How did you end up with a Monochom?
Old 10-18-2019   #1
przemol
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How did you end up with a Monochom?

Hello,
I wanted to ask everyone here - how did you end up shooting with Monochrom?
Why did you choose it over the other Leica M (and other) cameras?

I noticed that I have been using my MM way more than the M9P and Typ 262.

What is your story?
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Old 10-18-2019   #2
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I do not have a Monochrom but more recently have been thinking about it. These days I mainly shoot in RAW, in color of course, (which it then process in various ways including in maybe 10% of cases converting to a monochrome image.)

The thing that set me thinking about the Monochrom was when I realized the implications of having a camera that saved in RAW - in black and white with all of that info from the mono sensor intact. One reason I do not presently shoot in black and white in camera is that it means shooting in JPG which these days I seldom do given the loss of image quality. I suspect that if I owned a Monochrom I would be shooting black and white much more often than the 10% I mentioned above.
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Old 10-18-2019   #3
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If Leica didn't create the M- Monochrom I likely would still be a film only die hard. My Monochrom is seven years old, had its sensor replaced and was overhauled for free, and I still own it. Warts and all the MM is still a great camera.

I would even say that it is so primitive and basic that it is the digital camera that is most like a basic film camera. I love the CCD sensor for its broad midrange rendering.

I also own a SL. Not the same making B&W with a color camera.

BTW I still shoot 135 and medium format film.

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Why the Monochrom?
Old 10-18-2019   #4
Dektol Dan
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Why the Monochrom?

My Mono is 6 years old, I chose to get it instead if the M9 color.
I didn't own a color digital Leica until I bought the M10.

I have Minolta, Nikon, and other film scanners together I paid thousands for. Film still is the best image! I have digital SLR Canons so there was no incentive to get a color Leica. I've been shooting Leicas from the time I bought an M2 in the late 60's. The Mono CCD sensor looks like film, right down to the grain.

My Mono's sensor is the original CCD with no corrosion yet.
I have yet to see a survey of how many Mono cameras still have the original sensor. My belief is that the sensor issues are humidity related. I live in Phoenix AZ (what's humidity?).

If I couldn't have my Mono I would choose the M8 for B&W.
The M10 is damn good for B&W though!
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Old 10-18-2019   #5
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Dan,

I think in your post you mention how your CCD sensor resembles film in its rendering. I would agree with that.

I mention how shooting my color camera how different it is to my Monochrom. In my case it is a SL and a CMOS sensor.

To me the CCD sensor has its own unique rendering, and it does resemble film like you say.

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Old 10-18-2019   #6
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I ordered an M Monochrom typ 246 when they were announced. The reason I don't have one is that after waiting for at least five-six months, they hadn't delivered it yet, no dealer had it in stock yet, and the Leica SL was announced. I cancelled my order and placed an order for the SL, which was delivered on exactly the day that the announcement had stated.

Such it is. The SL is now gone, the digital Ms I had are now gone. I'm very happy with the digital Leica CL ... and waiting for the Hasselblad 907x Special Edition.



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Old 10-21-2019   #7
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This was in response to a similar question a while back:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
Mine is in for free sensor replacement at almost 5 years. The camera is magic. It is different to film. I still shoot black and white film. If I had to choose it would be the Monochrom. It is like pushing Tri-X 2-3 stops and getting Plus X negatives. It is like medium format tonal subtlety at base ISO. The detail is sometimes astonishing. The shutter is smoother and quieter than my M9-P. I had to have it. I have to keep it.
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Old 10-21-2019   #8
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The Monochrome files are like Plus-X? I would like that.
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Old 10-21-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
The Monochrome files are like Plus-X? I would like that.
Rob,

Perhaps like Plus-X. To me the grain kinda reminds me of old thick emulsion inbeteewn Tri-X and Plus-X.

Grain visibility depends on print size. Bigger prints resemble more Tri-X, and smaller prints Plus-X.

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Old 10-21-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dektol Dan View Post
My Mono's sensor is the original CCD with no corrosion yet.
I have yet to see a survey of how many Mono cameras still have the original sensor.
!
How many are left? A Leica mystery. Maybe I'll start that poll here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dektol Dan View Post
My belief is that the sensor issues are humidity related. I live in Phoenix AZ (what's humidity?).
!
I recall threads about this and humidity had nothing to do with it; it was the chemical bond. Not sure if you're lucky insofar that you may end up paying a pretty pfennig to have it replaed when (not if) it fails. Assuming, of course, they have any more left when that happens.
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Old 10-21-2019   #11
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My take on the threads was that it was humidity that broke the chemical bond. It could be my memory is corroded.

