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<Drool> New Leica M Monochrome camera samples

Discussion in 'Leica M Forum' started by wt21, May 18, 2012.

  1. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
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  2. greyelm

    greyelm SC Top Veteran

    844
    Oct 1, 2011
    London, England
    I'm not saying that the images produced by the M Monochrom aren't fantastic, they are, as they should be coming from Leica, but I have seen many brilliant B&W images from lesser cameras on this and other forums that are in the same league. I'm not a Leica knocker, I have a collection of 6 Barnacks and 7 vintage lenses that I think are wonderful, if I had the cash, I would probably get an M9 but probably not an MM.
     
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  3. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    I have not decided to definitely get one- but the latest drive to sell equipment is with this camera in mind. I used a monochrome digital camera when these things were new 20 years ago. After using it, was never happy converting any color images to monochrome. Remonded me of printing Kodacolor negatives onto Polycontrast RC paper.
     
  4. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Some nice shots to be sure. Sean Reid's photos were particularly good, and he described his appreciation for the fine tonality of the middle grays that really approached B&W film. I've been thinking a lot about this camera. I would love to have a B&W only camera, in a heartbeat. But I'm sure that I would pay that much for it. The question is, will it be the only B&W-only option, at least for a few more years.

    To be honest, I think I may rather have an M7 with B&W film. My Zeiss Ikon busted again just after returning from Germany for repair for something else. I'm at a crossroads... do I find another 35mm camera or stick with digital. To date, none of my B&W digital processing approaches my film images. And good as the Monochrom is I don't think it would either. They are just two different mediums. But professional processing of film is dwindling, and I'm not really going to process it myself. But, I would like to use my rangefinder lenses at there proper focal lengths too, without crop. I want my Zeiss C Sonnar 50mm to be 50mm, not just 75mm. Damn.
     
  5. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    I assume (and would certainly hope at this price) that the benefits of this camera may only become apparent at very large print sizes. For web viewing it is hard to determine what the M9M is doing that is any different to what I'd see from a conventional colour sensor image converted to B&W.
     
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  6. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    That's a very good point. I hope someone can do this and see how they compare. Not necessarily at large print sizes, even smaller ones, to see how the B&W tonality renders. By someone who really knows how to print well.
     
  7. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    I'm just not certain on what level the M9M is doing things better than conventional methods of producing B&W images from digital sensors. Is it the same as thinking (for example) that a 5DII is suddenly not good enough just because the D800 now exists? Nothing wrong with increasing the quality of output of course, as long as that increased quality is noticable in how I would display an image.
     
  8. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    I feel the same way. But maybe I'm just not used or well versed enough in B&W photography to notice increased tonal quality of images from the MM vs. a M9 image that has been converted to B&W with SFX. On the other hand, I've seen some photos that make me think that the MM is pulling more fine detail than the M9.
     
  9. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    I'm not nearly educated or experienced enough to know how this compares to just taking color and doing the conversion, etc. But one reason for posting the link is that I really like the work, too!
     
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  10. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    hmm ... well I just d/l one of Jono's DNGs (the fisherman with his cormorants - not the finest example) and spent 5 minutes fiddling with it in Lr4.1rc2.

    Bearing in mind that it has half as many pixels again available as the files I normally work with ... it is very impressive.

    There is no discernible noise, and it doesn't appear to need any sharpening (although this is also usually true of the DP2s files I get when shot at 50 or 100 ISO)

    The caveats that I've read elsewhere about blown highlights being irrecoverable seem accurate, But there does also seem to be wonderful detail in the shadow- dark- and mid-tones. Someone more skilled than I in PP would make even better

    It looks different from a colour-conversion file - I can't quite explain how, but it is to do with the tonality.Does it make sense to say the "out of focus areas look sharp" ?
    I understand what Jono means when he says it doesn't look like mono film and it doesn't look like digital colour-conversion.

    As Nic said above, the acid test will be printed examples ... but if I had a few grand kicking around looking for a home, I might easily give it to Leica for one of these.
     
  11. nikki

    nikki SC Top Veteran

    519
    Sep 12, 2011
    Dublin ,Ireland
    wonderful photos - beautiful camera - not worth the price !!!
     
  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Fine photos, but I still don't get it. I've seen equally good B&W shot with Leica digitals and converted from raw files - I think an awful lot of that "Leica Magic" is the lenses and, of course, the photographers who are willing to spend so much on a camera - there's at least some reasonable assumption that the percentage with a fairly high seriousness of purpose will be higher than with, say, an S100. I don't believe that you could really tell the difference between a shot from that camera vs a shot with an M9 shot with the same lens and same basic exposure parameters and processed similarly for B&W. And to the extent there are differences (other than at higher ISO's where the monochrome sensor might buy you something over the M9, which isn't good above, what, 400???), they're only visible at an optical pay-grade well above mine. Certainly at a level where the differences would be abso-damn-lutely overWHELMED by the difference between a great image and a merely very good one.

    And then there's the whole business of being able to control the color channels in processing which this camera gives up completely...

    I've said it before, I'll say it again - I don't get it. If you gave me one, I might shoot with it, but I'd more likely sell it and get an m9 or whatever they come out with next that one assumes will begin to incorporate some of the improvements in digital high ISO sensitivity.

