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I have an opportunity to buy new equipment in the next few weeks and I’m still debating about medium format S007 or full 35 sl2. Recently I came across a non Leica product the fuji gfx 100, to get things more confusing. I have received estimate costs for the Sl2 for new and for used S 007 . I then received a proposal for a gfx that is very tempting as it is a 100 mp.sensor, maybe  very good for my big size prints. I am a commercial advertising photographer and I’ve used canon, Hasselblads all my career after abandoning LF film cameras. I am aiming to get bigger prints for my fine art work and best quality lenses. At Leica store in New York they let me try both Sl2 and S007 for a week each. At the moment I have to take a decision and buy the equipment. Could anyone give an advice? Also I’ve never owned a digital view finder camera. I shoot studio portraits, mainly lifestyle and occasionally autos. Thank you all, any comment would be precious and apreciated .
 

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Posted (edited)

I have an SL (not 2), an S(007), and a GFX 100, with a full complement of S and Fuji GF lenses. In order of enjoyment, it is S(007) > GFX 100 > SL. In order of ease of getting a technically perfect shot, it is GFX 100 > (S + SL) - a tie for second place. For WOW factor of final output, S > GFX > SL. This last may just be my lack of expertise processing the Fuji files. As for the MP difference in prints, it shows up (to my eye) starting at over a meter wide. I dislike the EVF and have, in fact, removed it from the GFX, using only the back screen for composition. But then, I do landscape/architecture, and not portrait.

This is all intensely personal, and I know photographers who put all of these measures in different orders. GF lenses are also MUCH cheaper than Leica. I don't love them, but they are sharp as hell. Definitely try to pick up and shoot a few frames with the Fuji.

Edited by mgrayson3

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do you like optical viewfinder or electronic?

do you need in camera stabilization?

do you prefer primes or do you need zooms?

do you need super fast AF with face detection?

I would say for studio portrait my selection would be the S system. I think with OVF you have a better conection to the subject, the lenses are gorgous (70 or 100 or 120 for portraits), the camera is fast. I wouldnt see any advantage of the SL2 for this subjects, except mayb face detection. The SL2 shines if you need more flexibility with lenses, zooms, ...

The gfx I dont know/ own, but my feeling is the S lenses have something special.

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2 hours ago, mgrayson3 said:

I have an SL (not 2), an S(007), and a GFX 100, with a full complement of S and Fuji GF lenses. In order of enjoyment, it is S(007) > GFX 100 > SL. In order of ease of getting a technically perfect shot, it is GFX 100 > (S + SL) - a tie for second place. For WOW factor of final output, S > GFX > SL. This last may just be my lack of expertise processing the Fuji files. As for the MP difference in prints, it shows up (to my eye) starting at over a meter wide. I dislike the EVF and have, in fact, removed it from the GFX, using only the back screen for composition. But then, I do landscape/architecture, and not portrait.

This is all intensely personal, and I know photographers who put all of these measures in different orders. GF lenses are also MUCH cheaper than Leica. I don't love them, but they are sharp as hell. Definitely try to pick up and shoot a few frames with the Fuji.

Hi Matt thank you for your reply.

I went to Lapland few years back for a job. The Hassy h4d froze. Had fog in the lens ..batteries died 15 minutes after i took the camera out .. A disaster. Thank god i had the 5d with which I shot the entire campaign. I shoot travel/lifestyle/people in location mainly. I need to have the most color/definition image possible. Sometimes  it is important the split second,  I know Sl2 is very fast i don't like the Evf much either but i guess i could get used. I like the S007 a lot but I'm worried i cannot get prints over one meter in hight. The wow factor for  S007 and Gfx, that means in respect of  printing too?

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2 hours ago, tom0511 said:

do you like optical viewfinder or electronic?

do you need in camera stabilization?

do you prefer primes or do you need zooms?

do you need super fast AF with face detection?

I would say for studio portrait my selection would be the S system. I think with OVF you have a better conection to the subject, the lenses are gorgous (70 or 100 or 120 for portraits), the camera is fast. I wouldnt see any advantage of the SL2 for this subjects, except mayb face detection. The SL2 shines if you need more flexibility with lenses, zooms, ...

