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Digital Leica M8 / M8.2 / M9 / M-E /Mono / M10 aka "M" Discussions about the Leica M8 /M 8.2 / M9 / M9-P/ M-E / M Monochrom / M10 aka "M": Leica digital M mount rangefinder cameras. Naming the new digital M the "Leica M" is VERY unfortunate as it will only confuse newbies with other Leica M cameras of the the past. Happily there is room for confusion with only the past 59 years of Leica M production ... since Leica introduced the Leica M system in 1953. All Hail for the Leica Marketing Department learning Leica M history!

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Old 01-23-2013   #851
Vince Lupo
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Old 01-24-2013   #852
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Thanks for the kind comments buys ;-)

Nice god rays Dave and the lens was mostly a 5cm 2 Summitar collapsible - funky little lens!

Vince, bonding with the 50/1 ?

Here is a quick post of moving stuff around:


man with loaded tricyle by teknopunk.com, on Flickr


shopping rolls by teknopunk.com, on Flickr


teeth check by teknopunk.com, on Flickr


motorcycle taxi by teknopunk.com, on Flickr

and - moving level: Pro:


tricycle loaded by teknopunk.com, on Flickr

(last shot shows a non motorised tricycle by the way)
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Old 01-24-2013   #853
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I'm seeing a heck of a lot of blown highlights in these MM shots, when the conditions are anything other than flat overcast. In flat light, the results look superb and have masses of potential for tweaking, but I am not so sure this is a camera for contrasty light. Could be processing issues, but if so, a lot of people are struggling. I see most of the tonal range looking OK, bu the white are just gone, or have no texture/separation.
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Old 01-24-2013   #854
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Which shots are you referring to? Can you point to an example?

I was looking at someone's shots recently, and the shadows looked totally blocked. Checked the shots out on another computer, and they had plenty of detail.

As far as the Noctilux goes, I am getting used to it, and it's been the primary lens on the Monochrom for a while. I still need to put myself into situations in which the lens will excel.
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Old 01-24-2013   #855
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As a quick follow-up, there's an article in the current LFI magazine which discusses this very subject. The article suggests that "highlights were captured by the sensor, and only appear clipped in the JPEG; consequently, they can still be salvaged". The article goes on to say that "given its dynamic range, the Monochrom is no more prone to clipped highlights than the M9, but it may appear that way for the someone familiar with the latter." If you read the full article (on pages 56-60), you'll get a better idea of the latitude of this sensor.

I think you are right, however, that there is definitely a learning curve that happens with this camera in terms of exposure (at least I had to re-learn some things!), but personally I haven't noticed any unrecoverable details in highlights.
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Old 01-24-2013   #856
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This is a good example of what I am talking about. Bright sweater, which is lacking texture and separation in the higher values. Quite a few of the landscaped by Dave Martinez also look quite hot in the highlights, where the rolloff is very quick.

Maybe the MM is no worse than the M9 (if you underexpose and then open up shadows) but with the same exposure technique, one loses the colour channels and a certain rescue potential. If you underexpose, I guess you are losing useable ISO speed.

Compared to D800 images, the Nikon would appear to have much more flexibility in the files when it comes to dynamic range and these MM files are IMHO even more 'digital' looking as a result.

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Old 01-24-2013   #857
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Some here look a bit wishy washy in the higher values... kinda anaemic and lacking in substance, but close to being decent. If they were darkroom prints, you would revisit contrast and exposure, or possibly flash the print a little to give more substance to the textured higher values.

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Old 01-24-2013   #858
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In the first shot with the young woman and the sweater, I can see texture in the main body of the sweater and the sleeves. It's a bit hotter in the shoulders, but not (at least to me) objectionably so. Many of the other shots cited look like they were done in flat light, such as the third shot in your second post (looks like one of those white sky days), though I do see the scarf on the left side as being a bit blown out). The fourth, six and seventh in the second post also look like flat light. The only other one that I can see on my screen that has 'hot' highlights is the 5th shot in your second post in the white sweater that the young woman is trying on (shadows also look a bit blocked). I'm sure there's always room for improvement for all of our shots though....or maybe just mine!

I suppose I could personally do a comparison between the Monochrom and a D800 (as I have one), so we could really see a side-by-side comparison....if that's of interest!
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Old 01-24-2013   #859
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Quote:
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This is a good example of what I am talking about. Bright sweater, which is lacking texture and separation in the higher values. Quite a few of the landscaped by Dave Martinez also look quite hot in the highlights, where the rolloff is very quick.

Maybe the MM is no worse than the M9 (if you underexpose and then open up shadows) but with the same exposure technique, one loses the colour channels and a certain rescue potential. If you underexpose, I guess you are losing useable ISO speed.

