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

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Question:

 

What is a good way to sharpen my images?

 

 

Answer:

Q

 

Many users still use single-pass sharpening. Nowadays we know that , for maximum quality, we need a multi-pass sharpening workflow. If you apply single-pass sharpening you are attempting to account for image source, image content and output process in a single round of sharpening. Mulitipass sharpening takes account of the sometimes contradictory requirements of the different steps in sharpening.

To begin with we need a content optimized master image that can be used in further processing to apply creative sharpening and the finally sharpening for specific output.

 

I will take the case for ACR/CS5 because that is what I am used to.

 

Always work at 100% or larger!

 

The object of this capture sharpening is to create an artefact-free ( as far as possible) optimally sharpened file to process further. The image content can be divided in three types:

high-frequency images ( think of a landscape with plenty of leafy trees, large amounts of small detail) and

low-frequency images ( portraits with smooth skin) and

mixed images.

 

The three require different approaches.

 

The main tool here is the radius slider: The higher the frequency, the lower the setting 0.5 to 1.0

Low frequency images require settings between 1.0 and 1.5 That is about the maximum you can use.

 

Typical amount settings would be 15-30 for M9 files, 5-20 for M8 files.

 

The obvious problem is the mixed image. Think eyes and eybrows/hair in that low-frequence portrait.. There are several approaches.

 

1. Set the radius to 1.0 and try to correct in Photoshop

2. Set for low frequency in sharpening and use the correction brush on areas that need more detail

3. Make two smart objects for different frequencies and blend with a layer mask in Photoshop.

 

You can (in ACR 6.0) create an edge mask using the masking sider. Enlarge to at least 100% and hold the ALT key whilst sliding. You can see where the sharpening will be masked.

 

Then you can bring back detail by using the detail slider in the same way. It is not a simple slider, because it influences a number of parameters. Never mind what it does, the results are quite visible.

 

Then you can switch back and use the clarity slider to enhance your settings. Don't forget you have local control with the adjustment brush.

 

When you are in Photoshop you can sharpen creatively by enhancing areas. You can either use the sharpening brush or make a layer, (over)sharpen it, use a layer mask and play with opacity. In general, always sharpen on a layer, to work non-destructively.

 

 

There is also the trick of setting USM to a radius of 50 and threshold to 1, using the amount slider for control (normally around 20) to get midtone contrast enhancement to bring out extra detail, but I digress

When you have the image to your taste you flatten it and go to output sharpening.

 

For printing you can use your Scott Kelby technique (*) and learn the optimum setting by trial and error or you can delve into the theory and set the sharpening haloes mathematically.

The avantage is that you have an optimally sharpened image to start with so you won't have any nasty surprises.

 

 

 

(*) Use Unsharp Mask to taste and go to "fade unsharp mask" in the edit menu and fade 100% on Luminosity

 

 

Lightroom works a bit differently, but I do not have the expertise to explain that clearly .

 

 

LR addition by Marquinius

 

Lightroom works mostly like you describe. When you are used to the ACR (the RAW editor upon opening a photo in photoshop), you'll get used to LR in a jiffy.

 

For sharpening you have the same tools, to be found under DETAIL. What I do (in simple steps):

 

1) I import a photo in LR with the standard primary sharpening (very low, just to get rid of the softness resulting from RAW).

 

2) I work the photo until it's "perfect" (all conversions, editing, even side stepping to CS, whatever) BUT (and this is important) WITHOUT any further sharpening.

 

3) I make a virtual duplicate of the edited photo

 

4) I start my sharpening on this virtual, following the same logic Jaap just described.

 

In this way you always keep the unsharpened image separate from the sharpened ones: printing for screen asks for a different approach the sharpening for print (and for print you can even go to small print/big print, soft paper, toned paper, whatever). You use the unsharpened photo as a starting point.

 

Of course you could make a snapshot and return to that point every time you want to sharpen for a different output, but the you'd overwrite previous efforts.

 

 

Follow-up question:

 

How do I prepare an image for display on this forum?

 

Answer:

 

My favorite technique is to set the crop tool to 960 px wide (and 640 px high if desired) and crop the full image. Then add Unsharp Mask at maybe a 15-30 amount at radius 1.0 and threshold 0 for a bit of sparkle. Go to Edit, fade Unsharp Mask, choose "Luminosity" in the pull-down menu.

 

Save as JPG using a quality that gives a maximum file size between 200 and 300 Kb, max 360 Kb.