Some issues that are wrongly assumed to be corrosion, are not.

If the 'corrosion' that first appears at different f stops and ISO, something commonly described, it is NOT corrosion. The sensor may have a dead pixel that appears as corrosion in the image, but is not.

The dead pixel blocks all the following pixels read linearly. The sensor has to be reprogrammed by Leica in Germany to skip the dead pixel which otherwise kills all the following pixels that are read thereafter. That is often easily mistaken for corrosion.

My camera had this issue from new but not discovered until many months of use later. I did research on this and did sent it back to have it reset. It's fine now.

I did not send it for repair with a complaint about corrosion, but I can easily see why MANY M9 owners would assume that corrosion is what they had!

I posted to a thread addressing the issue I am referring to some 5 years ago.

Just ask yourself, what are the chances of having a single dead pixel on a monitor or TV? I would say the same chances are possible for a camera's sensor. What percentage of sensors replaced are not corrosion? Who knows?

I still wouldn't assume my sensor will fail here in Arizona. Maybe I'm just lucky!
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Old 10-21-2019   #12
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I was shooting with an M9, a camera that I loved in spite of it's quirks. It was August in 2016 and I was traveling in Nice where I came upon a camera shop that had several used Leicas. There were two used Monochrom cameras on the shelf. I had been impressed by the MM images I'd seen to the point of intrigued to have at one. I managed a fairly good deal in trade with for my M9. Being in Nice and running around taking pictures, I felt a bit fancy free and just went with my urge.

I've recently considered selling the MM to fund an M 262 or M10 so I could enjoy my Leica glass in color again, but then I shoot with it, and play with the files. It also feels really nice to shoot with and focus on both colors- black and white

David

Here are a couple of the first images I made with it.



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Old 10-21-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DwF View Post

I've recently considered selling the MM to fund an M 262 or M10 so I could enjoy my Leica glass in color again, but then I shoot with it, and play with the files. It also feels really nice to shoot with and focus on both colors- black and white

David
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Old 10-21-2019   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james.liam View Post
Don't sell the MM!
I know, and thanks for the reality check James!

I'm currently advertising another camera so I won't sell the MM. I've been thinking M10 for some time but went and fondled an M262 the other day and the weight of that one appeals to me. I never thought I'd come round to the thicker size of the M digitals but it balanced better for me and the files skin tones at least in the light where I was shooting looked good. I find the M10 feels heavy in the hand. A combination of those extra few grams and the smaller size I guess. When it comes down to it though, I may just buck up and get the M10.
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Old 10-21-2019   #15
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Back to the OP:
I traded my late model M7 plus cash to a fellow RFFer for his demo-unit M246. We had horse-traded other Fuji/Leica gear, and so had collegial respect and ease with one another’s values and valuations; our timing was perfect in helping each other move in our opposing digital/film directions.

I’ve known for several years I was going away from 35mm film. Making images is a passion, yes, but never the only one in my life, and the so-called pleasures of the darkroom are both distant and few. During my digital decade since 2009, I’ve been moving in this direction—using monochrome display on digitals (Panasonic->Ricoh->Fuji->Sony), converting raw to monochrome jpgs...the 246 is a logical culmination.

I was shooting it at a farm this morning with a 21/2.8, plus the M-D 262 with a 50/2.8. They work well together, and the files are, for me, nearly a WYSWYG ideal, in how the final image tends to bear out my previsualization, with a few Lightroom tweaks. (I bought the M-D 262 when I retired in 2017; satisfaction in its filmic minimalist practice has helped prep me for the 246, as well as for selling off 35mm film gear and less-used digitals.)

For over a decade, then, I’ve tried a good deal of gear, mostly RF and mirrorless, in the interest of making monochromatic images. I seem to have arrived at a proper plateau with the digital Ms. They don’t yet do it all for me—they don’t do AF, they don’t have a Foveon sensor, they’re not a Ricoh GR—but they are first-call tools. The fact that the photographers whose work I most admire use the same tools is not coincidental.
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MM Monochrom GAS
Old 10-27-2019   #16
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MM Monochrom GAS

The last couple of weeks, I have acquired a case of GAS for the original 18MP Monochrom. I suspect I'm being somewhat irrational, since for some time now I've only been viewing my digital shots on the 21" iMac (and almost as often, the 15" MacBook). I haven't been printing digital files since I threw out my Canon i9000.

And yet I'm ready to sell my SWC/M to help fund it, and probably my Leica M6 non-TTL, to complete the funding. I'll still have my 500C/M with 40mm Distagon, and enough film Leicas.

