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Will the long wait for the S3 bring anything new?

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Posted (edited)

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59 minutes ago, alan.y said:

When the S 007 launched, they did tout its 4K capabilities and showed photos of it rigged up for videography. But the marketing was strange--they made a bizarre, poorly graded HD video about someone shooting a bunch of lethargic fashion models with an S. I think Leica was very confused. So perhaps they did decide just to drop video ultimately.

I personally wouldn't buy an S just to shoot videos, but for photographers who like to do a bit of video on the side (on a tripod) it'd be nice to have. But dedicated videographers are often willing to put up with all sorts of inconveniences to get the right image quality. Rigged up or on a gimbal I don't think the S3's lack of IBIS would matter that much.

I just think Leica is making a mistake giving up this enormous potential market. All it takes is for one of the prominent video bloggers to "discover" the severely underpriced S lenses as budget Thalias (and the S as a budget large format digital cinema camera). They're frequently down to under $2000 per lens now.

 

 

I agree with all what you said but essentially, you are asking Leica do more technically capable stuff. The ironic part is they haven’t even make much meaningful upgrade for still part yet.  Is not that I want fancy stuff but market need it  

We don’t even have a M10p level LCD in S3 yet LOL

 

Edited by ZHNL

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Posted (edited)

The biggest issue with the "undiscovered gem" theory with the S lenses is that they are electronic aperture and no one has made an adapter that can actuate them except Leica. That would mean that the lenses would need apertures installed or someone to make an adapter that does it. I think it would be nice if someone did, but I am not holding my breath for the moment.

Regarding video, it remains to be seen what they will provide. The 007 had some very nice video features, but some obvious misses...they offered cinema 4k, but only on a massive crop from its native format. They put in an HDMI connection that was already obsolete the day it was released, so even though it could record 4k internally, it could not export it to an external recorder. If they can fix some of these issues (and I am sure they will fix some of them...as far as I remember, they have announced it will have full frame 4k), then it may be useful. As others have indicated, it is not likely to be used primarily as a video camera, but I am one for whom having good, high image quality video would be an attractive addition.

 

Edited by Stuart Richardson

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17 hours ago, ZHNL said:

We don’t even have a M10p level LCD in S3 yet LOL

Well - I do not know. Thanks god you did not write M10D ... 😎

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Stuart Richardson said:

The biggest issue with the "undiscovered gem" theory with the S lenses is that they are electronic aperture and no one has made an adapter that can actuate them except Leica. That would mean that the lenses would need apertures installed or someone to make an adapter that does it. I think it would be nice if someone did, but I am not holding my breath for the moment.

The point was that Leica would help to keep the S line alive if the S3 were more video-capable. Then the lenses would be appealing as "budget Thalias"--on the S3 itself, not adapted to the GFX100 or IQ3 or something else.

But come to think of it, maybe some company will indeed come along and reverse engineer the S protocol. They bothered with the Contax 645. Or figure out a way to remount them completely as cine lenses like people do with R lenses. If more people shot video with S lenses (i.e. if the S were more video capable) there'd be more interest, and then demand and incentives might arise. Surely between a $2k Summarit and a $35k Thalia (which normal people can't even buy) is a rather wide margin.

Above all I just don't understand why Leica can't figure out video. Panasonic already has the best hybrids with the best codecs and processing.

It just seems like a low-hanging fruit.

Edited by alan.y

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Well said, I’ve always wondered how the Thalias - who’s optical design is based on S lenses - would compare. How much they actually changed the optical design, who knows?

Panasonic help for video seems like a no-brainer, maybe there’s a thing with the S sensor design/read-out that makes, say Panasonic S1 video capabilities, difficult on an S, I din’t know.

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The S-007's video shortcomings are well documented by Stuart above. I would only add that the internal full-frame is only 8-bit.

There's nothing wrong with the SL as a video camera. IBIS is a non-starter for high-end video. It hits the limits of movement in a jarring way, which is OK for capturing your kids' school recital, but not for long-form work. That's why productions use Steadicams, tripods, cranes, etc.

