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Approximating the Monochrom "look" using M 240 -- anyone tried this?
Old 05-13-2015   #1
bobby_novatron
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Approximating the Monochrom "look" using M 240 -- anyone tried this?

Before I inadvertently start a 'flame war' I must insist that I'm not trying to denigrate the abilities or reputations of either the Monochrom or the M 240, they're both wonderful cameras -- but for different reasons.

I have to admit that I have been infatuated with the Monochrom since it was released, and I have marveled at many of the images that people have shared here on RFF and other locations.

There definitely is something special about the images that the Monochrom produces -- due to the unique sensor design and native Leica algorithms, etc.

But what I'm wondering is this: has anyone managed to approximate the "look" of the Monochrom with a M 240?

I have shot my M 240 in black+white mode, but of course the images don't look the same as the Monochrom. Pleasing, yes, and great IQ, but no Monochrom "magic".

I've tried using filters on my lenses (yellow, orange, etc.), and I've also tried using the built-in software "filters" in the M 240 firmware. Although the firmware filters can produce interesting results, I found virtually no effect from using real filters on the front of my lenses.

Despite my limited experimentation, I haven't achieved anything like the Monochrom "look". So has anyone else tried this? Has anyone had any success, partial or otherwise?

I'm thinking there might be a way to use Adobe Elements or PS to modify the files, but I haven't gotten that far.

Cheers to everyone, thanks in advance for your input on this Quixotic matter.
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Old 05-13-2015   #2
horosu
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I've had both for approximately six months and in the end decided that this was a luxury I couldn't afford, as the only advantage of the Monochrom would be in the high-ISO range (in my eyes). For low-ISO shots, I still have my MP which gives me great satisfaction with Kodak TMax 400 or Ilford FP4+.

Here are three shots:

The Monochrom:


The M240:


And Kodak TMax 400:


As I said, I decided to keep M240 and the MP.
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Old 05-13-2015   #3
bobby_novatron
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Thanks Horosu for your feedback ... I am still shooting film with my Leica M7, so I can appreciate your decision. I like using various B+W emulsions, and the reason I keep shooting film is it can produce the most 'pleasing' image. It's the old 'film vs digital' argument.

I do have to say that the M 240 in black and white looks very good, your sample image (the boy on the train) seems almost Monochrom-like. I have found that the M 240 at high ISO produces a pleasant film-like grain in black and white, and I can see hints of that in your image.

.
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Old 05-13-2015   #4
horosu
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Please keep in mind that the M240 image was shot at ISO 1600 and then grain was added in DxO Film Pack 5.

I like very much the B&W conversions from DxO
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Old 05-13-2015   #5
fad gadget
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You can get reasonably close using LR and Silver Efex, at lower ISO.
Once you tread above 2500 things change...

That said, I've placed an order for the M246.
I'd much rather spend as little time post precessing that I can, and I prefer the look of the M246 images as well.

It will be the best of both worlds.
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Old 05-13-2015   #6
MIkhail
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby_novatron View Post
There definitely is something special about the images that the Monochrom produces -- due to the unique sensor design and native Leica algorithms, etc.
.
Still trying to understand what is it, or have somebody pointed that out for me, with 0 success.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby_novatron View Post
But what I'm wondering is this: has anyone managed to approximate the "look" of the Monochrom with a M 240?
.
Perhaps better question would be - to manage the "look" with the cheaper camera. Emulating one ungodly expensive thing with another equally expensive does not make sense, in my humble opinion.
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Old 05-13-2015   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIkhail View Post
Emulating one ungodly expensive thing with another equally expensive does not make sense, in my humble opinion.
It does if you also want to be able to shoot colour with the same camera.
And use those incredible M mount lenses w/ no issues.
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Old 05-13-2015   #8
bobby_novatron
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Huss -- thanks for the input and for posting your images. Great shots, BTW. Wonderful composition. You are correct when you stated that it all depends on the processing of the files by the user. I definitely lack the experience of getting deeper into Adobe -- I primarily use Adobe Elements for basic cropping, resizing, contrast adjustments, etc. Haven't used SilverEfex although I know a lot of people use it and enjoy the results.

If anyone has any post-processing suggestions (i.e. favourite slider techniques or plug-ins and workflow) I'd be happy to hear about them.

And yes, the Leica is expensive. But as Huss mentioned, it's all about the glass. The M 240 is my first digital rangefinder and I'm really impressed by the image quality. It far surpasses my old Canon dSLR. And although I'd love to buy a Monochrom body and put this whole exercise to rest, I fear that if I spent more money on camera gear it would increase my marital discord exponentially.

