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Anyone still using the S?


R3D-D0T
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Thumbs up from an amateur with newly purchased S-006 (w/new sensor), and some used lenses. Outstanding OVF, fantastic optics, good handling and weather protected. Not a shooting machine like the SL, but the images - technically speaking - are eyond what I have seen. Other mini-MF platforms might be equally strong/fine or better, pending on whats important for you. But I am happy - and I can only speculate what the next incarnation of the body can/will deliver.

Edited by helged
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I'm a new member here, hello. I dreamt about an S camera for four years and finally made enough to buy into the system (used) this May. My camera is an S2-P; at present I only have one lens, the S70mm Summarit. I'm considering a small loan to get the S35mm. I take photographs for pay as well as for myself and the S will be a studio/location camera for work, and I will likely use it for landscapes for myself (a genre I was never previously into).

 

My camera is currently in Germany. I did due diligence immediately after purchase and a stopped down shot of the sky showed a lot of black pock marks in the frame. Was it dust, was it something else? I had it sent to the experts (Leica Japan, I'm based in Tokyo) and they decided it needed to go to the mothership in Germany. I am not worried at all, quite the opposite: after years of having to fight tooth and nail for every little thing with Nikon professional service, it's very nice to have a no questions asked approach to service: "we will take care of it, cost to you: zero" (though there is a lost time thing, since I just bought the camera it was not in active service with me yet, so...)

 

Over four years I read lots and lots and lots about this camera system. I have seen it receive ever more snark over the last couple years -- and understandably so re: the AF issue -- and myself had oscillated many times between "OK, forget about it; next!" and "no, no, the S is the one."

 

After so many years of being still so engrossed by this enigmatic camera system, I decided I had to do it. And, yes: happy. Even after such an initial experience with my camera.

 

Horses for courses and the same camera system will be good/bad and a spectrum of performance in between for different photographers, but personally I'm astonished at the bad rep the S gets when as a serious photography tool (and applied as a tool to the jobs it is made for) there is little to single it out and it criticize it for. The QA issues, as I may have encountered are part and parcel, and I have had enough issues with other makers to understand Leica is not unique, though at the price point it stings. I doubt about it. If it stings enough to make you jaded and angry, there's not much else to be done but leave the system; as for myself, I manage my own expectations.

 

I cannot wait for my camera to come home from Germany and will be using as much as possible thereafter. I'm aware of all the complaints and things leveled against the S, and still my roadmap is to phase in and eventually make the S my main work camera system: another body and more lenses in future for me; fade out the Nikon holdings and make the switch over.

 

I can't be more emphatic about it than that.

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Still love mine, even though lately smaller cameras also get so good that I dont use the S as much as I did earlier. (I still think the S is clearly ahead of smaller sensors in many aspects, but my prority in regards size vs. IQ have changed a little bit and smaller sensors have become better, and even the T I love what I see from the 35 and 60mm primes, or the 50/1.4 SL or the 50 APO Summicron on the M10 deliver very good IQ.

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More interested than ever. Prices are reasonably to excellent used. Image quality is still unbelievable. I think MFD is still primarily for professionals and with that the shortcomings frustrate many as well as a desire to use the latest, most solid systems. However, medium format to me is about the unique images it's creates vs 35mm. Mamiya 7ii, pentax 67ii, makina 67... these cameras are reasonably priced and create stunning images. MFD Leica S is finally coming down low enough for hobbyists to have a crack with going broke- as it should be. I think with the 008 eventually coming out we will see more interest (and higher lens prices used as they get swooped up), but also more cheaper 007s and 006s. This will hopefully get more people into shooting amazing photos with it. The Leica service issues for amateurs is frustrating, but I honestly do t feel like it's as bad as some say.

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 I'm considering a small loan to get the S35mm. I take photographs for pay as well as for myself and the S will be a studio/location camera for work, and I will likely use it for landscapes for myself (a genre I was never previously into).

 

 

Welcome to the fold. May I suggest that you consider purchasing the Contax to S adapter. It will open up a world of outstanding vintage Contax glass at a fraction of the price of Leica versions, if they exist. After purchasing the adapter, I bought the Contax 35mm, mint, for about $900, and then the wonderful 120mm macro for about $600, and the then the 210mm for about $300. Outstanding lenses at bargain prices. And no auto focus failures. If you shop around, you may find a certified adapter for about half the $1800 price, which is what I did.

