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. 

15
I own it
33
I want it
2
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 221
12
mosc
By mosc (Sep 21, 2012)

His medium format comments were very condescending. It's only 0.8x crop factor. The difference between APS-C and FF is actually bigger than that. Even most enthusiasts are well versed in the effects of changing sensor sizes like that. MP don't mean much as the guy said but resolution, the ability to distinguish detail, is what medium format is all about. He's bragging about having the smallest sensor in the medium format game with a bunch of slow lenses. Nikon primes are f1.4 and zooms f2.8 covering far more range than their system. The Leica S equivalent light gathering is f1.8 and f3.5. More than that, the sensor in the probably out-resolves the S and of course the package is far lighter. Professionals do the math Leica. You are not competitive in low light, at telephoto, or at tracking focus across an action shot.

6 upvotes
BobYIL
By BobYIL (Sep 21, 2012)

Mr. Schulz, we have seen the difference between the S2 and the D800E.. yes there is a difference, something like 5% or say 10% at the most if we include the tonality difference; however not 700% difference as the prices indicate to.. hell no..

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

Yeah, D800 wins hands down in almost every respect. So, why to deny that, if you are not a sales representative for - say the Leica S - or if you haven't invested too much already in some half ass tiny "medium format" system and the truth hurts too much.

4 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Sep 21, 2012)

the same could be said between k-5 and d800 but then it would rub you wrong way. :-D

4 upvotes
zanypoet
By zanypoet (Sep 21, 2012)

As for the D800 question, I agree that if he didn't want to give a long winded answer, a simple NO would have sufficed and would have made his point. It is in poor taste to insult the interviewer, who I'm sure is not a P&S toting hack. He should take a cue from the Nikon guy who deftly deflected a tough question.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (Sep 21, 2012)

One of the best of the interviews. No mention, but isn't that grip new. And, yes, Leica need professionals using the equipment for assignment.

1 upvote
fad
By fad (Sep 21, 2012)

Both the S and the D800 have broken new ground in combining mobility with high resolution and IQ.

Even if one could afford the S, only a certain segment of photographers need its advantages over the D800.

For a Nikon shooter, the D800 lenses and accessories are free, and more various. It can be used in more environments. It can be, and frequently is, used as a general purpose camera, where resolution is secondary. The other day I was doing street shooting in a park, and found a lovely landscape/streetscape composition. Having the D800 was neat for that one shot in particular because it is a fine landscape camera for a scene with high dynamic range and a lot of details.

However, I'm sure the S would be its own unique experience as well. I kind of wish I had a use for it.

4 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (Sep 21, 2012)

"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 you listen, Sony? Three lenses and one body. Not the other way around!!

7 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

Hehe, true.

I think photographers would take Sony more seriously when they would release just few cams. They are spawning more and more cams with less and less improvements. Sure some are pretty neat (NEX-6), but some are .. questionable.

2 upvotes
Fraxinus excelsior
By Fraxinus excelsior (Sep 21, 2012)

Why would photographers take Sony more serious if they only had i.e. One camerahousing. That makes no sense. Nikon have 7 different camerahouses, Canon has 7, and Sony has 5. So maybe because I made it clear that Sony has less camerahouses than the two big competitors they are now been taken more serious ;-)

But Sony has just made a very serious RX100, RX1 FF, and the a99. And dont forget the 500f4 and the updated 300f2,8.

D

4 upvotes
Fraxinus excelsior
By Fraxinus excelsior (Sep 21, 2012)

And forgot that if we talk mirrorless Sony started before Nikon, and Canon and therefore naturally have more camerahouses. 4 to be precise.

2 upvotes
iAPX
By iAPX (Sep 21, 2012)

As far as I understand it, the point is that Sony has to focus on their lenses, and try to have a better offering than actually, instead launching camera after camera!

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

When it comes to quality optics, and particularly without any Carl Zeiss murky water mumbo-jumbo, Sony lenses are in a rather different category altogether than Canon + Nikon lenses are, I would think.

1 upvote
cjhwang
By cjhwang (Sep 21, 2012)

The reason Sony is not taken seriously is because they lack the ultra TELE fast lenses like 600mm/F4 or 800mm/F4 that outdoor sports (football, soccer, baseball) photographers and birding/nature photographers need.

