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Leica M8, M8.2, M9, M9P, MM, M(Typ240) FAQs (Questions WITH Answers)

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Over to you, digital M owners....

 

What would anyone new to an M8/8.2.9P/Monochrome want / need to know? Could be colour spaces, cracked sensors and how long they take to get fixed, UV/IR filters, etc etc...

 

Provide us with your top tips.

 

PLEASE, do not use this for discussion or OT posts. NO photographs, unless it SPECIFICALLY makes a top-tip clearer than if you hadn't included it. Nothing about M8s or D-Lux4s or any thing else. Nothing about lenses unless the tip is SPECIFICALLY M9 related.

 

Keep this thread very much "On Topic".

 

I'm going to be ruthless in this regard, so that the thread remains / becomes a useful first port of call for advice.

 

I don't own one, so it's up to you.

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Guest WPalank

Question: Why is Color Management grayed out or unavailable in the Menu settings?

 

Answer: Because you are shooting DNG only. The color space is only available when shooting Jpeg or DNG+Jpeg. You set the color space for the DNG file in your Raw Converter.

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Question: Why can't I set any parameters in the menu?

 

Answer:

 

You are in "snapshot"mode. Choose another "user"

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Question:Why has my image red/green/blue/purple fringes around highlights ?

 

Although unpleasant, this is unavoidable in some high contrast situations. The reasons are varied:

Chromatic aberrations of the lens, RAW conversion artefacts, sensor effects. The main and basic reason is chromatic aberration.

 

The remedy is to remove the fringes in post-processing, firstly by using the appropriate controls in RAW conversion, secondly in Photoshop:

 

 

1) add a saturation layer in PS

2) destaturate the reds. Select the + eyedropper and make sure you get the red / magenta purple nonsense there. Desaturate them till they're gone

3) add another saturation layer on top

4) desaturate the blues / cyans. Select the + eyedropper.

5) Now there won't be much colour left, so go to your "blue desaturation layer" and double click on the layer to bring up layer options.

6) in layer options, where you see the sliders that say "Blend if gray".. this layer, then split the sliders so that only grays above about 220/220/220 are affected (only highlights).

7) Paint back in the rest of any other affected blue in the blue desaturation layer" mask.

 

 

[ATTACH]195163[/ATTACH]

 

Or use the "defringe"sliders in Lightroom.

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Question: Why does the screen go black while I've been reviewing

 

Answer: Because your camera has a version of firmware earlier than 1.138 installed and "Auto power off" has been set to 1, 2, 5 or 10 mins in the menu. It's a bug in the earlier firmware which was corrected in ver. 1.138. The solution is to upgrade to the latest firmware.

 

Bob.

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Question: My frame counter is stuck at 999 and won't go down

 

You've used an extremely large SD card which allows more than 1000 exposures to be stored. As soon as you are down to 999 frames left, the counter will start to count down.

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Question: I have trouble importing my images on my computer

 

You are using the USB cable. Use an card reader. That is safer, more reliable and faster.

 

Question: I cannot get my card reader to work

 

You are using a non-SDHC card reader with an SDHC card.

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Question: Can I use the DOF scale on my lens as I did on my film M?

 

Yes and no. The size of the sensor is the same as film, so the mathematics are the same.

But:

a. The DOF scale is, for historical reasons, quite optimistic.

b. A sensor draws differently from film, making the optical impression of the DOF gradient more pronounced

c. There is a tendency to print larger from a printer than from an enlarger

 

That means it is wise to close the lens one stop down from the "film setting".

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Question: I come from an autofocus camera background. What is the best way to get good focus on the M9?

 

The M9 works the same way as any rangefinder camera, the central patch in the viewfinder is your focusing tool.

It is important to look through the viewfinder in the optical axis. Looking into the camera skewed will result in inaccurate focus.

 

The first thing to do is to ascertain that you can see the rangefinder patch properly. A correct match between the rangefinder and your eye is even more important than it is using an SLR.

