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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!

View Poll Results: Would you buy a B&W only M9 ?
Yes, absolutely. 70 14.23%
Yes, but only if it performs like B&W film. 59 11.99%
Yes, but only if it costs 15-20% less than the standard M9. 60 12.20%
No. 303 61.59%
Voters: 492. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-23-2010   #26
gb hill
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No way! Tri-X is cheaper & much better! Besides eventually that $7000 electronic camera you have is going to bite the dust. (sure might be 25 years down the road but it's gonna happen) Electronic devices were not made for the long haul & can't be recovered like a simple CLA on a mechanical camera. If I had thousands of dollars to spend on a Leica M I would buy a MP. At least I know my grandson might enjoy it.
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Old 01-23-2010   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggambi View Post
...
Also, I am wondering if this kind of detail, will soon be lost on people. As and example, if you look at music reproduction, people have gone to lower resolution in the mp3. While the critical eye and the educated critic will know the difference. Will it matter to the public?
...
What do you want to tell us with that? Do you compare that to photography? Do you want to say that the quality of photography is going down in general?

The opposite is true. 15 years ago, normal P&S camera, supermarket prints compared to now, normal digital P&S camera, supermarket prints. Less wrong colours, better print quality now. For the big market share of the typical happy snapper the introduction of digital is equal to a huge increase in quality.
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Old 01-23-2010   #28
ferider
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Leica M4-P................................US 800
Nikon CoolScan 5000ED....................US 1000
Freezer...................................US 200
2000x Rollei Retro 100...................US 5000
-------------------------------------------------
Total....................................US 7000

Tones and Grain: price-less.
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Old 01-23-2010   #29
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No way for b/w only. Jpg fine with b/w plus dng goes for me (to have a second choice also month later...you know, customers wishes)
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Old 01-23-2010   #30
gho
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Just to throw in some food for thought. Here is a site that compares the black and white performance of a stock Canon 30D with a modified version with color filter array removed.

Interesting, reminds me a bit of the Foveon approach.
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Old 01-23-2010   #31
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If they made one, I'd think about it, even at the price of the current M9.
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Old 01-23-2010   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gho View Post
Just to throw in some food for thought. Here is a site that compares the black and white performance of a stock Canon 30D with a modified version with color filter array removed.

Interesting, reminds me a bit of the Foveon approach.
Really interesting. Thanks for posting the link.
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Old 01-23-2010   #33
tom.w.bn
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Just to throw in some food for thought. Here is a site that compares the black and white performance of a stock Canon 30D with a modified version with color filter array removed.

Interesting, reminds me a bit of the Foveon approach.
The difference in sharpness between these two pictures is enormous. And that's the problem with this comparison. In real life you don't get such dull and unsharp pictures out of a 30D. So when you have a sharp photo out of a 30D, how does the result of a modified 30D looks like? Hyper sharp? Over sharp? Even if you have slightly sharper photos, the difference might only be visible in 100%

Never trust a comparison under laboratory conditions. Remember they took a photo of a photo (=test target) under changing lighting conditions. Far from a realistic test.
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Old 01-23-2010   #34
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And they probably removed the AA filter too - which would make a considerable difference as well, maybe even the whole difference.


(not my image)
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Old 01-23-2010   #35
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No but I would think about a color one... BW is for film.
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Old 01-23-2010   #36
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Quote:
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Never trust a comparison under laboratory conditions. Remember they took a photo of a photo (=test target) under changing lighting conditions. Far from a realistic test.
I would like to have that ruled out by a "realistic" test.

Last edited by gho : 01-23-2010 at 10:11.
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Old 01-23-2010   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom.w.bn View Post
What do you want to tell us with that? Do you compare that to photography? Do you want to say that the quality of photography is going down in general?

