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Leica M11 Sensor review


zone5
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1 minute ago, orcinus said:

There’s more to sensitivity and base ISO than just the naked sensor.

  • the microlens array might be different / built to different spec
  • Bayer filter might be different (have different transmissivity)
  • the filter stack in front of the sensor might be (we know it is) different
  • dual amp gains might be set up and spaced differently (they are, it’s visible on the photons to photos charts)
  • sensor might have the same resolution, but might be an altogether different SKU
  • who knows what else

Very good points. When I listened to a Leica talk about the M11, they mentioned that the filters on top of the sensor were new and thinner.  Sorry to be so vague, I did not hear that part well, but I do remember they said they had  a new thinner dual layer filter (UC/IR) and a new color filter array in order to have better color reproduction. They said that either they have patented the technology or they were going to do so.

 

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3 minutes ago, Daedalus2000 said:

a new color filter array in order to have better color reproduction. They said that either they have patented the technology or they were going to do so.

 

I think i’ve seen mention of that in a couple of places too. Unfortunately, no detail was provided - i’m wondering if that means just different arrangement of color filters (not very exciting, about all of them were tried at one point or another, industry ended up with Bayer because it’s optimal), or perhaps something more exotic like dramatically changing the actual peak wavelengths of the filters, which would be super interesting.

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On 1/13/2022 at 9:47 PM, zone5 said:

...I am wondering wether this is Sony sensor variant or not (this is matter to me since I used multiple sony system before and I do not like sony sensor rendering personally), I want to know how different this M11 sensor to compare with M10 and M10 R....

Please forgive me if I say something wrong but my biggest  fear for Leica's future products as Leica Enthusiast is adapting Sony sensor for all of future cameras.

I do not have any way to prove this but Sony sensor  have their own look and even though they produce detail and sharp images  I do not like that look.

Again, I do not want to offend anybody with this statement but that is jus my personal view.

 

H Jung

 

@zone5  I understand your concerns;  If I wanted "the Sony look," I would purchase a Sony camera - I never have and I never will.  Sony cameras/lenses are of no interest to me.

  There have been many M11 images posted online in the numerous reviews and there is a thread for M11 images here - https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/328239-the-leica-m11-images-thread/   After looking at these images, do you like the rendering the M11 is producing?

 

I have not read every review out there, nor have I read every one of the millions of posts about the M11 on this forum - but from what I have read, people seem to be quite pleased with the M11's sensor and the way it renders. 

 

Edited by Herr Barnack
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6 minutes ago, orcinus said:

I think i’ve seen mention of that in a couple of places too. Unfortunately, no detail was provided - i’m wondering if that means just different arrangement of color filters (not very exciting, about all of them were tried at one point or another, industry ended up with Bayer because it’s optimal), or perhaps something more exotic like dramatically changing the actual peak wavelengths of the filters, which would be super interesting.

I dont know tbh, but it is definitely still a bayer filter, so it must be the latter option you mention (but this is just a conjecture on my part). They also mentioned using some advanced new algorithm that remaps the filter array for the reduced size dngs, so I guess having better information from each pixel would help with that remapping as well.

On a practical level, I love the color and tonality I get from the M11, so I am happy.

Edited by Daedalus2000
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Just now, Herr Barnack said:

...

After looking at these images, do you like the rendering the M11 is producing?...

 

In fairness, we need more time for images to start streaming in having used a good profile in LR/C1. The reviewers had the benefit of JPEG color, but most posting now are using DNG conversions using who-knows-what profile. Add to that many early examples are of kids, pets, and objects in the home under LED and/or mixed lighting, and the results can be somewhat odd. The person taking those photos thinks they're great because they know it's still better than the last camera did under the same conditions, but those of us viewing them sometimes cringe.