I'm not sure I need it, because color files from the M9, or even my D700, converted to black & white in Aperture, look good to me. But it seems to me that sometimes I can see why the shots others have published here look excellent, very detailed, even on the iMac. And with my best lenses, I think I could equal or exceed the quality of the SWC/M, using the MM, if I pay to have some shots blown up to, say, 14 x 20 or so.

So, are you going to talk me out of it, or what?
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Old 10-27-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by przemol View Post
I wanted to ask everyone here - how did you end up shooting with Monochrom?
Why did you choose it over the other Leica M (and other) cameras?

I noticed that I have been using my MM way more than the M9P and Typ 262.

What is your story?
It is a native black and white digital camera. That's it.

Marty
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Old 10-27-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
The last couple of weeks, I have acquired a case of GAS for the original 18MP Monochrom. I suspect I'm being somewhat irrational, since for some time now I've only been viewing my digital shots on the 21" iMac (and almost as often, the 15" MacBook). I haven't been printing digital files since I threw out my Canon i9000.

And yet I'm ready to sell my SWC/M to help fund it, and probably my Leica M6 non-TTL, to complete the funding. I'll still have my 500C/M with 40mm Distagon, and enough film Leicas.

I'm not sure I need it, because color files from the M9, or even my D700, converted to black & white in Aperture, look good to me. But it seems to me that sometimes I can see why the shots others have published here look excellent, very detailed, even on the iMac. And with my best lenses, I think I could equal or exceed the quality of the SWC/M, using the MM, if I pay to have some shots blown up to, say, 14 x 20 or so.

So, are you going to talk me out of it, or what?
Yes, and No. There's a good soothing thread here at RFF on the M9 black and white output. The black and white jpegs in particular are very good. No-one needs the MM. But everything is different when I have that camera in hand.
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Old 10-27-2019   #19
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I would love to have a Monochrom. That's how I see - in black and white. Well, technically in shades of brown with the occasional blue, but mostly monochrome, due to extreme deuteranopia

I have several digital cameras, and usually just take a mono image from them. But who can afford a Leica MM? Well, I'll keep my eye out for an honest bargain. Until then my M4-P turns out black and white images all day long.
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Old 10-28-2019   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
Yes, and No. There's a good soothing thread here at RFF on the M9 black and white output. The black and white jpegs in particular are very good. No-one needs the MM. But everything is different when I have that camera in hand.
You mean this thread?

https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...d.php?t=129905

(Also has some comments about the M8.2.)

Or did you mean this one:
https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...d.php?t=139399

Could you say more about everything being different with the MM?
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Old 10-28-2019   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
You mean this thread?

https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...d.php?t=129905

(Also has some comments about the M8.2.)

Or did you mean this one:
https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...d.php?t=139399

Could you say more about everything being different with the MM?
Yes, the second thread Rob. I think somewhere there I mention discovering in my Lightroom files some sharp wonderful black and white which I am sure must have been with the Monochrom but it was the M9. That's why I say you don't need it.

But as to your other question, my Monochrom is such a sweet camera. The shutter is smoother and quieter than the M9-P, the shutter button travel and release is second only to my M2. The device itself is such a pleasure to use. And is this all those early Monochroms, or have I scored a particularly good one? Hard to say.

And knowing what it can do alters how I look at things and what I expect in the final result, not just that I only see black and white, like being out with Tri-X where a lovely red letter box is of no interest at all. It's more than that: it's knowing that like with the Hasselblad, I may get some really arresting mid tones that will make the image worthwhile. I obviously don't subscribe to the idea that a camera is just a tool. Sure I can make lousy pictures with anything and I've shot some great pictures with the iPhone, but a camera you really bond with does make a difference. Here’s a picture take in Paris. "The city of light" is so evident in this shot.




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Old 10-28-2019   #22
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It is a great shot, Richard! I may very well get the Monochrom. It's not a destination, it's a journey!
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Old 10-28-2019   #23
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A little over 2 years ago I knocked the aligment of my M240 out of whack and had to send it in for adjustment. This was at the height of the m9 sensor replacement so the turn around on my m240 was 3-4 months. While perusing around the internet I found someone selling MM for dirt cheap as it had 2 small scratches on the sensor, I picked it up cheap knowing I'd spend hours in photoshop repairing each photo (it also had minor rot), but also knowing that as soon as M240 was back, it would be sent out for a new sensor too. I oddly enough enjoyed it more then M240.

