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Reid Reviews M, M9 and Monochrom Files Compared


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Well, Sean estimates 1.5 stop better performance

 

I'm reading his review.

 

He estimates only a **1.3** ISO advantage in his section comparing color M9 to M files.

 

Noise is evident in both his pixel peeper M9 and M images beginning at ISO 400. Yes, it's better controlled on the M, as ISO goes up. But this is far from the game changing performance i'd hoped for.

 

ISO 6400 on the M are significantly noisier than M9 ISO 2500 files. He notes a significant banding problem on the M at ISO 3200 and 6400.

 

Also, 4000, 5000 and 6400 are labeled as push ISO? Is 3200 the actual high end of the ISO?

 

I'm moving on now to his B&W section.

 

Fascinating. He folds an MM into the mix.

 

MM appears to be the resolution and high ISO noise winner up and down the line, with one caveat. Reid notes the M shows in-camera (for CMOS, probably on-chip) noise reduction blurring detail and smoothing noise from 2500 ISO and up! Well that sounds unfortunate. It does offer an arguably cleaner look at 2500, he says, but with less detail. his 3200 and 6400 examples show fine grained noise on the MM, but a blotchy noise pattern on the M.

 

Comparing the cameras, he said he'd use the M up to 3200 professionally, but the MM up to 10,000. The loss of detail and blotchy noise being objectionable on the M, but noise offering character even interest on the MM. Hmmm.

 

(this is my reading of Reid. i apologize for any misinterpretation. at his request, not quoting him.)

Edited by photomeme
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Even as a subscriber you unfortunately can't read Sean's site without a flash player. That means IOS devices like iPad are out, which is too bad. I would love for Sean to update that site and/or release an IOS app. I'd be willing to pay for IOS access.

What Sean's report confirms to me is how good the Monochrom is. The truth is that the M9, the M and the MM are all great cameras, and the main limitation most often is the operator.

Hi John Sean isn't suggesting you downsize the images - what he's saying is that's the fair way to compare the sharpness (due the the lenses and MTF).   Basically, if you look at them at 100% at full resolution, then the M file is showing you a smaller proportion of the image than the M9 file.   . . . . and that's the point - it's the only fair way to compare a 24mp camera with an 18mp (or I guess you could upsize the 18mp if you really wanted).

I hate to be a wet blanket here, but this is from Sean's email this morning:

 

An Appreciation: There may be a lot of public interest in these new articles. I want to sincerely thank you, as a reader of the site, for not summarizing my work or publishing screen shots of it. Reid Reviews has become such a large project that it dominates much of my professional time. I'm now a single parent supporting two daughters and this work is largely what puts food on our table. I still strongly believe in the value of separating journalism and advertising and so this work remains funded entirely by subscribers. Thank you for that support.

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I fully understand where sean is coming from, and is keen to protect his work and content' (hence the Flash) but he's probably also picked up some new and re-subscriptions (such as mine). I would have thought that the discussion and brief summaries would raise interest in his site. $30 is a small price for detailed reviews for those considering an $8000 camera.

Edited by MarkP
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I hate to be a wet blanket here, but this is from Sean's email this morning:

 

An Appreciation: There may be a lot of public interest in these new articles. I want to sincerely thank you, as a reader of the site, for not summarizing my work or publishing screen shots of it. Reid Reviews has become such a large project that it dominates much of my professional time. I'm now a single parent supporting two daughters and this work is largely what puts food on our table. I still strongly believe in the value of separating journalism and advertising and so this work remains funded entirely by subscribers. Thank you for that support.

Otoh I think threads like this drive quite a bit of traffic to his site - a summary sparks interest in the full review I think. Well-deserved too.

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I want to sincerely thank you, as a reader of the site, for not summarizing my work or publishing screen shots of it.

 

Reid is well within his rights to enforce his copyright.

 

But neither his 'circumstances' or copyright permit him to restrict users from summarizing his works. It's straight unambiguous fair use of the work.

