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Eight months on with the M240 ... it's not all beer and skittles!
Old 04-16-2015   #1
Keith
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Thumbs down Eight months on with the M240 ... it's not all beer and skittles!

Do I like the camera .... very much.

Do I like the colour rendering ... not so much!

Personally I feel it falls well short of the file quality and colour rendering I was getting from my Merrills and this has become a problem because although I shoot a minimal amount of colour when I do it needs to please me. Also I feel the black and white conversions are lacking compared to the Merrills ... occasionally it seems OK but often I am a little nonplussed and no amount of faffing about in LR seems to find that sweet spot that was so easy to achieve with my Sigma foveon files.

Currently I am seriously considering trading it on Monochrom because the images in the MM thread have always really impressed me and black and white really is my thing. I shied away from the MM because the price is outrageous and it lacks the niceties of live view and several other features that drew me to the 240.

Financially it's achievable and if I did go this way the Sigmas would be for colour, which is their strong suit, and all black and white duties could be handled by the MM. My head is well and truly spinning!
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Old 04-16-2015   #2
Richard G
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Having decided to stick with my M9-P and not get the M240, and then to get the Monochrom to cement my yesterday's user status, perversely, I would say that maybe it's better to make the M240 work for you. By all accounts you can do as well with black and white using the M240. Of course, I was not convinced. If you want the colour from the Merrills you can have that now, ignoring the colour capability of the M. And the live view and lens adapters etc gives you a good package. And there's the sensor issues with the pre-M240 cameras. And there's the better buffer for your gallery work with the M240.

On the M9 black and white thread you started there are some stunning black and whites. Much as I love the Monochrom it's hard to say you 'need' it. A couple of mine in your thread are pictures I thought were from the Monochrom.

Having said all of the above there are a few shots I have from the Monochrom that still make me weak at the knees. Maybe if I had had the M9 that day it would have been the same. I doubt it. And the other crucial thing about the Monochrom is that it can only do black and white. It is amazing what a concentrator of energy that fact is. I miss a lot of wonderful colour shots, but I hardly give them a thought as they simply are impossible. Right now though I am staring at my Ilford Galerie Prints out of the Epson 3880 of Rollei Retro 25 negatives exposed in a Leica II through a Nickel plated Elmar with some front element haze and I am even leaving the Monochrom at home some days and just taking the tiny Leica II.
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Old 04-16-2015   #3
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well, it's your choice, but you may want to consider waiting until a new, type 240 based 'monochrom' becomes available.

however, nobody outside leica currently knows whether it will come at all, and if so, at which price.

owning (and using) a monochrom, i'd say it's a digital camera giving nice files, but i still prefer film based leicas. as soon as it comes to digital, this one i my first choice, though.
so, all in all - if you've got the dough easily, or you find a good offer, i'd say go for it.

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Old 04-16-2015   #4
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Keith,

As a diehard Leica user, you may find this question odd. In the real world of producing images, whether for fun or profit, and forgetting about gear form and aesthetics, would you really say that the D700 or later DSLR would perform just as well or better than the 240 (I hate that model name!)???

I have reached my own opinion. :-))
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Old 04-16-2015   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
Just Do It and be Done !
The Monochrom for your B&W tres Atmospheric Noir
And your Merrills for that Foveon Magic... Colour

Best of Luck in yourdecision making

Thanks Helen .... I knew you'd be in favour! LOL

Late this year I stop work (hopefully) and intend really throwing myself into my photography .... I would like to do a photo book based around rural artists and their art.
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Old 04-16-2015   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post
Keith,

As a diehard Leica user, you may find this question odd. In the real world of producing images, whether for fun or profit, and forgetting about gear form and aesthetics, would you really say that the D700 or later DSLR would perform just as well or better than the 240 (I hate that model name!)???

I have reached my own opinion. :-))

The D700 is a great camera and I will continue to use it where it shines which is in galleries (openings) and live events. in this situation it has no peers IMO.
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Old 04-16-2015   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
The D700 is a great camera and I will continue to use it where it shines which is in galleries (openings) and live events. in this situation it has no peers IMO.
Yes, I agree. But the question is why go through the angst with the 240?

If I had as much difficulty with the M3 or M6, I would have sold them long ago.

By the way, I agree with Helen! :-))
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Old 04-16-2015   #8
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Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post
Yes, I agree. But the question is why go through the angst with the 240?

If I had as much difficulty with the M3 or M6, I would have sold them long ago.