Compared to D800 images, the Nikon would appear to have much more flexibility in the files when it comes to dynamic range and these MM files are IMHO even more 'digital' looking as a result.

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Its got detail on my screen and the print. No funky glowy blocked highlights just white and white detail zone VIII with some specular highlights of the shoulder of the film curve in the B/G on the railing. Just like shooting transparency film. And the low noise gives you lotsa room in the toe but again do not expose to the right but shoot like you would Kodachrome about 1/3 under becasue the room in the shadows is just wonderful.
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Old 01-24-2013   #860
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I also wanted to say I am an old zone system guy and have done the tests and shot portfolios and for landscapes its a great tool and the basics are good for all photography but for street work its about the moment not so much about all the tech stuff that the zone system is about. In all of the example you posted the girl trying on the sweeter a couple of the rows of patters on the top of her shoulder and the arm and only the very hottest are a little blocked but that doesn't bother me. Its not nasty looking on a print. If it were a shot abut the sweeter then it would be an issue but to me its about the moment and in my opinion it doesn't distract from that.

What I find amazing is an 18 mp camera can be compared sharpness wise to a 36 mp camera.
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Old 01-24-2013   #861
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Just looked at this very shot on my wife's laptop, which is calibrated differently than my larger iMac, and yes the sweater looks blown out. On my 27" iMac, the shot looks totally different -- less contrasty, definite detail in the sweater. So screen calibration could factor in here!

In reference to the D800, I am amazed that you can get a new 36mp camera for under $3k, but that's a whole other conversation!
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Old 01-24-2013   #862
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Nice stuff Dave love the light pattern Vince and love the bike series Menos..
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Old 01-24-2013   #863
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
Just looked at this very shot on my wife's laptop, which is calibrated differently than my larger iMac, and yes the sweater looks blown out. On my 27" iMac, the shot looks totally different -- less contrasty, definite detail in the sweater. So screen calibration could factor in here!
I would say because it looks good on my mac too.
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Old 01-24-2013   #864
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Nice stuff Dave love the light pattern Vince and love the bike series Menos..
Thanks!

My highlights aren't blown out, are they???
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Old 01-24-2013   #865
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Thanks!

My highlights aren't blown out, are they???
If they are they're blown out in the right places. I really like that image Vince...
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Old 01-24-2013   #866
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Digital B&W still struggles up against film, for sure. I downloaded a bunch of high res MM files months back and was able to get much better results in LR by adjusting exposure and curves, but I was still not convinced by the way it rendered anything much above Zone 6. I am not a zonie but a documentary photographer and so I am using this as a reference not a way of life. As a M film user, I was hoping for something to pick up where my film bodies leave off, but I am not seeing it here. Aside from a bit more detail and slightly creamier tonality, I see no real benefit over a ME and will possibly buy a M240 simply because it is a much more flexible camera than the M9 and its offspring.

I suppose when I appear disappointed I am saying that my 5D III produces files that look like these MM files, but I recognise that the MM files would definitely go bigger. Thats just not enough for me to pay 6100 for one. I think I will just have to stick to film for when I absolutely have to have top quality B&W images. I'll use my 5D III and possibly a M240 when things need to be more convenient.

For those who think the highlights in many of these images are just fine, on their own they my be, but I just cannot get excited by them when I think of how much more beautiful well produced film images are. With most emulsions, burning in brings texture and substance that just isn't here in these MM files, even when the contrast range is incredible. The only films lacking in this regard are Neopan 400 and 1600, which don't do overexposure well.

The image above is one I wish I could print from a neg and then show you a flashed print, which would be an epic improvement all ove the body/sweater That said, with the file dropped a bit in exposure and possibly opened up a touch in the shadows (to get it to where it was before the exposure drop) and possibly a bit of tweaking of the black slider, it might look much better to my eyes. Hard to say. As always, its personal!
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Old 01-24-2013   #867
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I can tell you it renders quite well with the zones higher than Caucasian skin tone (zone VI) and I can get separation in those zones probably up tp VIII. And I have shoot a lot with 5DIIIS and it has maybe two more full stops of DR. In fact I would say the files look more like my old Hasselblad medium format film than those of 35mm film. And how can anyone compare 100K images compressed to crap from hosts like photobucket with an degree of certainty. Take my word for it the prints are really amazing for digital B&W. I love film but most of the street work with film was done with pushed tri-x and we all know what pushing does. It completely destroys mid tones by underexposing and pulling the toe down below the threshold of exposure and bringing the highlights back through increased development. That increase the gamma of the film curve blocking up the mid tones. My files from the MM have far more range in them than pushed 35mm tri x film. Also I can shoot at 3200 and 6400 ISO making faster shutter speeds possible while keeping large DoFs which when pre focusing on hte street can be a valuable tool.

