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Can the new SL compete or even sostitute in some fields the S?

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It's interesting to think while we discuss the virtues of image quality and whether this camera or that offers the ultimate IQ, that it is stil the case that the ultimate IQ is still good old fashioned 8x10 or 4x5 film. I just wish it were easier to work with but then if it was, we would all be doing it.

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Well, yes and no. I am using 8x10 and 4x5 regularly...more often than the S these days. In many circumstances it is possible to get sharper imagery out of them, but not always. Certainly the image quality is unique, but image quality can mean a lot of different things. For example, 8x10 is inherently soft...it just hits you with brute force in terms of film area. The 100% detail is fairly low in most cases, due to things like miniscule depth of field, film sag and imprecision in the cameras and lenses (the tolerances of a giant wood camera with friction mount lenses and film backs, combined with 250mm-600mm lenses means that you are not getting tack sharp grain level resolution like you might with an M7 and 50mm APO Summicron. You are saved by the gigantic size. This holds to scanning as well, where 8x10 is rarely scanned at as high a quality as the 35mm and 120 equivalents. 4x5 is a bit better in this respect, allowing for less sag, better lenses, easier scanning etc. All that said, if you are looking for the ultimate in grain free, sharp images with lots of detail, I would say more often than not a MFD like an IQ150 or 100mp plus digital camera will give you sharper results. You might not pick up the same level of detail, but it will have lower grain, more depth of field, and sharper lenses. The look is different, surely. In general, however, I agree with you, but image quality is a very personal subject, and one that varies dramatically depending on desires and expectations. For a lot of my young clients, the ideal image quality is "poorly processed color negative film".

Anyway, for fun I am attaching an 8x10 slide I shot and processed a few weeks ago. I would post the crop, but of course, I ran out of my 500kb limit by posting a single photo.

 

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On 11/16/2019 at 2:44 AM, Stuart Richardson said:

I think you are right that we are nearing (or already at) a plateau. Digital camera technology with pro cameras has been "good enough" for the vast majority of normal uses for a number of years now. There have been more improvements in camera usage (better EVFs, video, high iso, connectivity etc), but in general, a Nikon D800, Leica S006 or Sony A7R will satisfy the image quality needs of most users printing up to 100cm wide. So in that case, I would completely agree that it is better to stick with something you like. I have been using the S006 for six years now because nothing came along that beat it for me. At the moment, however, I think my sensor is showing its age (and/or it needs calibration)...I get more noise than I remember when lifting the shadows, and sometimes I get subtle color shifts between the two sides of the centerfold of the chips. Additionally, in my studio work I would really like live view, and in my exhibition work I could really appreciate more resolution (I have done some work from the S at 170x140cm in a 4x5 crop, and that pushes it to the limit....I know for most it does not matter, but I would love that extra resolution, especially as I usually crop to 4x5). 

I do agree about color science...I have yet to see a digital camera that has better color, though I have to admit that the Panasonic S1 has impressed me. It is the only other digital camera I have used that is not a Leica, where the color looks right to me. I am using the Camera Natural profile, which I found to be very pleasing. 

In any case, we have somewhat of an embarrassment of riches at the moment. The S is one of the best cameras ever made if you take it as a package. The integration of the system is second to none, the VF superb, the lenses are great, battery life is superb, weather sealing, image quality, selectable focal plane or leaf shutters...the color science, image quality...it is hard to achieve these things, even with technology which is a decade or more newer. Outside of the S, the rest of the industry has come a very long way with their lens quality and system quality as well, so whether you want to shoot an SL, Fuji G system or Sony/Canon/Nikon etc, it is more than likely that you will be able to find a body and lens combination that will give spectacular results. Better to just try to evaluate it on the basis of your use and your needs, rather than try to justify to the world why it is the best and only choice. 

 

 

Embarrassment of riches indeed, I tested the SL2, SL, and Sigma FP against each other briefly the yesterday using the Duclos modded Leica R 60 MACRO (to get super close focus), I am going to add the Lumix S1 to get a feel for all of the current 24MP sensors against the 47MP optimized sensor of the SL2 - I may even throw in a few similar shots from the S 007 for good measure, and maybe even footage from my RED.

