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USING M MONOCHROM AGAIN


Manolo Laguillo
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Five years ago I sold all my Leica gear (M246, MM2, 19mm, 21mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm) except the 28mm S-Angulon shift. I worked from then on with the Fuji GFX 50S and the 100S. Everything was ok… but I missed the MM2 VERY MUCH. One month ago I bought a M10M, and began working again with the 28mm S-Ang shift, but also with 2 new lenses, Elmarit 28 and Apo-Lanthar 35. What a pleasure, what a satisfaction! I still work with the GFX100S, which has IBIS etc, but the Leica feeling is a very special thing.

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Am 17.11.2022 um 23:14 schrieb Jeff S:

And M Monochrom  (MM1)?  

I have the M10M, but still haven’t convinced  myself to sell the MM.  

Enjoy your return.

Jeff

 

The M10M is incredible: how the shadows can be recovered allows managing scenes with a high contrast without losing detail in the highlights. Absence of noise is really amazing: that dreadful banding that appeared with the M246 is no more there.

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On 11/17/2022 at 3:14 PM, Jeff S said:

And M Monochrom  (MM1)?  

I have the M10M, but still haven’t convinced  myself to sell the MM.  

Enjoy your return.

Jeff

 

Selling the MM1 was a difficult decision for me, but I rarely used it and I met a young man who very much wanted a MM1.  I felt that the camera needed to be used, and he was the one to use it, so it is now in San Francisco, hopefully capturing some amazing images.  I hope it lives on long after I am gone (not likely with a digital M.  My M3, on the other hand...)

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  • 3 weeks later...

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Interesting. I'm a long-time Leica M user - I have several M film cameras, and a mk1 M Monochrom. Doubt I would sell any of them, but the last couple of years I've been shooting a lot of Portra 400 medium format (Plaubel Makina 67). Seriously thinking about getting a GFX100s and 50mm f3.5 lens to replace the Makina, mostly because it's so expensive and inconvenient to shoot a lot of film.

I agree that shooting a Leica M is a special experience, but I guess sometimes it's all about the image. I imagine you must be getting some wonderful images from the GFX100S?

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18 hours ago, colint544 said:

Interesting. I'm a long-time Leica M user - I have several M film cameras, and a mk1 M Monochrom. Doubt I would sell any of them, but the last couple of years I've been shooting a lot of Portra 400 medium format (Plaubel Makina 67). Seriously thinking about getting a GFX100s and 50mm f3.5 lens to replace the Makina, mostly because it's so expensive and inconvenient to shoot a lot of film.

I agree that shooting a Leica M is a special experience, but I guess sometimes it's all about the image. I imagine you must be getting some wonderful images from the GFX100S?

I have the M10M + both APO Lanthars, and a GFX100S + GF 50mm. Clearly totally different handling and viewing, in some ways the decent sized grip, IBIS, autofocus, face detect, and very accurate framing via EVF is a lot of camera that I notably miss when I revert from the 100S to the M10M. The GF 50mm is a wonderful lens, which I prefer over my previous GF 63mm (with the copies I owned, the GF 50mm has less field curvature, better edge-to-edge sharpness, less digital looking acutance, mechanically smoother autofocus, and smaller with a nifty lens shade to boot). Image quality from the GFX100S can be impeccable, albeit I’m still drilling into the post processing including color management and printer and paper selection to refine it to the rendering that I want (I’m more from a film background, and hence the “less digital looking” are the prints, the better for me). When I get it all right, I’ve got some exceptionally pleasing images off the 100S.

For B&W prints, I still prefer the rendering off the M10M though, there is still something about the very smooth and refined tonal range and purity of rendering due to no color filter array that I do notice and appreciate - it’s got the least digital rendering of any digital camera I’ve used to date, if that makes any sense. I print to 50” wide quite often, but either camera is more than capable of flawless image quality at that size IMHO.

In the end, for me, it’s GFX100S for color prints, and M10M for B&W! 

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4 hours ago, Jon Warwick said:

I have the M10M + both APO Lanthars, and a GFX100S + GF 50mm. Clearly totally different handling and viewing, in some ways the decent sized grip, IBIS, autofocus, face detect, and very accurate framing via EVF is a lot of camera that I notably miss when I revert from the 100S to the M10M. The GF 50mm is a wonderful lens, which I prefer over my previous GF 63mm (with the copies I owned, the GF 50mm has less field curvature, better edge-to-edge sharpness, less digital looking acutance, mechanically smoother autofocus, and smaller with a nifty lens shade to boot). Image quality from the GFX100S can be impeccable, albeit I’m still drilling into the post processing including color management and printer and paper selection to refine it to the rendering that I want (I’m more from a film background, and hence the “less digital looking” are the prints, the better for me). When I get it all right, I’ve got some exceptionally pleasing images off the 100S.

For B&W prints, I still prefer the rendering off the M10M though, there is still something about the very smooth and refined tonal range and purity of rendering due to no color filter array that I do notice and appreciate - it’s got the least digital rendering of any digital camera I’ve used to date, if that makes any sense. I print to 50” wide quite often, but either camera is more than capable of flawless image quality at that size IMHO.

In the end, for me, it’s GFX100S for color prints, and M10M for B&W! 

Many thanks Jon, for your fulsome and helpful reply. You've touched on a couple of things that were on my mind about the GFX100s as well. What was nudging me towards this camera is the work that I'm seeing other photographers produce with it. The images have a rounded and three dimensional quality. Looking at them, that's what I notice, and they don't have that 'digital' look. They just have a medium format feel to them. Very compelling.

