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Sensor stabilisation in a Leica M


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Would the Leica M type 240 be a better photographic tool if Leica had developed it to include sensor stabilisation? Is that not one of the main reasons Leica did not increase the megapixels in the M10 to, for example, 36MP (to the disappointment I suspect of many would be upgraders). I wonder this because it is hard to think of a mainstream serious amateur or professional camera on the market today which does NOT have good image stabilisation built in. It is regarded as an essential component presumably because, for many people, it is extremely difficult to take a genuinely pin sharp image on a large sensor without it. I know many Leica photographers will not agree but then why is stabilisation such a key selling point? If Leica could do this I for one would not feel that it detracted from the rangefinder experience. You still have to focus but an in focus image would not be marred by camera shake, however slight. Maybe it is impossible for Leica to incorporate it.

Lburn

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Outside of Sony, AFAIK most, if not all, FF IS solutions are optical/lens based. That route is a non-starter for the M for several reasons. First, the added mechanism bulks up both the weight and size of the lens and few of us are interesting in sacrificing RF view for IS. More importantly OIS systems require power. Where is it going to come from as the M has no electrical connection to the lens?  That leaves in body stabilization which means that the sensor has to move, something that seems quite contrary to a long standing tradition of physical precision.  Perhaps in a 240 follow on, they might entertain such a notion but I doubt it and frankly I don't think its necessary.  I've shot reliably down to 1/6"; how much lower need one go before just relying on a tripod? Shake isnt only down to the photographer. Recall the first gen 7R suffered terribly from camera shake due to the shutter mechanism.  Certainly IS can be a compelling technology when one desires to shoot with big glass in low light, but longer focal lengths have never been the forte of RF cameras anyway.  So while supplying IS in on the M might provide a convenient checkbox for marketing, its unlikely to provide any compelling shooting advantage and potentially be a drag on overall image quality, and only a boon for a few.

 

So for my $.02, I'd say no. IS solutions make sense for the SL perhaps, but the M has little to gain and potentially quite a bit to lose from incorporating them.  

 

 

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It would be a larger photographic tool as well; sensor stabilization takes up space.

It is a wonderful tool though. In a smaller sensor size it allows me to gain five stops, allowing me to shoot an 800 mm equivalent lens @ 1/60th handheld. That is lens and body combined five-axis stabilization.

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I never wish for stabilization, and I shoot many FLs, including handholding at 450mm and causal resting at 700mm. I just use fast shutter. My long lenses are fast also. 

 

Why would I want 1/60 at 800mm? I shoot often in low light, and find below 100 is easily blurred by movement of a subject.

 

Now, I understand there are special situations, no people, animals, birds, etc, and that IS is going to be very nice. But I don't shoot those situations very often. 

 

As I think I will go to a A7r2 mod as second body to M pretty soon, perhaps I will appreciate IBIS in future. But frankly, the M9's lack of features has been a godsend for my photography.

 I shoot 135 on M9 all the time, including at F/2.8.

 

For longer I use a A7.mod and Nikon 180/300/500 ED lenses. 

Edited by uhoh7
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Well, I do use these values.  And I do find stabilization a godsend, normally one would shoot an 800 on a heavy tripod, regardless of shutter speed. Now I have the advantage of five stops. It stabilizes the viewfinder framing as well.

Fast long lenses, I suppose you own a pack mule...

 

I must confess that I never wished for stabilization either, with much the same arguments you are using. Actually using it made me change my mind completely.

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The less my Leica M does the better I like it.

Reworded for clarity: "The less my Leica M tries to do for me, the better I like it."

 

Exactly why I love the M-D. No settings, no features beyond those needed to make photos, exactly what a digital M should be: No distractions, just photographs. If you're leaving an M sitting on a shelf, it's the wrong camera for you.

 

I do appreciate image stabilization, however, in the appropriate cameras and lenses where it is useful. Long lenses, used hand held in good light, are what it does best. That's why I sold all my long R lenses and bought the SL90-280 for the SL. I've never once felt a need for image stabilization with an M.

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That's why I leave my M on the shelve most of time.  It does nothing and I am loving it.

 

I don't understand why do you love a camera you don't use?   Why did you buy the M?

If you don't use it, sell it and move on to a camera you use and like.

