sep 24, 2012)

And thats if the lenses have the same maximum aperture. And where are f/1.4 for MF?

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 25, 2012)

You really dont need f/1.4 lens for MF. Otherwise theres good old Mamiya with f/1.9 or perhaps some Pentax stuff. If someone for some reason really wanted that fast lens.

Bigger sensor = less DOF (its bit more complicated than that, but just keep it simple).

0 upvotes
Mdopp
By Mdopp (Sep 22, 2012)

I completely fail to understand why people call this a medium format camera. I used to shoot medium format myself - long ago on a Rollei 6008.
Classical medium format is 6x6. There are derivates (6x8 and 4x6) but 6x6 is what most people consider medium format. The frame size of 6x6 is more than four times larger compared to what we now call full frame (36x24) and you can clearly see that in the image quality.
But the Leica S-series is not 6x6. It is not 4x6 either - not even close.
They use a sensor size of 45x30, which is merely 50% larger than full frame (36x24).
Or to put it the other way around: Leica's sensor is roughly three times smaller than medium format (6x6).
I'd call this "full-frame plus", at most!
Obviously such a camera is in direct competition to full-frames like the Nikon D800 or the latest Canon offerings.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
26 upvotes
Constantine Grim
By Constantine Grim (Sep 22, 2012)

My thoughts, exactly.

3 upvotes
AnHund
By AnHund (Sep 22, 2012)

Fully agree.

3 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Sep 22, 2012)

...fully in competition. But not competitive. See: lens selection. Nikon has THREE shift lenses and live view on their pro line. The 2.8 zooms are comparable to the existing S lenses, and things like the 85/1.4 and 200/2 will give better isolation than anything available for the S system.

There are better alternatives in both 135 and truer medium format.

3 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 22, 2012)

Quite brave to compare very bad TS lens from Nikon (I would say nothing about Canon, as they actually know how to make TS lens) and average fast zoom lens or primes to Leica S lens.

You kinda forget, that S works with Hasselblad lens aswell as Mamiya ones. Im curious how you want to achieve same separation as Mamiya 300mm f2.8 has on Leica S on 35mm format. :D

Not mentioning that manual focus on S2 (or S) is very easy and very accurate. Especially Nikon LiveView isnt anything I would brag about, D800 LV quality is joke.. (not mentioning neither Canon or Nikon apparently didnt get message that LV should have focus peaking function).

3 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (Sep 22, 2012)

@micahmedia... " The 2.8 zooms are comparable to the existing S lenses, and things like the 85/1.4 and 200/2 will give better isolation than anything available for the S system." this is comical.. and D.O.F of the larger sensor is different to a 36x24.. the 120macro or 70mm are sharp wide open and D.O.F at 2.2 or 2.5 on this sensor is like 1.4 or 1.8 on the nikon F.F sensor..

0 upvotes
brujo74
By brujo74 (Sep 23, 2012)

don't forget the Pentax 645D with it's 40MP, 44x33mm sensor and maybe a better price

0 upvotes
mgrum
By mgrum (Sep 24, 2012)

@ Scorpius1 - some mathematics for you, DOF at 2.2 or 2.5 on the S sensor is like 1.76 or 2 on the Nikon FF sensor.

@Mescalamba "Im curious how you want to achieve same separation as Mamiya 300mm f2.8 has on Leica S"

How about using the Nikon 300 f/2.0? Or the 200 f/2.0 or the 600 f/4.0 etc. etc.

Again the larger sensor is not magic. It doesn't guarantee shallower depth of field at all times, and due to the almost complete lack of anything faster than f/2, you're not going to rival the depth of field you can get with the 135 format when shooting at 24mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.0, 85mm f/1.2, 200mm f/1.8

Sharpness wide open wont be as good on the smaller format, but that's a completely different thing.

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 25, 2012)

Only good 50mm f1 (well 0.95) is made by same company. :D 85mm f1.2 lens is nice, not very fast and not particulary resistant against any form of CA, vignetting, flare. Not mentioning resolution. Yea and Im pretty sure 80mm f1.9 from Mamiya is close as far as DOF goes.

