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chris_tribble

Learning to love 1250

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Hello everyone - I'm a new member (not new to Leica Ms, though), and this is my first post... I've been lurking and reading vociferously for a week or so. I'm a semi-retired freelance creative director and photojournalist who began shooting again a couple of years ago when I moved from the SF Bay Area to Las Vegas. I had Leica Ms back when I was a full time shooter, and got my black M8 with 21/2.8 asph in March of '07. I love the camera and love the look at 1250, and spend a lot of time shooting at 1250 ISO because I like to shoot very close-in to the action, and hate flash. I've had lots of pictures published in various magazines using the M8 @ 1250, and never had any complaints. My agency likes the look, too. The look at 1250 looks nice and even, a lot like pushed-film grain to me, and doesn't get all "lumpy" (a technical term) and discolored in the quarter tones and shadows like with my Nikons, when they're shot at high ISO.

 

I thought I'd show some examples: The first two was when I was following around John Edwards and then later his wife for the picture agency I work for, at small, almost intimate rallies in June of '07 during the primaries. I followed and shot all the candidates during the primaries.The first was at a union hall - the only light was all fluorescent in the ceiling. the second picture was in a small office where Elizabeth got into a policy argument with one of the people attending the opening of Edwards' LV campaign office. Both were shot at 1/90 wide-open. The next two are from an assignment where I was shooting stills for a commercial produced for Microsoft this last May here in LV. Had to use all available light from the video production, which was minimal. I was shooting these at 1/60 @ 2.8. All were shot with the 21mm. I might add that this was with whatever firmware was the latest at the time, and WB for the campaign shots were using the AWB, and the commercial pictures were using a custom WB at 3200K which was the balance for the lights for the video.

 

Anyway, this is a great forum, I'm glad I found it, and hope to learn a lot here.

 

Cheers,

brad

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Brad, thanks for pitching in to the forum and especially with your posted examples. The political ones very successfully capture the gritiness of a failed campaign in a real world setting. No question, a flash would have ruined the shots. You give me new-found respect for 1250; I must admit I haven't shot any in a couple of firmware iterations.

 

And thanks to all for exploring this thread's subject, I feel like going out and shooting a corner.

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Great work Brad. It reminds us that it's important to look at pictures, not at 100% renderings of fragments of what the sensor can dump onto a screen. 1250 works great for images that are more than good enough for press. The M8 is a great reportage camera.

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Brad,

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

Nice work, and perhaps we can learn a thing or two from you too. Actually, I think we just have.

 

Pete.

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Brad, thanks for pitching in to the forum and especially with your posted examples. The political ones very successfully capture the gritiness of a failed campaign in a real world setting. No question, a flash would have ruined the shots. You give me new-found respect for 1250; I must admit I haven't shot any in a couple of firmware iterations.

 

And thanks to all for exploring this thread's subject, I feel like going out and shooting a corner.

 

Great work Brad. It reminds us that it's important to look at pictures, not at 100% renderings of fragments of what the sensor can dump onto a screen. 1250 works great for images that are more than good enough for press. The M8 is a great reportage camera.

 

Brad,

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

Nice work, and perhaps we can learn a thing or two from you too. Actually, I think we just have.

 

Pete.

 

Thank you to all of you for the warm welcome, I really appreciate it. For me, ISO 1250 was a pleasant surprise, since it was one of the "knocks" I initially read about the camera when I was considering buying one. Back in the mid-70's to mid-80's (I know, ancient history, to be sure) I literally "lived" at ASA 800 and 1600 while shooting all that Tri-X as a staff photographer for United Press International, so "grainy" reportage pictures are like second nature to me. I think Chris hit it squarely on the nail-head - one needs to consider the entire image and the trade-offs that are presented in terms of situation and light. Sometimes, one has to make some compromises in order to get the kinds of pictures that are not available to be had by any other method.

