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View Full Version : Coded Lenses - Did you do it?


dcsang
04-04-2008, 10:07
How many of you Leica M8 owners decided that you needed to have your lenses 6 Bit encoded?

I, personally, don't think I would need the encoding but I'm curious if those of you out there found a definite need for them yourselves and if so, why?

Thanks,
Dave

thomasw_
04-04-2008, 10:29
Dave, I don't have a M8 and I am not pining away for one in the near future, as I would prefer to save my purchasing dough for a low light big bertha 75 ;p That said, if I do get a digital M body of this generation, requiring the coding for maximum functionality, I would get any lens I use on it coded -- perhaps I'd just get one of the DIY coders.
Regards, Thomas

dcsang
04-04-2008, 11:13
I dont care. My Nocti was factory coded by the previous owner, but I wouldnt botter. Im gonna ghetto code my Elmar and cv 35 with a dremmel whenever I have time for it just because it is easy.

Erik,

As a fellow dremel owner, do you have a link to the "how to" for the DIY encoding?

Thanks,
Dave

dcsang
04-04-2008, 11:44
If you buy the do it youself coder kit you just mark the lens with a marker. Put it on the M8 and check if you get the right lens on the display. Use dremmel to mill out the black and fill it in with correct black. Matte black. You can use you marker in the milled slot as well. I havent done this yet with any of my lenses, but I have a friend that has. Its no stress. You dont need to fill in the whites. Blacks only.

Cool.. good to know :)

Thanks
Dave

BillBlackwell
04-04-2008, 11:51
To say "I needed to have them coded" is too strong.

I originally tried my lenses (most are wide-angle) uncoded but I was not satisfied with the results due to cyan shift. Although I was told by many coding on 50mm lenses and above (some even said 35mm and above) was not necessary, I had (nine in all) them coded anyway. All were coded by Leica.

Since this was done (and UVa filters replaced with IR/CUT filters) I have been more than satisfied with the results.

dcsang
04-04-2008, 12:01
Bill,

Do you find yourself shooting mostly color or B&W with the M8?

(and by "B&W" I mean converting in post processing)

Thanks,
Dave

Matthew
04-04-2008, 12:15
Erik,

As a fellow dremel owner, do you have a link to the "how to" for the DIY encoding?




There's a coding kit for sale at Popflash for $75 US or thereabouts (not that there's much of a difference between USD and CND these days...). It doesn't give instructions on milling the mount, but provides a guide as to where the code goes, as well as an index of the different codes that can be used.

Richard Marks
04-04-2008, 12:30
Dear Dave
When I bought the M8 I only had a 50f2 lens and 75 lux. Neither were coded. The first new lens I bought was the 28 2.8 and this was 6 bit any way. Recently i had the 75 lux cleaned and serviced and it was a relatively minor charge to get it coded at the same time, but otherwise i would not have bothered. It certainly has very minimal appeal for anything longer than 35mm and even Leica accept that. It really has not made any noticeabledifference to pics from my 75. For me there is just one advantage of coding for longer lenses and this is that if you use flash, you can set lens dependent slow sync so if you change lenses it alters the shutter for the lowest useable value for that lens. Hardly great shakes but its quite a nice feature giving maximum ballance with ambient light. Its certainly not a deal breaker though. Flash with M8 is the one thing which does not get close to the DSLr gizmos.

Best wishes

Richard

BillBlackwell
04-04-2008, 14:15
... Do you find yourself shooting mostly color or B&W with the M8? (and by "B&W" I mean converting in post processing)...

I have never shot in B&W mode. Of the +/-600 exposure actuations with my M8 I have converted perhaps two shots to B&W.

btrancho
04-04-2008, 14:27
I milled my own after marking the codes with a kit. I happen to have a Foredom flex-shaft grinder for wood carving (better than Dremel - thinner, higher speed, more control) so I bought a Dremel diamond point bit and did the deed for three lenses (CV 21, 28, 35) in about 15 minutes. Go slow and it's not difficult. Filled with flat black model enamel.

Just be sure to mask the lens back carefully with blue tape on non-LTM lenses. A magnifier lamp helps but isn't required.

Doug
04-04-2008, 20:50
None of the poll options fit; I've used Tim's coding kit to mark several lenses but I didn't really *need* to. I don't have cyan fringing because I don't (yet?) use IR cut filters. I'll need to convince myself through use of the necessity of going all the way with filters and permanent coding.

dcsang
04-04-2008, 21:31
None of the poll options fit; I've used Tim's coding kit to mark several lenses but I didn't really *need* to. I don't have cyan fringing because I don't (yet?) use IR cut filters. I'll need to convince myself through use of the necessity of going all the way with filters and permanent coding.