At this stage I'm really just thinking out loud. i guess my thoughts have stemmed from the weekend when I used the 240 to shoot a gallery opening and came away thinking I should have used the Nikon.
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Old 04-16-2015   #9
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i'm not sure if you want to improve your BW conversion workflow or it's more because of what the lighting condition the photos were taken in, that also affects the BW conversion. i doubt a MM will improve your BW photos conversion because guys on the MM thread do it well, prob ask them what their BW conversion workflow is? I use a A7 + M mount lens and BW Conversion from those files are stellar under the right light (soft light). under harsh light, the plastic super sharp look comes out.
keep hold on to your M and work on the lightroom skill. even with a MM, you still need a good workflow too.
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Old 04-16-2015   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
At this stage I'm really just thinking out loud. i guess my thoughts have stemmed from the weekend when I used the 240 to shoot a gallery opening and came away thinking I should have used the Nikon.
Ha! Happens to me all the time wishing I had a different camera, or lens, or film, or something.

I like Thorsten Overgaard's suggestion, use the camera you love. Right now I have too many choices but the top three in no particular order are:
1. M3/M6
2. Nikon F6
3. Nikon F compact bodies

And, yes, I am about to return to sports shooting for profit. That means the the Nikon D 2/3 bodies.

I really can't imagine anything else if I could even afford it but the Monochrom is certainly a dream of mine too.

Good luck in sorting it out but I think you already know where you are headed!
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Old 04-16-2015   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
Do I like the camera .... very much.


Currently I am seriously considering trading it on Monochrom because the images in the MM thread have always really impressed me and black and white really is my thing. I shied away from the MM because the price is outrageous and it lacks the niceties of live view and several other features that drew me to the 240.
Keith and see I find those all to be reason to by the MM. Rumors are the new MM will have all those things you like.

Good luck....
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Old 04-16-2015   #12
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Keith, after eight months with the M 240 you haven't got your workflow down to where you're really pleased with the output? Time to sell or trade it ...
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Old 04-16-2015   #13
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Hmm but colors are what you make them. Perhaps study a bit Lightroom and make a preset for the starting point and save time, individual adjust when needed.
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Old 04-16-2015   #14
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interesting you should say the Sigma's strong suit is colour Keith, considering how good the bw conversions are. The Sigma colour must be very good because your D700 is no slouch in the colour dept.

I'm thinking jarski's suggestion is worth experimenting with. Can you describe your perception of the M240's colour compared to the Sigma, in terms of colour temperature and saturation, to help you play around with Lr's develop settings to get it comparable?

Might be worth taking same photo with both cameras, for your preferred colour subjects (portrait skin tones?), and then comparing both files A/B in LR, playing around to get the 240 in the same ballpark.
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Old 04-16-2015   #15
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IMO this is a time to stay in a holding pattern and see what's coming. Leica's current models have pretty severe limitations, but things could get better.

Agree with you about 240 color. And like M9, MM may face sensor corrosion problems.

I've checked it out, and A7r's larger sensor + Leica lenses, converted to BW, is a match in IQ to my MM in 15x22.5" prints. And there's the advantage of being able to use the BW conversion sliders to rebalance the tones in a BW image. But the A7r has its famously vibrating shutter.

While I love my MM's IQ, it's very hard, esp. with wide angles, to frame an image correctly without Live View. And I have my fingers crossed about its sensor.

So with every current offering weak in some important respect, I'd wait for either (a) the promised/imagined 240 Monochrom, or (b) a newer generation Sony body, with rumors of an A7rll or a 50mp version.

My own holding pattern is MM for BW (98%), and A7 w/ Leica lenses for a little bit of color. Yours might as well be 240 and Merrills.

Truth be told, we can make some very nice photographs while practicing gear-patience.

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Old 04-16-2015   #16
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Hi Keith,

try an IR filter. For me it makes a noticeable difference.

I actually really like the M's color rendering with classic lenses in particular, my Nikkor LTM set and the rigid Summicron, for instance. But then I like subtle colors.

And for B+W, the M's BWfilm/yellow -> jpg filter often does a better job than me in LR or PS, out of the box. Again, with lenses from the 50s in particular.

Then again, if you don't like the M, too much cash in a camera, trade or sell it before the model 241 is released

Roland.
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Old 04-16-2015   #17
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Keith ... I`m with you on this.
I can`t help comparing black and white shots to my Merrill files and the only ones which do it for me are the MM files.
Both expense and the attendant problems associated with the pre 240 cameras however are a cause for concern.
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Old 04-16-2015   #18
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from looking at images only...the monochrom is the only digital leica that appeals to me.
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Old 04-16-2015   #19
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Quote:
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Hi Keith,

try an IR filter. For me it makes a noticeable difference.