Leica sells corrective diopter lenses. Determining which one you need - if any- can be done by going to your optician and holding his try-out lenses between your eye and the viewfinder. The one that allows you to see the rangefinder patch and framelines sharply is the correct one. Order the nearest value from Leica. In a pinch you can use over-the-counter reading glasses for this test. If your eyes need special corrections, you can use your spectacles, provided you can see clearly at 2 metres distance ( the virtual distance of the rangefinder patch). Note that the background will be at background distance,so your eye should ideally be able to accomodate over the distance differential. However, there is some tolerance here.

 

For special cases there are viewfinder magnifiers. They can help, especially with longer and fast lenses and they can give confidence, but they can also be not very useful; they cannot correct errors in the focusing mechanism or your eye, in fact they magnify them.

Also, one loses contrast and brightness.

Leica offers a 1.25x one and a 1.4x. These need diopter correction like the camera, but often of a different value than the camera viewfinder.

 

There are also third-party magnifiers, sold by Japan Exposures, that include a variable diopter correction. 1.15x and 1.35x. For patent reasons they cannot be sold in the USA and Germany for use on a Leica camera, but they can be purchased for use on for instance a rifle scope.

Basically, for an experienced user, magnifiers are not needed and will only lower contrast and brightness, but many users do like and use them.

 

Once the viewfinder is corrected optimally, there are three methods of focusing, in ascending order of difficulty aka training.

 

1. The broken line method. Look for a vertical line in the image and bring it together in the rangefinder patch to be continuous.

 

2. The coincidence method. Look for a pattern in the image and bring it together to coincide. This may lead to errors with repeating patterns.

 

3. The contrast method. Once you have focus by method 1. or 2. a small adjustment will cause the rangefinder patch to "jump" into optimum contrast. At that point you have the most precise focussing adjustment.

 

Side remarks:

 

If you try focusing on a subject emitting polarized light like a reflection it may happen that the polarizing effect of the prism system in the rangefinder will blot out the contrast in the rangefinder patch, making focusing difficult. In that case rotate the camera 90 degrees to focus.

Edited by jaapv

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Question:

 

1. I want to be able to view the images in succession at a higher magnification without zooming in every time on each new image. I can do this on my D3/ D700 and it really does help the in camera editing process speed along. Is there a way to do that with the M9?

 

2. I can get through about 8-12 images while in review and then the camera just goes to sleep needing to be woken up by the shutter button. It then goes back to the last image shot and I have to page through all the images to get to the one I want to view / delete. Is there a setting I have incorrectly set up that is doing this…?…it is really annoying.

 

3. Why are M9 DMG files not viewable in either Photo Mechanic or iView Media Pro? Do I need to update my Mac somehow?

 

 

Answered by Zlatkob

 

1. Yes, after zooming in, keep the Play button pressed while advancing to the next image. The next image will then appear already zoomed in.

Zoomed-in preview is quick in that the next image appears right away, but it is slow in that the image first appears in a very rough form and takes about 3 seconds to sharpen up to a more refined and useable state.

 

If you shoot in just DNG, but then you cannot have black white previews. To have B&W previews, you must shoot in DNG+JPG or just JPG.

 

 

2. This is a bug in the firmware that we hope will be fixed. Until that is fixed, I think you will have this problem so long as your auto power off is set to a short time. You probably have it set to 1 minute. I believe the only solution, for now, is just to set a longer auto power off time so that the camera doesn't fall asleep while you are reviewing. Of course, a longer auto power off time will drain the battery faster.

 

 

3.Photo Mechanic should be able to view M9 DNG files in the latest version, 4.6.4. I don't have the released copy of 4.6.4, but did try it in the beta of 4.6.4, and it worked fine. I believe you must set the preferences to Render RAW for Preview; otherwise it will show the tiny jpeg preview in the DNG file. There is a related topic on the Camerabits forum.

 

You likely have an older version of iView Media Pro. After it was sold to Microsoft, they changed the name of the program to Expression Media. Microsoft recently sold it to Phase One. Version 2.0.2 of Expression Media is able to view M9 DNG files -- however, it is not fast, at least not on my Mac. Check Phase One's Expression Media page for more info about the program.