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Question:

Adobe Lightroom shows lens type and aperture of photos taken with M9, but other products like Apple Aperture do not do this; how to fix this shortcoming?

 

Answer:

Adobe Lightroom (and DNG Converter) interpret Leica's custom coding; said coding is not part of the standardized EXIF tags but included in the vendor-specific MakerNotes, like here for Leica/Panasonic.

 

The information about the lens used is available in the attribute Leica:LensType, the aperture used is not directly available, due to lack of coupling between aperture blades in the lens and the camera writing the EXIF, instead the M9 (and M8) are estimating the aperture by indirect measurement via the 'blue dot'; this estimate is available at Leica:ApproximateFNumber.

 

Here is an example:

---- Leica ----
LensType: Noctilux-M 50mm f/1
ApproximateFNumber: 0.0

 

Apple's Aperture is displaying the standard EXIF attributes Lens and ApertureValue, which are left empty by Leica, so Aperture is not wrong here.

 

In order to get the information accessible, you can use an EXIF editor like EXIFtool and convert LensType into Lens and ApproximateFNumber into ApertureValue; for EXIFtool, the statement (for MacOS Terminal app) is

exiftool -tagsfromfile @ '-xmp-aux:Lens<LensType' -tagsfromfile @ '-xmp-exif:ApertureValue<ApproximateFNumber' -ext .DNG -r 

followed by the respective file or directory.

 

If you have all your photos to be imported in a folder <folder> and would like to get all of them converted without creating additional copies, you should type

exiftool -overwrite_original_in_place -tagsfromfile @ '-xmp-aux:Lens<LensType' -tagsfromfile @ '-xmp-exif:ApertureValue<ApproximateFNumber' -P -ext .DNG -r 

into Apple's Terminal app and then drag that very Folder <folder> onto the Terminal windows (which inserts the correct link to said folder automatically.

 

Further information and interesting reading can be found here: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/digital-post-processing-forum/117334-aperture-3-0-1-metadata-information.html

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Question: What is the shutterlag on the M9?

 

Answer:By Lindolfi

You can establish shutter lag with sound. Here two releases of the M9, one with 1/60 sec. (top panel) and one with 1/30 sec. (bottom panel) shutter time, sampled at 44.100 Hz. The first burst of sound happens right when pressing the button. Then there is a 0.09 second silence and the first curtain starts to travel, shown by the second burst. The third burst is the sound of travel of the second curtain, closing off the sensor. Remarkable how similar the sound waves are due to the exact way the mechanism of the shutter is operated. Every time the same way.

 

answer supplied by Lindolfi

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Question:

Adobe Lightroom shows lens type and aperture of photos taken with M9, but other products like Apple Aperture do not do this; how to fix this shortcoming?

 

Answer:

 

An Apple Automator Script is available here; you can also change the mode of this script from normal input to run automagically every time you drop files into a specific folder, more info on this is available here.

 

Best,

Michael

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Question: Why do I sometimes see a red edge effect when I shoot with some wide angle lenses?

 

Answer: (from Leica Camera technical staff)

 

Thank you very much for your information.

We have had some complaints about the red edges, you are right. I will give you the full technical explanation for that.

On the one side, we do have a very short distance from the lens to the sensor (for this reason the m-system is so compact), on the other side the pixels of the ccd sensor are not symmetric. This combination produces a totally colored and inhomogenious RAW image. To provide a plain and neutral image, we do a lot of complex compensation, sensor corrections and lens vigentting corrections. What we achieve is a nearly neutral image, but unfortunately just "nearly" neutral. The tolerances for the M9 are even tighter as for the M8 with IR-filter, but unfortunately there are some very slight deviations towards red, the obviously are not acceptable for some special applications.

We did an improvement in a previous update, using the vignetting correction, this improved the effect visibly. But unfortunately we had to recognize that even this was not enough. There are still some complaints, therefore we decided to apply additional correction algorithms for the critical lenses. But developing these need unfortunately some time, because some sequences in the internal data management have to be changed, this is always a difficult and risky modification. Of course correcting this on a PC is an easy thing. But letting the camera do this needs a very simple algorithm, because we would not accept any delay in DNG mode.

We are planning to offer this update as soon as possible, but it will need at least until spring 2011.

I hope this answer helps you understand the confusion about the red edges.

 

The above is a quote from an earlier post in this thread, repeated for convenience.

