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M10 underexposing and metering question


SMAL
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FWIW, I also find "classic" metering a problem with digital Leicas and wide angle lenses.

 

It is particularly a problem if the lens has a lot of vignetting ((eg fast wide-angle lenses shot wide open). This can make the AE-lock and recompose strategy very difficult as the combination of the vignette and the camera's intrinsic meter pattern give a kind of cliff-edge to the meter pattern. As a result, relatively small movements of the camera can have an immense and essentially unpredictable effect on the metered exposure with high-contrast scenes. Sticking with fully manual exposure settings is usually the best option if shooting with the OVF in such cases.

 

Oddly enough I find this much less problematic with the M7. I have never really understood if this was because of some subtle difference in the meter pattern or if it is simply that film still handles highlight saturation so much better than digital.

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You can turn on EVF for multi-field metering even if you use only the optical finder/RF.

 

That really slows down the camera operation and helps to exhaust the battery faster. That said, I do use LV when I put on my Super Elmar 18 or I'm h having a problem focusing with a longer lens.

 

I have found that tipping the camera down and half pressing the shutter button on lock exposure off of the side walk or ground without any specular light sources affecting the metering works well.

 

Since acquiring my first Leica, the M10 in December 2017, I had to learn again how to zone focus, manual focus and figure out the nuances of the light metering system through much practice. My rate of keepers is much higher than when I first started.

 

Metering your palm is also a technique that approximates a gray card.

 

Regards,

Bud James
 
Please check out my fine art and travel photography at www.budjames.photography or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/budjamesphoto.
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But I don´t want to use LV (mostly), but I want a different metering mode. 

 

 

You're fat out of luck in this regard ...

 

Invest in a handheld meter with such functions is the only other electronic solution I know of.

 

My own personal solution is to set the camera in manual with an exposure setting adequate to the environment/light I'm in, then I use my brain to calculate the difference in exposure required to capture the scene as I see fit.

 

Mind you, in years past I used many fabulous inbuilt meters in cameras that did the thinking for me, but now in later life, I quite enjoy the need to think and experiment, get it wrong, just change the exposure and try again. 

 

In the end, no meter knows exactly what you want, exposure is usually a compromise which you later recover in post processing. 

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SMAL:

 

1) you are quite correct that to get the fastest shutter response with the M10, you need to skip having live-view turned on. And that leaves you with only one metering approach - strongly center-weighted. A fixed and immovable metering cell, staring at fixed and immovable gray paint stripes on the shutter. Which can often be over-influenced by something dark or light in the center of your composition, or with wider lenses, by the sky.

 

2) As others have mentioned, you can get around that by meter-and-recompose using the exposure lock (half press of the shutter button), or using the thumbwheel on the camera back to rapidly dial in some exposure compensation per shot, or shooting in manual, and taking a "global" meter reading with a separate incident lightmeter, or off a gray card. But all those also take a certain amount of time away from chasing moments and expressions and gestures. Or don't work well in variable light.

 

3) But you say you were happy to overexpose with your Canon/Sony, and then recover highlights in post.

 

Have you tried doing the exact opposite with the M10 - recovering shadows in post? Because the M10 has a pretty massive amount of shadow detail in raw files, that is "masked" by a heavy default contrast curve, but can be recovered to an surprising amount with the basic "Exposure" and "Shadow" sliders. With maybe a touch of added-back mid-tone contrast to prevent the image getting too gray and "HDR-looking" - just depends on the lighting.

 

As a photojournalist, I often live by "A" mode, classic metering (never LV), and a minus-.67 exp. comp. to protect the highlights from blowing, and because after using the M10 for 17 months, I know that a really dark-appearing default image has a lot of space for opening up, without color distortions or much added noise or other strange tonal effects.

 

Here's an M10 gallery event snap I made, quick while the expressions lasted. I did notice the white wall would skew the CW metering, and scrolled in three clicks more positive exp. comp. with my thumb as I raised the camera to my eye (net: +0.33). Not enough by itself, obviously, but I pulled up the other 1-1.5 stops of underexposure with a click of the exposure and shadows sliders in post. ISO 6400. 90mm f/2.8.

 

M10dark.jpg

 

M10correx.jpg

 

And that is by no means the most extreme shadow-pull I've done with the M10 - there is a serious amount of good stuff hidden under the M10's default contrast curve: https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/288283-high-iso-m10-vs-q/?p=3591563

 

The several mentioned "metering memory lock" works quite well and I didn´t think of that. Thanks!

 

To your question. I of course already did recover shadows and I am more than pleased how good this works with the M10. I even pushed an ISO1600 file by 3 stops just to test it´s capabilities. But I simply like to get my photos in camera as close as possible to the final result and atm I have trouble doing that, cause center weighted metering is so unreliable. I think I will simply meter with the half pressed shutter of off more neutral areas and then dial my exposure in manually. 

 

A huge thanks again for all the amazing input to everyone. Really helpful!