Nor do they have a tilt-shift lens for Architecture work.

Nor do they have a ultra-wide angle good enough for landscape/Real estate photographers.

They are marketing to the consumers/prosumers, so yeah, they will not be taken seriously until they are able to challenge those lenses from Nikon/Canon.

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

I'm pretty sure that in the long run Sony is going be stronger and stronger, they have the sensor technology, they know their stuff around when it comes to video. Lenses are the thing that slows them down the most, but I believe that too is going to change one way or the other...

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

ouch! you are very sarcastic. does that build up your confidence?

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Sep 21, 2012)

" It's good, because it refreshes the image of Leica, to make cameras that are really used by professionals."

That was one generation ago, when photography was an exclusive club.

Today's generation is totally irrelevant to the past nostalgic way of doing things.

The cheapest DSLR today would look like it came from Mars had it shown up 40 years ago.

The gap and demarcation line between the elite photography gear ownership and the common mans brownie has been totally eradicated in the digital era

That is the reason why Jurassic brands who missed the boat will turn to bling and sparkling decor instead of image performance.

.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
11 upvotes
lokthefish
By lokthefish (Sep 21, 2012)

i think time will prove you wrong. good design doesn't date, and Leica is good design, so I don't see that it will fail any more than say Nikon or Canon.

5 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

Its already proven. They sold quite a bit of S2. Thing is, MF market isnt like our regular dSLR market.

You can go just few ways and Leica and Pentax are pretty much only ones truly usable in various conditions.

In 35mm world, you can buy Nikon/Canon/Sony.. pretty much whatever you want and you will get more or less same results.

In MF world, you buy either Pentax or Leica or go "serious compromise" way = Mamiya, Phase One, Hasselblad.

Thats why Leica is succesful and will be in future. Cause even when its compromise (sensor size), its working perfectly in every aspect camera should. Which except Pentax, cant be said about "competition". :D

3 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 21, 2012)

If the "line" has been eradicated, here's to bringing it back--and obliterating any force that would blur that line. I LOVE that line, and I love this man & Leica as a company for making that line bolder. That line is there for a reason, and people ought to respect it more.

I (to say nothing of well-accomplished professionals) didn't learn how to work an SLR--a manual-focus one like the Pentax K1000 no less--as well as practice composition & lighting, only to have some pimple-popping iPhone "photographer" come along & insult those who actually put some effort into it and have the decency to use a REAL camera in their craft (even if it's something like a Sony RX-100 or micro 4/3rds). What they're doing is the equivalent of someone plopping a can of Spaghettios in a paper bowl, nuking it for 90 seconds, and then calling themselves a "chef." Get real.

If that's "snotty" and "arrogant" or whatever, so be it. I say we need MORE of it.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
utphoto
By utphoto (Sep 21, 2012)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_sensor_format

1 upvote
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2012)

Well, a compact x 1DX is likley 4+x crop, from D800E to the S is just 1.25x crop. He doesn't know anything about the D800.

3 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Sep 21, 2012)

Oh, he does. It's his fear talking.

4 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

D800 with any lens isnt even close to this. Its not just bigger sensor, but lens are completely different league. Not mentioning that you really wont get left AF problem.. or any. :D

Apples to oranges really.. Hes absolutely right. Ppl who never used medium format (be it digital or film) have no idea..

Ofc it would be nice if it had even bigger sensor, but then lens would be much bigger, expensive etc. Now its nicely balanced compromise.

4 upvotes
gsum
By gsum (Sep 21, 2012)

Mescalamba:
Your post would have had more credibility if you hadn't mentioned a problem that was corrected months ago.

2 upvotes
mgrum
By mgrum (Sep 21, 2012)

There's no reason to assume Zeiss's recently announced ultra premium lenses for 35mm wont offer similar performance. These lenses wont have AF, but lenses from the main body manufacturers are getting better all the time (look at the Canon 24-70 f/2.8L II).

Having a sensor 1.25x wider does not magically make the images better. The S is barely medium format, it's smaller than 645 (which is small by film standards) and much smaller than 6x7.

3 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

Zeiss lens for 35mm are among best, but they have very poor quality control. Canon/Nikon/Sony lens can be easily ignored as they have mostly flat and boring look. They are worth for convenience, not performance, with few exceptions (TS-E, f1.2 lens, MP-E).

