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M6 or Monochrom?


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Hi Jaybob,

 

What are you using as analog? If you mean film, is it really accurate? Film still has grain, and as there are pixel limits, film also has chemical limits - it is not infinitely variable as the graph suggests.

 

I hasten to add I am not pounding a dead horse here, or digging myself a hole (whatever metaphor takes your fancy). The underlying point is that film took the chemical process to a very refined point - after 90 years or so of 35mm film technology, it was a mature product.

 

Digital capture is effectively 20 years old (?). We've moved on from low resolution 2 MP sensors of the mass market consumer P&S cameras (I'm referring to my first, an Olympus Camedia, which I ditched reasonably quickly). The Monochrom provides high resolution, and very good tonal response. When I compare a Monochrom image with a Tri-X scan, while you can say a lot of things, your graphic is far from accurate.

 

The present, and the future, is digital capture, and while people can express a preference for film for perfectly valid reasons, image quality isn't one of them anymore. I appreciate many will disagree, but the honest response is one of preference ...

 

Cheers

John

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OP, if you had any intention of trying film, you wouldn't be so concerned about the cost. Switching to film made me far more selective about what I shoot, so cost isn't as much of a concern as you'd think. The depreciation that comes with digital means its far costlier than film, and how long will it last before it fails and leica wont service it? My MP will still be in use 30 years from now, which represents awesome value for money!

Frank,   My M9 was my first proper digital camera. My background is in film, and in the end I couldn't resist picking up an M3 so I had a film camera. I have processed a couple of rolls of film, and I have a box full of negatives that need scanning (I have an Epson and a Plustek scanner on the shelf). After scanning a few of my favourite slides, I'm over it.   I now have an M3 on the shelf with a roll of film in it I don't know how old, a drawer full of exposed but unprocessed film, and a

The answer to all multi-choice questions is always ©

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I use both but there is that nagging question of how long is this particular digital format going to last? I've seen film negatives that go back to the beginning of photography that can be processed today. I'd like to see where all the files from digital photography are in a hundred and fifty years from now.

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I use both but there is that nagging question of how long is this particular digital format going to last? I've seen film negatives that go back to the beginning of photography that can be processed today. I'd like to see where all the files from digital photography are in a hundred and fifty years from now.

 

Probably in better shape than negatives in 150 years. No reason to fear anything IMHO backward compatibility is very easy to achieve

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I use both but there is that nagging question of how long is this particular digital format going to last? I've seen film negatives that go back to the beginning of photography that can be processed today. I'd like to see where all the files from digital photography are in a hundred and fifty years from now.

They will be in a cloud somewhere.

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Who's going to give a ..... when you're gone, about the snaps on your outdated hard drive or cloud storage which they don't know or care about (or don't have the password for) ?

 

I collect old photos, it's amazing what you can find - snaps which have been stuck at the bottom of a drawer or in some old album then rediscovered. It's a lot easier when you have a hard copy image for them to survive.

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In early 2010 I bought my M9, and I loved it so much that some months later I bought a secondhand chrome M7. Since then I've got about 8 rolls of exposed black and white film that I swear I will develop some day, and had maybe four rolls of colour film developed. The sheer ease of the digital workflow, plus the ongoing costs, make me shy away from film photography, no matter how good the M7 feels to shoot. As it is, my M7 has become an expensive fondle toy, whereas my M9 just keeps going and going.

 

If I sank the money into a MM, I know I'd be shooting with it like blazes. Frankly I'm willing to wait for some more years for a monochrome version of the 240 to inevitably be released, as I'm still very happy with my M9 conversions at this time, but would prefer the advances of the 240 for any future purchases.

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Hi Frank,

 

Have you thought about trying the M7? If not, why?

 

M6 does essentially everything M7 does but for much less. At my local camera shop, there are used m6 classic going for $700 (don't need ttl anyway).

 

Anyhow, at this point I guess I will wait and see how this new M play out. So far everything looks great, especially with regard to convenience (live view for wide angles and tele, high ISO, better framelined). And it's cheaper than the MM. Will see.

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I started to shoot rangefinder cameras with a M6, as that was the best package for the money, was willing to pay for that experiment.

 

I still have the M6 and still use it from time to time. I shot 99% pushed TriX @ ISO3200 back then.

 

The M9 I bought at some point was for 99% a B&W camera and I simply bought it, as no M Monochrom was available back then and because it gave me a stop more light over my M8.2.

 

When the M Mono was announced officially, my instinctive reaction was to get one as soon as possible, as that is the Leica M, that should have been introduced to the world back in 2006 already, sparing us all the pain through M8 and M9 cameras.

 

From all the film bodies and digital M bodies, the M Mono is the one, I mould part with at last.

 

If you are shooting for B&W (and not giving you the indecision of doing a colour or a B&W maybe later), the Mono is your camera.

 

If you like film, than your calculation is way off.

If you are determined, you can order your film in bulk at the lowest cost, freeze it for years to come, shoot it, develop it yourself and scan it yourself with the best scanner you can afford.

 

Don't fool yourself, that scanning is fast convenient and cheap. Scanning is a science, needing determination, experimentation and a strict and streamlined workflow (not to speak of your T I M E ).

In my experience, the best bang for the buck with the highest scanning quality for bulk scanning is a second hand Minolta 5400 with a bag full of redundant film holders, spare parts and one or two second units in redundancy if your scanner should fail. These scanners work unbelievably good with Vuescan (I suppose as well with Silverfast, but that software was not for me).

 

At least the same effort, as for scanning should go for your printing workflow, as the same science is involved in getting your computer workflow, inks, papers and your printer in sync to get the quality output, you want.