I actually really like the M's color rendering with classic lenses in particular, my Nikkor LTM set and the rigid Summicron, for instance. But then I like subtle colors.

And for B+W, the M's BWfilm/yellow -> jpg filter often does a better job than me in LR or PS, out of the box. Again, with lenses from the 50s in particular.

Then again, if you don't like the M, too much cash in a camera, trade or sell it before the model 241 is released

Roland.
This!
IR filters seem to help all digital sensors. Especially short register models RF and mirror less cameras with thin/weak filters.
Everyone became allergic to the idea from "M8 trauma".
I sold all mine but now wish I had them back!
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Old 04-16-2015   #20
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Next to the M8, the M (240) is the most IR sensitive short register camera, I believe, Andy. Per Jaap it goes: M8 50%, M9 80%, M240 70% of IR suppression.
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Old 04-16-2015   #21
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Have you tried DxO film pack for your B&W conversions?
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Old 04-16-2015   #22
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can you load a profile to the 240 ? would be a great help if you could.
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Old 04-16-2015   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
The D700 is a great camera and I will continue to use it where it shines which is in galleries (openings) and live events. in this situation it has no peers IMO.
For color, I agree completely! I do not like high-contrast color images, I prefer sharpness and low contrast, almost pastellish-like colours. Reminds me of the days of prints from film . The D700 with my Tokina lenses gets me just that and I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world, EXCEPT a nikon D3S, which has the same sensor but 1.5 more stops of light and that would seriously help me in low-light venues like congresses etc.

For B&W I DO like high contrast and used to have a Ricoh GXR (no AA-filter, very sharp), which I foolishly sold
I might get one again in the future (with an Mount module and a Nikon -> Leica M adapter) but earning enough for a D3S is priority for this year


Regarding the Leica M, can't say anything useful about it, sorry. But, if it doesn't please you, sell it and get something that does, Keith!
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Old 04-16-2015   #24
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It took me a few months to get used to the M240 DNG files and change my workflow to suit the way I wanted my files to look. Best way, for me, was to start with RAW then work from there, making my own profiles both in ACR and Alien Skin Exposure (I recommend the latter highly - start with the Kodak 160NC as your "base" for color then customize from there). I'm also quite pleased with the B/W conversions of Alien Skin.

Good luck!
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Old 04-16-2015   #25
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Depends on the way we master our raw converters i guess. I'm having a hard time mastering clipping reds of the DP2 Merrill for instance while i have no problem on M240 files with C1.
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Old 04-16-2015   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
Do I like the camera .... very much.

Do I like the colour rendering ... not so much!

Personally I feel it falls well short of the file quality and colour rendering I was getting from my Merrills and this has become a problem because although I shoot a minimal amount of colour when I do it needs to please me. Also I feel the black and white conversions are lacking compared to the Merrills ... occasionally it seems OK but often I am a little nonplussed and no amount of faffing about in LR seems to find that sweet spot that was so easy to achieve with my Sigma foveon files.

Currently I am seriously considering trading it on Monochrom because the images in the MM thread have always really impressed me and black and white really is my thing. I shied away from the MM because the price is outrageous and it lacks the niceties of live view and several other features that drew me to the 240.

Financially it's achievable and if I did go this way the Sigmas would be for colour, which is their strong suit, and all black and white duties could be handled by the MM. My head is well and truly spinning!
Keith,
I have a radical idea
Try your hand at making very short (15-20 seconds max) films that have color as its main subject with your M240. You may find yourself enjoying the new medium and appreciating the M240s color palette for what it is if you take away your ability to compare it to the Merrills.
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Old 04-16-2015   #27
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I took these shots with the 3 cameras mentioned in this thread (Merrill, Epson, Leica). These are straight out of the camera, shot in B&W and jpg format. They are only cropped to fairly uniform size. No other developing. I'd be interested to hear which are the better images and why, and what camera you think shot which image. I shot them with as close as possible settings but there are considerable differences of lenses and crop factors.





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Old 04-16-2015   #28
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Just for fun, here are the OOC JPGs in color, only cropped to get generally similar image proportions. All WB set to auto. The lights are terrible, a mixture of incandescent and fluorescent.