That's why I'm throwing the question out there about emulating the Monochrom.
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Old 05-13-2015   #9
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BTW this image is probably the closest I've come to approximating the Monochrom, and it wasn't shot with the M 240.

I used my Leica M7 with a Summicron DR, Fomapan 100 and D-76.

I suppose that's why I like the Monochrom so much -- it has such a film-like appearance to my eyes.

Here's my Leica M7 image:

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Old 05-13-2015   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby_novatron View Post
That's why I'm throwing the question out there about emulating the Monochrom.
Fair point about color and black/white in one camera and lenses.

About emulating Monochrom... Again, only my opinion: if anything I would try to emulate the b/w film. Slick and slippery look of completely grainless b/w images to my eyes look as unnatural as man with shaven legs... "not that there is anything wrong with it"(c).
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Old 05-13-2015   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby_novatron View Post

If anyone has any post-processing suggestions (i.e. favourite slider techniques or plug-ins and workflow) I'd be happy to hear about them.

1/ Shoot RAW
2/ I use Lightroom (it comes with the camera)
3/ Use the Lightroom B&W conversions and select the 'colour' filters to suit, adjusting contrast/highlight/shadow/black/white to suit
Or:
4/ Import RAW files into SilverFX and play around until you find your groove.
5/ Use the dodge/burn tools provided by Lightroom.
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Old 05-13-2015   #12
f16sunshine
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Hi Bobby

I started a thread on a similar line of questioning last year.
You may find something interesting in the replies.

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=143900
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Old 05-13-2015   #13
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Thanks Huss / Andy for the input. I'll check out that other thread to see what people have tried.
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Old 05-13-2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horosu View Post
I've had both for approximately six months and in the end decided that this was a luxury I couldn't afford, as the only advantage of the Monochrom would be in the high-ISO range (in my eyes). For low-ISO shots, I still have my MP which gives me great satisfaction with Kodak TMax 400 or Ilford FP4+. Here are three shots: The Monochrom: The M240: And Kodak TMax 400: As I said, I decided to keep M240 and the MP.
Interesting! I would say there is no meaningful difference at all between any of those shots that can be attributed to the camera. I mean that from a b/w-rendering-perspective.
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Old 05-13-2015   #15
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The M240 produces very, very strong B&W. For someone who wants/needs, even occasionally, color imagery, the M240 is a powerful solution.

That said, there is a nuanced benefit to using the Monochrom. There is a tonal richness which, to my mind, is unique in the world of digital imaging. And there is definitely something to be said for reducing choice, of seeing the world in black and white. Kind of like loading a roll of Tri-X in your camera and walking out the door. I frequently use my Monochrom alongside my Hasselblad 500C/M.

Here are two images, taken perhaps 60 seconds apart. The first was with the M240, with a 50 Summicron APO. The second was with the Monochrom, with a Noctilux 0.95.

I find it easy to get B&W images I like from the M240. Alas, I don't have any PP recipes for duplicating the Monochrom.

M240...


Monochrom...
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Old 05-13-2015   #16
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M240, 50 Lux Asph

The key is to shoot RAW, and work from there.

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Old 05-13-2015   #17
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This is an M240 B+W Conversion that inspired the previous thread.
The look of this image is as good as one could hope to find from digital B+W online in my opinion.
Only a print could reveal more. (not my image)
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Old 05-13-2015   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jager View Post

...And there is definitely something to be said for reducing choice, of seeing the world in black and white. Kind of like loading a roll of Tri-X in your camera and walking out the door.
I have recently acquired an Epson RD-1 which i am using with my five M-mount lenses for my black-and-white photography. I have been struck by, and quite taken with, the particular "appearance" of the resulting photos, equating them in my mind with what I used to get in my film days. Then i noticed in one of Sean Reid's many reviews years ago of the RD-1 and the Leica M8, one of the reasons he gave for his pleasure with the RD-1's images was that they seemed comparable to him with what he used to get using Kodak Tri-X film. That "hit the nail on the head" for me, and explains my current great pleasure with the black-and-white RD-1 images I'm getting. (With my several other digital cameras I've been using over the years -- no Leica, unfiortunately -- I've employed, and am also a great fan of, Silver Efex Pro.)
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Old 05-17-2015   #19
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I find the B&W images that I can capture with the M240 are very good. Specially when the color DNGs are practically unusable due to the horrible lighting available. I shot this one at 1/90 f3.5 ISO 4000 with the 50mm ASPH f1.4 lux. The color shot was practically unusable. This is actually quite good for its purpose.



I got other shots that were salvaged by developing in B&W...
Same 1/90, same ISO 4000 f2.4

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