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peterv

S007 Now or S3 later

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Posted (edited)

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Hi everyone,

Since I started this thread I thought it would only be fair if I wrote everyone a quick thank you for your replies and an update about my decision making process.

I tried the S007 for one week and I was quite pleased with the results I got and it really is a completely different camera. Not in the way it handles ergonomically, which is all very familiar, but once the S007 is in your hands you feel that this is the second, much more sophisticated iteration. The mirror and the shutter are a lot quieter than the S2-P and they sound like they were made for hundreds of thousands of effortless exposures. I love my S2-P but the mechanics of this newer S007 feel and sound much more reassuring and the same goes for the autofocus which is noticeably faster. Not that I care much for faster autofocus, I'd rather have more accuracy.

When it comes to colours, I have a feeling that the out of the box colours from the CCD sensor are more friendly to my eyes than the newer CMOS 007. For instance in my test shots, blue skies have a tendency to be some more cyan-ish on the S007 than the S2-CCD. Maybe that's just my eyes, I don't know. But anyway, there was nothing going on color-wise, that could not be easily corrected or altered to taste in Lightroom, the files are extremely malleable. People on this forum who have experience with the Leica M240 will know what I mean when I talk about the difference between the M240 and the M9 colours. Actually, that is one of my problems with the S007, it's a very good camera and a very good sensor, but it is 5-6 year old sensor technology.

I was very pleasantly surprised by how good 3200 ISO is. I am used to the look of the high ISO shots I make with the Sony RX1M2 which I use for reportage work and that camera has the same 42-Mpix full-frame CMOS sensor as the Sony A7R II, but the noise on the Leica S007 looks a whole lot more friendly and grain-like. The noise on the S007 is just so much softer and nicer to look at, not as harsh and contrasty as on a reasonably well sharpened Sony sensor file.

As for for the choice between an S3 and an S007, I (try to) sell fine art prints of my work and I'd really like to be able to make larger prints and that's where the 64MP from the S3 will come in very handy, the reason why I am a little bit on the fence right now about which camera to choose. And although I must say that I think I could be very happy with the S007 because it is really a big step up from my S2-P, the extra 26,5 megapixels from an S3 would be nice to play with. And at the moment there are rumors (just rumors I need to emphasize) that the all new S3 will not be as expensive as the first S system cameras when they came to market because of the strong competition from Hasselblad and Fuji, around 10 to 15 thousand. So right now I'm leaning towards waiting for just a little bit longer to find out what the price difference will be.

I crossposted my original question (and some of my replies) and I also asked here over at LuLa, not just for laughs, but hoping I’d get some replies from people who are not Leica-biased, so to speak. Unfortunately, the usual suspects (the same people that 2-5 years ago when I used to frequent LuLa more often, in every thread told everyone that medium format was dead and had, since the arrival of the Nikon 850, no significant role to play anymore in 21st century photography) came in and started talking about so called 'Leica jewellery’.

Anyway, the outcome was as always: "no one in his right mind would buy a Leica now that we should all be celebrating the second coming of JC Fujifilm GFX cameras with their 43.8 x 32.9mm sensors and how Fuji glass is such a good investment, especially with the hundred megapixel sensor coming this summer and anyone who chooses otherwise is just not in their right mind, or a complete idiot and doesn't know anything about photography anyway." 
Actually there were some interesting replies there too, but I can understand why there is so little traffic on their medium format sub forum nowadays. Why the hell every other thread about any given medium format equipment has to be turned into a Fuji-thread, I really don't know. Is it really true than that people only look at spec sheets and prices, I wonder?

I decided, instead of replying and tell them exactly how I think about their prejudiced responses, to use my energy in a more constructive way for myself by taking a really good look at the Fujis and so I downloaded a dozen files, imported them into Lightroom (I first needed to convert them to DNG) and take a really good look.

Man, am I glad I invested in my Leica S system equipment. I know it's all personal, but from what I saw, I must say that I don't like the Fuji lenses with their harsh specular highlights and awful bokeh, I don't like the Fuji colours, and I don't like the files coming from the Sony sensor, which to me is too much of a step back to the quality of the files from my Sony RX1M2, just a little bit bigger. Oh, and I don't care for 4:3, I like to crop and print wide, so there are millions of pixels wasted for me on the 4:3 aspect ratio. Once I started sharpening the Fuji test files and applied my usual Leica S2-P sharpening settings I got the feeling that the images started falling apart and they started looking very brittle to my eye. So I consider this to be a good thing, because although it took me a few hours to find out, I have  for now made it clear to myself that I have no interest in the Fuji-hype.

