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plong

B&W pictures on Leica M8

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Hi I am a newbie with a Leica M8.  I found in the M8 a wonderful camera with minimalist operations and a super cool alternative to my M5.

 

I have decided to got a M8 because  many bad reviews were posted....I said to myself they is something wrong with those ''teky weeky boys''.  They are all jealous, there is a conspiration agains Leica.....bad sensor, obsolete technology, ISO limitation poor resolution LCD, bad features...and so on.

 

But for me the M8 has proven to be an effective camera for B&W pictures and holding the M8 is like holding a part of the Leica heritage....not a piece of ''futile'' technologie.

 

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Welcome to the forum and welcome to the world of B/W photography with this camera. You will find here many members who like using the M8 for B/W work.

 

I have removed a post which was in violation of our forum rules.

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In my opinion the M8 is the best Leica M digital for B&W photography - I have a Monochrom but I find the M8 to be better, giving files that have more "feel" to them.

 

The Monochrom is OK but to me the files look too digital whereas the M8 files give a more film like look.

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B and W and infra red are about the ony use I put my M8 to these days though I use the lenses on the Sony A7 as well. I enjoy using the camera and I'm reluctant to sell it for the modest sum it would fetch.

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You mean they have more noise

You know Jaapv that's precisely why I don't like Monochrom images - just too perfect and sanitised. B&W conversions from any digital camera always look boring no matter how they are processed but the M8 files look the least boring of them all with the Nikon D1H also giving a great TRI-X look.

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@Paulmac, I totally agree with you.  There is something mechanical with the M8 and his view finder while taking B&W picture.  It makes me feel like the M3 or my M5.  

 

I have a Fuji X-Pro1 with his 16 mega pixels and it is to much digital for me and so many details.  You don't feel taking picture with a camera but holding a piece of technology.

 

Actually I am taking photo with my M8 using a Summitar 50mm form 1950....amazing 

Edited by Plong

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Hi I am a newbie with a Leica M8.  I found in the M8 a wonderful camera with minimalist operations and a super cool alternative to my M5.

 

I have decided to got a M8 because  many bad reviews were posted....I said to myself they is something wrong with those ''teky weeky boys''.  They are all jealous, there is a conspiration agains Leica.....bad sensor, obsolete technology, ISO limitation poor resolution LCD, bad features...and so on.

 

But for me the M8 has proven to be an effective camera for B&W pictures and holding the M8 is like holding a part of the Leica heritage....not a piece of ''futile'' technologie.

Welcome to the forum.

 

I love my M8. In some ways, the black and white images it produces are better than my M-P (240). If only it didn't have the crop factor...

 

Ernst

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In my opinion the M8 is the best Leica M digital for B&W photography - I have a Monochrom but I find the M8 to be better, giving files that have more "feel" to them.

 

The Monochrom is OK but to me the files look too digital whereas the M8 files give a more film like look.

Interesting comment Paul.

 

I've been thinking about getting a Monochrom (CCD)and have been wondering what the B&W image quality difference might be compared to the M8?

 

I could certainly use the higher ISO capability.

 

Ernst

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In my opinion the M8 is the best Leica M digital for B&W photography - I have a Monochrom but I find the M8 to be better, giving files that have more "feel" to them.

 

The Monochrom is OK but to me the files look too digital whereas the M8 files give a more film like look.

Couldnt agree more! Bought a Monochrom after using the M8 for some years and I never had the same feeling. I think the monochrom is GREAT! but the M8 is the M8. Im glad I didnt sold it...it's definitely here to stay.

 

Enjoy your new camera

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Interesting comment Paul.

 

I've been thinking about getting a Monochrom (CCD)and have been wondering what the B&W image quality difference might be compared to the M8?

 

I could certainly use the higher ISO capability.

 

Ernst

 

Hi Ernst

 

The CCD Monochrom will certainly give you noise free images as of course will the M8.

 

To me and I emphasise in my opinion and others may differ completely I still think that the M8/M8.2 gives a better B&W image. This is based on the intangible feel of the image and I think that the M8 has a better feel than a Monochrom image.

 

I though am coming from a film based past and especially Kodak TRI-X which has always been my "go-to" film because I like the grain and the feel of a TRI-X image over say a FP4 image - so maybe I am not the best to recommend either camera!