Happy shooting

D1

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Thank you D1 and Matt,

 

Before I begin, I noticed immediately after posting before that I made a couple typos in my original post -- "I doubt about it" should have been "No doubt about it," and preceding that a line "...there is little to single it out for and it criticize it for..." had an "it" extra in there -- but I can't find a tool to edit my post?
I saw a couple of the other guys are able to edit their posts after publishing so I'm sure it's possible... just wondering if it's a function not available to newbies or that I'm missing something right in front of my eyes? Hm. No big deal though.

Just to prepare the ground a bit, I'm a UK national living in Japan. I've been here since I was 22. It was my 39th birthday on the 26th (June) so I've been out East for quite a while now [with a break of a couple years back home in the middle]. Incidentally, that date was why I was motivated to post here. Not to be all hokey Godfather Part 3 "on this day you to say to me..." but R3D D0T posted a topic titled "Anyone Still Using the S" on the Leica S Forum -- can I just hold it there for a beat: 1, 2... -- and my S2-P was a well earned Birthday (26th) present to myself after so many years of dreaming. I couldn't resist. I am glad I decided to register and post though, I have enjoyed reading you guys for a good while now. I hope you all realize that this is about the only active third party source of info the S system that there is. Thank you all for it, sincerely.

So, Anyone Still Using the S? Of course people still use, and dream about using, the S. Me for one. My whole life has been about it for the last four years. Rather than get defensive and start justifying the S, I think it's better to express honest passion about the system and photography with it. That's all I care about, I don't think I am alone. Responses to the question have been rad.

At any rate, yea on the S35... Out here in Japan, and especially where I am in Tokyo, the Leica brand commands an extra premium compared to Europe and the US. The S is not as badly marked up as the M-system, but it is still marked up.

The Leica S to Contax adaptor goes for ¥240,000 new here. I haven't seen a used one in four years of following the Japanese Leica S market, though that's not to say it's an a-priori impossibility. Never say never, just the chances are so slim the most realistic way to think about it is thinking about getting a brand new one, and they cost ¥240,000. The Contax645 35mm lenses, though, they certainly can be gotten used here and I see them going for ~¥90,000 on average in stores, maybe ~¥60~70,000 if Yahoo! Auction [Japan is wedded to Yahoo! and rather than eBay, everyone uses Yahoo! Auction here, just like they search the net with Yahoo! not Google. Don't ask!]... So the Contax 35mm budget would be ~¥330,000 zone. But the extra upside to this option is as you guys say: it opens things up for other Contax lenses. I would say that that is an upside with caveats though.

OK, going to the S35 option now, typically that lens goes for ~¥550,000 on the used market here. There are very few places to get used S lenses in Japan, but amongst those ¥550,000 is about the median price. It will likely be 20 to 30% more than Europe or the US, depending on exchange rate, and again this is the premium that Leica commands here. It is what it is [believe me, I have struggled to get to the place where I can say that with Zen-like composure].
Now then, I'm not sure if I should say this on here just incase anyone in Tokyo is watching, but there is a store with a consignment sale [store sells someone's used equipment for them, for a commission on the sale] on S equipment, and amongst that equipment is an S35mm. For ¥299,000. This price is so good, and so much better than usual, it seems worth taking the chance and making a small loan on to get. I could likely sell it for a profit straight away if the worst comes to the worst. I say that, but the lens is on sale at that price right now and no-one has snapped it up yet... so maybe not so simple... but still, every other S35mm on the used market that I know of is at the ¥550,000 mark, so this represents a great deal [and with the peace of mind that Leica will fix any AF gearing issues for free should they come up]. I don't have ¥299,000 in my pocket, especially after just having done the damn thing on the S2-P and an S70mm, but I am certainly giving it great thought.