So where do I go from here? I don't know, the money will stay in the bank for now and I will look at the Panasonic and the upcoming Leica SL2 options, but I feel that what I really want at the moment is just wait and see how the S3 is going to fare.
Edited by peterv

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13 hours ago, peterv said:

SinceÔĽŅ I started this thread I thought it would¬†only be fair if I wrote everyone a quick thank you for your replies and an update about my ÔĽŅdecision making process.ÔĽŅÔĽŅ

Thanks Peter, much appreciated! Having had M9 and M240, and now using S006, I fully follow your comment regarding colour rendering. 

It will certainly be interesting to see the price tag of the S3...

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Posted (edited)

I met a Leica rep. at a fair this week-end and had a chat regarding the S3.

He told me it should launch in July'19 with an yet unknown official price.

I asked him about a rumoured trade-up program for the S007 owners. He told me that there will be such program offered, and not only for the S007 owners.

Trade-in / trade-up options should be available from 4.000 up to 8.000eur, and maybe a little more (that's the nice part...).

Further in the chat he suggested that the trade-up program should then cost me around 15 to 16.000eur taxes incl.

So it looks like the S3 will be launched with a list price of 24.000eur all taxes incl. in Europe (24.000 - 8 or 9.000eur take back of the S007 = 15 or 16.000eur ttc).

Quite disappointed by those figures but I expected it. I hardly imagine Leica to be cheap and to offer the S3 for 16.000eur - S007 trade-in.

They don't care much about the other makers and  keep on with their luxury pricing for dentists strategy.

This discussion was unofficial of course and the liability of those information may depend on the amount of Belgian beers the rep did take that afternoon....

Edited by SaW

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I can imagine that developing and crafting a camera with handmade work like the S3 has high costs. But I guess that a price around 15.000‚ā¨ would raise the sale units and in the end refinance the development costs. When you think of that Fuji makes a 100MP camera for around 10.000‚ā¨. And there would be still 5.000‚ā¨ for the Leica bonus. For my viewpoint 22.000‚ā¨ would be the dead end for this camera line - the S.

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It seems that most bits other than sensor and processor are the same as the S(007), so less tooling costs than a new camera...

john

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vor 2 Minuten schrieb John McMaster:

It seems that most bits other than sensor and processor are the same as the S(007), so less tooling costs than a new camera...

john

So that would mean that they mostly changed the algorithms to determine a higher resolution. The S007 is not bad. My decision that I want exactly this "look". And the S007 is a great tool. We will see...

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As a reference point, the price of Phase One IQ3100 backs is dropping. I receive an email or two every week from Digital Transitions ($17,990 for the back). You can add a new XF body with a prism viewfinder for another $5,000 and end up where the S3 body is expected to be priced, give or take. There are pros and cons to each system, but I'd say this is a comparable system to the S3.

The way I see it: For existing S users like myself who have a ton of cash invested in S lenses, the S3 is still attractive, if Leica offer a trade-in on existing S cameras and fix some niggles like tethering. EUR15k is more than I want to pay in the trade-in, but I can grind my teeth, to extend the use of my lenses. For new buyers I'd find it impossible to persuade anyone at EUR24k - pretty much everybody will be looking at the Fuji GFX100MP at the pre-announced EUR10k, with 5-axis IBIS, PDAF, backlit CMOS 100MP sensor, tethering support in C1 and HSS/TTL wireless trigger compatibility with the major strobe manufacturers' systems. Let us not fool ourselves by talking about the "harshness of Fuji bokeh", "awful ergonomics" or the mirrorless cameras having a "heat dissipation problem". Even if there is a smidgeon of substance to these claims, the only place I read about them is this forum and interviews with Leica people. Outside, the world is raving about and creating beautiful images with these "nasty" cameras, including people whose work was previously featured in the S magazine (see here) and pros who used other MF systems before (e.g. here). And let us not forget about the upcoming Hasselblad X1D MarkII (specs and price tbc). I'd see the maximum realistic price for the S3 somewhere near the new Hasselblad (I expect EUR10-15k), if it is to stand any chance of sales to new customers. At above EUR20k, Leica is already running into Phase One's previous generation 100MP CMOS systems which a lot of pro users will still prefer to buy or rent. My conclusion: it seems that Leica's plan is to market the S3 to existing users only initially, "skim" them, and discount the S3 heavily afterwards, to spread the development and tooling costs across a higher number of units sold. After this exercise that may last 2-3 years, in the absence of further development, the system will lag so far behind competition, that it will be discontinued. The SL2 will be touted as the new pro system in the meantime. I am ready to get the S3 now but don't count on the system to be here for much longer. 