The opposite is true. 15 years ago, normal P&S camera, supermarket prints compared to now, normal digital P&S camera, supermarket prints. Less wrong colours, better print quality now. For the big market share of the typical happy snapper the introduction of digital is equal to a huge increase in quality.
What I am saying it that the critical manner in viewing at this detail is going down in a similar manner. What is achievable and what is viewed all ready differ. At one time people looked to prints as the bench mark. This group is decreasing down to the collector, the critic, and those who make the pictures. Print sales are down, not only mine, but other people that I am friends with that sell on the international level. I would like to hear an argument that does not support that more people view their photos on the computer, phone, and digital picture frames than by attaining high quality prints. So, would my custom print shop, and other printers I have spoken to in the USA. These mediums are all inferior to the print. This has been well documented. If you see this as something other then a trend towards mediocrity. We are going to strongly disagree.

This trend could be different in other parts of the world. But, I highly doubt it is different in China and Japan as they are very much into high tech. And, they soon will eclipse the USA in being the largest consumer groups. So, now we have a substantial degree of the consumer market, that hardly takes advantage of the detail that high end digital is capable of attaining. With this comes less of a discerning eye. Do you believe that one is just born with a critical knowledge of photography? Or is it developed over time with exposure to what is truly possible? individuals that are hardly viewing in the most critical manner, are hardly going to care if this detail is lost or regained in time. What the OP has addressed as the failings of digital, certainly matter to many of us photographers. But, we are not the ones buying the prints; and, this type of critical detail does not show up on the little jpg that people are viewing on their computers.

As for the example given, it pertains as follows. Very few people listen to music at the level it is capable of being reproduced. They are happy with the convenience and a better reproduction level than they had before digital. But, they have not embraced the fact that analog reproduction is better then it has ever been, and high resolution digital is just now equalling analog, and is far better then mp3 files. The print qualities the OP has described are much like the musical qualities inferred to in this example.

My head hurts from having to go into this kind of detail to explain this simple example. I am going to go, grab my camera, and enjoy my Saturday.

Kindest regards,
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Old 01-23-2010   #38
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I'd buy one - but only if it was a "special" leica - maybe the King of Siam's Brother in Law's 46th birthday - with a baby seal fur cover and a limited 50mm made of titanium , plutonium, and volcanic glass - for let's say 14,500 dollars us
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Old 01-23-2010   #39
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Quote:
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I'd buy one - but only if it was a "special" leica - maybe the King of Siam's Brother in Law's 46th birthday - with a baby seal fur cover and a limited 50mm made of titanium , plutonium, and volcanic glass - for let's say 14,500 dollars us
What more could we ask for?
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Old 01-23-2010   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggambi View Post
... Print sales are down, not only mine, but other people that I am friends with that sell on the international level. I would like to hear an argument that does not support that more people view their photos on the computer, phone, and digital picture frames than by attaining high quality prints.
What is the destination of ones photograph? If it is flickr, or the web, in general our communication devices are doing fine, maybe except for 'bokeh'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by biggambi View Post
Do you believe that one is just born with a critical knowledge of photography?
Of course not. Memory is volatile. It is hard to appreciate good silver prints if one had never been exposed to something as delicate like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by biggambi View Post
Or is it developed over time with exposure to what is truly possible?
Yes, of course. I had the opportunity to see the work of Don McCullin at the C0 Berlin recently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by biggambi View Post
Very few people listen to music at the level it is capable of being reproduced.
Personally, I am enjoying a live performance most. But I also like tube amps (for electric guitar) and skilled craftsmanship.

Quote:
Originally Posted by biggambi View Post
My head hurts from having to go into this kind of detail to explain this simple example.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Last edited by gho : 01-23-2010 at 16:34.
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Old 01-23-2010   #41
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Kodak made a very high end b & w only digital. It was quirky and failed miserably.
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Old 01-23-2010   #42
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The Monochrome Digital Kodak was no quirkier than the color model, it was done over 10 years ago. Mine still works.
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Old 01-23-2010   #43
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Despite the fact that 90 percent of what I shoot is in B&W, there is no way I'd buy a B&W only camera. I just don't agree with the notion that digital cameras are incapable of producing stunning B&W images.
It does require a bit of work on the processing end. But then that's just life with digital photography. I'm not aiming this at anyone in particular, but I believe that too many get discouraged by digital B&W (and color for that matter) because they aren't happy with the results straight out of the camera.