 

By the way, Preview.app on the Mac is able to view M9 DNG files too. You may need to run the standard Software Update on your Mac, but you don't need the latest version of OS X. I am using Leopard (10.5.8), not Snow Leopard.

 

And of course, there is Lightroom, which is great for making adjustments, but takes a while to build its previews. Fortunately, Lightroom is very quick after it has built Standard previews.

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Question (by Sanyasi): If I use my M9 battery charger outside of the U.S. can I do it with just an adapter (change the plug), or do I need to also use a converter (change the power)?

 

 

Answer (by Hoppyman)

 

Your charger is happy to accept 100V-240V 50/60Hz. The voltage is regulated in the charger. You should not need a separate converter. You will need either a replacement power lead or an adapter for the plug for different sockets only. Those are very common for travellers, of course.

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Question: I always get more on my image than I see in the framelines.

There are a number of considerations:

1.On film, except for the school that prints including the perforations, there is always an edge lost, be it in the enlarger film carrier, the lab or the slide frame. In digital that is not the case.

2.On film there was a time lag between the taking of the picture and the viewing of the print.

3. The most important factor: A lens changes its angle of view when focussing. The easiest way to visualize this is to think that the lens gets longer (i.e. more tele) as you focus closer. So it will have a smaller field of view at the closest focussing distance. That can be up to 20% difference.
That means that the framelines can only be accurate at one focussing distance, in the case of the M9 at 1 meter. At all further focussing distances you will get more on the image than the framelines show.
For a 50 mm lens allow one frameline thickness outside the frame at 3 m and three frameline thicknesses outside the frame at infinity. Experience will teach you how to handle this phenomenon.

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Question: My framelines move when I turn the focussing ring.

 

This is completely normal. As the lens and the viewfinder are in different places, the resulting parallax is compensated by a shifting of the framelines.

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Question: What framelines can I see with a 1.4x viewfinder magnifier?

 

In theory you can see all framelines from 135mm right down to 28mm, although to get a glimpse of the widest ones such as 28mm you would have to look into the magnifier from an extreme angle and you would not see much else. Those framelines are magnified out of normal view.

What is practical depends a little bit on how far your eye is removed from the viewfinder. Generally if you do not wear glasses then the framelines for 90mm and 135mm are completely visible without moving eye or camera, with some additional space outside the framelines. From 75mm down visibility straight through the finder becomes increasingly uncomfortable for accurate composition.

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Question: There are spots on my images, especially at small apertures.

 

 

This is sensor dirt. All digital cameras with interchangable lenses have this problem, but an M9 is particularly prone, because there is no mirror as extra barrier and the lack of an AA filter makes the dirt more visible.

 

One should prevent dust from entering the camera as much as possible. There are a number of strategies.

1. Avoid changing lenses more than necessary.

2. Change lenses in as much of a dust-free environment as possible

3. Keep the rear end of the lens as clean as possible

4. Change the lens with the camera mouth facing downwards

5. (This may be a myth) Switch off the camera before changing lenses.

 

But dust will come on the sensor anyway.

Consult the manual to find the sensor cleaning item in the menu and use a FULLY charged battery. Before opening the shutter blow out the camera (using a bulb blower, not compressed air or your mouth!) to dislodge any loose dust.

 

If the dust on the sensor is loose one can blow off the sensor using a good bulb blower, (Rocket Blower by Giotto for instance) with the camera mouth facing downwards.

 

If that does not clear the problem there are sensor brushes like the Arctic Butterfly by Visible Dust that are quite effective or the little vacuum cleaner by Green Clean. At this stage the use of a Sensor Loupe can be very helpful.

 

If spots on the sensor persist you are dealing with stuck dirt like pollen or oil spots and need to revert to wet cleaning. There are numerous threads on the subject. The Visible Dust products are highly recommended or the Green Clean wet-and-dry method.

