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bcapphoto

Looking for your input - MM, M246 or M240?

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Hi there! First post here, so quick intro ...¬†ūüĎč

I've been a full-time professional wedding and portrait photographer for 15 years. I have been teaching photography (and the business of photography) to professional photographers for the last 7-8 years. I'm also the CEO and Founder at Sprout Studio, a studio management suite for professional photographers. You can check out my site at bcapphoto.com and my IG at instagram.com/bcapphoto. 

So - intro out of the way ... a bit about me and photography now. 

I've added film to my repertoire, personally and a bit professionally, for the last ~ 2 years. I shoot with a Leica M6 (35mm Summicron v3 and 50mm Summicron Collapsible), a Rolleiflex 2.8C, a Contax T3, a Shen Hao 4x5, an Olympus Pen EES2 and a handful of others.

Here are a few scans of some of my (Leica M6 film) portrait work

And some of my personal documentary work of my kids: 

The reason I'm posting here is because I'm interested in potentially getting a Leica digital M. I shoot with Fuji gear, digitally - a pair of XT3s and an X100V. I love my Fuji gear, but I also really love the experience of shooting with my M6 (rangefinder, manual focus, etc.) and I adore the character out of my 50mm Summicron Collapsible. 

I'd be shooting a digital M mostly personally, but I'd probably also start to incorporate it into my professional work and bring it to weddings for parts of the day and bring it for more documentary portrait work at my portrait sessions. 

I'm sort of between an M240, the MP240 and the Monochrom. On the Monochrom side, I'm not sure which one I would want. I like the idea of the CCD (the 1st version) because of the story and apparently the files are gorgeous. But the M246 also seems like a beast in low-light, which I shoot a fair bit in. 

Just curious if you guys have some thoughts or recommendations based on the above. What would you do if you were me?

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Here is my story for what it may be worth.

I bought the MM (M9M) shortly after it was released.  Loved it, but like my M9 it experienced the cover glass corrosion and required an extended "vacation" in New Jersey. I bought the M246 to replace it and planned to sell the MM after it was returned.  Loved the M246.  It is in most ways superior to the MM as a camera.  When the MM was back in my hands I took some shots to confirm the repair before putting it on the market.  Funny thing happened.  Unlike my M9, I could not bring myself to part with it.  So I have both.  I cannot describe why other than I find the images and shooting experience differ in ways that appeal to me.  I don't think it is a CCD vs CMOS thing, since I have not been able to detect that difference in other bodies.

For really low light I pick the M246, not so much due to its better high ISO performance, but because the optional EVF lets me focus when it it is too dark for the rangefinder.  The rest of the time it is a toss-up.  You will not be disappointed with either.

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Hello there,

If you end up shooting weddings with any of these options my recommendation would be to go with the M246 because the M9 was limited to smaller memory cards and the M246 platform was more stable, faster to operate, and adds video in case you need. 
 

The M9M is beautiful and I’ve owned quite a few of them but if it came down to wedding shoots i would personally go with am246. 

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Simple if you want option for color and/or video...the M240 (or P).  If video not an issue, then a used M10 might also appeal. 
 

Jeff

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Just now, Jeff S said:

Simple if you want option for color and/or video...the M240 (or P).  If video not an issue, then a used M10 might also appeal. 
 

Jeff

Thanks for the recommendation, Jeff! 

Definitely don't want anything video. I mean - if it has it, whatever, I guess. But I'd probably prefer simpler and "less" in a camera than more. But I wouldn't wanna spend more on an M10 just to get no video, ha. Know what I mean?

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9 minutes ago, bcapphoto said:

Thanks for the recommendation, Jeff! 

Definitely don't want anything video. I mean - if it has it, whatever, I guess. But I'd probably prefer simpler and "less" in a camera than more. But I wouldn't wanna spend more on an M10 just to get no video, ha. Know what I mean?

I never use video, but I traded my M240 for the M10 for other reasons, including better VF (higher magnification, larger opening and better eye relief), more refined and robust platform (quieter, better weather sealing, higher tolerances, slimmer), and higher ISO (better low light capability). It also has a better EVF accessory, although I don’t use one, sticking to the RF.  
 

I‚Äôve owned film Ms¬†since the 80‚Äôs, and then successively the M8.2, M240 and M10. ¬†Along the way I added a used M Monochrom (mint with new sensor and warranty... the only way to buy IMO). ¬†The M10 is the sweet spot for me for all-around use and operation. The Monochrom offers a different shooting experience with its entirely b/w shooting and editing workflow. ¬†I use it more for that b/w ‚Äėzen‚Äô than for any superior IQ, which for me is all about the print, and print quality includes myriad other variables. ¬†And¬†the MM is an older platform, not nearly as refined as the M10. ¬†The M240 does, however, have better battery life than the M10; it‚Äôs still a fully capable tool.