"S" lens are CA free, vignetting is mostly ok and flare is non-existing. And resolution is incredible (as always with Leica).

Ok, you can achieve similar separation (well separation DOES include sharpness) with 35mm. But then there is another thing.

Mamiya 300mm f2.8 APO = 2.7kg
Nikkor 300mm f2 = 7kg

Ability to isolate subject while having reasonable size of lens and A LOT of sharpness is one of main strengths of medium format. "S" included..

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1148847

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
1 upvote
mrmut
By mrmut (Sep 21, 2012)

Nice and honest interview. I would really happy if there would be more producers like Leica, as the principles they function on as a company are outstanding. They have low production rates of top-quality product. High prices and effort put into product design give photographers a long-lasting value, which is a point that should really be appreciated. As the time passes, systems come and go, and you still can screw a 50 years old Summicron on new M and get outstanding results. Nice prospect - to have a camera that will last a lifetime. (Maybe that would work even with a MF?)

In the world of built-in obsolescence, Leica "Germans" can bear all the pompousness or the world, but the ideas their company represent go well beyond the product.

5 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Sep 21, 2012)

It is one of the biggest marketing coups d'état to have managed to convince the public to refer to the S2 as "medium format". It is not. It's barely larger than a 135 frame (FF). Yes, I used medium format when I was young, Herr Shulz. Let's look at the linear measurements, shall we:

√ MF: 60.00 mm
√ FF: 29.39 mm
√ S2: 36.74 mm

Don't push your luck with that condescending attitude, or people will actually start looking at those numbers.

20 upvotes
jerry  eisner
By jerry eisner (Sep 22, 2012)

Your point is a good one and important to keep in mind. However, it still puts Leica in the forefront of having created a "new" medium format or a medium format Junior so to speak. It has been shown over and over again that larger sensors will get you creamier and smoother and richer image quality as well as more detail in every part of the image, compared to the typical 35mm full frame systems. Naturally, a two and a quater by two and a quarter square sensor, or six by seven cm sensor would be "the ultimate" medium format sensors for some of us. However, you MUST give Leica credit for " seeing the need for the larger sensor and rethinking the format dilema, and then delivering a totally "new" type of advanced camera, that is filled with potential for stunning super quality imagery. je

2 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Sep 22, 2012)

...the amount larger is less than the difference between APSC and 135. And the difference in IQ in terms of sharpness and DOF is already marginal there.

And the S system is stuck at that size, never to grow bigger, so things aren't likely to improve.

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 22, 2012)

You apparently forget, that MF backs today barely reached 645 size. 6x7 and such "true" MF are music of future (hopefully). But today nothing bigger than 645.

3 upvotes
danaceb
By danaceb (Sep 23, 2012)

Technically you are right, but also technically Digital vastly out resolves and out performs film (don't bother trying to shove unsubstantiated wax nostalgics about how much 'better' film is). Given how the S2 performs it definitely belongs in the pro bracket once inhabited by medium format film.

0 upvotes
Silvarum
By Silvarum (Sep 23, 2012)

@danaceb With that logic, APS-C belongs in FF. Format stays the same, digital or not.
S2 sensor is 2 (well, 1.72) times smaller than 645 format. On the other side it's just 1.56 times bigger than FF. And their "people who have no experience of medium format at all" is simply insulting, because Leica have no proper experience in it either (and never had).

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Apewithacamera
By Apewithacamera (Sep 21, 2012)

Does it have a built in pop up flash?

3 upvotes
arndsan
By arndsan (Sep 21, 2012)

wow - how arrogant and wrong is this :

People who ask about cameras like the D800 have never experienced medium format. They just look at the pixels, but the world is not only pixels. You can get small DSC cameras with 14, 16, 20MP but no-one asks 'should I buy that 500 Euro compact.

there a great photographer out there doing fantastic work with this great gear nikon and canon providing and in the meanwhile is leica disconnecting from the photographing world with there ridiculous prices for digital cameras.
And becoming something like LV bags for rich chines and comparing people who are passionate about photography with pixel-counting nerds
Hearing this i wouldn't even buy a leica if i had the money.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
14 upvotes
zos xavius
By zos xavius (Sep 22, 2012)

He's comparing a compact sensor to a full frame 35mm sensor and then saying his sensor is superior. Clearly he has not experienced medium format himself, as he would realize the S sensor is too pitifully small to rightfully be considered MF.

