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Let’s Start a new wish list for a SL3.


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I think the problem with AF on the SL platform arises depending on the particular use case: 

- For photography: Contrast detect AF is probably fine

- For video: Contrast only AF is absolutely unusable

Here is the thing: The SL is marketed as hybrid camera (so photo + video). There is no way they can continue to apply contrast detect only AF, if they want to cater to the video market. 

Same for the flip-out screen.

To conclude: Times change. So does the way people create content today. The problem I see here: Leica is improving their products based on user feedback. This is fine for products liek the M. However,  they must start improving their products based on future user needs. That is what smartphone manufacturers do and if it continues in that pace,  Leica is becoming less and less relevant (check out the new cinema mode in the iPhone 13 Pro and the ability to capture ProRes). 

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5 hours ago, simon_hsn said:

I think the problem with AF on the SL platform arises depending on the particular use case: 

- For photography: Contrast detect AF is probably fine

- For video: Contrast only AF is absolutely unusable

Here is the thing: The SL is marketed as hybrid camera (so photo + video). There is no way they can continue to apply contrast detect only AF, if they want to cater to the video market. 

Same for the flip-out screen.

To conclude: Times change. So does the way people create content today. The problem I see here: Leica is improving their products based on user feedback. This is fine for products liek the M. However,  they must start improving their products based on future user needs. That is what smartphone manufacturers do and if it continues in that pace,  Leica is becoming less and less relevant (check out the new cinema mode in the iPhone 13 Pro and the ability to capture ProRes). 

Iphone cine mode is "only" 1080p.... Besides the commercials are - as usual - bonkers... Take 3 actors in the artic with a ton of SFX, props, fake snow, vehicules... and shoot on a phone lol....

ProRes would be nice on Leica, but it works on licensing fees to Apple. Why would leica bother, if you need ProRes you problably have/use an atomos anyway... Or another monitor that will do a far nicer job than any on-board flip screen monitor.

If you want nextflix approved files and features like advanced sound interface/input, tilt screen... there you have it, take a Lumix S1H, use your SL glass on it and keep your SL2 for stills Only.

Use your SL2/SL2s with the EVF in video if you can, and you get a wonderful Pocket Arri Alexa experience with incredible results. Ask @Steven how is Sony fever eventually calmed down and how he celebrates manual focussing for video work now ;). It's a not a "vlogging" camera, neither it is a full blown cinema one, but it does, to a fairly good extend, incarnate the best of both worlds from a very solid Still platform.

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3 hours ago, Slender said:

Use your SL2/SL2s with the EVF in video if you can, and you get a wonderful Pocket Arri Alexa experience with incredible results

This. 

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But I'd like to see in a future SL hybrid 12 bit raw video recording enabled, or 12 bit RGB like the Alexa has. Also, I'd like to see a proper ACES implementation with a LogC-matching log curve. Being limited to Rec2020 is doable but not great. 

For the record, I do not need AF for video. I've shot with AF on Canon's 500 MK2 and this AF just works. However, it doesn't know what and why I focus things and can't spontaneously rack focus. It might be great for V-loggers doing selfies, but they probably don't need a Leica. Pulling manual focus is part of the filmmaker's game.

I don't need an flippy screen. They are too small, too dark, and don't show focus properly. When a screen is needed because the work I do is critical, I use a Ninja mounted on a cage. Otherwise, the EVF is brilliant and pretty close to EVFs in cinema land that cost more than the whole SL2-S.

The only real complain I have is that the focus peaking is for some reason only working nicely when recording. That's annoying.

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Why not 2 Cameras? One optimized for video, the other for stills. Other brands do this. With hybrid cameras you will always have a compromise.

Or (as a compromise :) ) you must strictly cut these two modes in the camera more than now. But that helps not in every point noted here before.

It is just like my wish: I like to see a SL with Color ans Monochrome - Mode in the same quality. But you can't (now) switch off the Bayer-Filter. So you need .... you know :) 

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13 hours ago, Slender said:

Iphone cine mode is "only" 1080p.... Besides the commercials are - as usual - bonkers... Take 3 actors in the artic with a ton of SFX, props, fake snow, vehicules... and shoot on a phone lol....

Yes, it is only the first iteration and still quite limited. But it shows what will be possible: 4k cinema mode with ProRes (Raw) and better blur is only a matter of time, not a matter of possibility. The commercial just goes to show that the talent is more important than the tool. 

