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Leica Monochrom CCD, Who’s Selling? Why?

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I have been wondering to sell my M9 Mono for quite a while - with the years I just feel it would be great to adapt some non-leica lenses using the live view as well as having some extra Megapixels. 
If I will update, it will probably be the M246 - as stated by many, you just got to go in the M10Mono gallery to see how the camera is losing a bit of its soul (and style).

But I guess I will stick with mine for a bit longer...

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1 hour ago, jonnyboy said:

as stated by many, you just got to go in the M10Mono gallery to see how the camera is losing a bit of its soul (and style).

I hope you don’t mind me respectfully, selectively quoting you.  

I have just gone back through the last ten pages of the M10M thread and agree it does not have the same high impact the MM1 photo thread has.  What I do see though is the M10M is being used in more varied types of photography, for example more landscapes, some of which make me wish to see a colour version of the image.  However, and you knew there would be a however, I think when the M10M is used in the same environment the MM1 shines in, the results, although different, do create that ‘wow’ feeling.  Each page has at least one of those, often more than one.  

Maybe I am wrong.

 

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I won’t ever sell my M9 Monochrome, unless I stop with photography alltogether. I bought it right from the start and until today it can still surprise me in tonal differentiations of colors that I never saw in my B&W film photography. Even filters are of relative importance. I use the Orange filter quite a lot, but that’s more to bring down the ISO to 100 in summer, to profit from the nice bokeh of the two lenses I love to use most on it: Summicron 35 iv and the Summilux 75. Personally I only saw less interesting B&W in the Monochromes that came later, greyish images and less acute and deep blacks.

Edited by otto.f

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2 hours ago, Sjz said:

Maybe I am wrong

I think you are right...

Broadly speaking, in my world 80%  of the creative work I do is about what I see or feel, 19% about technical competence and 1% about the tools.....wether it’s using a paintbrush, charcoal, mechanical lens, camera or PP software.

 Within the ecosystem of that 1%, the tools I try to buy must be technically excellent and have good design to facilitates ease of use. That gives me that individual undefinable quality of it feeling right but ‘right’ to me  means,  over time the tools must become invisible. Until that point, using a newish competent tools feels like walking around with a stone in my  shoe....it distracts from the purpose.

I use an M10M because that was the era I decided to commit to b/w. I am certain that if I had jumped in at the MM1 or the 246 stage there would be no measurable difference, after equal length of use, to the feel of my images. I don’t  prescribe to ‘Show me the camera and I will show you the photographer’ ......self expression isn’t determined by the mechanical characteristics of a product, especially when it lives in the land of the 1% and whose purpose is to become invisible.

Edited by BlackBarn
Exp

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I bought my M Monochrom in Dec 2012, the M9 in May 2011. There has been a lot of discussion of CCD vs CMOS. I've stated in the past that more image processing goes into a CMOS image before it is written as a DNG (raw) image, the CCD DNG file has very little processing applied. With the M Monochrom- the sensor is the most uniform sensor of any that I've used. A few months ago I found a website that posted "sensor heat maps", measures of sensor uniformity. After several years, I can verify that comment based on numbers:

https://www.photonstophotos.net/Charts/Sensor_Heatmaps.htm#mode=23,camera=Leica%20M10-R,suffix=14

This table is from the above website, the last two columns are  dark signal non-uniformity (DSNU)  and  Photo Response Non Uniformity (PRNU) is - like Fixed Pattern Noise (FPN) - a way of expressing errors in the output from sensors. The lower the value, the better the raw image.

 

Note that the M Monochrom has the lowest numbers in the table..

To save you from having to search the table for Leica, I did a screen shot. And in case the website disappears.

So- apologies for the geekiness of my excitement. BUT- the first 10 images out of my camera, I knew this was true. 8 years later, someone put numbers on it.

 

 

Edited by BrianS

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Several have observed that images in the M10M thread (which I started) are not as good, for lack of a better way of expressing it, as in the M9M thread.  Maybe even not as good as the M246 thread.  I agree.  I much prefer the M9M thread over the M10M thread, but I don't think that has anything to do with the cameras.