The gfx I dont know/ own, but my feeling is the S lenses have something special.

Tom Thanks for your reply, 

In regard of the EVF i used the sl2 for few days, i found no problem but i don't know if i get tired of it in few months.

Camera stabilization is very useful when shooting action or movement, a lot of times i shoot portraits in location and with natural light in very different  conditions,

I don't need a super fast AF but is very handy when people are moving, I like  to use primes, I work with with zooms if they are excellent quality, they are very convenient especially with people.

I've never used face detection, i guess is something i should know how to use. Im reading about the Gfx capabilities I wonder if anyone had any comparison with the S or Sl, I only tried the Leicas.

Thank you

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Bitti said:

Hi Matt thank you for your reply.

I went to Lapland few years back for a job. The Hassy h4d froze. Had fog in the lens ..batteries died 15 minutes after i took the camera out .. A disaster. Thank god i had the 5d with which I shot the entire campaign. I shoot travel/lifestyle/people in location mainly. I need to have the most color/definition image possible. Sometimes  it is important the split second,  I know Sl2 is very fast i don't like the Evf much either but i guess i could get used. I like the S007 a lot but I'm worried i cannot get prints over one meter in hight. The wow factor for  S007 and Gfx, that means in respect of  printing too?

I hope that after a week with the SL2 and S007,  you made prints, in addition to evaluating the viewing, focusing, ergonomics and control interface, etc. What did you think?  That’s generally my approach when deciding on different systems.  In fact, I went through a similar process to decide on a complementary system for my M bodies, ultimately deciding on the SL2, two zooms and a prime.  But your needs seem very different from mine. I would guess that the S007 would be a better choice for you (provided the S3 is out of budget). I see no reason why you couldn’t produce gorgeous large prints. As for your other criteria, only you can say.  My only caution would be to keep a backup system, but that’s true for any pro photographer.

Jeff

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54 minutes ago, Bitti said:

Hi Matt thank you for your reply.

I went to Lapland few years back for a job. The Hassy h4d froze. Had fog in the lens ..batteries died 15 minutes after i took the camera out .. A disaster. Thank god i had the 5d with which I shot the entire campaign. I shoot travel/lifestyle/people in location mainly. I need to have the most color/definition image possible. Sometimes  it is important the split second,  I know Sl2 is very fast i don't like the Evf much either but i guess i could get used. I like the S007 a lot but I'm worried i cannot get prints over one meter in hight. The wow factor for  S007 and Gfx, that means in respect of  printing too?

Yes, on screen and printing. I have no doubt the Fuji can impress. Getting the colors to my preference doesn't come as easily to me. But then I've shot 10 times as many frames with the Leica as I have with the Fuji, so that's not a fair comparison. The S(007) is not a fast camera, but it is great for studio portraiture. I've seen  1.5  meter high portrait prints and they look really great. The SL2 would be the fastest of the three by far. I have had very few focus misses with the GFX, but I don't go for moving subjects.

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12 hours ago, Bitti said:I like the S007 a lot but I'm worried i cannot get prints over one meter in hight. The wow factor for  S007 and Gfx, that means in respect of  printing too?

I have printed up to 2 meters by 1.33 meters with S 006 single frame. You need not worry about S 007 meeting your print size requirements.

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I took only few pictures with my second hand S2 (I have sold it) but some more with my new S3 plus 30 - 90 mm lens..

Switshing over to my new Surface Studio 2 (monitor size 4.500 x 3.000 px) four weeks ago first I discovered the excellent quality of the S3 pictures in all details. Furthermore I made some prints of these pictures (Epson SC600P). As to my opinion the A4 size is the minimum you should use but you will get realy best prints at A3 or A3+ sizes. This even relates to the pictures of my Q2.

Regards Hans

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2 hours ago, djmay said:

I have printed up to 2 meters by 1.33 meters with S 006 single frame. You need not worry about S 007 meeting your print size requirements.

Thank you Djmay

2 meters is king of big size. My average is 110 by 160 but printing big has to be no hustle. You can print that big with lower resolution cameras but what information the print keeps is what counts. In your opinion the s007 will be more keen to do the job well? or it would be tight?