 

One of the interesting things for me in learning the technology going onto the cameras since I have begun to shoot professionally again, is trying not to get too caught up in what seems like a mentality that insists on trying to squeeze Kodachrome 25-esque quality at very high ISO settings, and the judging of that is done, as Chris said, in small pieces of pictures rendered on a computer screen. Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting as good a quality as one can get from all ISO settings, but when there is a drop in quality, I think there is a tendency for overreaction.

 

Sorry for the long post... and thanks again for the welcome.

 

brad

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Just to demonstrate ISO 2500. In my view still useable in terms of noise.

 

I haven't fully understood what makes some images more noisy than others. I agree with previous posts about under-exposing seeming to enhance noice.

 

Stefan

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For anyone interested, the majority of the shots at the link here are M8u + M8.2, some with 5D: Bobo Stenson Trio

 

ALL were taken at 1250... The M8 came out very well.

 

Chris,

hope you don't mind - I linked this to another forum where the interest is more in the music than the pictures, but this crosses the boundary very well.

Huw

 

Bobo Stenson

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Back in the mid-70's to mid-80's (I know, ancient history, to be sure) I literally "lived" at ASA 800 and 1600 while shooting all that Tri-X as a staff photographer for United Press International, so "grainy" reportage pictures are like second nature to me.

brad

 

Welcome Brad,

 

Sorry for being OT:D: It is good to see a fellow former UPI photographer here. I was a UPI freelancer in the Miami in the late 70's -early 80's (with Les Sintay) and then staff photographer/sub editor in Brussels on the pix desk for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Later (1985) went over to Reuters.

Probably, like me, you also miss the thrill and excitement of the true old style wire-service. Now a days, it seems like all the agencies are being run more like multinational corporations, were news is just one of the many products and are always subject to revenue demands. Though, in all fairness, the lack of financial planning in the past might have been instrumental in the serious decline of UPI.

Which agency are you working for now?

Kind regards,

 

Etienne Werner

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Welcome Brad,

 

Sorry for being OT:D: It is good to see a fellow former UPI photographer here. I was a UPI freelancer in the Miami in the late 70's -early 80's (with Les Sintay) and then staff photographer/sub editor in Brussels on the pix desk for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Later (1985) went over to Reuters.

Probably, like me, you also miss the thrill and excitement of the true old style wire-service. Now a days, it seems like all the agencies are being run more like multinational corporations, were news is just one of the many products and are always subject to revenue demands. Though, in all fairness, the lack of financial planning in the past might have been instrumental in the serious decline of UPI.

Which agency are you working for now?

Kind regards,

 

Etienne Werner

 

Hi, Etienne - Thank you for the welcome, great to hear of another Unipresser. I work for Polaris Images with JP Pappis and Peter Bolioli. Peter worked nights on the NXP picture desk, and he was the person I usually ended up talking with whenever I called in from wherever I was currently in the world. When Peter found out I had moved to LV and was shooting again a couple of years ago, he asked if I would shoot for them. I remember Les Sintay very well - I traveled with the 1976 Reagan campaign for UPI and we were always in the South, and more often than not, I was handing my film to Les when we were down there. I'm semi-retired, but worked a lot for Polaris during the primary campaigns - I ended up giving up shooting for the rest of the campaign last year when I put on my creative director "hat" to work with Rick Smolan on his two latest books: America at Home, and UK at Home. I also was one of the 100 US photographers for America at Home. I've been Rick's CD for all his projects going back to the 51 books in the America 24/7 series.

 

Polaris is great - no corporate BS, and I've never been asked to shoot a red carpet.

 

Cheers,

brad

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Hi, Etienne - Thank you for the welcome, great to hear of another Unipresser. I work for Polaris Images with JP Pappis and Peter Bolioli. Peter worked nights on the NXP picture desk, and he was the person I usually ended up talking with whenever I called in from wherever I was currently in the world. When Peter found out I had moved to LV and was shooting again a couple of years ago, he asked if I would shoot for them. I remember Les Sintay very well - I traveled with the 1976 Reagan campaign for UPI and we were always in the South, and more often than not, I was handing my film to Les when we were down there. I'm semi-retired, but worked a lot for Polaris during the primary campaigns - I ended up giving up shooting for the rest of the campaign last year when I put on my creative director "hat" to work with Rick Smolan on his two latest books: America at Home, and UK at Home. I also was one of the 100 US photographers for America at Home. I've been Rick's CD for all his projects going back to the 51 books in the America 24/7 series.

