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M8 vs M9 Color


wavecrestphoto

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Hi Everyone!

I am both new to the forum and also new to Leica. I've been shooting Canon for a long time, and finally got my first M8. I am loving it, and really enjoy the files the camera produces! I just wanted to ask if anyone with both M8 and M9 experience if you could comment on the color out of the camera from the two different bodies. Is there a dramatic difference in the color from the two, or are they very similar? The white balance performance from the M8 is fairly good - I just found myself wondering if the M9 is a big improvement.

Thanks very much for any input you have!

 

Kevin

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Kevin, welcome to the forum and Leica ownership.

 

Leica aim to achieve consistent colour in all digital models, even when some are co-produced with other manufacturer like Panasonic. In my opinion there is no difference in colour produced by the M8 and M9 where settings and situations are constant.

 

When you refer to White Balance, whereas AWB gives remarkably good results, I always use a grey reference card, such as Pantone ColorChecker, before I take a series of shots in the same lighting conditions and then set WB manually. That gives a consistent starting point from which I am prepared to make further slight adjustments, in Lightroom, if necessary. Whatever your approach, excellent colour is always possible with either camera.

 

To avoid errors when going from bright sunshine into a museum, for example, I always reset my User Profile, in camera, so that I do not have the wrong WB or other inappropriate settings.

 

There is no right and wrong way of achieving optimum results. We all have our own routines which we follow in order to obtain consistent results.

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I have both an M8 and M9. I WB a profile for direct sun in the first position in each camera using the Whi Bal card. Both were done at the same time, same light.

 

There are some differences in colors, mostly in Blues ,sky, and greens, grass, when I take the resulting photos. The grey card comes out the same The M9 colors are more natural, but still have the Leica look. Other M8`s have the same colors as mine. The M9P is brand new.

 

The colors are the result of Leica processing inside the camera and you have no control over it. Nikon will give you various output profiles like vivid, and landscape, and portrait, or a neutral linear raw file.. Leica does not offer anything like that. They would like you to believe it is their lenses, but no, it is the applied color settings. Put a Leica lens on a Canon or Nikon and the Leica color goes away except the amount that really is in the lens. This tells me it is all in camera processing.

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I have done side by side test with my M8/9. The 9 wins every time. The blues and greens are more true. I see no difference in dynamic range or saturation of raw images.

 

Both cameras are WB to a WhiBal Card under the same condition at same time. The UV/IR filter was in place at time of balancing . This is saved as a profile called SUN in both cameras.

 

There is a test on the net somewhere comparing the Nikon D800 with Leica S2. The S2 has the same cruddy cyan sky the M8 has even after I balanced with the Whi Bal. Someone at Leica thought skies were cyan, not blue. Certainly there is a cyan content, but they are not mostly cyan. I also checked other M8 cameras, same thing. Both were recently serviced.

 

So I use a preset to fix them.

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I just found myself wondering if the M9 is a big improvement.

 

When I got my M9 my plan was to keep my M8.2 as a second body. However I found I liked the M9 so much better that I sold the M8.2. So in my opinion the M9 is a big improvement in many ways. That said, I don't see much difference between them in the colors produced. I suppose in a test you could measure differences, but in real world shooting I don't see it.

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Thanks everyone for your input! I really appreciate the detail and diversity in your responses.

I hoot weddings and portraits full time and have been a Canon shooter for years now. The M8 really is a joy to shoot and I am looking forward to incorporating it into my workflow this season. It's colors are often really nice, but seem a bit shifted at times which I do not find with my Canon files. If a good preset is worked up in Lightroom I think the files can be dialed in to blend well with everything else. Thre is always the option to convert to BW, which look great BTW, but I really like the color from the camera when it hits well.

Tobey if you don't mind my asking, how did you tweak your preset fr the M8?

Thanks everyone!

Kevin

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One thing I do is shoot a ColorChecker card and then use the Adobe DNG Profile Editor to create a custom Lightroom profile. I then tweak that profile to give me the look I want. I find that some subjects tend to render with a ruddy skin tone, so I have a Lightroom HSL preset to correct that.

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Luke,

I have found the same in the skin tones I've shot so far. I do use the color checker as well but havent found the need for custom profiles on my other bodies. I typically shoot the card and correct later in lighting situations I know will be troublesome. I'll shoot a few presets with it and see if this helps. It's the balance of colors in the skin tones I have not yet been able to get really right.

Thanks!

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Luke,

Thanks for the advice on the Colorchecker. Created a daylight profile yesterday and applied it in Lightroom to a set of quick family portraits and it really helped tremendously! Also went back and applied it to another set I shot in moderately cloudy conditions, and it even worked well there - I was surprised! I'll create a cloudy preset on the next overcast day we get. I'm giving my effort to Lighroom processing as it's my primary tool for all my event work. I'd love to try C1 again, but adding another component to the workflow at this point would be tough to manage. Very much enjoying the M8 experience!

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Is there any difference in rendering quality between the Pro and Express versions of C1 currently?

 

My understanding is Express version uses a subset of the Pro code, so the rendering within the same version should be the same. That said, Express is still at version 6 while Pro has moved to version 7, which uses a processing engine different from 6. If a version 7 edition of Express is released they should be back in sync.

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Put a Leica lens on a Canon or Nikon and the Leica color goes away except the amount that really is in the lens. This tells me it is all in camera processing.

 

I did use Leica R lenses on a Nikon D700 and always wondered why it takes so much less efford to get the colors right. With Nikon lenses (even the best) it took me 3x the time to adjust the colors - just my experience though...

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