    Until writing this post, it never occurred to me that the Rolling Stones were singing about B&W photo processing when they sang, "Drop your reds, drop your greens and blues".... :cool:

    -Ray
     
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  13. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I'm not quite clear yet Ray - do you get it or not?

    :biggrin:
     
  14. BillN

    BillN SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Bill
    if you can afford it buy it, it's a Leica

    If you can justify the price and have the money, buy it, it's Leica

    don't compare with others, it's a Leica

    If you have never had a Leica, buy an M8 for £1,500, (max), and "give it a go" - you can always sell it for what you paid if it's not for you

    BUT you need a lens - used or CV - again - if money is a worry - you will always get your money back if you buy "right' - can that be said of any other camera/lens

    If you live in Greece - buy a Leica quick!!!

    (PS - the images do look great - but as others may say - that's nothing to do with the camera!!!!)
     
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  15. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Mark
    According to most sources the camera will kick-off with an RRP of a few dollars short of $8000.
    Leica M6 - $1500 (you could save more by opting for an M2/3/4/5, etc.)

    M9M - M6: $8000 - $1500 = $6500
    TMax400 100ft/30m bulk roll = $65
    100 rolls for $6500
    750 frames from a bulk roll
    75,000 frames for $6500

    OK even if you work out the cost for developer, etc., we might pull this down to about 60,000 frames. But I have figured in the Rolls Royce of emulsions into this equation :blush:

    So not sure how many shutters you'd get from the M9M, but if you do the math I'd be happier with the thing that most approximates the rendering, noise, and tonality of film...umm...namely film!

    Not saying I wouldn't take the M9M if it were on the offing, but put in perspective the real thing is not that expensive really.
     
  16. BillN

    BillN SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Bill
    It's the immediacy of digital versus the "film quality" of film

    and you do need a good scanner, or factor in the cost of scanning

    factor in the cost of "time"

    take your pick!

    I would never go back to film ........ but I don't want to put anyone off as I have an M6 and two M3 and quite a few others, (fancy a LNIB Pentax "Leica" - the ME Super - only had one roll of film thru it - or a ME Super that was used to "death") to sell one day!
     
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  17. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    I'll never understand the criticism of the M9 at ISO 2500.

    [​IMG]

    Maybe too many years of me shooting with color film at 400 and 800, where I know first hand the ISO 2500 shots are much cleaner than any 800 speed color film that I ever used.

    On the M9 Monochrome- It's true black and white. After using a monochrome Digital camera for a long time, I've always wanted to see them make a comeback. I went as far as calling Kodak 18 months ago and asking if they could do a monochrome version of the KAF-18500. 20 years ago I called them to make this infrared DCS200.

    [​IMG]

    Looks like I am two for two calling Kodak and getting what I wanted.

    As far as the cost of a Leica- they are expensive. Looking at the machining that goes into a Rangefinder camera, labor-intensive construction, expensive. The last hand-assembled camera made by Nikon was the Nikon SP-2005. It was over $5000, and Nikon built it out of pride- lost money on the sell of each camera. The Nikon S3-2000 almost $4000 when it came out 10 years ago.
     
  18. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    I was going through some old files looking for an assembly language routine. Found a download of my RFF PM box from 2010.
    Including a PM to a Leica User in regard to a Monochrome M9. Almost 2.5 years ago.

    Date : 2010-01-28 16:06
    Title : Monochrome Version of KAF-18500

    I had a very nice conversation with a technical marketing agent in Kodak's sensor group this afternoon. I also made one of their senior engineer's quite happy that a DCS-200ir was still in operation, he remembered the camera. If there is any interest with your friend at Leica, I will be happy to provide the contact information.

    The bottom line: if Leica asked Kodak for an order of Monochrome CCD's, Kodak would produce it. If I wanted to purchase 25 CCD's and have Leica retrofit it into a camera, that would also be possible. Ordering fewer than 25 would not be possible, as a change in the production of the CCD is required.

    This idea has been discussed before at Kodak, and the feeling was that if any manufacturer should do it, it should be Leica. I was asked how I came up with the KAF-18500 for a request, and I replied I have an M8 at home, and a Monochrome Visible+IR M9 would be a nice replacement for my DCS200ir. We had a nice laugh. One of our engineers that builds and tests high-resolution sensors would also be interested in one for field-tests. I suspect we would buy 3 cameras between the two of us, if the cost were ~$10,000 each.

    The Kodak representative also gave me a list of companies purchasing the Kodak Monochrome arrays. There is a 39MPixel back for the Hasselblad in production, and I was told the IR cut filter could be left off. I will look into it. I'd rather have an M9, of course.

    Given my experience of 17 years ago, I would expect a limited production of 100 cameras to carry a $3,000~$4,000 premium over a standard M9. This would still be cheaper than the 39MPixel Hasselblad. It would also be much more "user friendly" for field tests and lab use.

    I do not plan on posting any of this information on the thread, and prefer to keep it all private between a few people expressing real interest.

    I do not know if Leica will carry through on this, but know that "Kodak does not say no to it".

    -------------------

    Well, the turn-around on the DCS200ir was a few months from when I called them in the 90s. But hey! I'm happy.
     
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