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Entry into S system. 007 v S3


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Could very much use some advice and insight from this group. Use case is primarily portraiture and equestrian (girls w horses, not too many fast moving shots). Been using an SL with 75 Noctilux for this purpose since late 2018.

 

thinking the S system is the next step to really take things to the next level. Appears to be around a 10k delta on a used S3 v 007. Wondering if it worth it. Unfortunately this is a system that is very difficult to try out somewhere before purchasing, as you all know. Never used an S or other medium format digital camera before. Thinking either the 100 or 120 macro as the first lens. Thoughts?

 

thanks, John

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Posted (edited)

The best way to determine whether the system works for you is to find a way to try. Here are some possibilities.

There are places that rent pro gear.  For example...

https://fotocarerentals.com/leica-s-typ-007-digital-camera
 

If you’re close to a Leica dealer, you should be able to demo. Leica Miami used to have a trial program, but possibly no longer. You might call them and ask for suggestions.

Or you could just buy an S007 used from a reputable dealer and either return within specified return period or resell if not satisfied.  Prices are already depressed, so not much to lose.  Even an S006 could be a starting point if you can find a clean one with replaced sensor. I also wouldn’t buy a used S lens without a new AF motor.

The 4 button interface of the S will feel familiar to you as an SL user, so a good head start.

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S
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4 hours ago, John McMaster said:

What is your output?  Do you work in low light levels? If not more than 100cm on the short side then S(007) should fine and the S(007) is fine up to about 3200ISO....

john

Exactly.

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I would also recommend to get a used S007, see how it works for you, and if you really miss MP than buy S3 later and sell S007 without loosing much money.

In regards of 100 vs 120:

100 is lighter and smaller

120 offers additional macro and I have the feeling its more reliable to focus.

The 180 focuses somewhat faster than the 120.

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I was surprised to see the cost of renting an 007S for a week was about 1/5 the cost of a used 007 S. For me that would suggest just buying a used 007 and using it for a month. If you don’t feel it fits your needs, sell it and you may lose the same amount it would have cost to rent it for a week. 
But I would think a dealer might just give you a demo.

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The 007 is the sensible option. The only reason to go for the S3 would be becuse it will offer slightly better colour OOC, especially with skin tones and other colours primarily based on red (this was the area they really improved upon from what I have read).

The extra resolution is not going to make any difference at all; if you're printing really large (by which I mean images wider than 1m) then the viewing distance will take care of the resolution. I have three images currently hanging in a gallery in London printed 1m tall by 0.8m wide (cropped to 10x8 ratio) made using the 007. With that crop the images are ostensibly sub 20mp and the resolution is perfect; not a hint of pixelation.

I hesitate to say that a used 007 is a bit of bargain as I'm not sure $4k/£3k for a camera can ever be considered as such, but if you want a medium format optical view finder camera that handles wonderfully (and it really does - it makes the SL feel truly the awful brick that it is: note I came to the 007 from the SL), with files that can be processed really well (they aren't great OOC I will say, but you have so much lattitude to make them look sublime), then there's nothing that gets close. The alernatives are Capture One or Hasselblad and you know what you're spending there (plus the ergonomics of those cameras are not great ).

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While I'm definitely in the "S3 is an 007 with more pixels" camp, there is one other (very) slight advantage to the S3. As a newer model, it is likely to get more of whatever tiny attention that the S system receives from Leica. This laughingly called "future-proofing" was worth more to me than the resolution. (I gave up the GFX100, after all...)

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5 hours ago, mgrayson3 said:

While I'm definitely in the "S3 is an 007 with more pixels" camp, there is one other (very) slight advantage to the S3. As a newer model, it is likely to get more of whatever tiny attention that the S system receives from Leica. This laughingly called "future-proofing" was worth more to me than the resolution. (I gave up the GFX100, after all...)

Did you give up the GFX 100 because you prefer the workflow of the S system? Or the signature look of the S glass? Would be interested to know your reasons.

and thanks again everyone for your replies. S007 seems like the sensible starting point.