4 upvotes
WJMWJM
By WJMWJM (Sep 21, 2012)

Hmm....those talking about 60x60mm or 60x70mm can't be given much credit either, since these were not the actual sizes....;))
(bonus for somebody remembering the actual size of 6x8 of a certain brand, starting with an 'M'....:))

Willem (still waiting for an affordable 6x6 sensor, so that his 19mm fisheye can finally create some direct digital output, 40 years after it was born....;)) Jan
(PS: 4k video, anyone?....;))

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 22, 2012)

56x69mm if Im correct, obviously there are some borders, its film.

Not only affordable.. any. There is nothing bigger than 645 MF backs. Except scanning backs, but those are really far from useful.

0 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (Sep 21, 2012)

As a former user of Hasselblad 500C, and similar cameras, I don't really see what a use such a big DSLR have in this modern world. If you use it in studios you could just as well use a mirrorless design, as you'll hook it up (tether it) to your computer anyway.

I used to think the Pentax 67 was huge, but this!

Have no problems with the size of the lenses, nor the sensor size, its just this supersized single lens reflex that's eating me!

And the guy's attitude is a bit ... German?!

5 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 22, 2012)

Its smaller than D3.

2 upvotes
DaveBowman
By DaveBowman (Sep 21, 2012)

"This question comes only from people who have no experience of medium format at all." - oh really? I've used both the H4D and S2 systems and yes, Leica, you need to be worried about cameras like the D800. Only a fool wouldn't be, and only a pompous, self-absorbed fool would make a statement like that one.

15 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 21, 2012)

than you bought your mf cameras just for megapixel, big deal, but not everyone does

3 upvotes
DaveBowman
By DaveBowman (Sep 21, 2012)

No I didn't actually, but feel free to continue ASSuming!

8 upvotes
lxstorm
By lxstorm (Sep 21, 2012)

Sorry pal but for a person who really used to MF your opinion very unprofessional. Not to mention stupid post from a 4x5 "owner" below.

There was, is & will be demand for MF and LF gear no matter what 35mm cine format crowd do believe. Do not be upset, these instruments are targeting pro photographers with pro demands.

8 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

Buying H4D is bordering with selfmutilation..

3 upvotes
DaveBowman
By DaveBowman (Sep 21, 2012)

@lxstorm - okay 'pal', my opinion is based on experience across formats. MF has many limititations which 35mm cameras don't and the closer 35mm gets to MF in IQ the more photographers will move across. I know quite a few who have already. Sure not all, but for those where the pros outweigh the cons they will. If the MF customer base drops too far the development of such cameras will no longer prove worthwhile.. Hasselblad already seems to be struggling. MF has attractive IQ. It's not just about whether 35mm will ever match that. You should try thinking a little bit further than the 'bigger is always better' naïveté, unless you have a crystal ball that tells you where tech will be in 10 years time?

Anyway, I'm not getting in an equipment debate with someone who clearly doesn't get it. Believe what you want.

2 upvotes
John Tran
By John Tran (Sep 22, 2012)

lxstrom - I presume you are referring to me. Thanks for bringing abuse into the mix. Just to head you off with your assumptions about my 'intelligence' and 'owner'ship. Nothing else I have used in MF, or DSLR competes with a 110mm Super Symmar XL on my Ebony which I love dearly. The D800, however, provides a great alternative when I am not in a position to spend 20 minutes setting up a shot, or when I can only get a shot with a higher ISO. Hasselblad and Leica were and are extraordinary, but the difference between then and now, it seems to me, is they're trading on brand, as much as, if not more so than on quality. i.e. putting themselves on a pedestal rather than providing the consumer/professional with the tools they need at a reasonable price. If any of this is 'stupid' go ahead and make an argument.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
HBowman
By HBowman (Sep 21, 2012)

Market Leader ? Good luck with that ROFL !! No way :D

Comming from a S2 user, between.