Zeiss is only thing comparable to Leica, but unfortunately without Leica quality control. Cosina isnt Zeiss, which is sad, cause if modern day Zeiss lens had Leica QC, they would be much better (and consistent across samples).

No bigger sensor doesnt make magically better images, photographer does. But it helps to have top gear for making those pics. Which S-system is (kinda forgot Sinar, thats another one really good, even tho less user friendly).

2 upvotes
GabrielZ
By GabrielZ (Sep 21, 2012)

Genuine German Zeiss lenses have poor quality control! I wasn't aware of that, I always thought they were the Leica of third party lens production. Is that why I've heard that Hasselblad's latest lenses are manufactured by Fuji and not Carl Zeiss?

2 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

Aehm..

There are TWO Zeiss lens made still in Germany, both for M-mount (if Im correct its ZM 85mm/f2 and some wide-angle). Rest is made by Cosina in Japan. And Cosina QC has shotgun spread.

Last Hasselblad lens are made by Fuji. Its like that for actually quite long time now.. But frankly those Fuji lens are pretty good. :D Just different.

0 upvotes
mgrum
By mgrum (Sep 24, 2012)

Every month I'm flicking through national geographic dumbstruck by the "mostly flat boring look" the images have, on account of their use of Canon and Nikon lenses.

Oh when oh when will they start insisting all photographers use Leicas for NG assignments?

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 25, 2012)

You cant see difference before you actually "see it". :D By comparsion with Leica (or Zeiss) those lens really do have flat and boring look.

Btw. NG photographers actually use Zeiss lens sometimes. :)

0 upvotes
utphoto
By utphoto (Sep 21, 2012)

645 film frame size is 56x42mm. Pentax 645D frame size is 44x33mm. 35mm FF size is 36x24mm. In terms of actual sensor 'real estate' the 37-40 meg sensors in the Pentax, Leica and Hasselblads are pushing twice the surface area compared to FF 35mm.

1 upvote
Sebit
By Sebit (Sep 21, 2012)

By "twice the surface" you mean 50% more sensor area, for Leica?

3 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

Leica is 45x30mm.

FF is 36x24mm.

So FF is 64% of S2 sensor, or S2 is 156% of FF. Take it as you wish, but its bigger. And whats more important is that its very visible in pictures.. Closer to real MF (56x42mm) than to FF. Its something like APS-H was, just in MF world.

3 upvotes
Sebit
By Sebit (Sep 21, 2012)

Let's see, S2 is 57% of "Real MF", or "Real MF" is 174% of S2.

..and you say S2 is closer to real MF than to FF. That's Leica-Logic, I can see your math is equally "reddotted" as utphoto's.

3 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

From "look" point of view. Not technical. Canon APS-H was closer to APS-C yet look was much closer to FF (which is why it was choice of journalists for so long). Same works here, just its between FF and MF.

1 upvote
mgrum
By mgrum (Sep 21, 2012)

Mescalamba,

If you take a shot with the S, and then later decide to crop 20% of unwanted detail from the image, does the "look" suddenly change?

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

A bit. But not that much, cause important part of that MF look is lens. Bigger lens have different look. It sorta works on FF too, just try some Mamiya lens on it and you will see what I mean (300mm f2.8 is usually favorite, or even quite cheap 80mm f1.9).

Its not same as if you mount it on S2 (thats possible too btw.), but bit closer than regular FF lens.

http://www.pebbleplace.com/Gear_Talk/Gear_Talk/Entries/2012/9/15_LEICA_S2_VS_CANON_1DS3_IN_THE_FIELD.html

That guy sometimes makes very nice examples of what I mean..

0 upvotes
Sebit
By Sebit (Sep 21, 2012)

I was just referring to numbers.
"Look" is highly subjective, especially given the number of possible lenses to mount on canon/nikon bodies (including zeiss glass, leica converted lenses etc).

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

"Closer to real MF (56x42mm)"

heheh, "real MF" I liked 60 x 70mm much better.

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

Agreed Joe. 6x7 format in digital (perhaps even with just 20-30 mpix) would be better and that look is much more "MF" than just 645 format. At least there is still some film to use, tho probably not for long..

0 upvotes
Sebit
By Sebit (Sep 21, 2012)

Too fast for wifi, I don't really get that... it's usb 2.0, right? How come it's fast enough?