Ya see... this is what I'm trying to figure out - I would want to use the M8 almost strictly as a B&W camera - so, while I understand the reason for the IR cut filters, is it "necessary" for B&W? and if not.. then I would fall into the same camp as Doug.

Cheers
Dave

Doug
04-04-2008, 22:37
...I would want to use the M8 almost strictly as a B&W camera - so, while I understand the reason for the IR cut filters, is it "necessary" for B&W? and if not.. then I would fall into the same camp as Doug.Going with B&W only is an attractive option, Dave, and from what I read (on Luminous Landscape as I recall) the remaining IR component tends to add a little extra richness and detail to shadow areas in B&W. So I would opt not to use IR cut filters for B&W.

I'm straddling the fence... In 10 days or so I'm taking my M8 on a trip to Malta, Sicily, and the Canary Is. I've Sharpie-coded the lenses and set lens recognition to On but not with IR and plan not to use cut filters. We begin with a historical-oriented tour covering a lot of Greek ruins so B&W would seem appropriate anyway. I'll try for color shots of residents too, and if IR effects mess up the color then maybe conversion to B&W would solve that. But I will also have IR cut filters with me if they turn out to be more desirable. A learning experience of several kinds! :D

caparobertsan
04-05-2008, 01:07
If you buy the do it youself coder kit you just mark the lens with a marker. Put it on the M8 and check if you get the right lens on the display. Use dremmel to mill out the black and fill it in with correct black. Matte black. You can use you marker in the milled slot as well. I havent done this yet with any of my lenses, but I have a friend that has. Its no stress. You dont need to fill in the whites. Blacks only.

Hi Erik
Which bit(for dremel) is good for doing leica coding? DO u have dremel with desktop stand kit? I think it is better to secure mount and dremel so I don`t scratch the lens mount. If I use circular bit and just mill circle instead of original code shape, do you think camera will recognize lens code correctly? How did your friend do it?

Please let me know. Some pic will be most helpful.

Thanks

dcsang
04-05-2008, 05:38
Going with B&W only is an attractive option, Dave, and from what I read (on Luminous Landscape as I recall) the remaining IR component tends to add a little extra richness and detail to shadow areas in B&W. So I would opt not to use IR cut filters for B&W.

I'm straddling the fence... In 10 days or so I'm taking my M8 on a trip to Malta, Sicily, and the Canary Is. I've Sharpie-coded the lenses and set lens recognition to On but not with IR and plan not to use cut filters. We begin with a historical-oriented tour covering a lot of Greek ruins so B&W would seem appropriate anyway. I'll try for color shots of residents too, and if IR effects mess up the color then maybe conversion to B&W would solve that. But I will also have IR cut filters with me if they turn out to be more desirable. A learning experience of several kinds! :D

Hmm.. interesting.
Thanks for that Doug - I guess it's me; when I think "Leica" I think "B&W" - must be just the way I always thought of the M series (and prior) cameras. So it just makes sense to me to want to shoot B&W with an M8.

I was this close >< yesterday to ordering one. Eight Elm (a local Leica dealer) had one in stock and I checked it out (non-charged) - it felt "M enough" I guess. It almost felt too light compared to my M7 but then I realized I didn't have a lens mounted :o When I asked, regarding the Warranty, where they would have to send the camera should it have "issues" they told me it would head to Leica USA in New Jersey.

There is another couple of dealers locally - one of them, Harry's Pro Shop, is selling definite "grey market" M8's but at least I know that the M8, if it had issues, would get taken care of by sending it back to Germany.

I guess I'm just nervous - because it's a lot of $$$$ and I've heard some rough stories about having to deal with Leica USA.

Anyway, I'm rambling now, thanks again for the info :) I've got lots of pondering to do :D

Cheers
Dave

Ben Z
04-05-2008, 07:47
I coded all my lenses from 35mm and wider. Did it myself, with an electric handpiece, basically like a high-priced Dreml. Just the black ones were needed. It was before there was any accurate template, so I mapped it out myself. I used black automotive touch-up paint because that's what I happened to have. It's shiny but it works fine. I wouldn't want to be without the coding for those lenses because of the cyan corner problem. I haven't done anything longer than 35mm and so far don't see any reason to spend the time.

etrigan63
04-05-2008, 09:43
I had to order a new flange for my Zeiss 21mm so it would bring up the right framelines. I have a buddy who is a Zeiss certified lens tech and has a CNC milling rig for making mounts for Zeiss cine lenses. He wants to take a crack at milling the code pits to broaden his skills.