 

I always put images from either camera through Silver FX Pro and add the TRI-X or AGFA APX film simulation and even after identical PP I actually prefer the M8 look.

 

Resolution wise, the CCD Monochrom is awesome if you pixel peep but for normal usage I think that you would be hard pushed to tell the two images apart. You can though really crop a Monochrom image and still maintain very high quality.

 

This is not to say that the Monochrom is an inferior camera as that would be ridiculous as my assessment is based on my personal taste and I know that others put a lot of emphasis on grain free images whereas I like grain!

 

With regard to the crop factor - I find that my favourite lens on the M8 is my Type 3 28mm Elmarit that gives a very nice 35mm view (OK 37mm) that really works well on this camera. I also use a Type 1 non rangefinder coupled Voigtlander 15mm which along with a 21mm viewfinder gives an excellent 21mm lens without any red edges. Can't recommend the little Voigtlander enough - it is a superb aspherical lens and when used on the M8 there is non of the unfortunate red edges as you would get on a full frame Leica digital - especially the M9 where to me the lens is not really usable as I don't like cornerfix and have never quite "got on" with it.

 

I'll try and post some comparison shots but I'm typing this on a Mac that I don't store any images on so I'll have to fire another one up to add the post!

Edited by paulmac

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Hi Ernst

 

The CCD Monochrom will certainly give you noise free images as of course will the M8.

 

To me and I emphasise in my opinion and others may differ completely I still think that the M8/M8.2 gives a better B&W image. This is based on the intangible feel of the image and I think that the M8 has a better feel than a Monochrom image.

 

I though am coming from a film based past and especially Kodak TRI-X which has always been my "go-to" film because I like the grain and the feel of a TRI-X image over say a FP4 image - so maybe I am not the best to recommend either camera!

 

I always put images from either camera through Silver FX Pro and add the TRI-X or AGFA APX film simulation and even after identical PP I actually prefer the M8 look.

 

Resolution wise, the CCD Monochrom is awesome if you pixel peep but for normal usage I think that you would be hard pushed to tell the two images apart. You can though really crop a Monochrom image and still maintain very high quality.

 

This is not to say that the Monochrom is an inferior camera as that would be ridiculous as my assessment is based on my personal taste and I know that others put a lot of emphasis on grain free images whereas I like grain!

 

With regard to the crop factor - I find that my favourite lens on the M8 is my Type 3 28mm Elmarit that gives a very nice 35mm view (OK 37mm) that really works well on this camera. I also use a Type 1 non rangefinder coupled Voigtlander 15mm which along with a 21mm viewfinder gives an excellent 21mm lens without any red edges. Can't recommend the little Voigtlander enough - it is a superb aspherical lens and when used on the M8 there is non of the unfortunate red edges as you would get on a full frame Leica digital - especially the M9 where to me the lens is not really usable as I don't like cornerfix and have never quite "got on" with it.

 

I'll try and post some comparison shots but I'm typing this on a Mac that I don't store any images on so I'll have to fire another one up to add the post!

Hi Paul

 

Thanks for your detailed response;very helpful.

 

The main reason I'm considering the Monochrom is that I do a lot of evening and night work in cities. The M8 struggles a little bit and I usually use my M-P, up to 3200 but I could use a couple of stops more. My normal lens on the M-P is my 21/2.8 Elmarit and I'm starting to 'see' most cityscapes with a 21mm viewpoint.

 

I have a CV21/4 which works brilliantly on the M8 as the crop puts it right in the sweetspot. My M8 is in Wetzlar at the moment but when it comes back, the CV21 will pretty much live on it, giving me 28mm.

 

If the Monochrom really was usable at 6400 or higher and gave M8 quality, I'd be very happy with that.

 

Then, of course I'd have the dilemma of what do do with the M-P. It would be a bit of a luxury to keep all 3 cameras!

 

Ernst

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I do a lot of night gig photography and Ive been using my M8 for a while. Obviously the grain was something I had to deal with...some shots were great, few were unusable. Then one day Leica in Mayfair gave me the Monochrom for a weekend and I was so impressed I just had to buy it...really didn't had the budget for that bit of juggling and searches on eBay I managed to get one!