The M10M thread started in January of this year, 9 months ago, and has 90 pages so far.   

The M246 thread started 65 months ago (5+ yrs) and has 79 pages.

The Monochrom Type 1 thread started 96 months ago (8 yrs) and has 161 pages.  

So the M10M thread has over half the number of posts in one tenth the amount of time as the M9M thread.

I don't know how many owners of each camera exist, but clearly people are posting a lot more on the M10M thread.  Looks like a similar number of posters to each thread.  I doubt if the camera made us 10X better photographers, so the natural conclusion is that a higher percentage of mediocre images are being posted on the M10M thread than on the other two.

To my eye, many of the images on the M9M thread have real artistic intent, while many of the images on the M10M thread are family snapshots or pictures from the day's walk.  That's fine, but different.  Not making a value judgement.  The M10M image thread kind of reminds me of the SL image thread.  

Maybe it points to the intentions of M10M vs. M9M photographers who are members of this forum who like to post.  Maybe the M9M is the starving artist's tool whereas the M10M is the rich retiree's tool.  I don't know.

I'm not claiming that even a single one of my images is good, but I try to post images that are interesting to me and I think might be interesting to others.  And since I don't make an interesting image very often, I don't post very often.

OK, my chest is bare - throw the spears and let loose the arrows!

 

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I have a mk1 M Monochrom. It's now in its ninth year with me, and I would never sell it. I don't push the ISO beyond 2500, and I tolerate the inherent quirks of the camera. It's not quite as quick or intuitive as a film M (although I imagine the M10M probably is) but I'm very happy with the output I can get from it.

That said, I picked up a Ricoh GR3 in January, and I've taken a bit of a detour into colour photography this year. The GR3 is lightning fast in operation, and I can slip it in my pocket. Didn't expect to like it as much as I do. The M Monochrom feels like a dinosaur in comparison. But, as long as it keeps working, I'll always come back to it.

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5 minutes ago, Likaleica said:

Several have observed that images in the M10M thread (which I started) are not as good, for lack of a better way of expressing it, as in the M9M thread.  Maybe even not as good as the M246 thread.  I agree.  I much prefer the M9M thread over the M10M thread, but I don't think that has anything to do with the cameras.

The M10M thread started in January of this year, 9 months ago, and has 90 pages so far.   

The M246 thread started 65 months ago (5+ yrs) and has 79 pages.

The Monochrom Type 1 thread started 96 months ago (8 yrs) and has 161 pages.  

So the M10M thread has over half the number of posts in one tenth the amount of time as the M9M thread.

I don't know how many owners of each camera exist, but clearly people are posting a lot more on the M10M thread.  Looks like a similar number of posters to each thread.  I doubt if the camera made us 10X better photographers, so the natural conclusion is that a higher percentage of mediocre images are being posted on the M10M thread than on the other two.

To my eye, many of the images on the M9M thread have real artistic intent, while many of the images on the M10M thread are family snapshots or pictures from the day's walk.  That's fine, but different.  Not making a value judgement.  The M10M image thread kind of reminds me of the SL image thread.  

Maybe it points to the intentions of M10M vs. M9M photographers who are members of this forum who like to post.  Maybe the M9M is the starving artist's tool whereas the M10M is the rich retiree's tool.  I don't know.

I'm not claiming that even a single one of my images is good, but I try to post images that are interesting to me and I think might be interesting to others.  And since I don't make an interesting image very often, I don't post very often.

OK, my chest is bare - throw the spears and let loose the arrows!

 

Re post #44, 1% is about the tool.

Re post #45, M9M may have best sensor by the metrics in the table but it has nothing to do with quality of images, besides when was viewing scaled down quality image on web device, phone, tablet or computer monitor, become way of judging technical quality of the image.

I would go say give a competent photographer and post processor al three monochrome  cameras and he or she would produce images of indistinguishable quality. 

