Compliments on the S2 tests. I was quite surprised by your perspective but you did an excellent job of supporting your point of view. There were a few areas that I hope you might take forward, either now or in the future.
DIGLLOYD: My interest is in pushing the quality envelope in a DSLR form factor (eg a D3x on steroids). The other brand medium format systems I’ve used ( eg PhaseOne/Mamiya and Hasselblad) are clumsy and bulky, and call too much attention to themselves whereas the Leica S2 looks like a regular DSLR. The usual MF systems would fill my daypack, so they're no good for the hiking I like to do. The S2 offers an alternative... except for the issues with its menus/buttons and autofocus, I really love its form factor.
The value/importance of having a proprietary raw developer. You know the guys over on on the MF forums at getdpi.com think that this is a significant advantage for Hasselblad and Phase ..to the point of making any claims of superior Leica glass less important. There is clearly something to having the software tuned to the camera/sensor ..C1 for example provides a pretty darn good conversion for the M9 DNG ..LR3 is much better but when it was C1 and LR2 ..nobody was picking LR2 because it did a better conversion. This is really a broad subject because it includes everything from the conversion algorithms thru the camera and lens profiles.
DIGLLOYD: I agree the conversions from ADOBE ACR don't look optimal. Even white balance is a little odd. Perhaps with time this will resolve with better RAW conversion, but I agree it’s a serious issue that anyone shooting the S2 will need to address. Presumably PhaseOne could tune Capture Pro for S2 files, but as a competitor, who knows whether they will or not.
This whole area would be a major project, one I cannot pursue at this time. But I must say that I could be quite happy with the Leica S2 if the body cost $9999 instead of $23000. But it’s just such a huge investment that will rapidly depreciate that there is no way to justify it for me. With PhaseOne selling 3-lens kits with the P65+ back and camera for $40K, a one lens S2 kit as a new kid on the block for ~$28K strains credulity on value.
DIGLLOYD: Color is a complex area. To evaluate IQ and color as a whole would require another MF systems such as a PhaseOne P65+, as well as being a major time investment. I can’t see doing it adequately based on just a few hours shooting; I’d want to be able to do more extensive shooting. The S2 review has been squeezed into the middle of another key project.
The glass is part of it imparting the micro contrast (I shoot the same Leica and zeiss glass that you do on my D3X and I have a DMR /M9 to compare). But its also the sensor and the raw conversion.
DIGLLOYD: The electronics play a big role too, but I presume you mean that by "sensor". Nikon has that nailed in the DSLR area with the incredible handling of dark tones. As far as glass, I am dubious that the MF world has better lenses than Leica S, and I think that holds huge potential, if the conversion can be improved and when Leica has an S3 with 50-60MP. Software correction is a big plus, but I also dislike the idea of proprietary software from companies that aren’t guaranteed to always be around, not to mention the hassles of software compatibility.