Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thought of the Day: Leica S DxOMark Tested

The Leica S is a $22,000 37-megapixel medium-format digital camera. DxOMark just tested this camera, and the results were not impressive.

Normally I wouldn't care. But I had a thought: what cameras have similar image quality but cost a whole lot less? According to DxOMark's database, the Sony SLT-A57 and the Samsung NX300 have nearly identical scores as the Leica S. The A57 has a 16-megapixel APS-C sized sensor and the NX300 has a 20-megapixel APS-C sized sensor. You can find either one for under $700 if you shop around.

The biggest difference between these three cameras is resolution. Images from the Leica are much larger, but dynamic range, color depth and high ISO performance are nearly identical. Aside from large file sizes, what are you really getting from the $22,000 camera? Leica lenses.

Everyone knows that Leica lenses are super sharp, high quality glass. But why would anyone spend so much money on a camera that's good-but-not-great just to use Leica glass? I certainly would not.

Maybe I just don't get this whole Leica thing. But my guess is that my Nokia Lumia 1020 cell phone isn't all that far off from the image quality from the Leica S. Not enough to justify spending $21,900 more, anyway.

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