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11 hours ago, BrianS said:

Thankyou. "on my list of fun coding projects"- I'll make the program more flexible by reading in a simple text file that gives the location of the faults, and have it apply corrections. Of course it is free, and I like to share Source Code and executables. 

Well, if you think this is something you’d like to share I’ll PM you w my email. 

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8 hours ago, Likaleica said:

so the natural conclusion is that a higher percentage of mediocre images are being posted on the M10M thread than on the other two.

It would be worth an investigation at this moment of 20 years existence of LUF, whether the general artistic quality of all the images posted here has gone down the hill in these years, or better put, that the threshold to post has gone lower. Perhaps the quality within a small percentage has gone up even, but people post more iPhone-sort of images. 

Edited by otto.f

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12 hours ago, BrianS said:

Note that the M Monochrom has the lowest numbers in the table..

Can we interpret this as: this is why M240 and M10M give more greyish images and seemingly less deep blacks? I say seemingly because this is a relative thing. The highlights in Rembrandt's painting are not THAT high, they appear high because he starts with deep blacks.

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The DNG file stores values for Black Level for the sensor, and some other information that describe it to the software used to process it- like Lightroom or Photoshop. 

These two versions of the image are both direct exports from the DNG file to JPEG- no additional processing.

I wrote a piece of code that changes the value in the header and applies a Gamma curve. I like the Deeper Black. The software creates a new DNG file with the changes, leaves the original intact.

Image sensors record light using a Linear scale. The eye has a response that is closer to a Gamma curve, and film is more like a Gamma curve. Gamma curves are easy to do in Fortran. I also changed the Black level for the sensor, looked at a lot of data to make the change.

The differences can be subtle- but to my ere, the face in this portrait look better in the second version.

Edited by BrianS

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Very easy to apply a tone curve adjustment in LR and save as a preset or default, as well of course to modify to suit an individual pic.  Sliders can accomplish much of the same, but the contrast curve is a powerful tool. 

Jeff

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That's true- a lot of people do that on a per image basis.

I apply the same curve to lots of images, and go into the DNG header itself to make corrections. I also store the values back as 16-bits in the DNG file, which Lightroom does not do. It's more like having a profile. Best of all- the only response the software needs is the directory that holds the images. 

The M246 uses 12-bits per pixel, not as much room for applying a tonal curve without seeing contours in the image. 

I'll be interested to see how long it takes for a next-gen M Monochrom to have better uniformity numbers than mine.

 

The Kodak DCS400 series applied a Gamma curve to the image as it was stored. 

The entire SD card load was processed at once.

Edited by BrianS

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5 minutes ago, BrianS said:

That's true- a lot of people do that on a per image basis.

 

And a lot of people posting pics either seem to have no clue, or else have different taste than I.  For me, though, the joy is in the print. And that requires more image-specific decisions and choices.

Jeff

 

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I think of it as selecting the proper Polycontrast Filter for a print. I do it with a curve, rather than ad-hoc.

 

I go for the look of Panatomic-X in Microdol.

Edited by BrianS

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I selected single contrast papers in my darkroom days and proceeded from there.  Film has its own curve, unlike most digital output, especially using cameras with high dynamic range and flatter files.

Jeff

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I could be overthinking things (although not sure how to interpret the above tables) could it be as simple as the M10M offers an unusual amount of recovery from the deep shadows, so people bring that detail out, ‘flattening’ the image?  On reflection ‘flattening’ is not the right word, ‘creating a different style of image” would be more accurate.  People can of course use curves or sliders to show far more of their image as black.

i have found the Raw files look less ‘flat’ when I have been using colour filters.

(i do know that posting my photos here and receiving comments helps me develop my thinking, and hopefully the end result.)

 

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The shadow recovery for the original M Monochrom files is incredible.

I did this as a test when writing the software to add the Gamma curve.

 

Original Image, straight export to JPEG from LR6:

L1005046 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

 

100% crop of shadow area:

L1005046_100crop by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

 

Gamma curve:

G5046 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Shadow details -

G5046_100crop by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr Edited by BrianS

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