Early this year i traded in the M240 and sold the MM to fund an M246.
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Old 10-28-2019   #24
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I had imagined that the claimed higher resolution of the Monochrom was due to there being no need for four color receptors in each pixel, so all four could then be separate pixel sites. But no, the MM is still the same 18MP as the M9. So, of what use are those color receptors in a Monochrom? Are three of them just not used? Or they all just function as one? In fact, is it even the same sensor as on the M9? I guess it has to be modified somewhat to remove the color filters.
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Old 10-28-2019   #25
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THose color receptors and the bayer filter eat 2-3 stops of light. So when you use a Monochrom, you can use it lower light conditions then you can the comparable color M

https://www.red.com/red-101/color-mo...camera-sensors

Quote:
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I had imagined that the claimed higher resolution of the Monochrom was due to there being no need for four color receptors in each pixel, so all four could then be separate pixel sites. But no, the MM is still the same 18MP as the M9. So, of what use are those color receptors in a Monochrom? Are three of them just not used? Or they all just function as one? In fact, is it even the same sensor as on the M9? I guess it has to be modified somewhat to remove the color filters.
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Old 10-29-2019   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmtwit View Post
THose color receptors and the bayer filter eat 2-3 stops of light. So when you use a Monochrom, you can use it lower light conditions then you can the comparable color M

https://www.red.com/red-101/color-mo...camera-sensors
So that explains the improved low-light performance. No light is absorbed by filters over the receptors. Now, what explains the improved resolution? In a color sensor, it takes four receptors to make one pixel: two green, one red, one blue. Receptors that were formerly tied up with sensing colors, you might think are now freed up, in the MM, do duty as additional pixel sites instead. So now (you would think) instead of 18MP, there could be 4 X 18, or 72 MP available. That's assuming it's the same sensor as in the M9, and the engine can access those (formerly) RGB sites as discrete pixels instead.

Well, maybe that can't be done. Maybe that's why it is still an 18MP camera. In that case, would it not make sense to make a dedicated black and white sensor that has either: A. A sensor with 18 million sites that are larger than the ones in the M9, probably some four times larger, for even better low light performance--like what Nikon did in the D700, opting for larger pixels sites rather than more of them--or else B, Using that same room on the sensor for four times as many discrete pixel sites.

Or some combination of the two, like twice as many pixels and each receptor is twice the size, for an improvement in both resolution and sensitivity.

So how did the leopard get its spots, or in this case, how does the MM Monochrom get its increased resolution?
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Old 10-29-2019   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
So that explains the improved low-light performance. No light is absorbed by filters over the receptors. Now, what explains the improved resolution? In a color sensor, it takes four receptors to make one pixel: two green, one red, one blue. Receptors that were formerly tied up with sensing colors, you might think are now freed up, in the MM, do duty as additional pixel sites instead. So now (you would think) instead of 18MP, there could be 4 X 18, or 72 MP available. That's assuming it's the same sensor as in the M9, and the engine can access those (formerly) RGB sites as discrete pixels instead.

Well, maybe that can't be done. Maybe that's why it is still an 18MP camera. In that case, would it not make sense to make a dedicated black and white sensor that has either: A. A sensor with 18 million sites that are larger than the ones in the M9, probably some four times larger, for even better low light performance--like what Nikon did in the D700, opting for larger pixels sites rather than more of them--or else B, Using that same room on the sensor for four times as many discrete pixel sites.

Or some combination of the two, like twice as many pixels and each receptor is twice the size, for an improvement in both resolution and sensitivity.

So how did the leopard get its spots, or in this case, how does the MM Monochrom get its increased resolution?
Lack of interpolation. The real gain in resolution is about one third. That is from my measurements, not theory.

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Old 10-29-2019   #28
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I haven't bought a Monochrom yet, but I feel that day is coming some time or other. The M9 produces great black and white raw conversions, but what I've seen of the M9 Monochrom is a cut above, particularly in higher ISO performance.


A few weeks ago, I tried a secondhand Monochrom that was going pretty cheap. Got the files home and saw that the sensor was riddled with dust and corrosion, so the savings on the camera would be greatly offset by having the sensor replaced.
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Old 10-29-2019   #29
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Yes, I would not even consider an M Monochrom that had not had its sensor replaced.
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Old 10-29-2019   #30
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If you’re not decided on the Monochrom, and persuaded that your M9 or ME and their clever B and W jpegs or other software will do just fine, then don’t read Gregory Simpson’s extended 3 part review of the Monochrom, starting with Part 3: https://www.leica-camera.blog/2012/1...nochrom-part3/
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Old 10-29-2019   #31
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #32
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Quote:
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If youre not decided on the Monochrom, and persuaded that your M9 or ME and their clever B and W jpegs or other software will do just fine, then dont read Gregory Simpsons extended 3 part review of the Monochrom, starting with Part 3: https://www.leica-camera.blog/2012/1...nochrom-part3/
Good read, thanks Richard. And no four wheels on air suspension notwithstanding, nice tree image^^