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

Leica S "Medium format" : 45 x 30 mm

That's not really medium format. That's just a little bit bigger sensor than FF. Medium format used to mean sizes like 60 x 60mm, 60 x 70mm.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Sep 21, 2012)

In digital it limits to 4.5 x 6, so let's say that we have here a medium format APSC in the Leica S, if we compare it to 6x4.5 FF. But in one thing he is right. You can not compare the quality of a medium format shot to any FF we know, even D800. The medium format has tons more, but it has also tons of disadvantages, So let's say that for every worker his tools. You will not become a tourist with a Hassy, a 645 digital or a Leica S. Mamyia had a nice dslr in medium format, unfortunately they did not continue that development because of US Mamyia dealer refusing to sell it.
So, being the market leader with a unique camera is simple, even if you sell only a hundred a year, nobody else is challenging it. In 24x36 FF, that is another market, and there are challengers, and, there will be more in a few years.

2 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2012)

It is just 1.25x crop, this guy is comparing compact to 1DX and then saying it's similar do D800 and S, good grief!

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

"You can not compare the quality of a medium format shot to any FF we know, even D800."

Of course you can. And you really should. Go and check the sensor ratings at DxO. Where do you see Leica S2 and where do you see D800?

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Ratings/List-view

Uhhuh.

5 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

Leica S2 wasnt tested by DxOmark.

And actually it doesnt matter if it will be or not. Neither I, neither any pro would buy it according to DxO. DxOmark has its uses, but assesment of image quality or percieved look isnt one of them.

6 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Sep 21, 2012)

I fully agree that 4.5x3cm isn't really medium format -- and I find the "question comes only from people who have no experience of medium format at all" comment charmingly offensive... and I used to shoot 6x6cm and even 4x5in film along with 35mm.

The S is to medium format film as APS-C is to full-frame 135 film. The crop difference between the D800 and S is only about 1.25X, and the resolution, body shape, and handling of the S is too similar to that of the D800 to avoid comparison. I'm sure the S is a fine camera that will do some things much better than a D800; Leica should showcase how S is better rather than making negative comments about potential customers who ask....

I look forward to medium and large format digitals that are truly in a separate class from things like the D800, but S isn't that.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 21, 2012)

49th.

"Leica S2 wasnt tested by DxOmark."

Right. They probably paid DxOmark not to test it, since the overall score for.... the Leica M9.... is...... 49th.

2 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

Didnt stop M9 from being very sucessful. Dont care how much points M9 has on DxO. It allows making of great pics, thats what matters.

3 upvotes
mgrum
By mgrum (Sep 21, 2012)

What is medium format? Anything larger than 135?

If Nikon made a 39mm x 26mm sensor would that be medium format, and hence have the medium format "look" and "tons more quality"?

I firmly believe larger formats yield more detailed images. By the same token slightly larger formats yield slightly more detail. The S is a slightly larger format, and thus can be expected to provide slightly more detail than the D800, which is great. But can we leave the magic powers to Apple products?

1 upvote
cjhwang
By cjhwang (Sep 21, 2012)

sensor is not all. It is optics also. You can have a D800 and put a $200 lens, it will not compare to a $2000 lens. Whether it be sharpness, color rendering, OOF rendering, etc.

and nobody other than pixel peeping tech prosumers care about DxO marks. If you're invested in Canon lenses you'll keep buying Canon unless something horrible happens (the Canon 1D3 focusing problems sent many professionals toward the Nikon field, because they needed the job done)...

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

Sensor size and detail ( finally some innovation )

Go and peep:

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/8083837371/review-nokia-808-pureview/3

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/studiocomparefullscreen.asp#baseDir=%2Freviews_data&cameraDataSubdir=boxshot&indexFileName=boxshotindex.xml&presetsFileName=boxshotpresets.xml&showDescriptions=false&headerTitle=Studio%20scene&headerSubTitle=Standard%20studio%20scene%20comparison&masterCamera=nokia_pureview808&masterSample=2012-07-20-0457&slotsCount=4&slot0Camera=nokia_pureview808&slot0Sample=2012-07-20-0457&slot0DisableCameraSelection=true&slot0DisableSampleSelection=true&slot0LinkWithMaster=true&slot1Camera=nokia_pureview808&slot1Sample=2012-07-26-0596&slot2Camera=nikon_d800&slot2Sample=dsc_8318&slot3Camera=nikon_v1&slot3Sample=dsc_0304&x=0.001756440281030445&y=0.004189944134078212