Have you considered the Sony A7 series? Its a wonderful camera the lenses are superb and it does everything......I mean EVERYTHING

 

Am I the only one that bought the M for what it doesn't do and how it simply lets me make photographs?

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I love stabilization and the EVF in the system I own that has it with the Olympus E-M1. The Olympus system is about as good as it gets.

 

I also like it (and other silly features, like video, LOL) not being in my M262 and having the mechanical rangefinder/optical finder. It's a part of what makes this system different and appealing. If it was more like the Olympus system I most likely never would have wondered down the digital rabbit hole with Leica.

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[...] Am I the only one that bought the M for what it doesn't do and how it simply lets me make photographs?

 

I'm sure you're not but some of us have been following that route for decades and technical improvements are welcome from time to time, even with manual lenses. Silent shutter for instance. Now that i use it on modern cameras i miss it on my Ms. IS would be interesting as well but i have still steady hands and i dislike bulky cameras. 

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Thank you for those thoughts. I certainly can't pretend to be able to take a completely shake free image handheld at a slow shutter speed (15th and below) and really admire those who can. I can sometimes get close but some degree of shake is there. I don't think I am alone in this. As I want to get the best out of Leica equipment, in body stabilisation would seem a logical way to go. But the key part of my thread is whether Leica have concluded that lack of stabilisation is now a limiting factor on the megapixel size they can go to -hence 24MP and not 36MP.  If so, I think that would be a pity because surely the lenses are well up to resolving the greater detail recorded by a 36MP sensor? I wonder how many users could shoot pin sharp at slow speeds on a 36 sensor with no support and no stabilisation??

Lburn

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What's resolution? Not Das Wesentliche that

. More seriously there are reasons why Leica don't have and probably don't plan to implement IS in M lenses and/or cameras. One of those reasons is bulk as suggested above. Not a problem on a big camera like the SL but most M users are not prepared to accept compromises on that.
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If Leica increased the sensor to 36mp would the lenses still meet the required resolving power? Or would they need to be recalculated?

Would the microlens array that handles the high angle of incidence that some M lenses project onto the sensor be able to bend light strongly enough?

What benefits would you gain by having 36mp? Is this offset enough by the size reduction of the photon wells? Sensitivity is one thing but would they lose dynamic range?

 

The point is these are all engineering trade offs. I'm going to suggest that because the M10 and M240 have about the same resolution somewhere in Leica they crunched some numbers and decided that the value in going from 24 to 36mp was not enough to justify the downsides. I think that with computers being as they are it isn't just file size driving the decision.

 

There is a fairly profound difference between the 12 megapixel camera in my iPhone and my 24 megapixel M240 but I have not seen shots that convincingly demonstrate to me that there is so much greater value in 36 megapixels over 24 that I just must have it.

 

I print my photos up to about 24"x36" and in the photos that I print at that size,mostly landscapes, there are other optical effects that suggests to me that I could use a bit more dynamic range but I don't see anything within the images that suggest that I am losing detail due to lack of resolution. There seems to be a fundamental limitation of the amount of information that I can capture in a scene. For example in street photography there are only so many visual elements that I can bring together in a single shot. If I'm close enough to take a straight shot more than likely I'm capturing the person's expression in context and I don't want to be distracted by their pores or the bubblegum on a sidewalk. In largely static photography like a landscapes I'm constantly pushing up against the breath of the dynamic range within the field of view that I'm trying to capture and I'm more likely to lose detail in shadow regions as I'm struggling to control my highlights than I am to lose the detail in the shadow regions due to lack of resolution.

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Sensor resolution and lens resolution will not limit one another. A better lens will perform better on the same sensor; a higher resolving sensor will perform better with the same lens, so the dilemma you pose is basically meaningless. It is not a weakest link situation.

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<snip>

The point is these are all engineering trade offs. I'm going to suggest that because the M10 and M240 have about the same resolution somewhere in Leica they crunched some numbers and decided that the value in going from 24 to 36mp was not enough to justify the downsides. I think that with computers being as they are it isn't just file size driving the decision.

<snip>

Development doesn't happen as fast as it possibly can; Moore's law is a collusion to not double parameter x more frequently than every 18 months. The appearance of the M10 with 24mp suggests that the other changes are sufficient to sell the required number of new cameras.
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