Leica M Monochrom real-life review - part two
Old 10-27-2012   #1
borge
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Leica M Monochrom real-life review - part two

I just finished part two of my write-up / real life review and experiences with the M Monochrom. Check it out: http://bophotography.net/2012/10/27/...view-part-two/


You can read part one here if you haven't read it: http://bophotography.net/2012/10/07/...view-part-one/
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Many thanks! Interesting read !
Old 10-27-2012   #2
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Many thanks! Interesting read !

Many thanks for your interesting review. The pics have a very nice tonality.
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Old 10-27-2012   #3
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Cool write up and captures. It's my vicarious journey with this fine camera.
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Old 10-27-2012   #4
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Thanks a ton for this! Mine should be delivered this week, can't wait!
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Old 10-27-2012   #5
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Greatt review specially how the files are processed in LR4.2. Would also be nice to see some PP using Alien Skin Exposure. Thanks for posting this.
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Old 10-27-2012   #6
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Those review shots look really good.

Now if only the MM cost the same as the M-E
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Old 10-27-2012   #7
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I do love looking at shots made with the Monochrom. It is a good thing that I can still afford to shoot Tri-X in my M6 because I just cannot bring myself to spend $8,000 on a camera. God bless all of you that can, keep posting.
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Old 10-27-2012   #8
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These photos show again more of the same: too much resolution, not enough highlight detail. The night scenes look best, as blown highlights are a normality in this kind of lighting. I think, that for open sun photos, you should dial in -2 stops compensation.
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Old 10-28-2012   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
These photos show again more of the same: too much resolution, not enough highlight detail. The night scenes look best, as blown highlights are a normality in this kind of lighting. I think, that for open sun photos, you should dial in -2 stops compensation.
Yes, I find that even shooting at night I always use -1 or even up to -2 EV compensation to avoid clipping highlights. My camera is always at -1 EV compensation no matter what. The shadow details are so good anyway, so I find it best to save the highlights and increase the exposure (and lower the highlight) in post.

I only shoot with a 50mm Summilux ASPH but I have also tried a friends latest non-APO 50mm Summicron, and I find that it is easier to not clip the highlights with the Summicron due to it's lower contrast rendering. But I still prefer the way the Lux images look.

Thanks for all your comments.
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Old 10-30-2012   #10
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Nice review, relevant and to the point. Good work. I was totally blown away by the two underexposed image samples. What an incredible amount of shadow detail!
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Old 10-31-2012   #11
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Excellent write up and top photos. Thanks.
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Old 10-31-2012   #12
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I find it interesting that many people comment about the flat images that come straight from the camera, yet the 'final' pictures that I've seen online from the Monochrom are usually quite contrasty.

Any explanation for this?
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Old 10-31-2012   #13
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I have to say...I've come around a bit on the Monochrom. If it was half the cost, I'd be tempted.
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Old 10-31-2012   #14
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The raw files straight from the camera are flat, but people prefer to post more contrasty processed versions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
I find it interesting that many people comment about the flat images that come straight from the camera, yet the 'final' pictures that I've seen online from the Monochrom are usually quite contrasty.

Any explanation for this?
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Old 10-31-2012   #15
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Borge - Thanks so much, I keep rereading your review! I just received my MM yesterday and it's not only my first digital Leica, but my first digital camera of any kind. I'm wondering, are there tricks or learning curve details you wished you'd figured out sooner? I too will be doing a lot of low light shooting so I very much appreciate your thoughts on that aspect.
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Old 10-31-2012   #16
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First" review" that I have seen on Monochrom images, that have any kind of validity to me.
For me B&W shooting is about INTERPRETATION . Reality to two dimensional images, with shades of gray , movement, composition etc. The only thing I was missing is the full size digital images. When you click the image, nothing much happens. The moment of truth is the 100% size. All I can say borge has come a long way as a monochrome shooter with his new M Monochrom !
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Old 10-31-2012   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furcafe View Post
The raw files straight from the camera are flat, but people prefer to post more contrasty processed versions?
What I mean to say is that the photos that I've seen online from the Monochrom are really contrasty -- I mean really dark shadows and blown highlights. If you look at the ones on the Leica site by Jacob Aue Sobol, those are a good example of what I'm talking about.