 

 

Question:

How do I correct red edge in Capture 1 pro?

(Courtesy of Swamiji)

 

Answer:

First shoot an image with the lens in approximately the same circumstances as you wish to correct with something white opaque (I use a bit of white foam, but one can use white opaque glass, a white lid of a tin, even a sheet of white paper) but not an Expodisk.

 

Then in C1:

 

Select the LCC image, i.e. the image captured with the white plate.

 

Select "Analyze" from the LCC Drop Down Menu and then give the LCC profile a name. Click Save.

 

Capture One will now analyze the image and create the LCC profile.

 

When completed, the checkbox "Color Cast" is selected.

The color differences across the image should now be even.

 

You can now apply the LCC to other images that were captured with the same camera.

2. Select the image to be corrected.

3. Select your created LCC profile in the LCC drop-down box

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Question:

Sometimes the rangefinder patch seems to lose the "overlay" and I can't focus without it. I realize I need to be looking straight through the finder for best results, not at an angle, but even adjusting my eye position doesn't bring it back. Does this indicate the need for a camera adjustment, or some other type of "operator adjustment?"

 

Answer:

You're covering the rangefinder window on the front of the camera with your finger.

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Question: Does EXIF file from the M9 include full exposure information (f-stop and shutter speed)?

 

Answer:

 

As the camera has no way of reading out the aperture, it cannot be included precisely in EXIF. However, the blue dot at the front is a light meter, so the camera can compare the actual shutterspeed with the measured light. That way it can estimate the f-stop used, which is written to EXIF.

This is just an estimate, which can be far off it - for instance there was a filter used, or a finger in front of the dot, or just because the metering fields differ, so it can never be completely reliable.

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To elaborate on Andy's post, questions from the general forum, deemed to be interesting to a wider public, will be moved here, with the answer. The thread is open to suitable postings by anybody, but will be strictly moderated.

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Question: The aperture I used is not displayed correctly in the EXIF information.

 

Answer:

 

 

There is no mechanical or electrical linkage between the aperture of the lens and the body. The camera estimates the aperture using the exposure data and the input of the external light meter (the blue dot on the front).

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Question: Is it safe to collapse a lens with retractable tube (e.g. 50mm Elmar) into the body of a digital M?

Answer:

First of all, Leica says in the manuals f: „Lenses with retractable tube can only be used with the tube extended, i.e. their tube must never be retracted . This is not the case for the current Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f/4, whose tube does not protrude into the camera body even when retracted. It can therefore be used without any restrictions.“

On the other hand many users have reported in this forum that they regularly retracted the tubes of other lenses into the camera bodies without any problems.

Let‘s look for some facts:

There are two reasons for Leica‘s warning about collapsible lenses in the manuals:

1. The „throat“ of the digital M (the open space between the bayonet mount and the shutter) is much narrower than with film Ms. If someone would mount or dismount a lens with it‘s tube retracted and hold it in a certain angle it might touch and scratch the sides of the „thoat“. Therefore you should only mount or dismount a lens when the tube is extended.

2. The retracted tube might touch and damage the shutter.

If you look into the body without a lens you see two black metal ridges above the shutter. The distance between those two ridges is approx. 25mm. The diameter of a retractable lens tube is at least 27mm (in most cases considerably more). So if the tube hits anything it will be the ridges and not directly the shutter. This does not make it safe, for pressure on these ridges, which are made of rather thin metal, might interfere with or even damage the shutter.

Do the tubes of retractable lenses touch the ridges?

I measured 24mm as the distance between the surface of the camera‘s bayonet and the ridge both for the M8 and M9. Let us stay on the safe side and say: a tube which enters 22mm or more into the body will be critical or dangerous. That is certainly the case for the collapsible 4/90 Elmar (old type ILNOO; 11631, 11131, which was produced from 1954 to 1968 - so not to be mixed up with the current Makro-Elmar-M, 4/90).

How long are the tubes of other collapsible lenses entering into the body?