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vor 1 Stunde schrieb albireo_double:

My conclusion: it seems that Leica's plan is to market the S3 to existing users only initially, "skim" them, and discount the S3 heavily afterwards, to spread the development and tooling costs across a higher number of units sold. After this exercise that may last 2-3 years, in the absence of further development, the system will lag so far behind competition, that it will be discontinued. The SL2 will be touted as the new pro system in the meantime. I am ready to get the S3 now but don't count on the system to be here for much longer. 

The total production number for the S3 is somewhere in the region of 300 I heard (from a reliable source). Some of the lens production totals are well below 1000 pieces, too (around 800 copies of the 120 APO I recall). There's no cost efficiency for "higher numbers" because, well, the numbers are so low. Your timeline is probably correct, the S3 might be the last of its kind.

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Here seems to be a high number of "sources" for leaked information... how serious are theses sources? who are those people leaking such information? do they have close contact to the development department in the headquarter in Wetzlar? Someone must be very very close to get such information... but what they all have incommon... they are not very precise. they base on vague estimations of people of whom we don't know how serious they are...

But mostly they tend do to predict a high price tag which is not too difficult to conclude of what we know about this brand.

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The S3 is not yet released, I would expect a high proportion of S users to have the 120/2.5 so 800 total seems a bit low.....

john

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Indeed the 120 APO f2.5 is one of the most common lenses in the lens portfolio of S users, I think the 100mm and 180mm are much less popular then the 120mm

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20 hours ago, albireo_double said:

Let us not fool ourselves by talking about the "harshness of Fuji bokeh"

Since I got quoted here, I think a short reply may be in place:

I'm sorry if I came across as a fanboy but I guess that's what I am actually ūüôā¬†The reason I said so, is for example this¬†photo. I looked at the metal parts of the landing gear and I know that a lot the dpreview samples were shot in strong backlight and all, but I just don't like what I see.

If anyone is particularly happy with this, that's fine by me but I haven't seen much OOF rendering like that from my Leica S glass. Now you started mentioning some of the specs of the Fuji like 100 megapixels, and that's all very interesting, but I just mentioned that I personally don't care much for this kind of look in my shots, even if they are 100 MP and made with the help of image stabilisation. But to each their own of course, for me the specifications sounds nice too but I guess the rendering of the whole Fuji system it is just not to my liking.

Nobody needs to fool themselves really, everyone can take a look at the samples on the web and make up their own mind.

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20 hours ago, albireo_double said:

people whose work was previously featured in the S magazine (see here) and pros who used other MF systems before (e.g. here)

So you post a link to a website called 'Fujiaddicts' ¬†ūüôā¬†and¬†then there is a 1,5 minute BTS YouTube video of some guy shooting fashion saying the GFX is clearly the new ‚Äėstate of the art‚Äô. And I'm supposed to take this seriously and that is going to convince me I should take a long hard look at the Fuji system?

As for the other link, unfortunately I don't care much for the S system marketing either. I know Leica likes to promote the S system for fashion and lifestyle photographers and I guess that's a significant part of their clientele renting S cameras for commercial shoots using the central shutters with flash, but I personally have a feeling that on this board and other forums around the web there are all kinds of Leica S users who all do their own unique thing, be it portrait, model, landscape or reportage. For example, I remember from one of the first S Magazine issues, there was this wonderful documentary series about New Orleans and jazz musicians who live there. For me personally, that is what I am after with my S gear. I will try to find the link and post it later if I can.
 
Cheers, Peter

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21 hours ago, albireo_double said:

I'd see the maximum realistic price for the S3 somewhere near the new Hasselblad (I expect EUR10-15k), if it is to stand any chance of sales to new customers.

We agree very much on this, I think ‚ā¨15.000 including tax and before trade-in of my S2-P is the maximum amount I want to spend and I think ‚ā¨15.000 is the maximum price that is reasonable for the S3 in today's market.