The real problem with the SL as a video platform is that Leica never supported their "L-Log" format. They didn't even document it, so any production had to eyeball the correction to get a decent image. Canon, Panasonic, and Sony have log formats that any modern NLE knows how to handle. That's not an insurmountable problem for single-camera shows, but it's a real issue if the Leica isn't your main camera (and it wouldn't be, it's not a video camera). Time is money, and nobody wants to spend hundreds of dollars per hour in a colouring suite dialing-in some strange camera.

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Regarding S3, it was somewhat disappointing to learn that the processor will not be updated compared to the existing Maestro-II in S007 (and Leica SL). The S3 will have 3 fps, which is ok for a larger format sensor, but I would preferred 5+ fps. Not a big deal, but nevertheless. (I am not a videographer, but a more powerful processor would be useful for video, I imagine).

More important for my type of shooting is an option to add an EVF for easy/convenient check og critical focus, composition, and exposure (clipping). This would be most useful for (quasi-)static subjects, landscape photography included.

The M-system, starting with M240, has a connection added under the hot shoe, providing signals to an EVF sitting on the hot shoe. Not elegant, but it works (although not at the level of the EVF of the SL). The S3 does not have such a connection based on the demo-photos shared at and after the announcement almost a year ago, but an EVF can still be 'powered' through the mini-HDMI contact. Together with a smallish EVF, this would be a great add-on to the S3. For me, at least. Time will tell, but I am not very optimistic that Leica will provide such an option. Yes, you can check focus, composition and exposure on the back screen, but my preferanse is to look through a view finder...

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Posted (edited)

I don't think this will happen. I had the extra finder for the M system but never used it.

Leica seems to go all in on the Fotos app for remote control, and with live view/focus peaking you can achieve this functionality. But for the S specifically, I would hope for tethering with Capture One....

Edited by erlingmm

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It would probably be more cumbersome, but I imagine that HDMI driven viewfinders might work. Such as those from Zacuto etc. I think those would be more useful for video, however, not for general photography.

In contrast to Erling, I use the EVF on the M rather often, but primarily for telephoto or tripod work. The EVF is more accurate for long lenses for me, but it is also much slower to use than the rangefinder. At least for me. But I like that it is there, as it is tiny and does not add much bulk or weight to the kit, but still provides an advantage in certain conditions. With an SLR like the S, it has fewer advantages than it does in the rangefinder, which is obviously a totally different way of viewing an image before capture.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Stuart Richardson said:

It would probably be more cumbersome, but I imagine that HDMI driven viewfinders might work. Such as those from Zacuto etc. I think those would be more useful for video, however, not for general photography.

In contrast to Erling, I use the EVF on the M rather often, but primarily for telephoto or tripod work. The EVF is more accurate for long lenses for me, but it is also much slower to use than the rangefinder. At least for me. But I like that it is there, as it is tiny and does not add much bulk or weight to the kit, but still provides an advantage in certain conditions. With an SLR like the S, it has fewer advantages than it does in the rangefinder, which is obviously a totally different way of viewing an image before capture.

I can confirm that e.g. Zacuto Gratical works on S007 (via the mini-C port on the 007, with a mini-C to SDI converter that connects to Zacuto), but small it is not, and it needs to be externally powered.

Edited by helged

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4 hours ago, erlingmm said:

I don't think this will happen. I had the extra finder for the M system but never used it.

Leica seems to go all in on the Fotos app for remote control, and with live view/focus peaking you can achieve this functionality. But for the S specifically, I would hope for tethering with Capture One....

Unfortunately - at least based on my experience - Fotos app has rather limited functinability/usability and is (far from) stable. Things may improve, times will tell... Regarding the EVF on M; I certainly used it more often than not.

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I'd be fine with an elaborate Foto's app with an easy and steady connection and hot shoe iphone holder, the xsmax screen would work just fine for me.

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2 hours ago, Stuart Richardson said:

It would probably be more cumbersome, but I imagine that HDMI driven viewfinders might work. Such as those from Zacuto etc. I think those would be more useful for video, however, not for general photography.