But anyone who's spent any measurable time in an actual darkroom knows that great images require a certain amount of work there as well.
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Old 01-23-2010   #44
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why would anyone in their right mind buy such a thing when you can get an m6 and 1000 rolls of b&w film (self processed) and then perform a 16 bit scan. you get your digi film, and a negative.

and i haven't figured out how to put a digican into my durst d659 enlarger yet!
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Old 01-23-2010   #45
kbg32
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Quote:
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The Monochrome Digital Kodak was no quirkier than the color model, it was done over 10 years ago. Mine still works.
Do you still use it?
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Old 01-23-2010   #46
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Yes, on occasion. I mostly use it for Infrared. I keep a Win 95B machine running for the SCSI interface. I also wrote my own Raw converter, which picks up more dynamic range than the Kodak Twain drivers. Hence the statement that software for Monochrome cameras is fairly trivial. Less to do than with color images requiring interpolation.



I can even put the reference portion of the CCD into the image. Of course, my software is written in FORTRAN and Assembly.



A Monochrome M9 would likely be $9,000+ to cover the custom run of the CCD. That's just a guess. It was an extra $4,000 over the standard $8,400 price of a DCS200 in 1993 for the custom run of the CCD. It was a zero-defect sensor, a real accomplishment back then.

I guess the question I have is: why would a monochrome camera be quirkier than an identical model that has a Mosaic filter with it? The level of quirkinessis less, no worry about white balance, 2x increase in sensitivity, and 4x increase in spatial resolution (worse case: blue or red objects being photographed), no aliasing problems. So unless you use a monochrome camera with a color wheel to make color images, no extra quirks.

Last edited by Brian Sweeney : 01-23-2010 at 18:42.
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Old 01-23-2010   #47
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NO.

Not even if:
  • Leica were interested and actually did make one,
  • It sells for half the price of the M9
  • It is full frame with all the features anyone could ever want
To me, as a hobbyist, the appeal of shooting b&w film is the entire process, including post-processing. If I absolutely MUST have a B&W image from digital capture, I use Photoshop.
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Old 01-23-2010   #48
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I'd buy one if I could afford it, but the regular M9 costs more than I have earned on some years and you know the BW version will cost twice as much. I'll stick to my M4 and Tmax 400 and 3200
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Old 01-24-2010   #49
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What would be required to make this camera: leave the color dyes off of the Mosaic Filter, leaving all of the sites clear. That would allow the sensor geometry to be preserved and would be a minimal intrusion on the fabrication process.

More images from my Monochrome DSLR.

Hand-held. The spinning media (2.5" notebook SCSI disk) in the camera helps stabilize it for hand-held photographjy.



100% crop.


Hand-Held, wide-open at F2.8 with the Micro-Nikkor 55/2.8.



Full-crop


You can see the hot-pixel that the CCD picked up on its 15th year.



This camera is almost 20 years old. Some advances have been made since then. A Monochrome M9 would yield some incredible Black and White. "Just Desaturating" is "okay", but it is more accurate to add the sensor output in each 2x2 Bayer site to yield a monochrome equivalent detection.

Has anyone else on this forum actually used or owned a Monochrome Digital camera? I suspect I'm the only person here that has called the Kodak factory to have one custom made.

Last edited by Brian Sweeney : 01-24-2010 at 05:28.
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Old 01-24-2010   #50
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Brian,

Thank you for sharing your pictures and knowledge in this field.

I do think there is a real economic issue for Leica, that would cause them apprehension. I still believe that the best way to see this product come to be, is a financial commitment by a group of buyers. I think a small company like Leica would be receptive to a special project if the right monetary incentives where in place.

What I am wondering is the feasibility of an aftermarket conversion of the M8 & M8.2? What would one expect for the image quality with this size sensor? What size of production numbers are needed to make the cost marketable?

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