 

I jumped in because he'd been summarized inaccurately. someone said he'd noted a 1.5 stop improvement in ISO. he actually noted 1.3 stops.

 

i weighed in at 1.5 myself, after a recent examination of DNGs posted online.

Edited by photomeme
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As much as i may like Sean Reid's reviews and the positive role he's played in the M-240 project, nobody will prevent me from doing perfectly legal things like sumarizing my readings when and where i intend to do so. This kind of paranoid censorship if one of the reasons why i did not subscribe to his site and i regret it sincerely as i've kept a very good memory of his presence on the LUF.

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Otoh I think threads like this drive quite a bit of traffic to his site - a summary sparks interest in the full review I think. Well-deserved too.

 

I would have subscribed if not for flash usage on the site. With millions using iOS devices I would have figured he would have used a different approach.

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I jumped in because he'd been summarized inaccurately. someone said he'd noted a 1.5 stop improvement in ISO. he actually noted 1.3 stops.

 

i weighed in at 1.5 myself, after a recent examination of DNGs posted online.

 

It may be a question how you define noise, on the basis of pixels or on the basis image size. If you compare noise on the basis of pixels it is necessary to keep in mind that the M 240 has 24 Mpixel while the M9 has only 18. If his 1.3 stops advantage are based on pixels this corresponds to 1.7 stops on the basis of same image size, and off course this is the relevant number if you want to compare prints.

Edited by tgm
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To be perfectly honest, I let my subscription to Sean's site lapse.

 

I use an iPad for browsing such reports offline. If I pay for content, I expect to be able to read it at my leisure. I had an email exchange with Sean over this, and he is sticking with Flash, which counts me out. His site is so unpleasant to use (slow, black, hard to read), it is a deal killer for me.

 

Now, had the content been better, I might have persisted. This may be unpopular, but I find his flat, murky mid-tone images of the backs of people's heads uninformative. He writes a lot about his testing parameters (which I would skip), then draws conclusions which started to have a bit of sameness about them, from my reading.

 

I have found Jono's, Chris Tribble's and Ming Thein's comments (and Tim Ashley's as well) more informative, with images that better illustrate (to my eye) the point being made, and less bloated with uninformative self congratulation (claiming credit for the philosophy behind the M, or was it the Monochrom, I forget - who cares?).

 

This review sounds interesting in principle, but I know what I would find if I re-subscribed for it - pictures I find lacklustre and text which does not really draw sufficiently informative conclusions. I won't miss it.

 

Cheers

John

 

John,

 

I'd let my subscription lapse because after using his reviews to help me decide on the equipment that I wanted I had no more equipment to buy.

. Now the M is about to be released and I'm about to buy so I want the information.

 

I've just resubscribed for this review. As I wrote above, I would have thought that brief summaries of his work would increase subscriptions so people could see for themselves. Leica buyers are generally fairly discriminating and would want the detail. I don't think simply saying "Sean Reid has a new review, it's really good, subscribe to see" is enough to promote his site for new subscribers. Having said that I understand why he does want to protect his work (maybe the Flash helps?).

 

It is however frustrating that we do not have a smoother website to navigate. The Flash also really pisses me off: slow, cumbersome, images too small, and no access to more detailed files for analysis. So we have to accept his interpretation of the inferior images that we see. His other reviews make it clear that he has a balanced approach to all of the M-mount products on the market, for example he has frequently been exceptionally complementary of CV lenses in comparison with Leica and Zeiss .

 

However, whether for cameras or lenses, no-one else does such detailed (albeit dry) controlled comparisons with such depth, knowledge, and analysis (albeit with n=1 per group). One needs valid controlled experiments to make informed decisions, not that this answers all of my questions. Although I really enjoy reading the better 'subjective' (not used in the pejorative) reviews they do not provide objective comparative data for me before I outlay $8000:eek: when the camera I have still produces very fine images.

 

Because in the end, until we have the camera or lens in our own hands, and the results up on our screen or in print to make our own decisions, we are dependent on good, objective information and comparative data. And having to accept any biases that any of the reviewers may or may not have - no offence intended to our in-Forum reviewers & testers whose input I also appreciate.