Some examples: For the tube of the collapsible version of the 2/50mm Summicron (screw-mount) I measured less than 14mm when it is collapsed, so I see no risk at all that it could touch the ridges. For the Elmar-M 2.8/50 (last version) it‘s 20.5mm, same for the first version of the 2.8/5cm Elmar with M-mount or it‘s 3.5/5cm M-mount precedessor. But a „red dial“ 3.5/5cm from 1951 (screw-mount) gives a very risky result of 22.5mm; for a nickel 3.5/5cm from 1932 I measure 20.5mm again. The 2.5/5cm Hektor had the longest tube I know: 23mm, which is dangerous! The Summar‘s and the Summitar‘s tubes were shorter than those of the Elmar (18mm). For all screw-mount lenses the adapter, which is necessary to mount them on an M, gives 1mm more space. The different results for the 50mm- or 5cm-Elmars from different times show that individual measurements of certain lens types are not reliable for every other lens of this sort. There may be variants in the tube‘s design, even protruding sharp edges on the ends of a tube.

So before retracting a lens into the body  one should measure the retracted tube (always fixed on infinity) looking especially for protruding edges. Anything which is 22mm or longer should be never retracted but the extended tube secured by a Dymo band that it won‘t retract accidentially. [/schmal]

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Question:

 

How to set the Sharpening, Saturation or Contrast ?

 

 

Answer:

 

These settings are for JPG only, and not for the (recommended) DNG.

 

Set to taste.

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Question:

 

 

I am getting confused over the frame line accuracy issue. I read with the M8 the frame lines are optimized for 0.7m, the M8.2 for 2m and the M9 for 1m. At various distances the frame lines for each camera are more accurate than the others.

 

If we are using prime lens, why would the angle of view change with respect to distance? Shouldn't it be the same and hence it is optimized for all distances?(obviously not otherwise Leica wouldn't need to optimize it)

 

 

 

 

 

 

by NWK00

 

 

 

Answer: (by MJH)

 

 

Because the angle of view doesn’t strictly depend on the focal length, but on the distance between the lens (or properly its rear nodal point) and the sensor. If focused at infinity this distance is indeed equal to the focal length, but it gets longer if you focus on subjects in the foreground.

 

Lenses using internal focusing show a different behaviour since they also change the focal length. The prime example are our own eyes which focus by changing the focal length exclusively; the distance between lens and retina stays the same. For that reason the eyes always have the same angle of view, regardless off what we focus on.

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Question:

 

Does anyone of you experience this problem? I am constantly getting the same result whenever I shoot in back light conditions.

 

The problem does not appear when I take a photo indoors or in a more neutral environment.

Question provided by Choon Wee

 

 

Answer:

That is a classical case of blooming. We rarely see this since the sensor of the M9 would have to be overexposed by about 10 EV above the limit of its dynamic range until the pixels succumb to the flood of excess photo-electrons, despite anti-blooming gates doing their best trying to drain it away.

Answer provided by MJH

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Question:

When I reformat a card (M9) to ready it for the next use, should I not overwrite?

 

Answer:

 

Normally always use format. Overwrite takes too long and adds nothing in a technical sense

 

The function of overwrite is to make the card completely unreadable, even by special recovery programs. It may be useful for war corresponents or photographers that wish absolute protection of their subjects' privacy for instance

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Question:

 

There have been reports that the M9 is picky with its SD cards. What is the best way to handle SD cards?

 

Answer:

 

It is impossible to have 100% immunity from card problems, but there are a number of precautions one can take to minimize the risk.

 

Always buy from a trusted source

Keep the contacts clean

Use the little plastic box to store the card

Keep the card away from (electro)magnetic interference and static electricity

Insert and remove the card with the camera switched off

Never use a card that has been formatted in another type of camera

Lock the card before inserting in the reader

Remove the card from the computer by shutting it down according to your OS requirements

Clear the card by format in the camera.

 

Then of course there are the damage control strategies:

 

Use a number of the smallest cards you need, not the largest you can get

You don't need a card that takes more than 400 files, as you will have to change the battery anyway

Regularly check if the number of shots left goes down in the info screen

Backup as often as possible.

Never delete a backup until you are sure that the newer one is perfect

 

Question: What to do if card problems remain despite observing the precautions.

 

Answer: (by K-H Winkler)

 

Get in touch with your dealer and Leica and describe the problem(s) as accurately as possible.

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Problem:

 

My flash sometimes works, sometimes not. Either via a hot shoe trigger or a flash mounted directly onto the hot shoe itself.

 

Answer:

 

Check your shutter speed. This is especially true with flash heads or triggers which cover the left hand portion of the shutter speed selection dial. The M9's maximum sync speed is 1/180. There is a little flash symbol on the shutter dial to indicate this. All speeds up to and including 1/180 will trigger the flash. Above 1/180 however the trigger signal is shut off. Unlike other cameras which allow you to shoot above the max sync, but produce areas of underexposure in the image as a result, the M9 simply will not trigger the flash.