I have myself on a list for the Monochrom, so hopefully it won't be too long of a wait!
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Old 10-31-2012   #18
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I think that's because photographers who are predominantly B&W shooters tend to lean towards contrasty, perhaps because of the inherently graphic nature of B&W & the long (post 1920s) history of contrasty B&W photography. From what I've seen, the raw files from the camera are actually low-contrast (as they should).

I would order a Monochrom myself except for the fact that I'm not enough of a hardcore B&W shooter to justify the expense (even @ "discount" Euro prices). The price of the upcoming digital M is much more justifiable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
What I mean to say is that the photos that I've seen online from the Monochrom are really contrasty -- I mean really dark shadows and blown highlights. If you look at the ones on the Leica site by Jacob Aue Sobol, those are a good example of what I'm talking about.
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Old 10-31-2012   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangefinderfreak View Post
First" review" that I have seen on Monochrom images, that have any kind of validity to me.
For me B&W shooting is about INTERPRETATION . Reality to two dimensional images, with shades of gray , movement, composition etc. The only thing I was missing is the full size digital images. When you click the image, nothing much happens. The moment of truth is the 100% size. All I can say borge has come a long way as a monochrome shooter with his new M Monochrom !
Thank you.

I will post full res images to my Flickr in a dedicated set tomorrow so that you can look at the larger resolutions.
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Old 10-31-2012   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
What I mean to say is that the photos that I've seen online from the Monochrom are really contrasty -- I mean really dark shadows and blown highlights. If you look at the ones on the Leica site by Jacob Aue Sobol, those are a good example of what I'm talking about.

I have myself on a list for the Monochrom, so hopefully it won't be too long of a wait!
I deliberately posted contrasty images because mostly everyone was complaining that other MM reviews showed too flat / less contrasty images. Oh well, can't make everyone happy :-)
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Old 10-31-2012   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanbonner View Post
Borge - Thanks so much, I keep rereading your review! I just received my MM yesterday and it's not only my first digital Leica, but my first digital camera of any kind. I'm wondering, are there tricks or learning curve details you wished you'd figured out sooner? I too will be doing a lot of low light shooting so I very much appreciate your thoughts on that aspect.
The most important thing is to under expose and never ever trust what the LCD shows you. And then just play with the files. You can push the MM files incredibly far without getting much noise or visible artifacts. I don't think any camera with a color filter array can offer this type of latitude without introducing lots of noise and visible artifacts.

Just perfect files for any type of processing.
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Old 11-01-2012   #22
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I have added the images from my part 1 and part 2 reviews to my flickr account now. You should be able to view them at a much larger size now.

Hope this helps.

http://bophotography.net/2012/11/01/...images-are-up/
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Old 11-01-2012   #23
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You know, the first M-Monochrom images on Internet (I guess Steve Huff) with the bicycles, couples hugging etc. were large enough. When captured, they could be tweaked in full resolution. As they were posted, too "lame" to my taste, but a good start to magnificent images- for copyright reason not possible to re-publish the tweaked ones anywhere.
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Old 11-01-2012   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangefinderfreak View Post
You know, the first M-Monochrom images on Internet (I guess Steve Huff) with the bicycles, couples hugging etc. were large enough. When captured, they could be tweaked in full resolution. As they were posted, too "lame" to my taste, but a good start to magnificent images- for copyright reason not possible to re-publish the tweaked ones anywhere.
If you want to tweak/PP MM images you either have to buy one yourself or download the few DNG files that are available, I guess.

There are too many "black-market printers" out there, I have seen and experienced it myself - several times, so nobody wants to publish full-size and downloadable files of anything, anywhere, understandably.
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Old 11-01-2012   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borge View Post
I have added the images from my part 1 and part 2 reviews to my flickr account now. You should be able to view them at a much larger size now.

Hope this helps.

Part 1 set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/borgei/...7631902139510/
Part 2 set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/borgei/...7631902199350/
yes ! 2048X1363 ...Now it sarts to tell something about the image.
I very much like the second image, guy going down the hill with his "roller" timing is perfect ( like leicashooters usually have !) also the tones are OK, A little "Drama" with burnt in side edges would have been a plus. Congrats!
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Old 11-02-2012   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furcafe View Post
I think that's because photographers who are predominantly B&W shooters tend to lean towards contrasty, perhaps because of the inherently graphic nature of B&W & the long (post 1920s) history of contrasty B&W photography. From what I've seen, the raw files from the camera are actually low-contrast (as they should).
I guess it's all a matter of personal taste -- I consider myself a b+w devotee, and like seeing a 'full tonal range' image (If you look at some of the images in my gallery, you'll get my idea). In this particular review, the first few photos are contrasty to the point in which the highlights are blown out (no detail), and the shadow areas are blocked (no detail) -- like Tri-X that's been left in the developer too long. Maybe I'm just old school in the Ansel Adams tonal sense, rather than old school in the Bill Brandt sense. Here again, guess it's all personal preference.