I am looking at a print I made from my epson 2880 and the detail is there so whether I didn't need to use a flash printing technique in the darkroom isn't really relevant because the info is there.
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Old 01-24-2013   #868
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I don't know man... if I'm paying that much money for a body I want both colour and B&W - I appreciate what the tool does but, seeing as it's a digital body, I just don't "get it" per se. Different strokes for different folks.

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Old 01-24-2013   #869
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Dirk, always a delight to see your images like these. Wondering from where did you capture them? Were you on foot or inside a car? The vantage points are spot on.
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Old 01-24-2013   #870
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Thanks Turtle for your post!

I am genuinely thankful for your reminder, to pay much more attention to zones and especially the brighter areas.

I love criticism and feel guilty myself, to have rushed many shots through post processing with the Mono.

Technically, in my opinion, the Mono files are more rigid in regards of contrast and tonal relation between shadows, mid tones and highlights - you have less freedom working these independently.

The Mono files give A LOT more latitude in regards of shadow recovery (the general expose for highlights and push shadows in post works to some extend very well).

The biggest difficulty is, to alter tonal and contrast relations between shadows, mid tones and highlights (simplifying here) in post processing, if you didn't handle filtering and difficult light to begin with.

M9 files are much, much easier to work with here for B&W conversions (not just because of different colour channels to work with, but because of a more suitable relationship of shadows, mids and highlights for the final image).

I write this, as I struggle, finding the right post processing technique for myself with the Mono, since I have it.

The files are absolutely amazing in some ways - better than anything else, I have seen, but they are really demanding for getting them processed for a specific look.

In my opinion, Dave's shots here in the thread and the late shots of Kristian show a very sweet balance of processing, working aesthetically very well for me.

For myself, I mind working with M9 files A LOT easier so far and find my own M9 conversions (which take a lot less effort and time) better conversions, than the Mono photographs, I have produced so far.

My fascination about the crazy acuity and the incredible low light performance still remains for the Mono and I am continuing to experiment with processing, the files until I get there.

I use only Lightroom for processing on a Mac.
My current experimental attempt is, to exclusively use the histogram panel and shape the histogram with input opposed to numerical value editing, I used up to now with all digital files in Lightroom.

The journey continues

I think, we should tone the "value for money" and "Why buy a Mono, if you can buy a colour sensor body" and "film looks better than Mono files" stuff down and concentrate on the Monochrom and how images look, produced with it + sharing info on how to work it. No offence, really, but lets keep the thread focussed (just my opinion as this camera is very polarising and many threads have ended in just those discussions). Those are valid points too, but in my opinion should be served in a separate thread just for those points.
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Old 01-24-2013   #871
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Quote:
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Dirk, always a delight to see your images like these. Wondering from where did you capture them? Were you on foot or inside a car? The vantage points are spot on.
Dave, I was rolling in a car, I drove behind the tricycle.
I work another job and can shoot little these days, so those drive by shots are the major photography, I can do these days (and I hate it )
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Old 01-24-2013   #872
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Quote:
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Dave, I was rolling in a car, I drove behind the tricycle.
I work another job and can shoot little these days, so those drive by shots are the major photography, I can do these days (and I hate it )
Did you shoot it behind the windshield?

I can sense what you are feeling, sometimes duty calls and workload hinders our further quests for photography, c'est la vie!
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Old 01-24-2013   #873
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I find the MM is no different from the M9 in blown highlights. You have to be careful with both. LFI did a nice story on the M9 can recover blown highlights better because of the 3 channels. I found that as a good lesson to be more careful and look at the histogram after a shot (I have review shut off on both m9 and MM.). But either way turtle, this is a good reminder for me to make extra care on the highlights and not assume we can pull them back in PP. Thank you for your input.

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Old 01-24-2013   #874
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I find the MM is no different from the M9 in blown highlights. You have to be careful with both. LFI did a nice story on the M9 can recover blown highlights better because of the 3 channels. I found that as a good lesson to be more careful and look at the histogram after a shot (I have review shut off on both m9 and MM.). But either way turtle, this is a good reminder for me to make extra care on the highlights and not assume we can pull them back in PP. Thank you for your input.

Jim
Yes Jim, you have a lot in the toe but not much in the shoulder so if the info is important be careful not to over expose what is important.
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Old 01-24-2013   #875
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Wine?? by rootbeer2004, on Flickr
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