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22 minutes ago, Daedalus2000 said:

Very good points. When I listened to a Leica talk about the M11, they mentioned that the filters on top of the sensor were new and thinner.  Sorry to be so vague, I did not hear that part well, but I do remember they said they had  a new thinner dual layer filter (UC/IR) and a new color filter array in order to have better color reproduction. They said that either they have patented the technology or they were going to do so.

 

The M10-R also came with a new cover glass with UV cut filter and one IR cut filter cemented together for 0,9mm filter thickness vs the base M10 @ 0,8mm. I wonder if the M11 is now back to 0,8mm filter thickness. 

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1 minute ago, Herr Barnack said:

I would agree on that - sometimes the choice of subject matter and lighting is less than earth shaking. 

Yes, sometimes I feel like we need a secondary M11 thread, something like: "M11 photos taken in sunrise/sunset/twilight lighting".

We really do need to see M11 photos in good lighting because that's how our memory of past cameras is built.

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C1/ACR profiles have been available since launch, so I expect the early adopters will provide plenty of irl samples soon enough, if not already (I haven’t kept up with the m11 image thread)

People have posted a few exposure latitude type test shots and ISO test shots, and this is great, because that’s worthwhile data.

But the ‘how does it render’ type questions are probably the ones dearest to our hearts, but another photographer’s test subject, location on the globe (winter/summer, height of the sun in the sky etc) and PP choices make that a subjective judgment to make remotely.

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5 hours ago, LBJ2 said:

FWIW

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Leica M11 is a full-frame digital rangefinder camera from Leica Camera AG.[1][2][3][4][5] It was introduced on 13 January 2022.[6] It uses a 60-megapixel Sony image sensor, and is compatible with almost all Leica M mount lenses.[7]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leica_M11

Yes, that is widely known. Nikon has Sony sensors, Panasonic S have Sony sensors, Sigma fp has a Sony sensor,Phase One has a Sony sensor, Leica APS C is a Sony sensor, and so on...

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6 hours ago, wdahab said:

One thing that I haven't seen explained is how Leica is able to have wider base ISO vs. the Sony (64-50000 vs 100-32000) with the same sensor, even if the glass/electronics/color rendering is a little different. Is Sony just cropping off achievable ISOs because they don't fit within the multiples of 2? Or has Leica actually gotten a slightly better version of the sensor?

Electronics components have a complex and always in evolution lifecycle... Leica probably has adopted a certain version/release of a certain Sony component... did develop a firmware around (that, NOW, is at a certain level) and concluded that 64-50000 was a good range to assess and declare, considered the "ancillary" components (microlenses, bayer filter) they pack onto it.  It's easy to predict that, if one day they will make a Monochrom M11, the ISO range could be slightly different.

 

Edited by luigi bertolotti
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7 hours ago, wdahab said:

One thing that I haven't seen explained is how Leica is able to have wider base ISO vs. the Sony (64-50000 vs 100-32000) with the same sensor, even if the glass/electronics/color rendering is a little different. Is Sony just cropping off achievable ISOs because they don't fit within the multiples of 2? Or has Leica actually gotten a slightly better version of the sensor?

Probably similar to Nikon's camera with Sony sensors having base ISO 64. 

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6 hours ago, Adam Bonn said:

But the ‘how does it render’ type questions are probably the ones dearest to our hearts, but another photographer’s test subject, location on the globe (winter/summer, height of the sun in the sky etc) and PP choices make that a subjective judgment to make remotely.

...and lens choice.

I'm not really sure exactly what is meant by Sony color, particularly when there are folks who claim that the M11 has no 'pop'... In my wee brain, I interpret Sony colors as painting everything with primary colors. Cartoonish, over saturated.  What I want to see is subtlety in the color rendering. I could high... likely I will be later.., but the M11 makes me feel as though all my previous M files only had 11 or 12 bits of color depth instead of the full 14 of the M11.  It's not at all difficult to over saturate and dumb things down for higher color contrast and pop, but the opposite is, AFAIC, nearly impossible to do.  I continue to find the colors coming out of shadow and at higher ISO to be superior to my previous M cameras. 

