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A Trifecta of Monochrom's


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So will you still use all three, or will the earlier ones sit idle?  

I can only imagine your thoughts if Leica ever produced an S Monochrom.  :)  

Funny how our photographic journeys relate.  In film days, I went from Canon to Nikon and other brands, eventually including medium and large format.  Growing up in Baltimore, but living in the suburbs outside DC in the 80’s,  I drove to Bethesda to buy my first film M, built my first of 4 darkrooms, eventually moving to the M8.2, M240, then M10.  But I stopped at the original Monochrom, which suits my shooting and print needs, albeit in an old package. The appeal of the M10M for me is mostly about the benefits of the more modern M10 platform (form factor, better VF, 2m frame lines, quieter operation, more reliable and robust build/weather sealing, etc). Eventually, though, I’ll demo the new one to see if there’s anything to gain from an IQ perspective, given my shooting and print style. Online pics don’t tell me much, and I see little to distinguish the trio. No rush, though...I’m just learning the SL2 system as a complement to my M’s.  

Happy shooting!

Jeff

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4 hours ago, Musotographer said:

A beautifully written piece - and one that may well join Jono Slack’s and Gregory Simpson’s in helping to empty my bank account, probably sooner than I ever thought. 

Yes I can follow that. For the first time since it came out I’m starting to think it might be an option, especially because of Gregory Simpson’s story. But in its surplusvalue above other cameras it remains a specialist camera: night, street and theatre are the domains where it is unique. And this is exactly where I mainly use my MM1 for and where I do struggle with banding sometimes. The silent shutter is ideal for theatre and very attractive in general. Apart from that special domains, ISO160 is a great advantage above the MM1 for general photography, IF this is really 160 and not a pull.

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THat is one for fine bit of writing, and yes, you put the point on it. 

I lost my interest in 35mm film some time ago, preferring medium format and the digital Ms. The joy of medium format, in film, but even more so with a digital back, is that it lets you climb up into another league of clarity and file richness. Along those lines, this is what the original MM1 did. it is still a pleasure to use, and although tricky to get right., when you do, it’s really good. Never used the M246. But the M10M breaks new ground, and while I’m resisting so far, the allure is very much there. It clearly has that magic, and gets the heart going. It’s the culmination of many years, and can be considered the camera the other monochromes wanted to be.  

Thanks for the write up. 

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Nicely written, but you lost me at comparing a Nikon with Provia to a Coolpix.  The rest of the piece I spent wondering whether it is you who are suffering from acute confirmation bias, or I.  There must be some other and more convincing way to explain the attraction of digital than by making film “lose out.”

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49 minutes ago, otto.f said:

I agree with that, if I understand you right that is. There is a slight tendency to sharpness fetisjism

Sharpness is nice when you need it, but that is not why I would get an M10M.  My M9M has plenty of resolution for my needs. 

Having been a beta tester of the M10M (before some of the bugs were worked out) for me it is the M10 platform user interface and it's high ISO capability.  The former speaks for itself.

The latter is useful in low light situations where I can still comfortably maintain a shutter speed of 1/125 or even 1/250, set the aperture to the depth of field I want and then let the ISO wander up to even 25,000, knowing that the files will be very useable. It's a very liberating camera in this regard.  

And by low light I'm not talking about alleyways or astrophotography, I'm talking about indoors with poor, flat lighting where you can adjust the curves to get a well separated image without any or minimal noise and/or banding.

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I will be the outlier here and state emphatically that I believe the best B&W output still comes from film and the Monochrom cameras are not even close to its plasticity.

I'm not looking for digital Monochrom cameras that can shoot at ISO 6400-50.000. Let's leave darkness where it belongs.

I'm not looking for digital Monochrom cameras that can deliver phenomenal resolution- I'm not into advertising, and, as far as resolution is concerned, a medium format digital camera will beat it any day, just as it has in film days.

I'm looking for a digital B&W camera that is as responsive as a film camera (granted, this is always "ON") and delivers a B&W image with the wide gamut of grays and exposure latitude of film. When I heard Leica will have a new sensor in the M10-M I was curios- alas, its tendency to overoexpose highlights is still there and the wakeup time is the same as the M10, so absolutely no improvement here.

Here are three screenshots from the two digital Leica cameras and one from the M3 (they are from A B&W comparison😞

 

 

 

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39 minutes ago, horosu said:

Here are three screenshots from the two digital Leica cameras and one from the M3 (they are from A B&W comparison😞

Sorry to ask.. What are we supposed to see in the 3 screenshots ?  I did the so called YouTube "blind test" and ended up with a clear preference for both digital Leicas by far, but using jpgs is already killing the result IMO.