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Old 04-17-2015   #29
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At least the Leica seem to get the colour WB more accurately than the other two cameras -- But the Leica OOC b+w image seems to lack a bit of lustre. In addition, the Leica seems to be moderately out-of-focus, where the other 2 examples are spot-on.
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Old 04-17-2015   #30
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At least the Leica seem to get the colour WB more accurately than the other two cameras -- But the Leica OOC b+w image seems to lack a bit of lustre. In addition, the Leica seems to be moderately out-of-focus, where the other 2 examples are spot-on.
Interesting observations. Could you tell me how you decided which images were taken with which camera? To me, the RD-1 is slightly out of focus but not the other 2. The AE gave different results in each case so all are overexposed or overexposed. Makes it more difficult to judge the color rendering of each one. I'll try again with daylight. It's overcast and misty outside today. It might be very interesting to see how the flowers render.
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Old 04-17-2015   #31
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Leica is working hard to get a new model out which overcomes this 'messy' results. I had a pre production model for a short time, but the results on color were far from nice and far from what I got from the M8 and M9.
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Old 04-17-2015   #32
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OK, I try again. The first image is from an Olympus EM-1 for informative purposes. I shot them all outside with overcast light. All settings as possible set to auto. I used the "auto tone" correction in LR5 because all the images came out underexposed because the white car over the dark background. All were cropped for uniformity because of the different FL and crop factors.

OLympus EM-1 with 12-40 f2.8


The rest:





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Old 04-18-2015   #33
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That's only a theory. I had two cameras in the past where I never managed to get the colors right, the Fuji X100 was one of them. I spent hours tweaking and tweaking in LR and was never satisfied. With the X100s...no problem at all. So I can fully understand that some combinations of camera files + image processor + person in front of the computer don't work well together.
Lightroom is rather limited in that aspect. Try Capture One Pro - a different world of colour correction.

As for OOC colours being different or even “difficult” on any camera, I wouldn’t consider doing serious postprocessing on any image from any camera without having made a good profile.
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Old 04-18-2015   #34
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Yes another vote for C1 (in linear mode for me) but don't expect getting the colors you like w/o some work in PP. True for all CCD, CMOS, Xtrans and Foveon based cameras i've used so far. Now some firmwares are better than others as far as OOC jpegs are concerned and Leica's are not the best from this standpoint.
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Old 04-18-2015   #35
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RE: color rendition

As stated above, in digital imaging color rendition depends on many variables. It is inherently complicated. This is one of the reasons there is a diverse range of ad-hoc conclusions from different photographers about the same camera... and even the same camera with the same /similar lenses.

I usually discount reports of inferior color rendition unless there are known, statistically valid data consistent with a technical cause. In my view all digital camera systems, scanners and even pure analog color film printing inherently flawed to some degree. Perhaps a more positive statement would be compromises in design and manufacturing limitations are inevitable and not unique to any brand.

All that really matters is the photographer finds a camera and post-production workflow that satisfies their needs.
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Old 04-18-2015   #36
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No issues with B&W with my M240. Maybe it's because I have the 100 Year Anniversary model..

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Old 04-18-2015   #37
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No issues with B&W with my M240. Maybe it's because I have the 100 Year Anniversary model..
Yes ! The M100 rocks !
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Old 04-18-2015   #38
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OK, I try again. The first image is from an Olympus EM-1 for informative purposes. I shot them all outside with overcast light. All settings as possible set to auto. I used the "auto tone" correction in LR5 because all the images came out underexposed because the white car over the dark background. All were cropped for uniformity because of the different FL and crop factors. ....
What's the point of not not using each camera at it's best potential?

I.e. put in an effort to get a proper white balance (manual) and a proper exposure in the first place.
Leaving everything to AUTO is like heating up your food in microwave
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Old 04-18-2015   #39
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The discussion of the Leica IR/UV cut filter caught my attention, so I had to try one out on this fine Spring day in DC. Here are the results on my M240:

Lightroom raw conversion, no processing, without IR/UV filter:


And here is the shot with the IR/UV filter attached:



Subtle, but greens, blues and reds all seem to be more natural with the filter, at least to my eye. You can see this especially with the red of the flowers and the brick pathway to the right of the flowerbed.

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Old 04-20-2015   #40
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What's the point of not not using each camera at it's best potential?

I.e. put in an effort to get a proper white balance (manual) and a proper exposure in the first place.
Leaving everything to AUTO is like heating up your food in microwave
I did not want to manipulate the images any more than absolutely necessary to compare the output of the cameras. I'm just curious to understand which makes the best image, perhaps as a starting point... I think the OP was lamenting the output of the M240 vs other cameras including the RD-1 and the Merrill with Foveon sensor. Since the post processing should allow the desired out put assuming the files were good enough, I thought I'd post OOC jpg of them and gain some knowledge.

I do PP on all my images, and I adjust the settings on the cameras to get the best possible outcome. But I just did not think that making adjustments to the cameras would be fair way to compare them. My skill with each camera and my bias would probably cause some to come out better than others but not fairly. That is all.
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