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GarethC

M8 and landscapes

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Guest hammertone
Is this not the same truths for landscape shooters, don't they want the sharpest images with the best micro detail to them. Sorry the 5d is not the answer
I could again point out the advantages of SLR (e.g. 5D) over RF (e.g. M8) for landscapes. But then I would start repeating myself. Also, it is not too pleasant to argue against accusations of pedantry and a limited mindset. I only gave advice on the basis of what I do in most of my spare time for 20+ years: landscape photography. Gareth asked for a debate and he got one. It's on him to draw conclusions.

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Guest tummydoc

IMHO there may have been an argument against using the M Leica for serious landscape work in the past (lack of precise framing, lack of visual feedback in the finder, and of course the disadvantage of 35mm vs a larger piece of film). But all of those appear to be moot with the M8. The IQ is up there with the best, and in a slow-paced pursuit like landscape photography the LCD review supplies a check on 100% framing and other optical phenomena. View camera movements can be simulated in Photoshop. About the only concern I'd have using my M8 for landscape photography might be if mounting it on a tripod frequently would eventually cause the casting to fail where the baseplate locks on

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Guest guy_mancuso

What is this , he asks a opinion than i give it who is arguing, your the one going in circles. i am just pointing out what a M8 can do . Period. Converstation is completely over, have no time for BS today. Buy either one makes no differnce to me , not my money but for the best image quality than the M8 is the better choice , you want convience with shift lens buy a 5d. pretty simple

 

i was pointing out orginally if you read correctly that a shift lens can be used and has it's limits but with the LCD it makes the work much easier to do

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I shoot a great deal of landscape with my M8. I've also done a lot of landscape work with a 1DsII - less with a 5d. Most of the landscapes on my website was done with one or the other of these tools.

 

The issue with all of these cameras is that there simply are not enough pixels to make very large, meticulously detailed prints. An MF back, or even a Better Light scanning back, together with current generation Digitar lenses, is better adapted to the demands of landscape.

 

That being said, how do I use an M8? The answer is by stitching multiple overlapping images. If you stitch three frames shot in portait orientation, overlapping 30% to 40% you end up with an image in landscape orientation, that can be cropped to a 3x2 aspect ratio without much waste, with total pixel dimensions of 22-26 megs. The Leica's compressed 14 bit files are very close to an MF back in terms of dynamic range.

 

I use Panotools PTGUi to do the stitching. It has a powerful perspective correction tool that works much better than Photoshop. The learning curve is quite steep, but once learned it becomes second nature and you can do good stitches without a tripod (as long as there is not a close foreground). There are many on-line resources on Panotools. With a tripod and a pano head you can make very large files and images that include a foreground. It takes some practice to deal with issues like moving objects or a moving point of view. The image to the left is a crop and downrez from a three panel stitch taken on the fly on the Grand Canal with a 35mm on a 5d.

 

The advangage to this approach over MF is that it can be done with a very compact, light kit. Indeed an M8 with a tri-elmar pretty much does the trick. Three images taken with 50mm and stitched as described above produce a field of view roughly equivalent to a 28mm, for example. The 24mm stitches well. With wider lenses the stitches end up having the severe linear or perspective distortion that one would expect with a very, very wide image (the problem is inherent in the geomentry of very wide images).

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... the ability to double process raw files gives you a 'virtual' 4 stoop Neutral density filter. .

 

Coming back to the topic of this thread, or least getting closer to it.

 

Could someone explain this to me. I allways though a ND filter allows you to use longer shutter times orverall or to balance brighter parts (sky) and darker parts (rest) of a shot. I also understood (and experienced

) that overexposing a digital shot is not such a good idea.

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Gee, maybe we could discuss something less controversial like religion or politics. ;-)

 

Larry

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An ND filter allows you to balance the brightness of the sky against the darkness of the foreground. They need to be used with discretion, IMHO, as sometimes they can give a flat overall image.

 

99.99% of landscape shots in photo magazines are made with the use of ND filter(s), grads and other nonsense.