1 upvote
richard jacob
By richard jacob (Sep 21, 2012)

the nikon D800 is so great

2 upvotes
John Tran
By John Tran (Sep 21, 2012)

How very Leica. Pompous and out of touch.

I now use a Nikon D800 for the shots I couldn't get on 4x5.

8 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 21, 2012)

The Nikon D800 is great, I have no doubt, way better than what I own.

HOWEVER--all this guy is saying is the 36mp comparison is not all there is to it. Frankly, I kind of LIKE them being "pompous." We need more of that in a world full of people with no knowledge of an f-stop taking iPhone pictures & putting "so & so photography" logos on their images. Gee whiz, maybe I should start heating up canned spaghetti in a microwave & serve it in my cafe entitled "larrytusaz's genuine homemade fine culinary products."

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 21, 2012)

I didn't say watermarks bothered me, although they do in fact--they aren't part of the actual image. I don't like it when TV stations put their logo in the bottom corner either.

But that's not what I was referring to. I was saying that I've seen people put such logos, signatures, etc on their images saying "so & so photography" like they're an organization or something, and they do so with iPhone photos. That's just ridiculous. Real photographers use real cameras--no, it doesn't have to be a Leica S2, but gee whiz, at least a mirrorless or even a Sony RX100 etc.

So, in such a climate, to me it is REFRESHING to see someone brush aside such feeble cameras in the topic of conversation. Good for him.

3 upvotes
John Tran
By John Tran (Sep 21, 2012)

If all he had said was 36mp comparison is not all there is to it, then that would be have been ok (Oops. D800 probably still ahead in one or two areas!) but he didn't. Agree with you larrytusaz about the Hipstamatic/Instagram plague being annoying, but if people have fun with photography then that can't be a bad thing.

Leica and Hasselblad used to be the dog's dingleberries because they did the job. But now what I see is new models from them that often have issues out of the gate, supposedly premium engineered products that cost a fortune. Also I'm not sure pomposity encourages people to think about developing their skills...

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 21, 2012)

yeah but the leica guy is right, i cant see the point why he is arrogant.

he is super honest, and thats uncommon, i think even if you ask a nikon spokesperson in private he admits that those cameras are not in the same league

8 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 21, 2012)

"I think even if you ask a nikon spokesperson in private he admits that those cameras are not in the same league"

Of course he would admit, surely in public too, they are not, anyone can see what is the choice of the professionals. Nikon and Canon, Phase One maybe, Fuji is coming strong with their new stuff. That's about it.

0 upvotes
ZEROrhythm
By ZEROrhythm (Sep 21, 2012)

Wow larry, you need to get your head out of your ass. If you are going to bash people who takes Iphone picture you need to get out of the photo world.

Photography isn't about the what camera you use, it's what you are trying to convey through your photos.
It shouldn't matter what camera you use as a long as you use it. I've seen some great shots coming out of people's iphone. It's crazy how artistic people are with the camera they have on them. the best camera is the camera that you have on you, and you know what a lot of people carry an iphone and not their huge medium format.
Photography has gone a long way from film to digital. Digital has made it easier for the common to get into.
You don't need to bet a Pro photographer with great gears to take great photos. Knowing what f-stop means, knowing the ins and out of a camera, doe not make you a better photographer than a person with an iphone.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 22, 2012)

(ZEROrhythm) My head is quite the much in the normal location, thank you very much. Obviously the camera DOES matter--else, why would Leica even exist? Heck, why was a Nikon D40 even necessary, much less a D800 and D600, if the camera doesn't matter?

As for "common" people--more power to them, but they're not photographers anymore than I'm a chef because I know how to heat Stouffer's "Meal in a Bag" on a stove for 7 minutes on medium-high.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 21, 2012)

Why is everything Leica makes so butt-ugly?

Also, Leica's brain trust should have been following DP Review comments. They are now getting neck-deep into a legacy old school format (medium format) with their ungainly S model, when a lot of previously FF 135 format shooters are in fact moving down to APS-C, Micro 4/3rd, and 1-inch.