Here's a 200% zoom of a portion of a shot that was in fairly deep shadow before processing.  The shot was taken at ISO 3200. There's plenty of noise (though I find most of it attractive); this portion of the frame is somewhat OoF as this wasn't the focus point (chicken in the foreground was) and the lens used was the 135 APO, so the DoF is falling away. But if one can find the mental strength to ignore all that and simply examine all the various shades on offer coming back from shadow (bearing in mind they're now 8 bit), I'm not sure exactly what there is not to like from a color perspective. Personally I'm blown away by stuff like this, particularly as again were talking ISO 3200. 

 

 

Edited by Tailwagger
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1 hour ago, Tailwagger said:

I'm not really sure exactly what is meant by Sony color, particularly when there are folks who claim that the M11 has no 'pop'... In my wee brain, I interpret Sony colors as painting everything with primary colors. Cartoonish, over saturated.  What I want to see is subtlety in the color rendering

I've no clue what Sony colour is either, a friend of a friend shoots Sony and he apparently underexposes shots like crazy to save the highlights... I dunno man... 14 stops of DR ain't really 14 if you need 2 of 'em for highlight management

I think colour is a personal subject... of course it's actually a science...

My colours are the best in the yard (I'd show you how but I'd have to charge) because I measured them and....

Blue 7.5 PB 2.9/12.7 0.187 0.129 6.1 #383d96
14 Green 0.25 G 5.4/9.6 0.305 0.478 23.4 #469449
15 Red 5 R 4/12 0.539 0.313 12.0 #af363c
16 Yellow 5 Y 8/11.1 0.448 0.470 59.1 #e7c71f
17 Magenta 2.5 RP 5/12 0.364 0.233 19.8 #bb5695
18 Cyan 5 B 5/8 0.196 0.252 19.8 #0885a1

(source)

...said nobody ever, because we don't want real colours (away from product, fashion, maybe food, repro) we want nice colours, however one wo/man's nice is another's garish and over saturated. (& no I didn't measure them)

I think what we (ok maybe just me) want is tonality... 

The M9 gets a great rep for colour and pop (possibly even some snap and crackle in there too)

I always felt (IMHO) this shot showed off the M9's colourful prowess.. But I think what looks good isn't the colossally purpley red or the dripping in aqua blue and green... it's the tonality, the light sparkly open shadows look with bold bright colours.

Can the M11 do this? Well you'll have to tell me, I don't have one (as I quipped to my Leica AD only yesterday see you in 3 or 4 years when it's 5k used) but personally I think good colour is something that draws the viewer into the picture... a photo works well with a willing suspension of disbelief from the viewer (easier with a print in hand I think..) and online that disbelief is the pop and tonality and depth that draws the eye, it shouldn't look real (all IMHO remember), it should look engaging.

Of course we can't ever under estimate that we're a little at the mercy of what our software feeds us. Behold.

One of these is the M10 with the bog standard adobe standard profile. The other is a virtual copy of the same image. The only difference? Well I took the bog standard M11 adobe standard profile, copied everything south of the forward matrices, ditched the LUT and pasted it into the M10 profile then applied it to the M10 image. 😇

Amazing what a bit of hackery can do... and a reminder that colours and pop is a bit down to how the software houses give it to us

I don't have an M11. I should not comment, but... I see nothing to complain about so far, examples I've seen look to have strong colours, the M9 comparison is a stretch (IMHO the M9 looks how it looks because 8-9 stops of DR means that colours start to glow and pop just before they clip and in a contrasty scene things glow quickly with a comparatively low DR camera), but the M9 (and I own one, desert island, cold dead hands camera too me) is more of a cult thing than the yardstick by which all should be judged.

I think 60mp will always have a digital look to it... (well until people start putting 1950s glass on it) but personally from what I've seen thus far, the images have more charm than the 10R (opinion: mine = no offence intended), which is good going.