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14 hours ago, geetee1972 said:

The 007 is the sensible option. The only reason to go for the S3 would be becuse it will offer slightly better colour OOC, especially with skin tones and other colours primarily based on red (this was the area they really improved upon from what I have read).

The extra resolution is not going to make any difference at all; if you're printing really large (by which I mean images wider than 1m) then the viewing distance will take care of the resolution. I have three images currently hanging in a gallery in London printed 1m tall by 0.8m wide (cropped to 10x8 ratio) made using the 007. With that crop the images are ostensibly sub 20mp and the resolution is perfect; not a hint of pixelation.

I hesitate to say that a used 007 is a bit of bargain as I'm not sure $4k/£3k for a camera can ever be considered as such, but if you want a medium format optical view finder camera that handles wonderfully (and it really does - it makes the SL feel truly the awful brick that it is: note I came to the 007 from the SL), with files that can be processed really well (they aren't great OOC I will say, but you have so much lattitude to make them look sublime), then there's nothing that gets close. The alernatives are Capture One or Hasselblad and you know what you're spending there (plus the ergonomics of those cameras are not great ).

What is it that makes you love the ergonomics of the S so much more than the SL's? The SL also has a deep grip and is much thinner and lighter to hold, the SL2 generation improves upon it by providing the rubbery grippy texture for your grip fingers to rest on. Yes, the S has an obvious 'cutout' for your index finger in the front and your thumb to rest on at the back, but the thickness and substantial weight with a lens attached makes the SL much more easy to hold for extended periods, although the S brings more enjoyment because of the tactile mechanical feedback of the mirror and the lag free OVF and the general responsiveness of a DSLR. 

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15 hours ago, geetee1972 said:

The 007 is the sensible option. The only reason to go for the S3 would be becuse it will offer slightly better colour OOC, especially with skin tones and other colours primarily based on red (this was the area they really improved upon from what I have read).

The extra resolution is not going to make any difference at all; if you're printing really large (by which I mean images wider than 1m) then the viewing distance will take care of the resolution. I have three images currently hanging in a gallery in London printed 1m tall by 0.8m wide (cropped to 10x8 ratio) made using the 007. With that crop the images are ostensibly sub 20mp and the resolution is perfect; not a hint of pixelation.

I hesitate to say that a used 007 is a bit of bargain as I'm not sure $4k/£3k for a camera can ever be considered as such, but if you want a medium format optical view finder camera that handles wonderfully (and it really does - it makes the SL feel truly the awful brick that it is: note I came to the 007 from the SL), with files that can be processed really well (they aren't great OOC I will say, but you have so much lattitude to make them look sublime), then there's nothing that gets close. The alernatives are Capture One or Hasselblad and you know what you're spending there (plus the ergonomics of those cameras are not great ).

my experience is that it requires about 5 pixel per mm to achieve a 'non-pixeled' visual impression of a print

that roughly mirrors your description of 20 MP for 1 m width

some examples of max. print widths (uncropped) using such rule:

24 MP Leica M 240: 1.2 m

37 MP Leica S2: 1.5 m

64 MP Leica S3: 2 m

100 MP GFX100: 2,3 m

150 MP IQ4150: 2,9 m

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3 hours ago, prismstorm said:

What is it that makes you love the ergonomics of the S so much more than the SL's? The SL also has a deep grip and is much thinner and lighter to hold, the SL2 generation improves upon it by providing the rubbery grippy texture for your grip fingers to rest on. Yes, the S has an obvious 'cutout' for your index finger in the front and your thumb to rest on at the back, but the thickness and substantial weight with a lens attached makes the SL much more easy to hold for extended periods, although the S brings more enjoyment because of the tactile mechanical feedback of the mirror and the lag free OVF and the general responsiveness of a DSLR. 

Three things really, one being simply the way it felt in my hand; it just seemed to fall naturally into my grip in such a way that the weight was never something I noticed (and I now shoot with a Mamiya RB67 so the S would likely now feel like my smaller more easily carried camera!) Also keep in mind I only ever really shot with the 70mm Summarit; I did have the 100mm Summicron but only for a short time and the 45mm but I barely ever used it.