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2 hours ago, peterv said:

I'm sorry if I came across as a fanboy but I guess that's what I am actually ūüôā¬†The reason I said so, is for example this¬†photo. I looked at the metal parts of the landing gear and I know that a lot the dpreview samples were shot in strong backlight and all, but I just don't like what I see.

+1. Agree, this doesn't look too good. Actually, I sold the generally beloved 35mm Lux M FLE because of its nervous oof rendering (not always, but often enough for me). But of course, we all see things differently...

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2 hours ago, peterv said:

We agree very much on this, I think ‚ā¨15.000 including tax and before trade-in of my S2-P is the maximum amount I want to spend and I think ‚ā¨15.000 is the maximum price that is reasonable for the S3 in today's market.

Leica will beat your expectation every time LOL

Realistically, complain Leica price is not new. We can't compare SL $6500 to $2000ish 24M sensor camera and saying it is over priced. Or compare it with 45/47M sensor Nikno/Sony/PanaLeica saying it offer less IQ at much higher price. This is the same sold story happen every single time Leica introduce a new camera. 

I personally don't even think they will offer generous trade in offer initially until a year or more depend on how the response S3 will get. 

For Leica product,  either afford it or not, I don't complain price. What I do complain is lack of commitment for such an excellent system. I still believer S have a big potential to be successful but they simply dropped the ball here. I hope they can pick it up once they can shift some resource from SL to S. 

Between S and SL, I actually think S has even more chance to be successful. 35mm AF MILC system is one of toughest market to aim. Other system are too good no matter AF or glasses performance. M is very different story as there is no competition. S with OVF in SLR form offers a niche that will be facing less competition I'd say especially considering modern 35mm AF glasses are as big or bigger than even S glasses.  

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Hi Peter, I did say that there might be "a smidgeon of substance" in what you and others say - if I look for it, I can occasionally see a wee bit of "harshness" or "brutal sharpness" in some of the Fuji lenses (the 120 macro on skin, for instance) but also sweetness in others (110/2). I also see excellence in the 32-64 Fuji zoom and a lack of character in the 63mm. I have used the GFX50S in demanding scenarios: long exposures, with UV light, in 8-hour tethered shooting sessions...with some signs of what could have been heat problems (bunch of hot pixels, mainly, easy to remove in C1 or LR). My point is that even if you and I and anybody else agree on these points (hey, my GFX system is leaving the door this week, to make room for the S3), the world outside is overwhelmingly enjoying the utility, IQ and value for money that the Fuji MF system delivers - hobby photographers and pros alike. I am ok with the compromises inherent in the S system for the moment (could use multiple AF points, though), but that doesn't change my conclusion that the S will not be competitive at the anticipated price of Eur24k, except, and then marginally so, for those existing users (myself included) who have a fortune invested in the S lenses and a S007 to trade in at Eur8-9k. And barely competitive at Eur10-15k for new prospects, given the features and "features" offered by competing systems, at that price level. And that does not bode well for the future of the S system, in terms of further R&D, new lenses and eventual resale value. Regards, Martin

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For resale value - the hope resides in an antique shop, sometime, somewhere... 

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1 hour ago, helged said:

+1. Agree, this doesn't look too good. Actually, I sold the generally beloved 35mm Lux M FLE because of its nervous oof rendering (not always, but often enough for me). But of course, we all see things differently...

Hi Helge, absolutely right, it is very true indeed that the rendering of Leica glass, depending on the lens and the circumstances (direction and kind of light, colours, subject matter, etc.) can show undesirable drawing of OOF areas too.

I watch a lot of movies in 4K UHD that were shot with the ALEXA 65, for me the most inspiring cinema camera at the moment. Especially with people-shots cinematographers don't want/need high resolving power and search for lenses with a more soft rendering of the skin which is more pleasing/flattering to the actors faces and lenses that also show the kind of smooth bokeh look that does not draw attention to the background on a level that most glass for medium format - no matter which brand - can never reach. But you know, then we are talking about lenses that cost more than the feared price of the Leica S3¬†ūüôā¬†

So yes, I think the Leica S glass is very good, especially for people who are looking for high micro contrast, high resolving power and acutance, and for me it stands out amongst its peers in the 'medium format' world because it's a really nice combination of all these things and relatively smooth bokeh.

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