The best way to know is to demo these for yourself if you have any friendly dealers or rental services.  All will provide superb IQ, especially coupled with the right lens(es) to suit your style.

Jeff

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Bcap,

as user of those M, in your place I'd give the M(typ 246) a try.

Each one can be a good choice as every Leica M ūüėČ.

 

MM1 can have some lovers, including me, in my use it ticks every cases, but shows it's old techno in longish writing files or short and shorter battery life.

As wedding photog., you may need three or more batteries for one day if you choose MM1.

As is the MM1 is very capable camera, but need user to be acquainted to it's "old tech"

 

If I had to choose one Monochrom, it would be M246 :

- much longer battery life than MM1

- if I use colored filters, I can see in the field with LV or EVF the "color to b&w rendering" in complex situations

- LED illuminated frame lines for dimmest non-light

 

Arnaud

 

 

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4 hours ago, Luke_Miller said:

Here is my story for what it may be worth.

I bought the MM (M9M) shortly after it was released.  Loved it, but like my M9 it experienced the cover glass corrosion and required an extended "vacation" in New Jersey. I bought the M246 to replace it and planned to sell the MM after it was returned.  Loved the M246.  It is in most ways superior to the MM as a camera.  When the MM was back in my hands I took some shots to confirm the repair before putting it on the market.  Funny thing happened.  Unlike my M9, I could not bring myself to part with it.  So I have both.  I cannot describe why other than I find the images and shooting experience differ in ways that appeal to me.  I don't think it is a CCD vs CMOS thing, since I have not been able to detect that difference in other bodies.

For really low light I pick the M246, not so much due to its better high ISO performance, but because the optional EVF lets me focus when it it is too dark for the rangefinder.  The rest of the time it is a toss-up.  You will not be disappointed with either.

Thanks for the input, Luke!

I don't think I'd be using the EVF. I've got awesome Fuji cameras that I love that I can use if/when I want that kind of digital shooting. For me, I'll pick up the Leica when I want the analog approach and he "pure" Leica experience - as cringy as that might sound - it'd be to get a film-like shooting experience when I don't want to (or can't) shoot film. Does that make sense? 

So - with that being said, if the M246 doesn't win on ISO and if I won't be using the EVF, does your advice change in the sense of recommending the MM or M246?

 

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15 minutes ago, a.noctilux said:

Bcap,

as user of those M, in your place I'd give the M(typ 246) a try.

Each one can be a good choice as every Leica M ūüėČ.

 

MM1 can have some lovers, including me, in my use it ticks every cases, but shows it's old techno in longish writing files or short and shorter battery life.

As wedding photog., you may need three or more batteries for one day if you choose MM1.

As is the MM1 is very capable camera, but need user to be acquainted to it's "old tech"

 

If I had to choose one Monochrom, it would be M246 :

- much longer battery life than MM1

- if I use colored filters, I can see in the field with LV or EVF the "color to b&w rendering" in complex situations

- LED illuminated frame lines for dimmest non-light

 

Arnaud

 

 

Thanks for the feedback, Arnaud! Curious - would you advise going to something like an M240 or MP240 instead? That way I have the option of shooting colour if/when I need it? Or is there that extra "je ne sais quoi" in the Fuji Monochrom options? Genuinely curious because I haven't shot either! Only Fuji digital and Leica film. 

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M240 DNG files can be converted happily to b&w of course.

Converted b&w from color digital Leica M can be good enough for most users with more or less time/pain,

when I've tried Monochrom, the differences are mainly in the b&w mindset like when I learned to use b&w film, before that I was color slides fan.

 

The weird thing is, now I converted to b&w some of my Kodachrome (that I think I wanted in b&w some decades ago).

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3 minutes ago, bcapphoto said:

So - with that being said, if the M246 doesn't win on ISO and if I won't be using the EVF, does your advice change in the sense of recommending the MM or M246?

The M246 is a much more complete camera.  It has more resolution, live view, does video, and appears to be an attempt by Leica to create a system camera. By that I mean it (and the M240) can be fitted with Leica accessories that give it capabilities beyond that of other models including the M10 series.  I think you would be very happy with an M246 as I am.  