I guess with Leica, big and heavy and bulky somehow equates beautiful?

Heck, at least they did not come up with a brand new "Jumbo Imax" form factor and sensor camera this time around.

3 upvotes
cjhwang
By cjhwang (Sep 21, 2012)

you do understand a MEDIUM-FORMAT camera is not for the general public right? it's for studio use, for fashion shoots, etc, where they have controlled lighting and you never need to go above 200 ISO.

the medium-format cameras don't need to listen to people at DPREVIEW because this website is not their market. They are competing with Hasselblad, PhaseOne, RED, etc.

EDIT: just because you never used an actual RANGEFINDER or a MEDIUM-FORMAT camera doesn't mean everything camera related should be a compact camera under $500.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
10 upvotes
GabrielZ
By GabrielZ (Sep 21, 2012)

About Leica styling, I actually like the styling of the 'S' it has a pleasing minimalist quality about it. But what's that dial for on the new cameras left shoulder? I don't remember the S2 having such a dial...

3 upvotes
John Tran
By John Tran (Sep 21, 2012)

Taking another view cjhwang, if an MF camera/back manufacturer could produce something that had clean results at 1600 ISO, don't you think they would?

1 upvote
cjhwang
By cjhwang (Sep 21, 2012)

@JT, I don't think so. Their R&D would not research HIGH ISO because MF professionals would not care about it. They would rather have better resolving lens/sensors with high dynamic range.

Canon/Nikon is interested in high ISO because their professionals need them. Wedding photographers, event photographers, sports photographers, they all would love to have clean high ISO images. MF shooters don't need them.

4 upvotes
Klaus H
By Klaus H (Sep 21, 2012)

@cjhwang; What camera leads the Dynamic range chart at DXO?

1 upvote
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 21, 2012)

As a working pro I can say DR is one of the most important qualities there is to a camera, and Nikon is topping on those charts. If you don't have it you don't have it no matter how expensive glass you put in front of your camera.

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

If you dont have much DR, you simply learn how to work around that. If not, then perhaps try paintings, cause every cam has some downsides.

S2 and "S" design in hand is perfect, but I guess it needs to be actually held in hand.

0 upvotes
cjhwang
By cjhwang (Sep 21, 2012)

@klaus: sorry I don't pay attention to DXO... I'm too busy taking wedding photos, editing them, making albums, and making money. To sit around looking and comparing at every single new sensor... you tell me, and I'll appllaud and laud you, and you buy them if you wish.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Klaus H
By Klaus H (Sep 21, 2012)

Oh... you shoot weddings.... that explains it! ;-))))

1 upvote
vernonleow
By vernonleow (Sep 22, 2012)

GabrielZ, the round thing on the top left isn't a dial, it's actually the GPS Antenna.

The S2 is actually lighter than a Canon 1Ds3 for those who don't know. Handles like a regular 35mm. But what irks me is the new S only has a 98% Viewfinder coverage!

1 upvote
jerry  eisner
By jerry eisner (Sep 22, 2012)

Francis, there IS a need for larger senor cameras whether or not you like it. There is an industry out there that DOES use larger sensor cameras for very high image quality. You sound just as pompous as the people you are mocking when you make statements like the one you just posted. je

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 21, 2012)

"You can get small DSC cameras with 14, 16, 20MP but no-one asks 'should I buy that 500 Euro compact camera or a Canon EOS-1D X?' This question comes only from people who have no experience of medium format at all."

I love that answer. A little snobbery, I absolutely love it. Not that the D800 is junk, heck no, but his answer is very refreshing in an environment where I keep seeing people postr iPhone snaps & putting "so & so photography" watermarks on their images. Ugh.

15 upvotes
JL BONHOMME
By JL BONHOMME (Sep 21, 2012)

Is there a kit for less than 500,000 US$ ?

Comment edited 15 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Lea5
By Lea5 (Sep 21, 2012)

Really, I love my D800E to death (and my D4 too) but shooting an S2 in a studio and seeing the images in big prints is breathtaking.