 

The R 60 is a lens that has been used by me for quite a few things, works well on the SL1, and also my RED Scarlet W. The R lenses without a doubt are some of the best renders I have gotten on FF sensors or even dual ISO optimized (meta data only) cinema sensors. Since Leica has mentioned on its page how a cinematographer said he sent some of the footage from the SL2 to his colorist with RED files, and the colorist asked if "he got another RED" I want to prove that this isnt just marketing and it is true to form. That would be a HUGE plus for me!! The Monster sensor on the RED is essentially 36MP, so I can see that the higher resolution could work. The Scarlet W is a S35 5K sensor and with the SL2 shooting 5K, that fits to a degree with my current workflow 

 

I will say, right out of the gate - the SL2 files look GOOD down-res'd, but on a closer look - focus even with IBIS turned on is really hard to nail. Maybe this was my settings. I wasn't paying close attention to what my shutter speed was because I wanted to see what it was like when the camera itself chose the exposure triangle.

 

 

I will post my results.

 

The top is the SL1

The bottom is the SL2

 

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2 hours ago, bilbrown said:

Embarrassment of riches indeed, I tested the SL2, SL, and Sigma FP against each other briefly the yesterday using the Duclos modded Leica R 60 MACRO (to get super close focus), I am going to add the Lumix S1 to get a feel for all of the current 24MP sensors against the 47MP optimized sensor of the SL2 - I may even throw in a few similar shots from the S 007 for good measure, and maybe even footage from my RED.

 

The R 60 is a lens that has been used by me for quite a few things, works well on the SL1, and also my RED Scarlet W. The R lenses without a doubt are some of the best renders I have gotten on FF sensors or even dual ISO optimized (meta data only) cinema sensors. Since Leica has mentioned on its page how a cinematographer said he sent some of the footage from the SL2 to his colorist with RED files, and the colorist asked if "he got another RED" I want to prove that this isnt just marketing and it is true to form. That would be a HUGE plus for me!! The Monster sensor on the RED is essentially 36MP, so I can see that the higher resolution could work. The Scarlet W is a S35 5K sensor and with the SL2 shooting 5K, that fits to a degree with my current workflow 

 

I will say, right out of the gate - the SL2 files look GOOD down-res'd, but on a closer look - focus even with IBIS turned on is really hard to nail. Maybe this was my settings. I wasn't paying close attention to what my shutter speed was because I wanted to see what it was like when the camera itself chose the exposure triangle.

 

 

I will post my results.

 

The top is the SL1

The bottom is the SL2

 

That is just camera shake, the IBIS working properly????

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3 hours ago, Stuart Richardson said:

Well, yes and no. I am using 8x10 and 4x5 regularly...more often than the S these days. In many circumstances it is possible to get sharper imagery out of them, but not always. Certainly the image quality is unique, but image quality can mean a lot of different things. For example, 8x10 is inherently soft...it just hits you with brute force in terms of film area. The 100% detail is fairly low in most cases, due to things like miniscule depth of field, film sag and imprecision in the cameras and lenses (the tolerances of a giant wood camera with friction mount lenses and film backs, combined with 250mm-600mm lenses means that you are not getting tack sharp grain level resolution like you might with an M7 and 50mm APO Summicron. You are saved by the gigantic size. This holds to scanning as well, where 8x10 is rarely scanned at as high a quality as the 35mm and 120 equivalents. 4x5 is a bit better in this respect, allowing for less sag, better lenses, easier scanning etc. All that said, if you are looking for the ultimate in grain free, sharp images with lots of detail, I would say more often than not a MFD like an IQ150 or 100mp plus digital camera will give you sharper results. You might not pick up the same level of detail, but it will have lower grain, more depth of field, and sharper lenses. The look is different, surely. In general, however, I agree with you, but image quality is a very personal subject, and one that varies dramatically depending on desires and expectations. For a lot of my young clients, the ideal image quality is "poorly processed color negative film".

Anyway, for fun I am attaching an 8x10 slide I shot and processed a few weeks ago. I would post the crop, but of course, I ran out of my 500kb limit by posting a single photo.

 

I think for just pure IQ (resolution, sharpness, clean etc), Digital film back of about 80mega pixel is already way ahead of any large format film, (4x5, 8x10, etc), however, I think the 'look' of a 8x10 perspective is just so unique that it will take a long time before digital can ever match it, unless you stitch the hell out of the files from digital back and get a 300mpx image to get that look of a large format. 150mm is consider an super ultra wide on a 8x10....