 

Polaris is great - no corporate BS, and I've never been asked to shoot a red carpet.

 

Cheers,

brad

Hi Brad,

 

I've heard about and seen many of the pix of Polaris. Glad to see u found a good "home" after UPI;). Judging from your msg, u hve kept very busy. Good luck with M8. Even though it's not perfect, the image quality is great.

 

Kind regards,

Etienne Werner

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Hey Brad - welcome aboard (I'm late the party with the welcome).

Funny what you said about not shooting red carpets. When I flipped thru your photographs I was thinking "ahhh, Brad's shooting red carpets - cool". Funny how that works. Someday I'll learn to read the words that accompany the photographs.

Good to see you're doing so well at 1250. You know if you bought that new 21mm f1.4 Summilux you could.........oh, nevermind.

Anyway, welcome aboard and keep posting. You have a lot to share with this great forum.

John Fulton, Fort Worth

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I haven't fully understood what makes some images more noisy than others.

 

Stefan, a correct exposure is the answer.

You won't have any tolerance,IMHO, when shooting @2500 iso. Even 1/3 stop makes the difference there.

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Stefan, a correct exposure is the answer.

You won't have any tolerance,IMHO, when shooting @2500 iso. Even 1/3 stop makes the difference there.

 

OK, you made me curious. Being still new to digital cameras and being used to shooting with an M4-P and an external light meter measuring incident light, I wonder how you guys nail the exposure by 1/3 stop. Do you use a spot meter? Do you chimp? Can you achieve this with the M8's meter alone? Care to share any "tricks"?

 

Thanks,

Edi.

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Chris,

how would the FW update improve noise of the RAW files?

I always understood that RAW files are not subject to in-camera noise treatment, or are you talking about JPGs looking better??

The reason is that since the auto-iso option was introduced people started using 1250 in relatively normal situations, where the exposure would be fine. Before, 1250, and even more so 2500 were only used as a measure of desperation, resulting in underexposed files, And noise only appears at these high-iso situations when you underexpose. If you expose for the shadows, and let the lens handle the highlights, the noise is actually very good, close to what a 5D would produce. It is only when underexposing that the Canons and Nikons forge ahead.

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OK, you made me curious. Being still new to digital cameras and being used to shooting with an M4-P and an external light meter measuring incident light, I wonder how you guys nail the exposure by 1/3 stop. Do you use a spot meter? Do you chimp? Can you achieve this with the M8's meter alone? Care to share any "tricks"?

 

Thanks,

Edi.

 

If you really want to be exact you can use an incident light meter. But just exposing for the shadows works fine.

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Jim - A slight misrepresentation of Sean's outlook; which I think is closer to a 'horses for courses' attitude. For a lower than average contrast condition he would, I believe, choose a higher contrast lens than a lower contrast one. Many of us appreciate that he distinguishes between lens resolution, and the illusion of resolution created by lens contrast. Choosing a lens with good resolution, and slightly lower contrast, sounds to me like an excellent choice for a high contrast medium like digital. I too am a fan of 'sunny day lenses'.

 

Buck the convention Sean!

 

................. Chris

 

Thank you for clarifying Chris. I like both higher and lower contrast lenses depending on the subject lighting and the way I want the pictures to look. "Horses For Courses" is exactly how I see it.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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OK, you made me curious. Being still new to digital cameras and being used to shooting with an M4-P and an external light meter measuring incident light, I wonder how you guys nail the exposure by 1/3 stop. Do you use a spot meter? Do you chimp? Can you achieve this with the M8's meter alone? Care to share any "tricks"?

 

Thanks,

Edi.

 

I use a hand-held incident light meter with the M8... works great for me... the pictures I posted above were all shot using the incident meter.

 

brad

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