14 hours ago, Slender said:

ProRes would be nice on Leica, but it works on licensing fees to Apple. Why would leica bother, if you need ProRes you problably have/use an atomos anyway... Or another monitor that will do a far nicer job than any on-board flip screen monitor

The currently used codecs H.264 and H.265 in the Leica SL are also subject to licnsing fees. If an SL can have ProRes internal it would be a superior workflow than to use an external recorder. Owning an Ninja V myself I know what I am talking about and I would trade it for a monitor only option (like the Atomos Shinobi) in a heartbeat. 

14 hours ago, Slender said:

If you want nextflix approved files and features like advanced sound interface/input, tilt screen... there you have it, take a Lumix S1H, use your SL glass on it and keep your SL2 for stills Only.

That is right. The SL2-S provides the same quality footage as the SH1 (minus the professional audio options). But it is not about Netflix, it is how the masses create video content nowadays, that is: YouTube, Instagram & Tiktok. Why not cater to this market as well?

 

14 hours ago, Slender said:

Use your SL2/SL2s with the EVF in video if you can, and you get a wonderful Pocket Arri Alexa experience with incredible results. Ask @Steven how is Sony fever eventually calmed down and how he celebrates manual focussing for video work now ;). It's a not a "vlogging" camera, neither it is a full blown cinema one, but it does, to a fairly good extend, incarnate the best of both worlds from a very solid Still platform.

100% subscribe to that. I love the footage from the SL2-S. But I would still prefer if it has: 

- A Flip-out screen for self-filming

- Usable video AF (when needed)

- A better file workflow: e.g. Automatic DNG-import into the LR library and video upload to a cloud. 

In my humble opinion, the Sony argument is quite weak: A Sony FX3 or A7sIII is almost in the same price bucket as the Leica SL (at least roughly here in Germany  ), however sales numbers clearly provide evidence that Steve (and I) are the exception with that opinion and not the norm. Most would decide for the A7sIII, because it offers superior AF and has a flip screen. 

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2 hours ago, simon_hsn said:

In my humble opinion, the Sony argument is quite weak: A Sony FX3 or A7sIII is almost in the same price bucket as the Leica SL (at least roughly here in Germany  ), however sales numbers clearly provide evidence that Steve (and I) are the exception with that opinion and not the norm. Most would decide for the A7sIII, because it offers superior AF and has a flip screen. 

With Leica cameras, it's not about features, it's about inner values that cater to a small target group. Most notably these are durability and colour. If you don't share these values and put them top on the list, Leica isn't for you. Sony has a very different approach. They serve a mass market that is partially targeted to the GAS-infected male audience by aiming at the technological lead, and professionals and semi-professionals who need a tool in a specific price bracket. Leica can't compete in neither area. But they have you, me, Slender and other film/video people who hold their products in high regard, and buy them despite the technological flaws and higher costs. At some point they do a lot of things right, albeit not for everyone.

 

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6 hours ago, simon_hsn said:
21 hours ago, Slender said:

Iphone cine mode is "only" 1080p.... Besides the commercials are - as usual - bonkers... Take 3 actors in the artic with a ton of SFX, props, fake snow, vehicules... and shoot on a phone lol....

Yes, it is only the first iteration and still quite limited. But it shows what will be possible: 4k cinema mode with ProRes (Raw) and better blur is only a matter of time, not a matter of possibility. The commercial just goes to show that the talent is more important than the tool. 

NewsShooter has an article: https://www.newsshooter.com/2021/10/05/iphone-13-pro-prores-hq-capture-unlocked-by-filmic-pro-looks-impressive/

It's a neat feature, and of course Apple doesn't have to pay the "Apple tax" to get ProRes on their own devices, but it's not something you would normally consider for a main camera. The fact that your footage takes longer to download than it does to shoot would be the first showstopper (quite literally).

I would use this for the occasional pick-up shot, and for anything that's meant to be shot from a smartphone Point-of-View. Obviously it's also the way to go if your visual narrative uses phone-cam artifacts like fake bokeh, odd shutter speeds, high sharpening, etc. It stands to reason that one way to "make it look like it was shot on a smartphone" is to use a smartphone.

 

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small side-rant: I am amazed how the whole photography community seems to think that adding PDAF will magically make AF better. And it apparently will make it strictly better. I know that people take this as a fact, but it isn't.

First, we have to be very clear: PDAF comes at a cost and this cost is image quality! In DSLRs the phase detect sensor was on the bottom of the camera. In mirrorless cameras, some of the pixels are replaced with PD pixels. This can produce weird artifacts like banding.