In contrast to Erling, I use the EVF on the M rather often, but primarily for telephoto or tripod work. The EVF is more accurate for long lenses for me, but it is also much slower to use than the rangefinder. At least for me. But I like that it is there, as it is tiny and does not add much bulk or weight to the kit, but still provides an advantage in certain conditions. With an SLR like the S, it has fewer advantages than it does in the rangefinder, which is obviously a totally different way of viewing an image before capture.

Understand, I don't use the on the M, all my tripod work is with the S007. The 180 is the most difficult to focus (close to infinity)

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In a handheld scenario (no tripod), I've been let down by the AF too many times on the 007. It seems the focus hit rate is like 65-75%. Although more megapixels would be nice, it doesn't really matter if the camera has missed THE shot does it? So, if the S3 doesn't have a drastic update to the AF system, I won't be a buyer. Would probably at that point take a serious look at the GFX100 system.

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It is probably almost impossible to compare AF hit rates of different members on a forum. Just too many variables. I can only say that my S focuses well enough for my type of picture taking. No real complaints. Faster is of course always better.

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13 hours ago, Flu said:

In a handheld scenario (no tripod), I've been let down by the AF too many times on the 007. It seems the focus hit rate is like 65-75%. Although more megapixels would be nice, it doesn't really matter if the camera has missed THE shot does it? So, if the S3 doesn't have a drastic update to the AF system, I won't be a buyer. Would probably at that point take a serious look at the GFX100 system.

I have the same feeling, i shoot portraits for a living and the S system has a wonderful rendering but I am let down by the AF hit rate certainly for getting the eye in focus instead of the lashes. The focus point is just too big for precise focusing on the eye. For landscape or still live this is no problem...

I hope this will be improved with the S3 drastically.

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Hi Milan, your comments make me wonder at what aperture people are shooting portraits, if the - lets be generous and say 2 centimeters - difference in distance between the eyelashes and the eyeball is not covered by depth of field?

I think that at normal shooting distance in a portrait studio environment either with the 70, 100, 120 and 180 even, most would stop down to at least 5.6 or better yet 8 or 11 and that will get the front of the face, but often not the nose tip and the ears in focus. 

Or are you talking about portraits in some kind of available light situation, shot wide open? I'd say that is always going to be a hit and miss with any camera except for maybe the Sony A9. If I'm not mistaken you are using Hasselblad X1D, and I'm wondering how can the slow contrast detect autofocus be better at distinguishing eyelashes from eyeballs, all while the photographer is moving and/or the model is moving.

Me, I am still in the process of getting to know my new S007, and I have had some misfocused shots, but not much and when I think about it afterwards while looking at the photo in Lightroom I feel it's almost always user error on my part, because I was thinking too lightly about how critical focus actually is with our lenses and medium format in general.

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Indeed, it seems very odd to rely on autofocus if one wants to place the plane of focus so precisely. The camera doesn't know which eyelash should be in focus! The S is such a pleasure to focus manually that I can't imagine fighting against AF (any AF) to get a result that it wouldn't understand.

Then again, maybe that's just me. I'm lucky to have very little astigmatism, which I understand can make SLR focusing more difficult. I also rarely use razor-thin DoF in portraits. I do sometimes in still lives, but then I move my body slightly to fine-focus. That way I can see the location of the plane of sharpest focus as it moves across the image.

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It seems there’s also the issue of focus accuracy between DSLR (without using LV) and EVF (off the sensor) based systems.  It’s not surprising some DSLR manufacturers include a camera / lens AF focus micro adjustment in their menu system.  I wonder how the S, even with any ‘built in’ tolerances or correction, can be as accurate as sensor based viewing and focusing.  

Jeff

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Yes but the last time I looked through and EVF and placed the superimposed cross on someone’s eye until it turned green I could not distinguish between the eyelashes and the eyeballs either and I doubt the contrast detect algorithm can if one is so unlucky as to place the crosshairs at an ever so  slightly wrong position. I don’t have high hopes for EVF Leica S competitors’ ability to place AF any more exact, so then it is back to square one, use a decent aperture and spray and pray 🙂 Or buy an A9 which they say on the internets that can do it.

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