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A visit to the Leica digital "mother ship"

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Guy,

 

Awesome shot! I think we'd all love to see more shots from your workshop. Why not start up a new thread?

 

Personally, I think the M8 files have more punch to the colors. But, I think the DMR files are crisper with more detail. Of course at anything higher than ISO 200, the M8 trounces the DMR.

 

So, for low light and lightweight travel, the M8 rules the roost. For studio, and "bring everything from 19mm to 180mm" (or longer) as well as macro, the DMR is king.

 

Different tools for different jobs. Simple as that.

 

David

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Well said David. I think the biggest difference in image quality out of the M8 and DMR is in who's behind the camera... For most folks, the M is harder to focus accurately, maybe harder to frame as accurately, and for sure the "auto" exposure mode on the M8 isn't as good as the DMR's. Basically, to get the best images out of the M8, one needs to understand how to use the camera proerly in the first place.

 

PS: Maggie O, please don't let one bad apple spoil the whole bin

 

Cheers,

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Guest guy_mancuso

Thanks for the compliments on the image. As far as a thread on the workshops i think it is more appropriate to leave it up to our participants to start if they feel the need. Don't want to tout our own horn but I ill say they where the best group of folks we ever had the pleasure to teach and many from this forum which was awesome.

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Well said David. I think the biggest difference in image quality out of the M8 and DMR is in who's behind the camera... For most folks, the M is harder to focus accurately, maybe harder to frame as accurately, and for sure the "auto" exposure mode on the M8 isn't as good as the DMR's. Basically, to get the best images out of the M8, one needs to understand how to use the camera proerly in the first place.

 

PS: Maggie O, please don't let one bad apple spoil the whole bin

 

Cheers,

 

It's interesting how assumptions are made... I'm sure I'm not alone as a R and M user

 

Cheers,

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Basically, to get the best images out of the M8, one needs to understand how to use the camera proerly in the first place.

 

Sure. And none of us here thinking the DMR is slightly better has 10+ years of experience with rangefinders, exposure. Or knows how to use the M8 properly

 

Good point. Mine (assumptions) are generally drawn from actual experience.

 

Yes and then you extend your experience to the rest of the world because you cannot imagine that other people may know better. Quite common.

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Sure. And none of us here thinking the DMR is slightly better has 10+ years of experience with rangefinders, exposure. Or knows how to use the M8 properly

 

 

Then the answer is simple --- use your DMR and stop using your "inferior" M8

 

Me? I'm sticking with the M8

 

Cheers,

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Then the answer is simple --- use your DMR and stop using your "inferior" M8

 

Maybe there are some good reasons to use the M8 even if one prefers the DMR files.

But I see that this level of abstraction is slightly to high for you as your previous posts suggested

 

So long.

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Good point. Mine are generally drawn from actual experience.

 

Cheers,

 

ROTFWL! Now to clear up any residual misconceptions, one of my M8 shots.

lol

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ROTFWL! Now to clear up any residual misconceptions, one of my M8 shots. lol

 

Hi, I am interested in the DRM versus M8 issue. Now if you could kindly explain what you mean to show with your M8 shots, thanks...

 

And, I would not mind reading discussions in a more friendly tone. No reason to go down to dpreview level of communication :-)

 

regards, Bernie

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Hi, I am interested in the DRM versus M8 issue. Now if you could kindly explain what you mean to show with your M8 shots, thanks...

 

And, I would not mind reading discussions in a more friendly tone. No reason to go down to dpreview level of communication :-)

 

regards, Bernie

 

Hello Bernie - There is actually no issue per se. The M8 is an excellent and truly versatile tool. The only point being made was that, in general, because of the higher native bit depth of the DMR the latter produces smoother images that have arguably a more "film like" look. That is all. In truth that's neither here nor there, they're both awsome picture making tools.

 

With respect to my M8 pic, I posted it because Jack argued that his impressions were based on experience to the exception of the rest of us who could not even focus a rangefinder, silly stuff really.

Although I've had an M8 on long term loan for the past 4 months now, I'm still undecided. Whichever one you pick you can't go wrong though.

 

You also have to understand the context of the M8 subforum, once you start wishing "Happy Birthday" to your camera all sanity has left the room...

lol

 

Cheers,

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With respect to my M8 pic, I posted it because Jack argued that his impressions were based on experience to the exception of the rest of us who could not even focus a rangefinder

 

Uh, I never said that... Now you're the one making inferences and assumptions that were never there... I was not criticizing anybody, just making the point the M8 is a more difficult tool to master than an SLR. My "experience" is in working with shooters new to the M8 and helping them get up to speed. Many of them felt it was a crap camera and getting them going in the right direction turned that feeling around.

 

So all your sarcastic smiley's aside, chill out and have a nice day

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The only point being made was that, in general, because of the higher native bit depth of the DMR the latter produces smoother images that have arguably a more "film like" look. That is all. (...)

 

You also have to understand the context of the M8 subforum, once you start wishing "Happy Birthday" to your camera all sanity has left the room...

lol

 

Maybe I should do a precise forum search, but I ask nevertheless: How is the bit depth of the M8? I know that normal DSLRs have 12bit file depth, with the exception of the new Canon 1dIII and 40d which now also got a 14bit converter, plus the Fuji S5 pro (which I have). I remember having read that the Leica while producing 16bit files does not really have 16bit file depth like the MF backs. Was that only the M8 or also the DRM? Could it be that the DRM has 14bit converters?