Many thanks 

Francesco

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14 hours ago, Jeff S said:

I hope that after a week with the SL2 and S007,  you made prints, in addition to evaluating the viewing, focusing, ergonomics and control interface, etc. What did you think?  That’s generally my approach when deciding on different systems.  In fact, I went through a similar process to decide on a complementary system for my M bodies, ultimately deciding on the SL2, two zooms and a prime.  But your needs seem very different from mine. I would guess that the S007 would be a better choice for you (provided the S3 is out of budget). I see no reason why you couldn’t produce gorgeous large prints. As for your other criteria, only you can say.  My only caution would be to keep a backup system, but that’s true for any pro photographer.

Jeff

Hi Jeff, I printed the files in a A2 size. They look up to my expectations. The images  I took were of people in the street of Manhattan and of urban landscape in early March 2020. I had no chance to continue as they lock everything down and therefore i had no chance to print  bigger. one thing though about the Sl2 is that for some subject matter i really like the fast pace capabilities. One funny thing is that I had to go back to the store to disable the screen touch as i was moving the focus point with the tip of my nose while shooting. But the camera is really easy at AF and super fast. i had the 90 and the 24 90 zoom. The ergonomics are great and it seemed after few days that the camera had alway been mine. I need glasses to read so for me it is kind of weird to rely on a screen on the back of the camera if not just for the histogram. For me the less setting i have to set the better. I believe the Sl2 and more the 007 would be a good fit for my habits of avoiding the electronics settings in camera, as i only look for time speed, the f stop, and a correct exposure in every camera. I want to make sure the camera is more reliable and the the previous ones i had and capable to print big landscape images with superb details and colors. I know it is not only about that,  but that too its important for my vision. 

Francesco

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1 hour ago, Bitti said:

Thank you Djmay

2 meters is king of big size. My average is 110 by 160 but printing big has to be no hustle. You can print that big with lower resolution cameras but what information the print keeps is what counts. In your opinion the s007 will be more keen to do the job well? or it would be tight?

Many thanks 

Francesco

Two meters is the limit for me. Therefore 160 cm should be fine.

 

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Hi Bitti,

I work with the S006, 4x5 and 8x10. I also have the SL2 and have tried the 50mp Fuji. My job is as an exhibition printer as well as a photographer, so I have a pretty good idea around print quality. I found that the resolution between the S006 and Fuji 50mp is comparable enough not to be a big issue. The difference is more around the lenses. The Fuji 65mm seems to be a bit flatter in field than the S 70mm, so if you are doing landscape work, it might be more reliably sharp across the frame. That said, the 70mm Summarit is lovely for portraits and in no way unsharp, it just has enough field curvature that you need to be at f6.8 or smaller to ensure edge to edge sharpness at infinity in landscape work. The 45mm and 120mm S lenses are absolutely remarkable, and you do not need to think about how you use them...I am exceptionally critical of lenses, and these two have nothing to criticize. The APO Summicron SL lenses are in this boat as well. I have not had enough experience with the Fuji to rate the lenses other than the 65mm, but I have heard great things.

At around 100cmX150cm, the S2, 006 and 007 produce around 120dpi if you do not crop substantially. While this may sound low, it presents as very sharp even from close distances, provided that you have maximized your sharpness in taking the photo (especially with the 45 or 120 lenses, using a tripod). The GFX100 will have the resolution edge, but I think there are few usage cases where the file from the S will be unacceptable and the GFX will be acceptable. The GFX has the advantage of the extra resolution and stabilization, the Leica has its own unique look and color properties.

In this case, I think the biggest challenges are more regarding how you like to use the camera. If you are coming more from a world of manual cameras and lenses like 4x5, you will likely prefer the simplicity of the S. As a professional, you are probably more likely looking for the camera to step aside and let you make your images, rather than have it sort it out for you. Personally, though I have the SL2 and love it, it is still less joyful for me in use than the S cameras, and particularly less so than something like a Mamiya 7II or 4x5 camera. I miss the directness and simplicity of an optical viewfinder and a clear and basic control interface. While I appreciate the technology of something like the GFX, it is joyless in use. For me, that translates to worse photos. This is something intensely personal, but something which does not often enough get its due. It took me a lot of soul searching to acknowledge that I took better photos with my Hexar AF than I did with a Leica M....for the kind of photography I make with those cameras (candids, travel, family and friends), the AF and simplicity of the Hexar meant that I felt freer than I did with the M. Even though the M is extremely simple technologically, the Hexar was more simple in use, and that freed me to react more quickly and take better pictures. With my bigger work cameras, I find that I take the best pictures with 4x5, followed by the Mamiya, followed by the S. I don't think I have made any photos I would consider great with the SL2, but I have only had it a month or two.