It's interesting what you say about the M10M. The thing with any M camera is that you just want to pick it up and use it. Even my M9M has that. I think we're at a point now where we are incredibly spoiled by the photographic options available to us.

Thank you again.

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The X1D/X2D system also seems to provide pleasing MF tonality, and with a form factor and design simplicity more akin to an M system than the GFX.  If I were buying into MF, this would one of the systems I’d test.  Fuji does, however, provide a lot for the money.

Jeff

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7 hours ago, colint544 said:

Looking at them, that's what I notice, and they don't have that 'digital' look.

it's very interesting what you say about the digital look, i find the GF lenses (32-64mm, 50mm and 110mm) to be unforgivingly sharp (for female portraits). i either use a 1/8 black mist filter or add grain (DxO's FilmPack6) in post to my images for a more 'organic' look. 

i love my CV 35mm III f1.2 and 7A 75mm f1.25 on the m246, precisely because the images look more 'organic'. in fact, i prefer to shoot with the m246 (despite all the drawbacks) 🤓

 

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3 hours ago, sometimesmaybe said:

it's very interesting what you say about the digital look, i find the GF lenses (32-64mm, 50mm and 110mm) to be unforgivingly sharp (for female portraits). i either use a 1/8 black mist filter or add grain (DxO's FilmPack6) in post to my images for a more 'organic' look. 

i love my CV 35mm III f1.2 and 7A 75mm f1.25 on the m246, precisely because the images look more 'organic'. in fact, i prefer to shoot with the m246 (despite all the drawbacks) 🤓

 

You raise a good point re unforgivingly sharp GF lenses, and I’ve personally found it’s a challenge for some subjects and lighting.

For close-up portraits, my favoured rendering to date from a digital camera remains my M240 + 50mm Summicron v5!  I’m guessing it’s probably more to do with the relative gentleness of the older Mandler lens (perhaps lower contrast? ….lower resolution? …..lower acutance?), rather than lower megapixel count, but it’s possibly a combo of all those factors that creates the gentler aesthetic for portraits that I prefer.

In comparison, I have some close-up head shots off my SL2 + SL 50mm APO, and also off the GFX100S, that I’ve personally found are quite difficult to “tame” in post processing towards a sufficiently gentle rendering for my taste, presumably because the lenses are so bitingly sharp with high contrast. This doesn’t apply to every image, however, so it’s been subject and lighting specific for me.

I also have a Black Pro Mist (and Glimmerglass) to try to calm down the sharpness for portraits on the GFX. Both filters have helped to some degree, given the added halation and lifting of shadows that essentially lowers the contrast and biting sharpness of the modern lenses.

Hence for close-up head shots specifically, I still find my hit rate of achieving a gentler aesthetic has typically been easier with an older lens on 24mp (+/or any lens on film). Whereas for many other subjects such as full height portraits, landscapes, cityscapes etc, I’ve been really pleased with the GFX!

Final thought - the nice thing about an SL or M camera is the access to many different types of lens to achieve a multitude of different renderings (ie, very sharp SL or M APO primes through to gentler Mandler etc). It’s not impossible to bolt on different lenses to the GFX, but I generally regard it as a more closed system and hence I’m more uniquely working with the “GFX aesthetic”.

Edited by Jon Warwick
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1 hour ago, Jon Warwick said:

You raise a good point re unforgivingly sharp GF lenses, and I’ve personally found it’s a challenge for some subjects and lighting.

for me it just means having to spend a lot of time touching up every little imperfection on the subject's face. this gets very tedious very quickly...

im not sure if this is allowed by the gods/mods (of this forum) but ive included in the OneDrive link below 2 full size images of the same model (albeit a few weeks apart) taken with the GFX100s + GF32-64mm at f4 and the M246 + CV 35mm f1.2 III wide open. the GFX file is 80mb and the m246 is not even 10mb

i spent at least 30mins touching up the GFX image and maybe 10mins doing the m246

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AuzwEAydGQ-Nvn74wuyLC03cRxgj?e=5n8aZO

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11 hours ago, Jeff S said:

The X1D/X2D system also seems to provide pleasing MF tonality, and with a form factor and design simplicity more akin to an M system than the GFX.  If I were buying into MF, this would one of the systems I’d test.  Fuji does, however, provide a lot for the money.

Jeff

Yes, the Hasselblad X2D looks superb. The build and design look second to none. Obviously pricier than the Fuji, especially the lenses since they each have a built-in leaf shutter. From what I've read, some reviewers complain that the autofocus is not quite up to speed, and that possibly this could be fixed with a firmware upgrade. The Fuji certainly seems to offer the best value, and at its price point is almost in a class of its own.

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3 hours ago, colint544 said:

The Fuji certainly seems to offer the best value, and at its price point is almost in a class of its own.

Yes, and not just when considering the various promotions that Fuji has from time to time on new gear, but also given the wider availability of used GFX100S cameras out there (vs X2D that is only really available new at present, and at a much higher price point). 

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11 hours ago, colint544 said:

The Fuji certainly seems to offer the best value, and at its price point is almost in a class of its own

the GF lens lineup is arguably more complete too. there are also some 3rd party lens makers making manual focus lenses for the GFX - some are even making AF adaptors for EF lenses 

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10 hours ago, sometimesmaybe said:

the GF lens lineup is arguably more complete too. there are also some 3rd party lens makers making manual focus lenses for the GFX - some are even making AF adaptors for EF lenses 

And also some interesting GF lenses in the official roadmap, such as the fast 55mm and also a wide tilt-shift lens.

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