 

I recently had a M8 with lens (50mm Summicron) on a loan from a local Leica shop for testing, and I was pleased with weight of the camera, sharpness and detail was excellent too, for color I was not sure: Better than the Canon 5d, but not as good as my Fuji S5.

My conclusion was that without IR cut filters the M8 should be the *perfect* black and white camera. However I have already seen very beautiful files from the M8 in terms of color, too. R9 + DRM + R lenses would not be an alternative for me: Too expensive (there are not really quality 3rd party lenses like the little CVs), too heavy (same as Canon again).

 

I will have to keep looking at that M8 a little longer....

 

regards, Bernie

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I remember having read that the Leica while producing 16bit files does not really have 16bit file depth like the MF backs. Was that only the M8 or also the DRM? Could it be that the DRM has 14bit converters?...

 

The DMR is a true native 16 bit A/D like the MF backs you alluded to.

 

Cheers,

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The DMR is a true native 16 bit A/D like the MF backs you alluded to.

 

Cheers,

 

And the M8 has a 16/14 bit A/D converter too, IIRC--it just has that funky compression scheme, which, when I print critically, does not seem to affect the colour much between the two

(BTW--I agree with you on people saying "happy birthday" to their camera. LOL! But it was a pretty emotional time for a lot of us M8 pioneers this time last year!)

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And the M8 has a 16/14 bit A/D converter too, IIRC--it just has that funky compression scheme, which, when I print critically, does not seem to affect the colour much between the two

 

Jamie, then is there a way to preserve the 14bits somehow or are they definately lost in compression?

 

I look at the M8 files I shot the other day, not sure whether to find the color good enough to justify getting the M8 or not. DMR is out of question for me. I want a small and high quality camera... Of course I know that it take some time to know how to get good results out of a new camera.

 

thanks

bernie

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Bernie,

 

All points of "DMR vs M8" aside (Conrad and I have this argument all the time, but it's very friendly

) the M8, I find, has excellent printable colour.

 

The way the compression scheme works is that it's not supposed to be visually lossy. And in fact, the shadow detail and (IMO) smoothness of the M8 at low ISOs (before amplification takes over) is only matched (or surpassed?) by the DMR IMO or by other 16/14 bit systems.

 

So colour on the M8 is very, very good (just look at Conrad's shot, above!), but somewhat trickier to process than some other cameras. JPEG colour is ok, but WB issues and compression noise means this is a RAW camera.

 

IOW, just like the DMR, you have to know what you're doing with digital to get the most out of them. They are NOT as forgiving, IMO, as other manufacturer's cameras in regards to colour (and users are probably a wee bit more critical, or more curmudgeonly, or something

).

 

However, that said, when processed from RAW (not JPEG) the M8 colour results are absolutely wonderful! I have the prints and happy clients to prove it.

 

Three final points:

  • non-Leica IR filtered "very wides" need some cyan adjustment. You either need to buy a coded adapter and fool the camera into thinking you're mounting a Leica lens *or* you need to adjust the cast in post.
  • In harsh light, IMO, the DMR has a wee edge on the M8 in terms of extreme highlights... and that's probably (maybe) due to compression. All digital systems go a bit wonky when sensors are overloaded, lenses flare, etc...but the DMR is the best-behaved I've seen to date. This doesn't mean the M8 is unusable--far from it, and I've shot directly into the sun lots of times with it, and had much better results than with other cameras. It's just that colour seems to go "first" on the m8 before the DMR in those extreme conditions.
  • Although the newest versions of ACR / Lightroom are very much improved with the M8, I truly do like the colour and detail from C1 better (though that's probably because I know how to use C1 better). Anyway, I recommend using the new C1 generic IR profile and the results are very, very good from the M8.

EDIT--BTW--Auto WB on the M8 is non-existent (it's broken right now, and Leica knows it), and it's a recipe for terrible colour. Just thought I'd mention that

Though it's not much better IMO on the DMR either)

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Another thing that DMR is better at is the LCD. Yes, it's smaller than M8's but I think the image quality and viewability in the outside light is better in the DMR.

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Bernie,

All points of "DMR vs M8" aside (Conrad and I have this argument all the time, but it's very friendly

) the M8, I find, has excellent printable colour.

 

Thank you Jamie for your long and informative answer.

 

Main reason I admit for the M8 is the incredibly small size of the lens and body, plus the razor sharp files. I have been shown (by Leica shop staff) JPEGs shot without IR cut filter in BW that looked great! The IR sensitivity added (apparently) shadow detail where other cameras would drown in darkness. However you would probably have to decide before you shoot.

 

Anyway, the color is a critical point, it seems to me - as I said - better than my Canon's but has less "meat" than my Fuji S5. I am sure there is a lot to discover on processing, but as far as I could see the M8 files seem a bit clinical on color compared to the Fuji.

 

However the b&w conversions look great. The little pic I try to attach to the post shows (in full rez) incredible detail even in the smallest leafs on the forest ground, it was shot at 1/90th and ISO640.

 

regards, Bernie

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