When I consider both 35mm choices, I think I'd rather stay native. This is weighted on subjective experience rather than any objective deciding factor. Many moons ago I bought a Sony A7 thinking I'd have a great time with vintage lenses and it'd be freedom and awesome and etc., etc., but what I actually found in practice was that when it really comes down to it, I preferred staying on plantation and using native, designed for purpose, lenses. I do not see this judgment as a black and white thing, nor do I see one data point as reflective of every case. But as a guide for my choice this time, yea, I am certainly leaning to stay native and go for that S35, if I can. I'm hesitant to take a small loan and do it on the S35 without a body to use it on... so, I have another choice now, a threefold choice: 1) forget all about it and concentrate on the work and stacking funds back up, wide angle photography work is done with my principal work equipment (Nikon f-mount), maybe in a few years we can think about S35 lenses again; 2) play it by the seat of my pants and stay in "bag it" mode, but wait for my body to come back and if the S35 is still there when it does, do it; or, 3) the nuclear option, just do it now.

I am not asking for advice here, I will come to my conclusion and do one of these, probably the middle one, but just to give you guys an idea of where I'm at.

My "Stage1" for the S-system is to get to: body (check) + S35 + S70(check) + S120 Makro. From a few years experience doing photography jobs, with those three optics (+brain) I can do 99% of my type of jobs; I can't do anything and everything, but for nearly all work that comes in, I'm covered. If the system is doing well, and being reliable, with those three lenses, and if it's handling that lion's share of work OK, then I'd start the f-mount system sell off and get another [newer] S body and maybe another lens or two [the T/S would be nice, but I'd really want that 30mm one they never made]. I'd switch over to Leica S exclusively then. Right now it's perfect for me to have Nikon F and Leica S as I get a real mix of work including event work and the Nikon is the camera for that [and has the T/S lenses and zooms, etc].

I would like to transition over into portraiture for a bread and butter main: beauty, editorial, that kind of thing. An S would work fine for that and I could let the Nikon go, renting when needed, etc. It's all in the future though, first thing's first: get the S2-P back from Wetzlar and get doing work with it and the 70. Then maybe get into this S35.

Thanks for having me guys.
[While I'm writing a lot here, generally I'm more happy to read you all and keep my quiet]

P/S I see an edit button has appeared below my post

Edited by TomLiles
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Welcome Tom!

I had been anticipating getting the Pentax 645D when it finally hit the market, but hesitated upon reading the early reviews. It was a natural for me, as I had two 645NII bodies and a bunch of lenses, plus a similar P67 system with lenses that could be used on it too. But, then the Leica S2 was coming... and the more I heard the better I liked its simpler user interface and promise of better IQ. It was a tough move, but I adopted the S2 and now have 35/70/100 lenses and a third-party dumb adapter for the Pentax 67 lenses. (45, 55, 75, 90, 100Macro, 105, 120Soft, 135Macro, 165, 200, 300). My 35 Summarit came used from Miami and had to go to Germany right away for a diaphragm problem. I figure the previous owner neglected to mention this detail when trading in.

So yes I still use my S2, loath to put it on a tripod so I wish it had shake reduction, sensor cleaning, higher DR to keep shutter speeds up, etc but the output is fabulous and the battery-grip aids a steadier hold. I also use Leica M digital and Pentax dSLRs.

—Doug

Edited by Dougg
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I'm a big fan of the Contax lenses on the S, but the two 210mm lenses I tried did not AF correctly at infinity. With an 007 and magnified live view, that may not be a problem. But on the 006, even the split focusing screen wasn't accurate enough.

The S35 is an awesome lens, though much more money.

--Matt

Matt, how did you determine the 210 did not focus accurately at infinity? Did you focus at infinity via AF and then adjust manually? I have the split screen on the 006 and find it to be satisfactory. Though live view, as you say, would likely be definitive. I have both Contax and Leica versions of the 35mm and could not say that one is definitively "superior" in print form than the other. The Contax is slower. But the Summarit is dead (AF). I will take slower over deader any day.

Cheers

David

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David,

 

There is a building 1/2 mile away. It's quite clear when the antennae on top are in sharp focus. With the 210's, I could not get it sharp with AF. I could not get it reliably with the split screen. I could get it by making repeated tiny manual adjustments. It's not a focal length I'd use a lot on the S - mostly the lack of stabilization, so I didn't mind returning them. They ARE a screaming deal, though.

 

I have only good things to say about the Contax 35. If it were a choice between Contax with AF and the Leica without AF, I'd choose the Contax. I'm keeping mine.

 

Best,

 

Matt

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