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14 minutes ago, a.noctilux said:

M240 DNG files can be converted happily to b&w of course.

Converted b&w from color digital Leica M can be good enough for most users with more or less time/pain,

when I've tried Monochrom, the differences are mainly in the b&w mindset like when I learned to use b&w film, before that I was color slides fan.

 

The weird thing is, now I converted to b&w some of my Kodachrome (that I think I wanted in b&w some decades ago).

Agreed - it's the mindset that has me interested and attracted to shooting a monochrom. Thanks for your feedback! 

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https://www.leica-camera.blog/2016/12/15/spontaneous-relationships/ He is one of the earlier users of M9M for street and professionally. No weddings, but corporate work.

He has it with latest sensor and now looking to get latest Monochrome. He has skipped M240 based one.

With Monochrome he is using Adams' zones, not just metering. I think, it is main reason why his work with Monochrome stands above. 

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9 minutes ago, Ko.Fe. said:

 

With Monochrome he is using Adams' zones, not just metering. I think, it is main reason why his work with Monochrome stands above. 

Except the Zone System isn't just about recording tones, it's about moving them to where you want them to be, a feat a monochrome sensor is spectacularly unable to do. It doesn't respond to colour filters with the same acuity as film does, and a monochrome sensor that is without the normal colour channels doesn't allow for any similar tonal modification. So it's a dead duck, Adams would have shaken his head in bafflement.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, 250swb said:

So it's a dead duck, Adams would have shaken his head in bafflement.

I think you don't give enough credit to Adams, Steve.  He was all about learning new tools and controlling them in new ways to better serve his creative vision.  And he clearly envisioned and looked forward to the electronic image, "the next major advance", as he called it at the end of his introduction in his book, The Negative. He wrote, "Such systems will have their own inherent and inescapable characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them." (Adams, The Negative, Introduction).  I think he would have been fascinated to experiment with a monochrome based camera (with filters or otherwise), whether he ended up fully embracing it or not, but never would have dismissed it as a "dead duck" or been baffled.  

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S

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40 minutes ago, 250swb said:

Except the Zone System isn't just about recording tones, it's about moving them to where you want them to be, a feat a monochrome sensor is spectacularly unable to do. It doesn't respond to colour filters with the same acuity as film does, and a monochrome sensor that is without the normal colour channels doesn't allow for any similar tonal modification. So it's a dead duck, Adams would have shaken his head in bafflement.

Person you are mocking is long time professional who has done darkroom and film for living. Of course it is not only about grey gradations. He knows it and using it. 

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9 hours ago, Jeff S said:

I think you don't give enough credit to Adams, Steve.  He was all about learning new tools and controlling them in new ways to better serve his creative vision.  And he clearly envisioned and looked forward to the electronic image, "the next major advance", as he called it at the end of his introduction in his book, The Negative. He wrote, "Such systems will have their own inherent and inescapable characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them." (Adams, The Negative, Introduction).  I think he would have been fascinated to experiment with a monochrome based camera (with filters or otherwise), whether he ended up fully embracing it or not, but never would have dismissed it as a "dead duck" or been baffled.  

Jeff

So why would anybody reference Adams if things have moved on? He would have been baffled at backwards references to the Zone System when it can't be applied to digital. Sure there are tonal references we can still use, Zone 0 for black etc. but they describe a tone, not a system for manipulating tones by exposure, development, and the print.

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9 hours ago, Ko.Fe. said:

Person you are mocking is long time professional who has done darkroom and film for living. Of course it is not only about grey gradations. He knows it and using it. 

You need to decide if you were talking about digital or film, but it seemed to me you were talking about digital? If you report he is doing something I have to believe you, and if believing you leads to me 'mocking' him (I wasn't) then who is to blame? Of course it could be the truth and he claiming inspiration from the ghost of a digital Adams , in which case he is claiming more than is possible by referencing the Zone System.

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5 hours ago, 250swb said:

So why would anybody reference Adams if things have moved on? He would have been baffled at backwards references to the Zone System when it can't be applied to digital. Sure there are tonal references we can still use, Zone 0 for black etc. but they describe a tone, not a system for manipulating tones by exposure, development, and the print.

Because he marketed his stuff heavily and became famous.  By now he would have written new books on new findings.  And in any case I suspect that he wouldn’t have cared a bit about chatter on forums.  He foresaw new things, wrote and talked about them, and looked forward to them.  He just knew that he was likely too old to see them.  But he likely would have loved the technology, and applied his own techniques. A dead duck?  More like a new toy to explore.

Jeff

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