Use a proper solvent for grease if you think you are dealing with oil etc. (Visible Dust Smear Away or Dust-Aid Sensor Clean (my preference)

 

Open the shutter for cleaning and blow it once again with a bulb blower or vacuum clean it, to remove any loose particles which might be dragged across the sensor and cause scratches.

 

Although the M9 is full frame and there are size 1 sensor swabs on the market, I prefer using the swabs for 1.3 sensors (and APS-C swabs for the M8)

Take a clean swab, put on three small drops of Sensor Cleaning Fluid and in two sweeps, top and bottow go to one side - do not over-press!!- and sweep back again, using the other side of the swab automatically.

Or, using the wet-and-dry system, swab with the wet sponge and dry with a couple of sweeps with the dry swab. Don't let the fluid spill over the edge of the sensor too much - there are electronic connections there.

 

That is all - close the shutter and test the camera by taking an unfocussed image of an evenly lit surface at the smallest aperture.

 

In the unlikely case it is needed, repeat.

 

There are other cleaning systems, such as stamping tools. I find them quite effective, as long as there are no greasy spots on the sensor.

Just stamp, don't rub. They are a bit scary as one pulls the cover glass. Leica Customer Service seem to be quite happy using them, so they should be safe.

.

There are also sensor cleaning services or Leica Customer Service, but those are expensive and will keep the camera for a while. They may also not be readily available if one is travelling. Sensor cleaning is something any owner should be able to do himself.

 

If you are fairly certain your spots are oil or grease, it may be wise to omit the step with the Arctic Butterfly, as it may become contaminated by the grease. In case that happens it can be cleaned with the special fluid provided.

Edited by jaapv

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Question: What can I expect for battery life on the M9?

 

Answer: It depends a lot on your style of shooting/viewing and you'll get a sense of this over time. The tip here is to always carry one or more extra batteries. For some reason, when the M9 shows 50% battery left, that last 50% goes by way too fast and not because you're shooting any differently.

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Question: How to use M9 in cold temperatures?

 

Answer: My experience is based on using the M9 in temperatures down to -20C in a dry climate (humidity not an issue). The M9 will operate OK in low temperatures, but the battery will drain very fast, due to the metal body of the M9, and low effect of batteries in cold temperatures. A fully chared battery in camera, taken out into -20C will die within 15 minutes. Although a bit awkward due to the bottom plate, it is best to carry (at least) 2 batteries, keep them warm in a pocket close to the body, and only pop them into the camera when shots are taken. A cold battery will regain some of its power when re-heated. If possible, keep camera close to body (under jacket), too, but beware of humidity.

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Question: Why is the battery life so short?

 

Answer: It isn't. But the M9 comes default with "auto power" set to "off" which will drain it in less than a day with no use. Change it to "1 minute" so that the camera power off after 1 minute of no activity. This way the battery will last 16GB of images plus/minus, or several days for most people.

 

As the camera power on in a matter of a second or so, you just need to touch the shutter release a bit to ignite the camera and it will be fully ready in a second.

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Guest WPalank

Question: Should I format my SD card in the computer or in the M9 via the Format Menu?

 

Answer: From page 157 of the Leica M9 Instruction Manual (English).

 

Notes:

- If the memory card has been formatted in another device, such as a computer, you should reformat it in the Leica M9.

 

My own personal experience: Having owned the M8 for 3 years and the M9 since Nov 2010 I have always reformatted my SD cards in camera immediately after safely downloading the images. Not once have I lost an image (to my knowledge) or had any sort of electronic gibberish infect the files.

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Question: I'm not sure if my batteries are being fully charged. Somehow the yellow 80% light never goes away and both lights ( green & yellow ) stay on indefinitely. Anyone else has experienced that? Does anyone know if it affects the batteries or if my charger is defective?

 

Everything is fine. Logically the 80% light should turn off but it is designed to stay on when the green light stops blinking. If both are solid you're good to go

 

 

Answer by Leicashot,question by Uifimage

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