I was concerned because I'm on a list to buy a Monochrom, and was wondering if the files from the camera were this contrasty. Now that I know that they're flatter, I'm relieved. Would much rather have a flatter file (like negs) than more contrasty ones.

It does sound like there's a bit of a learning curve with this camera, at least in terms of exposure?
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Old 11-02-2012   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
I guess it's all a matter of personal taste -- I consider myself a b+w devotee, and like seeing a 'full tonal range' image (If you look at some of the images in my gallery, you'll get my idea). In this particular review, the first few photos are contrasty to the point in which the highlights are blown out (no detail), and the shadow areas are blocked (no detail) -- like Tri-X that's been left in the developer too long. Maybe I'm just old school in the Ansel Adams tonal sense, rather than old school in the Bill Brandt sense. Here again, guess it's all personal preference.

I was concerned because I'm on a list to buy a Monochrom, and was wondering if the files from the camera were this contrasty. Now that I know that they're flatter, I'm relieved. Would much rather have a flatter file (like negs) than more contrasty ones.

It does sound like there's a bit of a learning curve with this camera, at least in terms of exposure?
As I said - I intended to show contrasty images in my sets simply because there are many other reviews that show more flat files.

Also, the images the camera generates differs a lot depending on the lens. I'd say a Summicron v5 (latest non-apo) renders a much softer image than the Summilux ASPH for example. Even more visible on the MM than on the M9.

Personally I also prefer the look of pushed tri-x 400 and the lovely Fuji neopan 1600. Both of which produce high contrast results.

There are several ways to expose with the mm as well. You can go iso-less and push the exposure in post or just use an ev comp of -1 or up to -2 all depending on the scene and if you want to keep the highlights intact. It is quite different, but still one of the simplest cameras and files I have worked with.
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Old 11-06-2012   #28
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Just playing with this myself yesterday, here's straight off the camera:


TEST - straight off the camera by seanbonner, on Flickr

And here's shadows pulled a bit in Lightroom


TEST - shadows pulled out by seanbonner, on Flickr
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Old 11-06-2012   #29
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Well, I don't know about anyone else but I'm waiting for someone to finally complete a fake-life review of one of these things...
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Old 11-06-2012   #30
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I'm an old man still shooting Tri-X, and I know less than zero about digital imaging, so I didn't read your report except for the last part. I did look at the pictures, though, and found them utterly beautiful. You have every right to be proud of your work with this new instrument. I think your pictures look like the future of black and white imaging. Congratulations on your choice and your work!
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Old 11-07-2012   #31
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Many thanks for this article and for the information -- can't wait until mine shows up!
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Old 11-08-2012   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borge View Post
As I said - I intended to show contrasty images in my sets simply because there are many other reviews that show more flat files.
You should be congratulated on showing what the camera is capable of. All to often the photographs used to show how the MM performs are straight out of the camera and unprocessed, and those are flat and souless. In an age when people want instant gratification and images to pop out of the camera fully formed I get the impression that the MM definitely requires the digital darkroom to release its full potential. The more I see photographs like yours the more I think I might actually want an MM.
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Old 01-04-2013   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V-12 View Post
You should be congratulated on showing what the camera is capable of. All to often the photographs used to show how the MM performs are straight out of the camera and unprocessed, and those are flat and souless. In an age when people want instant gratification and images to pop out of the camera fully formed I get the impression that the MM definitely requires the digital darkroom to release its full potential. The more I see photographs like yours the more I think I might actually want an MM.
Thanks. It's been a while since I processed those images.
I have learned a lot more on how I prefer to process the files from the MM in that time. The files are so rich - you can take them in any direction you want without having to compromise because of artifacts, unlike color files. It's like working with files that has no creative limit. I love it.
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Old 05-08-2016   #34
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it seems that the post was deleted.
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Old 05-08-2016   #35
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There were some technical issues in my previous domain that prevented the old links to work. This is now corrected, but it might take up to 24 hours before the old links work properly again.

Until then, the reviews can be found here: http://indergaard.net/category/reviews/page/2/
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