The second was the layout of the the controls, although in reality I guess it's ostensibly identical to the SL so perhaps that's not why I preferred it to the SL.

The third is easily the most significant difference and that was the optical viewfinder. Good as EVFs have got, they are not, nor will ever be, the same experience as an OVF. I found you lose connection with your subjects using an EVF, perhaps because you're looking at the 'picture' you're about to take rather than the subject you want to photograph. I couldn't comment on anyone else's experience of this of course, I just know that for my work and my workflow, an optical view finder is essential. I guess the results speak for themselves.

 

2 hours ago, chrismuc said:

my experience is that it requires about 5 pixel per mm to achieve a 'non-pixeled' visual impression of a print

that roughly mirrors your description of 20 MP for 1 m width

some examples of max. print widths (uncropped) using such rule:

24 MP Leica M 240: 1.2 m

37 MP Leica S2: 1.5 m

64 MP Leica S3: 2 m

100 MP GFX100: 2,3 m

150 MP IQ4150: 2,9 m

Circle of Confusion calculations are well known and include viewing distance for a reason. You can't use a rule of thumb like this without factoring in how close you will be to the image. You can print and 3m wide banner with a 6mp file and not see any pixelation at all when you then view the banner from 10m away.

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11 hours ago, geddon_jt said:

Did you give up the GFX 100 because you prefer the workflow of the S system? Or the signature look of the S glass? Would be interested to know your reasons.

and thanks again everyone for your replies. S007 seems like the sensible starting point.

Both, actually. The interface was a bizarre patchwork, the dials couldn't be turned without also pushing them, I could only use the LCD (the EVF was particularly glasses-unfriendly), and the lenses, while perfectly sharp ... here it gets a bit difficult to be precise. The final images were sharp and boring. Could I make them less boring in post? Yes. Did I sometimes get something amazing in low light or from a tiny detail? Yes. But the S imaging pipeline - glass, sensor, output - produced more immediately pleasing images. If I had a very strong inner photographic vision, I could probably get similar results from both systems. But the S starts me in such a nice place that I enjoy the process. With the GFX100, it was "Hmm. Lots of detail. Now how can I get this image to look good?" With the S, "What can I do to make this lovely thing better?" 

I can't say how much is the glass, and how much is the rest of the pipeline. I love the results.

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Posted (edited)

To be clear: turning the dials and pushing them on the GFX100 did different things. When turning the rear dial, one did NOT want the push to activate, and it often did. This was a recognized but never fixed problem. Battery life wasn't great, but nothing like the Sonys, where one could watch the batteries drain in real time 😉.

In fairness to the GFX100, this was 110/2 wide open, 1/10 second, ISO 3200. IBIS has its advantages... But this is one of the exceptions. 

Edited by mgrayson3
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Posted (edited)
On 4/29/2021 at 12:30 PM, mgrayson3 said:

.. here it gets a bit difficult to be precise. The final images were sharp and boring. Could I make them less boring in post? Yes. Did I sometimes get something amazing in low light or from a tiny detail? Yes. But the S imaging pipeline - glass, sensor, output - produced more immediately pleasing images. If I had a very strong inner photographic vision, I could probably get similar results from both systems. But the S starts me in such a nice place that I enjoy the process. With the GFX100, it was "Hmm. Lots of detail. Now how can I get this image to look good?" With the S, "What can I do to make this lovely thing better?" 

I think that’s a very sensible view. I don’t know quite what makes some people like the S images more than other cameras, and I’m not sure I get it after using the S2, S006 and S007, but clearly there is something in the lens-sensor-Leica process chain that is pleasing to many and I won’t dispute others’ reaction to the files. I sometimes wonder if the S lenses (and chain) create less native macro contrast, which allows some of the mid-tones to more readily come through with no processing (maybe tantamount to a more gentle look in some C41 films world like Portra?) but who knows? At the same time, I really don’t think a magical look is insurmountable either from the GFX100S. For example, I am constantly amazed at just how different the feel of the same image can be with this camera, based on different post-processing, even just flicking through Fuji’s own “camera” profiles in ACR based loosely on their films is remarkable in the variation of the output as a basic starting point.

