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Leica S2

Conclusions

The S2 delivers outstanding detail with its world-class S lenses. The S lenses are clearly superior to Leica M lenses (Leica M9), which have strict design limitations (namely size). Contrary to Leica marketing claims, the S lenses are not all “devoid of imaging errors” (though the 120mm qualifies), but if I could have the same quality on Nikon or Canon, I’d be ordering them right now.

I am doubtful that there exist better lenses out there in the medium format world, though there are likely some that approach similar performance. That’s my best prediction, based on working with hundreds of lenses of multiple brands, including Zeiss, Canon, Nikon, Leica M/R/S, Schneider, Rodenstock, Coastal Optics, Fuji, on various formats. An aperture series shows clearly that diffraction already begins diminishing quality at f/8, with an obvious loss of micro contrast at f/11— this is a clear sign of an outstanding lens. For more on diffraction, see Making Sharp Images.

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