 

The true cost comparison for you should be over a time frame of 2-4 years in real consumption of either workflow.

None of that is cheap, but we already knew that, when we picked great lenses and nicely designed bodies over less costly other gear.

 

Personally, I would sell the M9 (if must) and go for one of those upcoming second hand M Mono deals with a peace of mind warranty left.

 

If film would be, what I preferred as the medium and wet printing would be important to me, … well you know the rest.

 

If I would be totally insecure about wether I might like a colour pic once in a while, save the head scratching and time wasting and keep using what you are using (or sweat buying a M10).

 

Btw - time works for YOU - second hand M Monos are getting cheaper by the day

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Altho I am really a B&W only shooter it is awfully nice not to have to stare at a colour image at any point. As someone said elsewhere, it just keeps things simple and prevents colour ever getting into your workflow and screwing with your head. You walk out the door with your B&W head on because you have no choice. Sure, you may miss some colour scenes, but IMHO you will be a better photographer for focusing in a narrower area.

 

Sure, some top pros shoot colour and B&W for commercial work, but next to none stray outside one or the other for documentary or reportage. Projects are universally shot in one medium or other. There is nothing that looks worse IMHO than a mish mash of colour and B&W images in the same series/project.

 

The good news is the MM does most of what a film leica does in B&W only with greater ease and better. The downsides are somewhat less DR in extreme contrast, where B&W film rules supreme, and in the subjective beauty of a fine silver print. As good as digital printing is now, it still looks a touch weak next to silver prints by a top printer. Overall, with the MM, you are way ahead in your ability to shoot more and improve what you do.

 

IMHO scanning film is just plain silly. If you have a neg, for goodness sake make a delicious silver print. If there were no silver prints, there is no way on earth I would shoot film!

 

As for archiving images and maintaining a legacy, nothing stops you making prints... and I think that debate was settled ages ago. Digital filing also makes images more impervious to fire (as you can back up remotely) and theft.

 

I am a dyed in the wool passionate silver print maker, but the monochrom is so good it has lured me to digital for serious B&W work for the first time.

 

Documentary Photography

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Why do people refer to using film as "analogue"? It's chemistry.

 

With film, individual grains are distributed in spatial position in a manner best approximated by a continuous random variable, whereas digital is a rigid NxN matrix.

 

Hence, analog is probably a fair term for film.

 

This gives film grain a different 'look'. What you see in the grain prominently at higher ISOs is not just a random function around luminance but also position.

 

(Is there also a random function around grain size? I don't fully recall the chemistry).

 

The MM comes closest to film grain look, in its random function around luminance (but not position or grain size).

 

Unlike film, digital luminance noise displays heteroscedasticity -- put simply, the noise in one pixel is related to the noise in surrounding pixels -- which can yield patterns visible to the eye.

 

Without bayer filter, these patterns are at a minimum in the MM, across all options in modern digital photography. Bayer demosaicing interpolation can yield much more highly structured patterns in the noise.

Edited by photomeme
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Without bayer filter, these patterns are at a minimum in the MM, across all options in modern digital photography. Bayer demosaicing interpolation can yield much more highly structured patterns in the noise.

 

That may be true, but there's still more detail with the MM.

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That may be true, but there's still more detail with the MM.

 

That was to say, bayer demosaicing and interpolation in a color M9/M-E/M240, or your typical dSLR, can create more structured patterns in the *noise*, a feature that makes average measurable noise more noticable to the eye and widens the difference from film grain.

 

I was not saying that it captures more complex patterns in source material. Sorry if I was unclear.

 

Agreed, without the need for bayer demosaicing and interpolation, there is much more fine detail in MM images than offered any other Leica M body, at all ISOs.

 

Here, resolution compares favorably to the D800e's 36+ megapixels.

 

As an aside, the MM's resolution edge over the new M240 may widen at higher ISOs. Sean Reid believes the new 'M' is applying non-optional in-camera noise reduction (likely median filtering that is destructive of resolution) at ISOs of 1600 and above. This is on top of on-sensor (non-destructive of resolution) noise reduction strategies familiar from other CMOS implementations. I was stunned.

Edited by photomeme
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Buy the M 6 anyway !

M 6 is mechanical, given a service once in 10 yrs it will last a lifetime, and longer.

Mechanical M cameras are non-obsolescenc products. Look up wikipedia for obsolescence.

Shoot ilford XP 2, Easy to scan, great results.

Use mechanical M as back-up, if digital camera dies.

Film delivers images totally different from digital, rather hyporealistic than digital hyperrealistic.

 

Keep M 9 Bus M 6

 

Good luck

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I am a film shooter but have been testing the Monochrom for the past week or so and like it a lot but still have to do some prints from the files. What I like the most about the Mono is the capability to shoot in low light with my lenses stopped down to get more depth of field, in my case, this is where the MM has the advantage over film.

 

Below are images from the MP and MM (not telling which is which

) and both look very nice to me. No pp done whatsoever other than a slight curve adjustment in the MM.

 

Cheers,

Riccis, the digital looking photo was made with the MM the film looking photo was made with the MP..both are nice btw.

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MONOCHROM.

 

film is, quite frankly, a royal waste of time. don't get me wrong....i enjoy and respect it....but with the huge quality of current digital technology----there's no excuse to still shoot film IMO......occasionally sure....all the time? skip!

 

I have a Leica slide projector and I won't be spending any money on a digital projector. So I will continue to shoot film (B&W transparencies) all the time.

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Why do people refer to using film as "analogue"? It's chemistry.

 

Actually a sensor is so analogue that it needs analogue-to-digital converters to become bytes....

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