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Please allow me to say again how I meter through RF (I think that I wrote that several times and I do not want to bore you with my easy metering method. )

 

When I have a portion of sky in my frame then this is normally the lightest part of my picture. I meter on this sky so that the red dot is correctly visible in the viewfinder. Then I overexpose by 1 ev by either adapting time or aperture (according to the situation). When light gets lesser its important that the ISO do not automatically compensate my correction; it is important to have the ISOs manually set.

 

My landscape I always measure like that and I am very happy. Of course it happens that I get dark areas in the picture which I can normally pull up in Lightoom. So thats no problem. Of course I care about too many dark areas; sometime I make compromises. I newer use the compensation wheel. Each picture seems to me to be too much different. And metering the sky and adapt by 1 ev that is really quickly done. For me it is important that I have no overexposed clouds that I can not correct in LR any more.

 

An other remark: In the thread about high ISO M10 vs Q Adan wrote that we could overexpose much more than 1 ev (he mentions 3.5 ev). With my method that does not work unfortunately. 1 ev seems to me to be the maximum to preserve the structure of clouds.

Edited by Alex U.
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I tried over exposing a few photos and felt like 1 EV sometimes was already way too much. I don’t think the M10 is meant to be over exposed. The capabilities to recover shadows are way better and so for me the M10 will be exposed spot on or under and I‘ll avoid over exposing it.

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I tried over exposing a few photos and felt like 1 EV sometimes was already way too much. I don’t think the M10 is meant to be over exposed. The capabilities to recover shadows are way better and so for me the M10 will be exposed spot on or under and I‘ll avoid over exposing it.

This is correct when you meter directly your subject (maybe in the middle of the frame). As this subject is NOT the brightest spot in your composition then as a consequence the exposure time will be choosen too long and the sky is blown out whereas the other areas are properly exposed. In that case you have to manually underexpose by maybe ¾ EV. Many coleagues hve the manual exposure compensation set to -⅔ EV.

 

I do not like that method and perefer to proceed as described above.

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SMAL,

 

If I understand correctly what Alex means ( "I meter on this sky so that the red dot is correctly visible in the viewfinder"  = metering only "sky not the entire field" ), metering on only the brightest part of the future picture, then from there set +1EV.

 

Sorry, Alex said the same thing when I respond.

 

I learn that not one method fits all.

So to gain experience, I tried whatever I would use "method", and judge the possibility from that experience.

In my use, adjust compensation is tricky ( so many times I forgot it is set plus or minus for the next frames ! ) but other always use that trick.

 

Lastly, I would kick myself for another "forgot it was there thing".

As I use Monochrom with other color Ms, with one of the latter I used without noticing a yellow filter on lens for twenty "frames" (I don't chimp mainly), then I wanted to see one frame,

and saw the weird "colors" before removing the yellow filter.

Edited by a.noctilux
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SMAL, I can really sympathise with the "Leica M10 underexposes in backlit situations" post. Coming from being a film M user for landscapes mainly I do find the M10 seems more sensitive to underexposing.

When using 35mm F2 Asph with the M10 for landscapes I can easily get a 2 to 3 stop difference in exposure just by changing the angle of where the centre 135mm frame lines box is when I'm using the rangefinder in A (aperture priority mode). To try and explain, 135mm box all above the horizon = 1/2000th (-1 stop) , 135mm box in the middle = 1/1000th (0 stop), 135mm box all below horizon = 1/500th (+1stop). If I tilt the camera up further (half a 135mm box higher) I get 1/3000th (-1.5stop) or silt it down an extra half box I get 1/360th (+1.5 stop). To expose for the highlights the darker foreground (my subject in the wide landscape) can be 3 stops underexposed. With film there is a bit of compression (non-linearity) in the deep shadows and highlights that probably made the wide dynamic range and appearance of the final image more acceptable, or rather more forgiving of any slight over of under exposure.

 

I remember when I borrowed a 24mm lens and used velvia 50 on my Film MP there was obviously much more sky in the frame (than I was used to with 35mm or 50mm) and almost all my exposures were underexposed.

It feels like the M10 with a 35mm has similar underexposure tendencies to film MP/M6/M7 with 24mm.

Maybe the LeicaM10 (don't know if M240 or M9 had the same response) is best designed for 50mm street photography (grey street, buildings) rather than 35mm and wide angle landscapes where the dynamic range of the scene is potentially higher?

 

The answer maybe that I have to accept I'll need to do more work in Apple Aperture 3.6 to process the RAW DNG files to pull out the detail from the shadows. It sort of feels like I didn't take a good exposure if I need to do this.

 

With film I'd go out walking for the afternoon and maybe take 36 exposures, now with the M10 I take 175 shots (~5x) to get 20-30 good ones but requires much more work in post. Mmm! who said digital was quicker?

 

With a mirrorless camera like the Sony A7 or Leica SL they can make use of the sensor for the exposure metering and do multipoint (effectively assessing the Zones in the scene), but with all Leica Ms there is just one signal from the photo sensor receiving the light bounced off the shutter curtain. I have had underexposure issues with A7 + 35mm F2 Asph but a little less so due to the multipoint exposure.