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Question:

Does it make sense to use the same filters on my M9 that I was using on my film cameras?

 

 

Answer:

 

The use of filters is well established in film - but on digital, many filter effects can be simulated in postprocessing.

 

However, filters that cannot be dispensed off are pol filters, nd filters, to a certain extent grad filters. Some special effects filters like a star filter,cross filter, soft focus filter, etc can be simulated in post, but are simpler to use as a physical filter.

 

If you want to use a strong color filter it is very easy to get the same effect in postprocessing, but the corresponding color channel will be limited in dynamic range, so that is a case for a real filter again.

If you were planning to shoot a dramatic B&W landscape for instance you will get a better result by using a red filter than you would get by pushing the red slider in Photoshop, although the overall effect would be similar.

 

So it is not a good idea to toss all your filters in the eBin as soon as you switch to digital

 

Specific for digital is an IR cut filter. If short focal length does not forbid the use it can improve color rendition in high-IR situations, even on the M9.

 

 

On the M8 an IR pass filter will allow hassle-free IR photography.

 

There is no need for an UV filter on Leica M lenses, as they are UV filtered from the factory. One can only expect any benefit in extreme circumstances like over 4000 meters in the mountains

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Question: What does all this lens stuff mean?

 

Answer:Provided by Farnz

 

 

 

The lenses names are typically an indication of the speed of the lens (although there are odd exceptions) and the faster a lens the more you're likely to have to pay and the larger it's likely to be. The general arrangement in descending order is:

 

F/0.95, f/1.0, or f/1.2 Noctilux (only available in 50 mm and your wallet should be sweating profusely at the thought)

f/1.4 Summilux

f/2.0 Summicron

f/2.5 Summarit (generally less expensive. Note: there is an older f/1.5 Summarit)

f/2.8 Elmarit

f/4.0 Elmar (the 50 Elmar is f/2.8

 

asph = aspherical. A aspherical lens element optically corrects for spherical aberration and typically produces pictures that are sharper at the edges. Earlier lenses rarely contain aspherical elements.

 

FLE = Floating Lens Element. The last lens element or group travels independently of the other elements when the focus ring is adjusted. This helps to correct for focussing errors (back focus, focus shift) in fast standard or telephoto lenses.

 

APO = apochromat. A lens element manufactured from glass with low chromatic dispersion that corrects for chromatic aberration (CA). Different wavelengths of light, eg red, green and blue, focus in slightly different planes so an object dot becomes an image blob. Apochromats correct CA and the image blob becomes more like the object dot.

 

MATE = Medium Angle Tri-Elmar. A lens with multiple focal lengths of 28, 35, and 50 mm and a constant maximum aperture of f/4. The cameras frame lines automatically adjust to the correct focal length and this is the closest it gets to a zoom lens in the rangefinder world.

 

WATE = Wide Angle Tri-Elmar. See MATE above. This lens has multiple focal lengths of 16, 18, and 21 mm but needs to be used with an external viewfinder; the nicknamed 'Frankenfinder' owing to its size was designed for the WATE.

 

Some people use the abbreviations 'lux, 'cron, and 'fit for Summilux, Summicron, and Summarit On the other hand, others find this practice intensely irritating. Actually it's not abundantly clear whether 'lux is short for Summilux or Noctilux and whether 'rit is short for Summarit or Elmarit.

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Question:

 

 

 

When shooting anything long where noise reduction kicks in I get rgb artifacts all over the place resembling dead pixels on LCD display.

 

This is just on the LCD preview, when zoomin in & out on camera they go away, go next photo and back they are there again.

 

Puzzling...

They do not exist on actual photos, just the preview.

 

 

Question provided by NCC1701

 

Answer:

This is completely normal. On long exposures the M8 and M9 do a black frame type noise reduction.

Any sensor will start to show differences in pixels as the sensor heats up. That is the reason, for instance, that astronomical sensors are cooled by liquid nitrogen.

Leica solves the problem by taking a second, black, exposure of the same length and subtracting that from the actual file. This gets completely rid of this type of noise.

 

As the camera shows the embedded initial jpg on the lcd first, and replaces it with the final one as soon as it is generated, you will see the noise disappearing, irrespective whether you are zooming or not.

 

The same goes for the histogram and the clipping warning. They will change before your eyes.

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