Is been a game changer shooting gigs with the Monochrom... in low light is very powerful (and I set my max iso to 4000!).

With that said I would still use my M8 when Im out and about on day time....
Here's 2 night shots.

Leica M8 with Voigtlander 35mm F1.4

 

Leica Monochrom with Summicron 50mm F2

 

Bear in mind those are 2 completely different gigs with different lights setup etc.
 

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Interesting topic

 

I have just purchsed an M8 after using the M6 for a while now. Just interested, are you guys shooting in Jpeg with the camera set at Black and White or are you shooting RAW and converting later? 

 

When It comes to black and white photography I like to take a "purist" approach, the same as with film, thus meaning that I prefer the image to be actually shot in black and white rather than shooting in colour and then converting. Are the black and white jpegs comparable in quality to the raw files???

 

Paul Smith

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I don't really see "purist" as all the images are shot in colour. It's just a question of the point at which the conversion occurs. 

 

I'm a long term M8 user and still use it for B&W but believe the images need all the help they can get and if that means SiverEfex or Photoshop fine - it's the print that matters.

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Interesting topic

 

I have just purchsed an M8 after using the M6 for a while now. Just interested, are you guys shooting in Jpeg with the camera set at Black and White or are you shooting RAW and converting later? 

 

When It comes to black and white photography I like to take a "purist" approach, the same as with film, thus meaning that I prefer the image to be actually shot in black and white rather than shooting in colour and then converting. Are the black and white jpegs comparable in quality to the raw files???

 

Paul Smith

Paul

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

You could argue that the more 'purist' approach would be to shoot in RAW and then process to B&W using your choice of post processing software. The M8 actually does this in camera, taking the colour image from the sensor and processing it to B&W, according to the settings that you have selected for contrast, etc.

 

The quality and flexibility that you get from doing this conversion process yourself will be better than out of the camera images, as the processing power available in something like Lightroom exceeds that of the firmware in the camera. I used to feel exactly the way that you did until I saw what was possible using Lightroom.

 

You can set the camera to save both RAW and Jpeg images then you could compare after processing your images to B&W.

 

Ernst

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Here is my M8 setup for B&W shooting.   50mm collapsable Summitar, Summicron and Elmarit are my main lenses and they are cherries on top with the M8. 


 


Setup


Lens Detection Off


Iso 640


Sharpening Medium-High


Colour Saturation B&W


Contrast Medium-High


Auto ISO set up: Lens dependent.


JPEG


 


Picture was taken with a Summitar 50mm 1:2  at 3.5


Edited by Plong

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Interesting topic

 

I have just purchsed an M8 after using the M6 for a while now. Just interested, are you guys shooting in Jpeg with the camera set at Black and White or are you shooting RAW and converting later? 

 

When It comes to black and white photography I like to take a "purist" approach, the same as with film, thus meaning that I prefer the image to be actually shot in black and white rather than shooting in colour and then converting. Are the black and white jpegs comparable in quality to the raw files???

 

Paul Smith

Hi Paul and welcome to wonderful world of the B&W shooting!

 

Here is my M8 setup for B&W shooting.   50mm collapsable Summitar, Summicron and Elmarit are my main lenses and they are cherries on top with the M8. 

 

Setup

Lens Detection Off

Iso 640

Sharpening Medium-High

Colour Saturation B&W

Contrast Medium-High

Auto ISO set up: Lens dependent.

JPEG

 

Picture was taken with a Summitar 50mm 1:2  at 3.5

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I have found Silver Efex Pro 2 to be a good B & W conversion tool and it's a free google download in their Nik collection.  I also have CaptureOne but find SEP 2 to be an effective tool for trying different B & W looks.

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I've just bought an M8 and use it for black and white. I have an M9 which is my main camera which I usually use with a 21mm, 50mm Lux and 90mm Cron but if I'm out and just want to travel light I take the M8 and an old 35mm Cron which gives an angle of view of around 46mm. I set the camera to record .DNG and JPEG which gives a B&W image on the screen. I process from the .DNG and delete the JPEGs. I set Auto ISO/Speed to 640/60 and shoot in manual. It's light and simple and gives me images which I like. I had an M8 a few years ago and the crop factor drove me mad but it doesn't worry me any more. The shutter is really noisy though! 

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