cropped and converted to jpg in Lightroom, otherwise no edits.
Well at Image Explorations I had the opportunity to use the medium format Leica S2 for three and a half hours. I admit I was very excited about it. Giddy in fact. The camera was so pretty I forgot all about my Canon and Olympus cameras for a while. I cheated on them. I had an affair and I loved it. It was only brief though. The Leica was out of my league, above my class range and frankly I'm more comfortable with my decidedly middle class gear anyway. Though I don't mind admitting that I'll be having many Leica thoughts, dreams and a feeling of longing for a long time in the future. I've tasted the Kool-Aid and I liked it.
I even had a hard time focusing on making quality photos of the beautiful model I had with me that afternoon. I found myself showing her the camera and gushing about it like a school boy with some big crush (on the camera, not on her....I know, weird). She seemed suitably impressed though, or at least patient with my love lust, so Brenda, thank-you!
I haven't had time to edit my photos yet so the images in this post are pretty much unedited samples that have only been cropped and converted to a jpg. After I arrived home I pretty much unpacked, and headed for a nap. Then I had to catch up with my wife and eight year old daughter, both of whom I missed a lot after I threw myself into 5 full days and nights of photography. I'll talk about the school and show some edited images another time, but for now I thought I'd just share about the Leica while it was fresh on my mind.
First up, what I noticed was that it was smaller than I thought it would be. Much smaller. And light. It really didn't feel much bigger than my Canon 5D with the 24-70 lens on it and was no heavier. Given that this is a medium format camera that was pretty cool. It felt well built and the viewfinder was simply the best I have ever looked through bar none. Big, bright and lovely.
The lens on it was a 70mm prime, I think an f2.5. I won't pass too much judgement on the lens as I didn't really have it too long but it seems sharp and produces some of the best out of camera colour I have ever witnessed. The bokeh or out of focus areas come quickly, I'm sure due to the large sensor size which makes my 5D look like a point and shoot sensor. The bokeh is smooth and dreamy and hits your image immediately behind what was focused on. I could get very very used to it.
The camera was pretty much devoid of buttons and wheels. It had the shutter speed dial on the top right which I liked quite a bit. The lcd screen was huge and bright and super crisp. There were four large buttons around the screen. The menus were simple to get too and easy to figure out. I struggled for a moment with it but could tell that if I only had maybe another hour or so with it I would have had it all memorized. The grip wasn't terribly comfortable or contoured for my tastes, but it wasn't bad either. The camera felt balanced and like I said earlier it was light and small. Easily a walk-around camera if you so wished.
A lot of the files I produced were blurry or mis-focused, but when I did hit everything right I had some very large, detailed and crisp images with endless ability to crop at will. I believe that the blur or miss focus was truly user error. I was pretty full of adrenalin and was really learning the equipment. It does seem that the camera would benefit tremendously from a tripod or monopod for really crisp images though as I was trying my hardest to hold it steady with my elbows firmly dug into my chest and the camera on my face.
This isn't a sports camera by any stretch of the imagination. It is a commercial photography, model photography or high end magazine use camera. It isn't necessarily for me or the type of images I make, but its ability to sync at any speed, its wonderful large files, its beautiful colours and its Leica brand desirability are pretty hard to resist. It is limited to I think ISO 1250, it doesn't have image stabilization, its lenses are so costly I'd be bankrupt in no time flat and it just doesn't make sense for your average wedding photographer.
It does make a sweet "Ka-Chunk" sound when you trip the shutter though. And it has that little red dot and the Leica name on it which as much as I try to stop myself I can't help but fall in love with. I have this nagging urge to go see my banker and check out what can be done about me owning one of these things, and all afternoon I just couldn't focus on my task at hand and wipe the stupid grin off my face. My model was gorgeous, my location was fantastic, and I was living with my head in gear lust land.
And so did I like it? Yes, absolutely. Do I need it to make me a better photographer? No, definitely not. Am I glad I had my brief little roll in the hay with it though? You bet I am! Pretty sure my E3 and 5D mkII will let this one slide.