( edit: sorry to put you back to the mean real world )

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
utphoto
By utphoto (Sep 21, 2012)

No doubt Leica glass is exceptional. However, that said, most of the improvements he listed for the S2 were available from the get-go with the launch of the Pentax 645D. And you can get adapters to use Hasselblad lenses with the 645D, negating to a large degree, the legitimate complaint about lack of modern 645D lenses.

The 645D is now an $8,000.00 body with a superior sensor, superior ergonomics, equally good display and viewfinder, electronic level, superior high ISO performance, etc. Not to mention the Nikon 800e, another truly outstanding competitor for even less upfront costs. I'm sorry, for $20K+ this guy is selling a boutique product that will appeal to those needing the red logo more than logic when it comes to making a buying decision.

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

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

Really? Yeah, go on. And this comes from the mouth of a dude who's been shooting with Hasslebads :)), Mamiyas and Large format gear. You are in trouble, dude.

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

Yeah, right.

6 upvotes
John
By John (Sep 21, 2012)

I've got plenty experience of MF. I've Shot Hasselblad, Phase, and S2.
I bought a D800e. For the money - it's unbeatable.
He's La La.

10 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Sep 21, 2012)

He should learn from the Nikon guy how to diplomatically skip a tough question. 1.25x crop, that's all from S to D800 ...

9 upvotes
DenWil
By DenWil (Sep 21, 2012)

"for the money" that says it all

and to pros making 5 or 6 figures a day, who actually pay income taxes and have business deductions and depreciation write offs on equipment... I guess it makes sense that Leica is specifically looking to expand its use among pros, not guys shooting their cats in the dark and publishing the shot on DPR.

Why is it folks who are not the target buyer for a brand they scoff at to begin with "it's just a red dot" seem so hostile and resentful when they perceive to be (and in the case of Leica rightly so) marginalized out of hand by the company?

You don't care about Leica and Leica doesn't care about you. So move on.

2 upvotes
Rawmeister
By Rawmeister (Sep 22, 2012)

Pros making 5 or 6 figures a day?
Are you including the cents figures?
Or are you just delusional?

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 25, 2012)

Well, best "pro"s can make such job for such figure. But there is very few of them on this planet. 4 figures are closer to normal. :D (for wedding perhaps, but thats 1 day shooting and A LOT of days of selecting/processing etc.).

Leica is sometimes bought by model agencies. As they are simple even if you dont have manual for it and its as close to dSLR as possible. Well and they have money for it.

0 upvotes
JacquesBalthazar
By JacquesBalthazar (Sep 21, 2012)

The S line is truly Leica at its best: innovative and obsessed with quality. I find this infintely more impressive than the nostalgia-tainted M. The S is clearly the best DSLR available out there, for very many applications. Not for all of course, but wherever ultimate quality is paramount, it is the top.

Based on output examination, the quality of the lenses and the formidable tonal gradation refinment of the pictures set it apart from 35mm DSLRs, D800(E) included.

The sheer functionality and useability set it apart from MF competitors. And, in that world, the price looks much less exotic.

Of course it is basically unaffordable for people who are not paid for top quality images, and it is not a system that normal human beings can carry all day on their shoulder (though body and one lens is not impossible).

I am delighted by the D800, and feel privileged to have been able to afford it, but am happy to have the Leica S as an aspiration for the day those Lotto numbers come out.

9 upvotes
GabrielZ
By GabrielZ (Sep 21, 2012)

Right on Jacques!

3 upvotes
gurgeh
By gurgeh (Sep 21, 2012)

A compact camera might have a similar number of pixels as a Canon 1DX, but doesn't go anywhere near it in terms of exposure range, color depth, or high ISO. On the other hand the Nikon D800E is better than the Leica S in all these things (DR, color depth, high ISO performance). So his analogy is quite flawed.

In what ways is the S better than the D800E, just the viewfinder size?

4 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

Lens, sensor size, handling, OVF, screen, contrast/resolution.