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A friend of mine, Steve Uzzell, does a lot of top notch landscape work as part of his ad shooting. I don't think he could get by without the abilty to use long lenses. He has a variety of gear but now I think he mostly uses Nikon digital - D2X. He's one of the best and it works for him. The M8 can take really nice pictures but will be very limited for this type of work. You may find it a hassle to use graduated filters and polarizers too.

 

Steve Uzzell photographer, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC - advertising photographer, corporate photographer, editorial photographer, digital photographer, location photographer

 

Check out his sections on Ad campaigns, Wheels, Golf, and Scapes. Pretty impressive isn't it?

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Nice work there. Thanks for the link.

 

Some of his work is fabulous, but some does suffer from grad and tint filter overload, IMHO. Bet it sells well though

 

 

The light in the Virginia section is, in the main, gorgeous.

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Some of his work is fabulous, but some does suffer from grad and tint filter overload, IMHO. Bet it sells well though

 

I agree about the filters but consider he's shooting for ads and the clients like it real punchy. I'm sure he knows why he does it that way.

 

As for the light, Steve may understand the weather better than many meteorologists. Just think about the prep work required to get a big truck out to a desolate area, have the road closed to trafic, so that he can shoot it from a specific place far away under perfect light at a predicted time. And he's done this over and over again.

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There are as many types of landscape photography as there are any other sort of photography. There are great landscape photos taken with 8x10 view cameras and I have seen some great landscape photos shot handheld with 35mm Tri-X. Not all great landscape photos are taken by 'landscape photographers' either. Often the stuff that falls under that category is technically good but looks like something commissioned by a greeting card company. So if the M8 fits your style of shooting and you like shooting landscapes it will work out fine.

 

You can do a lot of what is done by a ND grad filter by holding the highlights in your exposure and dealing with the tone curve manipulation in post. The M8 files are very pliable. However if you feel tilt and shift is a required capability for your way of working then RF is not for you.

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Uzzell's portfolio is impressive : quality of framing is top and colour astonishing: I dare only to notice that sometimes colors are a little too hard : color landscape is strongly at risk of "overprocessing"...

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There are as many types of landscape photography as there are any other sort of photography. There are great landscape photos taken with 8x10 view cameras and I have seen some great landscape photos shot handheld with 35mm Tri-X. Not all great landscape photos are taken by 'landscape photographers' either. Often the stuff that falls under that category is technically good but looks like something commissioned by a greeting card company. So if the M8 fits your style of shooting and you like shooting landscapes it will work out fine.

 

You can do a lot of what is done by a ND grad filter by holding the highlights in your exposure and dealing with the tone curve manipulation in post. The M8 files are very pliable. However if you feel tilt and shift is a required capability for your way of working then RF is not for you.

 

Well said. It all depends on your style and the ultimate endpoint. If you are shooting p.j. and need a landscape to set the scene, it will be very different from shooting a landscape for just a landscapes sake (usually after beauty). Personally, if I was to ONLY shoot landscapes I might consider a camera such as the Fuji 6x9 - one normal and one wide. Or the Mamiya 7. Generally one's film use rate is lower (as it's all about waiting for the light) and the quality/look of the Fujis is unparralled. One has to figure in the look as well as the bloody megapixel count. The look of a MF or LF lens is much different than that of a 35mm, no matter how the 35 resolves.

 

The M8 is a great camera, but it's not the end all be all.

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I posted this over at DPR originally but seems to have been met with apathy except for one person

 

 

Gareth,

 

If you are 'Isca' over at DPreview then it was me that answered there, as I have in response to your other requests for information. Don't take this unkindly but I think the reason there was apathy otherwise is that you tend not to reply when people offer you information, so your threads over there die rather quickly. A bit of response from you and I think you'd get more in return!

 

Tim

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Have any of you tried out Autopano? See it at Autopano.net.

 

I use it for stitching the panos that I shoot on a VR head, but have found that it can automatically stitch images that I shoot handheld if there isn't a close subject. (Nodal plane parallax issue.)

 

I think stitching is a very interesting way to go.

 

Here is an image I produced from 6 or 8 originals I shot while waiting for the subway. I shot it handheld with a p&s and Autopano stitched the images together with no adjustment on my part. (And they were shot at odd angles as I panned across the ceiling.) The original is a 65 meg 8 bit tiff and looks very good (but not perfect) on a 24 inch wide print. I want to go back with a better camera and VR head and make an image that will be perfect. (If I ever get around to this - I'll need special permission from Metro.)