Now: will you be able to see a difference in picture quality? Probably not. At least not in most cases. But if you want to have the best picture quality possible, CDAF is the way to go.

But the thing that is weirder to me is the following complaint: Sony cameras are much better at face recognition, eye AF, following focus etc. Why can't Leica use PDAF to also get this functionality?

The reason Sony (and Nikon, and Canon) are some much better with AF is because their software does a better job. And maybe their processors are well. So just adding PDAF will not improve these features. Also keep in mind that all these other manufacturers also use CDAF to fine tune the focus, so if their software screws up you will see some of the same problems there as what people experience with their Leica and Lumix cameras.

 

The only thing that PDAF will improve on is focus hunting. In photography this is usually not a problem anyways. For videos, it is (last time I took a video with the SL2 the hunting made the footage almost impossible to watch). With the Lumix S1H the problem has been manageable for me. I would also assume that this is a solvable problem (the idea is usually that PDAF takes low-resolution pictures between shots to tune the AF).

So a perfect solution might be to use PDAF in the SL3-S and CDAF in the SL3. But that might not be economical. If I could be Leica, I would go for CDAF. Mostly for marketing reasons (we don't sacrifice on image quality).

TL;DR: PDAF would not improve AF for photographers.

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On 10/5/2021 at 9:18 AM, simon_hsn said:

Why not cater to this market as well?

Let's be honest with ourselves, that would be a death trap for Leica. You can't compete with price against plastic cameras mass-manufactured in the Philippines (Sony, Nikon).

Well to do kids of youtube (or extremely motivated ones) who want a Leica - and eventually truly embrace that path -  certainly don't (want to) loose their energy doing specs comparison matches like the Canon-Sony crowd does when pitting their latest XYZ Mk3 VS ILCE-II blahblahblah. They surely prefer to rave about other things like "Leica glow", "the essential", "stripped-down", "the camera disappears, you are in charge" and other intangibles that make their camera "incomparable" to the rest of the crowd.

One way to win a fight is to float above the rest.

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6 hours ago, Simone_DF said:

Yes, must be the reason why Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus are using PDAF while Panasonic is the only one not using it. :rolleyes:

The fp L has pdaf. How good is the AF ? I have not heard much about it. It has the same sensor as the a7Riv . Is the AF as good ?

Probably it is not great because the software is not as good as Sony’s. Or did anybody hear more about it ?

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10 minutes ago, caissa said:

The fp L has pdaf. How good is the AF ? I have not heard much about it. It has the same sensor as the a7Riv . Is the AF as good ?

Probably it is not great because the software is not as good as Sony’s. Or did anybody hear more about it ?

Yup, it takes both sides, hardware (PDAF) and software. Sigma is notoriously crap at the software side, have you ever tried using a Sigma lens strictly in AF-C? It pulses like crazy. This doens't happen neither with Leica nor Panasonic lenses, because of software optimization. 

Anyway, Panasonic has enough money/leverage to build a good AF, they are just being stubborn with their DFD. I guess we'll just have to wait for the next iteration to see if their gamble will pay off.

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On 10/3/2021 at 9:21 AM, Photoworks said:

yeah +1

You may find useful to turn off PRE-FOCUS, Many time I shoot from the same spot and distance does not change. Less hunting and the viewfinder looks sharper.

I've had pre-focus off since the day I got the camera, for exactly the reason you describe.

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On 10/6/2021 at 12:35 AM, Mpi said:

small side-rant: I am amazed how the whole photography community seems to think that adding PDAF will magically make AF better. And it apparently will make it strictly better. I know that people take this as a fact, but it isn't.

First, we have to be very clear: PDAF comes at a cost and this cost is image quality! In DSLRs the phase detect sensor was on the bottom of the camera. In mirrorless cameras, some of the pixels are replaced with PD pixels. This can produce weird artifacts like banding.

Now: will you be able to see a difference in picture quality? Probably not. At least not in most cases. But if you want to have the best picture quality possible, CDAF is the way to go.

But the thing that is weirder to me is the following complaint: Sony cameras are much better at face recognition, eye AF, following focus etc. Why can't Leica use PDAF to also get this functionality?

The reason Sony (and Nikon, and Canon) are some much better with AF is because their software does a better job. And maybe their processors are well. So just adding PDAF will not improve these features. Also keep in mind that all these other manufacturers also use CDAF to fine tune the focus, so if their software screws up you will see some of the same problems there as what people experience with their Leica and Lumix cameras.