Most important is lens. Theres nothing like this (ok, truth to be told, you can buy similar quality, if you buy Leica "M" and some of M-lens).

3 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Sep 24, 2012)

Is Leica lens that much better than tilt-shift, Zeiss, Schneider?

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 25, 2012)

About same level with Schneider TS lens, tho these are incredibly expensive too. Zeiss is today pretty much Cosina. Good lens with quality control issues.

Only comparable lens would be probably few Canon ones, new TS-E are quite close, tho they lack that bit of microcontrast Leica does have (with right processing Im pretty sure that Canon TS-E can achieve probably same quality as S lens).

0 upvotes
hydrospanner
By hydrospanner (Sep 21, 2012)

When you can't (or don't want to) answer a valid, direct question...go ahead and insult the person that asked it. Wonderful.

4 upvotes
ngollan
By ngollan (Sep 21, 2012)

I'm guessing that's about the D800 question?

If so, maybe the answer sounds a bit arrogant, but it also conveys a good bit of corporate philosophy. They are aiming at medium format users with a line of very expensive products, and they're at least pretending to be confident about it.

Risky? Probably. Arrogant? Maybe. An insult? Not so much.

3 upvotes
hydrospanner
By hydrospanner (Sep 21, 2012)

Regardless of what it conveys, it's a bit of an insult.

The question was simple, straightforward and objectively valid. If he felt the question didn't have merit, the polite (if blunt) response was a simple, "No."

When he went the extra mile to not only fail to directly answer the question, but to also throw in, "People who ask questions like this have no idea what they're talking about." he went from 'corporate philosophy' to 'insulting'.

It's a matter of professionalism. An interview at Photokina is not a post on an internet forum.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 21, 2012)

It wasnt insult. It was truth. Some people dont like to speak like politicians. And some see only what they want to see.

Tho it doesnt matter. 99% population here doesnt have enough money to buy S2, so they are pretty much irrelevant.

2 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 21, 2012)

Even if he did insult people who think that simply ("my camera phone has 16mp, it takes as good photos as your Nikon D7000"), I say--GOOD. We NEED some of that--heck, we need a LOT of that. Real photographers deserve some respect from these hipsters using their iPhone & putting "so & so photography" logos on their images, thinking they're of the same caliber as the typical Leica purchaser. Yeah, right.

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
1 upvote
DenWil
By DenWil (Sep 21, 2012)

It's not an insult if it is a simple fact and I missed the interviewer's response that he in fact shoots MF. If you are offended by fact that's your problem. I've shot MF for decades and I agree with Schulz- people who have never shot larger than 35mm often don't make the connection that the results from MF is based on more than pixel count.

1 upvote
Raist3d
By Raist3d (Sep 21, 2012)

Not an insult at all, but the truth. Look at the level of full time professional photographer's he is talking here. In fact, the new comers that just grab a digital camera thinking they are doing photography upgrading on a yearly basis and taking those snaps of the cats with flash lens flare on the couch are the insult.

What he said is the truth.

1 upvote
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 22, 2012)

"Real photographers" (heheh!) do not deserve anything unless they are able to show something that stands out. Whether that is accomplished with a Nokia 808, Leica S or Nikon D800 it doesn't really matter.

2 upvotes
SpinThma
By SpinThma (Sep 22, 2012)

To stay in german scope; if you have the money you can afford a Porsche, if not then something on cheaper level;
so with the Leica S, ..
cheers
Karl

0 upvotes
bluelemmy
By bluelemmy (Sep 22, 2012)

I used Hasselblad, Rollei and Mamiya as well as 35mm in 35 years as a professional photographer.
Occasionally I would use MF for someone like Athena who wanted to reproduce my stuff poster size and thus the extra technical quality was necessary.
But mostly I used MF for the 'look' and 'feel' of the results. No-one seeing even a smallish 15x12 inch printed portrait would mistake the results from a Hasselblad and 150 or 250 Sonnar with those from a Nikon and appropriate lens.
The main thing, though, was that clients could tell the difference. That meant extra money in my bank account.
Anyone approaching MF from the point of view of simple pixel count/ sensor area is simply missing the point. And yes, it would imply that they have not used or do not understand MF.
Would anyone seriously think that Ansel Adams woud have taken the same pictures on 35mm as he did on his10x8 inch stand camera? No, of course not.

0 upvotes
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