It looks like Leica put a lot of work into that sensor (better specs than it has in the Sony), put a lot of thought into the resolution modes, it's the M11 USP as far as I can see (the M10 was more look how thin it is) and this really should work well with the pictures..

 

 

1 hour ago, Tailwagger said:

I could high... likely I will be later

Not sure if that's a typo... I went to art college in the 1990s, I remember some of it well 😅

 

 

Edited by Adam Bonn
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12 hours ago, threeseed said:

a) It is a Sony sensor.

b) It is from the same family as the SL2-S sensor hence why it looks similar as Leica is likely sharing electronics/code.

c) A sensor converts light into a voltage. It doesn't tell you what colour that voltage represents.

d) Sigma FP-L, Leica M11 and the Sony A7R4 use this sensor but have very different colour profiles.

 Best answer award goes to…. You. 

Edited by tashley
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10 minutes ago, Adam Bonn said:

Amazing what a bit of hackery can do... and a reminder that colours and pop is a bit down to how the software houses give it to us

I don't have an M11. I should not comment, but... I see nothing to complain about so far, examples I've seen look to have strong colours, the M9 comparison is a stretch (IMHO the M9 looks how it looks because 8-9 stops of DR means that colours start to glow and pop just before they clip and in a contrasty scene things glow quickly with a comparatively low DR camera), but the M9 (and I own one, desert island, cold dead hands camera too me) is more of a cult thing than the yardstick by which all should be judged.

Totally agree... and though I've never owned an M9... thought about it... but my M9 is actually a Pentax 645D so I get the appeal to a degree. I'd suspect from my experience with the D, that by ISO 3200 (does the M9 get that far?  The D only offers ISO 200-1000) there's not a heck of a lot left to play with.  

As for whether the M11 can do M9, I really cant say. What I can say, is that if the scene has pop, it tends to capture it, if it has more muted tones, it gets them and if it has both, it doesn't choose one over the other, it seems perfectly capable of reproducing both in a single frame.  This last point isn't an attribute that ever entered my conscious thought process before which leads me to believe there is indeed something a bit more special in there. But again, nothing science based, just my impressions.

30 minutes ago, Adam Bonn said:

Not sure if that's a typo... I went to art college in the 1990s, I remember some of it well 😅

Nah... I'm just regressing back to my teen age years, though not for pleasure. My use is medicinal. Been a god send actually. 

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45 minutes ago, Adam Bonn said:

I've no clue what Sony colour is either, a friend of a friend shoots Sony and he apparently underexposes shots like crazy to save the highlights... I dunno man... 14 stops of DR ain't really 14 if you need 2 of 'em for highlight managementI

No disrespect to your friend of your friend but this is the first I've heard of that. I tend to shoot +1/3 or +2/3 as a rule on my Sony and highlights are something I have to really try to blow, and this is on the older 42mp sensors. I certainly get the stated (or nearly) dr of 14 stops. That said, I only use them when I actually need the DR because I prefer my m10 but it blows highlights so comparatively awfully. Anyways, the sony colors...the words I use are plasticky and gummy. Not precise but again why I prefer the Leica when the lighting isn't gonna demand better. 

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10 minutes ago, Tailwagger said:

does the M9 get that far?

ahahaha 2500 max, most say don't go over 800... personally I'm a 640 max shooter (where the amplification goes digital and from then on I'd rather do it myself on the computer)

Of course I'm sure 2500 looks grand at midday at F16 and a high SS, but that's not IMHO really the point of ISO...

13 minutes ago, Tailwagger said:

What I can say, is that if the scene has pop, it tends to capture it, if it has more muted tones, it gets them and if it has both, it doesn't choose one over the other, it seems perfectly capable of reproducing both in a single frame

That's very encouraging, great light flatters everything, but to make an engaging image from a flat scene (without too much PP jiggery) is always endearing

I gotta go to bed, 1am in Euroland!!

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