 

The only thing that PDAF will improve on is focus hunting. In photography this is usually not a problem anyways. For videos, it is (last time I took a video with the SL2 the hunting made the footage almost impossible to watch). With the Lumix S1H the problem has been manageable for me. I would also assume that this is a solvable problem (the idea is usually that PDAF takes low-resolution pictures between shots to tune the AF).

So a perfect solution might be to use PDAF in the SL3-S and CDAF in the SL3. But that might not be economical. If I could be Leica, I would go for CDAF. Mostly for marketing reasons (we don't sacrifice on image quality).

TL;DR: PDAF would not improve AF for photographers.

Pardon my French but this is utter nonsense.

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20 hours ago, jyrkialanen said:

Pardon my French but this is utter nonsense.

No worries, there's no French there to be pardoned.

Phase-detection AF, like BSI before it, is one of those "holy grail" technologies that some people constantly clamor for. "If Leica used (name of tech), my photographs would finally look as good as (a highly dedicated and talented photographer)'s work."

It's an appealing thought, isn't it?

BSI came and went. For a while we didn't have any BSI (aka: Sony) sensors for Leica, and then we had two (fp and SL-2), now we have a third. Decent sensors, no doubt, but not game-changers.

Will CDAF make you a better photographer? I've worked hundreds of events, often with other photographers who were using the very best CDAF cameras. Objectively, their in-focus hit rate was worse. Subjectively, I preferred my images: the way the composition was balanced, the interplay between human subjects, the feeling of light. That may sound a bit harsh, but it's like one artist commenting on an other's line weights, or their timbre on the oboe. The fact is, the more you practice this hobby/passion/profession/calling (pick one), the better you get at judging images. Just like a trained chef is very good at judging flavors.

In short, I agree with Mpi's premise: PDAF won't make your images magically better.

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I think there’s a common misconception of how PDAF is used in different cameras.

It’s true that PDAF was the sole means of detection focus/misfocus in the DSLR days and for anyone that shot extensively with DSLRs, they will remember that phase detect only AF had its limits due to manufacturing tolerances of the cameras and lenses. As DSLRs gained in resolution, Canon and other DSLR manufacturers started adding features to allow customers to correct for slight misfocusing due to these manufacturing tolerances. For example, if you had one lens that consistently back-focused, you can dial in a correction factor to account for this on a DSLR.

In contrast, for mirrorless cameras that also employ PDAF do not depend solely on PDAF. They also use CDAF for the final adjustment step. The transition between PDAF and CDAF is seamless to the user but it is present to account for the slight focusing errors of the PDAF algorithm. As such PDAF on mirrorless bodies are used primary for fast focus to get you into the ballpark and avoid focus drifting while in continuous AF. While CDAF is use to fine-tune the final focus adjustment. So for mirrorless bodies that offer PDAF, it’s not only PDAF that the camera is using but a combination of both PDAF and CDAF.

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3 hours ago, BernardC said:

No worries, there's no French there to be pardoned.

Phase-detection AF, like BSI before it, is one of those "holy grail" technologies that some people constantly clamor for. "If Leica used (name of tech), my photographs would finally look as good as (a highly dedicated and talented photographer)'s work."

It's an appealing thought, isn't it?

BSI came and went. For a while we didn't have any BSI (aka: Sony) sensors for Leica, and then we had two (fp and SL-2), now we have a third. Decent sensors, no doubt, but not game-changers.

Will CDAF make you a better photographer? I've worked hundreds of events, often with other photographers who were using the very best CDAF cameras. Objectively, their in-focus hit rate was worse. Subjectively, I preferred my images: the way the composition was balanced, the interplay between human subjects, the feeling of light. That may sound a bit harsh, but it's like one artist commenting on an other's line weights, or their timbre on the oboe. The fact is, the more you practice this hobby/passion/profession/calling (pick one), the better you get at judging images. Just like a trained chef is very good at judging flavors.

In short, I agree with Mpi's premise: PDAF won't make your images magically better.

Nicely said, I +1 that.

I not complaining about the AF on SL2. I like how Leica gets out the way and lets me shoot and concentrate on the moment, I am usually ready and near ready for a shot and it take me no time to adjust.  Sometime contrast detect is panicking and driving back and forward before getting some focus, to me that is not elegant and it is getting in my way. Sometimes it just get stuck in the wrong places even when using AFs. Sometime prefocus get in the way and you shoot to quick and it is just a little off, please turn off Pre-Focus everyone.

I think the nitrate of great shots is better when I use the SL2, focus is much better than when I used the canon 5D cameras. the sony cameras are great too, just not fun to use, they are collecting dust here.

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