Richard Marks
04-05-2008, 12:04
Hmm.. interesting.
Thanks for that Doug - I guess it's me; when I think "Leica" I think "B&W" - must be just the way I always thought of the M series (and prior) cameras. So it just makes sense to me to want to shoot B&W with an M8.

I was this close >< yesterday to ordering one. Eight Elm (a local Leica dealer) had one in stock and I checked it out (non-charged) - it felt "M enough" I guess. It almost felt too light compared to my M7 but then I realized I didn't have a lens mounted :o When I asked, regarding the Warranty, where they would have to send the camera should it have "issues" they told me it would head to Leica USA in New Jersey.

There is another couple of dealers locally - one of them, Harry's Pro Shop, is selling definite "grey market" M8's but at least I know that the M8, if it had issues, would get taken care of by sending it back to Germany.

I guess I'm just nervous - because it's a lot of $$$$ and I've heard some rough stories about having to deal with Leica USA.

Anyway, I'm rambling now, thanks again for the info :) I've got lots of pondering to do :D

Cheers
Dave

Dave

I can confidently say that the IR filters are not necessary for black and white. Theoretically black and white should be very slightly sharper without. Also less flare issues without filters. But it is worth finding out if Leica are still providing two free filters with a new M8 purchase. This was a fairly generous option. If there is any prospect of using an M8 for your wedding work in colour, at that stage you definately need filters not only for clothing, but also accurate skin tones and foliage.
But none of these issues are immediately vital if you go M8 you can add on coding and filters as and when you require them.

Best wishes

Richard

jaapv
04-05-2008, 16:08
Sorry, Richard, theoretically B&W should be slightly sharper with filter, as the IR part of the spectrum will be shifted out of focus.

Cindy Flood
04-05-2008, 18:34
Sorry, Richard, theoretically B&W should be slightly sharper with filter, as the IR part of the spectrum will be shifted out of focus.

Jaap is correct about B+W being sharper with the filter.

Dave, if you haven't already subscribed to Sean Reid's paid site, reidreviews.com, I would suggest that it would be worth the money. He has a lot of good information on there concerning profiles (JFI for C1), lenses, coding (including coding Zeiss lenses), etc.

John Milich will mill your flange for $25 + shipping.
He also sells flanges that have the coding pits in them. Make sure if you buy LTM adapters, that they are the type II adapters if you might want to code them. Old CV type I adapters can't be coded.
You only need to code wide-angle lenses up to 35mm. I have just used a sharpie on some of mine. If you get Tim Issacs coder, you can just use the pen that he provides. I have made it work without the coder, but I have to re-do them every once in a while.

Richard Marks
04-06-2008, 03:12
Sorry, Richard, theoretically B&W should be slightly sharper with filter, as the IR part of the spectrum will be shifted out of focus.
I agree theoretically about the IR shift, but in practice the extra layer of glass is another 'flare' trap which degrades quality and also there is inevitably some visible spectrum diffraction also. So I really am not so sure.Surely allegedly the reason Leica did not put the IR filter on the front of the sensor was for extra sharpness?

Regards

Richard

jaapv
04-06-2008, 04:58
The IR part will be four to five stops down, so well within the dynamic range. I think that degradation "wins" . But I also think you will need some rather sophisticated measuring methods and controlled circumstances to prove the point either way.

Cindy Flood
04-06-2008, 05:58
Dave,
I have not sent any of my uncoded lenses into Leica for coding. I just don't think it is worth the time away that it takes. I did just send my 75 lux to DAG for calibration and had him send the flange to John Milich for coding...as it cost very little to do that and only takes about 2 weeks. I do make sure that when I buy LTM adapters that they are version II so that if I need to get them coded I can.
There are some people who never use IR filters and you may not need to if you are mostly doing black and white. I found that when I shoot landscape, foliage looks better with the IR. Also, of course if you use the M8 for weddings, which I have, the filters are needed for color work (or a lot of post-processing).

Richard Marks
04-06-2008, 06:15
The IR part will be four to five stops down, so well within the dynamic range. I think that degradation "wins" . But I also think you will need some rather sophisticated measuring methods and controlled circumstances to prove the point either way.

My experience is 'sharper without' for black and white using nothing more scientific than gut feeling on simple observations. Id rather take pictures than do laboratory experiments with cameras! I think we are all at least agreed that if Dave does get an M8 ("One by one they are moving over" JAAP November 2006?) that just for B and W IR filters are not essential but sooner or later he is going to need some for colour work.

Richard

dcsang
04-07-2008, 11:35
Thanks for the info Cindy and Richard (and even you too Jaap) ;)

I'm still doing some more research (not so much on the IR filter thing but on other items I want to be sure about before putting in an order for the camera) but I appreciate you guys letting me know what your personal experiences are with the M8.

