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Leica S2 Revisited, 6 Years Later, with Hi-Res Images in New Medium Format Section

See my Leica M wishlist and Leica SL wishlist.

I’ve launched my new medium format area, albeit without the Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX being available just yet. But they will get my intense concentration when they arrive.

All subscribers with “FULL” access automatically have access to the medium format area, as of Jan 20, 2017.

I went back and reprocessed all the images on these pages taken with the Leica S back in 2010. Along with my recent reprocessing of Hasselblad X4D-50 images and Mamiya DL28 images, this latest batch with the Leica S calibrates my eyes to what medium format was delivering some years ago. The Fujifilm GFX and Hasselblad X1D should set a significantly higher bar, I hope.

Most images at up to full 36MP resolution. These images are from the 2010 'S', but there is also relatively recent Leica S Typ 006 coverage as well, including the same types of Leica S autofocus errors.

I am impressed in some ways, but mainly I am impressed at just how good Zeiss Otus lenses for Nikon/Canon are, and with 1+ stop more lens speed even accounting for format equivalent depth of field. I wish Zeiss would target the Fujifilm GFX platform with an “Otus MF” lens design, but I deem that highly unlikely.

f11 @ 1/6 sec, ISO 160; 2010-10-18 08:05:14
Leica S2 + Summarit-S 70

[low-res image for bot]
f2.8 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 320; 2010-07-18 20:51:32
Leica S2 + Summarit-S 70

[low-res image for bot]

Is Leica viable?

That is, as a camera platform, not a high-end luxury toy.

  • The S system is all but dead, barring some mirrorless camera at a far lower price that can make use of S lenses. And from what I hear, Leica S build quality is poor with frequent breakdowns. It would be appropriate if Leica just issued a formal EOL statement, given its not even lackluster support for the platform.
  • The M system has left users like me hung out to dry. The new Leica M10 is all well and good, but good mainly for the small/light street shooter crowd, and cheerleader reviewers that leave me impressed with the awesome power of rationalizations. M lens development seems to be over, and even then I still think the Zeiss ZM 35/1.4 Distagon is the best all-arounder for M.
  • The SL system is a joke compared to the Hasselblad X1D or Fujifilm GFX. Two trips with the SL and if someone told me it cost half as much, I still would not buy one. The M system should be rediscovered by Leica. The SL is an also-ran, arriving late for the race to begin with.
  • Leica has shown very poor strategic judgment in failing to build on its M heritage, irritating and then pissing off M users like me, all while shoveling boatloads of R&D money into the S and SL and TL systems. Many millions that could have made the M system a truly impressive platform. Money that is now gone and with three systems that are not competive with anything on any rational basis. I just can’t see investors shoveling more money down the toilet with the track record of the past 3 years, which shows a total failure in understanding the key appeal of Leica, that is the M system concept, which could have been replaced with a modern version with all new lenses, not the huge brick and massive lenses of the SL system.
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