 

Finally, excluding subject matter, I quite like the low-contrast deep tonal range of his B&Ws - each to their own.

 

Regards,

Mark

Edited by MarkP
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If you compare noise on the basis of pixels it is necessary to keep in mind that the M 240 has 24 Mpixel while the M9 has only 18. If his 1.3 stops advantage are based on pixels this corresponds to 1.7 stops on the basis of same image size, and off course this is the relevant number if you want to compare prints.

 

Not quite sure of your math there.

 

Note he shows full size and downsampled to comparable. Still said, only 1.3 stops advantage.

 

Personally, I don't think folks are looking to whatever ISO advantage that might accrue from the higher pixel number.

 

Regarding his site: yes, the flash format is atrocious, and hardly protects his content. a foolish and user unfriendly design, with nothing good to say about it.

Edited by photomeme
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To be perfectly honest, I let my subscription to Sean's site lapse.

 

I use an iPad for browsing such reports offline. If I pay for content, I expect to be able to read it at my leisure. I had an email exchange with Sean over this, and he is sticking with Flash, which counts me out. His site is so unpleasant to use (slow, black, hard to read), it is a deal killer for me.

 

Now, had the content been better, I might have persisted. This may be unpopular, but I find his flat, murky mid-tone images of the backs of people's heads uninformative. He writes a lot about his testing parameters (which I would skip), then draws conclusions which started to have a bit of sameness about them, from my reading.

 

I have found Jono's, Chris Tribble's and Ming Thein's comments (and Tim Ashley's as well) more informative, with images that better illustrate (to my eye) the point being made, and less bloated with uninformative self congratulation (claiming credit for the philosophy behind the M, or was it the Monochrom, I forget - who cares?).

 

This review sounds interesting in principle, but I know what I would find if I re-subscribed for it - pictures I find lacklustre and text which does not really draw sufficiently informative conclusions. I won't miss it.

 

Cheers

John

 

I agree with you about all of this. You have not missed a thing by not being subscribed. I'll try and give you an overview:

 

Sean explains how critical he was in developing the M, explains what he is going to cover in the next couple installments, gives the parameters of his review and testing, shows a bunch of pictures of vegetables, shows a bunch of noisy vegetables, more vegetables, then states that in his next installment he is going to take some pictures of stuff other than vegetables. Got it?

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However, whether for cameras or lenses, no-one else does such detailed (albeit dry) controlled comparisons with such depth, knowledge, and analysis (albeit with n=1 per group). One needs valid controlled experiments to make informed decisions, not that this answers all of my questions. Although I really enjoy reading the better 'subjective' (not used in the pejorative) reviews they do not provide objective comparative data for me before I outlay $8000:eek: when the camera I have still produces very fine images.

 

Hi Mark,

 

I understand this. It may seem odd, but I can read all the technical detail available on a product costing $5,000, or $100,000, but in the end it makes not the slightest bit of difference to the decision I ultimately make, nor to how I enjoy the product. It is the very subjective conclusions, or rather the interpretation of the raw data, which makes the difference for me.

 

Now, Steve Huff needs hosing down from time to time, but reviewers like Ming Thein, Tim Ashley, Jono & Chris take pictures that I understand, I can see what they're doing, and their conclusions (based as they are on real life testing); they mean more to me.

 

If I was in the market for an M, I would not remember Sean's assessment of 1.3 stops, and I would doubt his conclusions (all conclusions should involve assessment, weighing and some level of subjective interpretation of whether or not what is seen is significant) because I look at his pictures and I'm confused. I would post an example if I could, but to my eye they lack subject or any particular meaning, often seem to have no particular subject and have no contrast - he even makes white look grey.

 

I'm happy to concede that I lack critical assessment - I find many pictures to be rather random and pointless, so I guess this is my problem. But, I guess my point is that for most of the M's target market, the critical detailed assessment is irrelevant to actual use of the camera, and over the last three years of subscription (it might only be two), I not only doubted the relevance of Sean's conclusions, I doubted some of the conclusions themselves.