 

I know it is not a landscape, but you get the idea.

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EDIT--Alan--love autopano--haven't tried it with the M8 yet

 

Ok, as someone who owns both a 5d and an M8, let me just give you my opinion, FWIW....

 

First, I'm not a landscape guy particularly. Mainly because I make my money shooting people; I love landscape photography, but I do agree with Jono and Guy.

 

First, if I had all the money, time and shirpas in the world, I'd probably shoot MF for landscapes; better resolution with less diffraction for depth of field means great results.

 

Given my lack of time, my back, and resources, and sticking to 35mm systems, I have to say how surprised I was shooting the M8 against the 5d in the mountains just outside Banff Alberta a couple of weeks ago.

 

The M8 certainly held its own, even compared with the DMR work.

 

I could go on an on about IQ, the glass, and the joy of being able to trek up a mountainside with something as good as the M8 without tripods, etc...

 

But let's just summarize a few points to consider. IMO here are the tradeoffs:

 

5d things to consider:

--ok colour, nice handling, not that heavy compared with other dSLRs. A stellar performer with not much piloting necessary to get good results

--no crop factor--I like this sometimes. On the other hand, you get a wee bit more effective DOF with the 1.33 crop.

--for the record: you cannot attach Leica wide R lenses to the 5d, without cutting the lens mount or the mirror. The 28 Elmarit R is really as wide as you can go out of the box. The 15 doesn't work (and is the cost of an M8!) and the 19, while a great R lens, means you shave the mirror or work the housing.

--great (and I mean great) battery life

 

M8 Pros for landscape photography:

--fabulous IQ, almost uncannily good shadow tonality at low ISOs; better, IMO, than the 5d

--fabulous and inexpensive wide glass from CV, which, BTW does NOT fit on a 5d even with mods;)

--great colour IMO

--NO MIRROR--hence no mirror slap, hence no fiddling with CF or using a tripod. I didn't see this mentioned in the thread so far.

 

With wide angle lenses, as Jono says, you definitely should have no problems holding the RF still at under 1/60 or so. But even if you MUST use a tripod for mental or physical condition reasons, it can be a lot lighter than the one you'd need for the 5d (or--heaven help you, the 1ds2 or DMR).

 

--excellent portable metering. Really--I like the metering on the M8 more than my 5d.

--RF more inclusive than SLR for framing

 

M8 Cons for landscape photography:

--precise framing

--battery life is good but not great

--ND filters etc... a bit dodgy on the CV wides

--need to handle the cyan or not use filters (either is good for me

)

 

So--surprisingly--I really think the M8 is a great little landscape package.

 

I'm putting a picture here, but please don't take my word for any of this. Look at any of Jono's pix, or of Guy's from Yosemite. They speak worlds for the usability of the system, IMO.

 

Wish I could show you how sharp this prints at a nice large size!

 

M8 35 1.4 Lux @ 5.6 w Leica IR filter. Quick from the JPEG--RAW is better in the sky (no need for NDF)...

 

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Have any of you tried out Autopano? See it at Autopano.net.

 

At last - a 16 bit Mac pano appp that doesn't cost as much as PS!

 

Thanks Alan

 

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At last - a 16 bit Mac pano appp that doesn't cost as much as PS!

 

Thanks Alan

 

 

Yes, and I made a mistake--I don't use autopano--I use Panotools. D'oh! Windoze, you know

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"Gareth,

 

If you are 'Isca' over at DPreview then it was me that answered there, as I have in response to your other requests for information. Don't take this unkindly but I think the reason there was apathy otherwise is that you tend not to reply when people offer you information, so your threads over there die rather quickly. A bit of response from you and I think you'd get more in return!"

 

New guy here, doesn't know how to use the quote marks.

 

That is me Tim and a valid point made by you. Considerably later than I anticipated in getting back to this thread but I was out buying a new landscape camera

 

The only reason that I'm responding now is that the bloody orange light on the charger won't go out. I knew I should have got the car charger out of the bottom of the box before I stuck it in the trunk.............

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