Thanks,
Dave

kingsley244
11-28-2008, 08:11
I used a dremel like tool and coded 3 of my lenses (trielmar, 35/2 and 50/2). After overcoming the initial fear, it is a breeze. Anyone will be able to do it.

Cronilux-M
12-02-2008, 06:03
I didn't bother. Nothing I'm going to do is that important eh?

borrel
12-03-2008, 12:47
Odd that no one here mentions EXIF (embedded exposure information) as a reason for coding their lenses. I have coded all of mine (Leica, CV and Zeiss) with the coding template, a small, handheld modelmaker's chuck and a 1.5mm drillbit drilling indentations deep enough to retain black ink or enamel in all 6 positions. That way I can change the coding if necessary just by cleaning out the indentation with the drill and recoding as necessary. Useful as new firmware recognizing more lenses is released and the coding can become more precise. Viz the ZM 21/2.8 Biogon that was not registered unless the framing lever was pushed during exposure. Now EXIF will tell me ISO, shutterspeed AND lens focal length of each and every shot. When I carry a GPS and the M8's clock is set correctly, HoudahGPS or similar software can be used to encode near exact geoposition into the pictures.

- Børre

gutguido
12-03-2008, 16:43
I haven't had the M8 that long but I've shot quite a bit with it now, using all uncoded Zeiss lenses.

On the downside, if you share your lenses with film bodies as I do (Ikon), then mucking with the mounts to bring up the proper framelines on the M8 is not necessarily a good thing. It may also affect resale value, if that bothers you (doesn't bother me any). Finally, it costs money to get new mounts or have your existing mounts milled, plus the cost of the filter(s).

So I haven't made up my own mind yet as to what to do. I have a bunch of Leica UV/IR filters enroute (two from Leica, one from the 'bay). I think I'll start out by using the filters and trying out CornerFix (on Mac). I can usually tell what lens was used, so neither the EXIF info nor choosing the profile in CornerFix should present a problem.

The only lens I have that's "mostly" for the M8 is the 4/18 Distagon. It's also the widest lens I have, where the IR effects and cyan drift are most pronounced. So I may bite the bullet and order up a Milich mount and a B+W 58mm filter. I doubt I'll go the extra mile and get a Leica 55/60 filter and step ring, but we'll see.

All around, the whole business is a pain in the ass... But all certainly fixable. ;)

Sorry, noobish questions from moi ... :D

Do you mean that the coding is needed to bring up the relevant frame lines on the M8 ... ? If so, is this something that needs to be done for non-Leica lenses only?

What's the reason why the cyan drift would be the more pronounced the wider the angle of the lens? And just to be clear, that's something which is separate from the coding (i.e. the fix is the filter, and the coding would not have anything to do with that)?

Thanks!

rycm
12-15-2008, 09:28
I am betting that the future M9 will make coding and IR filter redundant. So I will sharpie my lenses for now with th e coding kit, and invest in a few filters.

Gerald Grevrend
12-16-2008, 08:20
O only own a M6, I do not (yet) need to code my lenses :)

jaapv
12-16-2008, 08:27
I am betting that the future M9 will make coding and IR filter redundant. So I will sharpie my lenses for now with th e coding kit, and invest in a few filters.
IR filter maybe, but a digital camera will need to be able to read the lens in any case, especially wideangles. It corrects optical vignetting and light fall-off on the sensor due to the angle of incidence as well.

gfspencer
01-04-2009, 16:41
Odd that no one here mentions EXIF (embedded exposure information) as a reason for coding their lenses. - Børre
I boxed my three lenses Saturday and they will be off to Leica on Monday.

(1) Elmarit-M 1:2.8/90mm

(2) Summicron-M 1:2/50mm

(3) Summicron-M 1:2/35mm ASPH

Probably the only lens that needs to be coded is the 35mm but I wanted the EXIF information.

By the way, I have the coding kit but the black dots keep wearing off so I decided to let Leica code my lenses and be done with it.

CaptZoom
10-30-2012, 13:27
I boxed my three lenses Saturday and they will be off to Leica on Monday.

(1) Elmarit-M 1:2.8/90mm

(2) Summicron-M 1:2/50mm

(3) Summicron-M 1:2/35mm ASPH

Probably the only lens that needs to be coded is the 35mm but I wanted the EXIF information.

By the way, I have the coding kit but the black dots keep wearing off so I decided to let Leica code my lenses and be done with it.

The EXIF data is the only reason I'm considering coding my lenses. But it's not a high enough priority to get it done any time soon.

swoop
10-30-2012, 18:36
I have an M9. I find my images actually look better without the lens selection enabled.