 

Maybe I just don't get it. I'm not in the market for an M, as like Jeff (?) I think the next iteration wil be the one; notwithstanding Ming Thein's assessment that this is a leap forward, rather than just an upgrade.

 

Cheers

John

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I agree with you about all of this. You have not missed a thing by not being subscribed. I'll try and give you an overview:

 

Sean explains how critical he was in developing the M, explains what he is going to cover in the next couple installments, gives the parameters of his review and testing, shows a bunch of pictures of vegetables, shows a bunch of noisy vegetables, more vegetables, then states that in his next installment he is going to take some pictures of stuff other than vegetables. Got it?

 

Yeah, thanks Rick. Pretty much what I expected, and I didn't even need to pay for it!

 

From what I've read so far, you're going to love your new M. But, you really do need a Noctilux 0.95 to make the most of it - really. I'm serious.

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Yeah, thanks Rick. Pretty much what I expected, and I didn't even need to pay for it!

 

From what I've read so far, you're going to love your new M. But, you really do need a Noctilux 0.95 to make the most of it - really. I'm serious.

 

Pleaseeeeeeeeeee!!!! I don't need any suggestions like that right now. La-la-la-la....

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If I was in the market for an M, I would not remember Sean's assessment of 1.3 stops, and I would doubt his conclusions

 

Huh? His reviews have been of superlative quality, balanced. And in this case, he *produces* with carefully prepared comparable images comparing the M9, the MM and the M (pre-production).

 

He says 1.3 ISO improvement, hopes they can 'tweak' it to 1.5 ISO by launch. But he demonstrated in camera (on chip?) noise reduction starting at 2500, and it looks pretty terrible.

 

Again, he concludes that he'd never go over ISO 3200 for professional work (and even at ISO 2500, visible noise reduction you can't turn off). By contrast, he'd use the MM up to 10,000, based on fine grain rendition of noise without artificial reduction.

 

Ming Thein's assessment that this is a leap forward, rather than just an upgrade.

 

A bit of a hype piece for my taste. And his images, although appealing, didn't deliver the goods. I'm sorry, but nothing shown demonstrated high dynamic range. His images with bright objects or point sources had very low shadow levels. Nothing an M9 couldn't do, let alone an MM.

Edited by photomeme
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I agree with you about all of this. You have not missed a thing by not being subscribed. I'll try and give you an overview:

 

Sean explains how critical he was in developing the M, explains what he is going to cover in the next couple installments, gives the parameters of his review and testing, shows a bunch of pictures of vegetables, shows a bunch of noisy vegetables, more vegetables, then states that in his next installment he is going to take some pictures of stuff other than vegetables. Got it?

 

Lovely review Rick

 

Oh, and I so agree about his laying it on thick about his crucial role in developing the M

.

 

However at least in this review he is carefully comparing apples with apples, or should that be onions with onions

.

 

It's not that I didn't find Jono's et al reviews and information useful as I very much respect their opinions. But with an M on order I really wanted to know whether, excluding any other useful features, there is a significant improvement in image quality over what I have (M9 & Monochrom). Especially at or near base-ISO which is where I take most of my photographs. I now have more information than I had before:

I'm not sure that at base-ISO to about 640 there is really that much difference,and for me the M won't replace the Monochrom

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Reid's situation is interesting. I wonder if he ever considers re-publishing his articles on the ibookstore. It's now very easy to publish your own book since Apple made the editor available. I used to be a subscriber as well, but did not choose to continue once my full year is up. There are many articles I am interested in while others not so much. And once you have "caught up" on the reviews, it's harder to justify the subscription.

 

Therefore, I wonder what if he charges $.99 per article or "book" on the ibookstore. An interesting article like this one on the M240 would definitely be something i pay for. Overall, he might have a much bigger audience.

 

Sean, if you read this, please give it a thought.

 

Frank

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