Lovely photo by the way, and shooting these color 8x10 is really costing an arm and a leg!!! painful!!!

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1 hour ago, xiaubauu2009 said:

That is just camera shake, the IBIS working properly????

Evidently not. Oh and this was with the 60R in both cases.

 

I will post the video of how I edited them on my YouTube shortly after I add a few things. There were some very interesting differences in how the files had to be edited to get the same exposure - both in P mode. The SL1 was darker by a stop at least and rendered highlights better IMHO. The SL2 was more even and exposed basically “normal” for most people. 
 

I kind of think someone going deep into the files, like say a fashion retoucher, will really dig the extra resolution. However working with the files as a single photographer will take some getting used to - especially if the IBIS is finicky. 
 

The SL2 was the store’s display model, I’m sure a lot of hands had touched it. I will be going on the photo walk with one on the 24th here in LA. So will our it through it’s paces then. 

Edited by bilbrown
More info

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9 hours ago, bilbrown said:

Embarrassment of riches indeed, I tested the SL2, SL, and Sigma FP against each other briefly the yesterday using the Duclos modded Leica R 60 MACRO (to get super close focus), I am going to add the Lumix S1 to get a feel for all of the current 24MP sensors against the 47MP optimized sensor of the SL2 - I may even throw in a few similar shots from the S 007 for good measure, and maybe even footage from my RED.

 

The R 60 is a lens that has been used by me for quite a few things, works well on the SL1, and also my RED Scarlet W. The R lenses without a doubt are some of the best renders I have gotten on FF sensors or even dual ISO optimized (meta data only) cinema sensors. Since Leica has mentioned on its page how a cinematographer said he sent some of the footage from the SL2 to his colorist with RED files, and the colorist asked if "he got another RED" I want to prove that this isnt just marketing and it is true to form. That would be a HUGE plus for me!! The Monster sensor on the RED is essentially 36MP, so I can see that the higher resolution could work. The Scarlet W is a S35 5K sensor and with the SL2 shooting 5K, that fits to a degree with my current workflow 

 

I will say, right out of the gate - the SL2 files look GOOD down-res'd, but on a closer look - focus even with IBIS turned on is really hard to nail. Maybe this was my settings. I wasn't paying close attention to what my shutter speed was because I wanted to see what it was like when the camera itself chose the exposure triangle.

 

 

I will post my results.

 

The top is the SL1

The bottom is the SL2

 

For IBIS to work, with a non-recognised Leica lens, you have to type the (exact) focal length of your lens in the menu. When using a Leica R lens with ROM contacts and using the Leica R-to-L adapter, the focal length will be automatically transferred to the body. For all other adapters, and for all non-ROM'ed R-lenses irrespective of adapter, the focal length has to be typed. When correct focal length is passed to the body, you can gain 4-5 stops with the IBIS. For lenses with OIS, like Leica SL 24-90 and SL 90-280, you may gain an additional stop stabilisation, yielding about 5 stops. The IBIS has impressed me a lot; I have tick sharp photos with the large, heavy Nikkor 400mm f2.8E with shutter speeds below 1/60 sec, and with the SL 75 with shutter speeds of several thenths of seconds. For static subjects, that is. And when you start out with properly (hand) held camera. The above assume that the IBIS in SL2 is similar to and works similarly to that in S1R, which I understand is the case. 

Edited by helged

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14 minutes ago, helged said:

For IBIS to work, with a non-recognised Leica lens, you have to type the (exact) focal length of your LENS in the menu. When using a Leica R lens with ROM contacts and using the Leica R-to-L adapter, the focal length will be automatically transferred to the body. For all other adapters, and for all non-ROM'ed R-lenses irredpective of adapter, the focal length has to be typed. When correct focal length is passed to the body, you can gain 4-5 stops with the IBIS. For lenses with OIS, like Leica SL 24-90 and SL 90-280, you may gain an additional stop stabilisation, yielding about 5 stops. The IBIS has impressed me a lot; I have tick sharp photos with the large, heavy Nikkor 400mm f2.8E with shutter speeds below 1/60 sec, and with the SL 75 with shutter speeds of several thenths of seconds. For static subjects, that is. And when you start out with properly (hand) held camera. The above assume that the IBIS in SL2 is similar to and works similarly to that in S1R, which I understand is the case. 

Okay, so I didn't know that nor did I do the extra work. I will try again on Sunday.

 

Thank you.

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