 

There is a good FAQ on the sensitivity of the meter in the M10 FAQ thread which is actually from the M9 as most of the FAQ have been repurposed for the M10 FAQ thread. post #47

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/125097-the-original-faq-thread/page-3

 

M9 white/grey shutter markings are slightly diagonal (off horizontal) while the M10 is really horizontal.

 

I'll post an example of the difficulty.

Regards, Lincoln

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A tractor in Avebury, England. I only had a few seconds to grab the shot so M10 did the exposure.

Here is the DNG converted to JPEG in Aperture as is with no manual adjustments.

 

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You would think that the bright clouds in the top of the frame wouldn't have an effect on the centre weighted exposure meter but it certainly seems to. Unless the M10 exposure algorithm purposely underexposes to preserve highlights?

 

The good news is that the detail is available in the DNG file shadows so they can be pulled up without causing posterisation.

 

I wonder if using the wider apertures like f4 (above) instead of f8 changes the exposures metering? I'll have to experiment.

 

Cheers, Lincoln

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SMAL,

 

If I understand correctly what Alex means ( "I meter on this sky so that the red dot is correctly visible in the viewfinder"  = metering only "sky not the entire field" ), metering on only the brightest part of the future picture, then from there set +1EV.

 

 

That is right. Thats what I do.

 

@Linkoln_mm: To my experience the meter is srongly center weighted (max ⅔ of the active frame horizontall and vertical according to the „Leica M10 the expanded guide“ book) and does not take into consideration other parts (highlights) of our picture.

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As I've said elsewhere (to the point of boring some people, no doubt) - the M10 metering algorithm will meter an 18% gray just about exactly correctly - within 1-2 points of 120 on the digital 0-255 brightness scale.

 

 

The M10 issue specifically is that all the grays darker than 18% gray are dragged down by a processing algorithm - an applied contrast curve unique to the M10 - to add visible punch and saturation, compared to the previous CMOS M cameras (M240 family).

 

There is another factor that has to be remembered with all Leica M metering, from the M5 on (and this gets to the "wide-angle" issue). The meter system measures a fixed area within the picture - It does NOT measure a fixed area within the glass viewfinder. Because the M viewfinder always shows a fixed "28mm" view of the world, cropped by framelines.

 

Put a 21, 18, 16 or 15mm lens on an M - and the metering area becomes as big as the entire area of the built-in viewfinder. Because the built-in finder does not show you the full area that a super-wide lens sees.

 

Coming from virtually any other camera type (except other RFs, or perhaps the Fuji X-Pro) it is easy to, out of habit, think "metering area is 40% of the height between the black edges of the screen." Not in an M - it is 40% of the area inside the framelines for the actual lens in use. And of course, for any lens wider than 28mm, there are no framelines at all.

 

It is easy for the sky to be way up at the top of the built-in finder (28mm field of view) - yet well within what the meter sees with a 21 or 18mm lens.

 

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/224881-shooting-black-and-white-m7-camera-settings/?p=2567197

 

Ideally, for the super-wide lenses, Leica might add a little silvery circle in the accessory viewfinders, to show "metering area for this lens specifically." But many would find it distracting, and not all that helpful, since to read the meter, we'd still have to look through the built-in ("wrong") viewfinder to see the > o < indicators.

 

Historically, of course, it took Leica years to figure out how to add ttl metering to their rangefinders, which have none of the normal "light-diversion" mechanisms already built into larger and more complex SLRs, that can be "tapped" to divert light to a meter sensor (Mirror, ground-glass, eye-level prism).

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I’m from the time that the outcome of the measurement of the camera was “only an indication”. With other words, you could not rely on it, but “common photographic sense” remained necessary.

In the digital area I went to Nikon. If there is one brand which knows about measurements, it’s Nikon. Wow, almost always correct. Even in f/e snow.

Then I moved to Leica for the obvious reasons. The light measurements are less accurate for reasons described earlier, but I learned how to deal with this in my early years. I simply correct (if necessary) by holding the camera somewhat downwards or upwards. This works fast and efficient. The +/- correction is never used by me and my measurements are correct in 99% of the difficult cases.

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I’m from the time that the outcome of the measurement of the camera was “only an indication”. With other words, you could not rely on it, but “common photographic sense” remained necessary.

In the digital area I went to Nikon. If there is one brand which knows about measurements, it’s Nikon. Wow, almost always correct. Even in f/e snow.

Then I moved to Leica for the obvious reasons. The light measurements are less accurate for reasons described earlier, but I learned how to deal with this in my early years. I simply correct (if necessary) by holding the camera somewhat downwards or upwards. This works fast and efficient. The +/- correction is never used by me and my measurements are correct in 99% of the difficult cases.

 

This is pretty much what I´ve taken from this thread. Already tried it today and I am pretty pleased.

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