12 upvotes
AnHund
By AnHund (Sep 21, 2012)

PhaseOne IQ180 has a sensor size of 53.9x43.4mm making this so called medium format sensor quite small. But maybe size is not so important anymore?

2 upvotes
gdfthr73
By gdfthr73 (Sep 21, 2012)

Now that is a true medium format size sensor. I use medium format film cameras and their is a very true difference regarding size. Larger sensors (or film) creates shallower DOF, stronger subject isolation and a more 3D real world look. Like the difference between APS-C and Full Frame but more so. Its not just the resolution or IQ.

But that sensor goes for around $50K yikes!

I would love to see a lower resolution 10-20mp (hopefully means cheaper) Sensor that is true 6x6 or 6x4.5 format.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
mosc
By mosc (Sep 21, 2012)

"Larger sensors (or film) creates shallower DOF"

No, do the math. Given the same aperture what you say is true but they don't have the same aperture. If these lenses were blazing fast then yes, they can deliver a true advantage. A slow lens on a big sensor is no better than a fast lens on a small sensor. Aperture equivalents don't lie. These larger lenses are not delivering any more light, and more depth of field, etc.

3 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

Size is important, unfortunately PhaseOne own cams and most bodies to which you can attach it are unreliable and frankly PIA.

Leica and Pentax win in that ease of use.

Ofc with ALPA, those back from PhaseOne are very nice (tho still its not exactly easy to use). Just dont pixel peep.. IQ180 backs seriously aint same quality as lets say some older 40 mpix or even less MF backs. IQ180 on pixel level looks like, well.. that 500 USD compact camera.

As one photographer said, manfucturers should try to make sensors bigger, not more crowded with pixels..

1 upvote
AnHund
By AnHund (Sep 21, 2012)

@Mescalamba. Not sure which glasses you are using, but pixel level is great on the IQ180.

2 upvotes
Tazz93
By Tazz93 (Sep 21, 2012)

I too took a little offense to the D800 question, but then realized his pain when he is asked this question left and right. The truth is, MF does have an intangible value that isn't validated through pixel-peeping. And I fully agree with his assessment that the "characteristics" are different. Never shooting either camera, I can still see differences in the characteristics of either's format. But the fact remains, many are switching to the 'bridge' cameras now that resolution and quality of image on par or at least close. The "characteristics" seem to be slowly being outweighed by other aspects.

4 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 21, 2012)

Oh Dear Leica

Do like Hasselblad did and then we see the real difference :) Oh well, but then again, wasn't it You who started to make those ridiculous and depressing "special editions" covered with some endangered animal's skin, "with matchin strap"?

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 21, 2012)

Yeah, the Corinthian leather and the wood grain alone accounts for about 50% of those heady, elevated Leica Special Ed prices. Cost of living is rather high in ye' ole' Motherland -- so pay up, suckahs!

1 upvote
Hubertus Bigend
By Hubertus Bigend (Sep 21, 2012)

The difference is, from Leica, that "special edition" at least is a Leica, a substantial piece of equipment they created themselves, not an existing comsumer product bought from Sony and sold for five times its original price.

2 upvotes
tashley
By tashley (Sep 21, 2012)

I'm afraid I can't agree with Mr Schulz on the comparison with the D800. Speaking as someone who has owned an S2, many Phase One backs and a D800 and D800E, and who knows a number of people who have given up Medium Format Digital for the D800, the differences are not of the degree of significance he states - and a great number of people with high levels of experience of MFD are likely to be interested in what his 'real' answer would have been were it not for marketing imperatives....

15 upvotes
jerry  eisner
By jerry eisner (Sep 22, 2012)

It sounds like you have great experience in these matters why don't you elaborate on your findings. je
PS . why did you have so many MF cameras, how did you use them, what are you using now? etc. etc. why don't you fill us in?

0 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (Sep 22, 2012)

@Jerry Eisner.. I don't know tashley personally but I do know enough about him to know that he knows what he is talking about,it wasn't too long ago that he was using an IQ180 ...he is using a D800E right now..

2 upvotes
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