Edited by Jon Warwick
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5 hours ago, Jon Warwick said:

I think that’s a very sensible view. I don’t know quite what makes some people like the S images more than other cameras, and I’m not sure I get it after using the S2, S006 and S007, but clearly there is something in the lens-sensor-Leica process chain that is pleasing to many and I won’t dispute others’ reaction to the files. I sometimes wonder if the S lenses (and chain) create less native macro contrast, which allows some of the mid-tones to more readily come through with no processing (maybe tantamount to a more gentle look in some C41 films world like Portra?) but who knows? At the same time, I really don’t think a magical look is insurmountable either from the GFX100S. For example, I am constantly amazed at just how different the feel of the same image can be with this camera, based on different post-processing, even just flicking through Fuji’s own “camera” profiles in ACR based loosely on their films is remarkable in the variation of the output as a basic starting point.

Yes, S is special. I have GFX100s and love it as a tool. I only bought 30 and 45mm both incredible sharp glasses. I dont plan to get more focus by wire glasses but adapt long R, OTUS, Nikon F or Leica S (wide open only) for long side. I personally can clearly see how incredible this sensor is. It is the most robust sensor  I ever worked with regarding process. BW file is just in another level to other camera include SL2, S007/006. However, if it doesn't allow me adapt FF glasses, I will not use it much other than landscape. 

S's specialness is real. you also have to consider this is not only "A" Lens and 'A' sensor combination but a set of glass have similar treat with similar color, bokeh and sharpness once stop down. I recently brought 70/120/180 with me for ski trip. The images (most family images) took with three glass are so similar with forest in background if you keep subject relative same.  (meaning increase distance with longer glass), the rendering is so beautiful and consistent without a single hint of corner funkiness' or bokeh problems. This is as good as I can hope to get. I used many system and many fancy glasses, There are many gems in many brand's line up, but find one system with such a consistent exceptional glasses are rare and Leica S is the only one IMHO. 

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On 4/29/2021 at 4:05 PM, geetee1972 said:

Three things really, one being simply the way it felt in my hand; it just seemed to fall naturally into my grip in such a way that the weight was never something I noticed (and I now shoot with a Mamiya RB67 so the S would likely now feel like my smaller more easily carried camera!) Also keep in mind I only ever really shot with the 70mm Summarit; I did have the 100mm Summicron but only for a short time and the 45mm but I barely ever used it.

The second was the layout of the the controls, although in reality I guess it's ostensibly identical to the SL so perhaps that's not why I preferred it to the SL.

The third is easily the most significant difference and that was the optical viewfinder. Good as EVFs have got, they are not, nor will ever be, the same experience as an OVF. I found you lose connection with your subjects using an EVF, perhaps because you're looking at the 'picture' you're about to take rather than the subject you want to photograph. I couldn't comment on anyone else's experience of this of course, I just know that for my work and my workflow, an optical view finder is essential. I guess the results speak for themselves.

 

Circle of Confusion calculations are well known and include viewing distance for a reason. You can't use a rule of thumb like this without factoring in how close you will be to the image. You can print and 3m wide banner with a 6mp file and not see any pixelation at all when you then view the banner from 10m away.

I disagree. From a great photography blown up to a large print I expect it to spectacular at large distance as well as at very near. Like Gursky. That requires always the highest possible resolution if want print big. 

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4 hours ago, chrismuc said:

I disagree. From a great photography blown up to a large print I expect it to spectacular at large distance as well as at very near. Like Gursky. That requires always the highest possible resolution if want print big. 

Sure but you’re never going to print something so big you need more than 37mp. Gursky shoots film. Most acclaimed fine art photographs are still shot on film proving beyond doubt that pixel level resolution is a pointless war. 

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