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #33
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Thanks David. The Monochrom again of course.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #34
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I've owned my Monochrom for almost two years now. I bought it used from KEH with the original sensor. It was a big move for me, I had been working more hours at my job for a while at that point, and I found that the lack of free time I had available, and the workflow of shooting film was keeping me from shooting as much as I wanted. Before that, I was shooting mostly 120 and 4x5 film, doing all of my own developing and printing at home. When the Monochrom arrived, I boxed up all of my darkroom equipment, put it in storage, setup my Epson 1430 with Piezography Carbon inks, ordered a few boxes of Rag Photographique paper, and have been thoroughly enjoying it ever since! The print sharpness, deep blacks, and tonality are pretty outstanding! I do sometimes miss the depth of a glossy fiber based silver gelatin print though, and the hands on process of darkroom printing of course.

I started out with a 50mm Summicron Rigid on it, then sold it and upgraded (or so I thought) to a 50mm Summilux Pre-ASPH E46, then got a 50mm Summicron V5. I then realized that I prefer the rendering of vintage glass on the Monochrom, so I'm now shooting with a 35mm f/3.5 Summaron LTM, a 35mm f/1.5 Canon LTM, and a 50mm f/1.4 Canon LTM.

There's nothing else like the MM1 out there, and that's how I justify owning it still.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #35
Alberti
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The MM1: I love the balance between grain at 2500A and smoothness at 320Asa. And the absolute beautiful rendering (I should say, the M240-Monochrom looks good too, slightly different rendering of shadows and mid-tones, pleasing to me) with great grain like Tri-X or FP-4 out of the camera.
Many lenses I use are uncoded (or incorrectly . . ) and the MM1 shows their residual vignetting very nice.

On the M8 I had often converted to B&W. One day I stepped in a Leica Boutique to look for a lens, and there the man showed me a MM1 for a reasonable cost. Couldn't resist. No GAS, just GASP.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #36
icebear
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
If you’re not decided on the Monochrom, and persuaded that your M9 or ME and their clever B and W jpegs or other software will do just fine, then don’t read Gregory Simpson’s extended 3 part review of the Monochrom, starting with Part 3: https://www.leica-camera.blog/2012/1...nochrom-part3/

LOL about the contrast comparison:
MM -->More --> Moronic --> Moriyama

https://www.leica-camera.blog/wp-con...t-Contrast.jpg

I had a M9 when the MM was about to be released and Leica offered a Monochrom workshop in NYC, cost to be discounted in case you do decide to buy a MM. Once you see the MM files on the monitor in comparision to bw files of the M9, there is no discussion needed. The next day I called my dealer and he put me on the waiting list. The only Leica item I ever bought new. $8k

Printed images 20x30 inch on Hahnemuehle FA Brayta printed by Cone Edition using their Piezography inks is everything you ever need to see and to know what the MM is capable of .
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M9, MM & a bunch of glass, Q

my gallery:http://www.rangefinderforum.com/rffg...d=6650&showall
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #37
Calzone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icebear View Post


Printed images 20x30 inch on Hahnemuehle FA Brayta printed by Cone Edition using their Piezography inks is everything you ever need to see and to know what the MM is capable of .
No lie. I have seen these big prints.

Really stunning.

"Big prints don't lie," we say.

Cal
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #38
simonankor
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My wife told me I should buy a digital Leica before we had a child or bought a house. I pointed out that I could do everything I needed with my Nikons and Fujis. She said "Stop justifying not having one, and get one."

Two weeks later, the guy who photographed my wedding put his up for sale. So I bought it. Sold my M3 - no regrets there. I always ran black and white film in my M3 and IIIa, so a Monochrom was a natural choice anyway.

Still have my IIIa, with a 35mm Color Skopar. It's beautiful, but shooting film is hard these days.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #39
Freakscene
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonankor View Post
Two weeks later, the guy who photographed my wedding put his up for sale.
What a lunatic!*

Is the sensor holding up?

Marty

*It was me.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #40
Calzone
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Originally Posted by Freakscene View Post
What a lunatic!*

Is the sensor holding up?

Marty

*It was me.
Marty,

Pretty funny.

The world is not that big.

Cal
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