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I'm sorry, you may be right about the JPEG's. However, on my computer (although at larger sizes than allowed by the Forum Software) the difference is quite obvious and, to my eyes, I absolutely prefer the film results- their grittiness and 3D quality is very appealing (again, to me)

2 hours ago, snooper said:

Sorry to ask.. What are we supposed to see in the 3 screenshots ?  I did the so called YouTube "blind test" and ended up with a clear preference for both digital Leicas by far, but using jpgs is already killing the result IMO.

 

Edited by horosu
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4 minutes ago, horosu said:

I'm sorry, you may be right about the JPEG's. However, on my computer (although at larger sizes than allowed by the Forum Software) the difference is quite obvious

 

You don’t seem to understand the question. Your post is pro film and anti digital monochrome but the test is not quite supportive of this stance. The highlights from the M3 are blown out, there is no detail in the unfocused background etc etc. I love film but this is no argument at all. 

Edited by otto.f
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Well Monochrom are everything BUT out of camera files. Like in films, by the way. Take your entire film and do prints "out of camera" meaning without working a bit in the lab, using same times, same paper, same enlarger aperture... for each picture of the roll....  It's like using a DNG without touching contrast, exposure, etc..

Does not make any sense to me anyway..

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5 minutes ago, otto.f said:

You don’t seem to understand the question. Your post is pro film and anti digital monochrome but the test is not quite supportive of this stance. The highlights from the M3 are blown out, there is no detail in the unfocused background etc etc. I love film but this is no argument at all. 

I'm sorry but what was the question that I don't seem to understand?

I clearly stated my preference for the film files in the above-linked comparison, at least under daylight (they used Delta 100, BTW).

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On 2/2/2020 at 11:02 PM, Jeff S said:

So will you still use all three, or will the earlier ones sit idle?  

I can only imagine your thoughts if Leica ever produced an S Monochrom.  :)  

Funny how our photographic journeys relate.  In film days, I went from Canon to Nikon and other brands, eventually including medium and large format.  Growing up in Baltimore, but living in the suburbs outside DC in the 80’s,  I drove to Bethesda to buy my first film M, built my first of 4 darkrooms, eventually moving to the M8.2, M240, then M10.  But I stopped at the original Monochrom, which suits my shooting and print needs, albeit in an old package. The appeal of the M10M for me is mostly about the benefits of the more modern M10 platform (form factor, better VF, 2m frame lines, quieter operation, more reliable and robust build/weather sealing, etc). Eventually, though, I’ll demo the new one to see if there’s anything to gain from an IQ perspective, given my shooting and print style. Online pics don’t tell me much, and I see little to distinguish the trio. No rush, though...I’m just learning the SL2 system as a complement to my M’s.  

Happy shooting!

Jeff

Aye, it would seem we've traversed much of the same ground, Jeff.  Not a surprise that your and my photographic sensibilities are simpatico in so many respects.

I've long been intrigued by the S-system.  I hope Leica never brings out an S Monochrom!  Buying a single, expensive body is one thing.  Buying a whole system is something altogether harder!  Especially now that I'm retired and living on Social Security.

Honestly, what has my eye more than anything is the SL2.  Being able to use my M lenses on an IBIS system seems awful compelling.  I'm guessing that would make for a powerful adjunct to my rangefinders.  (Especially since I sold off most my Nikon glass several years ago to fund the purchase of my Flextight scanner.)

All the best, my friend.

 

 

 

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On 2/3/2020 at 4:52 AM, shirubadanieru said:

Awesome write up!! Love it :) 

regarding shutter shake by the way I was wondering what’s the lowest you feel comfortable shooting at with a 35 / 50mm lens compared with the previous MMs?

You know, I've yet to run the M10-Monochrom at anything less than about 2x focal length, so I honestly couldn't tell you.

But both the previous MM's also had/have striking high-ISO performance relative to their peers.  The original Monochrom was the first camera I ever owned where ISO substantially receded as a photographic constraint.  I'd shoot that without hesitation up to around 10-12,000.  The M246 advanced that to 25,000.  And with the M10-Monochrom I'll happily shoot up to about 50,000.

And so, really, with all three models you can easily keep shutter speeds elevated as much as you like, especially if you have access to fast glass.

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