Anyway, my advice would be to think more about how you like to photograph than about the specs of the cameras, because I think all of them are more than good enough for any print size, the challenge lies more in how you like to use them.

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There are only a few things I intensely dislike about the S cameras, including the 007 and S3. The single focusing point. It's 2020. And the S cameras have an AF system from the 1990's. For me, shooting portraiture, this is a big problem. Some of the lenses do have field curvature and it's really difficult to focus and recompose and near impossible to shoot dynamic subjects. The 100 Summicron is superb but I find it really hard to use wide open, in studio. The stunning results do not outweigh the frustration at so many shots just missing focus on the eye. On the landscape side there's the poor long exposure times and mandatory LENR.

On the positive side are the files, which are gorgeous and pliable, the lenses which excepting the *OK* zoom are spectacular, the long battery life and speedy response. It's also unique in a larger sensor being a 3:2 ratio.

The SL2 is faster, has better zooms, outstanding primes, more flexibility, less weight and can focus anywhere on the screen. It has exposure times to 30 minutes and LENR is optional. However it doesn't have the dynamic range of the larger sensor nor the colour depth. But it's extremely competetive with other high resolution 135 format cameras.

The camera in your selection is the GFX. Some call it soulless. That's fine and EVF's are a personal thing. But it combines the operation of the SL2 with better image quality than the S007 by some margin. The S3 is very close though despite the resolution deficit. The lenses are fantastic. The 110mm f2 is just outstanding and one of the best portrait lenses there is, in any system. Fuji colour science is really good and the detail is phenomenal. In miniMF systems Fuji really is ahead of all competitors.

I print in house to A1 panoramic (60cm x 180) and for detailed prints longer than a meter I can see the difference with a GFX100 file. However I chose not to buy one. As good as the camera, lenses and files are I don't want to carry a GFX100 everywhere. I have the SL2 and S007. I use the SL2 often. It's my workhorse. My S007 is in it's case, unused. I use a Hasselblad X1D. For me. the advantages of a mirrorless system are huge. And in my case I can stitch 90% of the larger files I want with a smaller camera. For portraits I think we're close to the resolution of the subject at 45MP anyway. Once I can see every pore I've got more than enough resolution.

Knowing that the Fuji is probably a *better* system I still bought the X1D. So I get that we need to connect to a camera to get the best from it.

It's going to depend on what you're currently shooting with as to what the differences are. And how fussy you are. But I would think to shoot consistent quality to print at A1 or A0 you're only going to be happy with the GFX100 or S3 unless you stitch. Even the GFX50 or X1D, which share a better sensor than the SL2, are stretched at these print sizes.

Gordon

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We have reached a point where one can choose whichever system you think is more pleasurable to use. I have printed 60”x90” with excellent results using a 007 S. The limit has been the printer width, not the files. I find an optical viewfinder more pleasurable. I also appreciate that with an optical viewfinder, the battery lasts much much longer than when using LV or EVFs.

But if budget is the issue, go Fuji.

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Bitti,   I agree with LeicaS2's post #15 as I often print as large or have prints made larger for corporate clients.  The S007 and S3 files print beautifully when making very large photographs.  I tried the Fuji, Hasselblad and Leica SL systems for my work with corporate and private collectors.  The clients simply didn't like how those systems rendered and it wasn't a color management issue either.  The S lenses and sensors render in what I describe a cinematic and smoother way.  Other photographers find the aforementioned systems preferable.  It will get down to your costs, personal tastes and if your clients like what they see and buy your photographs.  I always tell my students, most cameras are not an investment and depreciate rapidly like most automobiles.  Hopefully, you will write down your equipment costs as business expense. Hope this helps.   r/ Mark

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